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Training wrap up with Rebelle U …

Rocking the dunes…

17 SEPTEMBER 2017: Day two of the training had us really out in the sand picking our own lines and overcoming our own limitations as drivers. We really made some leaps in skill levels and everyone felt more comfortable with the challenges posed by the sand. So much fun out there and for those Rebelles going on to the rally this year, a great opportunity to “pre-run” the terrain (even if no one knows exactly where the course will take them yet)…

Rebelle U dunes training…

The first day out in the dunes…

16 SEPTEMBER 2017: A fantastic training day today, refreshing some skills and working on refining others. And always great to be out in the dunes with such a good group of people. A combination of “original Rebelles” and first-time Rebelles, we got a great workout led by Rebelle founder Emily Miller. The exercises helped us improve in different areas to become better sand drivers and feel more at home in the intimidating environment of the Imperial Sand Dunes…

A Sea of Sand…

The Imperial Sand Dunes…

15 SEPTEMBER 2017: Got into Yuma late last night and today took a quick visit out to the dunes prior to joining the Rebelle U training group tomorrow. The dunes seemed deserted around Glamis today, apart from some folks doing a film shoot with a camel near the overlook. Looking forward to tomorrow and some serious drive time out here…

Sedona Skies…

Heading southwest from Sedona…

14 SEPTEMBER 2017: Back in Sedona en route to further south for a RebelleU training event this weekend. Took advantage of the afternoon to get out on another old favorite scenic Jeep trail that had been closed for a while and just re-opened today. The weather was perfect out on the trail, and it was great to take a little extra time to appreciate this remarkable place before hitting the road towards Yuma…

Maps and Planning…

Looking at maps…

10 SEPTEMBER 2017: When the map looks like this, the journey is definitely going to get interesting. Planning is in full swing for the Silk Road exploration that will begin later this month. Lots to do before embarking on a first scouting in a whole new region with very different landscapes and terrain than our favorite desert locales. Keep expanding those horizons…



Going to RebelleU for some refresher dunes training in September. Rebelle U was established by veteran off-road racer and Rebelle Rally-founder Emily Miller, to help women learn, build, sharpen, and refine off-roading skills in authentic environments designed for them to excel. The training program offers 1-4 day driving and navigation classes in southern California aimed at preparing women to take on vehicle-based adventure.

Departure at the end of September for a scouting mission into a new region of exploration for USnomads — the famed Silk Road across Central Asia. This initial recce will lay the groundwork for a longer and more ambitious journey tentatively scheduled for the summer of 2018. Using this first trip in the region to get an introduction to some different nomadic cultures and adventurous terrain that poses new challenges…


A brief visit to a laid back Florida location to reconnect with friends and family…

Heading back to the city of light, for old neighborhoods, good friends and some background work for the next Sahara segment…


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.


Sand dune driving has its own challenges, and a few basic tips from experienced desert drivers make it easier. Air Down: To grain additional traction on soft sand air down more than usual. Usually somewhere around 15 PSI is ideal. However, be careful about airing down too much if the area also has sharp-edged rocks. No Brakes: Do not use brakes on sand. When coming to a complete stop, try to release brakes before stopping, so the tires can sit on top of the sand. Braking causes a sand “berm” in front of the wheels making it likely the vehicle may need to be dug out or have to reverse out. Parking: Always stop the car on a slope in a nose-down position, so it will be easy to regain momentum when starting again. Make sure the vehicle’s longer axis is aligned with the up-down direction of the slope (so driver should be looking straight down). Never trust hand-brakes to hold the vehicle. Always shift to first once the engine is off, before leaving the vehicle (in manual transmission). It is also good to secure the vehicle by chocking the wheels with rocks. Getting Unstuck: Assess the situation and look for slopes that can help the recovery as well as areas of more solid sand to try to recover to. If the vehicle is not very stuck, try putting it in 4L to get the maximum torque and slowly press the gas pedal. If it is more stuck, remove the sand from in front of your wheels if you are going forward or from behind your wheels if you are trying to go in reverse. Also make sure to remove sand from differentials or other key components on the underside, so as to reduce friction. Depending on the situation, you may also want to further deflate the tires. If you have Maxtrax or sand mats, deploy them appropriately. In the Sahara, drivers typically do not have Maxtrax, but instead rely on the help of colleagues to push the vehicle physically. Once the vehicle is unstuck, point the nose towards a slope or towards more solid sand and accelerate slowly. (Trying to accelerate too quickly will just dig the vehicle back in).

Nesconset | Sedona | Yuma | Istanbul | Bishkek

15-31 August – Arizona
8-14 August – TFT9
1-7 August – Serbia
July – NY and Serbia
June – NY and Paris
May – Wheelers Overland
22-30 April – Algeria
15-21 April – Algeria
8-14 April – Algeria
1-7 April – AOAA
March – Long Island
February – Sand dunes and Paris
January – El Camino del Diablo and more
December – Roadtrip
November – Paris
October – Rebelle wrap up
1-7 Oct – NY to Reno
26-30 Sep – Rally Prep
19-25 Sep – Long Island
12-18 Sep – Yuma and Glamis
5-11 Sep – Sedona
29 Aug – 4 Sep – Long Island



A look into south-eastern Algeria on the border with Libya and Niger: overlanding with the Tuareg in one of the most remote corners of the Sahara … [read]



Detailed series on a solo scouting journey into some of the remotest backcountry around Moab. The six day 450-mile off-pavement trip into the Maze district of the Canyonlands National Park offers insight into the challenges of expedition planning… [read]

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