Ride Along On The Road With Old School

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Old School's Comment
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But as I thought about it, I realized if I began my restart on Wednesday morning, it would end on Thursday night, and I wouldn't be able to load anything until Friday, which meant I would be wasting time.

Persian Conversion, that is some awesome stuff!

I like the way you think. It is amazing once you get your mind wrapped around these hours of service concepts how you can make your self more efficient at this job. That is the kind of stuff that makes a driver stand out in the crowd, and helps him to keep a good steady income and cash flow for his family's needs. There is no doubt in my mind, that had you not already established yourself as that type of driver with your company before you had that unfortunate accident recently, you would have been let go immediately following the accident. As it was though, they said "this guy has been doing a really great job, I think we need to keep him on board - he is making money for us!"

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Awesome post TPC, happy I read it, I'm supposed to be starting OTR this week, just waiting at home for a trainer. I will make sure I always have plenty of food and water in the truck for when I have to be away from truck stops to not burn my hours, it's a great tip.

Keilor, not only will keeping your truck stocked with groceries help you be more efficient, it will save you money also out on the road. I like to eat out at times, but man I can spend twenty five bucks on groceries that will last me all week sometimes. I can spend that same twenty five bucks on maybe two decent meals at the Denny's restaurant in the Flying J truck stop. Eating out adds up quickly.

I always keep a decent amount of food on my truck. The winter before last I was in Iowa and they shut down the interstates due to a blizzard - four days we were stuck at a truck stop, not allowed to move, and it was so crowded the trucks were parked all over the place. Even in the drive lanes of the parking area, so that even if you wanted to you couldn't move your truck because you were completely blocked in.

The Denny's restaurant ran out of food on the second day, and none could be delivered due to the blizzard. You talk about people getting radical - when people can't get food they go nuts! I felt like the little kid in the Bible with two fish and five small loaves - I was sharing with a few of the drivers who were parked nearby my truck, but I couldn't feed that whole crowd. Another time I remember I was picking up a load of lumber somewhere at the end of the day and a new rookie driver pulled in about five minutes after all the employees at the yard had left for the day. He was late for his load, and he was already out of hours. He literally had tears running down his face when he came over to me telling me how he had gotten lost and wasn't even sure yet if he was at the right place. I assured him that he was good now, and showed him where he could park his truck for the night and sleep right there on the premises and they would load him in the morning. "But, what am I going to eat? I haven't eaten all day - I don't think I can continue to do this job it is too much for me!" he exclaimed. "You don't have any food?" I inquired. "No, nobody told me I needed to bring food with me" declared this exasperated driver! I gave him a sleeve of crackers and a couple of cans of Vienna Sausages and then sat down with him and tried to give him a few pointers. Keeping food on your truck will always come in handy, and you will be especially glad you have it during an emergency.

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Christy R.'s Comment
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Now that I've finally figured out how to do pics here, here's my little backpacking canister stove I got from Amazon for around $5. I'm not sure how much the fuel is; my hiker buddy gave it to me. The lamp is battery powered and came from the Dollar Tree.

truckers items to keep in the truck camping canister stove and battery-powered lamp

Old School's Comment
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My plan hit one little snag today, but it is actually a good one!

My faithful dispatcher , who literally seems to work more hours than I do sent me a message around midnight last night while I was rolling down the road letting me know that my back haul load would come from the same location where my first stop was. So, I went ahead and loaded my back haul on my trailer after they unloaded the stuff that was for them on my delivery. It just so happened that it would fit in the same area where we unloaded their material that I brought to them. I was going to have to return there anyway on the next day to get it, so why not just go ahead and load it now? It kept me from being able to get over to my second stop before the day was over, but that was not a problem to them when I spoke to them - after all I was a day early anyway. They just said we'll see you first thing in the morning. So I changed it up a little based on this new information. I'm still way ahead of schedule, because now I don't have to back track to my first stop to get loaded with that back haul load.

Here's what this means: Today is Wednesday, and our work week, or our payroll period, ends each Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. So, here we are on the second day of that time period and I have already been dispatched 2,908 miles! Do you see how my efforts at driving all night for two nights in a row made this load move along ahead of schedule so that my dispatcher could go ahead and get me something to keep me rolling? He and I have enough history together that he knows that I will "get 'er done" when I tell him, even if it is unusually more efficient than other drivers have done on the same runs. This also does something else for me - if I manage it right, I can flip my schedule back over to day time driving for the back haul portion of this run, which is my preference. I drive all night if it will help me get more done, but usually you can flip back and forth between the two if you manage your time correctly. I don't view the Hours of Service regulations as a hindrance to my job performance, but I rather try to figure out a way to make them work to my advantage whenever I can.

Anybody new to all this, and not understanding what I'm talking about, you should seriously consider going through Brett's ingenious High Road Training Program. That section in there on logs will really challenge you, but if you are like me it will also trigger your creative thinking skills, and you will begin to understand how to make this stuff work to your advantage while you are out here giving it all you've got. The program is absolutely free, and it is well worth more than most folks pay for their private schooling for their CDL.

Now, just having all those miles dispatched to me doesn't really mean anything, I've got to show that I can get it done. It will be interesting to see what kind of miles we can turn in at the end of the week. Keep riding along with me for the rest of the week, and I will do my best to show you how I do things. There is still a lot of things that could go wrong, but hopefully we will keep these wheels turning so that we can make a decent week of it. Now that my daughter is off the truck, I'm more focused on performance. While she was with me I wanted to make her limited time with me special for her, and it also served the purpose of showing you that you can enjoy doing some extra curricular activities while you're out here on the road sometimes.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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I am back in Delhi, Louisiana tonight waiting till the morning to start rolling again. Sorry I haven't contributed much in the last few days, but just driving ten hours and then resting ten hours didn't give me a whole lot of interesting stuff to tell you about.

Yesterday while I was on the road I got a call from my dispatcher and he said he had a special request for me to do something, but he also wanted me to know that the request wasn't from him. Well, this definitely got my curiosity peaked. He wanted to know if I would be willing to take a shorter run than the one he had planned for me to satisfy this person's request. I told him that I was willing to do whatever I could to help him out, but I didn't understand why he was being so vague about who was making this special request. I mean is it a customer? Or is it a load planner somewhere that I'm unaware of? Why don't you just tell me who is making the request? He simply said that he didn't want the person's identity to influence my decision, if I really would rather take the longer run then he would put me on it. Well, I just said you are going to have to give me some more information, you know I prefer those nice long runs up into the North East, and you seem to like having me to count on to do them, but I need to know what you've got up your sleeve before I can give you an answer.

It turned out that it was a request from another driver in our fleet. This driver has been at home now for about five weeks or more due to having some eye surgery. This driver is also a member here at Trucking Truth! He wanted to see If I could take him over to our terminal in Atlanta, Georgia where there is a truck sitting with his name on it. My good friend Paul is the man who made the request, and of course I am going to do that, so they put me on a nice little run going over to New Bern, North Carolina and I will take Paul with me and drop him off in Atlanta on my way. This will be fun, and it fits right in with the theme here of riding along with "Old School."

They had my drop and hook ready when I got here today so I just secured the load, closed up the Conestoga cover, and moved over to the truck stop with it to shut down for a rest period. Paul will be here in the morning and we will get this show on the road. This load has 983 dispatched miles on it. If you remember I have already done 2,908 miles for this week, and now we are going to be able to add the 983 to that to give us a very nice total for this week of 3,891 miles! Forty five cents a mile makes this a very nice paycheck indeed. Now, before I start sounding like a lease or owner operator who is constantly trying to fool himself into thinking he's making a fortune let me point out that I ran really hard this week, but if you look back to the time I had Abigail with me we took it easy and took the time to "stop and smell the roses." That is how it is with this job - your pay will be inconsistent. Sometimes you are going to have killer weeks, and sometimes you are going to want to take it a little easier. What you want to do is be a good steady productive driver and you will come out considerably above average when you look at what you accomplished over the period of one year.

I've tried to illustrate in this thread how you can enjoy yourself out here on the road, how you can take advantage at times of the travelling lifestyle, and how you can bust your tail and make some extra scratch by getting on with it. Both ways require you to manage your time wisely. When I get this load over to New Bern, NC I'm going to take the time to put in a 34 hour reset while over in that area. It is right there on a beautiful area of the East Coast, and it will be a perfect place to take a break while gaining the advantage of having a full set of hours before me to work with for the next week. That's what I'm talking about when it comes to time management, learn to manage it so that it gives you freedom to run all you want, and so that you can take the time to enjoy the special parts of the country that you may happen to visit on occasion.

While we are on this subject of time management let's talk about strategy when you are trying to get unloaded at a receiver. Of course, one strategy is to get there early so that you can be the first one in line. I often times will sleep at a receiver just to make this happen. This is particularly advantageous with a flat-bed load. When I made it to my receiver up in Farmington, Connecticut this past week I got there about six o'clock in the evening with the intention of sleeping there backed up into their unloading area so that no one would slip in there ahead of me that might show up later on in the night. But when I pulled into the yard I noticed there was a flat-bed already parked back in the yard waiting for the morning to come. Well, I thought it would be downright rude of me to pull ahead of him and block off that unloading area - after all he beat me there fair and square. So, I just pulled back there beside him and shut 'er down for the night.

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.

Owner Operator:

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

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Stephanie D.'s Comment
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Love this post! How adorable!

Old School's Comment
member avatar

When the sun came up I was walking around trying to look into the other truck's windows to see if I could get some eye contact with the driver to let him know that I would wait on him to get in then I would go next. His windshield curtains were open, but he had the sleeper berth curtains drawn shut so that I could not see him, and he could not see me. I didn't want to knock on his door if he was sleeping.

Pretty soon the fork-lift operator came walking out there to greet me. I asked him what he thought about the other truck, and should I wait and let him go first. Here is what he said in his New York Bronx street talk "Hey buddy, we don't even know who that guy is. We know you called us, and said you would be here first thing this morning. **** that guy - you pull in and I will get you unloaded. You snooze you loose!"

So, I got in there and pretty soon the other driver was moving his truck around to get into position to get in there after me. As soon as I was unloaded I moved my truck out of the other driver's way and then began to work on getting my Conestoga closed up and road ready. That is the courteous way to let the other driver in so you are not taking up their time. Here is a look at the area we unload at when at this particular customer.

gray SAPA flatbed getting unloaded at shipping dock

I guess the other driver was not real happy with me because as I began to roll on out from the parking lot, I waved to him because he was looking over at me. He made an angry face and waved a hand at me with only one finger in the air! I think he was trying to tell me I was number one, but I'm not for sure! Oh well, Jorgo, the fork-lift operator said it all when he said "You snooze, you loose!"

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.

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.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

OS, I have no sympathy for the other guy. What were you supposed to do, give him a wake up call? I had a guy who did the same thing at a receiver. He was parked when I got there, so I planned to let him go first. He didn't wake up till 7:45. The forklift driver got there at 7:00 and told me to go ahead, pull in, and unstrap. They're a little slow there, so they were just starting to unload when the guy woke up and came over yelling that he was there first. The forklift driver said exactly the same thing: "We open at 7:00. Ya snooze, ya lose."

If you get a chance, you might want to visit Tryon Palace in New Bern. It's got an interesting history that I learned from a guy in his 90s when I lived in North Carolina. It is an exact replica of the original governor's mansion from the 1700s. The original burnt to the ground in 1798. Sometime last century, they found the original plans for it in the royal archives in London (it was the king's governor after all) and it was rebuilt on the original foundations and refurbished with 18th century furniture. I've never gotten to see it, but that's what I would do for fun if I had a reset in New Bern.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Oh well, Jorgo, the fork-lift operator said it all when he said "You snooze, you loose!"

Yeah, see on another thread we were talking about finding empty trailers after doing a drop and hook. I always made a list of customers that had empties so when I needed one I knew where to look. Often times there were other drivers from my company that had delivered before me and were parked in a row of bobtails off to the side waiting for dispatch to find them an empty. What it comes down to is dispatch wouldn't even assign you a load until you had an empty trailer. But the moment you had one a new load assignment would come through.

Well it's a competitive industry and we get paid by the amount of work we do. If I'm diligent enough to keep a list of customers with empties and you're sitting there waiting on someone else to make things happen for you then I guess it's another example of you snooze, you lose. I'm going to find an empty and get rolling on my next assignment while you're going to sleep the day away because I was prepared and you weren't.

That's the kind of hustle it takes to turn the big miles consistently. You've gotta learn how to make things happen and you have to be ready when your opportunity comes. That guy should have been awake and ready to go when the place opened. I've been in his spot a million times. You show up at a customer the night before, hit the sack, and then jump outta bed 30 minutes before the place opens to make sure you're ready to go the moment the opportunity presents itself to get loaded or unloaded. If there are any docks open you pick one so you don't get blocked out by others coming in during the night. It shouldn't take long to figure out that kind of stuff.

Now you might say, "Hey, that wasn't being courteous to the other driver. He was there first so you should wake him up so he can take his turn."

Oh yeah? Well heck, if I'm gonna help him do his job should I back the truck in for him too? Should I help him with his paperwork? Maybe he could use a snack. Let me dig through my dry goods and see if I can get this man a meal.

If we were paid by the hour it would be a whole different ballgame. But we're not. We're paid to hustle. We're paid to get work done. And it's not just a matter of being friendly. It's a matter of money. If you wait on others to get loaded or unloaded the better freight is getting distributed to the other drivers in your company. By the time you're finally unloaded you're going to get the leftovers, assuming there are any.

So are you going to wake up another driver and serve him breakfast in bed and cost yourself a couple of hundred bucks on this week's paycheck in the process? Or are you going to jump in there, get the job done, and get on down the road making money for yourself and your company?

I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna compete for every mile I can get. When it's time for a vacation I'll go out and have a blast. But when it's time to work I show up with my hard hat on ready to give it everything I've got. If you're not ready to dig in and work hard I'll be more than happy to step up and take your place.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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.

The Persian Conversion's Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

Oh well, Jorgo, the fork-lift operator said it all when he said "You snooze, you loose!"

double-quotes-end.png

Yeah, see on another thread we were talking about finding empty trailers after doing a drop and hook. I always made a list of customers that had empties so when I needed one I knew where to look. Often times there were other drivers from my company that had delivered before me and were parked in a row of bobtails off to the side waiting for dispatch to find them an empty. What it comes down to is dispatch wouldn't even assign you a load until you had an empty trailer. But the moment you had one a new load assignment would come through.

Well it's a competitive industry and we get paid by the amount of work we do. If I'm diligent enough to keep a list of customers with empties and you're sitting there waiting on someone else to make things happen for you then I guess it's another example of you snooze, you lose. I'm going to find an empty and get rolling on my next assignment while you're going to sleep the day away because I was prepared and you weren't.

That's the kind of hustle it takes to turn the big miles consistently. You've gotta learn how to make things happen and you have to be ready when your opportunity comes. That guy should have been awake and ready to go when the place opened. I've been in his spot a million times. You show up at a customer the night before, hit the sack, and then jump outta bed 30 minutes before the place opens to make sure you're ready to go the moment the opportunity presents itself to get loaded or unloaded. If there are any docks open you pick one so you don't get blocked out by others coming in during the night. It shouldn't take long to figure out that kind of stuff.

Now you might say, "Hey, that wasn't being courteous to the other driver. He was there first so you should wake him up so he can take his turn."

Oh yeah? Well heck, if I'm gonna help him do his job should I back the truck in for him too? Should I help him with his paperwork? Maybe he could use a snack. Let me dig through my dry goods and see if I can get this man a meal.

If we were paid by the hour it would be a whole different ballgame. But we're not. We're paid to hustle. We're paid to get work done. And it's not just a matter of being friendly. It's a matter of money. If you wait on others to get loaded or unloaded the better freight is getting distributed to the other drivers in your company. By the time you're finally unloaded you're going to get the leftovers, assuming there are any.

So are you going to wake up another driver and serve him breakfast in bed and cost yourself a couple of hundred bucks on this week's paycheck in the process? Or are you going to jump in there, get the job done, and get on down the road making money for yourself and your company?

I know what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna compete for every mile I can get. When it's time for a vacation I'll go out and have a blast. But when it's time to work I show up with my hard hat on ready to give it everything I've got. If you're not ready to dig in and work hard I'll be more than happy to step up and take your place.

Well said!

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

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.

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