Conversations with Big Rich

Rebelle Rally Champion, Nena Barlow, on Episode 81

October 21, 2021 Guest Nena Barlow Season 2 Episode 81
Conversations with Big Rich
Rebelle Rally Champion, Nena Barlow, on Episode 81
Show Notes Transcript

Coming off a fresh win at the Rebelle Rally, Champion Nena Barlow, shares life, training, adventure, and the 2021 Rebelle with us. A master trainer, business owner, and self-proclaimed off-road enthusiast, Nena provides a lot of insight into what makes a perfect Rebelle and how others can better their experience.

3:30 – Jeeps and trucks and tractors, I drove everything

7:55 – I get claustrophobic in cities

12:43 – Jeep rentals were a natural fit for the business

17:11 – I saw the picture of the Ostrich!

24:00 – it sounds like a sewing machine

28:15 – my favorite people on the planet are in this one place for this week in October

32:46 – apply a little Maxtrax, a little shovel, a little Bubba Rope to get people unstuck 

40:15 – it’s so easy to get turned around, like being in the middle of the ocean

48:16 – how do we top this?

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine. 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

Support the show

[00:00:01.090] - Big Rich Klein

Welcome to The Big Rich Show. This podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four-wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four-wheel drive enthusiast. So now is the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.


[00:00:29.570] - Speaker 3

Whether you're crawling the red rocks of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability four wheels or two. Maxxis tires are the choice of Champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis Tires Deliver choose Maxxis Tread Victoriously.


[00:00:56.190] - Big Rich Klein

Why should you read 4low magazine? Because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the four-wheel drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle build and DO IT YOURSELF tech, all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on the newsstand rack, so subscribe today and have it delivered to you.



On today's conversations with Big Rich. We have Nena Barlow. Nena is the owner of Barlow Adventures and Jeep Rentals with offices in Moab, Sedona, Vegas, and on the Rubicon. She's a professional certified four by four trainer, owner of the Sedona Jeep School.


[00:01:37.710] - Big Rich Klein

And just now, in fact, crowned on Friday, trophied on Saturday, the 2021 winner of the 6th annual Rebelle Rally. Nena, it's great to have you on board and Congratulations.


[00:01:53.790] - Nena Barlow

Thank you, Rich. It's great to be here. Great to see you again.





[00:01:59.250] - Big Rich Klein

We get to see each other, typically during Easter Jeep Safari at one of the parties or something. And then, of course, for the Rebelle Rally, as much as we can see each other when both of us are pretty Dang busy, right?





[00:02:15.930] - Big Rich Klein

Let's jump right in and talk about your life. And where were you born? And where did you grow up?


[00:02:22.710] - Nena Barlow

Well, born in California, I grew up in the desert outside of Palm Springs on a big Ranch that was out there about an hour outside of Palm Springs.





[00:02:35.970] - Nena Barlow

Offroading was a part of just our daily life getting around. We had horses and goats and beef cattle at times and citrus and dates and corn and broccoli. Ranching farming was my upbringing. Of course we get out there. What most people don't know is actually I cut my teeth on four wheeling teeth on a 76 Bronco.





[00:03:10.630] - Nena Barlow

My dad had it since it was new in 1976, and we were the crazy people that put steel bumpers and a winch and huge 31 inch tires on it.





[00:03:30.430] - Nena Barlow

Just to get around in the sand and everything out there. So Jeeps and trucks and tractors and I drove everything, whatever I could reach the pedals on.


[00:03:42.850] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. And that was just the upbringing being on a ranch/farm, I can imagine.





[00:03:49.390] - Big Rich Klein

So Palm Springs.





[00:03:52.450] - Big Rich Klein

That is deserty, that's for sure. With mountains all around and then, of course, the heat.





[00:04:01.570] - Nena Barlow

Now it's like when I'm back. Well, number one, of course, that area has grown so much when I was there growing up as a kid. Of course, there was big open stretches of desert in between all the little cities between Coachella and Indio and Palm Desert and Palm Springs. And now it's just one whole. The whole Valley floor is just one big metropolis.





[00:04:23.890] - Nena Barlow

I went to graduated of Palm Springs High School, Bob Hope spoke at our high school graduation. So it was quite a lot of contrast between kind of the Hollywood crowd and then the farming area and the desert four wheeling crowd and dirt bikes getting out. We, of course, have friends that were in the race in the Barstow to Vegas, and we go out and support that. So just kind of a mishmash of all things outdoors and Southwest growing up.





[00:05:00.370] - Big Rich Klein

So you said motorcycles. How old were you when you first rode a motorcycle?


[00:05:06.430] - Nena Barlow

Oh, my gosh. Probably six or seven. That didn't last long. I think the family was kind of into that for a few years. I was more into horses after that. Which gives you still plenty of opportunities to fall off and break bones.





[00:05:27.490] - Big Rich Klein

I didn't know if maybe you were on the line there, like with Jimmy.





[00:05:40.910] - Nena Barlow

My dad had a 250, and I think I rode a 125 and I got more into horses. Then I actually got into muscle car, really? In high school and stuff.





[00:05:53.930] - Nena Barlow

Mustangs, Mustangs.





[00:05:58.070] - Nena Barlow

Got in a lot of trouble.


[00:06:00.530] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, come on, Nena Barlow in trouble. And yeah, I know.


[00:06:04.070] - Nena Barlow

Thankfully, there wasn't social media and cell phones back then.


[00:06:08.990] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, tell me about it. I could never run for political office. There's too many people still alive, right.


[00:06:18.410] - Speaker 3



[00:06:21.170] - Big Rich Klein

And I graduated a long time ago about the time your dad bought that 76 Bronco, in fact.


[00:06:27.890] - Speaker 3



[00:06:31.050] - Big Rich Klein

So what was your interest in school.


[00:06:36.510] - Nena Barlow

With cars and basketball and boys?


[00:06:38.730] - Speaker 3

Of course.


[00:06:41.850] - Nena Barlow

I played a lot of different sports when I was in school, and then I was lucky enough to get a scholarship, actually to play basketball. I went to Adams State in Colorado after high school and some junior College. I wanted to see some different country. And so I accepted an offer from Colorado and went and played for them, graduated there and then came back my family. I had a lot of family in Southern Utah and Arizona, and my parents had migrated over to Hurricane for a while and then back to Sedona, where we had my grandparents and aunts and uncles since the 70s.


[00:07:33.710] - Nena Barlow

I knew I kind of probably wouldn't go back to California at that point, but the family is what brought me back to Sedona after College.


[00:07:42.970] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. That's probably a good choice, right.


[00:07:46.690] - Nena Barlow

Arizona, of course, is wonderful, beautiful and diverse and we still have so much open country here.





[00:07:55.850] - Nena Barlow

That's what I love is the open space. I get claustrophobic in cities. It's fun to visit and party, but I need to get out in that open terrain.


[00:08:07.850] - Big Rich Klein

So from high school, muscle cars, basketball. And so it was a sports scholarship.



Yes. Okay.


[00:08:18.830] - Big Rich Klein

How are you? As a student, I was a great student.


[00:08:24.230] - Nena Barlow

I think I ended up graduating with a 3.4 GPA, but I had been a straight A student most of my life until I had a legal driver's license, boys and legal driver's license. And then I was off. Yeah, exactly. At the time. I think my senior year had, like, 52 absences. I really just coasted through my senior year after basketball season was over skipping school and going to the beach and going out to the desert. We had Joshua Tree right there.


[00:09:02.530] - Big Rich Klein

I worked, I didn'T work. I should say I was on yearbook staff and I was the photographer. So it was really easy to write passes for my friends and I, oh, we need to go out and do a photo shoot, and I need this person and this person. And then we were off getting into trouble doing whatever teenage boys do.





[00:09:27.430] - Big Rich Klein

So with graduating Adam State, you said Adam State played basketball, went back to Sedona. What did you do then? I mean, work wise.


[00:09:43.210] - Nena Barlow

So my degree was in sports and recreation management with a coaching certification and a minor in marketing.





[00:09:53.950] - Nena Barlow

The idea was to come back to Arizona. Just kind of screw around for a while. I took a job as a tour guide and tour business, of course, is a big deal in Sedona. And because I could I had the skill set and it was something fun to do until I grew up, settled down and got a real job.





[00:10:19.250] - Nena Barlow

That just hasn't happened yet. I was like, growing up the real getting a real job part yet.


[00:10:26.190] - Big Rich Klein

Nothing wrong with that.





[00:10:29.430] - Big Rich Klein

So when was the first time you actually ran an organized trail instead of just wheeling out in the desert, like where you went, maybe did the Rubicon or did one of the trails in Sedona or something like that. Do you remember?


[00:10:46.950] - Nena Barlow

So this is going back to when I was a kid and the classic Bronco thing. For a while. Some of my dad's buddies decided they don't. Well, of course, back then they weren't classic broncos, they were just broncos. And so we kind of had an unofficial Bronco club, and they get together and irritate the neighbors Bronco party at one of the houses and go out camping for the weekend and break stuff. I grew up with that as a kid, semi organized. And then, oh, my gosh. And then coming back to Arizona, I would say it was probably the late 90s when I started getting involved with we had kind of the big active club in Arizona and probably still is the Arizona Virtual Jeep Club, which is actually started by a bunch of computer geeks.


[00:11:42.490] - Speaker 3



[00:11:43.510] - Nena Barlow

So some of the first online forums like Yahoo groups.


[00:11:48.430] - Speaker 3

Oh, yeah.


[00:11:50.950] - Nena Barlow

And so getting involved in some of that. And then Eastern Jeep Safari I've been attending since the early 2000s.


[00:11:59.110] - Speaker 3



[00:12:01.910] - Nena Barlow

I was still working. I worked for other Jeep tour


[00:12:05.390] - Speaker 3



[00:12:06.530] - Nena Barlow

I started my own company in 2004, and it was primarily to provide education, four wheel drive education, outdoor education. And I acquired permits in Moab just because that was a natural place to start. And, of course, in Sedona.


[00:12:32.130] - Big Rich Klein

So the first office of Barlow Adventures was in Moab then.


[00:12:36.330] - Nena Barlow

So I didn't actually have any physical office. I just ran a business just from my house.


[00:12:42.870] - Speaker 3

Just me.


[00:12:43.290] - Nena Barlow

Until in 2009, I bought out Farabees, decided to pull out of Sedona, and he asked me if I wanted to buy them out of the Sedona Jeep rental location. So I was doing training from 2004 and then 2009. When I got into the Jeep rental side of the business, it was a natural fit. I've been working with some of the Jeep rental companies since I started my own companies. We get people coming from all over not necessarily able to bring their own vehicle with them.


[00:13:17.070] - Big Rich Klein

I know that Sedona is really big with the pink Jeeps. Yes, because I don't know if it's the biggest thing there or whatever, but I just noticed when I took our Raptor on I forget the name of the trail there now.


[00:13:35.010] - Nena Barlow

Broken Arrow, probably Broken Arrow, man.


[00:13:38.670] - Big Rich Klein

Every time I made it, I looked around a corner. Here came a Jeep full of people, and they were all pink. They've been around a long time.


[00:13:50.430] - Nena Barlow

They have. They've been around since the late 50s. They really kind of pioneered the Jeep tour business. We consider them friends and partners in the industry. They are people who want to ride in the back of a Jeep and be toodled around are a different clientele than people that want to learn how to drive their own.





[00:14:14.010] - Nena Barlow

So that's not really competition there at all. We have a good partnership with them. But Sedona is very different than Moab in that regard, Sedona is much more of a soft adventure kind of place. It's not necessarily outdoor people that come to Sedona. Moab is more of a commitment. People that make the trek to Moab. They're there for outdoors. They're there to hike. They're there to bike, raft, Jeep, whatever. But Sedona, it's like, oh, let's go try this outdoor thing. Let's go for a little hike. Let's go for a little Jeep ride.


[00:14:48.750] - Nena Barlow

Then let's go to the spa and go shopping or golfing, right. Or golfing, right.





[00:14:55.230] - Big Rich Klein

So then with Farabees were you working with them and doing tours with them or just training and then picked up their business.


[00:15:12.970] - Nena Barlow

I was doing training for my own company, and I contracted with them to provide Jeep rentals for my clients who needed to rent something. And then after a year or so of that, he asked me to just run his Sedona operation for him. So I was doing that. And then after a few years that then he decided to sell out of Sedona.





[00:15:37.090] - Big Rich Klein

I was wondering how that transition worked.



Okay. Cool. Yeah.


[00:15:41.950] - Big Rich Klein

So what is your favorite Besides Moab Sedona? And maybe the Rubicon? Where's your favorite place to wheel?


[00:15:54.070] - Nena Barlow

Oh, my gosh. It's wherever the nice weather is or wherever the last place I was, because, as you know, my favorite place right now is Glamis, because that was where right. We just left and we spend a lot of time down there in the winter doing training and stuff like that. So I'm lucky to have picked a career that allows me to just follow the nice weather summers on the Rubicon Trail or up in the mountains, spring and fall in the desert in Moab. There's so much out there, it doesn't have to be.


[00:16:31.010] - Nena Barlow

It's really fun to go out and do some of the hardcore stuff and then turn around and just go out and do miles and miles of open backcountry in Nevada.


[00:16:42.110] - Big Rich Klein

Where all you see are wild horses and the burros and the Coyotes and everything else that we see while we're did you see the picture that Jimmy got? Mitch, who used to work on the course crew on the Rebelle, went to the big tent, was watching the big tent at Big Dune until the tent people showed up so that it wouldn't disappear. And he got a picture of an Ostrich.


[00:17:11.270] - Nena Barlow

Oh, the Benzi saw the Ostrich. So I saw the picture of the Ostrich. They saw it when they left. Morning four when we left Big Dune, and some of the teams went through the dunes to get over towards the gas station. And some of the teams just went north to the highway. They saw the Ostrich, and they got a video of it.





[00:17:35.330] - Nena Barlow

And, of course, when they told us this, we're like.





[00:17:40.250] - Nena Barlow

You guys didn't get much sleep last night, did you?


[00:17:44.390] - Big Rich Klein

I'm just glad the Ostrich wasn't wearing any of our clothes that disappeared in that windstorm.





[00:17:52.610] - Nena Barlow

Oh, my gosh.


[00:17:53.690] - Big Rich Klein

That was pretty gnarly day.



Yeah. So.


[00:17:58.430] - Big Rich Klein

Let'S talk about your adventures. And how does that run? You said that you guide people on trails or in areas, and I know that you also have the Jeep rental business in Sedona and Moab.





[00:18:17.690] - Big Rich Klein

The Rubicon is more guiding on the Rubicon. Is that correct?





[00:18:22.910] - Nena Barlow

So Barlow Adventures is kind of three prongs. We have the Jeep rentals. We do the guided trips, and then we do the technical four wheel drive training. The training is my number one thing. That's kind of my number one passion. The guided trips are definitely just fluffy and fun. That's just the fun stuff on the Rubicon Trail. All we do are guided trips. So we do have Jeep rentals available, but they're only for the guided trips. We don't just turn people loose on the Rubicon with our rentals.


[00:19:06.450] - Big Rich Klein

That's probably a good idea.


[00:19:09.750] - Nena Barlow

You can imagine the carnage.





[00:19:15.030] - Nena Barlow

The idea is, of course, we don't want to have to have that conversation with people. The bill that you owe us is.


[00:19:23.010] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I know. When you helped us out when we did our first 4low magazine Adventure Ambassadors Tour and the Jeep that we were driving, it was a SEMA build, and the engine blew. And so I called you and said, hey, do you have a Jeep that we can rent? That's not like I'm buying it. And you set it up. And that was great. And in fact, I didn't want to turn it back in because I didn't want to get back in the TJ. I wanted to stay in that JK.


[00:19:58.410] - Nena Barlow

I know, right.



Right. Yeah.


[00:20:01.830] - Big Rich Klein

There was no AC in the TJ. The heater was not sufficient when we were going from the Black Hills to Minneapolis, and there was no defrosters and no windshield washer.


[00:20:17.130] - Nena Barlow

Oh, my gosh.


[00:20:20.070] - Big Rich Klein

There was a point there where I was driving down the road in, like, 20 negative, 20 degrees and trying to wipe the windows off with a towel while I'm driving down the highway.


[00:20:31.710] - Nena Barlow

The good old days.





[00:20:33.990] - Big Rich Klein

And that was only, like, four years ago.


[00:20:38.710] - Nena Barlow

Oh, well, when I got in Kaleigh's TJ the rally Jeep.





[00:20:48.610] - Nena Barlow

There was no heat and no air conditioning, and she had this button. I'm trying to remember something with her transmission. They had to push a button to make it down shift. And I just remember thinking, you guys should have won extra awards for driving.





[00:21:09.170] - Big Rich Klein

Anybody that drives the older rigs like that that has either no AC or the old R twelve systems that were so inefficient. Anyway, I got to give them Kudos for that this year in Moab in Glamis. It wasn't too bad. But, boy, last year.


[00:21:36.690] - Nena Barlow

We have a '42 GTW sitting out in front of our Sedona store. Her name is Rosie, and that's what most people think jeep still are; Manual transmission, no top, no doors. So we put them in these JLS now, of course. Satellite radio and the touch screens and climate control and heated seats and steering wheel. Oh, my gosh.





[00:22:02.010] - Big Rich Klein

You're helping to sell Jeeps? I know that.


[00:22:04.530] - Nena Barlow

Oh, yeah. I keep saying it's like, I'd really love to have, like, a buy ten, get one free punch card or sell ten, get one free punch card. Something like that.


[00:22:13.770] - Big Rich Klein

At least some kind of affiliate program.


[00:22:18.030] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, we're somewhere on. I think we just bought Jeep number 152.





[00:22:25.110] - Nena Barlow

Since I started the rental business.


[00:22:26.970] - Big Rich Klein

152 Jeeps.





[00:22:31.410] - Big Rich Klein

I don't know anybody else that's done that many.


[00:22:35.070] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, that's not counting the personal ones. The ones that follow you home from the field right now. For me, that's an 81 Wagonneer





[00:22:47.070] - Big Rich Klein

So what is your favorite Jeep to drive? Are you going to tell me it's the four by E. Oh, it is now.


[00:22:54.390] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, it'll be really hard so I have my launch edition Gladiator, which I love. I didn't think I would love the Gladiators that much. It's like, it's awesome. Jeep made a truck, but it's like if I'm going to be on Moab Rim or Pritchett Canyon, I'm going to want to be in my Wrangler on 38's. If I got a tow, I want to be in the power wagon. What are you going to do with something that's in the middle that doesn't do either one of those things really well.


[00:23:23.170] - Nena Barlow

But you know what? It's my daily driver now. It's a Gladiator. Nice, but it's got that three six motor, which is solid and reliable, but it's not exciting, right? I tell people until my generation dies off where our heart races when we hear the roar of a big V-8. I don't know if we can make the switch to electrification, but after driving that four by E in the dunes.


[00:23:53.150] - Big Rich Klein

It'S going to have to come with a vroom type motor like the bicycle you could buy.


[00:24:00.770] - Nena Barlow

I got to have the rumble, and we have so many people. We have a couple of the four by E's  in the rental fleet now, too. And we have so many people that are longtime Jeepers, and they're like, oh, my gosh, the torque on this thing, the performance, it's amazing, but the sound that two liter turbo is a great, solid little motor, but it just sounds like a sewing machine. There's no.





[00:24:31.410] - Big Rich Klein

Where did the four by E really shine on this rebelle for you?


[00:24:36.810] - Nena Barlow

So I would say it was especially in the dunes. I'm used to driving a Gasser out there, the three six with the eight speed or the two liter turbo or even the two liter turbo E torque Wrangler. And it was awesome to have that diesel feel when you're pulling up a Hill and a Gasser just starts to kind of fade out. And a diesel just kicks it down and just keeps that steady power all the way up to the top of the Hill. That was the feel with the four by E.


[00:25:15.810] - Nena Barlow

I got about two thirds of the way up Oldsmobile Hill where I'm really trying to have to be in the right gear and just the right line to stay off the whoops to keep my power with my other Jeeps. And she you was like, want more? Do you want to go faster? Do you want to launch up over the top of the crest of the Hill? What do you want? It was just there. It was amazing. And Dumont and big Dune anywhere we needed to get to the top of something, right?


[00:25:48.930] - Nena Barlow

Just went. And then the fact that I'm telling people it's like, you have as much torque and only a little bit less horsepower than the 392. And the price tag on the four by E is like 20 grand less than the 392. If you can even find a 392 and the fuel economy, we were worried about at the beginning, we were worried there was only 17 gallon gas tank instead of 21.4 that the Wranglers usually come with. We might have to watch that, and it was never even close to an issue.


[00:26:30.650] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, nice.





[00:26:32.810] - Big Rich Klein

So that four by E is a combo. It's not a full electric vehicle, right?


[00:26:40.190] - Nena Barlow

It's a hybrid hybrid. And it's a plug in hybrid. So it's a hybrid that we can drive it all year and just for gas, and we don't have to plug it in if we don't want to plugging it in gives us some extra range. And one of the tips that we learned for the Dunes is you want to have a little bit of battery charge in there, and she'll charge herself driving, too. There's different settings you can use. So she'll charge herself. The battery is always there.


[00:27:11.450] - Nena Barlow

So I hate to use this analogy, but kind of like a Prius. It's like you always have gas and battery available. It recharges itself enough to use the battery. But for the big draws, like running up those huge dunes, you want to have a little extra battery juice in storage? The cool thing was one thing I didn't realize we had. The Kia is out there. They have to plug in and charge every night. Their brain, the computer, I guess, needs it. And the Jeep doesn't. We skip charging a couple of nights because whatever didn't work or wasn't convenient or like when we were at Marathon base camp out at Razor.


[00:27:52.130] - Big Rich Klein

You were on your own yeah.


[00:27:53.810] - Nena Barlow

Well, they came around and asked us if we needed to charge because the other teams did. And we're like, no, we don't.





[00:28:00.290] - Nena Barlow

We're good.





[00:28:01.790] - Nena Barlow

So, yeah, that drivetrain. Like I said, you can just put gas in it all year. You don't ever have to plug it in if you don't want to.


[00:28:09.710] - Big Rich Klein

So what is the attraction for you with the Rebelle?


[00:28:15.410] - Nena Barlow

The attraction is bringing together. It's not just amazing women from all over the world. The staff is also really amazing, like yourself and Shelley, I've got to know you two better through the rally. And so some of my favorite people on the planet are in this one place for this week in October. And it's awesome. I've also watched how the competitors, as well as the staff, they're pushing beyond their comfort zone. They're developing confidence in themselves, doing things that they didn't think that they could do or endure and really shining.


[00:29:01.730] - Nena Barlow

And then they carry that on to their daily lives after that. And I just love that on day seven this year, historically, Teralin and I, of course, we've been on separate teams. We were teamed together this year, but our respective teams, we always went solo in the Dunes. We felt like teaming up with other people would just kind of slow us down. And we felt like we had a comfortable enough lead going into day seven. We can't not push it hard, you know that.





[00:29:35.030] - Nena Barlow

But we were like, let's bring some other people, let's team up and let's bring some other people with us. Let's help them push themselves to do their best today. And it was really awesome to see them hesitate a little bit. And with just a little nudge, they just were like, yeah, let's go get it. And they got it. And they were so happy with themselves. It's very rewarding and gratifying. And of course, it just builds those friendships that you'll have the rest of your life. You'll have that connection, people that competed the first year and haven't been back since.


[00:30:14.030] - Nena Barlow

I'm still in touch with a lot of those people, right.


[00:30:19.730] - Big Rich Klein

You guys really surprised me. On day seven, Shelley and I are sitting there at the first checkpoint. The little dunes are right at the edge of the little dunes.


[00:30:33.990] - Nena Barlow

The shitty dunes.


[00:30:35.610] - Big Rich Klein

I wasn't going to call them that because climate is just great. But compared to the big dunes.





[00:30:44.230] - Big Rich Klein

They are harder because they're so choppy. And there's a lot of holes when you drop into them. It's like, oh, no.


[00:30:50.230] - Nena Barlow

Now I got to burn my way out of this.


[00:30:54.550] - Big Rich Klein

But we're sitting there and all the teams are coming in.





[00:31:00.190] - Big Rich Klein

What was great to see is that most everybody was running in groups of two or three.





[00:31:05.950] - Big Rich Klein

And then there was like, I think probably five competitors that were on their own and they were all new teams. And I was like, Man, it would really be nice to see those at least a group of two and a group of three. But they probably didn't have whatever it took to make that connection with somebody else. Hopefully the next time they come out, they can do that because making the connections there is awesome. We have met so many great people. But when you guys drove in and I'm like, There you go, team it up here's.


[00:31:45.190] - Big Rich Klein

One, two and three in the standings coming in together. I'm like, you guys are now making sure that Jeep is going to get one, two and three. There was no doubt in my mind part of our evil plan.



Yes. Exactly.


[00:32:07.090] - Big Rich Klein

And I looked at Shelley, and I said, that surprises me, but it really makes a lot of sense. I'm sure Scott was really happy with that.





[00:32:18.490] - Nena Barlow

And we had so much fun. There was a lot of happy crying in that group.


[00:32:22.630] - Big Rich Klein

I would imagine where I think there was some other crying going on that might not have been so happy during the day. There was a lot of stuck vehicles out there. Did you guys have an area or a time where the three of you were stuck or one or two of you were stuck and had to help dig out or anything like that? Or did you guys just kind of cruise through the day?





[00:32:46.450] - Nena Barlow

No, we did a couple of stucks, actually, one of the tougher locations was. Well, of course you would expect after the swing set coming up that Valley past the flagpole and stuff you get into. There's some big stuff you get across, right. And there's a couple of stucks that we got out pretty quickly. Little Maxtrax, little shovel, little bubba rope to get people unstuck. The surprise is the earlier in the day between checkpoint three and four four was really nasty. That was when the sand was really blowing, so it was really moving.


[00:33:23.950] - Nena Barlow

A lot was really soft. And we saw the Rivian go up, try to cross over in front of us and get stuck. And then we went around. I like to stay up high. So that gives us the option to kind of drop down through some stuff. So we went up high, I went around, grabbed checkpoint. We got there. Laura Wanlass and Maria Guitar,  came in right behind us. They got it and we turned around and watched and we saw the Benzies had gotten stuck not too far from where the Rivian was stuck.


[00:33:52.430] - Nena Barlow

So we waited a few minutes and said, okay, if it looks like they got themselves out really quickly.





[00:34:01.250] - Nena Barlow

Otherwise I'm going to give it like two minutes and then I'm going to head back up there. We give a couple of minutes and I said, okay, I'm going back up. And I told Laura, we're going to go up. If you see me, give the big hand wave, we're having trouble. You come get us. Otherwise, go keep going. We got up there and the wireless had just gotten themselves kind of unstuck and then helped another team get themselves unstuck so they're free and clear. The Rivian was still stuck.


[00:34:35.910] - Nena Barlow

So we tried to go over and nothing's like 7000 pounds, all the batteries. Yeah, exactly. So we tried to get to them where we could help pull them bubba, rope them out. And I got stuck on the way trying to get to them. So I stopped while I was ahead. I was like, okay, I'm going to stop spinning while I can still see daylight under my tire or under my belly. And we can easily Max tracks out of this in a minute. Let's go get them. And they had just buried Emme and Rebecca.


[00:35:07.770] - Nena Barlow

You could tell we're just shot. Rebecca was just exhausted right then they've been digging and digging. They buried their Maxtrax. The Maxtrax were just gone under a ton of sand. So we helped unbury their Maxtrax and then made sure that they got moving again. And then we went back, got ourselves unstuck and then continued on.





[00:35:34.450] - Nena Barlow

That was probably the most stressful thing because everybody at that point that was behind and watching us up on this series of dunes, deciding we're not going to go that way. We're going to turn around and go back. And it was gratifying to make sure we got everybody off that Hill before we continued on. That was right at the checkpoint four.





[00:36:00.350] - Nena Barlow

Then we got around the other side and we knew after swing set, it was going to get tough. And I kept telling Teralin, I'm like, I'm not getting stuck. I'm not getting stuck. I'm not going to drive like, Nena, I'm going to drive conservative smart. We're not playing. It's just business.


[00:36:25.150] - Big Rich Klein

I know that there was three flags out there. Blue flags. I'm pretty sure there were flags that were marked 18 19 20 on the blue.





[00:36:36.850] - Big Rich Klein

That'S that area you're talking about after the swing set.





[00:36:39.910] - Nena Barlow

Swing set was 17 and 18 was the flagpole we call the flagpole. And those did not technically have flags. Our CP guide said, there's no flag. Click at the flagpole, click at the swing set.





[00:36:57.890] - Nena Barlow

And then, of course, it was 18 X, 19 X and 20 X that were in that Valley. That's between the swing set and Osborne Tower. 17 was the swing set, 18 X was a flagpole, 19 X. We got to pretty easily. And then between 19 X and 20 X was where we began to question our existence and our choices in life.


[00:37:28.930] - Big Rich Klein

On that day, we got done with our checkpoint, went over to Woo's checkpoint, and we waited for maybe an hour, an hour and a half. And then that one cleared. Everybody was done had gone through there. So Jimmy looked at me and said, hey, do you want to go for a ride? And I knew what he meant was me following him, me in the Raptor and him on his bike. And before I could say anything, Shelley goes, I'll ride with Woo back to camp.





[00:37:58.990] - Big Rich Klein

And I'm like, okay. And so we went and picked up Blues and followed teams and just observing that kind of thing. And it was fun. I learned a lot about. I've driven in the dunes pretty extensively, but not with the Raptor, like I did the Cherokee, the Cherokee. I was never going to overpower and bury it. It just didn't have that kind of motor and the big tires. I mean, I'm running bigger tires on the Cherokee than I do on the Raptor, right. I was kind of worried with the Raptor, what it would do.





[00:38:42.710] - Big Rich Klein

Jimmy just said, Just follow me. And I just tried to keep his tire track between my front tires. And that was awesome. And then he goes, okay, go around to 21 and wait for me. I'm going to go up the Valley and check out the area of 17, 18, 19 and then get the flag at 20. And he goes, I don't think you want to drive down there. And I'm like, okay, fine. If you're going to say that I'm not going. So I went around. And then we waited and waited and waited.


[00:39:15.050] - Big Rich Klein

And then it was funny because both of our push to talk died at the same time. I mean, within two or three minutes of each other. But we were able to talk on phones. And then there was a couple of teams still out there. So we watched them go in, and then we pulled the flags. But for me, it was really cool. And then that's how I knew that 20 was probably pretty gnarly out there.


[00:39:45.210] - Nena Barlow

It was. We were following a heading of 304, three hundred and four degrees from 19, and Wanlass was behind me. She said, it was amazing to watch. I'd come to a bowl and I'd go around to the left and end up right on the top, and she'd be like, She's still right on our 304 and the next one, I'd go around to the right and then stop on the top. She'd be like, She's still right on three o four.





[00:40:15.430] - Nena Barlow

It'S so easy to get turned around. What it's like being in the middle of the ocean.





[00:40:22.090] - Nena Barlow

And so we were just really checking. And at that point, the Benzies had gotten stuck a couple of times, so they were feeling kind of rattled and like, oh, my gosh, we just want to get out of here. And so we stopped on the top of this big dune, and I couldn't quite see. We could see the highway and we could see down into the Valley to our left. We couldn't see Osborne Tower, but it was like, well, we've been following our heading. Osborne Tower should just be right over there.


[00:40:48.550] - Nena Barlow

But let's just get down to the Valley floor and get out of here, get to the highway. And if anybody wants to come back in and look for 20, they can. But the Benzies, they were kind of done at that point.



And we.


[00:41:06.290] - Nena Barlow

Cut to our left, popped over the next Dune and almost drove right onto our blue. Blue flag, the yipping and Horn honking and doughnuts that ensued.


[00:41:21.790] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome.


[00:41:22.630] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, that was awesome. There was happy crying. I know you don't hear that a lot, like in the Baja 1000 and stuff like that.





[00:41:33.670] - Big Rich Klein

And most of the crying that Shelley and I see, unless it's back at camp, even most of that is not what I would call happy crying. But Shelley is really good at being, like, the mom and giving the hugs and talking everybody off the cliff.


[00:41:52.090] - Nena Barlow

That kind of thing.


[00:41:53.530] - Big Rich Klein

I just sit there and go, okay. This is really uncomfortable for me, because women crying is like mine. Kryptonite, I am powerless.


[00:42:05.050] - Nena Barlow

But the fact that you show up year after year, you do this, you have the strength to deal with that. Most men would just run screaming from the building kudos to you.





[00:42:17.770] - Nena Barlow

Enduring that.


[00:42:20.410] - Big Rich Klein

It must be part of something crazy in my mind. I guess. I don't know. I really enjoy the rebelle. I don't want to do anything else at that time of year, and there's plenty of options for me to do.





[00:42:37.670] - Big Rich Klein

But I'm not so interested in the others. I mean, it's just something about the Rebelle.





[00:42:45.890] - Big Rich Klein

Is completely special. And I don't ever want to miss that opportunity. And as long as Jimmy and Emily will have us, we will keep coming back.





[00:43:00.030] - Nena Barlow

There's nothing like that camaraderie. No, you'll get that.


[00:43:05.850] - Big Rich Klein

What was the most awesome, say, view or.





[00:43:12.750] - Big Rich Klein

After looking at the photos that some of the photographers have taken, because some of those with the time you're not seeing what the photographer is seeing, right. But what was the coolest part of the whole route for you?





[00:43:28.750] - Nena Barlow

Honestly, I think that this was overall, this was my favorite course by far so far on the rally.





[00:43:37.990] - Nena Barlow

Starting with day one, where Emily was like, you asked for technical driving. You got technical driving, and we got to the first Rocky section, and I was like, oh, my gosh. I'm always like, technical driving, whatever. And we're like, oh, she actually made it happen. And I'm looking at this going. I am really glad I'm in a Wrangler, because there is no Ram truck I could have brought this year that would have fit up this Canyon.


[00:44:07.970] - Big Rich Klein

Is that the one that went around up by the what they were calling the car wash up and around by the mine and then back down the Hill?





[00:44:17.550] - Nena Barlow

That was it.


[00:44:18.510] - Big Rich Klein

I drove the Raptor through there.


[00:44:21.450] - Nena Barlow

Do you still have paint on both sides?


[00:44:24.270] - Big Rich Klein

I haven't had all my paint on both sides in a while.





[00:44:27.690] - Big Rich Klein

Since the first Rebelle. Two weeks after I bought the truck, the Raptor was absolutely pristine. When I bought it. Two weeks later, we're on the Rebelle, and we hit. I think it was at Johnson Valley when we first started getting the scrapes. All right. And then after that, we did the Arizona Peace Trail and then the Apache Trail and the wheeling that we've done in Texas. And it's like, you know what? It's just a truck. There's some pretty good gouges in it, but the worst one is from my trailer.


[00:45:09.850] - Nena Barlow

Oh, no, I heard about that.


[00:45:12.790] - Big Rich Klein

We had our own rally going every day. We got GPS, and I'm going the wrong direction.





[00:45:22.630] - Big Rich Klein

I forget to put the hitch pin in the receiver. There's three hitch pins on that hitch set up that I have, and I forgot the one I never use. I never take out. I had to take out this time because the one at the truck itself was full of mud in the key from Nebraska on the route out there, I couldn't get the key to work in it, so I took the other one out, which is a Bolt lock. But I have a couple of extras, though.


[00:45:51.010] - Big Rich Klein

So when I got put all the gear together to put it back together, it was that day zero. It was raining, dark, and Mike really was in a hurry to get going so we could get the Enduro set up.





[00:46:04.510] - Big Rich Klein

So I forgot to put that hitch pin in and we drove around the parking lot of the casino, got in line, and then drove out to the main road. And then as soon as I turned on to the main road 100ft later, we hear this grinding type noise. Shelley looks in the mirror and says, the trailer is not behind us.





[00:46:24.850] - Big Rich Klein

And I look in my mirror. I can see the trailer, but it's way offset. And for some reason, I stabbed the brakes and the trailer caught up to the Raptor, put a little dent in a gouge. The worst gouge of paint in the vehicle. But it's the tailgate. So it's not a big deal. What's behind you doesn't matter. But, yeah, that was the first thing. And I mean, it was like, day zero 615 in the morning, and I'm like, this is going to be a rough one, but it was still fun.


[00:47:02.090] - Big Rich Klein

It'll always be fun, no matter what happens. The windstorms, all the stuff.


[00:47:10.650] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, I know. I thanked Shelley for.





[00:47:16.350] - Nena Barlow

Windstorm was just kicking off when we got to the start of that Enduro by Rhyolite, and she's standing out there in the sand, just, oh, my gosh. She had to stay out there for hours to start.


[00:47:27.990] - Big Rich Klein

All of us.


[00:47:30.630] - Nena Barlow

I had to roll my window down for a minute, and she's standing out there for hours.


[00:47:38.490] - Big Rich Klein

She was trying to get her boots on, and a team drove up. She so went back out there. She had one boot and one sandal on. Teams were like,  we have extra gloves? Would you like some gloves?





[00:47:53.730] - Big Rich Klein

And she's like, no, I'm good.


[00:47:54.750] - Nena Barlow

I'm good.


[00:47:55.350] - Big Rich Klein

And she got her goggles on and her face wrapped all up and everything. And I'm sitting in the warm truck.





[00:48:04.410] - Big Rich Klein

But I told her I said, hey, I'll go out there. She goes, no, she likes talking to everybody.


[00:48:10.410] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, exactly.


[00:48:12.930] - Big Rich Klein

So what is next for Nena Barlow?


[00:48:16.710] - Nena Barlow

Well, we immediately start talking about next year, like, Well, how do we top this? And I think the best thing for me, and it really drove it home. How much more gratifying it was to share day seven on the course with other teams who are really in hot pursuit.





[00:48:36.990] - Nena Barlow

Is that I want to help bring up the next generation of rebelles. And how do we do that? And how do we help more women gain these skills and the self confidence that they get from the rebelle rally? And so we're talking about some different programs that we can put together, try to launch immediately, if not sooner.


[00:49:04.710] - Big Rich Klein

Here's one of the things that you should teach everybody how to pack their Jeep.


[00:49:11.130] - Nena Barlow

Oh, yeah.


[00:49:11.670] - Big Rich Klein

Or their vehicle, not Jeep specific, but how to pack. So it doesn't take an hour and a half to change a tire.


[00:49:19.230] - Nena Barlow

Oh, my gosh.





[00:49:21.090] - Big Rich Klein

Things like that. The items that are necessary while you're in transit or on the course need to be handy, right? Especially on a transit day when you're like, the marathon day or something like that where you got to get down the road. And it's just some things that I saw that were, I guess hopefully people's Max tracks and shovels were more accessible than maybe tire Jacks and Jack handles and tools. Packing, packing is important.


[00:50:01.450] - Nena Barlow

Yeah, I know.


[00:50:02.050] - Big Rich Klein

I pack that way, but for my days of being a Boy Scout and putting my backpack together.


[00:50:08.890] - Nena Barlow

Well, and experience on the trail. What, you know, you're most likely to need and tire changing equipment should be right up there. Top of the list. You know how to change a tire. I heard teams talking about they had to figure out how to change a tire and what could have become serious safety issues with people trying to use highlift Jacks incorrectly to change tires and stuff. And it's like, oh, my goodness. Yeah, that's great. I'll add that to the list.


[00:50:46.590] - Speaker 3

Thank you.


[00:50:47.490] - Nena Barlow

No worries.


[00:50:49.170] - Big Rich Klein

And one of these days, we're going to take both Shelley and I want to do some of the mapping and stuff. I did a lot of that in Scouts. I obtained my Eagle, so there was a lot of things that I trained in. And now that I'm 63 years old, there's a lot of things that I don't remember. The basics of it. I do, but I really need to take the navigation courses. And I know Shelley definitely needs the navigation course, although when I'm driving in the wrong direction and the arrow is not following the lines, she was able to figure that out because I didn't even look at the GPS because I'm like, I know where I'm going.


[00:51:37.110] - Big Rich Klein

And I pulled away from that Ranch and went totally the wrong direction twice.


[00:51:48.910] - Nena Barlow

You two are welcome. Anytime I'll keep you posted, we're trying to set up. Of course, we'll do some Glamis stuff in January and February, and one of them will be a beginner's class, and one of them will be like an intermediate class, which is what you guys should come out for. And both of them won't be three days. And it will be very Rebelle oriented. And it will be very much map and compass.


[00:52:13.210] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome.


[00:52:14.710] - Nena Barlow

Woven into that.





[00:52:15.910] - Big Rich Klein

Shelley needs to get more comfortable in the sand dunes, too.





[00:52:22.370] - Big Rich Klein

She is a much calmer driver than I am, and I'm a little agro behind the wheel. Sometimes it doesn't matter if it's on pavement or on a trail or really in the sand dunes.





[00:52:36.230] - Big Rich Klein

I remember the year we first brought the Raptor out, and I looked at this. I knew there was a blue on the other side of the Hill, and it was like, okay, I got to go get that blue, pick it up. And I see this like, ramp, three car length or three car width wide ramp between two Dune faces. And I'm like, all right, two bowls. And I said, I can do that. So I turned toward it, and she realized where I was going.





[00:53:06.230] - Big Rich Klein

She told me with no uncertainty.





[00:53:11.090] - Big Rich Klein

That I was not going to go up that Hill with just one word. It was stretched out to me. It sounded like for about three minutes, but it was probably only a few seconds. She said she just said no, but I heard it a lot longer than that in my mind. But I didn't do it. I went with her wishes, and we drove all the way around the sand Dune to get it. But I need to get her in with somebody else in the sand dunes so that she could know that I'm not crazy.


[00:53:44.510] - Big Rich Klein

But that's the way you drive in the dunes.





[00:53:48.350] - Big Rich Klein

So anyway, what about with the rental company and the adventures? I know that you are getting ready, and I haven't seen anything, but it's probably my fault about Vegas. Are you guys doing things out of Vegas now?


[00:54:04.430] - Nena Barlow

So that kind of got put on hold with Covid and everything.





[00:54:08.870] - Nena Barlow

And also, it's very interesting how easy it is to work with, like, our California, Arizona and Utah BLMS. And how not easy it is to work with the Nevada BLM. It's really interesting. So we started the process for both, actually, for Sand Mountain up near Reno and then also for the big Dune area east of Vegas there. But it's much more painstaking. They want things like, well, they get their cut. This is going back to their Mafia ties. It's like, you have to have a city business license, and it's like, okay, that's great.


[00:54:50.210] - Nena Barlow

I don't have a physical location in Nevada. I am applying as a foreign entity, just like in Utah. We're an Arizona business. We have a foreign entity license to do business in the state of Utah. And Nevada is like, oh, no, you have to have physical address.





[00:55:06.530] - Nena Barlow

Well, how do people do this, then? Well, they pay someone to be the beneficiary for the business. It's like, okay, so everybody, they just lined people up to get their cut, right.


[00:55:22.490] - Big Rich Klein

And then you said Sand Mountain, and that's the Carson City office.



Yes. Right. Yeah.


[00:55:27.530] - Big Rich Klein

I dealt with them when I owned VORRA, and there's a reason I don't own VORRA any longer.



Yeah. Exactly.


[00:55:35.570] - Big Rich Klein

And it was dealing with that office.



Yeah. So.


[00:55:40.910] - Nena Barlow

We will continue to pursue that. But honestly, we've been so busy with other things, a lot of corporate groups and private trainings and stuff for manufacturers and things like that. So we stay pretty busy. It's really important to me to continue to be able to offer classes for the public and, of course, rebelles. So we'll always continue to do that. But Moab and Sedona Jeep Rentals. I'm lucky enough to have great managers that just kind of run those Jeep rental stores. So I don't have to be involved on a daily basis.


[00:56:27.150] - Nena Barlow

That allows me to get out and do the things that I love. The training and the trips excellent.


[00:56:32.550] - Big Rich Klein

So before we end this, let's talk about your personal family, if you don't mind.





[00:56:41.190] - Big Rich Klein

So you've got kids?


[00:56:43.410] - Nena Barlow

I do.





[00:56:46.110] - Nena Barlow

So I have two boys, 14 and 24. Obviously, the 14 year old is still at home freshman in high school.


[00:56:54.390] - Big Rich Klein

Wait a 24 year old. There's no way that you have a 24 year old.


[00:56:58.290] - Nena Barlow

I do. Yes, I do.


[00:57:01.710] - Big Rich Klein

Surprise me.


[00:57:03.570] - Nena Barlow

And he's in Fort Collins, Colorado. He wanted to get out of Arizona and try something new. And he moved to Fort Collins a few years ago and doing good there. Having fun there.


[00:57:14.670] - Big Rich Klein



[00:57:15.030] - Nena Barlow

And it's a great College town. And of course, you're only an hour from Denver, concerts and flights to other places. It's a pretty cool place to live for him.



Awesome. Yeah.


[00:57:29.670] - Big Rich Klein

And your primary residence is in Sedona.





[00:57:33.690] - Big Rich Klein



[00:57:34.830] - Nena Barlow

Just outside Sedona. And of course, I have the husband here. He has his own business. He helps me out from time to time with our stuff, but he's primarily graphic designer.





[00:57:50.590] - Nena Barlow

Of course, two dogs. So that's like having toddlers in the house.


[00:57:57.370] - Big Rich Klein

How big are dogs?


[00:57:59.350] - Nena Barlow

100 pound Dogo Argentino and a 70 pound lab healer mix.





[00:58:05.350] - Nena Barlow

Big dogs, lots of fur.


[00:58:06.730] - Big Rich Klein

Big dogs.





[00:58:11.050] - Big Rich Klein

So anything else on the radar for the Barlows.





[00:58:19.690] - Nena Barlow

Continuing to look at? Not just how do we bring in the next generation Rebelles, but from the training side, I'm a certified master trainer with the International Four Wheel Drive Trainer Association, and none of us are getting any younger there. And there's more people than ever. You know, you've seen it. There's more people than ever getting out on the public lands and wanting to try this 4wheel drive thing. And the vehicles coming from the manufacturers these days are more capable than ever. Right off the lot. And people they need to have the skill set to match that so they can be out there responsibly and safely.


[00:59:01.930] - Nena Barlow

It's also bringing up the next generation of not just four wheel drive trainers for the technical perspective, but just ambassadors for the sport and ambassadors for the outdoors and responsible use of our trails so that we can sustain our access indefinitely.


[00:59:24.130] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. Well, Nena, I want to say thank you so much for coming on board and talking about your personal life and your history with Offroad and your adventures in the Rebelle. I really appreciate it. I'm glad that we are friends and more than just acquaintances like we were for years. The Rebelle has made us more friends. And I appreciate that.


[00:59:53.050] - Speaker 3



[00:59:53.470] - Big Rich Klein

And I wish you all the success in the future that you can sustain. And I wish your family all the great things.


[01:00:05.230] - Speaker 3

Thank you.


[01:00:05.710] - Nena Barlow

Thank you so much. It was my pleasure. And I look forward to seeing you again soon.


[01:00:10.150] - Speaker 3

All right.


[01:00:10.810] - Big Rich Klein

Well, thank you very much.


[01:00:12.250] - Speaker 3

Okay. Take care. Okay.


[01:00:13.570] - Big Rich Klein



[01:00:13.750] - Nena Barlow

Bye bye.


[01:00:15.250] - Big Rich Klein

If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating. Share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. Hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much. Bye.