Profile For Buster's Buddy

Buster's Buddy's Info

  • Location:
    Clarkdale, AZ

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 6 months ago

Buster's Buddy's Bio

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Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Will international travel disqualify me for employment?

I have decided to return to OTR, but now I am concerned. Recent changes in my life have changed my priorities, and I am looking forward to spending the next year or two behind the wheel - without passengers 😂. I was looking through the archives to see how much trouble my employment history is likely to cause. I generally work as a tour guide during the summer season and travel during the winter. I have a web design and graphic arts business that keeps me going during the off season.

BUT - I read a post claiming that part of the Federal regulations on checking employment history is making certain the applicant has not spent any time out of the country and "haven't been out getting radicalized to commit some acts of terror".

Is there any truth behind this statement? I spent this winter in Thailand and Cambodia, and last winter in Italy, Austria, Turkey, and Sri Lanka. It never occurred to me that I might have to make a choice between driving a big rig and spending winters on a tropical beach paradise.

Is there any point in continuing? Or should I just continue to look fondling back at my time as trucker?

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Long break from driving

I didn’t mean to hijack this thread so I started a new one.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

6 on, 6 off. Months?

I didn’t mean to hijack another thread, so I moved here. I drove OTR for Con-way/XPO in 2016. What I’ve been doing mostly since then is working as a Class B driver/tour guide in the summer season (alternating between Napa Valley and Alaska), then taking the winter season to travel internationally while working as a digital nomad web designer. Currently I’m in Siem Reap, Cambodia (home of Angkor Wat and 50 cent beer). I’m heading back to the US on Monday, and have several good options lined up, but I do miss the life of a trucker.

A couple of times I’ve decided to return to OTR, and Western Express has made me some good offers over the years. Their refresher course is a good fit, and they have been understanding about my seasonal work history. But each time some tour company has made me a better one. Part of that is I convince myself I’ll drive for 3-5 years, but when I get offered a 6-month contract I jump at it.

I’ve come to realize that, ideally, I’d like to find a company that would be fine with me driving 6 months, then taking off for 6 months. My trainer did this, but he’d been with the company for 16 years and was a top driver (I’m so blessed to have trained under him.) I’d be willing to work a full year to establish my worth. But is this a realistic option? Or should I just accept that if I want to work a 6-months-on 6-months-off schedule then I will be shuttling tourists around town instead hauling freight cross country?

RJ mentioned on the other thread that Knight, Swift, and Roehl have flexible options, but are they this flexible?

I know from experience that the fact that I work both as an employee and a freelancer in the same year confuses many entities to the point of breaking. I worry this may be an issue with employment verification. I’m also a bit worried that my international travels may be problematic. And after my recent research, I worry that even if this is all theoretically feasible, that now might not be a good time for it since hiring has slowed.

I don’t care about home time. My residence is just a mailing address, home is where I hang my hat. My safety record is crystal clear and I’ve had multiple advanced Smith System and other driving training. My reputation is always the go-to guy for getting things done right while being kind and cheerful. I understand if I am able to find a company willing to work with me it’s a privilege and not a right.

So folks, what do you think? Keep trying to get back behind the wheel of a big rig, or move on and remember those days fondly?

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Long break from driving

Now here's a voice from the past!

Where have you been since 2021?

I’ve been alternating between being a tour guide/CDL B driver in the summer season (Alaska and Napa Valley) and being a digital nomad web designer traveling internationally during the winter season. I’m heading back to the US on Monday and exploring my options. Which explains why I was looking at Western Express an hour ago. I really miss the OTR life, but I question if any company is going to be willing to let me keep my schedule, which I’ve grown rather fond of. But I am considering dedicating a full year, just to get back in the saddle once again.

Posted:  7 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Long break from driving

I’d recommend talking to Western Express. They have a refresher program for those who’ve been away from driving for a while. They have a good reputation as a second chance company.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Work history during the pandemic

Buster's Buddy (dad?) I remember you from way back!

Man, I'd LOVE to go to Turkey (or anywhere abroad) for SonoBello, haha!!

It's SO random . . . with companies. Prime is one of the strictest with employment history, so call them, just as a benchmark; LoL!

Have you just 'applied' here, to see what gives??? Stale CDL is 'still' a CDL. Many companies DO have refreshers, and IMHO, are kind of making those up as we go, with the pandemic and unprecedented situations these last (almost) two years.

Oh, Anne, it’s sweet that you remember me. I never thought of myself as Buster’s dad, more like his faithful sidekick. He was the one with the superpower (Supercute), I was the chauffeur, and valet, cook, and personal assistant, etc. Unfortunately, he passed in May, which is why I’m ready to get back into OTR.

I meant to try Prime first, like you suggested, but I forgot and applied to Western Express. I hope everything is in order, because I’ve always thought of them as my “safety school” - if no one I like better will hire me, there’s always Western Express. Hope I didn’t blow that. I guess we’ll see.

Yeah, I did “apply here to see what gives”. To see if anyone had specific information about the pandemic programs, and if anyone had any good advice (like the kind I just ignored, d’oh), and any other companies to recommend. So, thanks for those. I do appreciate the info.

The other company I’m really interested in is Schneider. Their 19-day training program sounds like nightmare for someone fresh out of school, but just the thing to clear out the cobwebs.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

3 hrs or 150 mile rule

With that being said….while not a legal requirement to stop for checks in 3 hrs or 150 miles , whenever you do stop it is ALWAYS a good idea to check for irregularities, loose lugs,or leaks and flats. Especially on the inner tires

My mentor hammered in always checking your fifth wheel connection before rolling every time you stop. He said he’d seen, more than once, where some @$$hat at a truck stop had just pulled the releases for the fun of it, and someone drove away without their trailer. Sounds like an urban legend, but it’s ingrained in my psyche, and to this day can’t start any vehicle with a trailer without checking the connection first.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Work history during the pandemic

I realized I was hijacking another thread, so I started a new one.

I am slightly concerned about work history. I know that’s a big red flag with trucking companies, and can get you bounced. I’ve been employed by two companies since summer of 2019. Both will attest to that. One after the other, not both at the same time time. But I’ve barely worked since the pandemic started. One company is in tourism, the other in live entertainment. So, yeah, I haven’t clocked many hours in the past 18 months. Summer of 2021 as a tour guide in Napa Valley was very good. Enough that, if not for dental issues, I could have lived off my earnings until next May. I filed for unemployment a few months last year, and have been scrambling with odd jobs to make some money during the lean times. I guess it’s all a question of how the trucking companies are going to view it. My income sources are all over the place since the pandemic started, but technically I’ve been employed by the two companies the whole time. If the background check is simply calling the companies, then, yes, I’ve been fully employed the whole time. Both bosses will state that. But if they want to see a paycheck, then I haven’t received one since September, and likely won’t get another one until May. Except for a few odd jobs here and there. That’s kinda been the story since March 2020. I’ve only logged hours a few months of that time. And if they cross check unemployment or the IRS, I’m going to show up.

I mentioned elsewhere I have a stale CDL. I did six months OTR five years ago. Since then I’ve been driving tour buses, both Class A and B. I’m thinking my best bet is Western Express for my second chance to get back on the road. I’m based out of San Francisco. Maybe just do Western 11 for six months, then move to somewhere that pays better and goes into Canada. I miss Canadian truck stops. So clean and nice. Plus, I used to sometimes drive Laredo to Quebec and back. Making money doesn’t get any easier than that. So many miles in so few days.

But for now, I’m in Antalya, Turkey, since there’s not enough work for all of us in Napa. It’s substantially cheaper to fly here, live for 3 months while my bone grafts and dental implants are being done, pay for the bone grafts and dental implants, and fly back to San Francisco, than it is to pay just to have the dental work done in the U.S. I'm thinking it might be great to go back to OTR when I get back to California in early January. If that’s a viable option.

I know I need to talk to a recruiter, but I also know recruiters aren’t always the best at providing 100% factual answers. I already have experience with a recruiter saying one thing, just to be turned away during orientation because it wasn’t true.

Does anyone know how the trucking companies are dealing with pandemic employment (and unemployment) issues?

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Why do drivers stay OTR over LTL?

double-quotes-start.png

I’m contemplating the other side of this coin. Years ago I drove OTR for 6 months, then switched to driving tour buses (class A & B). Needless to say that hasn’t been paying well lately, and my personal circumstances have changed. I’m seriously considering going back to trucking, and one of the aspects I miss the most is getting paid to drive across the US and Canada in a 50 sq.ft. tricked out vehicle. I love driving. I love watching the world go by, seeing new things, going new places. I loved living in my truck, and will again. “Home Time” is irrelevant. As others have mentioned, driving the open road is far, far more appealing than city driving. Having control over my work hours means a lot.

But I keep hearing that LTL pays better. At least with my limited choices with a stale CDL. I could get out of debt faster. That’s tempting, but I’m concerned the trade-off would mean more of the things I didn’t like about trucking, and less of the things I did like. It’s helpful to hear this conversation from the other side.

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If home time is no concern, go OTR. LTL pays more, but also has more expenses. You'll have to pay for somewhere to live, pay household expenses and have a car.

If you can live in a truck, do that and save all the money you can.

That’s an excellent point that I hadn’t considered properly. Once I’m in my truck, my expenses are minimal. At that point gross income isn’t the most import number. And I do love OTR.

I hate having debt. I’ve cleared it and racked it back up several times in the past few years, always mainly due to medical bills. Four months ago I was clear. Two months ago the medical bills started again. This time dental, which isn’t covered by my insurance. Clearing this is a huge motivation for me. As a tour driver I should be okay once summer arrives, but that’s a long way away and there are still so many unknowns. Did someone say Omnicrom?

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Prescription glasses & Trucking

Responding to another post reminded me. These days, I don't driving at night. At least commercially. I don't know how much of that is age and how much is the progressive trifocals. I’m sure it’s both. But something to consider.

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