My dad says, "Sometimes you have to go ahead, even if it’s ass over head.” Entering the Rebelle Rally, then realizing what lies ahead is one of those golden moments. We have two skills to master by October, 4x4 Driving and Navigation.
Hopefully our nightclubbing years will cover the endurance requirement.
Using my google PHD, I entered Help, learn, 4x4 . and picked the third hit Overland Experts (OEX). I nearly dropped the phone when Mike, (Director of Recreational Training) answered my awkward babbling questions with “Sure, we’d love to help you out.”
Telling Pete I was heading to Nth Carolina to learn 4x4 driving from some guys I found online was interesting. I prepared the mothership for my departure and headed south.
DAY ONE I was early to the meeting place. Waiting at the Eldorado Outpost in the Uwharrie National Forest, I was nervous about two things: The Bigfoot merchandise and my choice of clothing for what lay ahead. Mike found me trying to decide between wearing jandals or gumboots. “Hi Katy, we are going to start with a lecture." Ten minutes later I’d met Scott, Jason and a differential. My anxiety over outfit choice was nothing compared to questions directed to the class. A class of one. Me. These guys mean business and won’t let anyone behind the wheel until the methodology behind their curriculum is understood. But in a few short hours I had a handle on the guts of a vehicle. (Far more complicated than a Vitamix)
My brain ached.
After fried chicken and slaw at the Eldorado, we hit the obstacle course, where I learned a two foot driving technique. It’s like changing a diaper with one hand in an airplane. Small controlled movements with little room for error or you end up in the shit.
DAY TWO All things scary were demystified. We drove, got stuck, recovered, winched, repaired tires, built bridges, and made friends with a high lift, always applying the OEX systems. I learned that mechanical sympathy is a thing and that vehicles have feelings too.
I will forever hear Mike saying “shuffle steer” and “drive the rear.” I’m become jealous of the team’s performance cargo pants, especially when I slip in the mud and lose my tools.
DAY THREE I’m careful not to be late for Tony the Military Director. We bond over butter coffee and hit the road. Twenty minutes in, I’m wishing for moisture wicking underpants. Big boulders, large holes and steep hills I couldn’t walk up, let alone drive. My heart was in my throat. But the OEX theory had registered cognitively, and taking each obstacle at a time,
I was overlanding. Tony’s wife Kat joined us with an amazing lunch and chocolate.
I had found my I people.
These guys are something else. When we talk about building brands in marketing, they are a case study for getting it right to the core. Humble, authentic, super smart and safety conscious but 100% badass. I can’t wait to introduce Frances to my new friends in July.
In the meantime I’m off to find the perfect adventure pants. My jeans didn't have the right sized pockets. Convertibles are just ugly. Shorts won't do.
I will obsess over this….