UPDATE ON REBELLE RALLY FROM HOSPICE VOLUNTEER TRACEY RISTOW
In October and for the second time, I took on the Rebelle Rally (www.rebellerally.com), an off-road navigation competition for women. The competition included 36 all-female teams consisting of a driver and a navigator maneuvering mainly Jeeps, Toyotas and Land Rovers across 1200 miles of dirt roads, double tracks and sand dunes of Nevada and California. No cell phones, laptops or GPS technology was allowed, and we were only able to use provided maps and compasses in search of hidden markers. This year my new partner drove her 2015 Jeep Rubicon named “Princess” and I took on the role of navigator. When we crossed the finish line, we ranked 17th overall (which was an improvement from last year when I finished 20th ). While the actual competition was an extraordinary experience that really challenged me, it was just the cherry on top of the cake. The real prize was the opportunity to meet so many incredible women, most of whom I would probably never cross paths with in my normal life, including business owners, retirees, a food scientist, professional racers, several stay-at-home moms and even a bonafide rock star! All the women had their own unique personal stories and the rally was an opportunity to sit face-to-face and develop real friendships and make real connections with them. My favorite memory occurred during our marathon leg of self-camping in Dumont Dunes OHV. As my teammate and I started preparing dinner, we learned that several other teams were planning on eating a military MRE (Meals Ready to Eat). We had plenty of food (and boxed wine!) so several additional teams joined us in our meal of caprese salad and spicy-parmesan spaghetti cooked on a single-burner Coleman camp stove. Within a few hours, the size of our group had grown from 10 competitors to 20. Next, a guitar emerged and several competitors (including the rock star) began singing and improvising lyrics describing our Rebelle experience. As the night progressed, the group swelled even larger and was filled with laughter and stories. While we all initially came together around our love of the outdoors, off-road driving and the challenge of oldschool navigation, we left a tribe of women friends who continue to support and cheer each other on even after the rally. Rebelle On, Ladies!