A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Topic 19008 | Page 7

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A D's Comment
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I'm very glad you're enjoying Cornelius!

Needless to say the adventure continues! We grabbed showers at the main terminal , did laundry, dropped off the truck we were delivering, swapped all of our personal stuff over to the trainers regular truck, and developed a deeper understanding as to why drivers hate going into terminals. We then immediately received a load assignment and took off. We are to pick up a trailer in Atlanta, Ga and then grab the load and head for Salt Lake City, Utah. As I'll be driving tonight I went to sleep. I awoke to the truck stopping over and over as my wife and trainer yelled out the window repeatedly attempting to get directions from people. I sat up to find myself in the middle of this MASSIVE rail yard here in Atlanta, Georgia attempting to find our trailer under an absolutely gorgeous sunset. The place is miles long and filled with thousands upon thousands of trailers. As nobody can find the damn thing we are still, at this very moment, driving through rows, upon rows, upon rows of trailers hunting for it as dispatch attempts to obtain more information as to it's actual location.

Thanks for posting Larry. This is helping alot of people. It's always interesting to read different takes and experiences from different people. Please keep sharing with us. Be safe out there.

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.

Larry K.'s Comment
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Things are happening fast now!

6/30/17 4:00 am local

Well, as I have to try and stay awake so as not to mess up my sleep schedule, it seems as good a time as any for an update. We're now sitting in Petaluma, California waiting till 8:00 am for the receiver to unload the frozen chicken we brought them. I'm blown away looking at the times on my own posts and realizing that I was sitting at a rail yard in Atlanta, Ga just 56 hours ago!

So, in that time, we left Atlanta with a load of carpeting that was headed for Salt Lake City. Somewhere outside of New Baden, Illinois we received word that we were going to have to perform a "re-power". We met another team at a truck stop and swapped our trailer full of carpets for their refrigerated trailer full of frozen chicken that was headed for Petaluma, California. Along this route from Atlanta to Petaluma we've: Discovered that Kentucky and southern Illinois are absolutely gorgeous (especially in the early morning hours). My wife dodged storms coming through Nebraska and then, in mid-Nebraska, I took over after dark and drove right through some major thunderstorms between there and Cheyenne, Wyoming. My wife got her first taste of a major downgrade between Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. Played some slots and took showers in Sparks, Nevada. I took over driving right at sunset in Sparks and started my shift by driving Donner Pass, in the dark and through major construction, for the first time, as everyone slept. (Well, technically the trainer stayed awake as far as the weight station and agricultural check point before saying "You've got this. I trust you" and crashing out himself.)

By 1:00 pm local today we'll have come full circle. After we get this load unloaded we'll run to have the trailer washed/sanitized and then well be picking up a load of Foster Farms in, of all places, Salinas, California! We'll immediately take that load and head back to Tennessee.

It's been one crazy (and exhausting) week!

Larry K.'s Comment
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Can I type from the passenger seat while moving?

7/10/17 11:30 Eastern

Since it's been ten days since my last update, let's find out! So we have now crossed the country five times and are about a third of the way on our sixth. In addition we've spent a great deal of time running loads around and throughout the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. My wife and I logged 7008 miles in one seven day stretch and are now two thirds of the way through our required training hours. Incidentally, we're currently on a training salary but had we have been on miles we would have been paid for 7930 miles that week simply because of the way in which the loads fell and were submitted! We expect to be going in for our upgrade testing in about ten days or so and anticpate passing and receiving our own truck without issue.

So what have we been doing the past ten days? Well, aside from laying down a ton of miles, we've enjoyed several trucking perks and are still having one hell of an adventure! We picked up a load of lettuce in Salinas, that put us at a gross weight of around 77,500, and hauled it to just outside Nashville, Tennessee. We then hauled frozen chicken back to Los Angeles. Then it was miscellaneous refrigerated items to Gordonsville, Virginia. That was followed by a couple short runs, one of which was a light load of Amazon products and the other was 44,409 lbs of magazines that were fresh off the press. We're now hauling fiber optic cabling of some sort from Georgia to Salt Lake City, Utah and are, at this very moment, about to cross the border from Illinois into St. Louis, Missouri. We'll be stopping in about fifteen minutes and I'll drive the night away.

We've stopped in Morristown, Tennessee and had a wonderful afternoon and evening with our trainers family in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. We were able to stop in Huntersville, North Carolina and spend an evening with my wife's parents, who we hadn't seen in three years. Every time the truck stops it seems the folks around us are speaking with a different accent. We've gotten to peek behind the curtain of numerous industries, having seen the inside of massive Amazon distribution centers, huge printing operations, chicken processing facilities and refrigerated distribution centers.

That's all for now, time to drive!

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

Larry K.'s Comment
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Training Nearly Complete!

Monday, July 17th - Hutchins, Tx - 4:30am local

Almost exactly one week since my last update and, as it turns out, I've got some time to burn. We've now crossed the country about seven and a half times and are on the very tail end of our training. We each need about two more shifts and we'll have met all the necessary training requirements and will be dropped at the main terminal in Chattanooga, probably Thursday, to begin final testing. After that we'll be assigned our own truck and will be given a load to our home area where we'll take about six days of much needed home time, outfit our new truck, and finally be able to get our dog! From there we'll be on our own! As much as we love our trainer we are SOOO ready to be on our own and develop our own routine! My intention will be to keep this thread running well into the first year of our driving, though posts will likely become less frequent. I'll be posting details on the upgrade testing, which I think will be valuable, and I want the thread to reflect such things as wether we get the miles and make the money we anticipated when initially planning all this. Our trainer assures us that we will be getting the same kinda loads and miles after we upgrade as we've gotten during training and we have learned that it was no accident that he was designated as our trainer. Apparently we are being groomed to run precisely as we have been and will run a lot of refrigerated loads with some high-security and high-value dry van loads thrown in here and there. Ironically it doesn't seem as though we'll being doing much hazmat. If that all proves true then we should find ourselves actually doing better financially during the first few months than we had anticipated, but I'll be sure to report how it actually pans out.

So, what have we done the past week? Honestly, it's beginning to blur together to the point that I now have to pull out my logs and remind myself! We finished that load into Salt Lake City and then grabbed a refrigerated trailer and headed up to Logan, Utah to make the first of two cheese pick-ups. The drive up to Logan is absolutely gorgeous! As seems to be all to commonly the case, we got a little tied up at the shipper in Logan due to not having the correct pick-up numbers and then proceeded to Fillmore, Utah for the second cheese pick-up. In Fillmore we again discovered we had not been given the correct pick-up numbers by dispatch and ended up spending the night as it got worked out. No matter, it was a beautiful place to stop and the weather was perfect for a change. (Apparently this is a new account and actually belongs to a sister company, hence the confusion on the numbers.) We finally got out of there and delivered in Pomona, California. From Pomona we picked up a load of organic produce in Colton, Ca and delivered to a Walmart distribution center in Shelbyville, Tennessee. From Shelbyville we departed for La Vergne, Tennessee where we picked up a UPS load and delivered in Irving, Texas about 8 hours ago. We now have a pre-plan to pickup a FedEx load in Fort Worth, Tx and deliver it on the north side of Chicago, unfortunately, we discovered a blown hub seal upon arriving in Irving. We're now sitting here at a terminal in Hutchins, Texas waiting on the shop to open in order to have it replaced. As it should be a quick fix, we anticipate being able to make our pickup and head to Chicago but we'll see here in about an hour or two. After that we'll likely get a load heading back to Tennessee and will complete our training and be dropped off to test out.

So that's it guys. For those following along, I'll be sure to give a detailed account as to what is involved in the whole testing out and upgrade process as well as the process of being issued a truck. Stay tuned!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Larry K.'s Comment
member avatar

An overdue update!

On our first home time - California - August 1st

A lot to report here over the past couple weeks! I'll do my best to cover the portions that would be pertinent to those seeking to go down this road themselves. We got out of Hutchins and finished our run to Libertyville, Illinois. From there we received the final load of our training that had us arriving at the main terminal in Tennessee on the evening of Wednesday, July 19th. Our trainer got us checked into the hotel and met us at the terminal the following morning where we checked in for our upgrade testing. My wife literally cried while saying goodbye to our trainer, something I find amazing as, from all the stories we'd been told, we should have been celebrating the end of multiple weeks of hell. Upon checking in the office lady noticed that my wife looked absolutely beat and gave us the option of beginning our four day upgrade process on Friday the 21'st...we elected to take that option. We put the morning to good use by taking the time to meet our fleet managers in person and then proceeded to the hotel to catch up on some much needed sleep.

Upgrade testing

Upgrade testing turned out to be more training than it was testing. The trainers were a combination of individuals who ran the yard and were dedicated trainers, and OTR trainers who were filling in as yard trainers while in the terminal for various reasons. Once again I have to say that we were thoroughly impressed first and foremost by the people. Everyone at this company actually seems to give a damn! From the ex-drill seargent dedicated trainers, to the OTR drivers who got stuck having to train us green peas, everyone was great! We spent three days in a training yard where we learned maneuvers such as the 180˚ back. This is simply a maneuver in which you begin with a line of barrels along the drivers side of the vehicle and must back untill your tandems reach the last barrel, pivot 180˚ around that barrel, and end up facing the other direction with the barrels again on the drivers side. I actually found this maneuver rather fun as it was something completely new. We also practiced maneuvers ranging from basic turns, to offset lane changes, to 45˚ alley docks. Day three was spent on final testing. In order to test out of the yard we had to perform four 45˚ alley docks between trailers, in succession, within one hour. Of course this must be performed without hitting barrels, trailers, or having to be stopped by a trainer for any safety reason. I knocked mine out without any issue whatsoever. My wife suffered a bit of test anxiety and initially had to stop and go sit down to calm herself. She had spent the past four weeks doing this everyday and was good enough that she'd been parking in spots so tight that you couldn't walk between the trailers once we were parked, but nerves got the better of her. Once she calmed down she hammered out her four without issue. The culmination of this testing was essentially our successful upgrade as the following morning was simply spent in a classroom going over everything from payroll to company policies.

Upgrade to our Upgrade

We not only lucked out by having a great trainer but lucked out in that he is one of the few dedicated reefer trainers within the company and has an excellent reputation. In addition he was going to bat for us in a big way and singing our praises to our fleet managers and company management. Throughout training we came to the conclusion that we wanted to remain running the semi-dedicated refrigerated runs that we'd been running with our trainer. (This will involve coast-to-coast reefer runs with numerous dry-van runs, of all types, thrown in as necessary to get us back to a coast-to-coast reefer run.) It was explained to us that after our initial upgrade we'd be required to put in a minimum of six months before we'd qualify to upgrade to reefer. As it turned out we were invited to take the reefer class, and go through the necessary interviews, immediately after lunch on our fourth day. We did so and ended up being upgraded to semi-dedicated reefer, and coded as such in the system, within four hours of being upgraded to drivers! This was all being done as other members of our upgrade class gave us dirty looks and were clearly wondering how we managed to pull it off!

Truck assignment

As the latter part of our upgrade was happening our trainer was flown to California to pick up a truck and a student. As it turned out the truck he was bringing back was cherry. It's an exceptionally clean 10 spd Freightliner with 120k and a direct tv system and inverter pre-installed. He went to bat for us again and we ended up with a hand-picked truck!

First runs on our own

Our first run was a dry-van of Little Debbie's which departed Tennessee and delivered in Kingman, Az. (The folks at Little Debbie's offered us a job! Lol!) We delivered several hours early and without issue. The second was an Amazon load from Arizona to Tracy, California. Amazon loaded us 6000lbs overweight on our tandems (when set at Ca limit) but after a five hour re-work we also delivered that load without a hitch.

Home Time

We're now on home time till Fri 8/4. We're outfitting the truck for the long term and have installed a CB as well as obtaining a Mack-daddy custom mattress. We'll also be adding a 12volt cooler prior to taking off again.

As always, wish us luck!

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.

OTR:

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.

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".

Fleet Manager:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Cornelius A.'s Comment
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dancing.gifdancing.gifdancing.gifdancing.gifdancing.gif

Congrats guys..... I will love to see pictures of your pimped up home lol

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