Sand, wind, and heat… holly molly !!!

In the dead heat of the summer, Jenn and I spent the weekend learning how to Rebelle. She was fortunate to participate in the Rebelle Rally last year, so she had attended the training last year. She wanted to give me the opportunity to learn navigation by getting out in the dirt and practicing in real time.

Have you ever looked at a topo map? I have but not for very long and not to the extent that I will need to for the rally. Therefore, I needed help. When you sign up for the rally, you gain access to an online training which teaches you the basics of navigation: definitions of navigation terms, what a compass is, how to use a scale, how to use a plotter. But, the training did not include the answers. I am a nerd and need to know if I am doing things correctly. I don’t want to practice poorly. After I finished my training,  I emailed the mastermind, Emily Miller, and asked her for the answers. (Crickets…) she did not get back to me. She had a purpose for not getting back to me. She wanted me to wait until I actually got the chance to complete the Rally U training. I had signed up for the training, and she knew that if I was able to practice in person, I would be able to know that I had the hang of it.

first trip in lucilleSo… off to the desert we went. Jenn and I met at her house and drove together to the training. We wanted to spend as much time together as we could. She is a pretty cool chick and so fun to be around. Our trek began with an introduction to Lucille, our rally vehicle, fresh off the dealer’s lot. Lucille is a beautiful black Jeep Recon. She will be a wonderful vehicle for our journey. Now that we met, Lucille, we packed her full of clothes, tents, navigation equipment, water, and food. All for a fun weekend learning how to Rebelle. Off we went into the desert. The Rebelle U training is held in a unique family ranch in the Southern California Desert. The weekend starts with learning all of the basics of driving, navigating, route planning, and then putting it all together.

The training was everything I could have asked for. Emily Miller and Chrissie Beavis are two extraordinary women who covered everything we needed to know to be able to successfully complete the Rebelle Rally. We covered the basics of navigation and driving and then went into more detail. We then put it all together in the dirt. Skills we covered were driving and learning skills of vehicle management in the sand dunes. Then came the wind and well we were dealing with the heat the whole time. But the WIND!!! My gosh. We were blown away….

Here we are practicing our flying in the wind. Half way through our last day we had to sit it out for a while because the wind created such low visibility. The visibility made it unsafe to caravan to our final destination. We hunkered down and sat in our cars for a while.  After listening to the wind pitt the windows of Lucille we got out, geared up with goggles and scarfs and enjoyed the moment.


The wind added an element of difficulty that taught me how to be prepared for the rally.  Goggles, good clips for my map board, and a leash for my hat are essentials needed for windy days.

Overall we left with our brains full, and a few lessons about ourselves. After a bit of self-reflection, I learned that I concentrate too much on the details of navigation. I need to turn off my over analyzing science brain and look for the simple solution. I tend to overlearn things at first then I edit down to what skills I need to use to accomplish the task. Jenn and I learned how to work as a team. Going into this rally we both decided that we have a role. I as her navigator and she as my driver. The relationship of that combo is a blog post all on its own. I’ll write that one soon. :0)

Take away tips we learned at Rebelle U:

  1. Distance and Headings don’t lie, neither do husbands. (Heather is full of silly comments and when Emily asked what doesn’t lie Heather came back with “husbands”.)
  2. Learn the topo map and learn how to read it well. It will help when you are searching for your checkpoint.
  3. Trust your instinct. Don’t overthink things. Be confident in yourself and what you know.
  4. Practice Perfect.
  5. Trust in your partner, she will be there to help when you need it.
  6. The women who were with us at the training at Rebelle U are SO MUCH FUN!


rebelle u gals

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