Profile For A.J. (Artman)

A.J. (Artman)'s Info

  • Location:
    Lynchburg, VA

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 1 month ago

A.J. (Artman)'s Bio

After delivering pizza for 10 years and nothing else to show for it, I needed something else to make it in life. No social life, no friends anymore since they do their own thing the last few years and contact only when they need favors. So why not drive for a living? Great way to see the country and get paid for it. 41 years old and no prospects for a family. I went through CDS Tractor Trailer Training School in Roanoke, VA (Aug to Dec 2014) and obtained my CDL Class A License (on the 3rd try lol). Have an extremely limited amount of experience, Stevens Transport for a month (only allowed to drive a week) and Pashcall Truck Lines for two weeks (failed on upgrade test, time limit expired). During my entire trucking experience I have travelled from Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina accumulating just over 5000 miles. I know it's just baby mileage, but it's better then last year when I couldn't drive one lol. I'm basically an old-school kind of guy that likes the old school music and movies (Convoy, Smokey & The Bandit, Police Academy, Stroker Ace, and many more.

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Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Parking?

Any from the Roanoke VA area know where I could park a trailer for a couple of days? I can park my truck at my house just no room for the big box.

Down on Franklin Rd after getting off 581/220 where Tanglewood Mall is. Take a left at the exit, you have a Sonic and Red Lobster on the left across from the old Colonial Motor Lodge. Used to be a K-Mart there, plenty of space. You also have Excel Truck Group on Lee Highway.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Game: Why do you love trucking?

I got into it for the chrome!

Is that gonna be your new song: "It's All About The Chrome Baby!" rofl-2.gif

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Hurricane

I was bringing a load from Commerce,CA to Miami with a stop in Pensacola. Everything was going fine until I got to Pensacola. Was told that no loads were going to be coming in or going out, especially with the Labor Day Weekend. Then was told that I had to take it down to Miami regardless, however I would be on my own as far as getting out (deadheading with no pay). Even Safety was pushing to go down there saying that oh you have plenty of time to get down there and get up to Atlanta, before the stalling.

Dispatch called this morning asking me if I am still going to take it down there since the holiday weekend is over, told them find someone else who cares more about making $$$$ for the company over their safety.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Game: Why do you love trucking?

Got into trucking because it would be a rewarding career once you get the hang of it, that is after learning the lifestyle. For those of you that always wanted to see the country, what better way to see it and get paid for doing it?

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

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Am I doing something right?

Keep up the great work Big Scott! By the way, is CFI still requring you to get HAZMAT?

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

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Still Alive (Barely LOL), Updates, and Company Search.

Greetings to the men and women here on Trucking Truth. I know that it's been what seems like forever since I have been on here, especially when it comes to replying to a comment or posting a topic.

Last time I remember talking on here, I was a newbie trucker and was jumping from company to company. I was working at local company in Rustburg/Lynchburg VA area called Englander Transportation. Teamed with a trainer running reefer for a few months (Oct 2016 to March 2017) before we finally needed to break the team up (especially when you cross the line talking about my girlfriend plus attitude). I was eventually teamed up with another guy for 3 more months (April to July 2017) before we both decided to leave the company (low pay, company more focused on inbound cameras being covered instead of repairing equipment). So I went from teaming up with two different guys and gained more confidence. More importantly, I gained critical experience that made me feel more comfortable handling that truck going down the road.

I decided to take my first adventure into going solo, JB Hunt running dedicated with RR Donnelly. Because they have one just a few minutes from the house and I can bobtail or deadhead home, OTR for 12-14 days and home for 3 straight. I had a great relationship with my dispatchers, and my Fleet Manager was a character that you could BS with. I had been running with them since August.

So yeah I have survived my first winter as a SOLO truck driver, barely though. Driving through Atlanta on 285 and 20 with the roads not even touched by DOT, OK on 35 with ice coming down and 7 accidents happen in 5 miles. But these Nor'easters were messy. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to run Thursday (3/22) with 76,000 lbs load going down 77/81 into WV/VA mountains in the middle of a Nor'easter. Especially when law enforcement says stay off roads and already had 20 accidents on 81 alone in a couple hours. Heck even PA had a truck ban!

Things tend to change and unfortunately, the stress within was catching up because they pay by Postal Code mileage instead of Practical mileage. Just this past 5 days I ran, drove almost 3300 miles but was only "paid" for 2900 due to PC, that's miles I run that's not being paid for. Adds up over time as we all know. From Day 1 to this past Tuesday, I've ran 67k miles, but only paid for 47k. Those 20k miles add up to $9000. More reasons I had to leave was: The account is going downhill (via down-sizing), start of the year they had taken Love's off our fuel stop network, and now they're taking one of our home days away.

Now I was talking to a buddy of mine who's been driving for 9 years, running as an independent contractor with Roadrunner. Now, I was all set on calling them when I decided to check in before coming across Brett's article about the risk/reward ratio of being an Owner Op or Lease Purchase. That's another wake up call, and back to looking for another company.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

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Help Need Advice ASAP!

Which school is that in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? Those that basically yell and curse at you for not being able to "grasp the concept" should not be trainers in the first place to me, trainers need to have patience because we're just lowly trainees who are just trying to learn in this new world.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

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Needing/Seeking help on choosing the best option for me

@C.S. What happened with Western Express was the trainer I had only had 6 months experience solo, only stopped long enough for the 30 minute break at fuel stop which was the only time I could get any food to eat. Eating one solid meal per day isn't good for the body and can cause your blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low (no I am not diabetic) that can make you unsafe to drive. Among other things wasn't a decent match and the safety guy at the terminal tried blaming me saying I didn't tell them about my need of having to use a CPAP, which I flat out told him off because I told the recruiter about it, mentioned it on my application, and told the doctor when I had to do the physical.

@Chris K. I only have 3 months experience total, but they all been with a trainer. Smith Transport requires at least 1 year experience and I believe Fleetmaster does also, Harris is 6 months solo experience. I prefer Dry Van because that's what you know we're trained on from CDS, Englander is a Reefer company and they want experience too. When I went through CDS, it was on 48ft trailers and the backing moves we had to train for was Straight Line and Curve Back. The stuff they doing now went into effect start of 2015. John was the head instructor at the time and you had Freddy, Randy, Diane, Bill, and J.R. there but much has changed since most of them had left. The school was pretty decent and you always had chance to work on your skills along with pre-trip.

Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Needing/Seeking help on choosing the best option for me

Greetings everyone, hope all is well with the Trucking Truth Family. It's been a while since I last posted or said anything, so let me give you an update. I had been out of the truck since 10/21/2015 and thought I had a new chance with Knight Transportation in Charlotte, NC. Attended the orientation and did the physical as required, however because of my BMI being above 35 I had to get a Sleep Apnea Study test as a "condition of employment". I opted to go to the Sleep Disorders Clinic here in my hometown rather than one involved with the trucking company for personal reasons. I had to wait two months for the results which basically cost me any time with Knight, however I did learn that I do indeed have Sleep Apnea, been on the CPAP since 2/25/2016. Because it was over 30 days from test to results, I was "terminated" by Knight. So I stayed on my CPAP to get in that 30-day compliance until I got to Western Express at the Bethelem terminal. Before I even set foot or came on there, I informed them 3 times I have a CPAP machine and have sleep apnea (told recruiter, put it on application, and doctor) because my concern was their trucks mostly have the plug-in adapters like chargers instead of electric outlets (for their DirectTV).

Let's just say I had a couple of issues happen during the brief time I was out there and returned home after a couple issues. I have a recruiter trying to get me with CRST Expedited in Cedar Rapids, IA. I also thought about Swift Transport since their terminal is close by in Richmond,VA. I also thought about Schneider, my biggest issue is lack of experience and when it comes to driving my backing skills really suck. Finances are a concern and taking the "Modern Day Medieval Torture Device" to Cedar Rapids is really a concern due to not getting the proper rest your body needs along with not being able to use the CPAP which would render me fatigued. Swift may have low pay as well, but I hope the training would be worth it. I have no idea if HAZMAT is required for Schneider or what not. I want to find that company that fits me and my needs (Over the Road, not just travelling back and forth to the Northeast Region everyday). Gain that valuable experience and learn the skills to survive out there when the time comes to be on my own. Any advice would be more than welcome. Thank you all if you read this and reply, stay safe out there on the roads to everyone.

Posted:  4 years, 2 months ago

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Western Express vs Swift Transport

Hope everyone is doing well here and around the country on the road in the Trucking Truth family. I am still debating whether to go to Western Express in Nashville or Swift Transport in Richmond. Orientation pay and OTR with trainer are two questions. Although I live 2-3 hours from Richmond which I could drive there instead of 10 hour ride on the "Modern Day Mid-Evil Torture Device". Out of pocket costs for supper since we all know you have to pay for evening meals plus how close eatery places are to the hotels, I know like most of you don't want to walk near a mile to just get something to eat. I am going to do Dry Van so any experiences you wish to share is welcome, after all: knowledge is power.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Heard New Year's Eve the 2014 DOT physical will have BMI requirements

Just found this article and it's very interesting especially about the BMI. Shows how out-dated the BMI formula is because our bodies have evolved from the 1840's. Even more now then the 1990's the body has changed. The basic of the article is below and the link for the entire thing is listed also.

Last updated: 22 August 2014 What is BMI? It's a common enough question that isn't always accurately answered. At it's most basic, it's a calculation of the relationship between your height and weight. The higher your Body Mass Index the more overweight you are. Many doctors and healthcare professionals use BMI as a guide when they are assessing the general health of patients. However, the method, which has been in use since the 1840's, has some weaknesses. The first problem is that it doesn't give a real estimate for the percentage of body fat. Another problem is that men and women can have the same percentage of fat but different BMI readings. Finally, carrying a lot of muscle can give an inaccurate BMI reading.

http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/articles/health/alternatives-to-bmi.php

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Latest Updates from me

Greetings to everyone here on Trucking Truth. Last time I was able to talk on here I was getting ready to start out at Stevens Transport and was super hyped by it, boy did I get smacked by a major reality check with them. Everything I was told to get me down there was a lie, which was my stupidity of course without really doing the research. I get down there and all of a sudden I seem to have all these "medical issues". They claimed I was a sleep apnea candidate because I have a 17 inch neck and weigh near 250lbs. Not to mention if you take the stupid Sleep Apnea Study test this is where I have a problem: Negative test would be $1300 (Stevens pays) but a Positive test would be $2550 (You pay) which would be a $16.25 taken out of your check a week for the next 3 years! Another thing too is they try to find any type of excuse to get you on "medical hold" for anything, because once you are on "med hold" they will STOP your pay until you get cleared which could take at least 3-4 days. The $400/wk for training is really $57.14/day. Now I realize why everyone was telling me to stay away from them, I left Friday morning and came home to get myself straightened out health wise because the stress level was so high I was having moderate chest pains because of it. Trainers didn't teach me anything and no drive time.

Enough about them, I used a site on here where you could fill out one application and it would be sent out to hundreds of companies. In just an hour I already had email notifications from 23 companies and phone calls from 8 of them. I am doing my research and trying to narrow it down. I would appreciate any sage advice from you guys or any experiences you have had with any of them. I also want to check out CSA scores. The companies that have contacted me are: Paschall Truck Lines, USA Truck, US Xpress, CRST, Super Service, Star Transportation, JB Hunt, Prime Inc, Heartland Express, Covenant Transport, Werner, Transport America, Transco Lines, Roehl, Navajo Express, WEL Logistics, and TMC.

Posted:  5 years ago

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How are yall doing?

Glad to see you enjoying yourself now since you become a trainer RedGator, perhaps if I choose to go with WEL that I could request you for my trainer lol. Hope all is well and see you someday on the road.

Posted:  5 years ago

View Topic:

CDS tractor trailer training graduate in VA

Congrats Travis, I am currently going to CDS also. The one in Roanoke and just finished the 4th week. Although I am not as far along as I want because still having issues with pre-trip and the double-clutching shifting. Good luck in your new career.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

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Needing advice on truck companies for job. Prefer Regional and OTR.

Thanks for the responses so far. PJ I know about Georgia Pacific all too well because I live in Lynchburg next to route 501. Which means I know all about those runs from Brookneal to Big Island everyday and can hear those retarders going down the road lol. Only thing I don't want is local or just being stuck running Virginia, plus wouldn't mind being out of this place for 1-2 months at a time either. Jolie what's the training like there? RedGator I think I will check them out tomorrow/ Already put applications for pre-hire into Stevens Transport and US Xpress. Update on the backing, I got the curve back and straightline backing down now. Now if I can get that double clutch and shifting.

Posted:  5 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Needing advice on truck companies for job. Prefer Regional and OTR.

Hello everyone, I just registered here and currently just finished up my 3rd week of training at CRS Tractor Trailer Training School in Roanoke, VA. The admissions want us to fill out applications for pre-hire despite not sure when we're going to graduate. Already talked with a few recruiters that came through to speak with the class. Stevens Transport is my top choice but they want you to make more choices. Already have applications for KLLM, Super Service, Werner, Crete, and Schnedier. My dilemma is that I want to concentrate on getting my driving skills down, such as my backing skills (curve back is an issue and sometimes straightline) because of the adjustment to turning the wheel opposite direction. Any advice is welcome, or as my instructors say: Schooling is free, it's the abuse that you pay for lol.

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