When you pay $18000 in fees for a rally where GPS is forbidden, you don't let a missing car stop you! As a North American competitor in the Rally Aicha des Gazelles, you can either ship your vehicle or rent your vehicle. My team decided to rent our vehicle. It costs more, around $9000, but logistically it’s just easier. Three of the five US teams shipped their own trucks, and arrived in morocco to find them still on the ship and nowhere near Casablanca.
The shipping company first said one truck was put on another ship and would not make it to port until 2 days after technical inspections. The ladies of X-Elles Racing came over knowing their car would not be here, but they were able to rally and found a rental, the last Isuzu Dmax on the lot. It's well prepped, but it's older. The two other trucks made it to Casablanca today, one day after tech inspections and what’s more we are now 10 hours away in Erfoud. Team Lerner Reina, whose Jeep is awesomely prepped by American Expedition and helped them get a top ten finish last year, saw the writing on the wall and played it safe. They were able to rent an FJ Cruiser. When last I saw them they were hand cutting out a wrap an adding sponsor stickers, which I can only assume they overnighted. Team Lady Cruisers may have done themselves in. Catherine stayed behind this morning in Casablanca to see if she could get their FJ Cruiser off the ship, while Pat tagged along with us to Erfoud to be at the mandatory meeting. Last I heard the truck could not be moved because it was blocked by...wait for it Team Lerner Reina's Jeep. The shipping company would not release either one due to signing off procedures that couldn't happen. At last phone call Catherine is trying to get a flight to Erfoud and Pat is renting one of the organizer's personal truck. Keep in mind that these teams had packed their trucks with their gear. That means that helmets, sleeping bags, tools, all must be bought. Again. In Morocco. Plus the cost of this new rental. Sabrina and I could not be happier that we rented. So far our only problem is that we had to wait for the rental company to give us a jack, and tonight I got my angry French on with them, as we don't have a car compass. I'm attempting to secure a promise that if I don't get a compass by 9 am tomorrow I get my rental next yearly half off. They do not think I am funny.
Tomorrow we get a prerun where we see what its really like to read the maps, plot the coordinates, and more inportantly commubixate with one another. We are both incredibly excited and very nervous. Remember that you can keep up with us at www.gazellerally.com and click on Rally Live. We are team 178. There you can write to us, track us, and see pictures of all the Gazelles as we make our way on this incredible adventure.