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The Adventures of Daniel B.

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Ernie S. (AKA Old Salty D's Comment
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This 55mph business will definitely take some time getting used to. I used to be the one passing people, now I can't even pass a turtle. It is much less stressful though.

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Yeah, and nobody likes being passed by a Prime truck. It's like an insult to their manhood or something. They'll be playing on their phone or whatever, not realizing they've slowed down, then as soon as they see that they're being passed by a Prime truck they speed up. It's a wake-up call that they need to pay attention to what they're doing.

This is one Prime truck that passes folks all the time.

Ernie

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

1/18

Current Load: Victorville, CA to Hayward, CA then Sacramento, CA. Total Weight- 78,000.

My first heavy load! The BoL for this load weighed in at roughly 48,000lb.

I wake up in the morning at 0500. I set my PTA to 0500 in hopes of getting a load quickly and getting to work. That didn't happen. I ended up waking up without a load at 0900. I was on the side of the street so it was very peaceful!

I sent a message to dispatch asking for a next load. My DM replied "I have you available, just waiting on planner to find you a load. Nice job on delivering a day early."

That made my day! Its day 3 now and my DM is already complimenting me. (blush)

My relationship with my DM is going perfect right now. He is sending me home for a day to pick up the rest of my stuff, which I am super grateful for. I did him a few favors in return. Its a perfect give and take. He told me before I left the terminal that he thinks I'm going to be a great driver for him, so it seems he has high hopes for me. And I don't intend to disappoint.

Well, I was on the side of the road with nothing near me. I also needed to go to the restroom so I put myself on Off-Duty Driving and drive to a Kmart a few miles away. I bought a few supplies and a broom to sweep out my trailer if a washout wasn't nearby. As I was driving away from the Kmart parking lot, I noticed that my red air line was loose and almost dragging on the pavement. I immediately parked and noticed that the plastic holder that holds the three lines is loose. So I went inside the Kmart and bought a plyer and tightened the bolt myself.

I then get my next load. A pickup in Victorville and two deliveres. My DM also tells me that my shipper has too many Prime trailer and to bobtail. Never heard that before but okay. He tells me to drop the trailer at the Walmart D/C in Colton. Which is about 5 miles from my location right now. Thing is, this D/C loads produce - so the trailer must be washed out. I'd rather sweep but rules are rules.

I found a trailer washout 15 miles from my location and drove there. Was a super small truck wash facility and no one spoke English. Surprisingly, they had a corporate account with Prime. So I was in an out!

There was a TA 5 miles from my location to fuel the reefer. So I call the fuel department and ask them to open the fuel location for me. They did and I was on my way. I fueled the reefer and was on my way. There was almost an accident at the fuel island. The driver in front of me was driving forward and was inches from swiping the right fuel island. No words....

Trailer fully fueled and washed out, good to go! I arrive at the Walmart D/C and leave about 30 minutes later. The mjaority of that time was spent waiting for them to inspect my trailer. I communicate to my DM that the trailer was dropped fully fueled and washed out.

I then bobtailed about an hour to my shipper. The appointment time was the next day at 0800 but I was set to arrive at 1400 the day before. Pushing my luck but we'll see.

I arrive at my shipper and whatta know! The trailer is preloaded and ready to go! I look at the BoL and it says 48,000k. Just near crapped my pants. Never had a load even close to that before! This load had 65 pallets also.

Something just doesn't seem right. The tandems are slid all the way back and I'm not reading much weight on my drives. Not good! I use the facilities scale and it tells me that my drives are 27k and my trailers are 37k. I knew it! The scale was really small and it was almost impossible to get aligned with it to measure your trailer tandems. So I pulled forward and backed up onto the scale to measure my trailer tandems. Apparently, that messed up the scale ticket so when I went inside the office to show them the scale ticket read funny. They told me that they are closing in 20 minutes and told me to go to the Pilot 20 miles away and scale my load.

So I go to the Pilot. Barely get there. I swear this truck has no pulling power when the trailer axles have 10k more weight than the drives. I go on the CAT scale and go inside for my ticket. My comdata card is getting declined, this is the third time! So I just paid with cash. I communicate to my DM my weight issues. I'm at the 40' mark and my trailer axle is weighing in at roughly 37,5K. He calls me on his personal cell phone about it and we talked for a few minutes about it. Nothing important.

Since my shipper is closed for the day. I now have to sit for the rest of the day and come back tomorrow at 0500 to get it reworked. I sit down and call Ernie and we chit chat. Then I took a long shower with my last Pilot point. I thought about my load and figured that I better park onsite at the facility so that I won't be forced to start my clock tomorrow morning.

So I drive back to the shipper in the dark and park with a few other trucks on a dirt road.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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".

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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1/19

Current Load: Victorville, CA to Hayward, CA then Sacramento, CA. Total Weight- 78,000.

I wake up at 0430 right when the employees are coming into work. I pull up to the guard shack and am first in line. Damn, I'm quick!

They immediately give me a door and I back into it at roughly 0500. I wake up at 0900 and still a red light. My trailer is empty, I can tell because of my Right Weigh gauge.

A few hours later I get my BoL and the load looks to be legal. I adjusted the weight and was confident I was good to go.

Lets step back and take a second to think about my decision to park at the shipper.

I parked at the shipper and docked without starting my clock. So by the time I got my BoL I had full hours to work with. But let's say I didn't.

Lets say I was at the Pilot and left the Pilot at 0430 and got there at 0500. I left the shipper at 1100. So if I decided to stay at the Pilot I would have started my clock, and by the time I got my bills, I would have a total of 5 1/5 hours off of my 14 hour clock. In other words, I would be screwed! Folks, that's what separates a bad driver from a great driver, a rookie from a pro. You need to always be on your toes. One wrong decision can ruin your day like in this case. Think about how you can get the advantage and make your life easier. In this case I decided that it would be best to park on a dirt road rather than the comfort and security of the Pilot truck stop. You need to be clever. I'm not boasting or bragging, this is more like a lesson from my adventures that you can take with you.

Anyways, I head on down the road and scale my load at a different Pilot. This one has Subway and I am pretty hungry. But like always, the Subways at Pilots/Flying J's suck and don't honor the monthly promotion. I'm not buying a sandwich for 8$. I'll take my business to Love's instead. I scale the load with cash because my stupid card won't work and my weights are good.

I hit the road and drive until my fuel stop which was 320 miles away. Getting used to this 55mph business and my MPG is looking stellar. 8.25 this entire trip even with a heavy load and the steep grades along the state routes.

I chat with our very own Pat from Roehl. Had a good conversation with him for about an hour. I arrive at my first delivery in Hayward and find a parking spot. The entire trip my internet was terrible so I called my wife and asked her if she can Google Earth my delivery facility and see if theres truck parking onsite. She informed me that there's a bunch of trucks parked on the street! Awesome, got to love having a helper! I would have parked at a truck stop along the way but since there's truck parking at the delivery facility then I might as well just drive all the way there. I get there 11 hours before my appointment time!

Another on time delivery with above 8MPG. I'm killin it here at Prime!

Tomorrow I deliver at 0500 then I'll stop by a get a truck wash at a Blue Beacon. This is going to be my first truck wash ever. I'm too cheap to buy them myself. Dear Prime, thank you for providing your drivers with a truck wash every 2 weeks. I wish Central was awesome enough to provide their drivers with a wash every so often. After my wash then I deliver to a facility in my hometime of Sacramento, CA. I'm familiar with the neighborhood that I'll be in. My old friends live just an exit away!

After I delivery then I spend the day at home. Thank you to my DM for routing me home so I can "get my stuff".

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.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Last night I parked in La Grande, OR. Located within mountains and not far from Cabbage Hill (a 6% grade for 6 miles).

The roads were dry and as far as I knew, tomorrow won't be so bad. So I went to bed!

I wake up before the sun comes up and take a nice, hour long hot shower. It's been cold lately and the hot water felt extra nice this time. As I walk to the Flying J the weather seems to be nice and I'm thankful for a potentially good day.

Why do I say that it's a potentially good day? Well, the weather doesn't seem to be a problem and I'm going to be meeting up with Starcars husband Bill this morning and hopefully she will come along too. It's always fun to spend an hour or two chatting with em.

I end my shower and walk back to my truck. I open the door and walk outdoors into snow. It started snowing really badly! No problem, but I get a move on to beat the snow. Last thing I want is a snow packed Cabbage Hill. I swiftly put everything away and get on the road.

The road is pretty icey. Nothing too bad, but definitely not dry. I call Starcar and her husband answers. I let him know I'll be there in a few hours.

I finally get to Cabbage Hill right before the descend. And guess what? Chains required! Great..

So I put on my coat and start to chain up. This cold would be a lot easier if I had an extra layer of fat on me but that's what the extra sweater is for I guess.

I get chained up and before I hit the downhill I put my hands right on my bunk heater vent to warm them up. Brrr!

I head down the hill no problem. Averaging about 10 mph during the entire descend. I gradually and eventually get to the bottom.

Did it take a while? Yes. Did I arrive safe? Yes. Mission accomplished.

I get to the chain off area and take off my chains. I have super singles and the extra thick super single chains. I think they weigh more than me.

I get a call from Bill (Starcars husband) and I give him my exact ETA. I arrive pretty close to my ETA with Bill in his car along with his friend.

We have breakfast for two hours and chat. We had a great time! Missed having Lynn around though! Currently, Bill is the only guy I know that's actually older than Old School. I think Bill is in his 70's if I remember correctly. Watch out Bill, Old School is only a year or two behind you and catching up quick!

I hit the road again and the roads are completely dry, in fact the sun in out! I turn on the music and cruise along the interstate. What a great day. Chaining sucked this morning but oh well.

I drive for hours and hours. Each mile just seems to get darker and darker.

Once again, I hit a snowstorm. But this time at Snoqualmie Pass. I get as far as I can until yet again - Chains required.

Now I will admit, by this time I wasn't a happy camper. Chaining once per week is fine. Chaining once per day sucks. But chaining more than once per day is the worse!

It's dark outside and much colder than this morning. But I have to move. I can't take a 10 hour break at this chain up location and my appointment is this night. I really don't want to be late!

I put on my big boy pants again and chain up. Hours later I get to the bottom of the pass and take off my chains. Another hour or two spent driving at mediocre speeds.

But like I said, I really don't want to be late on this load.

So as I drive, I plan a few A, B and C strategies. My 14 hour clock is getting tight.

My delivery location does not allow overnight parking and only allows on site parking 3 hours before appointment time.

My appointment time is 0330. And I'll be arriving at about 2100.

I confirm that I will have no time on my 14 hour clock to find a parking spot if they choose to kick me out. I must get creative!

Time to get creative, I will deliver this load on time I'm so close!

So here's my plan:

I'm going to lie to them and tell them my appointment is at 0030. That way when they see that it's actually 0330 ill act like I had no idea and I showed up 3 hours before my appointment time.

So I get to my delivery location. Security comes knocking on my window and I put my "super nice guy" face on.

I hand him my bills and tell him that my appointment is at 0030. Popping a cute joke here and there and just trying to kiss ass honestly. The guard looks at his paper and tells me that my appointment time is wrong, it's 0330 not 0030.

I profusely apologize and tell him that my Quallcomm shows 0030. I apologized.

He tells me "well alright, I'm going to let you stay here until your appointment time. The policy is only 3 hours before the appointment time but I'll make this one exception. Just next time only come 3 hours before your appointment time not 7 hours."

I thank him and yet again apologize.

Yes, I just lied to him. I'm not a liar in person and I think I'm a good natured person. But my hands were tied. It's either lie or get an HOS violation and deliver this load late. Not going to happen. I have many cards I can play - this time I played the 'Lie' card.

By this point it's been a 14 hour day. Lets not forget the long hours of driving slow and intense concentration on bad roads. As well as the physical fatigue from chaining and unchaining twice.

I pass out faster than I eat my first home cooked meal when I get home for hometime.

Super Singles:

A single, wide wheel substituted for a tandem (two wheel) assembly. The main benefit of a super single is a reduction in weight and lower rolling resistance which provide better fuel economy. The disadvantage is the lack of tire redundancy (or a 'backup tire' in case of a blowout) from which tandem wheels benefit. A tire blowout is more dangerous with a super single and can not be driven on.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I get an aggressive knock on my window. It's probably time to wake up. They are taking me early, 2 hours early in fact. The security guard this time is a female with a strong foreign accent. Probably a Russian. She gave me a door and gave me instructions. As if I understood her, I was so tired and sleepy she was just a blurry talking imagine in my eyes.

Them taking me early is the last thing I wanted for severals reasons:

1. It eliminates all hope for detention pay. Why not have them take forever and get paid to sleep? Especially since I get my hours back at 7am.

2. I must remain on this facility until 7am and that's when I get my hours back. There's a chance they'll kick me out after my delivery. They have multiple signs for no overnight parking.

So I pay a few hundred for the lumper and I back into the dock. All is right so far except my trailer is too low for the dock and the forklift driver cannot get out of my trailer.

I should be sleeping right now but I help him out. We couldn't come up with anything. I am given a different dock and I back into the new dock door. Everything is good and he unloads me. I pay the lumper fee and I'm good to go!

So remember my 14 hour day with all the other stuff I had to do? Well, now I'm at much more than 14 hours with only a few hour nap. This is what we talk about when we say we work a lot more than 70 hours a week. Just today, I've worked for probably 19 hours!

I head back to security expecting to be kicked out. That's the general rule especially when the facility enforces it strictly and puts up many signs about it.

The trailer is inspected as I walk like a zombie back to my truck. The lady walks up to me and says...

"You look so tired, my shift end in an hour. New guard will kick you out when he see you. Here, take this sign and put it on the front of your truck and he won't bother you."

She was foreign so her English wasn't great. Nor do I know about this sign. Was she trying to make me look like I'm a truck that has an appointment later in the day so I have to park early? The meaning of this blue sign that contained a few numbers was a mystery to me.

But what really struck me was how caring and compassionate she was. Here I am, expecting to be kicked out after a wild and long day. I had no Plan B to get out of this. There simply wasn't one to be made.

By that time I just felt like an animal truth be told. A workaholic, a machine - work insanely long hours with no sleep. I wasn't expecting to get another hour of sleep because I'd get kicked out. After all, they don't allow overnight parking. The only parking they allow is 3 hours before appointment.

But this kind, generous and amazing lady went out of her way to let me sleep. Break the rules to allow me to stay on the property so I can rest.

Quite honestly, I was actually speechless when she said that to me. I wasn't expecting that at all. And after 19 hours with terrible weather and chaining up twice, sleep was the only thing I wanted.

I drove through a snowstorm, icey roads, dry roads, and just about every kind of road today. It was a terrible day apart from seeing Bill.

Through all of that, I went to bed with a smile on my face because of that amazing lady. I can't ever recall an employee of a shipper/receiver being that nice to me and actually truly caring for me and showing it. We usually get treated like we're below human by the shippers and receivers ...but this lady.. I will remember this lady for a very very long time.

This was a few days ago but I finally had the chance to post about my day. God bless that lady for single handedly turning an agonizing day into a great day. She touched my heart with her kindness.

Also, to the new folks here. Feel free to check out my entire thread. It's a long thread (maybe the longest?) but if you have the time you will learn a ton! I guarantee you'll enjoy it.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Jimmy P. 's Comment
member avatar

Daniel,

After spending the last to nights after work reading this thread and not studying The High Road training because I had to finish the thread .I just wanted to let you know that your information and insight are so valuable to us new kid's ( I just turned 50) I thank you . You are an awesome young man and I wish more of your generation had your work ethic as well as the compassion and respect you show others !! I know that at some point in the next few months my job will probably be gone and as I have always wanted to drive the " Big Rigs " I will be headed to school and hopefully joining the ranks of the drivers that keep America rolling . Again THANK YOU ! If you ever find yourself in Salem OR. I'll buy you a cup of tea .

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm glad you enjoyed it Jimmy! It is long haha!

I just want to update. I will be posting in this thread once again.

For those who don't know because you weren't around when I started it. This is a thread where I wrote down my day to day events. From start to end and in between. This thread is rich with detail and if you're starting out, you absolutely must read this to see how life is like on the road. I obviously won't be updating every single day because some days are just not worth writing about. I woke up and drove 9 hours isn't exactly headline news. But I will be very active in this thread once again. I urge you folks who are starting out to follow me here. You'll learn a lot. Please note, everything in this thread is my personal tips. It's strictly my opinion and some of my creative ways on how I do things. If you've read on my thread where my DM got fired you'll discover that I really do speak my mind in this thread in a way I don't do in other threads.

I have some awesome material that I will write about tomorrow. Stay tuned!

And if anyone is interested in following me more closely you can find me on FB just search Daniel Babayev. I'm pretty active there as well.

Here's a sneak peak of what's to come:

I trip plan specifically in a way so that I can fit 2 deliveries and then a pickup hours away from my deliveries without running out of hours and risking failed service. I will explain in full detail.

I offer some unique tips on fitness on the road.

I reveal and explain what I call my 8/10 shift. I use it to deliver my tight scheduled load in on time and to get me out of having to night drive! Don't get what I'm talking about? Good... You'll find out soon enough!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Load Info: Kennewick, WA to Omaha, NE. Roughly 1700 miles total. Total Weight: Around 73K but not postive because I didn't scale.

This load was definitely a difficult one. I had to deadhead 200 miles (drive an empty trailer). That's usually fine and dandy except that there was a very bad storm in WA. I started my day in the morning and had to be at my pickup at 1900. Plenty of time right? We'll see.

I don't have much traction considering that I weigh less than a fullsize truck and I'm hauling an empty trailer. That's really what made this trip so dangerous. The night before I had to put on chains to get over Snowqualmie Pass. And I'll be going through it again today - empty.

Anyhow, I arrived at the TA that's right before the mountain incline. The roads started getting really bad. I got off 90 and was heading to the stop sign to make a left turn to go under the interstate and on the road that'll lead me to the TA. Well, stopping on that stop sign was pretty difficult. My tires skid for a few feet but I managed to come to a stop. To my disappointment, I look down and see that the entire road is iced. I mean, its as if someone flooded a cold storage building with water. Its nothing but ice!

I make a left turn and of course I have hardly any traction. I skid slowly halfway through the turn. I straighten myself out and proceed extremely slowly to the TA. I get inside the TA parking lot and try to back into a spot.

Well, this wasn't an easy backing. I had no grip on the road and I was at the mercy of the ice. I setup myself for a backing but everytime I would stop and start to backup my wheels would just spin. Engaging my Differential did nothing in helping me. 10 minutes later, and a few eye balls staring at me. I still cannot manage to get enough traction to backup. Am I seriously going to have to chain up in the middle of a busy TA parking lot? Oh no!

I forfeit all hope of backing up into any of these spots around me. So I drive forward into a different section of the lot. Except now I cannot go forward. I just start to slowly jack knife. I eventually wiggle myself out of my bad situation and use a start downhill in the parking lot to get myself going. I figure that I simply cannot back up right now. So I drive to the back of the parking lot and luckily I find an empty spot I can drive into. Head first, and trailer sticking out - that's the best I can do.

Realize this, If I had freight in my trailer this never would have happened. But since I am empty I literally am ice skating in that parking lot.

I sit in that parking lot for about 2 hours. I am upset. I have a nice load that's about 1700 miles plus it'll pay additional stops and here I am not even able to get to the pickup! At this point I am not in a good mood. But I remain calm in the midst of the agony. I have a decent internet connection, nothing great. But good enough to study the weather. I study the weather on Snowqualmie Pass for the next few days. Here's how it looked:

Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow, Snow.

Clearly, this is the beginning of a shutdown for the pass. I sit in my drivers seat silently thinking to myself. I don't know why, but I have a feeling that I shouldn't be sitting here. Something tells me I should drive.

I study the weather for the cities right after the mountain. This is the question I am asking myself:

If I make it over Snowqualmie Pass, how will it look after I descend the pass? How will it look on the other side? Do I have to put up with 40 miles of a blizzard, or do I have to put up with it all day until my pickup?

I determine that the weather and road conditions are safe after the mountain. I spring into action. I put on my chains tightly, making sure that they are absoutely perfect. No messing around in this weather, need my chains to be on perfectly!

The entire time I am putting on chains, it is freezing rain. My tires are covered in a shiny, thin layer of ice. The top of my hoodie is almost solid from the buildup of ice. I finally get my chains on and warm myself with my bunk heater.

I back out of my spot with no problem. Its amazing how much traction chains give you. I head for the mountain, each mile looks worse and worse.

The pass was awful. I actually have never driven in anything like that in my life. In some spots, there was 6" of snow on the ground. I pulled to the side of the road with all the other cars halfway through to inspect my chains. And I got stuck in the snow. I couldn't drive forward, my chains were just grinding on the ground. I sit there playing tug of war and come to the realization that I'm not going to get out doing what I'm doing.

I need to backup onto the travel lane. So I patitently observe the traffic and find a giant gap between traffic. I quickly backup. As long as I can get my drives on the lane I will be good to go. I engage my Differential and quickly put it in first gear and I start driving with no problem. Thank God for that giant gap in traffic that allowed me to do what I just did. I wasn't going anywhere where I was at.

I take off again and continue driving nonstop for hours. I'm going to summarize this and say that it took me 4 hours to get through Snowqualmie Pass. I was traveling at a rate of about 7 MPH. The conditions were so bad that even cars were required chains. I made it through and took off my chains. I left my cable chains for the trailer on though. My trailer is empty and I don't want to risk it swinging around.

Deadhead:

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

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Why did I go through Snoqualmie Pass in such terrible conditions and with an empty trailer. Well, I don't know. I honestly could have ended up in the ditch easily. But I strongly think that God was there with me during all of it. I don't know why I had the feeling that I needed to drive through but I did. I didn't take any pictures. I was in no position to let go of my death grip on the steering wheel.

So I pickup the load just fine and drive hard to NE. I get to NE and I actually find out that Snoqualmie Pass was shut down later that day right after I drove through it. And that it was shutdown for a few days. I could have sat there for days if I didn't proceed through it.

I receive a preplan that picks up an hour and a half from Omaha. So here's how my schedule looks:

The day before at 6AM 1st delivery

12AM 2st delivery

4AM 3nd delivery

Then a pickup an hour and a half away. I am picking up the load over a day late (gotta love how companies do that). So my schedule for my next load is tight and I will have to night drive.

I absolutely must drive my next load at least a few hours. Its a meat load and demands on time delivery.

So since my first delivery is way before the others I drive to my first delivery the night before its due. I spend the night there. I wake up early in the morning and deliver the load with no hours on my clock. I needed to drive quickly throughout the facility so that it wouldn't put me on Drive status and give me a violation.

I spoke with security and got my dock door. Went to my dock door and broke my seal and backed up into the dock. Easy backing, but then again what isn't easy with this LW truck. It turns like a car. They charge me for a lumper and I pay up.

They finish me up at about 1030. I seal up the trailer and get the seal signed for on the BOL. When all is said and done its about 1130.

So its decision time. Do I drive to Omaha where my last two deliveries are or do I spend the day here and night drive to my deliveries. I call both of my deliveries and non offer on-site parking. So I cannot get there and take a 10 hour rest break. But maybe I can just drive to a truck stop and park there then go to my delivery?

If I drive right now to a truck stop near my deliveries then I'll get there at 1400. That won't work. My appointment is at 12AM and if I get my hours back at 12AM plus I'll have to drive there then I'll be late even if its not by much. I could go there and do a split sleeper berth but the hours I'll get back after 8 hours of consecutive sleeper berth simply won't be enough to handle the workload I have today.

I make the decision to spend the day at my first delivery. I take a nap and clean and make my "Inside my LW truck thread" on TT. That thread was a pain to create haha!

So I need to keep everything tight to maximize my drive time with my next load after I pick it up. Considering that it'll take me about 2.5 hours to drive to my next delivery, I plan to leave at 2130.

I do just that and I arrive at my delivery location 30 minutes before the appointment time. Awesome! I deliver my second delivery and they were a big pain. While I'm being unloaded there's hardly any time to sleep. I plan the local directions for my last delivery and its only 12 miles away. Again, my appointment is at 0400 for my last delivery. When I'm all done with my current delivery its about 0300. I quickly drive away to my last delivery only 12 miles away. I arrive there at 0330 - 30 minutes before the appointment time!

Bullseye! So far I couldn't be doing any better. I walk to the receiving and the door is locked. After pondering around the area I walk into an employee and ask him why its closed. He tells me that receiving gets here at 0400. Wonderful, I have to sit here and wait for them to show up. Now what I wanted but its not groundbreaking.

Me and a few other drivers wait at the receiving door. An employee opens it for us and tells us to wait in this hallway for receiving to get here. Well, we stood there for 30 minutes before receiving finally showed up. They only accepted trucks with Cream cheese loads first. Even though their appointment was at either 0500 or 0600 and mine was before theirs.

That 30 minutes of standing there was just awful. The guy on the right side of my smelled like death. I'm not trying to be mean, but I've smelled farts that smelled much better than he did. Some truckers are disgusting. At about the 20 minute mark I've actually gotten a strong headache from this guy. I asked the guy on the left of me if he can stand back a few feet because "that guy smells badly".

He laughed at moved back, I thanked him. But I can still smell that guy. That guy had such a strong smell to him. A deadly combination of rotting flesh, expired tomatoe, and as if he was dipped by his heels into a container full of concentrated cigaratte smoke in a liquafied form. I would put my money that this pig hasn't taken a shower in at least 3 weeks. He's been a driver for 30 years, he said so when talking with some of the other drivers.

Lord, I am going to be doing this job for a long time. Please do not allow me to forget the values of a good hygene and please don't allow me to become such a smelly person.

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

A few hours later I got out of that place and drove to my pickup. Along the way I found a cattle trailer washout facility that agreed to wash my trailer for 37$. I paid up gladly and then called Prime Fuel Desk to open up the Sapp Bro's a mile down the road from me so I can top off my reefer. My pickup requires the reefer to be full of fuel. I get my receipt from the washout and fueled my reefer. I got to my pickup and its a drop and hook.

All in all, I delivered all three deliveries on time and managed to arrive at my pickup on time as well with still hours to drive! Perfect! Notice how I trip planned everything tightly so that I can still have hours to drive my next load? Its not always wise to arrive at your delivery location hours before the appointment. I hope you gained some knowledge!

My load ends and a new one begins. Thus ending this post and I shall write about my next delivery later. Remember, I'm picking up late and being forced to night drive. But watch how I take advantage of the Split Sleeper Berth to get myself out of night driving. It'll be a good read!

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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