Every weekend delivers the opportunity for a new adventure, and sometimes I have no idea what I am actually getting myself in to. I recently put myself into that familiar position. I’m not saying that it’s a bad position, it’s just different.
I’m going to be a bit of a girl here for a minute, but for all those girls and guys that are listening that can relate to breaking into a new group, I’ll take one for the team and tell you how I honestly felt walking into this all girls training weekend experience… I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in. I’ve seen all the Gazelle girls, I’ve analyzed them from the outside and I know that I’m not “one of them”. The Gazelle girls come across as petite, always wearing kahkai pants and fluffy jackets with scarfs. Let’s be honest, that is how we judge people first, by their looks. I’m not saying anything about their personalities, every one that I have met is an awesome girl. However there is a certain look and feel within the group. I’m 6ft tall, large boned as my mom says, and wear jeans, so I went into this trip feeling like an outsider from the beginning.
When we got into the dunes not many of the girls knew each other, so the first item on the agenda was going around and saying who we are, what we do and what we wanted to get out of the weekend. Come to find out, I wasn’t the only one that felt like an outsider, as we went around the circle it seemed like everyone had the exact same anticipations of not fitting in. That made everyone fit in automatically. A couple of the ladies were over 60 and ready to take on this adventure and some are mom’s that haven’t had any time to themselves in 5-15 years. My worries of not fitting in were gone.
My goals for the weekend were pretty simple: one, I wanted to learn how to use my compass and a map together, and two, I wanted to take a JK into the dunes and feel the feel. I love Glamis, the dunes are absolutely one of my favorite places to be., but I ride dirt bikes and quads, not big heavy 4 wheel vehicles. These vehicles don’t have a ton of power in comparison to the V8 crazy buggies that typically roam the dunes. I was honestly nervous about the weight distribution.
Most all afternoon on Friday we learned from Emily Miller, the woman behind the Rebelle Rally and had a significant impact on the the Gazelle Rally from the United States standpoint. We worked on understanding how to read a compass. Who knew it was so challenging and had so many characteristics? Then we took that skill and, I will say attempted, to apply it to a map. That was easier said than done. I was picking up what Emily was trying to put down. I may not have the finer detail yet, but I certainly have the concept.
On our way to camp that night I rode with Jen, a 43 year old woman who is a stay at home mom and needed an offroad and adventure shot back into her life. We were driving her very fancy sport SUV- or what she calls a mom car – a Mercedez GL450 – that surprised us both on the dirt road. I didn’t want her to be by herself on the first leg of her offroad adventure. We worked on how to read the terrain, when to accelerate, and so forth. We had an awesome ride back.
After a Friday night fire and potluck, Saturday morning came fast and with another beautiful blue sky. I can’t tell you how lucky we were on the weather for the weekend. On Saturday it was Nena Barlow from Barlow Jeep Rentals that had the floor, or I guess I should say the sand. We got to learn how to approach angles in the dirt and how to not get ourselves stuck. Her explanations were awesome. I picked up on some great wording to help when I’m out in the field.
We got people stuck on purpose, which is always fun, and then got to dig them out. The skill level was pretty varied, but for the most part it was on the lower scale, which was awesome. There was a lot of learning going on. In the afternoon we headed to the dunes; Jen and I had kind of taken over Nena’s Jeep. Jen had driven in the morning and I wanted to do the driving in the afternoon, remembering one of my main goals was mastering the dunes. Oh my gosh the dunes are so much fun! I had a little bit of anticipation, but soon got over it as I felt the capabilities of the JK and it’s ability to dance through the dunes. After a few laps we were onto bigger dunes and more challenging spaces. We ended up splitting into groups of 4 which was perfect.
It was awesome! Every one of these ladies was awesome and has a story to tell!
Saturday night we had another great night of campfire and potluck. The group continued to bond, and by Sunday we were off into the dunes to combine the sand driving skills and the navigation skills we had learned. It wasn’t easy, but it was awesome. Everyone there was challenged in their own way. So cool. It was late afternoon by the time we made it back to camp to clean up. I ended up staying a couple more hours to put some work in on a previous episode of Bower Power Hour and then got to leave right at my favorite part of the day in the desert – the sunset. I thought for a few minutes if I could stay the night in the desert and leave in the morning, but I was responsible and loaded up and headed back to town.
I owe a huge thank you to Nena for letting me use the jeep in the dunes and all her efforts in putting this event together, and Emily for being awesome and giving the ladies a place to show their skills. I am really excited to watch the future of these types of events. And the event in particular that we were all talking about was the Rebelle Rally. I know this is the first time I have publicly talked about it, so let me give you the one sentence version. It’s an all girls rally in October that is 7 stage days long, starting in South Lake Tahoe and ending in Del Mar. Where we go in between is a mystery to us. The only tools that will be allowed are a map and compass. All electronic devices will be taken away…even my phone, and text, and Facebook and oh my gosh what are we going to do. Please look it up on their website Rebelle Rally and reach out to Nena, Emily or myself if you are interested in any information on these fun training weekends or this all girls rally.