On-highway toward MATS with 'Sisters of the Road' book tour, and its owner-operator pilot

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Independent owner-operator Debbie Desiderato, long long-hauling with her authority as Walkabout Transport, probably needs no introduction to regular Overdrive readers. Her insight around customer relationships and so much more has featured in Overdrive multiple times through the years, and last year she was one of our Truckers of the Month in the Trucker of the Year program

At the top of this week's edition of Overdrive Radio (above on Youtube and in embeds below), Desiderato describes the seven years that have elapsed since she first met photographer/author Anne-Marie Michel for the first time. Owner-operator Desiderato's one of 40 female truck drivers/owners interviewed for the Britain-based Michel’s “Sisters of the Road” book. Long in the making, as owner-operator Desiderato made clear, the book's been out for a couple of years, yet it's making something of a splash around the country right now with a photo-exhibit trailer being pulled behind Desiderato’s Western Star. She's run with the exhibit clear across the country from an origin point in San Francisco to start Women’s History Month on the way to the Mid-American Trucking Show, coming up this week Thursday-Saturday in Louisville, Kentucky.

Howes logoOverdrive Radio's sponsor is Howes, longtime provider of fuel treatments like its Howes Diesel Treat anti-gel and Lifeline rescue treatment to get you through the coldest temps, likewise its all-weather Diesel Defender, among other products.[Related: Preview MATS happenings, and access coverage in the aftermath, via the collection at this page]

In the podcast, hear my talk with Debbie about the experience thus far on the tour, which to date has offered up no shortage of opportunity to school the uninitiated on the ins and outs, the struggles and triumphs, of trucking and truck drivers of all stripes. Plenty share-the-road talk, too.

"The blind spots," Desiderato offered. "and how I've got a hood on this truck. They can see now if they're by my passenger steer tire how I couldn't see them if they're driving a small car. They got a big education."

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She was referring mostly to hundreds of international and otherwise trucking-uninitiated attendees of FotoFest in Houston, where her Western Star was parked up with the exhibit trailer for plenty public interaction through Wednesday, March 13, this past week. She's due to arrive in Louisville today, March 18, for MATS, after stops this past weekend in Arkansas at Uber Freight headquarters, Saturday at the Idella Hansen Petro in Little Rock. (Idella herself is also featured in "Sisters of the Road.")

All in all, Desiderato said, the tour and her inclusion in the "Sisters of the Road" book has been an opportunity to sit right at the intersection between the business and work of trucking and wider U.S. and world cultures. Take a listen: 

Read more about "Sisters of the Road" via Long Haul Paul's 2022 review of the book. Attendees at MATS can find the photo-exhibit trailer adjacent to the Uber Freight booth in the North Wing.

Also in the podcast: Owner-operators Lee and Lisa Schmitt detail recent similar share-the-road opportunities the pair of founding members of CDL Drivers Unlimited got recently with the entire Mudflap app staff. Revisit recent talks with the Schmitts about CDLDU's Driver Advocacy Network at this link.

[Related: Harnessing the wisdom of experience: A hallmark of the best among owner-operators]