Profile For Ken W.

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    7 years, 1 month ago

Ken W.'s Bio

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Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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Heading to Western Express

So, I'm at the 2 week mark with Western. Day 1 of orientation was a lot of standing around and waiting as paperwork was getting done and processed, physicals, and people were doing road tests. Since I was in the refresher course, I didn't have to road test day one. Day 2 of orientation was a ton of information, some I already knew, some was about the company and policies and such, and the rest was very informative. Then came the refresher training. Day one was all the info for all the questions everyone had, like pay, how the program works, stuff like that. Then there was an electronic logs class, which was short but packed with information, and very useful to someone who never used them. Finally, the contracts came out to get signed saying that you agree with the terms of the course, the 9 month commitment, and what happens money wise if you leave before the 9 months. I'm not sure what else I can say about the contract in the open, so I will not be posting that. Day 2 of the refresher was getting out on the road to get some time to knock the rust off before road testing, and finally the road test. After passing my road test I got paired with a dry van guy from the refresher course, I'm flatbed, because the van guys pull with full height trucks with double bunks whereas most of the flatbed trucks are midroof with single bunks. Needless to say, if you are in the refresher course, you will do your tem miles pulling dry van. So, anyways, aftergettong paired up, we were assigned a truck and got dispatched out right away. Since I've been out on the road, we have had one day sitting and waiting, one day with dispatch trying to find us an empty trailer, and now we are sitting waiting for the trailer that was supposed to be empty to get unloaded, the place didn't get to it Friday and they don't work weekends. That being said, we are just over 25% done with our team milage already, so it isn't too bad. I didn't know the guy that I got paired with cause he was the class before me and was waiting for a teammate. We do clash a bit, but we get along pretty well. We haven't gotten mad at each other or anything, and there isn't much tension in the truck, but we joke around and share stories when we are both awake, so that helps. We are actually a good pairing because he has a bunch of experience driving, but it was all local, so he didn't know anything about trip planning, and no experience with a Qualcomm. I on the other hand was only on the road for about a year, but was taught trip plannig well enough to teach him, and I know the Qualcomm, so I was able to teach him that too. He gas taught me a few things with backing and driving in the tightest areas I've ever been in. After the team portion, I head back to the yard to do load securement training, then I'm off on my own. I'll be back with another update when I have enough to post on here.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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You people don't get it

This is rediculous, I'm not happy till I have at least 600 miles in a day. I also call ahead and try to get in early so that I can keep rolling. I have found that most places are happy to take you early, especially the cosignee. There seems to be an issue with your work ethic vs the company. I couldn't see myself running easy all week to just make it there on time, I am out here to make money, not watch tv in the truck.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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Pros & cons of the different types of trailers?

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The thing that stands out the most in my memory, is before he called his friend with the crane he said to me "I have like 15 guys here with nothing to do yet, you think we can just lift it off of there?" Mind you, this was a 6000 lb hunk of metal, which would leave each guy lifting like 400 pounds.

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I think my response would be "you can try, but neither me nor [insert company i work for] can take any responsibility if you are your workers are injured in the process.... and I'm going to walk over here while you do it"

All I could do was laugh when he asked that.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Pros & cons of the different types of trailers?

I would go flatbed. I pulled flatbed before going to a refrigerated trailer, and now that I'm getting back into trucking had the choice of flatbed or dry van. I picked flatbed because I loved it. Yes, there is extra stuff to do with securement and tarping, but the variety of not only the loads, but your customer locations is awesome. I didn't pull flatbed for long, only about a month and a half, but during that time I have more stories than the 9 months that I pulled the refrigerated trailer.

Oh, and some of the issues you run into can be baffling, but there is always a way to get things done. An example here is I had a load of transformers with multiple stops, and my first stop was crazy. It was an outdoor electrical contractor with a lot just big enough for me to back into. After getting in there, I find out that they have no way of getting the transformer off of the truck. The contractor was expecting a straight truck with a power lift, as that is how his last transformer came. He ended up calling one of his friends that had a mobile crane, and half an hour later the crane was there lifting the transformer off my trailer. The thing that stands out the most in my memory, is before he called his friend with the crane he said to me "I have like 15 guys here with nothing to do yet, you think we can just lift it off of there?" Mind you, this was a 6000 lb hunk of metal, which would leave each guy lifting like 400 pounds.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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C.B. Radio

I've never heard a CB in person so I watched videos and I've also heard on shows. Are CBs seriously that staticky? I can't understand the people talking worth a damn anytime I listen to these CBs. Mix that with some really deep accents and I don't think the CB is going to save my bacon. I still want one but, wow.

The static can be tuned away. People that don't understand how to properly use a cb, and people that want to hear every transmission on the channel, will listen to the static all day. This goes along the routes of the new generation is sticking with new technology, and the cb is not new technology. It is simple to use though, once you learn how to use it.

I'll use a Cobra 29 as my example, so you can look up a picture of it and follow along. The 29 is my main radio, and I have a 19 as my back-up radio. The cobra 19 is way cheaper, and has very limited functions, but is still a good radio. Most cb's will have this same basic tuning available to them.

Now, any performance you you get out of your cb radio depends on your antenna(s), and how they are tuned. Having properly tuned antennas is key, and without that, you will get limited performance. I'm not going to go through how to tune antennas here, but it isn't hard. If you buy your cb from an actual cb shop, you can probably get the shop to tune your antennas for you.

Ok, so on to tuning for best reception. Turn the radio to Channel 20, flip the swr/rf/cal switch to CAL, press the button on the mic, but don't talk. The meter will swing to the right, and you can use the swr cal knob to move the needle, you want to move the needle so that it lines up with the upside down triangle on the right side of the meter window. Then you can let go of the mic switch, and flip the swr/rf/cal switch to s/rf. (the swr position will show your approximate swr setting after keying the mic)

This next part is going to change a lot depending on where you are. This is the rf gain and squelch. When you are closer to a populated area, channel 19 is going to get more congested. So, first you turn the squelch and rf gain all the way down. Then you can turn the rf gain up slowly till the s/rf meter starts to move a little, at this point you will hear static. Then the squelch knob can get turn up slowly, you will notice sometimes that as you approach the gate the static will get louder, then it just goes away. Once the static is gone, give the knob just a little more turn and it will keep those static filled transmissions from being heard. If you were wondering here, the rf gain is the receiver power, turning it up increases the sensitivity, which increases how much it can hear. The squelch is used to control the noise from turning the rf gain up, and to block low power transmissions from being heard since you don't want to hear all the static. This tune will have to be adjusted according to your conditions if you want to hear the maximum amount of transmissions, or you can adjust it in a busy city and leave it there which will keep your radio quiet and only let closer transmissions be heard.

As far as the value of a cb radio, it can be a real time saver, and possibly save a life. If there is traffic ahead, you can find out how bad it is, how long the line of traffic is, and then you can make an informed choice on if you want to get off the freeway for a bit. Either take one of your breaks and let traffic settle down, or reroute, or if you are close to the end of your day, pull off and park for the day so you don't run over your hours.

I personally have used a cb to save a life. I was out on I20 in the middle of nowhere Texas late on a Friday night. This SUV came past me, and it was barely staying in it's lane. It got about an 1/8th of a mile ahead of me and lost control, rolled, and ended up in the ditch. I stopped and ran up to the suv to see if the person survived, they were unconscious but breathing. I didn't see any risk of the suv catching fire, so figured best not to move the guy. My cell phone didn't have any signal, not even a 911 call was going through, so I hopped on the cb. Luckily, someone else had their cb on and heard me and was able to call 911 for me. The paramedics got him out of the suv, and said that he had a collapsed, possibly punctured lung and broken ribs (you could see parts of them pushing the skin of his chest out). That made my radio worth more than the 150 bucks I paid for it if you ask me.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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C.B. Radio

When I drove, I always had my radio on. If I didn't like all the noise, I'd turn the gain down and the squelch up so I could only hear people really close to me.

One of the things going into my bag for when I start with Western Express in a week and a half, is my trusty cobra 19. I'm not sure if the truck will have a cb in it, it barely takes up any space in the bag, and I couldn't imagine being on the road without it.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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Heading to Western Express

Editor's Note: We have an excellent review of Western Express.

We also have Forum Topics Tagged "Western Express"

Hi all, I have spent the past couple days reading everything that I can about Western Express. I have read the bad on the review sites, and I have read the good here and a couple of reviews on those said sites. The bad seems to carry the theme of "I wasn't getting the miles promised, my pay wasn't what I was promised, the equipment is garbage, the DM's suck.." you know, all the normal stuff. I read the same thing about Prime Inc and C.R. England before going to either of them, and never had problems with either. Although, I do like to run, and I like to maximize my productivity while on duty time, and was willing to take any load given to me, even if it had me running over the weekend, ending with minutes to spare for the day and week. I get the ups and downs, and I get the bad hype from people that didn't make the cut, or found out it wasn't for them.

So, onto what I came here for, info. I have to give a big thank you to everyone on here for the info provided in other posts.

I talked to a recruiter yesterday, and after having some questions answered, I put my application in for a midwest regional positon. Got the call back this morning as I told the recruiter that I was putting my app in, he saw it in there first thing this morning and ran everything and called me to set up orientation. I'm going through the refresher course, and as I understand from the site and the recruiter is that it is 2 days of orientation, 2 days of refresher training, 3 days of securement training, and then teaming with either another refresher student or an instructor based on your skill level. I'm not sure if it is secret or not how many miles you run teaming as it wasn't on the site, so I won't post it here. The recruiter said that it will take 2 to 3 weeks to complete the teaming portion, but knowing bumps in the road, and waiting on customers, I'm thinking more like 3 to 4 weeks. After that I'm in my own truck and doing midwest regional.

I am scheduled to start orientation the 16th, which will get here quickly as I button things up at home. I would love to run OTR again, but the wife wants to see me at home more often, and understands that I won't make as much money that way. I really don't have any questions to ask as of now, but I'm sure some might come up.

Anyways, my plan is to update once I'm down there and keep my progress updated.

Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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Looking to going to Prime trucking.

I did my CDL training with Prime, although it was back in 2008 so things may have changed. I had quite the experience there, as you will read. My overall experience was positive with nothing bad to say regarding the company. The hotel was clean, the instructors were nice and were willing to answer everyone's questions, so if you have a question, ask. The time spent there was short, only a few days. I don't remember exactly what was done each day, but you started off with paperwork. Then you went or physicals and pee tests. After that was out of the way, people from different areas came in and talked and let you know of what their department can offer you as support while you are out there. You had to study the first night, cause the second day you did your written exam to get your temps. Then there was yard training, you got to hop into a truck with an instructor and a couple other students and learn the basics of the truck while in the yard. Once the instructor was confident in the group of students, who alternated who was behind the wheel, you took to the road. This was good to show you shifting and turning, it was in an area with no other traffic. The mood in the truck was light, with some joking around, but plenty of informative tips and corrections. Once the yard instructor felt comfortable letting you loose, you got assigned a trainer.

My trainer was a cool guy, very easy going, worth his weight in gold with information. We clicked right form the start, which leads me into my story. After meeting him, we went and met his DM, and he gave me a tour of the place. Their home office is awesome, and there are a ton of driver amenities there. His DM texted him to say that the load info was on the way to his Qualcomm, so we headed to the truck. After getting settled in, he showed me the Qualcomm and what he did accepting the load and all that. Then we were on the way to pick up the load, with me behind the wheel from the start. After picking up the load, securing it (I was pulling a flatbed), and getting headed west, the instructor started having some pain in his stomach. It started getting worse, so he said "I need to lay down, and you need to get me to a hospital." So here I am, green as green can be behind the wheel, no smartphone cause they weren't really around then, and no gps in the truck, and my instructor is no longer actively with me and needs medical attention. Luckily, there was a hospital sign at the next exit, so I followed the signs into town and got him there. He had to have emergency surgery, and I had to decide what to do as I was stuck in a truck with no instructor. I called the DM, he got a team to come repower the load, and the DM gave me the option to kick it in the hotel for a couple days, or to have a new instructor come pick me up. I decided to stay with him, and 4 days later we were back on the road.

Ok, so after all that, I got my miles in, got back to the yard, and then had to take a road test. My trainer thoroughly ran me through everything that would happen on the test, and made sure that I was able to do each task with no issue. This meant that when we weren't running and waiting for a load, we were practicing. I even got good a parallel parking, and it did come in handy one time at a small truck stop where the only open spot was against the curb between 2 parked trucks.

I left after getting my CDL, so I never did the team portion of my training. Only reason I left was to pursue an opportunity that landed in my lap and had me regional 6 months later, after teaming with a trainer for a while followed by an OTR commitment, which worked for me as I had my first kid on the way.

Sorry for the novel here, but wanted to let you know my general experience. I'm actually just getting back into trucking, starting orientation with Western Express 2 Sunday's from now, so the reminiscing is pretty nice.

Good luck with your training. And remember, it is all you who decides how your career goes. I ran into many people that didn't have good things to say about their company, including the company I was driving for, but they just seemed to have a sour attitude in general.

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