I am on the plane to San Diego and just set down a copy of the latest Fortune Magazine -my closest connection with Americana since departing.  Within the pages, Jeff Bezos recommends little retreats to check out, unplug and get a little dose of creativity.
These upcoming two posts won’t be about racing (until I sent the record straight) but about the places racing has taken me.  It’s about my retreat.

First of all, let me just follow up the last post.  I arrived in Paris on March 14th to help the American teams prepare for their journey in the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles as well as our media team of Kirsten and Dan.  No need to help Mr. Campbell-Lloyd as he is a seriously experienced world traveler in a not so serious mind and body.  Kirsten on the other hand would be taking the helm and reporting on the race to our US media and other contacts that have become interested in the twenty-second Rallye Aicha des Gazelles.

So, as I described in my last post, I withdrew from the competition I so dearly love and have worked hard to promote in the US.  It was not an easy decision and one I had to deal with right in the midst of the overwhelmingly large Mad Max style production of King of the Hammers.  When I arrived in Paris, I was approached by several drivers and those in the know who wanted me to
be reassured I had made the right decision to withdraw.  The vehicle had turned up not completely prepared, broke within the first 100 meters of testing at a simple moto track and was deemed by a very respected driver as unable to handle the dunes.  No surprise to me, it is exactly as I had expected and warned.  A little wave of peace came over me as I picked up friends and a rented 4×4 and headed south toward the Algerian border and the dunes I have become mentally and spiritually connected to.  I was headed to discover the place I have passed through quickly over the past three years – self absorbed in competition.

After seeing friends, giving last minute advice and ensuring my team(s) were ready to get to work, friend and ESPN journalist Nicole Dreon helped me pack up the Toyota Prado and we head south to the beloved Erg Chebbi – Morocco’s largest dunes.  No itinerary, no expectations.  Just enough dirham to grab hotels and get us out of trouble, a map, plotter, compass, set of pink camo MAXTRAX and a shovel.  We were only a handful of kilometers from the Algerian border and I needed to drive smart, make good decisions and remember that we were two American girls by ourselves at the gateway to the Sahara in a year known by its season – the “Arab Spring.”

To be continued…