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Looking back at the Sisters of the Road U.S. tour

April 8, 2024 / US
Looking back at the Sisters of the Road U.S. tour

Throughout the month of March, a Powerloop trailer drove across the country hauling a unique type of freight: an art gallery. Hanging from the walls of the trailer, wrapped in yellow, were metal prints of photographs taken by artist Anne Marie Michel. They’re part of her collection titled, Sisters of the Road, which spotlights 40 trucker women and the landscapes they travel. Michel debuted the series in London in 2019, and has since showcased it in places like Berlin and Sydney. 

Behind the wheel was Deb Desiderato—who is featured in the series and better known in the industry as Debbie Dingo. The truck made four stops across the country. At each, Desiderato, Michel, and the rest of the SOTR team opened up the trailer doors and invited everyone to view the exhibit.

This historic journey has now come to a close. Whether you stepped inside the gallery, followed along on Instagram, or repped a yellow bandana in your own cab, congratulations to all involved in the tour! Until next time, we’ll see you on the road. 

March 21-23, 2024: Mid-America Trucking Show

The Sisters of the Road tour made its final stop at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), the largest trucking show in North America. At MATS, we saw so many women in trucking—including many of the women featured in the book—gather to view the gallery and pose for photos in their yellow bandanas. We’re honored to have played a small part in sharing the stories of these incredible women and raising awareness of the challenges they face each day.

Sisters of the Road and Uber Freight at MATS

March 16, 2024: Idella Hansen Truck Stop Rededication Ceremony 

Idella Hansen is both an icon in the trucking industry—and one of the iconic photos in Anne Marie Michel’s Sisters of the Road collection. As part of the US tour this month, the Sisters of the Road trailer stopped in North Little Rock, AR to celebrate Idella with a rededication ceremony for the TA Petro truck stop that was first named in her honor in 2017. Friends, family and admirers of Idella gathered at the truck stop on Saturday, March 16 for a short ceremony, which included comments from TA Petro representative Jeff Borkov, Anne Marie Michel, and Idella herself. Everyone in attendance got the chance to visit the traveling gallery as well. Read our conversation with Idella for International Women’s day.

March 8, 2024: #SistersoftheRoadTour at Fotofest

Between March 8 and 13, the Sisters of the Road trailer was parked outside Fotofest, a contemporary arts organization based in Houston, TX. The installation at Fotofest kicked off on International Women’s Day with a virtual roundtable featuring artist Anne Marie and some of the women featured in the Sisters of the Road book: Idella Hansen, Tiffany Hanna, Marie ‘M’ Davis, Deb Dingo and Janelle Grapes. The women discussed how they got into trucking, what keeps them in the driver’s seat, and some of the challenges they face in the industry. Visit the Instagram page @sistersoftheroadtour to hear some of their responses.

March 1, 2024: The #SistersoftheRoadTour launch event

The Sisters of the Road kicked off on March 1 in time with the start of International Women’s Month and in view of a feminist icon—the SS Red Oak Victory. The WWII ship was built in 1944, primarily by women, and is part of the  Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park. 

In addition to a gallery walkthrough, remarks from the artist Anne Marie, and a champagne toast, the tour invited SS Red Oak Victory shipkeeper Desiree Heveroh to help kick off the tour. She shared some of the history of the women workers on the ship and saluted female truckers who are, in many ways, modern-day counterparts to the WWII-era riveters.

“It was less than 100 years ago that women were invited into the workforce,” Heveroh said, “And we have grown leaps and bounds. I’m sure 50 years ago it wouldn’t have been conceivable that women truckers could be in the industry—and as I understand it today still only make up 7% of that industry. So those women have true grit and gumption just like the women before them.” 

Check out the @sistersoftheroadtour Instagram page for more highlights from the event. 

More about the #SistersoftheRoadTour 

This Sisters of the Road U.S. tour is a special one because it’s the first time these images will be on display “at home”—where the trucking women featured in the collection live and drive. Many of the faces are household names to those in the American industry, including Idella Hansen and Carol Nixon, both of whom have truck stops named in their honor. Each of the women Michel featured has a compelling story and resume, which are documented in her book alongside their photographs. They’re also staunch supporters and advocates for the women in trucking and logistics—a small but mighty group of women who make up, in some senses, the backbone of the freight industry.


Cover of Sisters of the Road by Anne Marie Michel


In fact, Michel designed this tour of her work expressly to honor and celebrate this community of women. They make up just 12% of trucking industry employees, and just 7% of the labor force of truck drivers in the U.S. But their impact on trucking has been significant, helping to challenge stereotypes associated with the industry and make it more inclusive. The women in Michel’s book represent the many faces of women in trucking. The tour, timed to coincide with International Women’s Month and International Women’s Day (Friday, March 8), will bring many of these women back together as well as help connect the broader community.


Idella Hansen in Sisters of the Road by Anne Marie Michel


“Friendships and a community has been formed here,” says Michel about Sisters of the Road. “[The women] have been with me as active participants while the project has unfolded. I have always planned to make this photographic work benefit and serve them. But they have been such a support to me in the process too—celebrating the successes with me and telling me to keep my chin up and ‘keep on truckin’’ when things didn’t quite go to plan.” 

Metal prints of Michel’s photography hang inside the trailer, set to music from Long Haul Paul. Women from the book will be in attendance at each stop to answer questions and participate in light programming. For example, FotoFest featured a “Touch a Truck” session to teach gallery viewers about safety on the road. In Little Rock, Michele led a rededication ceremony of the truck stop to honor Idella Hansen.


Debbie Dingo, as featured in Sisters of the Road by Anne Marie Michel

Sisters of the Road and Uber Freight  

The Sisters of the Road trailer itself was s a Powerloop trailer, provided by Uber Freight’s Powerloop team. Powerloop is an innovative take on the trailer pool model, designed to lower the barrier to entry by creating a common pool of trailers for carriers to access. Using Powerloop, carriers can find backhauls more easily and spend less time waiting and log fewer deadhead miles.

Our Uber Freight team also supported the background logistics of the tour. We helped Debbie Dingo find loads to bring from her hometown on the East Coast to the starting line in San Francisco. We also helped the women convoying with Debbie at different points along her route find loads as well. 

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