Ride Along On The Road With Old School

Topic 9380 | Page 2

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Old School's Comment
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Okay, don't worry about us wasting any food, we simply took our left overs and fed them to the waterfowl and the hungry Koi fish who were swimming around outside in the pond.

20150712_163737_zpszvjz7vve.jpg

Now back to our trip planning. We drove on in to Corpus Sunday night. One of the great benefits of running on a dedicated account is that often times I'm going to repeat customers, and I am familiar with all the places where I can sleep on their property. In the case of this customer in Corpus Christi, I have an arrangement with a Mexican restaurant next door to their facility. We always deliver to this customer on Monday morning, and the Mexican restaurant is closed on Sunday. The owner gave me permission to park and sleep in her adequate parking lot on Sunday nights. I always return the favor by eating breakfast with her bright and early Monday morning before I deliver next door. We also had a convenience store just about a block away so that my daughter has access to a restroom if needed. (you've got to think about all this stuff)

The reason for not parking at a truck stop about ten miles away is so that we can get in the locked gate next door and get unloaded and ready to move on to our next stop without starting our fourteen hour clock. This customer is notoriously slow about unloading us. Sure enough it was around 10:30 a.m. when we were ready to move on, but we were let in the gate at 0700 that morning. Here's a look at me getting down and dirty while removing my tarps from this load.

flatbedder removing tarps from a loaded flatbed trailerflatbedder removing rolling and storing tarps from a loaded flatbed trailer

Okay, once we were done at that location we headed for McAllen where we will meet a Mexican Truck that will take the remaining bundles of freight I have on across the border to their final destination. I had already called earlier and given the Mexican Trucking company my ETA at the agreed upon location in McAllen and we arrived there about thirty minutes before the Mexican driver. The forklift operator at the facility where we met wasted no time in switching the freight from my truck to his. That worked out remarkably well so that we didn't lose a lot of time, which was critical to our trip planning - we still want to leave here and drive all the way to Katy, TX that same night so that we can get our truck in the service bay first thing in the morning. We don't even have time to stop and eat on this leg - it is run and gun if we are going to make it! We did it, and had fourteen minutes left on our 11 hour drive clock when we set those air brakes at the terminal in Katy, TX. Now you see why I didn't want to start my clock by parking the night before at a truck stop. I'm giving you these details so that you can realize how some of us manage our time so that we are not considered average drivers, but manage to endear ourselves to our employers, while also bringing in some of the top pay in the business.

Now today, I have been home for about ten hours now, had a nice date with my wife, gone to see my recently married daughter's new house and help her with a problem she was having with her car. Tomorrow I've got some business appointments to take care of and I will spend the night at home again and then it is off to the races for Abigail and I. My dispatcher wants me to help train some new drivers coming on to our fleet Thursday about how to get your loads secured and tarped at the plant in Delhi, and then we are going to roll on out of there with another load that I hope we can share some more insider tips with you that will help you succeed at your new career.

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.

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.
YoungTex's Comment
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That's not your grey Volvo in the picture is it? I thought you were still with western. I'm enjoying this thread by the way.

Ralph G. ( Arejay )'s Comment
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Nice warm up for the good stuff to come! I really enjoy reading these journal entices with tips and editorial content of each days activities.... so educational and entertaining at the same time! Looking foward to more later in the week when you and your daughter get back in the swing of things :)

Keiler M.'s Comment
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Awesome thread! I loved reading it and cannot wait for more. I applied for Knight here in Las Vegas but I am waiting on the results of the sleep apnea test they had me do before I could get hired on. I am hoping to get the results in this week so I can go to the yard next week and take the driving test and hopefully get hired on. I asked the recruiter if I could go with a trainer and he said it shouldn't be a problem, I also asked the DM there and he said depending upon availability. I've had my CDL for about a year now and I was driving vacuum trucks (hauling water) in West Texas but since the work got slow I had to move back home. Any tips on how they do the driving test? Are they going to expect me to double clutch? Because I forgot how to do that, I just float the gears up/down shifting with no problem. I was at orientation with Celadon and the guy made a big deal about it, I also failed the driving test because I missed the speed limit sign on a construction zone (there was no workers or anything) and I was following the flow of traffic and still going slower than them but was "technically" going over the posted speed limit so that was an automatic fail. I also forgot that you couldn't shift over the railroad tracks and he said that I shifted while crossing the railroad tracks so that was another automatic fail so they sent me back home and didn't give me a chance to sign on for a refresher or a 2nd chance.

I haven't driven in about 3 months and I was in Denver, never been there, not making excuses but I am still an unexperienced driver, specially since I usually drove around the same area when I was working in Tx. I am hoping that I could get on with a trainer if I get the sleep apnea results back negative. So if you have any tips for me that would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Float The Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

The Persian Conversion's Comment
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In the famous words of Ronald McDonald or something... I'm lovin' it! I can't wait to be able to take my 10-year-old daughter along. Only problem is the company requires passengers to be over 12, so I've got a while to wait

Old School's Comment
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That's not your grey Volvo in the picture is it? I thought you were still with western. I'm enjoying this thread by the way.

YoungTex, I'm no longer with Western Express. I was there for sixteen months, and loved every minute of my time with them. I had a great driver manager and they kept me running with good solid loads. Last August a good friend of mine here in the forum contacted me about an opening in a specialized flat-bed fleet at Knight Transportation and put me in contact with the person who did the hiring for that job. They made me such a great offer that I gave my disappointed DM at Western a two weeks notice, and by September 11th I was employed at Knight. I'm doing real well here and glad to be able to share some of my experiences with you guys and gals.

So, yes, that is my grey Volvo.

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.

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.

Driver 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.
Old School's Comment
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Any tips on how they do the driving test? Are they going to expect me to double clutch? Because I forgot how to do that, I just float the gears up/down shifting with no problem.

Keilor, I never touched the clutch when I road tested at Knight unless I was bringing the vehicle to a complete stop, or starting from a dead stop. I tested out at the Gulfport, MS terminal. I don't know how they do it at the other terminals, but generally if you are coming in as an experienced driver most companies aren't looking to see if you know how to double clutch.

Just for clarification, any rookie, or recent graduate of a school should be expecting to double clutch when road testing just about anywhere.

Float The Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

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.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Bud A.'s Comment
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Great start to this new thread, Old School! I'm looking forward to future installments.

Old School's Comment
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In the famous words of Ronald McDonald or something... I'm lovin' it!

The Persian Conversion, really glad you are enjoying this!

Hey, I was going to mention to you that these loads of aluminum extrusions that I haul have a strong tendency to "compress" as they respond to the vibrations of the road. I know in your recent thread about your accident you were hauling a load of "rough cut" lumber that probably had compressed on you. I am always real careful to check the securement on these loads right around the first fifty miles from the plant, and then again after another 75 miles or so. It is actually frightening on occasion when I discover just how loose my straps are, even though I had tightened them extremely tight just before I left the plant. I've heard several stories around here about guys in this fleet who's loads had shifted on them. I have to be really pro-active about checking my straps on this stuff every time I make any kind of a stop. Due diligence in that area is critical on these loads.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Nice warm up for the good stuff to come! I really enjoy reading these journal entices with tips and editorial content of each days activities....

Thanks Ralph!

I'm hoping to shed some light on how I do things so that others can learn from my methods. I don't expect everyone to do things the way I do, but hopefully it will be helpful to some folks. Not everyone is willing to operate the way I do, and to be quite honest with you some folks need more rest than I do, and still others don't like the idea of doing so much work while they have themselves off "the clock." I do things in a way that works for me, and it is a way that keeps me bringing home some very nice paychecks. Apparently my dispatcher likes it too, because he messaged me last night that he was having a meeting today with some of the corporate folks about getting me and a small handful of other drivers a "raise." He said my "numbers" were way over the top of any one else's in this fleet.

Please don't think I'm being a braggart, anyone who knows me personally knows that I'm quiet and humble. I merely mentioned that to indicate that these methods that I incorporate will bring you success. In a career and industry where just about all you can find is people complaining about how they cannot make any money, I like to point the way to success out for anyone who will listen.

I never want anyone to do anything off duty that would make them excessively tired when they need to be driving, each of us needs to be able to recognize our own limits. But it simply makes no sense to not manage your time in a way that you are burning up all your driving hours by keeping yourself "on duty" during times when you could be getting some things accomplished while "off duty."

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.
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