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The Adventures of Daniel B.

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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It's sad that the company will only pay you $20 to unload, but will turn around and cut a check for $188 to the lumpers. But this was the case with pretty much all the companies that had recruiters visit during my schooling.

There's actually a really good reasons for that. They don't want their drivers unloading the freight. They need their drivers to spend every hour they have available either driving or resting if at all possible.

And if a driver were to get hurt working on the docks they'd have a mess on their hands. For one, their down a driver now. For two, they have to recover that truck if he's unable to drive it. And if he's going to miss work, not only are they short a driver but now you're talking worker's comp issues and all kinds of baloney.

So they would much prefer to pay a lumper to do it. The companies get reimbursed for that fee anyhow so it's not really costing them anything.

Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
member avatar
Current load: Kent WA to Puyallup, WA - 17 miles.

Daniel,

You are up in the area that I grew up in. I spent many a day/evening going to the Puyallup Western WA State fair showing my dairy cattle while I was growing up. Fond memories.

Ernie

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Troy V.'s Comment
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This is a great thread and I really enjoy reading it. Drive safe man.

Woody's Comment
member avatar

There's actually a really good reasons for that. They don't want their drivers unloading the freight. They need their drivers to spend every hour they have available either driving or resting if at all possible.

And if a driver were to get hurt working on the docks they'd have a mess on their hands. For one, their down a driver now. For two, they have to recover that truck if he's unable to drive it. And if he's going to miss work, not only are they short a driver but now you're talking worker's comp issues and all kinds of baloney.

So they would much prefer to pay a lumper to do it. The companies get reimbursed for that fee anyhow so it's not really costing them anything.

Thanks Brett, I was actually going to come back and post a couple of those points but got tied up in my woodshop today. I'm glad you beat me to it because you mentioned a couple things I was unaware of.

To me it would seem better for the company to just come out and say we value you too much to take the risk of you being hurt while unloading. Sounds much better smile.gif

Woody

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett, thanks for taking the time to answer that. I love talking about a subject that gets a conversation going!

Ernie, my wife's cousins actually live in Auburn, WA. About 5 miles from where I was located. It's interesting to know that I was in an area with so much history for you.

Troy, I'm glad you're enjoying the thread! I hope you're taking something from it. When I talk about making certain discussion, think to yourself how you would proceed. Put yourself in my shoes and ask yourself what would you do. Situations that happen with me will also happen to you. I think you'll be better prepared by testing yourself, then you can think back to that moment as a reference.

Woody, sorry I couldn't get to you. Busy busy day full of ice.

Tune in tomorrow for today's journal. Sadly I can't take the time to write it right now but I will when I get a chance tomorrow.

Here's some sneak peeks:

I messed up so had to reschedule my pickup.

Lots of inclement weather.

And the big one.

I used the split sleeper berth rule today and will go in full detail how it works and why I used it.

You won't wanna miss this!

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

11/5

Current Load: Othello, WA to Fort Atkinson, WI - 1727 miles + 180 deadhead miles. Total Weight: 78,200.

Before I begin, let me just say that there was one part that was left out of the previous journal entry. This was concerning the local delivery.

The local delivery was a split pickup meaning I'm basically picking up a loaded trailer that a different driver dropped. Well, the trailer he dropped for me was a crappy trailer that was probably as old as Tracey's Lumber truck if not older. (sorry Tracey, I couldn't resist)

It was our infamous 'Rail' trailers. The difference between our normal trailers and our 'Rail' trailers is:

A Rail trailer has a 100 gallon reefer fuel tank. A normal trailer has a 50 gallon fuel tank.

A Rail trailer is much heavier than a normal trailer. I don't know the exact amount, but it is significant.

A Rail trailer is full of rust and after a year with Central, I've learned the hard way that there's always something wrong with them.

So after my delivery, I went back to the drop yard to drop this awful trailer and hook up to the good trailer that I dropped when I picked this up. Sort of like exchanging them again.

I arrived back at the drop yard at 0100 on the 5th. I arrived with the gate locked. Wow, what a bummer. I examined the lock on the gate and I definitely cant lockpick it. I examined the gate itself and came to the conclusion that I can just back up to it with the back of my trailer and knock it down, then get my good trailer and drive away fast before anyone can see me. But after much consideration I decided I probably shouldn't do that.

But nothing is that easy. My appointment for my pickup is at 0800 that morning! What do I do?

A. Just go to my pickup and take my reset there. But then I would have to suffer with this junk trailer for 1800 miles through Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

B. Park at the parking lot in this drop yard and call it a night, then show up very late for my pickup.

Well, this may surprise you. But I parked it at the drop yard. I got a few tricks up my sleeve.

I parked. I then woke up at 0600 when the gate opened and went inside the yard and parked there. My pickup facility opens at 0730. I gave them a call at 0745 and asked to reschedule my pickup.

Tip: Kindness goes a long way into getting what you want. Being a good kiss-ass when you need to be is a huge advantage in this industry.

I gave them a call at 0745 and asked to reschedule my pickup.

I turned up the charm, was extremely polite and picked my words carefully. In the end, they had no problem with me coming in late. I got it rescheduled to exactly what I wanted. At 1230.

1230?? That doesn't make sense!

I parked at 0100. A 10 hour break plus a 3 hour drive = the earliest I can be there is at 1400! Wrong.

I used the split sleeper berth to get there earlier.

If you noticed, I hadn't worked barely anything on the 5th. I started my day, drove 20 miles, delivered, then drove 20 miles back then called it a night.

Split Sleeper Berth - Upon going 8 hours of constant Sleeper Berth, you get the hours back that you had when you just started the sleeper berth time. (This definition was written by me not a copy paste from anything)

So since I hardly worked anything when I went to sleep at 0100. I will be getting a bunch of hours back after that 8 hours of sleeper berth time.

So at 0900 (after 8 hours of sleeper berth), I got back almost maximum hours. Which caused me to be able to start my day two hours earlier than usual.

Example:

I started sleeper berth at 1200 with 10 hours on my 14 hour clock and 9 hours on my 11 hour clock. At 2000 (12pm + 8 hours) I will receive 10 hours on my 14 hour clock and 9 hours on my 11 hour clock.

I started sleeper berth at 0400 with 3 hours on my 14 hour clock and 1 hour on my 11 hour clock. At 1200 (0400 + 8 hours) I will receieve 3 hours on my 14 hour clock and 1 hour on my 11 hour clock. As you can see, its useless to use if you worked a lot the previous shift because you basically don't get anything in return. In this case, its best to just wait another 2 hours to get a full clock back.

That right there is a simple way to define split sleeper berth. The most common mistake that everyone makes is that they assume that they have to then do the 2 hours off-duty. You don't have to include the 2 hours of Off-Duty time after your shift.

Don't. That will just confuse you. A true split sleeper berth is 8 hours sleeper berth then 2 hours off-duty. But you don't have to do the 2 hours off-duty.

During my day, I used the split sleeper berth to get me to my pickup earlier than I would have otherwise. Then I drove my hours out and went to sleep for the night. I never did the 2 hours of off-duty time. I never need to.

Want a full definition of Split Sleeper Berth? Here's mine.

Upon going 8 hours of constant Sleeper Berth, you get the hours back that you had when you just started the sleeper berth time. After you have worked, you then log 2 consecutive hours of Off-Duty and you get a few more hours back.

That's the simplest way to put it. I've done the split sleeper berth many many times. But the best way to do it is to log 8 hours of sleeper berth then work your shift. Then take a 10 hour break. The hours you get back after that 2 hours of Off-Duty is minimal. So just take a 10 hour break instead.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

12/6

Current Load: Othello, WA to Fort Atkinson, WI - 1727 miles + 180 deadhead miles. Total Weight: 78,200.

Continued...

Anyways. I arrived at my shipper at 1220 thanks to the split sleeper berth. I hope I opened a few eyes with that.

They weigh me on their scale before they put me on a dock. I weighed in at 34000 with 3/4 fuel and an empty trailer. I talk to the receiving lady who was super nice. Then I backed up to the dock. This place is a nice break from DC's that don't know what theyre doing.

An hour later I am fully loaded. I install two load locks tightly. I am loaded with 21 pallets of Onions. I park to the side and slide my tandems. I know this is a super heavy load so I give as much weight to my drive axles as possible. I then proceed to their scale and then park. I walk inside and the lady has my bills ready for me to sign. The load weighs 43700 so I know I'm above 77k. She then tells me my weight. And what do ya know! I balanced it perfectly!

I get my paperwork, verify the BoL and do my macros. Then I depart. I drive as much as I could for the day. I had a fuel stop and that took 8 minutes.

It was very cold and the further East I was going the colder it got. My favorite place to stop is at St. Regis in Montana. I90 Exit 33ish. Its the place that advertises the Trout aquariums.

As I finally get into Montana the read worsens. The road becomes icey and it gets dark. The last hour I average about 40 mph. I finally get to my stop and its -8 degrees according to my thermometer.

I then go to sleep without an alarm. I've been night driving and haven't caught up on my sleep. Its been a good day.

P.S.

Guys, sorry I haven't been in the forums all to often. I've kind of been living exclusively in this thread alone. I feel bad about it. But if you must know.

I've been working on two projects separately for this site, not even Brett has this information yet. I won't say what it is, but they're time consuming. They'll be well worth it. Don't try to guess, you'll never get it!

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, that's how you know you've had a rough day! When you mistype the wrong date on BOTH of your threads. I just noticed

Folks, the correct date for both of the threads above is 12/5.

I think this should give you guys an idea of how exhausted and brain dead you can be at the end of the day. sorry.gif

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

12/6

Current Load: Othello, WA to Fort Atkinson, WI - 1727 miles + 180 deadhead miles. Total Weight: 78,200.

I woke up at 0830 after a long night of weird dreams. I put the gel in my fuel tanks and a little bit in my reefer fuel tank. It was very cold at night!

I drained my air tanks and did a pretrip. I went inside my truck shivering from the cold. We Russians are hardy people and very tolerant of the weather, but even this is cold for us.

I started driving at 0900 after a pretrip and it was perfect driving conditions until about 1200. The temperature kept dropping on my thermometer and the road had more and more ice build up. I stopped at a Pilot along the way and bought some fuel gel with my company Comdata card, I used up the entire bottle last night.

After that it was mountain after mountain. Countless steep grades. I took the downhills at about 25 mph. Let the idiots fly past me going 60 mph on ice, see you in the ditch soon.

Finally, the road became a nightmare. Nothing but ice and the pavement wasn't even visible anymore. Everyone slowed down. I was very impressed with the Montana 4 wheelers today. They were all driving safe and yieled to me when I needed. I'm not used to this.

I must admit, this entire time driving I was looking out for any Watkins Shephard trucks on the road. Violently staring at them looking for our very own Epic Beard. I'm sure I'll know it when I see him, you cant miss that beard!

It didn't take long for a long convoy of trucks to build up, all going slow and being safe drivers. We all kept our distance and it was honestly a very good experience. We just wanted to be alive at the end of the day. We let the idiots pass us.

My goal was to get to Billings, MO. The sun went down and I had to drive an hour on the ice to get to Billings. Drove slowly. The mountains were tough and I definately had to be on my A game.

I got to Billings in the evening. I only did 400 miles today but i should make it to my delivery on time still. I'm not a fan of driving on ice in the dark so its best to park it.

I took the turn to go into the Pilot at 10 mph and I slid a few feet during the turn. Very click roads today. The sun was shining down on the ice this afternoon and it made it even more slick.

I saw 2 cars in the ditch. One picking truck lost control and skid and slammed into the side rail. Did pretty bad damage to his Toyota and feel bad for the guy. Both of these happened close to the time when I was passing, I know this because the drivers were still there with the emergency wrecker crew.

At the end of the day I drove about 415 miles. The first half I was going about 60 mph, the second half of my day I was averaging about 40 mph. It was definitely a slow, long, dangerous day. The temperature today was out of control! The entire drive my thermometer showed between -7 to -17. It was usually on -15 but the lowest it got was -20. This was by far the coldest day of my entire trucking career.

After I had written this, I tucked into my bed. I get warm and comfortable when all of a sudden I hear my reefer turn on. Except this time, it chokes and fails to turn on. I immediately know that I won't be sleeping anytime soon. I put on my clothes and quickly go outside and sure enough its flashing codes and the temperature is getting lower and lower inside. I quickly jump into my truck and message Over the Road Maintenance. They ask me a few questions which took almost an hour because they reply once every 15 minutes. Finally, they tell me to prime the reefer.

So I put on two pairs of sweaters, two pairs of socks, sweatpants, beanie, and my gloves. Its about -20 degrees outside and its about 2300. I prime the reefer and it keep pumping as the diesel engine attempts to start right in front of me. Didn't work. I prime it again for a while and attempt to start it after clearing all the codes. I pump it vigorously as its about to start. It started, but its not over. I keep pumping so it will keep going and won't fail again. It finally works!

I cheered and closed the pump and the reefer doors. Then I went inside feeling like a popsicle and finally went to sleep. Just when you think you're day is over it gets worse!

At the end of the day, my truck was filthy from all the salt and slush from the roads. Oh, well. At least its not as bad as Old Schools truck. At least my truck doesn't look like it went through a Tough Mudder course and survived.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

12/7

Current Load: Othello, WA to Fort Atkinson, WI - 1727 miles + 180 deadhead miles. Total Weight: 78,200.

This night was the coldest night in my life. It was well below -15 all night long. Even with my curtains closed, my bunk heater just could not keep up with the cold. I left the bunk heater on full blast ever since I stopped driving and I woke up to my sleeper area being cold. The front was even more cold!

Anyways, I got up and the reefer was working fine. Breathe of relief!

I did my morning things and brewed my tea, I then drove to the fuel island to get some fuel and gel my fuel while I was there. So I get to the island and step outside. My thermometer says its -33 degrees outside.

Bad news, I woke up to the sight of all my mint plants dead. The Montana weather froze them. So I no longer have any herbal plants in my truck ;(

I got to the pump going and then I try to open my fuel cap but can't.

I tried several times with my frozen fingers. Just couldn't do it. I asked a trucker next to me who works for Carlile (the company that does ice road trucking in Alaska). And he told me that there's a lot of moisture in my fuel tanks and the cap is probably frozen in place. He got it opened for me. He was a big guy, you can't expect a 120 pound me to be as strong as a 300 pound guy like him. My manhood was shaken but I was thankful that I can fuel and move on with my day. I spent about 10 minutes fueling and nearly getting frostbite.

I did a pretrip inspection and drained my air tanks, said a short prayer and went on my way. The roads were slippery for the first few hours.

I saw two trucks jack knifed in the ditch, and 4 cars in the ditch as well. One car lost control on a bridge and smashed into the concrete barrier and wrecked the front of their car petty badly. One truck actually hit a group of animals. Honestly, I looked at the bodies and they did not look like deer. They looked like small bears. Needless to say the front of his truck was a mess.

After I got out of Montana the roads were perfect! A break I needed. I went down a short downgrade in Montana today and my trailer skid a little. I felt I lost some control with it and the trailer moved about a foot to the left. I wasn't straight, but it wasn't so bad. It regained traction a few seconds later. Just a slip and grip moment.

I spoke with Tracey our log hauler today. Had a nice chat with the young man.

Also, when I was driving today an oversized load passed me and threw a rock at my truck. The rock hit the side of my mirror and then bounced and hit my small window. Completely shattered it!!! Will post pictures but my Internet isn't good enough right now and hasn't been for a few days now.

Admittedly, I got behind on my load yesterday because of the conditions. I needed to do about 500 miles but I only managed to do 400 miles. So today I played catch up and did 600 miles! So I'm ahead of the schedule.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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