Comments By Phox

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  • Phox
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  • 5 years, 9 months ago
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Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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Trip planning practice??

If you want I can post some of my recent trips. Won't mess with it tonight but if I remember I can post some tomorrow.

my company has pre planned routing fuel stops, however fuel card is unlocked for all the big 5s if I need (read as "want") to fill up else ware.

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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How do you do dishes on the road

As a driver who eats out of his truck (and not boring meals like sandwiches and soup every single day either) I think I can offer some good advice.

First off a disclaimer, I do have a 2k watt inverter and about every appliance you can put in a truck, you name it I can cook it. Only thing I don't have is a bbq grill. used to have a small charcole grill but took too long to preheat coals, then cook then cool the coals to wear I could dispose of them.

On that note I cook things like steak, seafood, pizza, ribs... doesn't matter.

As for clean up, it's quite simple. Roll of paper towles and clorox wipes. I'll use a couple of paper towels to get the large messy stuff wiped clean then I'll use the clorox wipes to disinfect and 1 more paper towel to dry the dishes.

My mother is a full time passenger with me so we take turns cooking and cleaning (cook for the night cleans up after him or herself).

We have also started a series on youtube around cooking, cleaning up and storage on the truck. The series is called "18 Wheeler Cooking" and channel name is Colonel Phox... in case anyone was interested. I'm actually editing a video right now on a seafood dish which also talks about how to get rid of the seafood smell.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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Does anyone have any first hand experience in working and training at Knight Transportation in Phoenix Az?

I used to work for Knight. I was out of the Katy terminal. This is all going to sound mostly negative at first, but read all of it and you'll see I'll talk about the positive sides as well. This is as honest and non disgruntled type former employee as I can be. Trust me when I say Knight is not bad as a company just some terminals are and some are worse than others in various ways (Tulare shop is bloody awesome, but 98% of the other staff not work out of Phoenix terminal).

My experience was mixed. Overall it's a decent company, but each terminal is run as it's own operation so your expreience at say the Dallas terminal most likely would be different than someone out of Katy, Charlotte, vegas, etc.

In the begining everything (except my training, I had a rather bad trainer and if I was to right a detailed post most would agree) was great. Then our terminal manager was murdered (1 year anniversary of that earlier this month) and things started going downhill. New TM worked in the corp office prior and had a tendency to do a lot of corp double talk... that stuff annoys the hell out of me... basically tell you what you want to hear. That's not Knight's fault though and doesn't reflect on the company as a whole, just Katy terminal. beginning of June 2016 I got a new dm for 2nd time (1st time I got a new DM was late April... didn't like him much but also had no major issues, he just wasn't much of a people person... hard as hell to make him laugh or smile and didn't like small talk). she was brand new... so green she made a cucumber look white in comparison, but I gave her a fair chance and she learned the ropes quick. My only major problem with her at first was that when I wanted to take home time, the week prior she would keep me super close to home and I would get really bad miles, like less than 2k in a week. and same for week after.

Towards the later part of the year things started going more down hill. miles were not very good, breakdown got worse, charlotee claimed to of fixed something that could put me out of service but didn't and I had no way to know because I'm not a mechanic, dm started micro managing in the worst way, list goes on.

Fast forward to December and Jan and I was having to call one of the planners directly if I needed a load because dm kept saying things like freight is light in the area and I'd sit for more than a day. Finally I got to the point of just calling a planner directly who would get me a load right then and there... sometimes I had to deadhead 100-200 miles for it or it might not pick up till next day but at least he got me a load. Only problem is he only worked fri, sat, sun and mon so lord help ya if you needed him tue-thur haha.

By the time Jan this year rolled around, almost a year in with Knight, my miles were so bad and relations with DM were so bad that I was losing more money than I was making so I jumped shipped. I even tried changing terminals and divisions beforehand but TM wouldn't let me. first tried in Nov, told me he needed to fill trucks on the yard first, had 13 empty trucks. tried again after christmas... had 14 empty trucks.

As for some positive stuff (see I told ya!)

My truck, not good if you were training or had a passenger (I had a passenger and made it work) as I had a Volvo 670... bit small for more than 1 person... doable but tight quarters. I got a brand new 2016 Volvo with the ishift auto tranny. that tranny is soooo awesome. very smooth shifting, very smooth backing. and a brand new truck for a brand new driver... yeah pretty awesome.

Lots of terminals all over the usa. couldn't throw a stone without hitting the fence of one (although I avoided atlanta because it was in such a sketchy area) my current company has 1 terminal in SLC and a handful of drop yards.

Most of the DMs are really good about getting you home on time if not early. I hear all the time about other companies getting people home late. Like many other issues though this is a terminal / DM specific thing.

They run freight pretty much everywhere... so if you want to go somewhere, your dm can probably make it happen. your home time doesn't have to be at home... if you want to go to florida, get a load to lakeland. You wanna go to NE get something to Carlise area... california... options are limitless. With my company now it's not as easy. we don't do freight in the south or florida or east coast.

Sliding pay scale sucks but it's still a decent rate. I was making 38-44 cpm when I was there. 38 for anything over 500 miles... sadly 90% of my loads were over 500 miles. Still not a bad pay rate.

Hopefully this was a fair enough review of m y experience. every company has it's ups and downs... even my current one (they just have less downs haha)

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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What areas do y'all feel the safest driving in and which areas do y'all avoid like the plague?

My list is pretty much identical to yours... specially chi town area....

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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Not looking good for me....

I don't know how you're setting up for your driver side back but let me tell ya... my trainer (with Knight) was horrible at teaching me how to back, so much so terminal had to put me with a couple of their local drivers to teach me. One of them taught me really well and I'll share the knowledge with you in the best I can via words.

First off your setup will make all the difference. 2nd tandem location. yes it's usually easier with tandems fwd but not in spaces where it's tight because you gotta factor in that xtra 10 feet or so of trailer behind the tandems. however you need more space between rows with tandems back all the way. kind of a dbl edged sword.

As far as set up goes the way I do it is pull up about as close to spot i'm going for as I can, maybe 4-5 feet away from it, I dunno, never took a measuring tape. then I will go fwd about 2-3 trucks (width wise) then turn to a 45º angle to the right quickly and drive in that direction till I'm about 1 truck length / width) away or so from next row, then I turn back towards the left till the trailer is a 45º difference from truck. Now turn the wheel where it needs to be and start backing. What this does is sets you up for the back and has the trailer already about halfway turns the way you need it while keeping you away from the next row enough that you can get truck back under trailer. This is not always easy or possible and sometimes you have to reset up differently as some places (customers, truck stops) have really tight backing spaces or other things to make it more difficult. Always remember to get out and look if you're not sure that the rear end of trailer isn't going to hit anything.

Tandem location is important too. that is the point of the trailer that is physically turning. If you have lot of space between rows, tandems all the way back is easiest (to me) but if not tandems fwd is but with fwd you have to be wary of that xtra 10 feet of trailer after the tandems. This is one of those things you'll figure out in due time on your own. I for one don't adjust mine once I have them legal and balanced unless I have to.

One of these days I'll make a video showing what I explained. but for now maybe this will help.

Another thing... even I after 1.5 years of driving still have bad days. I have had times where I should have made it into a spot in 1 try and it took me 25-30 minutes with 60 pull ups (not really but you get the point) and other days like last night where I backed between 2 trailers, in the dark, tired in 1 try, perfectly centered with 0 pull ups except to slide tandems back per consignee requirments but that was after I was already done backing.

As far as the centering issues, worry about getting in the spot first, then pull fwd, to the left, then right and straight again to angle the trailer to move to the right and other way around to make it go to the left (gosh I hope I said the turn directions in the right order haha). getting in the hole is the important and difficult part, being perfectly centered on first try... not always gonna happen but that's how you get setup for centering once you are in.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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Question for our prime-ates here

It doesn't sound horrible but it's not great either... sounds like about $1000 a week gross, which 7 days a week is around $142 a day. Provided I was getting the miles, I was doing about $200 a day with Knight. I'm with Pride (Pride not Prime...) now and can do about $198 a day. I took a slight paycut in the cpm but getting more miles so making more overall. Knight I could only do 63mph with cruise control, pride I can do 65 plus up tot 68mph for 30 min a day. This allows me to go further in a day. I try to avg 9 hours a day at most driving, but sometimes have to do more (last 2 days I had to do 10 hours 45 min and 10 hours 33 minutes).

So you could do better than 700-800 net, but it's not bad. especially since Prime has inverters and APUs and stuff... eat out of the truck as much as possible and that money will last a lot longer than if you eat truck stop food.

Also the numbers I posted are not taking into account time to get loaded or unloaded but that varies so you can't really calculate that in...

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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I am a rest area attendant. Ask me anything.

I have a question.... why do so many rest areas have such crappy quality toilet paper... I'm talking that half ply thin stuff that I can read a book through that's only about 2/3 as wide as what you use at home. I refuse to believe it saves money because it's so thin we have to use 4x as much easily unless we want brown fingers. Then the wideness issue makes us use more too for the same reason. So if the powers at be think they're saving money... I call bs.

I'm not asking for the Charmin ultra soft here but come on at least step up to what the truck stops use at bare minimum.

What gives with so many rest areas that only have parallel parking type areas for trucks. those are such as pain when you just want to stop for 2 minutes to go pee! takes longer to park than I'll actually be there because you get the line of trucks (and trucks with travel trailers) and it'll get full super easy or the n the middle leaves and now you actually have to parallel park. just such a pain when all you want to do is oull in, go pee and get back on the road.

i don't know what state you work in... but man another thing that grinds my gears... multiple rest stops in a row "closed for repairs"... I haven't been to AR in a few months but last few times I had been there almost every rest area between little rock and Texas was closed. It's an issue in california too between primm, nv and Barstow... almost every single one if not all of them are closed for repairs, some of which I have not seen any progress on. due to our limited options on places to stop this drives me up the walls!!!.\ close 1 maybe 2 along a highway at a time, not all along the whole thing! even better close every other one not multiple in a row.

ok i'm done ranting

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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Tech.gadgets

Trucker gps can be really helpful as a tool... just don't rely on it only. I for one am found of mcnallys. I started with a garmin and coined a new word because of it.... Cracid... combination of crack and acid... I swear my garmin was high on both 85% of the time, hence why they tell you not to rely solely on gps. need to know how or learn to read an atlas and carry a motor carriers atlas in your truck. My mcnally gives me much less headaches.

plenty of technology you can get for truck... including a dashcam... but how much you really need that's different.

Posted:  4 years ago

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Podcast 12: How I Handled Being Fired For Arriving Early

One thing that has always had me curious, if your appt time is say noon... is that when you should be "trying" to arrive aka getting through security gate, when you should be at gate or when you should be checking in with shipping / receiving office? Some places can get lengthy lines at those security shacks and so you may arrive on time.... to sit in line, by the time you get to the door you're now 30 minutes late. Or perhaps the customer wants you at their s/r office by that time so now you gotta get through the line and find the office and park by said time. I have never had any issues but it has had me curious and this podcast made me think about it because you only had a 45 min window to work with. not a lot of time.

Posted:  4 years, 2 months ago

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Sage Truck Driving School

I went to Sage truck driving school in San Antonio, TX. My experience was really good. In class stuff was pretty meh. Had some awesome instructors, one of which was from australia (used to do the trailer trains, you know something like 16 trailers connected to 1 truck). He also did not censor himself so he said some funny stuff. As for the driving portion, I went in not knowing how to drive a car manual let alone a truck. by the end of day 1 of driving I had shifting down just fine. passed dmv road test on first try.

A big plus for Sage is that they don't put multiple students in a truck per session. It's 1 driver 1 instructor 1 truck. Places like roadmasters put 3-4 at least per driving session. So you're out for 4 hours but really only drive for maybe 1 hour of it. With Sage you get the full 4 hour session.Only time I had 1 instructor multiple students was when we were doing in yard driving an that's because he could get out and rotate with whomever needed more help.

Posted:  4 years, 3 months ago

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New SC Petro truck stop features bowling alley

Kind of sucks they are catering to 4 wheelers more than trucks. I don't think I have ever seen more than 50 cars ata bowling alley, never seen one more than half full... yet this one is going to have 300 carspots and a little over 100 truck spots... they're seriously expecting 3x as many cars? and even if that's the case what are 300 people (assuming each car brought 1 person) going to do with only 16 lanes. I believe each bowling lane is a max of 4 people... 16 x 4 is 64.... so 64 people can bowl at a time, what do the other 240or so do?

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Non CDL Driver, Driving Vehicle under CDL Weight with closed Alcohol in Truck Question

I'm not so sure you're even supposed to have open booze even as a non cdl holder.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Truck stop scam?

It should be innocent... more than likely their company doesn't have them fuel there so they don't have credits but they needed to stop and that happened to be where they stopped.

In case ya'll hadn't noticed by the way, Pilot/j upped the req # of gallons for shower power from 500 to 1000. Gee thanks pilot/j way to make me hate you guys even more! rewards program already sucks as it is, lets make it suck more!!! whoopie for 1 cent value per point it'll only take you... forever to earn enough to buy something. Loves is 10 cents per point plus has multiplying tiers. platinum staus right now at loves so I easily earn 1000 points per fill up, that's $10 worth... then you add in the fact there's not much to use pilot points for... now to top matters off... 5 fuel stops for this current load... all 5 are pilot/j...

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Being sent home from orientation

Wow, congrats. I read the title and assumed the worst. Enjoy the time at home.

Good luck next week!

me too.... way to string us along... I'm going to smack you with a phone book or something if I ever meet you hahaha

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Why park like that?

I asked about this on one of my companies facebook groups, the general answer I got was 1 of 3 reasons. they think it's funny, they are trying to be further away from apu's, engines, reefer, etc and they also think it makes it easier for people to back because by the time you reach them when they're backed all the way up you should be or are nearly straight so for the more difficult part of backing you have the equivlent of 2 spaces to work with it instead of just one.

the 3rd one I can understand and it makes sense but it's still really annoying when you're looking for a spot, think you found one only to find a BT in it. 2nd one is just stupid. if you can't sleep with the various engine noises around you... you're parked in the wrong parking lot and or you're in the wrong career. I have only had an issue with it once and that's because the guy had an air leak and so it would fill tanks, then cut out then fill again and the cut out was about every 25-30 seconds, drove me nuts!

you know what I hate more though... people who drop trailers in truck stops... especially when the TS has signs saying it'll be towed but they NEVER EVER tow them. I'm going to start taking a sharpie and writing on those signs the word "not" between "will" and "be" on the part where it says will be towed. I kind of want to go drop mine somewhere then play musical chairs with the other dropped trailers... kind of like that scene from the grinch movie (jim carrery version) where he's mixing the mail... yours was here now it's way over there and her was there now it's here... or maybe just drop it in the middle of the lot so they'll have to tow it to get it out of the way. maybe i'll just settle for removing their valve stems or something.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Power inverters

One thing about Covenant that I do like, if you are teamed up with somebody and you both have hazmat. As long as you are available for a load (meaning not on homesite, they don't count a 34 against you) for all 8 days of the week they have a guaranteed minimum. 850 if you've been driving less then a year, 1000 if you are over a year. So if I am ready to be dispatched from the house and they live me sitting for a long time, I wI'll at least get something.

I couldn't do team driving.... bad enough having to do it while I was in training. roads are just to dang bumpy and if I wake up... I gotta pee and I gotta pee bad... Makes for a lot of xtra stops (I don't play the pee bottle game).

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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How's your truck holding up?

2016 Volvo something (not sure what kind of volvo it is, one of the smaller ones 600 something i think) automatic with about 55k miles.

No major issues except batteries don't hold charge for very long and stupid home terminal shop won't admit somethings wrong and fix it. trying to tell me bunk fans are not supposed to be run with truck off... when else would I use them... if truck is on i'll use the a/c.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Your Favorite Truck Stop

I have another favorite... it's not really a truck stop though... it's actually a casino but it has a truck parking (dirt) lot that always has space any day any time. the buffet is super awesome (but expensive too, like $25). The only problem though.... the walk to nearest bathroom is really really long. I'm not ashamed to say I don't even try to make the walk if I wake up in the middle of the night and need to go. I normally do my best to use a bathroom but this place is an exception, but it's a dirt lot so urine is absorbed unlike asphalt or concrete. anyways it's the winstar casino in OK on i35...

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Your Favorite Truck Stop

I have a lot of favorites now, but my all time favorite is probably the ambest travel oaisis in Florida... forget the city but it's like 20 miles from alabama state line on i-10. parking doesn't fill up early, it's easy in and out and the restaurant there is really good with decent prices.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Electric, Autonomous Tractor-Trailers

I want one of the Nikola Motors trucks.... everything about it is awesome especially climbing 6% grades at 65mph with 80k lbs gross.... that would be so awesome! Then everything else is cool too... you enter from behind driver area then go to your left for driving area or to your right for sleeper area no climbing over seat or anything. the beds in the bunk area are full size not twins. comes with a real fridge / freezer and it's a cabover in design so you can turn easier and back easier. so much awesomeness!

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