12 DECEMBER 2014: Taking some time out to just relax and enjoy the beautiful Jeep trails around Sedona. Familiar red rock and favorite places make a great finale to an intensive week in the southwest…
11 DECEMBER 2014: Working our way back and forth across the dunes, practicing navigation, terrain assessment and soft sand driving skills with Nena Barlow of Barlow Jeep School. Felt so good to be back in this sea of sand and took just a little while to get comfortable with the rhythm again. A special treat in a truly special place…
10 DECEMBER 2014: While working out in the dunes on a navigational driving exercise, one of the Jeeps busted an oil pan, and had to be recovered. The incident was a poignant lesson involving Murphy’s Law and the vagaries of the desert. The Jeep that suffered damage was well-maintained and the incident was not due to driver error, rather it was caused by a minor defect in an aftermarket part, that over time wore down a piece of metal to the point where it punctured, spraying motor oil everywhere and crippling the vehicle. We were just lucky it happened not far from the main access road, on flat and easy terrain. We were able to tow it to the road, for pickup and replace it with another Jeep to continue our exercise. Kudos to the cool, calm professionalism of Nena Barlow and Barlow Jeep School. A hard but important lesson on what can go wrong during even the best-planned operations in remote and difficult terrain…
10 DECEMBER 2014: Practicing precision navigation using just a map and a compass in terrain where there are no clear visual waypoints is difficult. Out in the Imperial Sand Dunes we are able to run a simulation with Barlow Jeep School to master the technique…
9 DECEMBER 2014: Learning to navigate the desert at night, when we cannot see the far off terrain features we typically use as waypoints. Barlow Jeep School is showing us how to find our way using the stars…
9 DECEMBER 2014: Out on the desert trails around Quartzsite, AZ to hone navigational and terrain assessment skills with Barlow Jeep School. The focus today is on scouting unfamiliar trails and desert driving…
6 DECEMBER 2014: A brief run down to Tucson, AZ to start the latest desert immersion brings some new terrain. Here the famous Saguaro cactus is everywhere, and it looks just like in the movies. There is even a Saguaro National Park, which protects a whole forest of the tall towering cacti…
USnomads will be headed West to Arizona and southern California for more intensive training in the specificities of operations in desert terrain with Barlow Adventures.
COMING UP SOON:
More desert discovery out west via a mini-road trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley.
ABOUT THE IMPERIAL SAND DUNES
The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, located in the southeast corner of California, is the largest mass of sand dunes in the state. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide (map). Widely known as “Glamis” it is an off-road paradise, with an extensive open area for OHV use.
ABOUT BARLOW ADVENTURES
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.
ABOUT SAGUARO NATIONAL PARK
Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation’s largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by the Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson. There are approximately 1.6 million individual saguaro plants growing within Saguaro National Park. They are a very slow growing cactus, gaining only 1 to 1.5 inches in the first eight years of its life — it sometimes takes up to 100 years before arms appear — and some of the saguaros in the park are estimated to be over 200 years old.
TEAM 171 PRESENTATION
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).
MORE NOTES FROM THE ROAD:
November – Paris and planning
October – Overland Expo and Workshops
September – Moab and more
August – Topless For Tatas
July – Summer Fun
June – Bantam Jeep Festival
May – Overland Expo, Rausch Creek
April – Back Home
The Gazelle Rally Recap
Exploring old trails in search of history deep inside coal country offers some real-life practice in the kind of terrain assessments we will need to make during an expedition based on old maps into unfamiliar territory where conditions are unknown… [read]
Sampling Moab’s famed Jeep trails with the Barlow Adventures group over an intense three-day weekend of fun and challenging driving on a variety of rugged desert terrain types including layered rock, sandy washes, dunes and the classic sandstone fins… [read]
ON BECOMING A GAZELLE
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]
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]
Five days solo scouting unfamiliar trails in the Ocala National Forest to learn about the challenges of route selection and terrain assessment… [read]
Exploring new trails and unfamiliar routes often requires using paper maps, digital mapping tools and GPS units. When working back and forth between them, there are a few key details that are important to understand for accurate navigation… [read]