This comment was made by men and women drivers with some saying it in a mean-spirited way and others just dismissing me. Reminded me of when I was a stay at home mom, some of the comments I heard, as if I did nothing all day but watch TV. Being “just a rider” is not an easy job as we were still a team and my job was to keep the driver/husband happy and driving. Each day my goal was to make his life was as easy as possibly so he could concentrate on driving and keeping us safe. I had a lot of things to do during the day and I think often my stress level was higher than his.
My job was to keep Bob with a fresh bottle of water to drink at all times, if he wanted a snack I made it, and I also cooked meals. I did not cook as often in those trucks as I do now as we did not have the amenities that we currently have.
My duties included planning our day of where we were going to stop for the night, to locate the shipper and receiver as we did not have a GPS or that capability. I took care of all paperwork and the QualComm. The Rand McNally Truckers Atlas was my best friend to look up rest areas as well as our route from point A to point B. Now here I will admit that I did take us on some scenic routes as I was still learning what some of the signs meant as I had limited experience of interstates as well as very large cities. Bob can attest I took us on a couple of roads neither of us will ever forget. Just ask Bob and he will grimace of a few of the site seeing trips we had, me enjoying main street and Bob trying to figure out how to avoid low hanging planters.
I was also the “goffer” when something needed to be moved in front of the truck such as a barrel to close to where we needed to turn, or a wheel chock in the way, I was out there moving it. What I did not do was open the trailer doors or crank down the dolly legs.
The very first time in our lives to use chains I was the flash light holder and the reader of the bag that held the chains. I read the directions and held the flashlight while Bob installed the chains. That experience is also something neither of us will forget as instead of chaining in the chain up area we chained up at the sign. We were a little surprised to see a little later down the road this really nice area to chain. Live and learn was out motto.
I also keep the interior of the truck clean and when stopped to do laundry. We had our Cocker Spaniel, Molly with us and it was a day to day battle to keep the hair at bay.
My job at times was to get out and help guide Bob into a tight parking spot or into a tight dock and that was also a learning experience. He often had to watch in the mirrors for me to start jumping up and down to know he was close to something. In time, we got two way radios that really helped the process and I think reduced Bob’s stress at my poor directions. Now with our cell phones and a head set this has become much easier.
My worst stress was when Bob would get stressed over something such as traffic, weather conditions, or he would get tired as I knew I could do nothing to help. No matter how tired I was I stayed up with him to be there when he needed to talk or just as a reassuring presence.
Not being able to “legally” drive the truck was stressful to me as I never could help when he was tired or just needed a break. How life has changed now that I drive as I am not there usually when Bob would like another bottle of water or a snack as I am asleep till it is my turn behind the wheel.
These two ladies are just a small sample of “just riders” I have met that are making a big difference for all of us in trucking. They have full time jobs within the truck and they also take care of their driver. If you have not met them or heard of these “just riders” you will.
These two ladies remind me often that just “bring a rider” is not an easy job as they do so much more. Sierra maintains a personal website, http://www.sweetlifeofsierrasugar.com, is an ambassador for Road Pro, Tough Tested, and One20. Kari keeps busy with several Facebook groups and is an admin on the Women in Trucking Facebook page. Kari was also instrumental in starting the Missing Driver Network. These two ladies are just a few of the “riders” who help all of the rest of us have great products on the road and devote much of their time in bettering everyone’s lives.