Local Food Service As A Rookie

Topic 20873 | Page 9

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Splitter's Comment
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Dang Rob! If you keep going like this, you will be skinnier than an anorexic model! I'm out of breath just reading your last page!! Very impressive work ethic & driving skills, to say the least!!

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My biggest problem is I eat like crap. Unfortunately I drink way too much pop/soda, and grabbing the not so healthy foods if I grab lunch from the gas station. I burn enough calories working to not gain weight but with the long days I come home, shower, eat dinner then go to bed shortly after spending time with my wife and kids. Its not healthy going to sleep so soon after eating, and if i hadnt eaten all day i end up overeating at dinner. Today i packed veggies for lunch which i was proud of myself for. I dont have access to microwave like many OTR guys do so I haven't been packing a lunch very often, if i do eat it's usually grabbing a slice of pizza (GREASY, but so delicious!) From Casey's general store (convenience store). Usually I'll log my 30 minute lunch in customers parking lot but sometimes it isn't possible. I tend to start around 330am, meaning I have to take lunch before 1130am. I always try to wait until 7.5 hours into my shift to log lunch in case I have to use my 16 hour exception. I can't sit in customers lots during lunch cuz they need the parking and caseys tend to have enough space I can easily, and safely get in and out of.

Kind of off topic, but I've talked to some guys that work for caseys delivering and Its something I will be looking into more once my year is up. Casey's run their own distribution, and delivery just north of Des Moines in Ankeny IA. Casey's has built their convenience stores to allow their drivers to deliver as easily as possible, many times pulling straight through so side door of trailer lines up with door for the store. They use a roller system where the driver sends product down the roller, and store staff unloads it. It would be easier on the body not needing to wheel it down a ramp and the cases tend to weigh a lot less. Only thing I've heard that I dislike about that position is I'd be in a hotel (company paid) on layovers multiple times a week as they have routes that go all over the Midwest, and into Oklahoma and Texas and Its all based on seniority. They pay 4 dollars more an hr than what PFG top pay is under our current contract but who knows. 6 months is a long time, a lot could change.

Believe me, I feel your pain! The convenience of eating where you can easily park is huge here in NYC. I’ve gotten numerous tickets just for parking at a food joint. Making it more expensive than an aged steak dinner. At one point I was eating the same foods for weeks at a time to avoid the ticket agents. Luckily for me we have a huge variety of foods so I’m not as heavy as I used to be but will definitely need to develop a plan on healthy eating when I finally go OTR.

I’ve cut back tremendously on my pizza intake. My favorite pizza (Grimaldi’s) joint sold out & was turned into a chain. Haven’t made it to the recommendations I’ve been given. And being from NYC, I’m a huge pizza snob. Hopefully that’ll keep me away from pizza on the road.

My stepson was telling me that Panera Bread pays around $950 for 4 days of work. If I ever get tired of being an OTR driver then I’ll look into the regional & local options. Having a family, as you do, makes it difficult to be away for extended periods at a time. I’m divorced & the kids are grown.

Seriously, good luck & stay safe out there. Hoping the an ideal opportunity opens up for you & your family when your year is up.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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Rob, your pictures continue to make this thread awesome. Every driver describes the situations they're in but you're pictures make it more, I don't know, real to the reader. I love the satellite views with the arrows of how you've had to maneuver as well as the pictures and descriptions of parking challenges (like the poles and vents in the alley). Thanks for taking the time to document this for us.

Paul (aka Han Solo Cup)

Rob's Comment
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Being able to see pictures definitely paints a better picture of whats going on, glad your enjoying it.

Today I didn't run the route I will be doing on mondays. We have one of our drivers on vacation this week so the guy who had to work his off day wanted my route. I agreed to switch because the route I would have ran was 17k, 550 cases. The one I ended up getting was 315 cases, 8.5k pounds, 230 miles, 12 hours. The guy I switched with really doesn't like driving much so he prefers The route that keeps him in Des Moines all day. I find it a little ironic he doesn't like driving yet he's been doing food service for over 40 years. The route I will be doing on mondays is the same route that I ran for the 6 weeks that I ran with him, so I feel confident in maneuvering in those places.

Today's truck I covered took me to Ottumwa area which is about an hour and a half away. What i like about the routes that take me out of town is USUALLY they have less cases due to more drive time.

I've ran this route several times so I'm familiar with the area, and where places are without needing GPS which saves me time. One place I delivered to has an alley I have to walk down, however it looked like they didn't even bother trying to shovel, or throw salt down. With it going down a decent hill to get to their door I decided to park out front and go through the front door as they weren't open yet.

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I ended up jack knifing the truck in the street and blocking 1 lane. I did that because the street wasn't busy at that time, and if you look on the roadway you can tell the diagonal parking spaces are all ice. To avoid the risk of falling as well as needing to pull the product through the snow banks I placed my ramp on the snow bank and then I jumped on the ramp to pack it down.

One thing that frustrates me is when I'm looking for a case (scanner shows me what I'm looking for) and it's buried at the bottom, or in the backside of the pallet. As I've said before when I start digging I sort it as I go so that I'm not touching cases more times than needed. The stop I'm digging for cases at takes me longer, but if I separate while I go I'm able to make some of that time back up at the other stops that are already separated, requiring me to dig alot less. The warehouse has the product laid out to prevent damage as much as possible. Most importantly in the cooler it's set up so that chicken is on bottom, then beef, etc for food safety. For this stop I was at I needed 3 cases of meat (front of pallet against wall on bottom, 1 brown 2 black) I had to take apart the front half of the pallet to get to what I needed.

0632732001518484766.jpg

The only bright side is I only had 7 pallets on my truck to start with, and when this picture was taken I was down to 3, meaning I had plenty of space to organize.

This last pic is of my final stop. It required me to enter into the mall parking lot going the wrong way. Doing that requires me to pay even more attention to vehicles, and pedestrians as they're not expecting me to be coming from that direction. I entered from the right, and at the end of the line I backed up while watching the vehicles, as well as a mailbox and light poles.

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I placed my ramp on the curb at the X so I didn't need to "jump " the curb. Pushing the fully loaded wheeler is hard, but not as hard as needing to pull it over a curb. That's a good way to screw up your back quickly so I avoid it when possible.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob's Comment
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I got some extra time this morning as I have to wait to get into my customer for a half hour. On the route I will be doing mondays I have to deliver to this place.

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Ideally, I would do as I posted on this picture. Come down 28th towards Ingersoll, and then back onto Linden st. I say ideally because it doesn't always work that way. 28th is on a decent sized hill so depending on what time I get there, as well as if it's snow or icy I may not back onto Linden st. I must be careful to not hit the side of the building, The hidden stop sign underneath the trees, as well as "no parking "signs. When I've gone there before I usually arrive about 630am. Traffic isn't bad at that point but as it gets closer to 7 traffic becomes a nightmare due to a school being nearby. If I don't feel confident backing onto Linden street I'll park on the left side of 28th and walk across the street despite it being a no parking zone. The guy who trained me always pulls straight in onto Linden St. This street does not go all the way through. after he's done unloading will back out blind. By the time he's done unloading it's about 7 and personally I feel he's an idiot. He's been doing it long enough and it works for him but I don't see the purpose. You have to back regardless but why put yourself at extra risk of hitting something by backing out blind. As you can see there isn't necessarily a right or wrong way to do it, the only important thing is you don't hit anything and your able to get the stop unloaded.

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Still loving this thread...keep 'em coming 👍😊

Rob's Comment
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Yesterday (tuesday) was frustrating. The only good thing was that it was same route I did last Tuesday so I knew where I was going. What was so bad was that when I got to my first stop and pulled my ramp out the little door that latches to secure my ramp under the trailer fell off. It was clear that the driver who had trailer previously knew about it and rigged it just enough to get his loaded delivered but failed to write it up for repair. After messing with it for 10 minutes I was able to rig it enough to deliver stops that were close to each other, but when I'd get out on the open road to go to the next small town I had to throw it into the back of the trailer (pic)

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After a couple times lifting that ramp my arms were killing me. According to sticker on it, it's 16 feet long weighing in at 127 pounds! I had to pull it all the way out and place it on the ground, then lift it onto the tail of the trailer, walk to the other end and push it as far as I could. Then climb into trailer and lift it shoulder height again and place it on top of the pallet that was there. I placed it on that pallet because I didn't have enough space on my trailer to have it lay flat until my 14th (of 17) stop, and having the blanket over the product helped avoid getting product nasty. Got up to 36 degrees yesterday so snow was melting and I was tracking a ton of water into my trailer making things pretty slippery, requiring me to take more precautions. I was scheduled 17 stops, 16k weight, 148 miles and should have taken 12 hours. Ended up pulling into the yard with 20 minutes to spare on my 14 due to dealing with ramp issue. I started at 4am and by the time i finished my paperwork it was just after 6pm. Today I had a 4am start time again so I'd clocked in around 4:05am. This is an instance of where I'm off just long enough to get my DOT mandated 10 hours off then I'm back at it. With all the melting yesterday and refreezing overnight side roads and customers places are icy this morning. I'm typing this as I allow the salt to melt before I unload.

The example I gave of the ramp is one thing I really hate about having a different trailer everyday. For the most part the couple guys that I flip flop trucks with are good at writing things up for repair. I'm fortunate in that, as I'd be really ticked off to show up and find something in my pretrip preventing me from rolling out. I'm likely looking at a 13 hour day today, putting me very close to being on overtime with 2 more days of work. I'll post how my day goes this evening.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Rob's Comment
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Today was a decent day. I had about half of what I used to do on Wednesdays, and then the other half was stuff on the west side of the metro that the driver who left used to take care of. When he left transportation management redid the routes and seen they could keep us on a 4 day work week by combining 2 of the Wednesday routes. We only have 1 guy who works 5 days (seniority), however he was nice enough to allow me to alternate weeks with him as I just found out my wife is pregnant (our 3rd) and I could use the extra money. My first stop was a grocery store that has a restaurant inside so I was able to use their dock and pallet jack to reload my trailer. I moved 1 pallet and was able to get through the bulkhead , meaning I didn't need to use side door at all day (YIPPEEEEE).

0492278001518661154.jpg my 2nd and 3rd stops were in Osceola (hour south) then I was scheduled to do Adair (45 minutes or so west of metro). I opted to skip them and do 2 stops on the west side because I couldn't get into Adair until 1230 meaning I'd sit waiting for 3 hours. I wouldn't feel right sitting on the clock getting paid for 3 hours, plus I didn't want to risk running out of hours. The stop in Adair has a gate to go through to get to part of building I need to deliver to. The curb to get up is twice as big as a normal curb so I placed my ramp on top of the patio, through the gate door. Surprisingly got it perfect on my first shot. It required me to jack knife in the street (side street little traffic)

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This is one of the loads I had to take in.

0212125001518661685.jpg Those bags of flour are 50 pounds each, putting total weight of that load around 400 pounds. Now you can see why I opted to not jump the curb. After I got back to the metro area I had 4 stops in the city of West Des Moines. 2 of them I had to maneuver busy, cramped parking lots....

0496232001518661816.jpg and...

0367964001518661839.jpg that last picture was by far the most difficult . That restaurant is a fancy place that does the "show" with cooking, very similar to benihanas. With today being Valentine's day I'm sure you can imagine how bad it got as I was there at 430pm. Maneuvering in there required me to drive in the middle taking up the entire width of the lot. People were constantly cutting me off, or when I swung wide to get in in the first place they kept trying to come out. I eventually got ****ed off enough that I just kept inching closer and then set my brakes until they got the hint and went a different way. Not exactly the most professional way to do it but most people do not understand the amount of space required to make turns, and most importantly I was smart enough to understand I couldn't do it with them there. The day was 11 stops, 10k weight, 13 hours and 268 miles. Started just after 4am, clocked out about 530pm, and I'll be starting at 4am tomorrow. Again...10 and a half hours then I'm back at it. Temp got up to 47 today, supposed to get down just below freezing overnight so I'll have to deal with ice again in the morning but it'll warm up to mid 40s again.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

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.
Rob's Comment
member avatar

Forgot to add...those last 2 pics I thankfully just pulled in, no need to back at all. Ain't no way I would've had any room to do it anyways

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

WOW! Congratulations on the "bun in the oven"!! Totally appreciating your patience & dedication to handling that rig in the safest way possible considering the challenges you're facing daily. Especially not letting the 4 wheelers get the best of you when they start showing their horrible driving habits.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob's Comment
member avatar

Thank you Reyn, it definitely was unexpected news. I'm never home, dunno how it happened...time to go on Maury...just kidding.

Today was decent, started out not too great since my scanner couldn't connect. I tried numerous times then gave up. Delivered my first stop without a scanner so I had to downstack the entire pallet and pay close attention to what stop the label said it was, and keep a count of cases. Boy am I glad I have a scanner, I wasn't a fan of doing it the old school way. I ran the same route I've been doing on Thursdays for the last 3 months or so. I had to go to the place I've talked about before backing off the street between buildings and vehicles there. There was no traffic which was surprising at 7am in residential area leading to a main road, UNTIL I COMMITTED TO MY BACK. As soon as I took up the entire street cars started showing up. I had one A Hole decide to pull in front of me while I was pulling up to move trailer over just a hair to get me away from the building. He had hardly any space, ended up going through the grass/snow. From the time I started backing until I set my brakes was easily less than 2 minutes. Apparently that's too long for some people. He ended up flipping my off when he took off.

I had to go back to the Iowa clinic today that I posted a satellite view of last week(?). I decided with how tight it was I was gonna try a different way. Boy am I glad I did. This is how I did it this week.....

0791767001518745802.jpgblack X is where I parked, red X is entrance I walked to. They only ordered 13 cases, ended up making 2 trips in. This was much easier but I still had to be on my A game as people were backing out trying to leave.

Today was 12 stops, 556 cases, 14k weight, 108 miles, 13 hours. Was scheduled to be done in 11 hours but I had to wait an hour at a customer, and had to write up repair order and unhook my trailer so it could be worked on. During my post trip I noticed the service (blue) airline had a crack in it near the gladhand. Clocked in at 415am, logged out at 508pm. Tomorrow start time is 4am...roughly 11 hours off.

I almost forgot....i was trying to make up some of the time I fell behind from waiting by working faster unloading. If you fall behind the only way to catch up is during unloading as driving faster or recklessly would definitely be stupid. In my rush, I forgot to put the strap around my pallet. This was the result...

0627657001518746294.jpg Thankfully I didn't break anything which I was fortunate. I hate when things break in the trailer because it reflects poorly on me. There have been times the warehouse shipped something damage and unfortunately the customer blames me for it as the salesman and I am the face of the company to them. That is why professionalism is so important in this job because when they think of PFG they think of me.

I've got 51 hours going into tomorrow which will likely be 15 hour day putting my at 66 for the week. Those who want a local job so they can be home more....beware. as you can see its not the case usually.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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