Updated: Mar 6
"aka the Cleanest our Jeep will be all Rally!"
A recap written by two former rookies, whose experiences may differ from others!
Tech Inspection! It's our first official day of the Rebelle Rally! Our Tech Inspection was scheduled for a 10am arrival. Perfect. Not too early, but not too late! We stayed at a cute little cabin, five minutes down the road at Camp Richardson. It was right on Lake Tahoe, close to the Tech Inspection, full of Rebelles, but most importantly, had a shower and a warm bed. This would be the last of our experience with either for the week!
We rolled into the historic Valhalla Estate for our Tech Inspection. Early of course, because we didn't want to start the rally off on the wrong foot by being late! We joke that it was the cleanest that both us and Uhambu would be all week, but in reality, we probably had the dirtiest vehicle there. Whoops. For good reason though! On our way from Salt Lake City, where we staged the vehicle, we spent a couple of nights at Sand Mountain, getting some last minute practice in the sand! So because of that, we were a bit dusty, but definitely the cleanest the Jeep would be all week. Stay tuned for those dusty pictures!
As soon as we entered the gate, we rolled in behind the beautiful, highly anticipated all electric Rivian R1T (Mandy had a slight obsession with it leading up to the rally, so this was a sign of a good rally!). We're finally here! It's finally time to rally!!
Tech Inspection is important for many reasons. It's your first time officially interacting with the Rebelles and the Staff you'll be seeing all week, so you want to make a good first impression! It is also where you are assigned the essential equipment that you'll need during the rally, such as the multiple GPS trackers and satellite phone, and will also be checked for your required rally gear. Without the required gear, you'll be scrambling, so we quadruple checked (maybe quattuorvigintuple checked) before Tech Inspection to make sure we had the items. What is required, you ask? At a minimum, in 2020 you needed:
Your vehicle (thankfully this is tough to forget)
License/registration/insurance (insurance meeting the minimum required coverage)
1x spare tire
1x 5 gallon water can (or 2x 2.5 gallons)
1x whip flag
5lbs worth of Fire Extinguishers
2x Glow Sticks and/or Reflective Triangle Devices (we brought both)
First Aid Kit with at least 2x 4" bandages, 2x 2" bandage compresses, 1x triangular bandage, 8x 2x3" band aids, 4x 1x3.375" band aids, 4x antiseptic wipes, 2x pairs of latex gloves, and 2x emergency blankets (1x eye dressing packet, 1x ace bandage, 1x wire splint, and 1x CPR face mask were strongly suggested but not required)
A spill kit
SNELL SA 2015 approved helmets for both teammates.
Whew....seems like a lot, but when you think about the rally and the environment you'll be in, you can see why this is required. We of course had much more in addition to this, mostly along the lines of snacks, La Croix, many pairs of shoes, snacks, multiple layers in preparation for 20 degree weather, up to 110+ degree weather, and of course, more snacks.
As we rolled through Tech Inspection, there were multiple stations where we'd stop and meet a member of the staff to go through various things such as our negative COVID tests and rally protocols (oh, 2020), learning how to use our sat phones, learning how to use the YellowBRICK tracker, aka the clicker (very important, this is how you get points!), to get our official rally numbers on the car, receive our official vests, get the vehicle inspected by the mechanic for safety, and many more. It was a time full of excitement, nervousness, being slightly star struck by so many of our off-roading idols, and most importantly a first step towards officially completing the Rally!
Following the Tech Inspection, we got our official team photos and then were set free to navigate ourselves to the first base camp, over three hours away! Nothing like being hit with so much excitement to immediately separate from the group in a frantic effort to get to base camp before closing. It was welcomed though because it gave us some free time to grab some last minute supplies (snacks, mostly), lunch, and a few more hours with our phones to say goodbye to our loved ones before locking away the electronic devices for the week!
We immediately hit traffic in Lake Tahoe due to construction. We slowly watched our arrival time creep past our official base camp closing time (6pm). $hi#! We're going to be late for our first base camp arrival!! Thankfully everyone, including the staff, was stuck in this traffic, so although we officially arrived at 5:58pm (pllleeenty of time!!), we were not the last to base camp and were able to enjoy the beautiful drive to our first camp! Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly Rebelle Staff, that would start and end our day throughout the rally, and had a quick interview with the Kia Live Coverage team. It was fantastic to have the live coverage and for the interview! Our families were closely watching the stream and ecstatically told us both following the rally that they "saw us on TV!"
Upon arrival, we received our first round of maps (so many!!) ranging from 200k (what?!) to 100k for the first round. Wait, we were told we'd get 50k for navigation! Good thing we mostly practiced with 100ks! Let the challenge begin!
We unpacked, set up our tent, had our first test of leaving our vehicle for the night, and enjoyed the company of other Rebelles, not yet tired from the week! It was amazing to meet so many people that first day. It made us even more excited for the week. Was that possible?! We were so excited leading up to the rally! Being there made it that much more real and thankfully, the first day was the Prologue, where you got to have a mock rally day, without your performance impacting the score. Until then, it's time to sleep....Oh, and to enjoy some AMAZING food by the famous Michelin Star, fantastic chef, Drew Deckman. We're in for a treat this week!
- Disclaimer -
Please remember, this recollection of each day is our view alone. Others definitely had different experiences. We wanted to share ours with you from our perspective, but definitely ask questions of other Rebelles and/or the Rebelle Staff if you are unsure of something. Also do your homework and read the rule book! Although we pulled snippets from the rule book, it changes some each year and is what you should refer to for the official Rebelle Rally rules and guidance.