Ride Along On The Road With Old School

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Old School's Comment
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Today is a day that I, and my sweet little girl, have anticipated for months now. I am heading home tonight and I will pick up my youngest daughter, Abigail, for a ride along with her "old man." It's gonna be an epic journey for her, and we've decided to invite all of you along with us.

I will document our trips together, while providing some insights into this career and lifestyle for those of you interested in gleaning those bits of information from the thread. Our first load actually starts today with me picking up a pre-loaded flat-bed trailer later this afternoon in Delhi, Louisiana. My dispatcher is routing me through my hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas so that I can pick her up. I will spend the night at home in my own bed tonight and we will get this whole thing started tomorrow after we get a few things taken care of at home. Our first load is a two stop load with the first stop in Corpus Christi, TX, and the final stop down near the Mexican border, in the town of McAllen, TX.

My other two daughters have both ridden with me before, and I documented those trips here in the forum. Since they were well received I've decided to do it one more time. Abigail is actually going to stay with me a little longer than the other girls did so I hope we can keep it fresh, entertaining, and informative. You are certainly invited to participate with your comments, questions, and/or anything else pertinent to the thread. I talked to Abigail on the phone yesterday and reminded her that she picked the absolute hottest time of the year to ride along with a flat-bedder, but she said she could take it. The weather is certainly one of the factors that a flat-bedder's job is affected by, more so than most other drivers, but fortunately the air conditioner in this Volvo works really well at cooling me back down after laboring out there in the heat.

Welcome along on our journey, and I hope you enjoy the ride.

Let's Roll!

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.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
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How exciting! I can't wait to read all about it!

Crazy Kraken's Comment
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Welcome along on our journey, and I hope you enjoy the ride.

Let's Roll!

Old School,

I know this is going to be awesome!

Looking forward to it.

thank-you-2.gif

Magoo's Comment
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Added to favorites. Definitely looking forward to following along.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Oh man, someone is gonna get spoiled for the next few weeks lol.

You two have a great trip and be safe.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
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Oh and definitely watch that heat. Next week is supposed to be a scorcher and heck, I'm here in Dallas for the night and the truck says it's 95.

Serah D.'s Comment
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OS, enjoy your truck with Abigail and stay safe!

Ralph G. ( Arejay )'s Comment
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Waiting patiently for those first updates to start rolling in.... smile.gif I hope the first couple days out have been great to far!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel's Comment
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Oh and definitely watch that heat. Next week is supposed to be a scorcher and heck, I'm here in Dallas for the night and the truck says it's 95.

95F is pretty cool for this time of year, in that part of Texas. My home. :)

My grandma lives right next door to you, Old School.

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.
Old School's Comment
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Okay folks, sorry to leave you hanging!

I had a little trouble getting everything worked out just right to get our little trip started. I was going to take a little home time, but then I had a load to Texas that needed to be delivered first, so I'm back at home now taking just a few brief days off. Here's the way I decided to work it all out. I swung through my home town on the way to South Texas and picked up Abigail, with the understanding that we would deliver this load and then come back by the house for enough time off to get in a 34 hour reset.

I spent one night at home and then left the next morning with Abigail for our summer trip together. The PPPE that I had purchased a few years ago for my other girls was handed down to her for the trip. What is PPPE you ask? It is Pink Personal Protective Equipment - all my girls have to have this to be able to ride along with me and help me out here on the road. Here is my daughter showing her excitement about what we are embarking on as she dons her pink hard hat.

She is already trying to take over the truck with her feminine ways and means! She immediately started cleaning things out, sweeping the floor, and generally trying to put her mark on my personal space by getting her bed fixed up just the way she wanted it, and rearranging the way I had things organized. confused.gifinside of trucker's <span class= sleeper berth with bunks with a feminine touch" title="inside of trucker's sleeper berth with bunks with a feminine touch">

I started this little run down into South Texas by myself at the SAPA plant in Delhi, Louisiana when I picked up this two stop load on a pre-loaded trailer that was bound for Corpus Christi and then McAllen, Texas. Here's what it looked like after I had her all battened down and ready to roll.

SAPA flatbed trailer loaded and tarped after picking up at the plant

I run dedicated loads out of this plant in Delhi all the time. I come in here and pick up pre-loaded trailers, but I am responsible for securing the load and tarping it when needed. About fifty percent of the time I will have a Conestoga type cover on the flat-bed which eliminates the tarp work. Here is the loading area at the plant where we back up to our trailers and get them ready to roll.

loading dock area at SAPA plant

After spending one night at the house I picked up Abigail and we made a plan of how to get this done so that I could deliver this two stop load, stop again on my way back in Katy, TX at a Knight terminal for some service on my truck, be back in Nacogdoches for some business that I needed to take care of on Wednesday, manage to get in a 34 hour reset, and do all of this while getting me back on the road early Thursday morning so that we can get back to Delhi early enough for me to do some training of some new drivers coming on to our fleet that day, and I'm hoping to leave out from the plant that evening with a load of my own. I'm giving you these details of my thought processes because I want you to see how a professional driver has to think and plan several days in advance all the time if you are going to be able to capitalize on the H.O.S. (hours of service) you have available to you

Here's how we planned it out: I spent Saturday night in my own bed - woo-hoo! - then we hit the road around 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning. We drove to Corpus Christi with one stop for fuel, and a couple of bathroom stops also. I can go all day behind the wheel without hardly stopping if needed, but when I've got my girls along I try to accommodate their needs. We also stopped for a fun little visit to a unique little restaurant in El Campo, Texas called "Pinchers".

pinchers restaurant in El Campo Texas

Sometimes truck drivers have to be creative when it comes to parking places for their rigs. Pinchers is not a truck friendly restaurant - there is no place to park a rig. So, how do you handle a situation like this? You study the situation and, in our case, I had already been here and devised a parking system of my own on a previous visit. Just about a hundred yards down the highway from Pinchers is a corn field with an abandoned gas well site that has a nice good solid roadway built into it and a nice solid pad with plenty of room to get a big truck in and out of. So, I just pull in there, park it, and take a short little walk over to the restaurant.

We shared a meal called their "sampler platter" which was a little bit of everything in it's fried version, some slaw, some gumbo, and some e'toufee, it was simply more than we could eat.

20150712_155216_zpshqfynrv2.jpg

Continued...

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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