The Rebelle Rally is the first all-female navigational rally in the United States. Over the span of 7 days, teams of 2 drove 1,200 miles, mostly off-road, with no cell phones or chase crews.
GPS is not allowed. Instead teams must navigate using just a compass and a map.
Points are awarded for accuracy, not speed. Teams navigate to checkpoints, some marked, some not marked, using headings, distance and topographical cues.
Although Donaghe had the final say as the navigator, we both collaborated when searching for the checkpoints.
As the driver, I was responsible for this little mishap in the dunes of Glamis. It may not look like much, but Donaghe had to crawl out the passenger window as the door was too heavy to open.
Here's a different view of my predicament. Fortunately I was able to get unstuck with the use of our Maxtrax recovery boards and some careful throttle control. Still, it was a bit of a butt-pucker moment.
Just one of the US Geological Survey maps we used. The base camp and "easy" checkpoints are already marked. The two checkpoints in the middle are where we made our fatal mistake. We got the eastern checkpoint on the right, then were supposed to go to the checkpoint to the west and south. Instead we spent an hour looking for the checkpoint nearly directly west, which was a checkpoint for the previous day. We timed out of the rally and went from potential winners to 11th place.
Donaghe's life motto on her door.
The time/speed/distance segment of the Rebelle was difficult for both of us. Donaghe had three timers, two calculators and the Terra Trip digital odometer to keep track of our time, while I had to keep the truck at a constant speed. For 3 hours we tried to keep our speed to 30 kilometers per hour, or 18 miles per hour, in order to complete the assigned distance in the assigned time. It sounds easy. Trust me, it's not.
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado in the smaller dunes of Glamis.
It might just look like a rock, but we were only 3 meters off the unmarked checkpoint here. We earned full points for navigating so close to it.
In the bed of the truck we carried two spares, five gallons of water, four Maxtrax recovery boards and two shovels. Our metal box contained a basic tool kit, fluids, a spare belt, tie rods and front and rear shocks.
The Colorado is not stock. We had a 3-inch lift and suspension from Total Chaos Fabrication. The lift was handy in the dunes to get that 140-inch wheel base over the crest of the hills, and the suspension allowed me to go a bit faster so Donaghe could spend more time navigating.
The truck was shod with Raceline wheels wearing the BF Goodrich KO2 rubber.
Our home away from home, the nomadic base camp that followed us from Lake Tahoe to San Diego.
Click through to enjoy some photos of the other Rebelle Rally competitors.