The Adventures of Daniel B.

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Troubador222's Comment
member avatar

11/16

Current load: Florence, SC to Rochelle, IL - 899 miles plus 180 deadhead miles. Total weight- 73,000

I have 10 more days on the road before hometime. I sure can't wait! I've been very slow lately and it's just making the days seem longer.

I woke up today and did all the morning things. I woke up and it was extremely foggy outside, I was in no rush to start driving so I took my time. I put my tandems at the 40' mark yesterday, today I woke up and put them on the 41' mark because that's the maximum allowed in the states I'm driving through. I reweighed myself and it looks a slightly better. My drive axles are now 29,380 and my trailer tandems are 31620. That's as close to even as I can get.

The fog has cleared and I think I'm ready to start driving. I fuel at the Pilot but only 50 gallons since that was the maximum my Qualcomm told me to get. Once again, I'm in no hurry because my load has all the time in the world to deliver. I start driving and make a stop at Abbots Farms in SC. They had a small area for truck parking and traffic made it slightly difficult to get in there. I had to run a curb. They had fireworks too but I can't buy any of that. Since basically every firework is illegal in CA unless its one of those boring ones made for a preteen. CA residents have no idea what a real firework is. I hate living in CA.

Anyways where was I? I bought a jar of organic, non flavored, pure honey for my wife's mom. It was honey but in the center of the jar it still had that bees wax in it. That bees wax is so delicious. You haven't lived if you haven't tried it before. She will love it!

I continued driving 25 miles to my next fuel stop and filled up about 75 gallons to top myself off. I spent about 12 minutes fueling today in total. I have a chat with a local tanker trucker, well he talked to me first. I spent about 20 minutes at this fuel stop in total and I was on my way. I kept driving through the mountains and the sharp curves. I hate having a trailer where the product is stacked all the way to the roof. It feels like it wants to flip over at every single curve and turn even though I'm well below the speed limit. On those curves the speed limit was 50 I was going about 45mph. I got passed by a US Express driver and he must have been going 60 because he passed me just as quickly as a FedEx or UPS driver does - except FedEx and UPS travel at 75mph not 60. 15 miles later that US Express driver has a cop behind him. I didnt let him pressure me into speeding and risking me flipping over. Take your time folks, it'll save your wallet and maybe your career/life. The load that I'm under you have absolutely got to take turns and curves very slowly, it will easily flip if you don't.

I drove about 337 miles today. My day started at 0900 and ended at 1800. I was in no hurry because this load has three days on it. Three days to do 800 miles. I will wake up tomorrow whenever I feel like it and drive whenever I feel like it. There's no chance I can drop it, I already asked. I miss my old dispatcher so much!

I'm very worried if ill make it home on time. I deliver in Louisville, KY on the 19th and ill be ready for a load on the 20th. That's 6 days to get from Ky to Ca which is roughly 2600 miles. I honestly don't think ill make it home on time for Thanksgiving. And if I don't, I promise ill stay away from TT that day because I'm going to be so angry that I won't be home with my wife. That's the only day she has off that week and I won't be a happy driver if I miss it. Combine that with firing my DM I won't be happy with my company.

I gave dispatch a friendly reminder today of my hometime and they said they are working on getting me home. We'll see how that goes. I am honestly doubting them because I don't see me going from Ky to Ca in 6 days unless its just a 2600 mile straight shot load. With deliveries in between I'm inclined to doubt I will make it. But I have to try to trust them which is very hard to do.

I would like to include my hours for the past 8 days:

11/09: 123 miles driven. 2 hours 28 minutes worked

11/10: 0 miles driven. 0 hours worked

11/11: 176 miles driven. 4 hours and 15 minutes worked

11/12: 503 miles driven. 9 hours and 15 minutes worked

11/13: 157 miles driven. 3 hours and 45 minutes worked

11/14: 315 miles driven. 6 hours and 37 minutes worked

11/15: 205 miles driven. 4 hours worked

11/16: 337 miles driven. 6 hours and 30 minutes worked

This last week I have only done about 1500 miles. Disappointing.

Ouch. Low miles. That is my biggest fear about going solo and something I have been preparing myself for. Once I start with Werner, if they do that to me........ I wont be able to stay long. We had a great FM , (at your company they are DM's) at CRST. He was younger than my kids, but was just so easy to work with and really cared about his drivers. I read where your's was fired. Tough break. I see you are planning a move to Prime.

Deadhead:

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

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".

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

Fm:

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
This last week I have only done about 1500 miles. Disappointing.

Yeah, with the transition to a new dispatcher and the holiday around the corner it's hard to say what the cause of such horrendous miles might be. But you're going to be moving on to Prime soon enough anyhow, so no biggie.

Anytime I struggled to get miles I would talk to the other drivers at my company anytime I saw them. The majority of the time if I wasn't getting miles nobody was getting miles. You get those slow pockets every so often.

Change is the only constant in trucking. You really have to enjoy it when things are going well because soon enough they'll switch dispatchers, change their logistics software, turn in your truck, or God knows what and things will be thrown into chaos like they are for you now....or the lack of chaos with only 1500 miles in a week. Bummer!

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

This last week I have only done about 1500 miles. Disappointing.

double-quotes-end.png

Yeah, with the transition to a new dispatcher and the holiday around the corner it's hard to say what the cause of such horrendous miles might be. But you're going to be moving on to Prime soon enough anyhow, so no biggie.

Anytime I struggled to get miles I would talk to the other drivers at my company anytime I saw them. The majority of the time if I wasn't getting miles nobody was getting miles. You get those slow pockets every so often.

Change is the only constant in trucking. You really have to enjoy it when things are going well because soon enough they'll switch dispatchers, change their logistics software, turn in your truck, or God knows what and things will be thrown into chaos like they are for you now....or the lack of chaos with only 1500 miles in a week. Bummer!

Very true. I think the low miles are mainly due to the dispatcher switch. But the time of year isn't helping and they're trying to route me home and whenever they do that it's always a slow week. I had my laptops ac adapter stop charging my laptop a week ago and it's been absolute hell since then because I have nothing to do at all.

My last week with my great dispatcher my paycheck came out to 3634 miles. So it's such a sudden drop in mileage. One week I was super busy putting in 580-640 mile days every day and then all of a sudden it's 200 miles per day average. But like you said, and like we preach, trucking is so inconsistent especially with the miles because there are so many factors to consider.

Ill be going home soon and after that hometime I will stay out another 6 weeks and that's the last time I'm staying out with Central. So I only have one more voyage to do.

I really like doing this journal. It puts in perspective everything that we teach about. What we say to people we also go through it ourselves. I just wish my days were more productive.

Folks, if there's anything you think that would make my journal entries a better learning experience for you then please reply and let me know. If there's any questions you have please reply and ask. I'm not doing this for myself, I'm doing it for you guys so if it can be better and you have a way to make it better please speak up.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Daniel sorry your going through all this, but I remember you warning me of this very thing during breakfast.....Sure hope that didn't jink you....I'm also praying you'll be home to your family for Thanksgiving. It looks like I won't be home either so I do share those emotions with you.....And your right, your light at the end of Central's Tunnel is getting much brighter.....Stay safe my friend...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel, I had a question about your deadhead miles. I know you are driving without a load, or just an empty trailer. But are you getting paid for those miles? Seems to me there should be a provision for that which would be similar to detention pay. You can elaborate on it as I do not have any idea what I am talking about. embarrassed.gif

Deadhead:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I would imagine he is getting paid for them. Based on what I have seen of the companies that have had recruiters visit the school I am attending all stated they pay deadhead miles.

It is an important question to ask your recruiter though, just to be safe.

And Daniel, thanks for all the updates. I went most of the week without Internet so it took me a bit to catch up. Sorry about the bumps in the road you have been facing my friend. But if anyone can handle them professionally I know it's you!

Woody

Deadhead:

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

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel, I had a question about your deadhead miles. I know you are driving without a load, or just an empty trailer. But are you getting paid for those miles? Seems to me there should be a provision for that which would be similar to detention pay. You can elaborate on it as I do not have any idea what I am talking about. embarrassed.gif

Yes, pretty much every company pays for deadhead miles. Deadhead miles are miles you drive with no freight in the trailer.

Detention pay is basically pay you receive for being held at a shipper or receiver too long. A shipper can't take 10 hours to load you, they need to take 2 hours maximum. So if my appointment is 8am they have until 10am to finish. If they don't they will start being charged detention pay. Every hour after 10am you get paid.

So if my appointment is at 4pm and they finish me at 10pm that means I get 4 hours of detention pay. 4pm to 6pm is their window to finish me. After 6pm I get paid.

Another example. If my appointment time is at 5am and they finish at 8am that means I get 1 hour of detention pay. 5am to 7am is their window to finish me. After the second hour I get paid.

If they finish before the second hour then I obviously don't qualify for detention pay. I hope this makes sense.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

11/17

Current load: Florence, SC to Rochelle, IL - 899 miles plus 180 deadhead miles. Total weight- 73,000

Wow. That's all I can say. I've had the scariest experience today of my entire trucking career. I've never driven with my hands shaking and my heart pounding uncontrollably.

I woke up at about 0800. Did all the morning things and started driving at 0900. I looked at my atlas today just to verify my route. I started driving and KY was constant rain storms. It was pretty bad at some points but it was fine. No complaints. I got some experience going downhills with no jake brakes which was needed. In the summer time you're constantly using the jake brakes and when winter comes around its difficult to transition. You become so addicted and so used to always using the jake brakes so today was just a day where I got caught up in forgetting that the jake brakes exist. I needed that practice. All is good.

I take a 30 minute break after 3 hours of driving. I'm in no rush today I have all the time in the world unfortunately. I start driving and it's still rainstorm after rainstorm. I stopped at a Loves to use their microwave. I was seriously craving some hot chili on a cold winter day. I totally had forgotten that I'm wearing tennis shoes and its pouring rain outside. Needless to say I got my shoes and socks soaked in water almost immediately. It was more like a slap in the face more than anything else. So I jumped back in the truck and took off my shoes and socks and they were dripping wet. Dried my feet and put on my boots. I left the socks and shoes by my bump heater so they can dry up.

I continue driving after eating my man-food. Once again nothing but storm after storm. Sometimes it cleared but only for a few miles.

I'm heading to IL, or at least trying to. And as always I'm listening to my Christian music, but I just got a tornado warning from dispatch for IL. So I switch the stations to try and hear what's going on. At this time I'm in IN. Not too far from IL. I also find out that its not just IL that's being tarnished my tornadoes - it's also IN.

Apparently, the tornado is in my path. It touched down and crossed the interstate on 65 and that's exactly where I'm headed. I'm keeping track of the radio warning constantly. I need to know what's going on.

Well, I've never driven in anything so scary in my life. I wasn't too far from it and at this point I'm shutting down. It's no longer safe means I'm no longer driving. Except now I'm just trying to make it to the truck stop. Notice I said 'trying'.

truckers view of the open road driving into a storm

I'm hearing on the radio that there's plenty of overturned semi's. I'm not going to play with this storm. But each inch gets worse and worse.

truckers view driving into a storm

Obviously it's pretty hard rain at this point but I think ill make it. I'm so close to my stop.

Out of no where, I fade away into a nightmare instantly. One foot I was in light rain, the next foot I was hanging onto the steering wheel with all I got. That's not an exaggeration or sarcasm, it really happened that fast.

What little visibility I had left, all I could see was brake lights in front of me. I was slowly down preparing as if the traffic in front of me is at a stand still. I really can't tell if they are. But I slow long down and got my flashers on. The rain turned to hail and the rain got so intense it made a fool out of my windshield wipers. They were almost useless. I could not see a thing in front of me. Not even kidding, my visibility was probably two cars length in front of me. The wind started blowing at a force I've never felt before.

I literally could see the wind blowing across the interstate, firmly grasping small debris and throwing it around the place. The wind was so powerful the steering wheel became hard to handle. I could hardly see anything and on top of that my trailer felt like its going to go down.

I wasn't going to travel an inch more. This is way too dangerous. I glanced to my right and found no one there. So I took the exit to get off the interstate and run away from this storm. Yeah, I kinda took the exit late because I wasn't really planning on editing and I had no idea what was on this exit or whether or not it was a truck route or not. Honestly, I didnt care. My life's in danger and I really don't care if I go on a road I'm not supposed to be on. I turned right, which was away from the storm, and figured out a way to get back onto a different interstate. I had to make one sharp turn and I was traveling 25 in a 55 but the wind was still bad. But it was getting better the further away I got from it.

I took a right and went over an overpass and I saw debris all over the ground. I saw a small tree laying on the ground. One lane was closed because a big tree was blocking it. I went around it and went the complete opposite direction that I'm supposed to go. At this point I don't care about appointment times, I don't care about my wasting my clock traveling on upside miles. Nope, I seemed shelter and that was it.

truckers view driving into a storm

I finally got my a different truck stop. I got the last parking spot but it was a tight one. Very tight spot. I pulled up 6 times and the guy is staring at my trailer ready to sound his air horn for me to stop. I did 390 miles today.

Deadhead:

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

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Tracey K.'s Comment
member avatar

I was just thinking about you and saying my prayers for you when I saw the weather in KY. Thank you Jesus!

Listen to what God is telling you today. Like I said Daniel, you are special. God has chosen you to do great things.

Today is His lesson for you in BEING a truck driver. He's a great teacher and you Daniel are a wonderful student.

May God continue to bless you.

Now Thanksgiving has a new meaning. Pass it on.

I am thankful that you my friend are safe.

I pray as always for traveling mercies for ALL drivers.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Wow Daniel, Great news you got to a safe spot.....I saw on the news tonight a dash cam from a police cruiser somewhere that captured a big rig get blown over in weather like you are in. Your in my prayers my friend. And Tracy is very right, This Thanksgiving now has a new meaning. Sit tight till it's safe.....

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