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‘Rebelle’ Fossil woman and husband ready for global journey

Phil Wright

East Oregonian

Published on September 10, 2016 12:01AM

Taylor Pawley of Fossil and her husband,  KP Pawley of Echo, leave from their home this October for a three-year global road trip. The adventure begins right after Taylor participates in a 1,200-mile off-road race in the desert of the American West.

Photo contributed by Taylor Pawley

Taylor Pawley of Fossil and her husband, KP Pawley of Echo, leave from their home this October for a three-year global road trip. The adventure begins right after Taylor participates in a 1,200-mile off-road race in the desert of the American West.

Husband and wife KP and Taylor Pawley of Eastern Oregon leave their Salem lives in October to drive to the tip of Argentina before shipping over to Africa. This camper and pickup, which KP modified, will be their home for three years.

Photo contributed by Taylor Pawley

Husband and wife KP and Taylor Pawley of Eastern Oregon leave their Salem lives in October to drive to the tip of Argentina before shipping over to Africa. This camper and pickup, which KP modified, will be their home for three years.

Eastern Oregon natives KP and Taylor Pawley are about to leave on a three-year adventure around the world. Here they are in Nambia, Africa, in 2014, where Taylor petted this cheetah.

Photo contributed by Taylor Pawley

Eastern Oregon natives KP and Taylor Pawley are about to leave on a three-year adventure around the world. Here they are in Nambia, Africa, in 2014, where Taylor petted this cheetah.

Photo contributed by Taylor Pawley Taylor Pawley grew up in Fossil and is about to embark on a thre

Husband and wife KP and Taylor Pawley of Eastern Oregon leave their Salem lives in October to drive to the tip of Argentina before shipping over to Africa. This camper and pickup, which KP modified, will be their home for three years.

Photo contributed by Taylor Pawley

Husband and wife KP and Taylor Pawley of Eastern Oregon leave their Salem lives in October to drive to the tip of Argentina before shipping over to Africa. This camper and pickup, which KP modified, will be their home for three years.

Taylor Pawley of Fossil engages with a chimpanzee on a trip to Africa in 2014. She and her husband, KP Pawley of Echo, leave this October from Salem for a three-year global journey.

Photo contributed by Taylor Pawley

Taylor Pawley of Fossil engages with a chimpanzee on a trip to Africa in 2014. She and her husband, KP Pawley of Echo, leave this October from Salem for a three-year global journey.


Taylor Pawley is weeks away from embarking on the ride of her life — seven days racing in a Jeep across the desert of the American West.

When she finishes, she and her husband, KP Pawley, will journey for three years around the world in a Chevrolet pickup and a camper.

The couple call Salem home, where they also work for the family deck and fencing company. But Taylor, 27, is from Fossil, and KP, who will turn 30 just days before the big trip, grew up in Echo. They met in high school and ended up together at Eastern Oregon University, La Grande. Travel became a big part of their lives.

“We took a trip to Africa in 2014,” she said, “and that was a big inspiration for this trip. We backpacked through Uganda, and then rented a truck in Namibia, and the freedom of being able to experience a country without a guide, just driving where you want to go next was so cool. We wouldn’t be doing this trip without that inspiration.”

But before venturing around the globe, Taylor said she first aims to complete the Rebelle Rally, a seven-day, off-road 1,200-mile race from Lake Tahoe to San Diego that only allows women and forbids computers and GPS systems. Teams have to use compasses and maps to find their way. The race from Oct. 13-22 is the first of its kind in the U.S.

“I thought ‘this sounds amazing,’ ” Taylor said, but the rally was coming days before she and KP were leaving on their expedition. The more she thought about it, however, she said, the more she realized she had nothing stopping her except her.

“I have no reason to say no,” she said. “We named our team Team Why Not for that very reason.”

She learned to use a compass, topographical maps, a ruler, and the landscape to plot her location within 100 meters, and she recently completed a two-day navigation course in Reno, Nevada.

“It was such a neat thing,” she said. “I’m very lucky it came very naturally to me when I did this training.”

Her rally partner is Micaela Windham, a working mom of two in Phoenix, Arizona. Windham in a written statement said she is just as excited for the challenge of the race.

“Honestly this seems like the perfect competition for me as it combines driving, which I love, with the challenge of using a compass, map and your wits to keep from getting lost,” she said.

The pair met via a Facebook group of women looking for race partners. Taylor said she posted what she wanted to do and her skills.

“One of my assets,” Taylor said, “is I don’t have to pee that often.”

Eight women contacted her, primarily because of her navigation skills, and Micaela was the right fit. They will use her Jeep Wagoneer for the rally.

“It’s going to be a beast,” Taylor said. “She’s actually done a lot of modifications on it, and she’s done it herself.”

Those mechanical skills could mean the difference between losing and finishing. Taylor said if the vehicle breaks down and a team can limp it to a base camp, there are mechanics there to make repairs. But in the field, the team has to do that work. If they call for help, their race ends.

“So it’s really important to not get into those crazy situations where that could be an issue,” Taylor said, “and if it does, know how to fix it.”

Taylor and Micaela talk nearly every day and email often, but they will not meet face-to-face until the vehicle inspection two days before the start of the race. Taylor said communication will be key to their success. The two will spend almost 10 hours a day for a week in a vehicle together.

“So we need to make sure we do a good job of just helping each other,” she said.

The week-long adventure could be prep for what she and KP will strive to accomplish. When the rally ends, they head south on the Pan-American Highway from Salem to the tip of Argentina, then ship to Africa for another year of driving.

The “vague motivation” for an around-the-world trip, she said, was to do something a bit different.

“We called our trip Running from Monday,” she said. “We’re kind of running from the 9-5 of a normal life.”

They do not have children, they saved money for a few years and in May downsized from a 2,000-square-foot house to a 600-square-foot home. The next jump will be adapting to life in a 50-square-foot camper.

“It should be pretty interesting,” she said. “We’ve go to learn to live together all the time. I think it will be great, but a test for sure.”

KP, she said, is looking forward to see the mountains of Patagonia. But Taylor wants to visit Cairo and see the Egyptian pyramids at Giza.

“We have to finish,” she said. “My favorite spot is the very last place we go to.”

Or maybe not. She said when the trip is over, she and KP will decide if they even need to return or just keep rolling.

To learn more about Taylor Pawley and Micaela Windham, visit www.teamwhynot.net or their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/teamwhynot2016. And to follow Taylor and KP Pawley on their trek around the world, check out www.runningfrommonday.com or www.facebook.com/runningfrommonday.











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