Profile For Po-Po

Po-Po's Info

  • Location:
    Dodson, LA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 10 months ago

Po-Po's Bio

I separated from the Army almost a year ago after 15 years of service, and it's been tough finding steady employment above minimum wage. I have a lot of great skills in a variety of areas, but no companies have been interested in what I have to offer because it's just a little extra effort to translate from military experience. :-/

Because of that, I decided to use part of my GI Bill and went through the CDL training program at West Georgia Technical College. I believe that they gave me a first class education, but I wanted a position that doesn't require me to go back to school all over again. I know that every new driver has to pay their dues, but after spending 4 of the last 16 years deployed away from my family, I was really looking for something closer to my wonderful wife and six children. I found it in a position as a log truck driver in central Louisiana, which gets me home daily, even if it is pretty late, and weather dependant.

When I registered here on TruckingTruth, the server just assigned me that snowy pic as my avatar. Having lived in upstate New York right next to Canada for three years and LOVING the winter snow up there, I think I'll keep it. Ice Road Truckers, anyone? :-)

Po-Po's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Log Trucks

I've been driving a log truck in Louisiana for almost a year now. I'm sure there are major terrain and weather differences compared to Maine and other timber states, but mud is mud, and woods roads are rough everywhere. IMHO, it's best to start as a company driver first, as there are risks in many categories for a new driver, much like in other types of trucking. I'll include some of my worst-case experiences here for everyone's amusement. wtf-2.gifRisks: -Driving Conditions & Weather. Like construction jobs, we work when the sun is shining. Haul roads are frequently just a bulldozer trail through the woods, with no gravel. I would give up truckstop chicken fingers for a month to get a truckload of rock delivered to our current job. Ugh. -Fatigue. 14 hour days are common. There is always a race to be first to the woods in the morning. Coming in second by a minute means you may have to wait another hour to get your first load, as most sites only have a single loader. I've been out in the woods by 6:00 am, only to see two trucks turn in front of me, so I know it's going to be a long day. C10301229?$cc-g$ My company really wants us to get three loads per day, and the last load usually goes to the mill with the worst wait times. -Equipment Expenses. Log trucks burn a lot of fuel idling, and short haul routes are much less fuel efficient than interstate driving. I've seen as low as 2.2mpg while in motion. Logging and oil field service are pretty much the worst wear-and-tear occupations for trucks possible. We don't get nearly as many miles from our tires as road tractors, and the better drivers sure do go through a lot of grease and filters. The winning formula around here seems to be owner/operators that drive an older paid-for truck on contract with a stable logging company. New trucks don't stay looking new for long. -Loading & Unloading Wait Times. An average woods crew can get a truck loaded in an hour - more or less. A single crew has three drivers. That goes back to the morning race to the loader in the woods. Somebody's got to be in third place, so that driver just got up super early just to kill two hours waiting. Unloading at the paper or chip mill is a crap shoot, varying from 15 minutes to six hours! When oil prices collapsed, we saw lots of very nice road tractors slogging around with a log trailer behind them. There were too many trucks for the mills to handle, resulting in the terrible lines. It's gotten better a few months later, and two hours' wait is the worst I've seen lately. 45 minutes is more typical. -Not "real" truck driving. I've learned that as logging is my first CDL job, and it's all intra-state, many regional flatbed/dry van/reefer companies look at me as if I don't have any experience at all. This is really hindering my chances of finding another trucking job that will let me maximize home time with my large family. embarrassed.gif -Hazardous/overweight/unstable loads. I'm sure this isn't the case everywhere else, but the DOT just doesn't seem to see log trucks going down the road. confused.gif It's pretty much understood that hauling less than 80,000 pounds is not enough. Most typically loads are 90-95k, and I've personally witnessed more than one in the 110k range - all on an 86,600 pound agricultural commodity permit. Log trucks certainly run heavy. Some come with built-in scales, but I don't have them. They aren't usually to unstable once secured properly, but it's the brief periods when all straps or chains are removed that pose the most danger to the driver. Logs falling off the top pose the greatest and most likely risk. There are cages at each mill where straps and chains are removed. Oftentimes we haul short lengths of larger diameter timber to a lumber mill, and those make the trailer flex and bounce, leading to squirrelly handling on winding roads. We see a lot of 35mph curves. Any driver can manage it with a healthy dose of respect for the physics.

Benefits: -Always home daily. I don't know of any company that drives more than three hours in any direction. It seems like everything is an hour away, no matter what - workshop, home, woods, the mill. -Convenience. Most drivers are assigned a truck, and many can take their truck home. Your driveway is the limiting factor. -Jobs are available, if you can keep your nose fairly clean. -Pay. You will never get rich driving a log truck, but it pays the bills for us as long as the weather holds.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Boyd Bros Trucking

TMan, it's been 7 months. How's it going with Melton? I'm talking to Boyd Brothers, Comcar, McElroy, Crete/Shaffer, and a few others.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Hired at Con-Way ... Everything was great!

Congrats! Let us all know how the next few weeks go.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

UH-OH!! Get yer wives and kids OFF THE ROAD!!!

Haha! I hear you. I'll be driving soon too. People, don't stand near the curb on any right hand turns, because I'll be taking your toes off! LOL

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Swift cdl school-waiting to hear back

I'm in a similar situation. I just finished school at my local technical college, and I'm applying at different companies. I'll be following along to see how it works out for you. Thanks.

Posted:  7 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

School's out- training time over- and I set out as a solo driver!

I made every bonehead mistake I could make- some because of an outdated GPS.

Wayne, can you tell us more about your first week mistakes? I've finished my college CDL program, but I haven't been hired by anyone yet, and I'd like to know what to look out for. Thanks! confused.gif

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