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[RC] XP 04 - Jonni Jewell

Well what advice would you give to us looking for a crew? What kinds of
things did you appreciate, or hate about it? How can we riders help the
crews best. I have never had anyone crew for me. <<<

The XP2001, and XP2004, you need to have a driver / crew. After every days
ride, you are in a new camp. So as the rider heads out on to the trail each
morning, your crew needs to load up, and head on to the next spot. If you
have extra horses, they need to be able to load them in the trailer, and
DRIVE said truck / trailer safely. We had many different types of crews in
2001. Some were family members of the rider, others friends, while others
hired strangers to work for them. One rider hired on a different driver from
the area they were passing through at the time, for a week or two at a time.
At the end of their time frame, the rider gave the crew a ride back to their
home town, and then hired someone local from the next area we were passing
through. This worked well for them, but I am not sure it would work for
every one. Another rider found some college age students, who were off for
the summer, and hired them. It was a great adventure for them, and they
worked hard, and did a great job.

Also, there were different expectations of duties from different riders.
Some just wanted a driver, to haul the rig and other horses to the next
spot, settle the horses in with food and water, and that was it. Others
wanted more help with the horses, and maybe other duties during the ride.
Shopping, laundry, fueling the rig, replenishing the water tanks, dumping
any holding tanks in the camper / living quarters, buying feed etc. etc.
Some wanted the crew to do meals, while other riders did pretty much
everything, AND rode.

I had a great situation, knew my rider and her horses well. I did most of
the care, and also daily chores etc. We did most shopping on days off, and a
trip to Wal-mart actually became a highlight of the day! <grin>  I was
lucky, as we didn't use any portable corrals. We tied the horses to the
trailer the full 8 weeks. I felt sorry for the crews who had huge corral
panels to deal with everyday. Unload and set up, then the next AM, tear down
and put back on the rig just to drive to the next camp, and set them up
again. That was a LOT of work for some of the crews to deal with, and it got
real old, real fast for some of them.

The best thing a rider can do, is communicate with the crew, as to what is
expected up front.  Spending days on the road with someone you know well or
family can be trying at times. Doing so with casual acquaintances, or
friends can end up in squabbles. (heck, married folks squabbled and did not
speak to each other at times <grin>)

What you CAN NOT DO, is show up to a ride like this without someone to at
minimum, drive your rig to the next spot each day.  Management has a lot to
do as it is, and they can not move your rig for you. And unless you are
family, chances of someone doing this for you for free are pretty darn slim.
Plan on housing the crew, and feeding them. If you are not going to do so,
then be sure this is all spelled out in the beginning, so both you and the
crew know what is expected, what the pay and "benefits" will be. (and if I
was a crew for someone I did not know, I would get it in writing)  We had a
few riders who would not even feed their crew/ driver, and were not paying
them either. Thankfully for those crews, usually other riders or crews would
"take them in" and make sure they were fed etc.

A ride like this is a great adventure, for riders and crews. But, it is a
long time on the road, and one must be flexible to go with the flow when
things are not going as you might have envisioned them. You need to work
well with others, as you may need help from another crew one day if you run
out of water, break down or a number of other things that can happen.

I'm sure some of the others from the list can give their thoughts...and may
disagree with some of mine (which is fine LOL) . I am looking forward to
riding in 2004....and we already have our crew lined up! <grin>

Jonni in hot, hot Texas



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