Profile For John M.

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    1 year, 5 months ago

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Posted:  6 days ago

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Bad First Impression!

I have to ask, did this load pickup out of Inwood WV by any chance? Btw I’ve not weighed loads that weighed more than that, put they were usually pulling very smoothly. Whoever loaded that trailer didnt know what they were doing.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Another Driver With A New Gig

I decided to part ways with Cowan after only 9 months. There are many reasons. The biggest ones have to do with not getting home on a consistent basis and not for as much time as I was told I'd be home. "2 days home during the week" was more often only one day and a "full 48 hours every weekend" turned out to be more like 40 hours. The pay was great! The personnel were pleasant. If I didn't have other options I would have stuck it out with Cowan. There are worse jobs in this industry I'm sure.

I just ran my first load with Barr-Nunn. They are a smallish company based in Granger, IA, operating around 500+ tractors, mainly in the Eastern part of the country. They operate autonomously under the Swift/Knight umbrella of trucking companies.

What I find most interesting is the way they pay some of their drivers. In my area-and for the region I work in (Northeast)-they offer Shift+Load pay. Meaning, I get a flat rate of $260 for each day I'm on duty, plus $90 for every load I deliver. Yesterday I drove a total of a little over 260 miles for one load. Today I'm looking at around 350 miles for the load I'm currently planned on.

When driving OTR it's all about getting more miles...longer loads. Now I'm hoping for short loads. The miles don't matter.

I'm running Northeast regional with weekends at home. Barr-Nunn also offers local routes, home daily with weekends off. That pays $200 per shift plus $90 per load. They also have OTR positions. Not sure what the CPM is for that. I'm not trying recruit here. Just providing info in case people want to explore different options.

I’ve always been intriqued by their pay scale and bonuses, unfortunately I’m out of their hiring area and don’t really want to do the jet set thing they have. Too bad they don’t run in the south, I’ve always heard good things about them. Let us know if there’s any catches you find on that gravy train, gl and safe travels.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Curious - too late to become a truck driver?

I’ve never done hiring for a carrier but I would think the older you are getting started the better. The farther you’ve made it in life the more you’ve proven yourself to be generally responsible. Lot’s of drivers have started in their 60’s. I started again at 41 just down the road from you btw, went to Bishop State in Mobile. Give em a look if you decide to pull the trigger.

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Best states to be a dump truck driver?

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COL in PA is higher, a lot higher. Hence the diff in pay.

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It's gotten a lot higher with people flooding in from NY/NJ.

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I’d guess that it pays better up there right now because it’s a little more seasonal due to the winters. I just ran across Hwy 22 in PA the other day and that road looked like a dump truck mecca but I doubt It looks like that in the winter, pretty hilly around there.

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22 is an alternate route to the turnpike, to a degree. With the tolls increasing, and depending on if you're running placarded hazmat 22 is the best option.

That would make sense. I knew there was an inordinate amount of them for some reason.

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Road Kill Chronicles

Guess I should have read all the replies first. Ty Dennis.

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Road Kill Chronicles

What is a capybara?

Not sure how to post pictures but google it and supposedly they’re the world’s largest rodent. Not native to North America. Was instantly recognizable due to shape of head and overall size.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Best states to be a dump truck driver?

I’d guess that it pays better up there right now because it’s a little more seasonal due to the winters. I just ran across Hwy 22 in PA the other day and that road looked like a dump truck mecca but I doubt It looks like that in the winter, pretty hilly around there.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Road Kill Chronicles

I’ve been driving nights a lot and sometimes get bored. I started making a mental list of the road kill critters that I’ve seen on Interstates, US and State highways.

These are my unscientific observations.

Most Common Road Kill Critters

1. Armadillo (must be dumb as a rock)

2. Possums

3. Raccoons

4. Deer

(Hey DOT, please spend some money to remove the deer carcasses. I appreciate that buzzards and crows need to eat, but come on guys, gets gross after a couple weeks)

Less Common, but have seen more than once

1. Tortoises

2. Coyotes

3. Fox

4. Skunk

5. Squirrel

6. Raptors (Owls, Hawk)

7. Dog

8. Cat

Very typical to see Armadillo, Possum and Raccoons in clusters of 2-3. Must be getting whacked while hooking up for romance.

Usually I see the smaller 6”-8” tortoises, this is migration season for males seeking mates. However, I saw two very large 12” at least tortoises I think still alive on rural MO highway. I was able to straddle them so hopefully didn’t kill it.

I’ve seen both a live Armadillo and a Possum crossing interstate at night. Again I was able to straddle them with the truck, but don’t know if the trailer missed or not.

Passed a Bloodhound sitting in tall grass on a rural MO roadside. Thankfully it just sat there as I passed.

It breaks my heart to hit someone’s puppy or cat. I hit a puppy with my car on US65 in AR. The dog was chasing something across the highway at full speed. No way to avoid it. Some people should take better care for their family pet safety.

The grossest sighting was coming upon a fresh deer kill at night around a curve. The poor animal was torn to pieces. Blood and guts everywhere. Felt like I needed both a truck wash and shower after that one!

I see a lot of deer around 1:00-3:00am. They like the fresh grass along highways. I usually mentally tell them “Stay where you are, Sweeties. I don’t want to kill you”.

I know this is a macabre topic, but I was bored!

I added a capybara to the list last year on I25 south of Albuquerque, poor thing was huge. Haven’t seen a bear live or dead yet despite the many signs warning of them everywhere.

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Understanding Personal Conveyance

There is a new tool in my tool box that I didn’t have before, the personal conveyance feature. I understand that it can’t be used to advance a load, but can it be utilized to get to a safe parking spot when your clock is about to expire?

Example: For whatever reason, my 11 hour clock only has five minutes left on it. I’m allowed one hour of PC per day. Can I put myself on PC and then go to a parking location? Let’s say I’ve planned to stop for my 10 hour break at Loves but when I get there it is totally full. Now I only have a few minutes left. Can PC be used to drive to another place to park? And what if there is a Pilot 5 miles down the road that I call and they still have spaces open. But to go to Pilot, I will be advancing the load 5 miles closer to my destination. What would I be able to do in that scenario?

And does the “safe haven” concept come into play here?

I was taught that as long as you treat PC as a round trip and not a one way trip you cant really go wrong. Just pc back to where you started your pc. That said about the only thing I use pc for is to move across the lot to a different parking space when someone with an air dryer constantly purging parks within earshot (drives me up a wall) and no I dont pc back to my original parking space.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Food at truck stops

I wish I knew more smaller places. Unfortunately, it is often times simply easier to stop at one of the major truck stops, so I am only talking about Pilot, Loves and TA. I understand that all three are big corporations, and because of this, just by default, you cannot expect to find good food. What is hard for me to understand though is why there are no small local businesses such as food trucks or food carts present at truck stops and rest areas? It is a very profitable business, so where is American famous spirit of entrepreneurship? Where is free market? It would be interesting to hear from those who have driven in the past, in the 60ies or 70ies - was there any good food available then?

I think too many things are working against you at a truck stop for a food truck to work, but I’m not sure why I don’t see any at the really busy rest areas. There aren’t any pre existing food options there and you’d always be getting new people in and out.

Posted:  8 months, 3 weeks ago

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Spare Parts And Tools You Should Carry In Your Truck

Not sure I've seen this one covered before. Recently helped out a guy who had just upgraded with setting up/flushing out his Qualcomm and I remembered the case of OMG/Holy Schnikies I had and the stuff I wish I'd known to get before taking off on my first solo.

So, my list of things you should get off the shop before you roll. *Note, these are shop truck items and not personal gear.

Fuses

Spare turn bulbs

Wiper blades

Gladhand grommets

Wiper fluid

Oil

Load bars

Chains *Ask someone how to lay out and hang if they're still in the bag.

That's my short list. Most shops will make sure you have some but not all of these.

Side note, end of year coming up... Are all your permits and tags up to date?

Couple things I didn’t see mentioned that I got free from the shop were def, straps, and the heavier duty sticky velcro they use to stick your Prepass to the windshield. The black velcro you get at truck stops is good too for stopping vibrations/movement in the truck (microwave, cb etc), and easier to remove if you need to.

Posted:  9 months ago

View Topic:

A Week in the Walmart Private Fleet

6/24 0315

Up & at em. 89 more miles to go before reaching the 1st stop. Thankfully it looks like I should be able to fish my way out of this truck stop. The swarm of trucks that came rolling in last night to park "creatively" left me wondering if I'd be blocked in this morning. I'm pretripped and rolling out by 0345.

0530

Arrive 1st stop in Islandia, NY. Live unload 8 pallets.

I roll in and bump the dock knowing they have...ahem wink wink...strict rules at this store against delivery before 0700. I was taught to ignore such trivial matters. The larger issue is noise. As long as I'm quiet, they'll allow an early offload. No idling, no Apu, no slamming doors or loud voices etc. There are houses directly behind the store whose owners will complain if they're disturbed.

The receiving guys actually prefer that I show up early before the mad rush of vendors arrive at 7. Little tricks of the trade get you ahead. There are of course some places or employees that adhere closely to delivery times.

Depart at 0600 for the short jaunt to the next stop. ETD at Johnstown set for 1300 with 3 drive hours remaining.

0625

Arrive at 2nd stop in Middle Island, NY. Live unload 22 pallets.

This store only has 2 docks, and both of them had a trailer docked. No tractor attached. Every store should always have a least one open dock available, unless someone is currently being live unloaded. For whatever reason, that didn't happen here. So I had to drop my loaded trailer in the parking lot, pull an empty out of the dock and also drop it in the parking lot before reattaching to my loaded trailer to put it in the dock. What some drivers would do now is hook to the empty and boogie out of here, leaving both docks blocked again for the next driver to worry about. But no I'll do the right thing and wait to be unloaded, so I can get my trailer out of the way, clearing a dock.

They already told me they don't have much room and will need to shuffle stuff around to fit all 22 pallets. So I may be here a while.

I finally pulled away at 0825hrs after over 1.25hrs wait time beyond the allotted 45mins. Now for the 260 mi deadhead back to Johnstown. I pushed my ETD out to 1500 because of the delay.

It slipped my mind to note what time I made it back to the yard, but it was probably somewhere close to 1330. The trip back was uneventful, save for the conversation I had with a knuckle-dragging primate I counsel from time to time. Short on big words but heavy on burps and grunts, we sometimes understand each other.

Somewhere along the way I stopped at a rest area for my 30, this time skipping the chicken fingers.

Arriving back at the yard, after dropping my empty I ran into Joe over by the fuel bay. Remember Joe? He and I go back to our beginning at Walmart. We chewed the fat for a few, but I really needed to go grab a shower and check on my next trip.

In the dispatch office I asked why I hadn't received a new trip yet.

"Hmm, must be a glitch again. I'll resend it to your computer. I show you going back to the island." Well, okie dokie then.

Depart Johnstown 1440 for this 1 stop 450 mile round trip. Looks like it'll be a repeat of yesterday's trip down. I'll make it as far as the Ramapo Service Plaza again before shutting down. The difference today is my 14 will nearly be cooked when I get there. Then up at 0dark30 for the last leg to the island.

1715hrs

Parked for the night.

Today's tally

521 miles

1 hook

1 drop

2 Arrivals

2 Live unloads

1 Layover

1.25hrs wait time

1 bridge pay

Gross pay $443.49

Do yall have nightshift drivers or all day shifts? I’m assuming the latter if stores don’t receive before 0700. Or is that just that particular store?

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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Adding Endorsement after receiving hard copy.

Hi, I'm a bit confused by two different explanations from BMV. I'm wondering if I'm able to add endorsments to an existing CDL A after receiving the hard copy.(In Ohio).

Is it just fee or will I need to get permit again and retake driving test.

Iirc you will have to pay for the new hard copy license because it has to be changed, but if you get your endorsements before they issue your CDL then there was no charge for adding the endorsements. Maybe some one can verify that but I seem to remember being told it was cheaper to get them up front and out of the way.

Posted:  1 year, 3 months ago

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FNG in MD looking for Driving Info

Hows it going everyone? Came across this forum looking for trucking info online.

I am getting back to the workforce after a few years sidetracked due to a flu vaccine. I'm not a spring chicken anymore and can't see myself going back to school for years to maybe land a job and not be stuck with school debt and no career.

In a previous life I was a firefighter and paramedic. Many years driving fire trucks but we didn't need to have a cdl in the state I worked in.

I am scheduled to take my written exam for my learners permit towards the end of the month as I have figured whether I go to an employer for training or to school I will need this.

I have a few questions and wouldn't mind picking the brains of those more experienced than myself. No criminal record no issue with my personal DL and just looking for a solid career to get back on my feet. Currently working as lube tech at a local garage until I get something figured out. Pay sucks but grateful to be employed.

Trying to get some information so I can make informed decisions on getting into trucking.

Thanks for letting me into your little slice of the internet here.

I was unemployed for longer than you were when I got back into trucking and I was pre-approved by every company that I applied for while in school. If you have a clean criminal record to go along with your clean driving record I wouldnt worry about the lack of recent work history. My .02

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Class B Skills Test in a Bobtail Truck

Can you get a Class B license using a Bobtail truck for your skills test?

I know in Alabama you can. A guy in my class was so bad at backing the instructors told him he basically had no prayer of passing and talked him into a class B test. It took him all 6 pullups to alleydock a bobtail. We were dying laughing.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

First week off my trainer's truck is my last

Well I write to you after being stuck in the desert all night thanks to my qualcomm shutting off on me and now im at pilots trying to get fuel to get out of here and my EFS card isn't working. I javen't been able to eat in almost 48 hours, in the last week I have had 3 break downs, fix it tickets, CSA points, gotten lost a good few times, still can't back for **** since my trainer never let me back in to a tight spot, can't slide tandems, had the qualcom shut off on me multiple times, the person I'm teaming with and I are at each others throats, refer to my previous post if you are curious about that, had a ****ed off, Ive ****ed off my DM multiple times with dumb mistakes or stupid questions and hes threatened to **** can me, my girlfriend is in the hospital and the list goes on, that is literally the start of the bs that has happened i could write a book on everything that has gone wrong in 1 week. I don't know what I am going to do or where the hell I'm even going to stay but I'm tired or everything going wrong, this has been quite possibly the worst knew trucking was hard but if I knew it was this bad I wouldn't have even thought about wasting almost $3,000 I don't have on a CDL. Good luck and stay safe out there, I appreciate everything y'all do.

I’m convinced the reason most people quit is they get overwhelmed by all the things they weren’t prepared for and then say this isn’t worth it. Yes a lot of that is poor training, but even the best trainers cannot prepare you for everything. There just isn’t enough time. I’d like to say stick it out though, sounds like you’ve had a rough week but making it to solo and your own truck is almost like two different jobs. It’s so much better and worth putting up with all the crap to get there. No excuse for not eating though.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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A Day In The Life of a Walmart Dedicated Driver

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I recently turned down a Walmart dedicated position (the dc they offered was nowhere near the house)

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Just a heads up, that doesn't mean too much. A member here, Jamie, did Walmart dedicated with Crete. The DC he ran out of was North Platte Nebraska and he lives in Arkansas. He said when it was time for hometime Crete would assign him an OTR load. He eventually went back OTR because he said it was sometimes difficult getting it to work out satisfactory, however there are options if you don't live near the DC and that gig interests you.

Hmm did not know that. At the time it seemed like a non starter, they offered Seymour IN and I live in Mobile AL lol. That being said my gut said no even if the dc had been reasonably closer. I actually like otr and the pay seemed like a push. Woulda been nice to try it out for a week though.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

A Day In The Life of a Walmart Dedicated Driver

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Wow! That was a busy day! Even though I'll be Schneider instead of Swift I bet the experience will be similar. Alas I'm in the flats of Illinois so the scenery might not be as pretty.

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That was a great read in and of itself and moreso for me because I recently turned down a Walmart dedicated position (the dc they offered was nowhere near the house) and have been wondering what Ive been missing. Sounds like I made the right call lol. Much respect for what you do. I know your post was made a long time ago but I just found it and this forum recently.

Hmmm I thought I had quoted the op. Not sure if we can edit posts. Oh well.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

A Day In The Life of a Walmart Dedicated Driver

Wow! That was a busy day! Even though I'll be Schneider instead of Swift I bet the experience will be similar. Alas I'm in the flats of Illinois so the scenery might not be as pretty.

That was a great read in and of itself and moreso for me because I recently turned down a Walmart dedicated position (the dc they offered was nowhere near the house) and have been wondering what Ive been missing. Sounds like I made the right call lol. Much respect for what you do. I know your post was made a long time ago but I just found it and this forum recently.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Fresh CDL Holder About To Start With Swift

Thanks Guys. I will definitely keep in touch. I'v looked over a lot of the forums at threads for what to expect at orientation, but if anyone has anything they think would be of some help, Id really appreciate it! Ill remind myself to let everyone know how it went in a diary as soon as I get back to my PC ( I hate typing on phones.)

First, gl in your new adventure! I just joined here too and I was where you are not that long ago. And since I doubt anyone would give this advice other than me allow me to say: DO NOT flush the toilet when they urine test you lol. Like a dummy I did out of habit even after they tell you not to. I had iirc an 1h 30m to produce another sample or I’d be hit with a refusal to produce one. I made it with 6 minutes to spare on the clock. My trucking career was nearly torpedoed before it began over a reflex sheesh. Anyway gl and stay safe.

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