Profile For Mthrsupior aka Julia Balsamo

Mthrsupior aka Julia Balsamo's Info

  • Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    10 years, 1 month ago

Mthrsupior aka Julia Balsamo's Bio

I am a 43 yo female, who grew up in Southern California in North San Diego County. I moved to Las Vegas, NV to go to school, I married my wonderful husband in January 1994, then I graduated from UNLV in 1997 with a degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology. It's a form of medical diagnostic imaging. I worked in the Las Vegas area as a Nuc Med Tech for 10 years until we moved.

My husband worked as a slot mechanic in Las Vegas casinos for over 22 years before we moved back to his home area of Pittsburgh, PA to be near his family. He was able to get a transfer to a local casino in the area.

I have 3 children. Bree is 17 and graduating from High School, May 30th. She has been accepted to Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn, NY for this fall. Bryan is 15, he has Aspergers Syndrome and severe dyslexia, but is very intelligent, and is doing great. Then the oops baby Bryce, is 11. He is in the 6th grade and is getting great grades, and already planning on going to college.

Due to my sons' needs, I stayed home from work for awhile, then took care of my mom who was sick and passed away, then due to economy and my unemployment, I couldn't find work. I was forced to find work elsewhere, and so I decided to get my CDL A. I started school Nov 28th, and started with a trainer Jan 3rd, and started as a solo trainee Jan 25th. I finished my training and went independently solo Mar 12th

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Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

ROEHL's Training Phases?

Hello Steven,

I have been driving for Roehl for about 7 months now.

Since I have "grown up" on this site, I have adopted the attitude that Star and the others have said.

A company is only as good as you are.

You need to pick a company that will have the opportunity that best fits your needs.

So, with that said, I am on the 7/7 fleet. I share a truck with one other driver, who is in the truck when I am home. Because we share a truck, we have a drop yard where we pick up the truck and that we have to bring the truck back. For me, the yard is about 2.5 hours away. I average about 2800 miles per week that I am out, and am making .34 cents per mile right now. This works for me, because I can afford to work "part time" and it enables me to have the home time that I need for my family.

I happen to really like trucking in general, and the people that I work with specifically. I believe that Roehl is a "good" company, and I will definitely stay with them for at least the first year or two; but I also believe that there are other companies that may have a better opportunity for me in the future, as my needs change.

For example, as my children finish school and start college, I may need to make more money, or be able to work different days, and arrange to take home time at different places. I can't do that on my current 7/7 shift. I may just be able to switch to a different fleet, or I may find another company that has a better opportunity for me. Either way, Roehl is still a "good" company, but it may or may not be the best company for me.

So, if you find that Roehl's programs are a good fit for you, then yes, I would highly recommend them; but if they don't have the opportunities that you need, they will be an awful company. You need to consider what is best for your needs, and then have a positive attitude and which ever company you pick will be a perfect fit, and the best company for you.good-luck.gifgood-luck-2.gif

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

Hello Chris,

First, I want to say, thank-you-2.gif for your service to our country.

Second, I understand completely what you are saying and what your father meant, and no offense was taken.

Finally, I will just say, that having been on this site and having followed Brett's teachings, I was referring to being a professional in the way that Brett explained. I agree totally with Guy as well, in thinking that what your father meant was to be perfect, and I believe:

I will always be a "Rookie, Professional Driver".

What I was really trying to say is that I spent so much time and energy, learning how to be a driver, that I didn't really notice that I AM a driver! Do I still have a lot to learn? Hell, yes! But, I am doing it man! I'm out there, I'm really out there, driving a big rig! And I'm loving it!


Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Howdy Strangers

Congratulations David,

You were one of the very first stories I started following when I came on this site, and I loved hearing about all of it. I can't believe it's been a year already though. The time really does seem to fly by when you are driving a truck.

It does take some time to get adjusted to being back home again. It really is a huge change for your family, first getting used to you being gone, and then getting used to you being back home, especially for the kids. (They just don't seem to deal with change very well, even if it's a good change.) confused.gif

I'm so glad to hear that you found something that works for you; I was really pulling for you. You worked so hard, and were doing so well, you just seemed to be cut out to be a truck driver. We would have lost a valuable asset had you not been able to find something. thank-you-2.gif

At least now, with the auto tranny, you have an extra hand for that "sammich" you always talked about. smile.gif

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Reefer Vs. Flatbed Vs. Dry Van

Hey Steve,

I've been driving a dry van for about 7 months now, and I had to pull my first Reefer trailer last week. One of my fellow drivers who usually drives dry van had to pull the reefer for about a week, and he said that all his loads were live loads, and they all took at least 4-6 hours. I only had to pull it for the one load and I was unloaded quickly, so I can't say for sure; but a lot of that depends on which company you work for, and what types of customers they have. I felt like the fueling of the reefer tank wasn't difficult, but it did add time to my fuel stop, and then I had to wash it out.

I'm guessing that most of the time you can take it to a truck wash and they wash it out for you, but because I was returning it to one of the terminals, I was expected to use the wash bay and wash it out myself. No problem, but... The power hose I was using had a leak that hit the inside of my left ankle and drained into my shoe. (Did you know that waterproof shoes are only waterproof from the outside?)confused.gif So, after I was about 1/2 way done washing it out, the power hose turns off, and I have to climb out of the back of the trailer and go hit the button to turn the water back on. Okay, so I'm like knee-high to a grass hopper, so when I say "climb" out of the trailer, I really mean "climb", well as it turns out, there isn't really anyway to climb out of a soaking wet trailer without getting soaked. Needless to say... by the time I was finished washing out my trailer, I looked like a drowned rat, and felt like a raisin. shocked.png

So for me, with there being no extra pay for pulling reefers, but the added time and work of keeping it fueled, cleaned, and at the correct temperature, plus the increase in the number of live loads, which means more backing into tight docks, and generally increased wait times, it just didn't seem like something that I would enjoy doing, or would want to do on a regular basis. I'm sure if I was asked to pull one, that I would be able to adjust to the changes and it wouldn't be a big difference; but for now, I feel like I have enough to learn.

Just my experience. Hope that helps. smile.gif


Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

All State Career Pittsburgh

Hello Jim,

Congratulations! I live in the Pittsburgh area and I looked at all the schools available to me when I went to start my training including All-State.

The 6 month program was more for people that could only take classes 2 times a week, instead of a 5 or 6 day week. When I looked at it, there wasn't ANY advantage to the 6 month course, unless you are a slow learner, and it would benefit you to be able to take the time to absorb the material, or had to work while while attending school.

I visited the school, talked with the program directors, emailed with some people that had graduated from their program, and I also spoke with both Werner and Schneider recruiters who all had good things to say about the school. When I visited the school, they had a list of companies that would, and have hired their students, all of the major companies were listed. They also had a wall of recent graduates and where they were hired, and there were quite a bit of local companies as well.

If I had gone to a private school, I would have either gone with them or PAI (Pittsburgh Aeronautical Institute) depending on which one fit my schedule better.

Good Luck


Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

Great to hear from you. Thanks for your encouragement a while back. Wondered about you glade things are good for you. I'm also enjoying the 7/7, felt like it took a bit to get here, but it has been worth it! Say hi when ur in Gary, I know I get there a lot - truck 8012 -Steve

Steve, I was wondering how you were doing. I will definitely say hi. As I told Scott, I seem to be in Gary a lot. I will definitely look for your truck, but if you know you are going to be there, send me an email. I'm wondering if we haven't crossed paths before and just didn't know it. I'm in truck 8778.

I have officially confiscated my son's laptop and will be able to keep up with all of my TT friends a lot better now, plus I have the NFL Package with Direct TV, so I'll be able to watch the games on my laptop. Just in time for football season... WooHoo! Go Steelers!

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

That's awesome Julia! Fellow Roehl driver here too. I love it here. I'm on the national fleet and would like to be home a bit more in the future, but this works for now. Great company!

Thanks Scott!

My main terminal is Gary, so I'm there a lot. What's your truck number? I'll try and keep an out for you.

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

OMG! Brett,

Talk about where to begin...

Ok, so when I was looking at Roehl, you had said basically the same things; but you had asked me to consider if the 7/7 program was going to be enough "pay" for me, since it is basically working part time. I have had several drivers ask me the same question.

Yes, it is. Just to clarify and stress for everyone out there, it works for me; but it may not work for everyone. I have a husband who is working, so for me, in my situation, I don't NEED to work to eat. I'm working because I need to pay for a college student, and two teen-aged boys who can eat, a lot! Have you seen the price of groceries these days? wtf-2.gif Just to let everyone know, I am now making .34 per mile (I expect to get a .02 cent raise soon) and usually get anywhere from 2600-3100 miles per week that I am out. Of course, sometimes things happen, like last week, my partner was a day late coming home, so I started a day late, and then, I was down a day while I had to have new tires put on my tractor. So I only got 2200 miles last week. But the week before I had over 3200. So it all averages out in the end, and since I don't need health insurance, that saves me a ton of money, so I feel like I make as much as someone who is running full-time, but paying for insurance. The point is, I get paid the same way everyone else does, but with more hometime, and it works for me, and my situation; but anyone out there considering this option, please understand that just because it works for me, and I am happy with the program, it may not be right for everyone. Just saying...

Okay, so now I have a question for you. I have been running in upstate New York a few times along the 90 from Erie to Albany. Well one day, I was traveling along, and I had to get off at exit 21, so I go by exit 18 and I'm thinking "wow, I only have 3 more miles to go?" then I look down at my GPS and it says that there are 24 miles to go to exit 21. wtf.gif So I'm thinking, (I know, dangerous) but, I'm thinking that maybe this is why things are so expensive in New York. I mean, just think about it... If every time you had to pay for something and it was supposed to be 3 dollars but they charged you 24 dollars, wouldn't that explain the disparity in prices in New York? rofl-1.gif What kind of math do they teach up there?

So seriously, why don't they have the mile system for exits up there that they do everywhere else? It was just weird; but they did do something different than other places that I thought was a brilliant idea. On their exits, instead of having exit 21A and 21B for a road that exited Northbound and Southbound, they numbered the exits as 21N and 21S and there were other exits that were 25W and 25E for West and East. I thought that was great, but the exit numbers were crazy. (Of course, there is only 1 exit about every 10-20 miles, so there's not a whole lot out there, but still... smile.gif

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

It sure is good to hear from you! When I'm running the highways and see those Roehl trucks I always wonder if that could be our patron saint in there behind the wheel.

Really glad you got that great home time option, I know that family misses you when you're gone.

Old-school, I have missed hearing from you as well. Last week I got behind a TMC flatbed truck and was wondering if it was you. thank-you.gif for all of your encouragement, and support. You'd be surprised how many times something you said helped me get through a difficult time. Plus, you seem to really understand and appreciate my sense of humor, and that's not easy. rofl-2.gif

You're awesome, I love you! Please feel free to email me anytime. I'd love to be able to meet up with you and thank you in person, as well.

Oh, and by the way, I'm in a 2012 International. It's a "deeper red" than most of the Roehl trucks, but with all the same markings. I am in truck 8778, and I always wear a ball cap. Usually my black Pittsburgh Steeler hat. Why? Because I love the Steelers, yes, but I also have some Roehl caps, which are an off-white color, and guess what? All of my Roehl caps end up looking just as black as the Steeler cap. confused.gif As it turns out, I can't seem to look at my truck without getting black grease everywhere! And then to add insult to injury, I have this little peanut head and the Bluetooth that I got won't stay on my small, silky-haired head, unless I put it over the ball cap. So keep an eye out for the little peanut head with the Steeler cap and Bluetooth on her head. rofl-1.gif

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

I was wondering where you went! Glad to hear from you:) Woman truckers rock!

Yes, we do Red! I have been looking at all of the Wel trucks trying to see if I could spot you. I've been over to and around Allentown a few times and have wondered if maybe you were home, or out. I'd love to try and get together with you one of these trips though. You seem to run in a lot of the same regions that I do, so I'm sure we will cross paths at some point. Send me an email, (anyone is welcome to email me, by the way) so we can make it happen. I have loved hearing about all of your stories. You do seem to have your fair share of adventures! I know you are; but be careful out there! good-luck.gif

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

Star, thank you so much! thank-you-2.gif

I wish I could get out that way to see you; but, I'd have to switch to a different hometime fleet to do it. Roehl has a 14/7 fleet that might work, but I'd have to be back home by the end of the 14th day in order for my partners to use my truck while I'm off, it's a lot easier to get to Washington and back in 14 days though rather than just 7. shocked.png The other option is that I could go national and then I could request to go that way for a bit and arrange for some "hometime" while I'm there; but I'm not going to be able to do that for a while yet, as my oldest leaves for college in August. dancing-dog.gif She is going to Pratt in Brooklyn, NY so that leaves my boys home with just their dad and no female in the house. Yeah, Um, sorry.gif Not the best of ideas! But I'm thinking I could possibly do that next summer, since good-luck-2.gif I'm hoping to be able to take my youngest son with me and stop in California, and Las Vegas to visit with family and friends; and of course, we would certainly count you on that list, and make a stop up north as

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Hello TT! It's been awhile, but this amazing thing happened...

I became a Professional Truck Driver! shocked.pngwtf-2.gif

No, REALLY! smile.gifI am a CDL Class A licensed truck driver.

"It's a Miracle!" dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Thanks to all of you and especially to "Saint Brett" thank-you-2.gif

(I figure since he created this site, and actually helped me to become a real-live truck driver, then that's a miracle and he should be canonized). good-luck-2.gif

Well, as it turns out, truck drivers don't have a whole lot of "spare time". Who'd a thunk? confused.gif Aren't all truck drivers just sitting around at truck stops, smoking cigarettes, and enjoying the "lot lizards"? rofl-3.gif

But seriously, it's amazing, how fast the time goes when you're driving a truck. When I was first looking into becoming a truck driver, I thought: "10 hours? Holy crap! What am I going to do during all that time?" Well... I quickly learned that: "Oh, yeah! Um, I need to sleep during that time." Which means, since I generally need 7-8 hours of sleep, can get by with 6; but anything less and I have to really fight the fatigue, that I have 1-2 hours before and after sleeping to get everything done; including: obtaining, preparing, and eating all my meals, bathing, changing, and using the bathroom, taking meds, checking emails, talking with family, and taking care of any phone calls or other business. So all of a sudden, that 10 hours is gone like a puff of smoke.embarrassed.gif So when am I supposed to have time to keep up with all my TT friends?confused.gif Right now, I'm on hometime, which seems to be the only time, I have time to catch up with all of you, among other things, like catching up with my husband and three children.

Of course, if something were really wrong, I would have made time to ask for your input; so no news is good news; but sometimes it's nice to be able to check in with all of you.

I have been driving solo for about six months. I work for Roehl because they have a program for hometime where I work 7 days out and 7 days home, which I started doing about the beginning of May. The original truck I was issued was a 2007 Volvo with over 600,000 miles on her. The poor girl looked at a hill and slowed down. So finally about four weeks ago, I turned old Gertrude in and started sharing a 2012 International Pro Star with another driver who is out when I'm home and vice versa. dancing-dog.gif

Did you know that trucks, even fully loaded, can go up a hill without losing so much speed that you have to down shift 5 times and use your flashers the entire time? shocked.png Talk about miracles!

You guys and gals were so right...

1. The learning curve is huge, and really just beginning once you get your license.

2. Everyone has a hard time with backing, and it really does get easier with time and practice. (Twice now, I have actually thought to myself "Oh, that's what they were trying to say" and felt like I saw the light turn on above my own head.) What a weird feeling. But now I'm not nervous or afraid of any backing situations. I don't like them, but I know that if I'm patient, take it slow, and get out and look, I will get it in the hole. It might take me a little longer than some of these experienced drivers, but I can get it in the hole.

3. There are a lot more women drivers than I had thought. Sorry guys, it's not just a boy's club anymore, and most of the drivers out there are glad to help out. More than once, I've had two drivers get out of their cabs and help me back into some of the tightest parking spaces. I've had drivers help me get nails out of my van, help me with directions, fix a broken spring on a trailer, and pull a pin on a tandem that would not lock. Of course, there are disgruntled, unpleasant people everywhere in this world, but unlike the reputation, I have found that most truck drivers are more than happy to help in anyway they can, and just appreciate having a friendly person to talk with, that hasn't heard all of their stories already.

4. The hardest part of being a truck driver, has nothing to do with shifting gears, or backing up. Someone told me once, that they can teach a monkey to operate a truck, it's the stuff between your ears that makes you a professional truck driver. Was he ever right!

With your help, I can now say:

I am a Professional Truck Driver, and I still love it! thank-you.gif

Posted:  9 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Background and Credit Check in Starting with New Company

I had to have a credit check done when I applied for the company sponsored financing of my school. They just wanted to see if I had a credit score of 500 or above. Since 500 is a really low score, I think they were just weeding out those people that are really in financial trouble and would be likely to not repay the debt, and or fulfill the contract.

Posted:  9 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:



You have to write the mileage down every time you cross state lines?wtf.gif Wow! I have to record the mileage when I am finished with a load and get the assignment to the next load to keep track of empty miles. When I get to a shipper and when I get to the consignee to record the loaded miles and whenever I fill up the tanks for fuel mileage.

The real paperwork for me is the trip planning... It still takes me awhile yet to verify the route, follow it on the map, plug it into the GPS, and verify directions with the customers against my company directions, and then find a place to park, allowing for at least 2 options, the first would be best case scenario, and the 2nd, and 3rd would be for when there is a delay of some sort. Whether it is weather, traffic, mechanical, or missed or poor directions... Whatever the case, I try and have it all planned out before I start, and it just seems to take me awhile. So I have to allow extra time at the beginning of the trip for "trip-planning" as well.

This is where Brett's truck stop locator comes in handy by the way...nullthank-you.gif

Speaking of which, Brett, do you have a link to the truck stop locator that I can pull up on my android phone without going through the TT forum to find it?good-luck-2.gif

Posted:  9 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Potty Break

Hey Star,

I've been meaning to ask you about the porta potty. I saw one at a truck stop that was around $80 and I thought that I could find it at a WalMart or somewhere else cheaper, but I haven't really seen them anywhere else. So a few questions for you:

1. Where did you get yours and about how much can I expect to pay for one? 2. There is a blue liquid that you put in them to keep the smell down, I presume, is that liquid expensive? And how often do you need to purchase the fluid and where? 3. What do you have to do to empty the darn thing? And how often do you need to empty or clean it? Do you have to use the RV sewer dump things or something like that? Or do you just flush it in a regular potty? 4. Is there a valve that you can turn to empty it, or is it like the porta potties that you have for toddlers where you just pull the bucket out of the bottom and dump it? 5. Did you have any problems with "sloshing" or the fluid spilling or leaking out of either the top "the in valve" or the bottom "the out valve" if it even has an out valve? 6. And finally, what about the smell and or storage. Do you get that "chemical" smell throughout the whole cab? And were did you put it when not in use?

I have really been thinking about this a lot and wondering just how it works. I don't really "need" one, but there have been a few times when one would have been "really" nice to have.

Like in the winter time when it was -3 degrees outside and the potty was a long walk across a cold icy parking lot, and you've woken up at 3 in the morning and have to go but not "that" bad to want to get up and layer up and brave the cold and ice just to go. smile.gifconfused.gifembarrassed.gifshocked.pngthank-you-2.gif

Posted:  9 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Some more experiences gained, lessons learned, and a question or two...

Hello again,

Once again, I haven't been able to get on here for a while to get updated, and I'm still behind a bit, but want to share with y'all...

First, I want to mention that my backing skills have greatly improved. smile.gif

But in all actuality, it's really my confidence and attitude that have improved. Honestly, in the very beginning, I would go out of my way to find a parking place that was "an easy back" or better yet, a pull through, just so I wouldn't have to back the darn thing. embarrassed.gif

Of course, I am still not the best, but you know what? I can do it! Most of the time it takes me a few minutes longer, and/or I do a few more pull-ups then a more experienced driver; but, well, the difference is: Now, I know that if I take my time, make small adjustments, and get out and look, I will get her in the hole.

The thing is...

I had this image in my head that everyone out there watching me back up was an experienced driver who was "laughing" at me. But after being out here for even a little while, I've come to realize that, while there may be one or two out there who are laughing, more times than not, they are laughing because they remember what it was like to be brand new out there, and are glad they don't have to go through that again; and the rest of the people, have all been very encouraging, and often times even willing to get out and help me. In fact, several times, I've had people that have offered some great advice. Sometimes it helps, and sometimes it doesn't; but I never know when that one person is going to say the same thing, in just the right way, and another piece of the picture will click into place. I don't have the whole picture put together yet, by far, but I sure have a lot more pieces in place then I did just a few months, even weeks ago.

And then it really sank in... The fact of the matter is: with all the turnover in the trucking industry, there are a lot more "newbies" out there then "experienced" drivers, and the chances are that driver watching me is just as new as I am. Duh! Then one night, I had parallel parked and was watching some poor guy trying to park in front of me, and I realized that he had even more difficulty than I did, and he never did get it "right", but he got it "close enough" and he shut down.

A few nights later, I'm at a truck stop, waiting till midnight to get enough hours back to get home for my hometime, and there is a guy trying to back into the last spot left in the lot, which is between two trailers and the fuel island is in the way. So I get out of my truck to go into the truck stop to go potty real quick before I start driving, and I couldn't stop myself, I went up to the guy and say "are you in a hurry? I'm going to be leaving in about 10 mins and my spot is in a really easy spot to back into. If you can wait just a few minutes, you can have my spot." Ummm... What was I thinking???? The poor guy says to me, "well, I could, but if you could just spot me, I think I can get it backed into here." Ummm... hello! Why didn't I think of that? So I run back and spot him, and he does a few pull ups and then he gets out and comes back to see where he is, and he says "maybe, I will just take your spot after all?" His confidence was giving out, so I tell him "No, no, you're really close now, you almost have it." And I explain to him what he needs to do to get the trailer back in the spot. He says "Oh, ok" and hops back in the truck and parks it in the hole in about 30 seconds. It was a total win-win for both of us. He got some experience and confidence, and I got some experience and another piece of the picture fell into place for me, by being able to "see" what he had to do; but I also learned that a lot of the other truck drivers out there that I was "assuming" were laughing at me, are really in the same boat as I am.

Why do we always assume that everyone else has been doing this for a long time?

Anyway, now I have a question:

Do your break lights go on when you engage the engine brakes? I'm just wondering because sometimes I want to use them, but if I have someone too close to my rear, I want them to be aware that I'm slowing down, you know, so I don't get a free colonoscopy. I'd prefer not to have someone go up my rear unexpectedly. rofl-2.gif Anyway, it just occurred to me that if I use my jake brakes, that the poor person behind me, might not be getting the signal that I'm slowing down, and end up, in my end. rofl-1.gif Just saying...

Posted:  9 years, 7 months ago

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For the newbies out there that want to know what Roehl offers; this is what I have experienced.

Dave, We've had a lot of discussions about the survey, and as you know, it is a personality test. There are no right answers, it is just a tool that some pencil pusher in the office thinks will help them to determine who will be a good candidate to be an employee for their company. It is useless, and will eventually be replaced with something that makes more sense; but until then, unfortunately, some very qualified people, like you, will be turned down, and of course, some really undeserving people will be accepted. It's really a shame, and is truly the only thing that I would like to see changed across the entire industry.

Posted:  9 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

For the newbies out there that want to know what Roehl offers; this is what I have experienced.

Hello TT forum,

I just wanted to check in with you and I want to put some information out there about what I've experienced with my company. I've been getting caught up with all of your posts, and I keep seeing a lot of questions or comments about what companies have to offer. I don't know what the other companies have to offer, but I can tell you what I have experienced with Roehl so far...

There have been a few questions asked about employment history.

For me, I had earned a degree and went to work as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist for a consistent 10 years before relocating to PA; at which time, I decided to stay home and give my family time to adjust to the big move. I did not work and had no work history for a period of 4 years after the move. Then I went back to work for about an 8 month period in a customer service job not related to my degree, when I decided to go to school for my CDL.

Roehl did verify my employment with the most recent company, and my last employer before the move, and I had to submit a statement and give references that could verify what I was doing for the 4 years I was home; but I simply stated that I was home taking care of my family during that time. They did not have a problem with my lack of employment, as long as I could verify what I was doing during that time off.

Because I have a family: a husband of 19 years, and three children ages 17, 15, and 11; I went with Roehl for the following reasons:

1. No up front costs for school, except transportation and living expenses while at school for 3 weeks. The company sponsored school was financed entirely through them, and once I have completed 120,000 miles will not have to pay back. The drawback is that it was only a 3 week course, was very fast paced and really didn't cover all that it should have, but it did allow me to get my CDL A, PDQ which was what I needed for the family.

2. Only two weeks of being with a trainer. For me, it ended up being three weeks. The reason mine was a week longer is because I had taken a curve too short and got my rear tandems stuck in the snow, and had to have a tow truck pull me out. Not an accident, but enough to warrant a few extra days with a trainer for "close quarter maneuvers" training. I was happy to have the extra days training, but the norm is two weeks with a trainer. Again, the perk is less time away from home, the downside is that I didn't really feel like I was ready to be on my own after such a relatively short amount of time.

3. The final phase of training is only 6 weeks of OTR driving with your "training dispatcher" after which, you can transfer to the fleet of your choice. Most other companies require 6 months of OTR experience before they will let you go to the fleet of your choice. This didn't really have any drawbacks to it. The way they work it, is: you are out for 11-14 days and you get 2-3 days off. The longer you are out the more hometime you earn. So when I was out for 3 weeks with my trainer, I got 5 days hometime before I had to start my 6 weeks of national. I did 3 cycles of this to get my 6 weeks of OTR experience and was then transferred to the fleet of my choice.

4. They have several different hometime programs. The one I chose is a 7/7, where I am out for 7 days, then home for 7 days. This worked out for me, because I have a husband with a steady income, and can afford to work "part-time"; and because it is allowing me to get reacquainted with my family again. Even though I was out the least amount of time possible in this industry, it has still been a big transition for my family. They also have a 14/7 and a 7/4 & 7/3 plan and of course the national plan, and some dedicated/regional routes. I'm telling you all this because I have had a lot of people asking me what I thought of Roehl? Would I recommend them? Are they a good company? These are the reasons I went with Roehl, and if asked, I would tell you that, yes I recommend them; but only if what they have to offer is what works best for you!

Please take Brett's advice and pick a company because it is the best fit for you; and understand that it is your attitude that determines how happy you are with a company, not how "good" the company is.

In my case, I have been very happy with my experience thus far.

Brett, I still love trucking!smile.gif

Posted:  9 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

A special "Thank You" to StarCar for some Great Advice that helped me significantly!


One of the scariest things for me as a rookie, was not knowing how to descend declines. I'm still not sure how the percents work. Is a 6% grade steeper than a 12% grade? All I know is that I was always afraid that I would be in the wrong gear, and something bad would happen.shocked.png

To add insult to serious injury, I received all my training and started driving solo during winter, so I just knew that I was going to be on a steep decline, on icy roads, in a snow storm, in heavy traffic, with a heavy load at some point, sooner rather than later, and I was!

Sure enough, I was in the Kentucky Appalachians during a "bad snow storm" okay, I'll admit, it was a "blizzard" and the traffic was whizzing by me like it was 80 degrees out there. I ended up going past an accident going in the opposite direction, involving a semi sliding off the road, and got into a serious traffic jam, due to an accident in my direction, involving another Semi that rear-ended

But I had the advice and wisdom of all of you behind me. I slowed down to a crawl, kept my distance, and on those pesky hills I kept one thing in mind...

Star once said "You can go down a hill too slow, as many times as you want; but you can only go down a hill too fast, ONCE!"

So, yes, I went down a few hills probably way too slow, but I got down them all, I never lost control, I never slid on the ice, and most importantly, I was totally calm and at ease. I wasn't stressed out, I allowed for the extra travel time, and I was able to arrive at my destination safely and on time.

Do I know what gear I need to be in for a 5% grade? No, but I know that it doesn't matter if I'm in the exact right gear, as long as I take it slow. Do I go too slow? Yep, sometimes, I do, but do I care? Nope, not a whit! Why? Because I know that I will make it to the bottom of the hill safely, and I'm gaining experience, so that next time, I'll know how fast and in what gear, I can take that decline, but until then, all those idiots behind me can go around. smile.gif

So Thank You Star! I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to know that it doesn't matter how slow I go, as long as I get down the hill safely. It has relieved soooo much stress, and anxiety, and made my life so much easier. thank-you.gif

Posted:  9 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

North of the Border

I have been to Canada twice now. Once was a pass through from Niagra Falls to Detroit, but the other was a delivery from OH through Detroit delivering in Mississauga Ontario. The drive through was easy, but the delivery was a little bit of a pain, but I not that big of a deal, but in Ontario they all speak English. I don't know, but I didn't mind it

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