Profile For James925

James925's Info

  • Location:
    Bay Area , CA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

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  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 9 months ago

James925's Bio

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Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Officially got a new job hauling fuel tankers. Goodbye Prime/OTR

Congratulations Daniel! Glad to hear you got out of OTR on your own terms. My uncle drives tankers (in Sacramento coincidentally) and he loves it, he's been doing it for the last 6 months. His shift is long though, he works 6pm to 6am, he's brave! I've driven at night and after 2 am I'm not worth anything. He "mixes" the gas as well and says he's pulled into some tight gas stations. Good luck to you sir, definitely keep us posted on your new adventure and savor the short commute! It's amazing how much better your quality of life is when you don't have to drive an hour or more to get to work. Stay safe out there!

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Worst city to drive a truck in?

Pittsburgh is a brutal city to navigate. There are three rivers that converge there, 1,000 railroads that go through there, and it's in a mountainous region. It's really tough getting a big rig around there.

Pittsburgh (shudders) I still break out in a cold sweat thinking about navigating around Pittsburgh on that cold April morning, delivering to Chris' Candies...I was definitely initiated into the world of old man trucking

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

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Tailgating

Didn't bother me in the least when people tailgated me. I'd just slow down a little bit or maintain my speed. Eventually people would go around me. I'd get the one finger salute, had people curse at me as they drove past, even throw a bottle at me once, and I'd always give them a big smile and a wave. The looks I got were hilarious.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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Trucking Takes Commitment

*mic drop*

Old School that was a great post. Everyone new should read it.

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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Growing Pains on the road with WEL

Just glad to see our resident bada$$ back here aka Redgator, I was going to file a missing persons report on her! Good read, hope things are better for you now.

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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Question on Central Refrigerated

Sounds like you're the perfect fit for the lifestyle if you have no children or anything else. Just remember, we can tell you all about living on the road, and you can mentally prepare yourself for it, but it won't actually sink in until you're actually out there on your own. But as long as you have a positive attitude about the situation, which it seems you do, you should be fine. And remember, trucking is a lifestyle, not a job. A job you can go home and sit on the couch after a stressful day. A stressful day of trucking normally happens when you're two time zones away from your home and have been up since 3 am that morning.

I don't think you'll have a problem getting routed to another city for hometime. You'll have to work out the logistics of parking your truck at a truck stop or store if you want to explore the city cause I doubt the company will let you bring the rig all over the place on non company driving. Plus as high profile as these vehicles are, driving on surface streets gets old real quick, especially if you happen to have a trailer.

Living on the road is an exhausting, stressful and FUN time all at once. You'll have days where you'll wish you had never taken this job, and you'll have others where you stop at a truck stop and hang out all night with the people you parked next to eating bbq and playing dominos! Trust me the good days FAR OUTWEIGH the bad. Couple of recommendations, bring your own food with you and stay out of the truck stop eating greasy food if possible, and when you get out on your own, make it your first priority to get some quality bedding in your rig! I slept with two thick sleeping bags and memory foam under my mattress (hint hint) and I slept like a rock from the moment I got my first truck. Get a quality (truck) gps, load up an ipod or mp3 with your favorite tunes and hit the road! And remember to keep a good attitude out there, you're getting in during a good time when it's not winter or really cold. Better to make a mistake downshifting on a clear day than on a winter day with slippery roads. Good luck out there!

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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Question on Central Refrigerated

I was with Central in 2011; I didn't have any problems. They're a good company to start with, as is any other company. Just stay out of that Fontana and Denver yards backing up if you're a rookie, it's a bit tight! ( <-------this guy had more than a few problems backing up there) Had a little problem the first month and a half on my own getting loads that were less than desirable, but I sucked it up and proved to my dm I could and would do anything he asked, and never had any problems with bad loads after that. If I decide to become a steering wheel holder again, I'm going to bring my pitbull with me. The problem is finding companies that accept pets. So far Henderson and Shaffer are the only ones I know of.

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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The highs are really high and the lows are really low

Patience is definitely something you need to have when things fall apart quickly. A LOT easier said than done, but it does work. Piloting a 75,000+ pound high profile vehicle will definitely lead to bad decisions. One thing that may work for you is to tell yourself that every driver (no matter what they say) has been right where you are. Things can go bad in the blink of any eye on the road, and keeping a level head in times of crisis only helps you. Getting angry only wastes energy and will wear you down over time.

My gps and the "directions" I was given from dispatch or the receiver often told me to go down roads I knew I had no business going down. If you can (provided your not in a bad area, we don't go to the best places sometimes), stop somewhere, put the flashers on and walk around to get your bearings. I've literally walked a half mile down a street sometimes just to make sure I could safely take the truck down there.

It will get better once you're safely parked at the receiver and relaxing (again, chocolate always works as a good stress reliever for me) and tomorrow you'll be laughing at the hair raising situation you were in less than 24 hours ago.

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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Who you got?????

It's also basketball playoff time. GO WARRIORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! smile.gif

WOOOHOOO Another Warriors fan! We got a tough matchup against Memphis, but I think we can pull it out.

Regarding the fight, this match is about 5 years too late for me to have any vested interest in it. I'm pulling for Pacquiao, but I could honestly care less who wins. I just want to see a good fight.

Posted:  3 years, 12 months ago

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What is Company Sponsored Training really like?

Company Training, or otherwise known as the most emotional, blood pressure rising, stressful two and a half weeks of my life. But taking the driving test and being told I passed was one of the happiest moments in my life. Lots of people come and go from trucking school. I don't think people realize how unforgiving the coursework is, or how hard it is to learn how to shift a rig after driving a manual in a car for over 10 years.

No one can prepare you for what happens when you're actually out in the world on your own for the first time without a trainer. You will get lost, you will take 10 minutes to back up on what seems like a "simple" back, you will get routed out of your way to the receiver because of a construction detour, and anything else that can go wrong, will.

As was mentioned, you definitely have to be humble out here, and if you don't have humility, trust me the trucking Gods will mix in some humility for you. Treat every day like a new adventure, and if something goes wrong, stay in the moment. After you're done, you can do whatever it takes for you to relieve stress (mine is a King size bar of peanut butter twix) and put the situation behind you. Tomorrow is always a new day, and a new adventure.

Posted:  3 years, 12 months ago

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I hate reefers

I parked "nose first" in a spot in a West Virginia Pilot once, and I vowed to NEVER do it again. Backing up was not fun at all. But it was raining when I pulled in, I was tired, had already circled the truck stop twice trying to find a spot and just wanted to go to sleep. But backing up in the morning I vowed to never go nose first again.

I drove a reefer and I never really had a problem with parking by people because I used to almost always park next to reefers. I normally stopped around 4:30-5, so I could park in the back where there plenty of spots. If it was late at night, I would grab whatever spot was available. I'd get some angry looks if I parked next to a dry van, but nothing more. The sound of that reefer would put me right to sleep. On the rare occasions I drove a dry load, it took me a while to fall asleep cause I was so used to hearing the reefer cut on and off.

Posted:  3 years, 12 months ago

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mentoring at Swift/Central refrigerated.

My trainer at Central was everything I could ask for, and that was back in 2011. We ran like a team truck the entire time. We ran hard, did coast to coast runs three times in two weeks. We settled down a bit after that, but we still ran hard up and down the East Coast and the Midwest. I could be a trainer, but I'm a bit of a loaner. Trainers give up all of their privacy and like Brett said, are put into high stress situations.

Luckily my trainer didn't just throw me into the fire the first day. I've heard stories of new drivers who got into the truck with their trainer and were told to drive 11 hours right there while the trainer went to sleep. Or the trainers who don't want their student to use the clutch at all when they shift. Yikes.

Posted:  4 years, 4 months ago

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Car Transition

I would "split lanes" when I was in my car...The looks I got were priceless.

Posted:  4 years, 4 months ago

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Health and trucking

One of the things that helped me stay healthy (er) on the road was that I ate one large meal a day, and that was it. I purchased a 12 volt cooler from Costco, and bought all kinds of food for it, either when I was at a truck stop or happened across a store where I could park the truck and run in to do some shopping. During the day I would eat breakfast for my 15-20 minute break, then snack on walnuts, peanuts and fruit snacks during the day. Sometimes I would eat lunch, most of the time the snacks would get me through until I stopped, and by then, my stomach was definitely talking to me.

I didn't work out, but I did walk the truck stops (when it was light enough, won't catch me wandering around at night) if I wasn't tired enough after driving 500-600 miles and dealing with adverse weather conditions. If I was feeling real energetic, I would wake up a little earlier in the morning and take a brisk walk before getting ready. Didn't happen much, but every now and then it did. You may want to get a coffee maker if you happen to want something hot to drink, it can double as water for your tea. If you can get a microwave in your truck, that will help too. If you don't have a microwave, you can get one of those mini crock pots to plug in and warm up your food.

Luckily my trainer was cool, and actually my healthy eating rubbed off on him. One thing I always have daily is a plate of fruit. Simple, just apples oranges and bananas, but it worked. Keep plenty of water on the truck and drink that when you're driving. Hang in there with your trainer, once you get off his truck, you can eat as healthy as you want. Stay safe out there.

Posted:  4 years, 4 months ago

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A month of trucking with Daniel B.

I agree, the first day back after home time was the hardest. The first day always seemed to go slower than usual and driving past local landmarks knowing you won't see them for a few weeks was just depressing. But after the first day it got better and after the first week everything was routine.

Let us know how the rest of the month goes for you and stay safe out there.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Who? Me?

Wow never known someone who does this! How cool is that? Traveling with bands, seeing the sights and eating good food! I saw a show some weeks back about a group of truckers that do what you're about to do. Schedule is tight but they loved it. Kudos to you! I would love to do what you're doing or drive for Nhra or nascar. That would be awesome. ..Stay safe out there and keep us informed!

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Blood Pressure

My hypertension, prior to medication intervention was 180/ 140....I SHOULD have blown a hose. With medication, it runs a sweet 120/60..and the drug I take has no adverse reactions...its a very old drug..which are the ones I prefer...let them practice on someone else....The nice thing about having my hypertension in check ?? No migraines..no sleepless nights...no eye pain...no heart palpation's...no chest/neck pain. If any of that is familiar....go to your doctor.

Starcar, I had the same situation. I was routinely in level 2 hypertension (for those that don't know, my bp was routinely between 177-180/140-144. I had migraines for three days straight, and I couldn't do anything during those three days except work, and I would struggle through that. I popped Advil and Excedrin like candy. Eyes always hurt, chest problems, limbs hurting, any type of loud noise would irritate me, it was bad. I went through like that for more than five years never knowing that I had high blood pressure until "doctor mom" told me to get my black you know what in there and get my bp checked or she would personally get the ugly stick on me. Now you know if your mom tells you she's going to get the ugly stick, you BETTER listen to what she says. I'm 33 years old and I'm still afraid of the "ugly stick." LOL.

After going on medication for bp, (along with drastically changing my diet) my bp now is a robust 116/84, and hardly ever goes above 125. If you're going over 135/85 it's too high (according to the chart at Kaiser). I haven't had a headache or migraine in the last year since I've taken the medication, no problems with my eyes, and I don't have qeausy feelings anymore. I cut out the fried food, ate a lot of baked food, lowered the salt (I used to pile it on, seasoned or regular). You may want to try eating fruit as often as you can, mix in the vegetables (before, my only "vegetables" were sandwiched between a 1/4 pound of cow meat and a sesame seed bun) and eat nuts, like almonds and walnuts. Just do something about it before it gets you, no telling what kind of irreversible damage I did to my body in those five years, they don't call it the silent killer for nothing...

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Question for the Reefer pullers

Reefer loads are what they are. Sometimes you'll pull into a warehouse or grocery distribution center, and you'll be in and out in less than an hour and a half. Others, it will take you two hours just to get a door, then you hang out at the door for another four hours before you even feel them start to unload your trailer. The good thing about reefers is your product is temperature controlled so it's not going to perish. The bad thing is your product is temperature controlled so it's not going to perish. Which means, you can (and will) sit for loooooong periods of time unfortunately.

Case in point, there is an Americold dc in Tracy, CA that I went to twice, both with my parents cause I wanted them to see what I did exactly. (And cause I just wanted to brag to them that I drove a big truck) First time, went in with my mother, dropped off the bills in the office, got a door, and got unloaded all within an hour and a half. Went home after and got some much needed rest. Second time, went in with my father, bills and door were done within 10 minutes, thinking everything is good...didn't even get unloaded until seven hours later. It all depends on the day I guess. Some days are great, others, not so much.

I think Daniel nailed it. I ran hard too, and whenever I had some down time, I relished it. I had a netbook and would watch a dvd, do some web surfing, or even walk around the truck stop. Or even get some sleep. Truckers definitely need it. But don't get me wrong, there were times where it got annoying, like when I was at the Budweiser plant in Denver, CO and I sat at the door for 12 hours before I even got unloaded. Then after I got unloaded, it took another 7 for me to get another trailer and get out of there. Didn't get on the road until 11 pm that night. Monster energy drinks were definitely my friend that shift. Oh and the chocolate ice cream I got from a truck stop in Iowa around 2 in the morning. Mmmm chocolate ice cream.

So don't get discouraged. Sometimes you're rolling, in and out before you can finish writing the comcheck for the lumpers (okay, maybe not that quick, but you get the idea) and other times, you just want to get out of there and hit the road! In my experience (can't speak for others) the longest "delays" at the distribution centers seemed to happen on the loads where I had hometime after. I think my dm would call the receiver and make them keep me there a little longer. smile.gif

Hang in there...

Posted:  5 years ago

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What do you like better? Freightliner Cascadia or International ProStar?

All I've known were Prostars. Had a halfway decent Volvo for a period of four days before it was snatched away from me. When my Prostar was running correctly and everything was firing on all cylinders, I truly enjoyed it. Had a 10 speed, easy to shift, pulled halfway decent, good turning radius (which a rookie needs) lots of room for me in the bunk (for me, I'm 5'7 with boots on, so I'm what you would call, short or "vertically challenged.") Had good storage for me, and I loaded that truck up. But I'm OCD when it comes to packing, so I had waaay too much stuff in my truck. Decent fuel economy and it was nice and big inside the cabin. BUT, when things went wrong on the truck, they went wrong. I would have things go wrong on the truck that would put me out of commission for days. Blown cylinders, thermostat went out, you get the picture. If I had a choice now between the two I would take the Cascadia.

Posted:  5 years ago

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Parking

Yeah, people just don't look for an alternate way sometimes. Instead of possibly getting out of the truck and seeing there was an alternate way around (which you made even more obvious by directing them yourself) they chose to honk and get irritated. I definitely used to put on my patience hat when I had to wait for people to back up, even when my backing got better (not mastered, just better) because I knew that not too long ago I was in the same position. I got some dirty looks when I took longer than most to back, got cussed at over the cb, and got the look of death from more drivers than I can count. My response was nothing but a big smile. But there were also others who would help me, and give me tips after I got in the spot. I've had drivers stop their truck and block traffic even more to help me into a spot, even in the pouring rain.

One time when I was at a receiver I was having a bit of trouble backing (what else is new) and I just couldn't seem to get it in there. I finally pulled completely out of the spot, set up and tried again. Worked like a dream. After I set the air brakes and got out to admire my parking, I hear of all things....clapping! Another driver was clapping for me and said "Congratulations!" Well I did what any other driver would have done, I looked him dead in the eye, took a bow and said "Thank you, thank you, I'm here all week!" Another driver who was watching me from the stairs at the office said "Let's hope not!" rofl-2.gif

Smart aleck...we all had a good laugh, and wouldn't you know, they even offered me tips on my backing so the next time I backed in it only took me six pull ups instead of eight!

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