Comments By David L.

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  • David L.
  • Joined:
  • 5 years, 3 months ago
  • Comments:
  • 225

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Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Why drive for a living???

I'm almost 63. Retired from the USAF then spent about 20 years in various IT jobs. I sacrificed a bit in the service but couldn't find the satisfaction in IT and moved around a bit. I have a degree but it never got me the big payday. My kids are grown and my wife fully supports me in choosing trucking. I team with my eldest son and I'm making a much better average check than when I worked IT, even with some OT. This won't be a lifetime career for me, but with my wife's excellent salary and my income we are working at being debt free in a couple of years...including mortgage. I miss being home more and so far this year have missed my wife's birthday, Mothers Day, and will miss our anniversary week after next. But, WE decided the $$$ and me getting to do something different is worth the sacrifices.

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Basic Questions that Im wondering about life on the road.

We bought a 12v fridge and keep protein drinks and cold cuts in there. Subway 6" subs and sakad bars or prepared sakads help. We both use our phones and pandora for tunes. We've though of investing in SiriusXM but haven't gone there yet. We both use ATT for phone/data and its served us well. Sean has the old true unlimited data and I uograded the plan for my wife and me and actually saved a few bucks and get roll over data. We are looking at a wifi hotspot and haven't decided. I use my iPhone hotspot for now but only occasionally. We try to watch what we spend but we are making pretty good money so it's not something we agonize over. We just bought a new radiator cap for the truck, glad hand locks and another kingpin lock that the company doesn't have keys to (funny story but suffice to say we are not planning on losing ab empty at the terminal if we can help it!)

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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I've been in training for 6 months and I still can't get the hang of shifting

Trucks vary, too. Our KW T680 10-speed periodically kicks my butt. I'll go fine for hours, get to an exit for a fuel stop/break and seem to forget everything I know! I don't float much but catch my self sliding into gear with a single clutch push. I was worried about my test out at Memphis as I knew I'd be using their truck, but that old Freightshaker treated me right. It's all practice and learning your truck.

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Only good thing about California

I love the 55 mph truck limit...makes for some tedious driving. Love the food trucks!!

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Craziest places you've had to back into?

The ugliest, so far, was at a Trans-shipper in Laredo. Narrow Lane between the docks and empties and trucks staged, too. We have a KW T680 and 53' vans. Sean was spotting and then two local drivers stepped up to help...one in the slot and the other at my window. No paint was swapped but don't let anyone tell you 1 or 2 foot pull-ups are useless. It's often a game of inches. Two poultry plants in CA were challenging, too, due to narrow serpentine drives and fork lifts!! We have had some really tight u-turn situations when sent down the wrong drive or find a one way gate...

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Swift orientation road test

I tested out at Memphis. A quick drive out if the terminal and a few left/right turns and back to the terminal. We then navigated back to the trailer boneyard and I did a u-turn, a couple if sharp close turns, and then used a pre-positioned truck to pull out and do an alley docking maneuver between a couple of trailers. Pretty east, but the evaluator says he gets a lot of backing failures...

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Iceless Coolers and 12V Coffee Makers

We picked up a Koolatron on sale at a truck stop. Really doe the job. We are looking for a front door model that will fit into the space for a refrigerator and then use the current one fir the driver. Be aware tattoo need to turn off or unplug if you'll be stopped a while. These will drain the batteries.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Swift to increase pay again.

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Eckoh, I'm considering SWIFT. What are your thoughts about the over the road mentor training?

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I'll add my 2ยข on my mentor. He is a Swift Platinum level driver. Very patient. Even on the team phase when I was going to make a P/U or Del he made sure to be up, watching.

The part you need to get used to is you both use the bottom bunk. Make your bed (literally!) accordingly. Don't get all weirded out about sleeping in the same sheets. Your mentor probably has done all this before and will tell you.

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Errol V, sounds like good training. Are your driving hours and maneuvers recorded during the mentoring phase? To be honest, I hadn't looked at SWIFT until recently, but I'm really starting to think they might be a good option. Thanks for the feedback.

I'm currently in my mentor training. Yes, there is a checklist for recording your progress. Backs are recorded separately. The mentor reports about weekly to the training coordinator at your terminal. You will report progress and problems, too, on a regular basis. You will be given the training coordinator's direct number.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Poor down shifter

Who do you all drive for?

I'm with Swift.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

David, I sent you a PM.

Got it and replied! Small world!

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Poor down shifter

I used 9 speed transmissions in Volvos and Freightliner trucks all through training and my current truck, Kenworth, has a 10. Sometimes I'm smooth and an hour later I can't shift for beans. Learning the speed "windows" helps...in the KW add the speed numbers: 15=1+5 so 6th; 25=2+5 so 7th, etc. The RPM slot is also critical and 1300-1500 is the sweet spot. Dropping to 1000 by braking and then revving to 1500 is something you just have to practice. I've been visualizing this during my recent home time and will be working hard on improving when I get back in the seat tomorrow!

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

Graduated HS in 1970, so I'm 62 this year. I started as a fast food manager in 1972 when most of the food was "real". Joined the USAF in1973 and spent 20 years as an intel analyst. Duty in Japan/Okinawa, Italy, NSA, and HQ in San Antonio. Retired in 1993 and as peace had broken out could not find a civilian slot. I backed my way into IT before certification was the holy grail and worked for state agencies in TX and FL. I did a two year stint as manager for Luby's cafeterias when all the food was from scratch! Finally did seven years with a hospice software company before "retiring" again. The last several years were miserable due to lousy management in our section. Found out recently that a couple of real good transfer opportunities were blocked by the former CEO. She would not release us to take hospice IT positions. I might still be doing that if I could have transferred. Anyway, I was leaving the first of this year with my wife's blessing. My eldest son had started a new career in trucking and we got to talking about teaming. Short version is that I'm mid-way through my mentor training with my son and Swift. It's challenging and I'm looking forward to the next few years.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Moving 5th wheel

Do you move the 5th wheel forward by moving the tractor forward, or backward?

Backwards will move the sliding 5th wheel forward on the tractor. smile.gif

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Long-haul driving and boredom

Thanks Jopa and Christina. So, the idea that boredom is a huge problem: is that a common misconception?

Ian, I'm pretty new at this OTR thing but boredom has not been an issue. As Joppa said, other drivers do their best to keep the adrenaline flowing. wtf-2.gif

Night driving is potentially the time boredom and complacency could set in. I've done early AM a few times and the lower traffic volume can lull a driver into a false sense of safety. But, throw in fog, rain, or construction and the awareness definitely takes a tic UP!

My son enjoys the night runs and uses music to keep his mind active. I use a white-noise machine to mask the music when I'm in the sleeper. I'm surprised how quickly I adapted to sleeping in the truck as our highways are often very rough and noisy with expansion joints and potholes creating their own symphony of sound and motion!

Boredom is a pretty good indicator that you need some home time or at least some quality time out of the left seat to recharge.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Trucktographer's dad

I got back from the cruise! Sean is heading east coast to drop at the terminal in Decatur and then head to Jacksonville. Current plan is a load to our local Sam's club tomorrow and I'll join up. Our goal is to run hard as a team the next few weeks and for me to finish my training and test out. Running hard accomplishes a couple of things: good pay checks for Sean and lots of experience for me. We are not even planning on me testing out at Ocala. We will cross that bridge when my hours and checklists are complete.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Qualcomm message yesterday

Not just reefers. I just did the supplemental training at Swift. I have tanker but this addresses the federal change if language - cargo containers in a van/reefer/flatbed are now treated as tankers.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Automatic transmissions

Swift has ordered a bunch of automatics...I don't have details.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Swift in Columbus Ohio

Hey y'all I'm down here almost done with Wynn one in Memphis tn with swift. I'll be heading to Columbus for road training and then out with my mentor. Was hoping to gain done info about the hotel and that last week in Columbus. Also the third party tester? Thanks y'all

I was at Columbus a few weeks ago. You'll stay at the super 8. It's pretty new and comfortable. Breakfast is ok and there are washers/dryers on each floor. I had Bryan as a road instructor. I did not spend time with the other instructor but classmates were positive. You will spend time on the road with other students in the cab. There are various roads: downtown by the university, interstate, rural, etc. Become very aware of where your trailer is...I almost nailed a jersey barrier on a nasty right turn.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Trucktographer's dad

I've had interesting couple weeks! After finishing orientation on Thursday February 26 at Ocala I joined my son in his truck. We accepted a request to help out the Walmart dedicated terminal near Arcadia, FL. We bob tailed down and ran routes over the weekend and while I didn't kill miles I did get urban driving, a bunch of backs, live unloads, and rain/dark on 2 lane rural roads.

We accepted a load on Monday, grabbed an empty and headed to Bartow, FL, to pick up cabinets for Home Depot in Washington DC. Bartow is my hometown and it was a bit surreal driving to the pickup. It was live load and the office was clueless, fortunately the warehouse crew had their act together. We headed for Richmond, VA, to drop for another driver to deliver.

We got a heavy load headed for western Virginia and so I got my first really heavy load and mountains. Our next load was paper headed to Appleton, WI. This load had us about 79K pounds and took us across WV with mountains and weather. We had to bust HOS to reach safe haven. We weren't running team yet and the weather went in the dumpster and the first two stops we tried were full-a rest stop and truck stop. We made it to Beckley, WV, and a nice plaza. We tucked into a curb area overnight and got a parking spot the following morning. We checked weather and west of us sucked and KY was basically shut down. We called in for a delayed gdelivery and did breakfast at a nearby Cracker Barrel and chilled the day and night. This got us both a 34 hour reset so when we headed west after the storm we ran hard. WV had done a decent job of clearing the roads...KY was still a mess but the lanes were generally clearance and the sun was out.

I finished my first 50 hours but we ran a modified "super solo" schedule with Sean driving some to make sure we made good stops. Weather was ok and we made Appleton, WI, with clear roads but could not deliver due to the weekend. We were able to t-call the load and pickup another heavy load, live load, for Laredo, TX.

We started team driving and arrived in Laredo early. We had our trailer inspected at the Laredo Swift terminal and headed over to the trans-shipper where I did an ugly alley dock with assistance from two Mexican drivers spotting....tight between two trucks with a narrow lane, trailers and a tractor in front of me. Along with the yard dog checking out the rookie! I made it with 4-5 very short pull-ups to finally get straight. Overall everyone was very helpful and cool. We bob tailed back to the Swift terminal to check our next load and went to a motel for showers, a couple of good meals, and a good nights sleep.

Up early last Monday, picked up our trailer and headed east in the fog. We full on ran team headed for Augusta, GA. We got in the area on Wednesday morning over a day early. We couldn't get an answer regarding early delivery and were finally routed back to the Decatur, GA, terminal to drop for another driver to deliver on Thursday and started home-time.

Sean had a gathering he was attending north of Atlanta and I caught a flight home for a previously scheduled cruise with my wife and two other couples! I drove bobtail to the Atlanta airport and Sean continued to his friends. I've been resting up and doing some chores as the cruise begins Saturday.

I don't recommend new drivers coming on with this kind of home time scheduled, but our DM and my training coordinator have been cool about it. I get back next Thursday and will get to Sean and the truck. We will be running as team and I've got the balance of my 200 hours to log and then test out.

It's been a hectic couple of weeks. I love being home but will be ready to get back in the drivers seat. I'm getting kicked by the 10 speed transmission as all my previous work was in 9 speed Volvo and Freightliner trucks. It'll come but I know I'm driving Sean nuts!!

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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Max age to start a trucking career?

Being generally healthy and having a desire to succeed at driving are about all that's needed. Age is not a barrier. I'm 62 and just finished training with Swift. I do my orientation and head our with my mentor next week. I met a guy at Roadmaster that was in his 70's. Good luck.

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