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Enjoying a Break in Paris…

The weather in Paris is spring-like, as we finish last minute preparations for the rally…

6 MAR 2014: We’ve been able to appreciate a few days of amazing weather here in Paris as we are out running errands all around town. Gathering gear and supplies. Making sure the signage for the Jeep is delivered on time. Medical clearance appointments. With all we had done in advance, I thought we would be able to just kick back and take it easy this week, but there are so many little details to iron out before the technical verifications next Friday. Still, we have had some time to enjoy an occasional cafe terrace…

Visiting Our Jeep…

Checking out our Indiancars Jeep in person…

4 MAR 2014: We made a visit to the Indiancars shop just outside Paris today to see our Jeep. They are prepping it for the Rally and still have some final things to install before we can take possession of it next week. We had a look around and reviewed the additional equipment they were providing as well. It was great to see that they had the Jeep well organized for travel, with extra partitions in the rear for storage. But most exciting was getting a look under the hood to see the biggest difference between this Jeep and our Jeep at home — the diesel engine that will give us more torque and greater range on a single tank of gas.

Refreshing Our Plotting Skills…

Focus is now on maps and precision plotting…

3 MAR 2014: With less than two full weeks until we have to leave Paris for Morocco, we are putting some renewed effort into precise and quick plotting. Accuracy is one thing, speed is another, and we are trying to get better at both. We’ve decided to do a little bit of map work every day from now until we depart on the 15th …

Packing for Paris…

Ready for step one of the journey…

1 MAR 2014: Heading to Paris today, so in some ways this is the start of my journey towards Morocco and the rally itself. Packing was complicated because I needed to bring all the equipment for the Jeep, as well as camping gear and Gazelle supplies — and I still had to bring clothes for the two weeks in Paris prior to the rally! I ended up with two pieces of excess luggage — one duffle bag full of gear and the bag with the four MaxTrax. The adventure begins now…

VIDEO: Vivez la Legende

With the rally departing from Paris in just 15 Days, here is a trailer to get us in the mood… [and apologizes for the ad at the start, it is embedded by the source of this video and we cannot remove it]

VIDEO: Gazelle Rally Montage

Official 2013 Gazelle Rally trailer highlights the excitement of the event and helps get us in the mood…



The team reassembles in Paris to handle final preparations on the Jeep and to begin packing gear and supplies for the Rally.


USnomads, c’est l’histoire d’une amitié de plus de 20 ans, qui s’est construite à travers le temps, les cultures, les expériences de la vie et des voyages. Seule l’union de deux caractères forts et respectueux l’un de l’autre explique que nous soyons arrivées à nos fins dans chacun de nos défis.

Ceci est notre première participation au Rallye des gazelles et nous ne sommes pas des professionels, mais JoMarie a une certaine expérience de l’Afrique et des situations d’urgence. D’autre part, elle s’est totalement investie dans la préparation de cette course et Isabelle s’est récemment mise à la navigation.

Le Rallye des gazelles dans le désert marocain sera le théâtre d’une nouvelle épreuve pour nous : une Jeep, une boussole, une carte et tout le pouvoir de notre volonté d’y parvenir fera le reste.

Ce défi sportif s’inscrit dans un projet humain plus large, celui de traverser le désert du Sahara d’Ouest en Est dans l’espoir d’accompagner les équipes d’ONG dans leurs micro-projets d’aide aux peuplades nomades locales. JoMarie en produira un film documentaire qui donnera à mieux connaitre les hommes de cette partie du monde.

L’équipe 171 prendra fièrement son envol le 15 mars 2014 avec toutes les autres participantes ! Et que les meilleures gagnent !

Mais quelle valeur et quelle portée aurait cette leçon de vie, si nous n’étions pas soutenues par l’amour de nos proches, de nos amis et de tous ceux qui nous entourent. Merci !


Once the Rally starts, you will be able to track the team here each day to see how well we did compared to the “ideal” route. The team’s track will appear as a white line compared to the “straight line” course, as in this sample. Live tracking in realtime will be available on the official Gazelle Rally site, and we will link to it directly from this space.


The Rallye Aicha des Gazelles, a grueling nine-day off-road race across the Moroccan sahara, is one of the toughest motorsport events in the world. Using only a map and compass to navigate (GPS or electronic navigational aids are NOT allowed), the two-women teams must reach a series of checkpoints spread over the harshest desert terrain. The competition is a challenge of endurance and strategy, as teams must decide whether to go over obstacles or around them in an effort to complete the course with the least possible mileage. The winners are the team that reaches all the checkpoints via the shortest total distance. Learn more about the race…


Gazelles TV 2014 – Conférence de presse fev 2014 by Rallye-Aicha-des-Gazelles
February 2014 video clip from the official Press Conference announcing the 24th edition of the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles at UNESCO headquarters in Paris


March 14, 2014
Technical and administrative verifications
March 15, 2014
Presentation of teams at Trocadero
March 16-18, 2014
Transfer from Paris to Morocco
March 19, 2014
Prologue – Erfoud
March 20, 2014
Leg 1 – Nejjakh south loop
March 21, 2014
Leg 2 – Nejjakh north loop
March 22, 2014
Leg 3 – Merzouga dunes
March 23-24, 2014
Leg 4 – Marathon: Mech Irdane to Tinfou
March 25-26, 2014
Leg 5 – Marathon: Cheggaga dunes
March 27, 2014
Leg 6 – Foum Zguid south loop
March 28, 2014
Transfer to Essaouira
March 29-30, 2014
Official finish, award ceremony and closing gala


Detailed weather: Errachida


22 to 28 Feb 2014
15 to 21 Feb 2014
8 to 14 Feb 2014
1 to 7 Feb 2014
January 2014



There is something mysterious about the vast seas of sand, the great ergs, of the Sahara. They stand intimidating in their magnificence, and the idea of even trying to drive across them seems pure folly. Yet that is exactly what we will have to do during the Gazelle Rally… [read]


This year there will be 160 teams competing in the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles: 320 women from 24 countries ranging in age from 19 to 64. Nations represented include: France, Canada, USA, Morocco, Norway, Indonesia, Bulgaria, Italy, Colombia, Switzerland, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Angola, Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Portugal, UK, Vietnam, Yeman, South Africa, Senegal and French Polynesia.



How do they determine the route for the Rally? An advance team from the organization went out on a recon trip in November to select and pre-run the course. Check out this account from one of the members of the recon team, talking about what they were looking for in the terrain and how they made their determinations: english | français

> Team US Nomads is training hard to face the challenges of a Sahara crossing like no other. The first step in their journey is the 2014 Rally Aicha des Gazelles. Find out more about the team and their inspiration …



Driving a Jeep off-road across the Sahara presents a different set of challenges than the recreational offroading we are familiar with, so we went to Barlow Jeep School in Sedona, AZ, to learn the ins and outs of desert driving from an expert… [read]

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