Rebelle Rally 2018

Rebelle Rally 2018

Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the Google Play Store!Get Toyota Cruisers & Trucks Magazine on the App StoreFounded by Emily Miller, the Rebelle Rally is not only a women’s off-road navigation rally raid, it is a true test of mental and physical grit. The only all-female off-road rally in the United States is also a mobile village consisting of women and men, all there to support, encourage, and guide the rally teams on their incredible, but arduous, off-road journey.

Trust the path. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. -Rachael Ridenour, Team #103 Record the Journey

I originally became interested in the Rebelle Rally after following Team #154 Roads Less Traveled on the live stream during the 2017 event. I knew very little about the Rebelle Rally, and even less about Team #154, other than the driver was driving her 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser, the same year as my FJ Cruiser, and that she was from Colorado Springs—which for me was a Colorado connection and a reason to cheer the team on. Little did I know I would become completely fascinated and enamored with this event and awestruck at the incredible women who participate in it. I had the amazing opportunity to cover the 3rdAnnual Rebelle Rally this year and met the teams and staff for the second half of the rally in Johnson Valley, California, about an hour and half north of Palm Springs. I would spend the next three days chasing the Toyota teams and following along as they made their way to Glamis Sand Dunes, and eventually into San Diego for the event’s awards finale. About a week after the rally, I reached out to the teams to see how they were doing and the overwhelming consensus was tired but elated. As for their advice for anyone thinking about doing the rally? Again, overwhelmingly—just do it!

Team #103 Record the Journey

Vehicle: 2006 Toyota 4Runner Sport Edition

Driver: Rachel Ridenour, New Mexico (3x returning Rebelle)

Navigator: Taylor Pawley, Oregon (2x returning Rebelle)

Winners of the Team Spirit Award1.

1. How are you feeling after the Rebelle?  

RR: I feel really satisfied. Every year I set personal goals and team goals and this year it kind of all came together.

TP: Exhaustion, but a good kind of exhaustion! This event was a lot harder than the first year I did it. I was prepared for that possibility because of some of the women I talked to but living it is always different. It was more challenging and the navigation was a little more challenging. The ground we were covering, the sheer distance we were covering and the schedule that we were on was really, really tasking. It took a lot. 

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

RR: My best moment was probably one of our worst moments. Taylor is a really good navigator and she was plotting a spot and we were coming out of Slab City and all that craziness and she asked me to go, I don’t remember if it was east or west, but I turned the wrong way. I probably took us a good 20 miles in the wrong direction. She realized it and got us back on track, but we lost at least an hour and time was so precious. It turned out to be a really good thing though because everybody else was stuck on the canal and we joined the group right when everybody else joined the group and we didn’t have any of the stress or struggles of that canal. It was just a good reminder to the both of us to trust the path. There are no mistakes. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. And, she didn’t kill me for going the wrong direction! That was awful nice of her.

TP: Best moment was getting the team spirit award. It was so unexpected and incredibly appreciated. Becauseit comes from within—it comes from the Rebelles, it comes from your competitors, and it comes from the staff. And to share it with Unbroken Journey, that’s gonna go down as a highlight of my entire life.

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

RR: The worst moment was the beginning of what turned out to be the best moment, or detour. The best moment in the sense that it got us back on track but also that we could laugh about it at the end of the day. 

TP: There were two times where we just got really lost. We just had no idea where we were at. We couldn’t get our bearings. Nothing was matching on the map. We couldn’t get the compass to line up with where we wanted to be. We really had to fight through that, and both of them worked out perfectly fine. In fact, so fine that we ended up better off on time than we would’ve been had we not had those problems happen. It’s partly because we thought outside of the box. Instead of going to the next checkpoint, we went back to the highway and bypass so we canmake up some time and both times that we did that, we ended up right on task with everyone else and ended up very high in the scoring. We came up with the phrase, “Trust the path.” If we trusted in ourselves that those mistakes that we made were for a reason, then it gave us the license to fail.

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?

RR: It has to be Johnson Valley. There’s so much history there with King of the Hammers and I love that it is just straight line, open navigation. There’s kind of norules as long as you stay within the speed limit. I just really loved the freedom, the history, and it’s just beautiful with that lake bed, the ruggedness of the rocks. It’s just beautiful.

TP: It’s so weird—it's always Johnson Valley. I love Johnson Valley—it's such a magical place and it’s so cool to be driving around in there knowing its history. It’s a really fun area to navigate and pretty easy because it has a lot of easy-to-find points and the terrain is amazing but the day of, when you’re out there, it’s miserable! The whoops, the driving—I don’t know why in the world it would possibly be your favorite, but every year, it’s consistently my favorite day!

5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

RR: Sooner or later, Toyota is going to win this thing! Do it. It’s kind of like Slab City. It’s such a unique experience and if you haven’t seen it or experienced a part of it, it’s very difficult to put into words. But if you go and interview three years' worth of Rebelles, every single one of us is going to say the same thing—do it. It’s worth it. 

TP: Just do it. Big one. Find a way to do it. You will not regret it. Both years I’ve done it, I needed it. Both from an emotional and mental standpoint. It’ssuch a good mental reset because of being off the grid and because of what it demands from you. And the team work, and the camaraderie and the connection you have with the other competitors—it's impactful in a lot of ways. There are so many resources and the Rebelles that have raced are so willing to help. We want more people to do this experience because it’s so meaningful to us. You’re so much more capable than you think you are.


Team #154 Roads Less Traveled

Vehicle: 2008 FJ Cruiser

Driver: Tiffany Walker, Colorado (2x returning Rebelle)

Navigator: Rori Lewis, California (2x returning Rebelle)

1. How are you feeling after the Rebelle?

TW: Tired—both physically and emotionally. It was HARD this year. Harder than the prior year, for sure. There is certainly pride in finishing in the Top 10 again—especially considering there were many more checkpoints, more difficult terrain, and some hardships we had to overcome early on. (sickness, flat tire, broken tent zipper... in 14-degree temps!) The competition was stiff, so I'm very pleased with our performance!

RL: I felt like I still wasn’t back to reality yet. It was so great to see my husband and dog. I was still in a dream and felt like I was soon going to wake up in my tent again. I took a while to get backinto the groove. Work was easy because you have your day-to-day routine you fall back into but the things like traffic and people of Southern California was not a fun time for me. 

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

TW: Maybe it's because I wasn't a nervous newbie, but I felt much more camaraderie with other teams this year. I got to know some truly incredible, amazing women! I think my favorite moments were in the big tent at night having dinner, doing yoga, laughing and recounting each day with strangers who had become friends.

RL: I don’t think I really have ONE best moment I can truly call out.  I run through my head all the best moments and they all have one great thing in common—Tiffany and I working as a team to make things happen. I would explain to her where we needed to go, show her what I was looking for on the map so she could get a sense of what she was actually looking for and we would just brainstorm back and forth until we both felt good. It was fun working together to try and figure out the puzzle and strategy for the day. 

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

TW: Day 3. Right out of the gate, we were in very technical terrain. Rori and I decided to push through because with my Total Chaos suspension, I really believed we could do it. After spending too much time trying to find the right trail, we decided to turn around. I made a foolish mistake, or what I call "Off-Roading 101" which is you don't drive what you can't see. I drove over a sage bush that obviously had a rock in it and slashed my sidewall. BIG bummer. We lost some valuable time changing the tire which also resulted in us losing points that day.

RL: My worst moment during the Rally would have to be when the course error happened and knowing everyone was going through the same emotions that day—I had such a hard time shaking it and moving on. There were a few decisions I made that day going into the dunes that really could have helped or made it easy for us but instead they were the tough long routes. I was not proud of how I handled the situation when the day was over. Of course, by this time it was day six and exhaustion was setting in. I don’t feel there are excuses but I know how I would like to handle myself in future situations. 

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?

TW: We went much further east in Nevada this year. Truly stunning scenery. Since Rori was the one who had her nose in the map most of the time, I can tell you that the dry lake beds, Johnson Valley, Amargosa Dunes and Glamis (of course) were striking! The question you ask here also affirms why Rori is the navigator and I'm the driver. I really couldn't tell you exactly where we went. I just drove where the 'boss' told me to go! 

RL: My favorite section of the Rally would have to be thefirst couple days. We are in the trees and mountains and that is where I truly want to be. We live in the desert so I see Johnson Valley and the south often but the feeling of the mountains and trees, there is nothing like it.5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

TW: Too often, women I know will say things like, 'when I'm ready', 'when I have enough money', 'when I have enough time'... My advice is, 'the time is NOW!' There are so many options to raise money or seek sponsorships. There isno amount of time in studying maps that will give you an advantage. You can only 'practice' driving for so long before you're adequately prepared. The bottom line is that it's an adventure like no other. It will challenge you to your core and it will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime!

RL: This is an all-women’s off-road rally raid. No matter what the outcome is or where you place, you have to remind yourself that you actually are out there trying. Then, once you cross the finish line, it isthe most amazing feeling—especially when this is something you don’t do EVERYDAY!  There will always be someone better or trying harder or who has done it a few more time overseas but you got out here and kept up with the best of them and crossed the finish line—now that’s pretty freaking cool.


Team #168 Bold Adventures

Vehicle: 2018 Toyota Tacoma

Driver: Tara Figueroa, Arizona

Navigator: Julie Leid, Arizona1.

How are you feeling after the Rebelle?

TF: TF: A lot of different feelings. I think the biggest thing, the further out we are, and the more people that we talk to, I feel very accomplished. It was a huge accomplishment, and not just crossing the finish line. Emily (Miller) talked about it in the Rally School—it's a huge accomplishment just to get to the start line. Julie and I had heard about it a year ago and we literally started planning and fundraising when it was happening last year. It took a year to get to the start line, and just getting there was an accomplishment. 

JL: I've been mulling over some of details, some of the day-to-day details, and reflecting on what we did really well, or what I think we would do differently next time, how we would approach things. You know, looking back, our communication was awesome! It’s the skills that we needto work on and that’s become more apparent to me as I’ve been able to process it. There’s not much time on the rally to process things, so now that I’m back doing house chores, at the office, I just think about little things and just how I’d tackle thingsa little bit differently perhaps, in small ways, for better success.

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

TF: I think my favorite moments were chasing after a black checkpoint, hitting the tracker button, then coming back to the car and looking at the coordinates that were on the tracker and comparing it to the coordinates we had on the page and when we’d nailit! There’s nothing there so you work really hard to find this “place” in the universe with nothing marking it, and you kind of look at each other with trepidation over who is going to push the button, and when you do, and you compare it to the coordinates and then realize you were right there, it’s just a really cool feeling.

JL: We nailed the enduros! (Tara yells, “Yes!” in the background) We nailed those. They were excruciating. God, they were so stressful. It just sounds ridiculous—like, “oh, time, speed, distance” why is that so stressful? Oh dear. That was very stressful, but we nailed ‘em! 

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

TF: I know mine was Day 7 in the dunes. We had chased a lot of blue checkpoints that day and didn’t get a lot. There was a lot of points on the table that day, so you had to be very diligent about watching your time. Julie was very good about watching the time and I would get sucked into “just one more dune, one more dune further. I think we need to go another kilometer. Another dune.” We would just get deeper and deeper and deeper into the big stuff and then she would turn to me and say, “We gotta go—we have 20 minutes to get to a checkpoint and if we don’t go now, we’re not gonna make it and our day is over.” Having to leave after spending so much time chasing those points and then having to leave them on the table, was defeating. It happened a couple times that day and after the last one, I just lost my sh*t. I was crying. I wasn’t upset with anyone but myself. I thought I didn’t do what I needed to do to get us there in time.

JL: Probably that. (Speaking of Tara’s worst moment) Just having to be a hard-ass and say “we gotta go. Sorry.”  So as painful as it was to leave something on the table, I know how driven she isand I know that is was probably just over the next dune or just around the corner, 500 feet down the road, but we couldn’t. So, it was me having to say, “no”, and then trying to look at my watch and say, “ok, do we actually have 30 more seconds or do we not and how hard do I push and track that time?” It was high stress and being tired. I really wanted to finish strong.

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?

TF: One of my favorite drives, I think Day 5 or 6, we were driving through all the Joshua Trees, and I wished we could’ve competed inside Joshua Tree. I was really bummed to have lost that part of the rally. (Note: During the rally, Joshua Tree National Park had heavy rains causing severe flooding which shut down many roads. The Rebelle Rally course officials quickly scrambled to reroute teams to avoid the park.)I think that would’ve been amazing to be in that national park. Scenery wise, I guess Johnson Valley and the vastness. I know I was really proud how Julie drove through that area and took care of our truck, and it handled it really well. But at the same time, we went for hours that day and didn’t see a soul. It was just such a huge area. So that was really cool.

JL: I was blown away by the flooding. Maybe it’s because I’m a civil engineer, that’s what I do for a living, but the destruction and the amount of rain that they got right before we drove through, that was amazing. To see the salt flats, seeing the normally dry areas that were inundated with water. The head cuts and the scour andthe levee breaches, some of those things were pretty interesting to see. The salt flats were something I’ve never seen before—that was fascinating to see. So unusual.

5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

TF: You don’t know what you don’tknow, so, just get there and trust the process. You’re going to learn something every day. It’s going to make you better the next day. Watch other teams. Watch the lead teams and how they’re navigating. We learned so much from watching other teams and come at checkpoints from a different way.

JL: It’s really expensive. I didn’t understand, before going, why it was so expensive until I got there and saw the level of support. It’s almost one head per employee. So, the level of support, I never felt scared, or if something were to happen, that we’d be alone and need assistance. So now, I have a better understanding of where every penny goes and the level of support and resources that were there with us along the whole rally. That was a surprise to me and I couldn’t understand that going in, but now I really understand.


Team Team #171

Vehicle: 2013 Toyota Land Cruiser

Driver: Amy Evans, Utah

Navigator: Erica Marino, Utah1.

How are you feeling after the Rebelle?

AE: After the Rebelle came to a close, adrenaline andspirits were still high! It was such an inspiring event that I immediately started searching out new locations to venture to, while at the same time devising plans on how to participate again the following year. The Rebelle was challenging in ways I nevercould have prepared for. Emily Miller and her staff take you to these magical locations and then each morning inspire you to make smart decisions, challenge yourselves, improve upon your skills from the prior day, all while remembering to take in the magnificent beauty around you. I am still perplexed on how each day they brought the skill level up and the “head game” more challenging. It was perfect! 

EM: I felt a lot cleaner and much more rested, but I still couldn’t believe that Amy and I did it. That we started AND actually finished the rally. I couldn’t stop dreaming about all things rally either. All I could see was maps and flags and road signs and car parts. I thought I might be going crazy. I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what we did well, what we didn’t do well, conversations we had, people we met, the amazing scenery. It was complete brain overload for a bit, but what an amazing adventure. So amazing that it made my normal life seem kind of boring.

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

AE:  The best moment of the Rally for me is hard to pin down. The landscape was breathtaking, the driving and navigating was beyond enjoyable. But at the end of the day it was the time spent with Erica. Each evening after we had scarfed down dinner and settled in for the night, we had no distractions from electronics, internet or television. We would rest, talk and laugh until we could no longer breathe. It took me back to childhood days when you truly immersed yourself in the moment. You had no “to-do” lists, no deadlines to meet, just pure happiness. The Rebelle brought moments beyond what I had hoped for.

EM: The best moment for me was when Amy and I got to the last check point before the finish line. It had been a rough day, but I knew we had to end on a high note. Finding that last check point couldn’t have been more satisfying, because we were exhausted, wondering if we even knew what a compass was, and just over it. It completely changed our entire day and gave us a chance to acknowledge and relish in the success of finishing the rally together, as a team, as two girls who got ourselves into and out of so much crap together.

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

AE: The worst moment for me is easy to spot. It was the final day of scoring. We were in what turned out to be my favorite locations to drive, Glamis Sand Dunes. Erica and I had set out to find a flag, and I was convinced I knew exactly how to get there. Erica let me take the lead and I drove, and drove, and drove. I drove circles around trees, back and forth along the same railroad tracks. Ultimately, I took hours of our day and never successfully found the flag. I was devastated. After days of “refining” my navigating skills, I believed I had finally put it all together. I couldn’t hold back the tears as I realized I still had loads to learn. Erica, with focus and determination, quietly told me where to drive and within minutes she guided us up and next to the second to last flag of the event. We gathered our time, coordinates and moved on. Drove up to the last flag to see another team celebrating at their success. There I realized, once again, what the event was really about. 

EM: Oh wow, there was one night we were so lost. We had already missed our base camp deadline, and we were stressed that they would have to send someone out to get us if we didn’t figure our crap out quick. It was dark, it was cold, we were exhausted. We were about to run out of gas, and best of all, it was all being filmed. What made it so terrible is that I am not a quitter, and not only did I feel like we were going to have to give up, but I felt like I was letting Amy down.

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?

AE: My favorite section of the rally will mostdefinitely be shared with others! Emily and her team took us to the lush hidden greenery tucked away within the Mojave Desert, The China Date Farm. It was truly a magical location. As you dropped down in altitude through a curvy, sandy dry canyon, the last thing you would expect for the landscape to open up into was an oasis of date palm trees. It was there where we “self-camped” for the night. The owners had kept their quaint shop open late that night and served us caramelized date shakes while being appreciative for us making their location our home for the night.

EM: This is such a cliché answer, but I can’t choose just one section. There were so many sections that just absolutely blew my mind. I loved the trip from Tahoe to Kingston, because I’m the most comfortable in the mountains, and I am a total hippie for wild mustangs and flocks of sheep. The Granite Mountains are amazing. It’s difficult to believe that they’re real. The date farm is this amazing little hidden treasure, and then, of course, the sand dunes. I mean, how did all of that sand, and it’s a lot of sand, get there?!

5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

AE: For future Rebelles, I’d tell them to listen to Emily. I would hear her advice, but undoubtably I would not “hear” her advice until the following day. She puts her heart and soul into this event, and it is her wish that each and every Rebelle has the most majestic, mind-blowing experience ever!

EM: Really think about the partner you are signing up with. How you and your partner interact will either make or break this experience. It is so much more than if someone is fun, or nice, or a good driver or a good navigator. Think about how you both handle stress, how you communicate and how you resolve conflict. I couldn’t have been luckier to have one of the most amazing human beings to ever exist tolerate me for so many days. She makes me a better person. So, yeah, find that person.


Team #179 Free Range Dames

Vehicle: 2012 Toyota Tacoma

Driver: Mercedes Lilienthal, Oregon

Navigator: Elise Bent, Montana1.

How are you feeling after the Rebelle?

ML: It’s a whole barrage of feelings. It’s still physically very tired. Once I’ve fallen asleep, I’m dead to the world and I’m not used to that. Trying to catch up on actual sleep is pretty important. I’m very happy. I’m excited. I’m elated at how we did. Elise and my goal was to finish and finish strong, no matter what that meant—even if we were last in line, as long as we hit the finish line together and in one piece. And, we blew thatout of the water! But I’m sad—I miss the camaraderie. I miss seeing everybody. I miss being on the road. I can’t tell you how badly I want to be on the road still!

EB: I was happy to be home for two days, then I was like, ok, what next? “Empowered” is a word that speaks to me a lot. The whole experience, you know working so hard, and then having that immediate feedback of finding a checkpoint, was super, super cool and really helped me understand how much I could push myself and just how hard I could work at something and see results right away. Then I definitely miss the people, the adventure, and the scenery. 

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

ML: There were so many! One of the greatest moments for me, was getting in sync with Elise and getting in sync with the Tacoma, that the rhythm just was there and I could talk back to what Elise was saying so she knew I heard her, and the truck running really well. There were three separate times, especially with the vehicle, that I was so in sync with it and it was so cool to drive, and we were talking well, and she was telling me where to go and how much further we had to go, and it was just gelling. It happened at different times, there’s not just one, but all throughout the rally. It was just really cool.

 EB: Every single checkpoint we got!

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

ML: I don’t know if I would classify it as the “worst” but one of the most challenging was when we were trying to find an “in” to get into a green checkpoint and we had two others after that, and it was midway through the rally, and I just got on a berm and I had to kind of back myself around to go the other direction, and all of a sudden I started hearing this cyclical, rotational, clunking noise—and I thought that wasour mechanical issue, and of course, that happened to be right when the photographers were there!

EB: (Speaking about the same day) We were having mechanical issues after realizing we were not in the right place at all. That was pretty exasperating, I thought. That was probably the worst. It was a bit frustrating and worrying.

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?

ML: Johnson Valley—the tail end of the day where it was rocky and we had these steep inclines and declines. They pushed me because they were pretty tight and I’m used to off-roading in much smaller vehicles, so having an access cab pickup truck was completely new to me! I had to realize my tail's a lot longer in the Tacoma. 

EB: There were different things I liked about each part. Johnson Valley was something so new—the terrain was so incredible and it was so easy to do terrain association and you were still free to do relatively straight lines on a heading. There was a little bit of some rocky, rock crawling in those mining areas. That was probably one of my favorite areas because it was still within our technical skill level to drive but it was challenging and it was fun. Lots of variety!

5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

ML: Don’t give up! Try hard, work hard and keep pushing! Don't be afraid to ask others for help. We talked to a lot of different people. I didn’t think I was going to do this until I sent Elise a text in April saying, “Guess what, I’m really going to quit my career and I’m going to freelance.” We talked to a ton of people. I can’t even tell you, I didn’t even know what the hell I was doing—I hadn’t really off-roaded much before. I had just started.

EB: You know it’s interesting, a lot of the ones I have are basically things that Emily Miller says. Stuff like, “In order to learn how to win, you have to learn how to finish.” That resonated a lot with me because I don’t think we had too much trouble getting across the finish line but there was so much about the process that we learned. We had to learn to improve, so it wasn’t just really about crossing the finishing line, it was as a whole how everything worked, the whole experience. The experience of just getting to the start line too, that was a lot of work. You just have to commit and do it and figure itout as you go. You can count on other people to be super helpful and have their eye out for you.


Team #182 Locos Mocos Rebelles

Vehicle: 2004 Toyota Tacoma

Driver: Laura Hardesty, Californa

Navigator: Caroline Seale-Cole, Louisiana1.

How were you feeling after the Rebelle?

LB: When we first finished, there was just this huge high. I don’t know how else to put it. I was just on this major high of feeling great. We accomplished what we set out to accomplish, and I was pretty proud of the fact that wedidn’t have any major problems. We didn’t ever have a major fallout between the two of us. Didn’t have any truck problems. I feel we were pretty good about communicating with each other. All the goals we set, we hit. We met all these really, really amazing people and then, all of a sudden, you’re super attached to all these people and it’s really sad when everyone has to go.

CC: I was really tired to be perfectly honest! It would make anybody tired. I, of course, felt accomplished. It’s good to know that you can go out and get yourself out of your own problems at the end of the day. That you can be dropped off in the middle of nowhere with some maps and a compass and figure your way out of the paper bag. It’s good to feel that you’re self-sufficient—that you and your teammate can get through all these things together and if you do have a problem, you can fix it. I felt really good about finishing—that was of course our goal. 

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

LB: There were times where you weredriving these really amazing sections of off-road, or a wash, and we’re just having such a great time driving it, and then we would get to that checkpoint, I would always yell out, “Yahtzee!” Like, when we would finally see a flag, I would just yell out, “Yahtzee!” You’re having so much fun driving these off-road trails and washes and then you find what you’re looking for, you’re just so excited.

CC: I was always really happy if I could keep us on track! I had to trust myself so much when I was navigating.You would have to commit your time and your driver’s energy into what you believe to be the right thing.  I just really just loved when I got a checkpoint right, there was always your teammate there to celebrate.   

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

LB: We had a really bad day on Day 2 or Day 3, I don’t remember which day it was, and I was really unsure of where we were going to stand; we really thought we were going to lose all of our points for that day. We were still trying to figure everything out and it was like, “Oh my gosh, if we are falling on our faces this early on, what is the rest of this going to be like? Are we going to be able to pick ourselves up and keep going?” Everybody, Rachael (Ridenour) especially, was so supportive and helpful and made us feel like everything was going to be ok, and that those days happen to everybody.

CC: For me, exhaustion was a lot of it—mental exhaustion on top of physical exhaustion on top of uncomfortable environments. I was exhausted in whole new ways during this, and on Day 2, we had kind of a rough day and we were still trying to figure out enduros, and I just had to initially deal with myself at the end of Day 2.  Rachael (Ridenour) came up to me and said, “You know, you’re still here. Look up here at the stars. It’s great to be here. It’s ok to have a bad day. Character is forged in darkness, not in light.” And that just hit me in a million ways and that was exactly what I was going through that day and that’s what carried me through the rest ofthe competition.

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?LB: For me, for sure, it was the desert (Johnson Valley)! I’ll just say that! Going up washes and stuff like that, my truck really excels and it’s like the kind of off-roading where I can goa little faster. It’s more fun for me. Although, I spent all of Johnson Valley broke out in hives! I was miserable in Johnson Valley because I had hives everywhere! And then, the second we left, it like, disappeared!

CC: We saw a lot of iconic places—places you recognized. Being from Louisiana, I haven’t seen these places in person. I’ve never seen Lake Tahoe up close! It was great to see Lake Tahoe. We went to see Diana's Punchbowl (also known as Devil’s Cauldron). That was really cool. We went to the dunes. We saw where they shot Star Wars. For me, it was all of these recognizable and iconic places. The whole trip was just cool. She (Emily Miller) took us to some really great places to see.

5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

LB: Do it! Reach out—they (other Rebelles) really are actually that nice and actually want to help you. So, utilize them. The camaraderie is real. It’s absolutely a competition but everybody is more interested in their personal best but they are still looking out foreach other. I wished we would’ve reached out more in hindsight, but I really did not buy that everybody was as linked together and supportive as they appeared to be.

CC: Reach out to people who have done it before—they want to help you! I think it’s a wonderful thing to get into, but I think you just need to be very aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and what you need to practice and what you need to know. The past Rebelles can tell you all about that. They don’t harbor information, they’renot like that. They literally want to help everybody. If you want to do the Rebelle, do it. Call Rebelles. Talk to Rebelles. Reach out on the internet. They want to help.


Team Team #184 Sass-quatch Rebelles

Vehicle: 1991 Toyota Land Cruiser

Driver: Amy Hopkins, Washington (3x returning Rebelle)

Navigator: Kendra Miller, Washington (3x returning Rebelle)

1. How are you feeling after the Rebelle?

AH: I actually have not used Facebook yet! I keep seeing all these messages coming through but I want to waituntil I have time and I just haven’t had a moment to sit down and look at everything. Also, I fall asleep every night at 5 o’clock, so there’s that.

KM: Feeling good. Just trying to reintegrate into society and get used to technology!

2. What was your best moment during the rally?

AH: There are a few things that sort of jump out as moments. Getting done on Day 6, where we knew we did well, and we knew it was a big challenge for everyone else. When we went back to get our scores for that day and we got 95% on that day—it was a pretty awesome moment.

KM: It usually revolves around a black checkpoint I feel like.

3. What was your worst moment during the rally?

AH: “Ooops, I didn’t declinate that frickin’ compass ring.”

KM: (About the declination) I felt really stupid for not, like, all day, every time we were out, I was wondering, “How are we still off?”, and just thinking it might be equipment failure or maybe we’re just rusty!

4. What was your favorite section of the rally?

AH: I really loved Johnson Valley and the dunes. I guess within Johnson Valley there were a few spots that presented us with an opportunity to drive straight up a big hill. Those were my favorite micro spots. There was this one hill in Johnson Valley, it might’ve been Nevada, I’m not even really sure now, they all had the sand dune in the front and I couldn’t climb the sand dune so we went around the back and climbed up it that way. I loved that spot—we were the only ones up there and it got your heart rate going.

KM: I liked Johnson Valley because it’s fun to navigate. The dunes are fun to drive around in. But I think the thing that makes the rally really special is the places that Emily takes us every year that are different. She finds these really cool, neat places to camp out in andhave our self-camp night—diamond field gulch was a ghost town area that was really special and its places that I don’t think, even if I went exploring on my own, I don’t know if I would’ve found it or if I would’ve ever gone there. It just feels like a little treasure, I guess.

5. Words of encouragement/advice for future Rebelles?

KM: Other than... just do it? You can do it. Save your money. Do it! You can do it! I always love that Emily, she talks about it being your movie, and it’s like, yeah, you’ve only got one life to live, so you better make it the best one you can.

AH: The decision to do it, that is a life-changing decision to do it and to commit to doing it because you will not regret it. You will not regret it.

I was fortunate enough to follow along with the Rebelle Rally thanks to Toyota USA. Please check out my review of the incredible 2018 Lexus GX 460.

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