Recce Bolivia: Prepping for the exam
Reconnaissance: The American Standard Dictionary defines this term as a "preliminary examination as to the general natural features before a more exact survey; often used for military and engineering purposes."
However, a "recce" in Land Rover lingo is a way to drive some of the world's best 4x4s over challenging terrain. It's also an opportunity to get up close and personal with a cadre of the world's top backroads drivers (who are also multisport athletes); motor along with a Land Rover "works" mechanic who's assigned to keep all the vehicles in top order ... and be fed by a gourmet Land Rover chef to boot. To be succinct, a Land Rover recce is educational, challenging, and fun, but it's also a dry run-an opportunity to prep for the exam: in this case, for Land Rover's 2006 G4 Challenge.
Loosely modeled on the old Camel Trophy, the G4 Challenge is a global adventure, combining four-wheel driving with dynamic competitions that take in sports such as mountain biking, kayaking, climbing, orienteering, and absailing. Inaugurated in 2003, the first globe-hopping Challenge started in New York City before heading to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Successive stages were then held in rural South Africa, Western Australia, and back in the States-in the stifling, dusty heat of Moab.
On April 23, 2006, the G4 Challenge returned with four equally exotic and rigorous locations to be conquered, in four stages and two metropolitan competitions. An urban competition in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok kicked off Stage 1 before moving to the isolated, dense jungles of Laos. From there, it was off to Brazil, where the adventure continued in Rio de Janeiro before concluding in Bolivia, where participants traveled upwards from the lowlands into the Andes, and onwards through the eerie salt plains of Sala de Uyuni to altitudes of over 13,000 feet.