Swift Edwardsville CDL School And My Journey Through OZ.

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MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Next morning we shot right back down to the Edwardsville terminal. Apparently this is something he normally does and it works out in such a way that when we get to L.A. that we start running teams. After picking up the trailer we started to make our way to Laredo. Since he's an owner operator he does things a bit differently and he's very picky about where he stops for fuel (nope, not because he cares aboit the quality bit the cost per gallon). We stop at a Trex for a quick fuel up.

As I reach the end of my 11 hours we stop in Edmond, OK. for the night. Loves lot was full so we ended up in this, what appears to be a locally owned stop. Just after 10 hours we got up, I ate (not sure if he does, he snacks throughout the trip). This is something that is starting to bother me. He always seems to be in a rush when it comes to breaks but then he will tell me to drive slow so I can eat up the clock (since I need 50 hours before We can start running as team). I wonder if he's a robot, I never really see him go off to use the restroom, only see him snack while I'm driving, and see him make a drink about 20 ounces or so last all day. I'm beginning to realize more and more that I would rather chop off all of my limbs than to run teams with someone.We fueled up then made our way to Laredo. We stopped at the terminal for the night and getting a much needed shower.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

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.
MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Caught up to today.

Woke up at our 10 hour mark and started getting around. Of course I want food but since he wants to drag our pace out in such a way that time is extremely tight, I get comments about time. All the time, nagging about few minutes here and there but then he'll tell me to drive slower to burn up the hours. I get it, he's trying to make sure I get my 50 by the time we reach L.A. There's just got to be a better way to manage time. I'm sitting and driving for over 5 our stretches.

Reminds me of back when I worked armored car. The guy I was teamed with asked me not to smoke in the truck with him. Company policy allowed it at the time (not sure if it still does or not since it has been quite some time). Yet, he would always seem annoyed the 2 or 3 times in a 10+ hour period of the day that I'd want to stop and smoke. I usually sucked them down quick enough to make me light headed, just for him because he was always in a rush.

Anyway, we made our way to the destination. Of course there's a line, (see complaint below) and of course it's one of the smallest areas to work with. I'll have to post pictures later when I have time and assuming I remember. I'm sure seasoned drivers can make it look easy. Took me probably 45 minutes (that's what it felt like anyway so that's what I'm going with). Not only did I struggle getting it backed into this tiny yard (of course my getting flustered causes me to make more mistakes causing me to get more flustered, etc.,etc. Then of course the spaces between trailers is super narrow and only had two spaces available for the dock each with trailers on both sides. It's my worst nightmare right here on day 4 out with mentor and only my second shipper dock. Yay me. =(

Finally manage it in there and a little while later they start to unload.

3 hours later we return to the Laredo terminal and drop the empty to pick up a trailer carrying Best Buy stuffs going to California. Burn up most of the rest of the clock and stop at a rest stop for the night in middle of nowhere Texas.

So, we were trying to find the shipper. I see a row of trucks and trailers but GPS says we still had .1 of a mile left. He says there's still some distance that the place probably wasn't it. I pull up, no longer in line. Sure enough that was it. In an area vehicles are constantly going through, making it impossible to just back up. There were no spots to turn around without going way out of the way. So we wait, more trucks pull in in line. Wait some more. Still waiting. He then of course saying he doesn't feel well and lays down in back but he wants me to sit and wait in the driver's seat (the spot I had moved from to be a little more comfortable while we waited) to see when the trucks are gone that I can back up to where the line was.

I hook up my phone and play some iHeart radio. He then decides to talk. I can barely have a conversation because he will start to talk over you.

Sorry, just venting. I could probably nitpick quite a few things. All in all, I suppose it's not too bad. I think it's made more difficult missing family at home and being stuck in a box with someone you might chat with at work but would never actually be friends with. I think team mentoring is a terrible idea after a certain point.

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.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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It seems to be one of those journeys where you get the opposite of what you want. I want a non smoker, I get someone who smokes occasionally (outside the truck thankfully). I hoped for an auto so that I can focus more on the driving while trying to learn, I get a manual. I want a company driver, I get an owner operator. 170 more hours behind the wheel, yay.....

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
G-Town's Comment
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Learning in a manual is actually a good thing. You'll never forget how-to shift, it will come back to you every time.

Once you are in a true "teaming" status, you won't see much of your mentor. I know it's easier said than done, try not to sweat the small stuff.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Learning in a manual is actually a good thing. You'll never forget how-to shift, it will come back to you every time.

Yeah, I saw the silver lining in it. Just like I'm not looking forward to L.A. tomorrow and I think he's planning on running coast to coast so I'm not looking forward to New York if we end up there, either. I'll still tough it out since it'll be good experience.

I'm actually pretty decent, I have moments of slip up, mostly downshifting, but I can recover pretty well with minimal grinding.

Once you are in a true "teaming" status, you won't see much of your mentor. I know it's easier said than done, try not to sweat the small stuff.

I figure that no matter how much I don't like it (it has its positive moments too, so there's that) it could always be worse. I know I have read worse on here.

I'll hit my 50 tomorrow so we'll be going true team by Thursday. He's asked a couple times if I've driven truck before, he's apparently impressed at how well I've been doing.

Today's update will follow shortly, depending on when this gets approved and I get to writing the update.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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It was raining when we woke up in middle of nowhere Texas stop. Started moving through our long journey through Texas and New Mexico. El Paso was interesting looking over the border along I-10. Very colorful houses on the other side. I'd love to come by again when I'm not driving to get a better look. I was fascinated by the fact that there were two cities pressed right up against the border.

The day was pretty uneventful, mostly. We got into it a bit about the fact that he keeps wanting me to drive slow. I don't see a point in going to slow so that we end up having to rush it at the end. I get it, he's trying to burn up the hours so I can get my 50 and we can jump to full team. I just don't see the point of pushing it so close that we may end up late or worse, running out of hours completely. Since he's on the clock with me his 70 is being burned up with mine so neither one of us will be able to drive.

Of course, after the "conversation" ended he would still occasionally bring it up mentioning little things to defend his point. In the end (for whatever reason) he told me to run it hard after we stopped for fuel.

We stopped for our 10 in Tuscon. Our delivery is straight out of Compton. Best Buy DC. 9 in the morning on Thursday. Got some LG T.V.'s to deliver. Not sure if there is a place close by we can shut down for the night and the number we have for them is apparently not useful to see if we can unload tomorrow when we get in or at the very least if they know where we can shut down for the night. We'll get it figured out tomorrow.

Tonight on the other hand, grabbed myself some Subway from the mini truck stop and walked around the building a couple times. Sitting for so long. I also need to find a seat cushion, the seat isn't soft enough for me bum for the day long sitting.

Until tomorrow....

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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Days are really kind of a blur anymore. Wake up, drive, break, drive, sleep, repeat.

Woke up about an hour after the 10 was up. We got on the road and drove. Nothing really to tell.

Maybe some more venting. I may be wrong, who knows. I know I'm not the greatest to get along with. One of the many reasons I wanted to get into trucking. I don't really have to deal with people.

Start off with the fact that this guy is like a broken record. "I'll get us the loads, you'll get your truck. Get it done quick. You'll see". Something along those lines. Says it two to three times a day. If I have a question it seems more like a lecture than an answer. If I question something....lecture. It's not something that gets dropped either. 10 minutes later it's talked on again as he brings up another point on it. Rarely is anything truly informative, I have to eventually piece together what is being said to get a clue as to what he's talking about. A lot of times it's about choosing loads (of which I won't get to be picky about since I'll be company driver). Sometimes he's complaining about something.

Between the frustration of L.A. traffic and listening to him I started getting irritable. He then (he's a backseat driver, sometimes it's useful directions others it's him pointing out an exit, see continued complaint below) tells me to start slowing for an exit and miscommunicates something. Causing me to get off at the wrong exit to have to detour around.

Earlier today I asked if he got a hold of a drop off to see if we could deliver early to which he responded they won't let us. So I used 'trucker path and 'Google map' to look for nearby areas to stop for the night. Had one spot (though, looking at it more later it looked like it was just a parking lot foe a business for trucks and trailers, not really sure). As we got closer he apparently decided and didn't tell me that we were going to go ahead and try to deliver early. To which I got annoyed and even more so when he asked me if the place I found was a place for trucks (before I looked at it with satellite view). I wouldn't have mentioned it if it wasn't. I'm going to look at a place to park that our truck isn't capable of parking at (see continued complaint #2). After not being informed of the sudden change of plans and the question I got annoyed again and complained about the sudden change of plans and not being informed. He goes into some shtick about how I'm just in it for the hours (not sure where that came from, if I wanted the hours I would have pushed my drive even longer), and then some nonsense about his financial sacrifice (when we went to Omaha) and the fuel we've put in and how he's got his expenses (or whatever along those lines) to think about.

In the end, I think that he's just a lease operator so he can chose his loads and then (as is usually mentioned here) takes on a mentor role for the extra income. In fact I think I figured it out. He sets it up so we burn up our clocks as soon as possible to hit the 50 then he runs teams and mentors with coast to coast runs for the miles.

The stresses though, cause me to be even more homesick and just want to drop everything and go home. Powering on. Friday we pick up our first team load. Is a must team and have to make 200 miles before we can make our first break/stop. Going from California to Maryland. Should be fun.

*Continued complaint #1: One day he told me me that the exit we'll be getting off for, three or four times. Yes, exit 127, I got it. *Continued complaint #2: This guy will ask me to do something (i.e. put him on off duty as he steps out to smoke) then sell me a little later if I did, then ask me again a little later if I did and, one more time for safe measure. Sometimes he would still check himself.

On a more positive note, the scenery, especially SoCal. before you get into the cities and can't focus on anything but the traffic, is absolutely phenomenal.

Until tomorrow.......

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

MNGH...Okay, I feel as though an intervention might be helpful.

Obviously there is a personality conflict with your mentor. Happens all the time. I get along with almost everyone...but based on what you described, I'd avoid a person like him. Of the two of you, it's far easier for you to adjust, then it is him. Pick your battles with him, only a few of them are worth "fighting". Try to keep in mind, in 3 weeks you'll likely never see him again. But in the mean time, he and the element of time are the only two things that stand between you and a triumphant introduction to your assigned truck. If he is doing something contrary to furthering your learning, then stop him and advocate for a better explanation and/or a "show-me" moment. If he mumbles something, excuse yourself and ask; "is it important for me to hear that?" In a respectful way, hold him accountable for doing his job.

Try not to lose your cool, ...remind him (frequently if necessary) you have never done this before and are relying on his skill and expertise to get you to solo status. Try some positive reinforcement with him a bit. I know that is difficult to do...totally get that if the guy is a jerk. Use him for all he is worth...get from him what you need and if need be, finesse' it "out of him". But above all else, you must maintain your sanity and not allow his quirky behavior to distract your focus. Not suggesting that is the case, but I can see this coming off the rails real quick,... I can see how his annoying habits could lead to an angry exchange. Focus Man...focus.

Second as you are about to go "team", try to take some control of trip planning for the "leg" you are responsible for (cause it sounds like he runs by the seat of his pants). Read all of the trip information that comes across the QC and/or the paperwork picked up at the shipper or at the terminal. Don't let him keep all that to himself, you need to see it and understand how-to extract important and pertinent information from it. It's part of your training.

Once you are teaming, forget about him when you are in the first seat, "clear the mechanism",...focus on you and what you need to accomplish. It's temporary...try your best to make the very most out of it because there are no "do-overs".

Good luck!

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.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

MNGH...Okay, I feel as though an intervention might be helpful.

Obviously there is a personality conflict with your mentor. Happens all the time. I get along with almost everyone...but based on what you described, I'd avoid a person like him. Of the two of you, it's far easier for you to adjust, then it is him. Pick your battles with him, only a few of them are worth "fighting". Try to keep in mind, in 3 weeks you'll likely never see him again. But in the mean time, he and the element of time are the only two things that stand between you and a triumphant introduction to your assigned truck. If he is doing something contrary to furthering your learning, then stop him and advocate for a better explanation and/or a "show-me" moment. If he mumbles something, excuse yourself and ask; "is it important for me to hear that?" In a respectful way, hold him accountable for doing his job.

Try not to lose your cool, ...remind him (frequently if necessary) you have never done this before and are relying on his skill and expertise to get you to solo status. Try some positive reinforcement with him a bit. I know that is difficult to do...totally get that if the guy is a jerk. Use him for all he is worth...get from him what you need and if need be, finesse' it "out of him". But above all else, you must maintain your sanity and not allow his quirky behavior to distract your focus. Not suggesting that is the case, but I can see this coming off the rails real quick,... I can see how his annoying habits could lead to an angry exchange. Focus Man...focus.

Second as you are about to go "team", try to take some control of trip planning for the "leg" you are responsible for (cause it sounds like he runs by the seat of his pants). Read all of the trip information that comes across the QC and/or the paperwork picked up at the shipper or at the terminal. Don't let him keep all that to himself, you need to see it and understand how-to extract important and pertinent information from it. It's part of your training.

Once you are teaming, forget about him when you are in the first seat, "clear the mechanism",...focus on you and what you need to accomplish. It's temporary...try your best to make the very most out of it because there are no "do-overs".

Good luck!

Thanks a ton. I never really thought about personality conflicts. As soon as you said it everything started clicking. I won't deny that I'm not an easy person to get along with (especially living in tight quarters). Doesn't help that my routine has been completely uplifted and the way we would do things are completely different.

I've thought about checking to see if I can't get a dedicated driver for the last 50 or so. Just to make sure I get my backings in and see how someone else does things.

Hilariously, the whole time I was typing that, the one thing that kept popping up in my head was '#thestruggleisreal'.

Again, thanks a ton.

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.

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
member avatar

Today was simple, wake up, drive less than a mile and wait. We were parked right outside so all we had to do was turn around and head in. So that's what we did. While sitting there I got caught up on my paper logs (required by swift for students to have training logs).

They finish up right after I finish catching up my logs (copied from Qualcomm). After that we made our way for the terminal. It's time for my first 34 hour reset (ever) so we can hit the ground running. That and the fact that I don't have any hours left and would need a couple days to get enough hours back to do anything. I have maybe 2 hours left on my 70.

First thing, I wondered around to see what and where stuff is. Each terminal is different and gets a little confusing being the new guy trying to figure stuff out. People are generally nice enough to help out if you have a question. Some people will even jump in with conversation like they've known you for years. I typically just wish to be left alone. I'm not a social person. Then it was time for a shower. I usually like to enjoy my showers. Now more than ever do I enjoy and take my time.

I spent most of my time with headphones plugged in sitting in the lounge watching Netflix. There is a little Mexican stand outside where they make your food on the spot. It was delicious.

I've grown quite fond of the looks of the new Freightliners even tho I think some of the Internationals are quite the lookers as well. Out of the only two I've been in between Freightliner and Volvo, I think the Volvo has a nicer interior appearance and feel. Haven't driven the Volvo under weight to really tell the difference and from the (very few) trucks I've seen, the Freightliner typically has more cubby holes and what's it's. Just MY opinion anyway. So far, a trucks a truck doesn't matter the badge. I'm just yammering to fill up space and kill time. Only so much you can stand (or sit) to do.

There is definitely something to be said about maneuvering a trailer. No matter how good you are on the range it is completely different out in the real world. No situation is the same. No lines drawn out for you. Sometimes there isn't space to get the setup you want.

I'm also discovering that Swift's kiosk are usually not working properly or at all. I've got some training stuff I have to do on them and the two here don't work. Two out of four in Laredo barely worked but I only had time to set up my direct deposit. Those are a must before they expire or you get put on a safety hold. I still have time before they expire but, do I have time once we hit the road as a team. Also, guess there's something about simulator for snow which was briefly touched upon by my "mentor".

I think I'm done rambling.

Until tomorrow......

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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