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Moab: Conquering Hell’s Revenge

A final day out on one of the more “adventurous” trails

27 SEPTEMBER 2014: For our last day together, the Barlow Adventures team took us to one of the most famous Moab trails. “Hell’s Revenge” in the Sand Flats Recreation Area is visually stunning with plenty of challenges along the way. Had great fun testing the capabilities of the Outlaw Jeep which we can now say “made it to Hell and back” with distinction… [see complete storyboard: THE CHALLENGE OF MOAB]

Moab: A Beautiful Challenge

Enjoying a day on Seven Mile Rim

27 SEPTEMBER 2014: Spent the day exploring the magnificence of the Seven Mile Rim trail with Barlow Adventures. Driving through the classic landscapes of canyon country, full of rugged beauty and amazing vistas, it was easy to get drawn into the allure of this special place. And there were a few particularly interesting “obstacles” to test our skills — Wipeout Hill was a real treat… [see complete storyboard: THE CHALLENGE OF MOAB]

Moab: Fun on Fins and Things

Getting a taste of Moab’s slick rock on Fins and Things

26 SEPTEMBER 2014: Finished the day with an introduction to “slick rock”, as the Barlow Adventures team led us on a short excursion through “Fins and Things” — one of the best-known Moab area Jeep trails offering a unique experience to drive up and down a series of steep and winding narrow ribbons of rock “fins” at the Sand Flats Recreation Area… [see complete storyboard: THE CHALLENGE OF MOAB]

Moab: Back in the Sand

Great fun back in the sand dunes of Moab…

26 SEPTEMBER 2014: Though the red rock trails are the most familiar face of Moab, the area also has some sand dunes, and Nena Barlow of Barlow Adventures had us out there going thru the paces. In a big Outlaw Jeep built for rock crawling, the dynamic was a bit different from what we were used to, but had no trouble, just lots of fun… [see complete storyboard: THE CHALLENGE OF MOAB]

Moab: A Visit to Area BFE

Reviewing the basics on the training course at Area BFE…

26 SEPTEMBER 2014: Quick morning workout on the training grounds at Area BFE where the Barlow Adventures group spent a few hours going over fundamental skills, techniques and equipment. The loop also gave us a chance to checkout the capabilities of the different Jeeps… [see complete storyboard: THE CHALLENGE OF MOAB]

Moab: Hitting the Jeep Trails


Sampling the different terrain types around some of Moab’s best known Jeep trails with the Barlow Adventures crew…

26 SEPTEMBER 2014: The focus is on driving skills for the next few days, as we get a taste of the varied terrain found on Moab’s famous Jeep trails. Led by Nena Barlow and her Barlow Adventures team, we are in for an intensive weekend of fun training, with lots of practice and some exciting obstacles in one of the most beautiful landscapes in the American southwest… [see complete storyboard: THE CHALLENGE OF MOAB]

Moab: Heading into the Canyons

Starting a four-day journey around the White Rim at Islands in the Sky…

19 SEPTEMBER 2014: Entered the canyons via Mineral Bottom switchbacks today to begin a four-day journey through the most amazing landscape on the very edge of the “White Rim” in Moab’s Canyonlands National Park. This is a unique way to get really up close and personal with the terrain, and with a limited number of permits issued for any given period it is really possible to feel completely alone and immersed in the environment…

Testing a New Route Planning Tool

Using the DeLorme InReach Explorer as a sophisticated mapping tool for route planning

14 SEPTEMBER 2014: Have been testing the capabilities of the InReach Explorer as an all-purpose navigational tool. We’ve done a number of field tests with the device, and are really liking it’s multifunctionality. Thinking it can be a very useful piece of equipment for the big Sahara trip — serving as emergency beacon, gps, communications system, and planning tool. It can even be used to broadcast your live track online. Will be testing it in more strenuous terrain next week in the canyons of Moab…

Getting to Know the Trails


Learning the specifics of the trail system at Rausch Creek

7 SEPTEMBER 2014: It’s time to get to know Rausch Creek more intimately. Starting this weekend, we’ve begun systematically exploring the whole network of trails crisscrossing the properties that together make up Rausch Creek Offroad Park. Working our way from the periphery loops to the smaller interior trails, we are familiarizing ourselves with the variety of terrain types and different obstacles in each area of the park…

Reviewing Basic Land Navigation

Getting back to map and compass basics

6 SEPTEMBER 2014: Reviewing land navigation skills in a forest is very different than the desert we are used to for the Gazelle Rally. But it is excellent practice at using intermediate points along a heading to keep your line “straight.” Joined fellow Gazelle, Emme Hall, out at Rausch Creek this weekend to do it old school, map and compass style, just like we do in the Rally…



Going back to Moab, where it all began in 2007 with our first solo Jeep adventure on red rock. Visiting favorite trails and exploring some new challenges with the folks from Barlow Adventures


USnomads will be at Overland Expo East, in Ashville, NC, October 3-5, teaching a series of classes as part of the event’s “Overland Experience” program. Overland Expo is the world’s most unique event for do-it-yourself adventure travel enthusiasts, with hundreds of session-hours of classes for 4-wheel-drive and adventure motorcycling, inspirational programs, the Overland Film Festival, roundtable discussions, demonstrations, food, and a large expo featuring over 150 vendors of adventure travel equipment, camping gear, bikes, vehicles, and services.


Barlow Adventures provides professional 4×4 driving instruction and training in Sedona, AZ, as well as fully outfitted multi-day trips in Moab and on California’s famous Rubicon Trail. In Moab, the undisputed Jeeping capitol of the world, the Barlow team guides drivers over iconic trails, and helps build 4-wheeling skills in the context of a fun adventure through the rugged high desert landscape.


The Sand Flats Recreation Area (SFRA) is a high plain of slick rock domes, bowls and fins, that rises in the east to meet the colorful mesas and nearly 13,000 foot peaks of the La Sal Mountains. The area is considered a nationally significant public lands treasure and is managed through a unique partnership between Grand County and the Bureau of Land Management. Sand Flats’ contains almost 40 miles of jeep trails renowned for the combination of awesome scenery and technical challenge.


Seven Mile Rim is a 20 mile loop of moderate difficulty on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The trail leaves Highway 191 about 11 miles north of town, passes the old Cotter uranium mine and switches back to reach the cliff rim above the mine and Highway 191. The intense mining activity left a maze of core-drilling roads on the mesa top, and the trail follows the most interesting of these. There are a few difficult spots and optional obstacles, but stock vehicles with very good clearance can manage this trail if driven with great care. Highlights of the route include Monitor and Merrimac Buttes, Determination Towers and Uranium Arch. (See the detailed description provided by Red Rock 4-Wheelers)


Area BFE is a 320-acre recreational park created by a group of OHV enthusiasts in 2004 as “a place where people could go without the threat of being kicked-off of a fun little playground and insure that people will always have a place to recreate.” The group has built trails, camping areas and more on their privately-owned property, which is open to the public year round. There is no user-fee, but they do accept donations to assist with the overall upkeep, and visitors are encouraged to support the park by leaving a donation at the statue near the entry point.


The White Rim Road is a 100-mile dirt road that loops around and below the Island-in-the-Sky mesa top and provides expansive views of the surrounding area. Under favorable weather conditions, it is considered moderately difficult for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles. Trips usually take two to three days by Jeep. There are only twenty campsites scattered along the route limiting the number of permits available (Permits are required for all overnight trips). The road has long rocky streches, deep sand, and little shade. Bring at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day and plan for a minimum of 10-12 hours of driving daily.


Canyonlands National Park is separated into three distinct land districts, the Island-in-the-Sky, the Needles and the Maze, divided by the Green and Colorado Rivers and an additional detached area, the Horseshoe Canyon. Each area offers different terrain opportunities for exploration. There are no roads that directly link the districts. Although they may appear close on a map, traveling between them requires two to six hours by vehicle.


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 !


Team USnomads is proud to support the work of MothersToMothers, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that recognizes the ability of mothers to change their destiny. MothersToMothers, founded by Pamela Parlapiano, partners with local women to create community supported day care and learning centers that change lives. Their model project in Amacho Wato Kebele, Ethiopia, has shown how with just a little help, the mothers in the community can improve the lives of a whole village. Please join us in supporting their efforts to take this successful model to more villages: Donate to MothersToMothers here. (Note that all donations go 100% directly to MothersToMothers).


clear sky
humidity: 17%
wind: 4mph NNW
H 59 • L 38
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Nesconset | Rausch Creek | Moab

August – Topless For Tatas
July – Summer Fun
June – Bantam Jeep Festival
May – Overland Expo, Rausch Creek
April – Back Home
The Gazelle Rally Recap


Moab Jeep Trails



The first installment in a series of reflections detailing our personal experiences during the 24th edition of the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles — our journey to the starting line in Morocco… [read]

About Team 171 US Nomads
Team Training
Practical Matters
In Our Words
Team News
Contact Us

A true test of endurance, the Gazelle rally pushes teams to their limits in a struggle to overcome the harshest terrain in the Moroccan Sahara. The key to success is a seamless combination of off-road driving abiility, land navigation skills and strategic thinking. Find out how the rally works…




In March 2014, Team 171 USnomads successfully completed the Rallye Aicha des Gazelles in Morocco. Checkout the rally highlights in this day-by-day recap which includes descriptions of each leg of the race, daily reports from the field, the team’s tracks, video coverage of the event and more… [read]



Desert driving in soft sand requires airing down — a lot. And below a certain pressure, there is concern that a tire could get unseated and actually fall off the rim. That’s what happened to us while training in the dunes. Luckily, there’s a relatively simple “field fix” for this situation… [read]



We just seem to love “road trips.” The excitement of laying out the maps, loading up the Jeep, and heading out to discover something new has brought us together before. In 2010 we criss-crossed the United States in a marathon drive that covered over 10,000 miles and encompassed 25 states in 46 days… [read]



Five days solo scouting unfamiliar trails in the Ocala National Forest to learn about the challenges of route selection and terrain assessment… [read]



A scouting trip in the company of experienced Dakar racers offers a preview of the challenges we will face during the Gazelle Rally and beyond. “The Gateway to the Sahara,” Ouarzazate is a calm and modern Moroccan town on the edge of the desert.… [read]



A trip down the iconic Jeep trail builds confidence, boosts endurance and leaves a lasting impression. The four day there-and-back journey would be the ultimate Jeep challenge… [read]

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