Profile For Hammer St. James

Hammer St. James's Info

  • Location:
    Cleveland, OH

  • Driving Status:

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 1 month ago

Hammer St. James's Bio

Earned my CDL in 1996 and drove for 9 months. Decided to enroll in college and persued a degree in medical lab technology. Worked for eight years in the medical field and now have the itch to go out on the road.

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Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Post Trucking Company Orientation: Training Days Begin

I lied... can't deal with this ****. This "mentor" is a thief.. a liar.. and a sociopath.

I'm done with this and with Swift.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Post Trucking Company Orientation: Training Days Begin

Big thanks to all those that took time from their busy schedules to respond.

In keeping with the name of this site my posts are truth; no fluff, exagerations, or extraneous bs. Reading some of Brett's responses maybe it should be called TruckingHardTruths.com :)

Here's an update.. after 9 days on this truck I finally surpassed 50 hours and achieved "team status". In all honesty, the truck ran like a team from day one.

In reaching this plateau, the mentor usually sleeps 16-18 hours a day. I have burned up my 11 hour clock on more than a few days. I imagine the people in the office got on his case about not allowing me to drive. Trust me, it has nothing to do with my lack of driving skills- without bragging I actually shift this truck more smoothly than my ham fisted gear grinding mentor.. Since I got on this truck three weeks ago I have driven 8000 miles.

In the passed few days though he has been reducing my behind the wheel hours again. Is he trying to prolong my time on his truck again? Does he think he has given please to the office folks enough to return to his wheel hogging behavior? I don't know.

The mentor likes to disrupt my sleep by either yakking on the phone or cranking up the nu metal station on the sirius radio. My sleep deprivation is reaching a point that when I am driving my concentration is affected and I begin to dread my time behind the wheel.

The mentor hasn't been keeping any records of my training and hasn't made an update call in two weeks. He continues to complain about some of the lower mileage runs and takes those for himself.

I finally met the real owner of the truck yesterday. He owns two other trucks on this account and operates one of them himself. He questioned the mentor about his sloppy record keeping. The mentor blamed me. In turn, the owner chastised him.

I'm beginning to feel like cheap labor to this mentor. Also, I feel as if he is trying to prolong my time in his truck. He hasn't taught me much of anything accept using the Qualcomm.

My experience may differ from others and quite possibly may not be the norm. This thread is not created to deter anyone from pursuing a dream of driving a big truck. As it has been said-- "Your mileage may vary".

I'm sticking it out and seeing this through. At most, I have three more weeks to endure. No one said life was easy and this experience is case-in-point.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

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Reefers

My trainer pulls a reefer for a dedicated retail account. Honestly, I don't find the motor very loud or obnoxious. The pre-loaded trailers are picked up at the distribution center. The temps are set and the only thing to do besides refueling is shutting it off at the last stop. It's pretty easy peasy work: the only manual labor involved entails denoting the temps on the paperwork, opening the back door, and lifting up the bulkhead doors.

The warehouse people unload the trailer pretty fast. The only complaint I have is with the docking areas: it's the same name stores but every dock is different... very few are easy straightbacks. Most are blindsides with obstacles that range from random landscape islands in the most cumbersome places to 16 foot walls to even a tricky blindside into a garage with steel poles on both sides/front to back. Most if not all have no space for pullups either.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Post Trucking Company Orientation: Training Days Begin

Tonight I start my 7th day straight with this "mentor". I have a whopping 35 hours behind the wheel. He receives calls while we are on the road from the office peeps wondering why I have so little time In. He changes the subject as to why he only gets 400 mile runs with a student. Every one of them reminds him that the shorter trips are for me to run. Remember, he does most of the miles. Anyways, he plays dumb with them and continues to cry about the lack of miles.

It's all about the money....

Anyways, my DM wanted to meet with us about the $200 stolen from me. We met in her office. My "mentor" dominated the conversation. He spoke misinformation and made himself into a saint. The DM and him yucked it up like old buddies. DM gave the situation the short thrift and .... said oh well..

Driving a truck is like riding a bike. My up shifts and down shifts are smooth. My backing is pretty darn good. I wish I could forgo this crap and test out tomorrow.

I think I made a poor decision coming to this company. I don't know if I can stick this out for 4 more weeks..

By the way, he still sleeps all the time, smoking my cigarettes, driving my miles, and now he's eating my food.

Good God, give me strength.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

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Qualcomm Navigation Error

Oh, the joys of Navigo! The QC habitually errs on the side of stupidity. For example: Today, it has told me that my destination was on the right. . Nope, on the left dear. Send me down the wrong side road to reach the dock. And the coup de grace -- "continue on I480 east" and at the last second change the display showing I77 south .. had to cut over two lanes and barely made the ramp. .. Thanking my chosen diety of worship that no vehicles were in those lanes at that time.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Post Trucking Company Orientation: Training Days Begin

Oh yeah, he lied to me. He doesn't own the truck. Some other guy does and he just drives for him.

So much bs. ...

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Post Trucking Company Orientation: Training Days Begin

I'm starting to see the mentor's true colors.

The truck is supposed to run solo for the first 50 hours. Well, it's been run as a team since day one. He takes at least half the miles and when he tires due to undiagnosed sleep apnea he sits in the jump seat and passes out within minutes. After 20 minutes he crawls in the sleeper for hours. He wakes up just before we return to the dc and takes over.

He fudges my Qualcomm logs; logging me in the sleeper berth when it should be on duty not driving: screwing me out of money.

Saturday he was whining how broke he is. Then, he leaves the terminal with his buddies and they come back with a ton of food and throw an impromptu cook out. I find out today that he bought the food. Today, I notice $200 missing out of my wallet.

And on top of it all, he smokes all my cigarettes. .

I can't sleep due to his raucous snoring and his farts will peel paint off walls..

I've had it.

Posted:  7 years, 12 months ago

View Topic:

Post Trucking Company Orientation: Training Days Begin

My three day orientation at Swift was packed with alot of information. I mean.. alot.

At the end of the third day only one attendee was sent home (health reasons). Well, not totally true... one guy was sent packing before orientation even began... He missed the shuttle van on the first morning.

I was sent back to a motel; sand a driver code. The nice lady that conducted the sessions promised me to come back the next day for my code. . She did not disappoint.

While waiting to meet my mentor I hung outside the smoking area. Being a new face I hung out with the regulars. Finding out I needed a mentor an intense bidding war ensued among the mentors that were present. I took a liking to one guy that was cool. We shared the same love for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

I went inside the office to meet my developmental driver leader. She told me she had already chosen a mentor for me and that he will arrive in a couple of hours.

I met my mentor later that day. He was a larger version of me; big, bald, and tattooed. I found him down to Earth and easy to get along with.

My mentor isn't a Swift company driver (owner/operator). He drives a Kenworth T 700 with an 8 speed. I never drove a KW nor an 8 speed so it was a thrill to experience something different. Also, unlike the typical Swift castrated 62mph rigs this one runs up to 68mph.

So far, in the first 2 days I've run 700 miles on two runs: New York and Pa. Being on a dedicated major retailer account we pull a reefer and return to the terminal regularly.

Tomorrow, we run to Chicago. The fun continues.

Posted:  8 years ago

View Topic:

U.S. Legal Services?

You missed the key word "immediately". I wasn't given anytime to perform due diligence. When put into a position to pick & choose I tend to balk.

With 62 mph governed trucks I highly doubt getting cited for being in the hammer lane for too long!

Posted:  8 years ago

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U.S. Legal Services?

I'm at orientation at Swift. They showed us a few videos; one offering insurance through US Legal Services. We were forced to decline or accept immediately.

Is this insurance necessary?

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