Profile For Buster's Buddy

Buster's Buddy's Info

  • Location:
    Vallejo, CA

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:
    Buster's Buddy On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 9 months ago

Buster's Buddy's Bio

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Buster's Buddy's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

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Opinions on ELDs please??

Another vote for the KeepTruckin app. I’m currently driving Class B. My company uses logbooks so I started using the app since it so much easier for me. They have a module to make it compliant.

For the record my company has 2 divisions, one that requires logs and one that is exempt. I primarily drive for the exempt division, but occasionally get pulled over to the other side if needed. In which case I need to have a log of all of my driving. KeepTruckin allows me to email my logs. The company is now scrambling to get the 90 vehicle fleet ELD compliant.

As an aside, I’m back on truckingtruth.com because I am returning to OTR. I have great home time since I switched to Class B. The thing is my only family is my dog, Buster. While I spend less time at work, I also spend substantially less time with Buster, since I can’t bring him along like I could in the semi. I’m excited to get back out on the open road. A recent trip down to LA proves that Buster is too.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Question Abt Cabs

I can tell you right now that if you get in a wreck those bungees are probably going to be useless. Your kitchen is going to be raining bombs on the back of your head. I would find a much more secure way to lock those things down.

I considered that during construction. Originally I was going to use tie down straps. The Cascadia has full height cabinets and the fridge and microwave are placed so that they would be stopped by the cabinets in the event of a forward collision. The crock pot is the biggest danger, but the Cascadia had very large seat backs and I felt protected if it became a projectile. I wish the photo showed the straps I added to keep the board in place.

Now that I'm in the T660 I'm toast.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Question Abt Cabs

These pics are from the initial installation in the Cascadia:

1469623774.9086.jpg1469623914.8366.jpg1469623793.8391.jpg

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Question Abt Cabs

I'm a big fan of my top-bunk-kitchen, an idea I picked up from my trainer. A piece of plywood the size of the mattress, with eye hooks for bungees. The fridge (same as above) and the microwave each get 2 heavy rubber bungees, the crock pot gets a regular one that fits through the lid and handles. Love the crock pot - I use the slow cooker bags and really cheap plastic containers. These get thrown away so my only washing up is the ladle and the fork. I use Clorox wipes for these. I have a good knife but so far I've only used cubed stew meat which kinda falls apart. I don't do coffee but my trainer has a coffee pot. I occasionally use the microwave for tea or hot cocoa. I also keep a supply of ziplock bags in sandwich and gallon size for disposing of liquid or messy items.

I tend to not try to closely control the temperature when I'm stopped but I do get cold easily when I sleep, so I keep a large blanket on my bunk that is folded in half along the long axis. To start I fold back one layer then as it gets colder I can get under both halves.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Downsized

This is all part of XPO's plan to "Maximize Asset Allocations", as it says on the posters plastered everywhere. They took all the old Freightliners from Truckload (OTR) and moved them to the LTL Division. I didn't understand why they didn't give the day shift guys the tiny trucks and leave the big comfy rigs to those of us that live in them until I arrived at the customer last night and tried to turn around in their lot. Strains of the Willis Brothers' "Give Me 40 Acres And I'll Turn This Rig Around" echoed in my head as I wrestled it back in line and searched for a section with a few trailers parked further back so I had that few more inches of clearance I apparently now need. I was officially told that XPO is buying new trucks next year and I'll be first in line. If I'm still here, that is. Only 7 months to fulfill my training contract. Who knows, maybe I'll get used to this once I get a chance to swing by my storage locker and offload the stuff I couldn't bring myself to just throw away.

For folks considering XPO/Con-way I should point out that the 4 guys that graduated from Crowder with me are all driving 2016 Volvo Automatics. I just tend to naturally have more Adventures than those around me.

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

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Downsized

For the past 11 weeks Buster and I have been tooling around the US and Canada in a 2013 Freightliner Cascadia 13 speed. We live in the truck and I had it all set up nice and pretty and some custom furniture so the Corgi could go from the passenger seat to the bunk without having to jump (for those unfamiliar with Corgis think small German Shepard with Dachshund legs). Loved our ride and life was pretty grand.

Those days are over, or at least significantly modified. They pulled me in Sunday to put us in an old T660! I feel like I've gone from a Lincoln to a Yugo. Last week I felt like I was driving a shiny new RV, now I'm having flashbacks to 25 years ago when I drove around the country living out of an old Ford Ranger. Although I think I had more space in the Ford.

Still, the most import thing is Buster still thinks he has enough room. He's not constantly banging his head. Guess we're off on a whole new set of compact adventures.

Hopefully it won't take me too long to get the hang of this 10 speed.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Doggy Day Care

Just remember to have copy of vet records along with you.

This is VITAL if you are traveling with a pet. Several years ago I picked my dog up from visiting a friend. Late that night I noticed a bite. I called her but she didn't answer. I took Buster to an emergency vet. Since that state was in the middle of a rabies epidemic I was told that if I hadn't brought proof of a valid rabies vaccination with me at check in he would have been put in a 30 day quarantine, even if I just had to run back home to get it, and if I couldn't show proof of vaccination in 24 hours he would have been put down.

In addition to the written records kept in the truck I have photos of them on my phone where I can access them quickly.

But yes, they required proof of rabies, bordetella, and diphtheria vaccinations.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Deliver early.

I generally do what several others have mentioned. I drive to within an hour of the location, then call directly.

Over 4th of July weekend I picked up a load Friday morning that was going 1000 miles and not scheduled for delivery in Baltimore until Tuesday morning. In that instance I called right after getting the load. As I expected the company was closed for the long weekend so there was no chance for early delivery. In that case I just moseyed my way there so I didn't have to pay for parking for several days. I would have done a reset but I was highlited for home so I didn't need one. It was quite a change to drive a few hours then stop for a while. I used the opportunity to check out in person a number of different rest areas and truck stops.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Doggy Day Care

Some info for those driving with a dog or those considering getting into the lifestyle. I love having my dog with me on the road but sometimes it can be an issue when stopped.

I couldn't find a sitter for Buster yesterday. I needed to get some lab tests done so bringing him in with me was not an option. I discovered a Doggy day care facility that charged $12 for 5 hours. Problem solved. In the future if I'm in a location and have the opportunity to go site seeing or need medical attention or whatever reason having my dog with me is inconvenient/forbidden I now know how to solve this problem. Hope this helps others with the same concerns.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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International Fleet

I've only been once so far and I really enjoyed it, but I understand why many folks don't. It's beautiful, and the truck stop parking lots are generally much cleaner. You can use US Dollars, you just get your change in Canadian money. In spite of paying extra, my AT&T iPhone would not call, text, or acquire a data connection once I got away from the border.

The biggest issue I faced was the surprise that unlike Ontario the entire Province of Quebec is NOT bilingual. All road signs are in French only. I was fine with compass directions and Entrée, Sortie, Arrêt, & Sens Unique; but I didn't understand Ralentissez, Péage, and Interdiction de doubler when I drove past them at 100kph. And did that sign mean "No Trucks" or "No Trucks next exit"? Then there was the adventure of fueling in a small rural town at a gas station (not a truck stop).

I've heard complaints about the border crossings but I didn't experience any issues. When you figure it was 4300 miles up and back in 9 days (which includes a 34 hr reset) I can't wait to do it again.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Nice surprise on second anniversary

Congratulations on the anniversary and the sweet rig.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Our States Funding cut

-- I am staying clear , at least for now of Co. Sponsored Training Programs due to people saying going to a College was better.

Thanks

The two aren't mutually contradictory. I went through XPO Logistics' (formerly Con-way) Company sponsored training. They sent me to Crowder College in Neosho MO. I believe it is an excellent program. No pay while in training but full room and board is covered (except only 2 meals served on weekends).

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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2016\2017 Freightliner vs Kenworth MPG average, please help

I've been driving a 2013 Freightliner for 2 months and I'm getting 7.2 mpg. I pretty much run maxed at 65 mph, and I idle more than I like, because of Buster. When I idle I crank the a/c to max and run until it gets cold in the truck, then turn it off until it gets hot. That might be tough for some people to take, but we've lived in places with no climate control so it's not so bad. I'm 7/26 on the mileage board for XPO for 2013 Freightliners. #1,2, and 3 are getting 12.4, 8.0, and 7.8 mpg.

I drove 2 T680s in training, an automatic and a 13 speed. I didn't pay any attention to mileage. I like the Cascadia better.

As we were heading back to Joplin for my upgrade testing I was debating between asking for a T680 or a Freightliner. What decided me was breaking down on a Friday evening. Road Service didn't call for a tow right away, so by the time we got to the KW dealer just past noon on Saturday they were closed. They didn't look at the truck until Monday, and fixed it Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Freighliner dealer was open all weekend. I was told by my trainer many are open 24/7. I'm one of those people with a special relationship with entropy so I plan on machines breaking more than average. I figured with a Freightliner I'm more likely to get back on the road faster.

I guess we'll see how my theory pans out.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Day ruined

Similar to 40,000 pounds of bananas. It's even near Scranton. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, look up the song. It's one that every truck driver should know).

Coincidentally, I'm currently in that neck of the woods and heading towards Scranton, so I've been singing it off and on since yesterday. I'll be sure to watch the signs.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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XPO/Conway Training via Crowder College

Since training is done and I'm now driving Solo I created a topic in the General Forum:

Training and 2 months solo Topic

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Parking for home time need advice

Any Casinos nearby? That's what I did my first time home. Since then I parked my car at the Company Terminal. It's 100 miles away from home, but it seems to be working well (Caveat: I've only been home twice so far).

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Training and 2 months solo with XPO

I've been gone for a while, but I'm back now. I've been running hard most of the time, and resting hard the rest of the time.

My training adventures were many and varied. Highlights include 2 Finishers (XPO's name for Trainers), a blown trailer tire, truck broke down outside Laramie, fixed broken truck before Road Service got around to responding, Qualcomm broke so I got to use paper logs, and truck and trailer towed (separately). And my favorite- with just a few hundred miles to go on my 7500 miles before they bring me to Joplin for upgrading, I'm in Ohio and I get a load to.... Portland. Oregon. 2500 miles in the wrong direction. From Portland they sent me to Seattle. Well, at least the pay checks were good. And when we broke down Friday evening outside Rapid City we were able to visit Mount Rushmore that Sunday. So my projected 3 weeks and 7500 miles of finishing turned into 6 weeks and 12,000 miles. Honestly, aside from missing my dog Buster, it was great. My second Finisher (lost the first one to a family emergency) was great. I can't imagine a better trainer and mentor than JD. He's been driving since 1994, has a great sense of humor and an incredible amount of patience, and is chock full of knowledge which he delights in sharing. I learned so much in that extra time, most of it little tidbits that make life on the road easier.

Once I finally got upgraded and got my 2013 Freightliner 13 speed out of the shop for the 3rd time I was on the road home to pick up Buster. My first few weeks were all about remembering EVERYTHING, or at the very least Rule 1: Don't Hit Anything. I had several Learning Experiences, and I came awfully close a few times, and my ego took some bruises, but I always stopped in time, and GOAL'd bunches and bunches ("thanks!" to the fellow who honked yesterday when I didn't GOAL enough). I also spent a lot of energy getting a semi truck Corgi Friendly. I also set up the top bunk as my kitchen: fridge, microwave, crock pot, and rice cooker.

XPO has been running me hard and I'm loving it. Last week I ran 2284, that was my first week under 2500. I've had 3 weeks over 3200. XPO (formerly Con-Way, formerly CFI) still seems to be a decent company to drive for. Most of the things I'm not thrilled with they are actively in the process of changing (the ancient Qualcomm and Load Planning are my biggest issues). XPO is committed to substantially growing their market share in the next 5 years.

I've now driven in every US State except Hawaii and Delaware. Plus British Columbia, The Yukon, Ontario, and Quebec (note: not all of these in a CMV). I really should figure out in which states I've driven a big rig. In 4 months I've been from New England to every Southern state except Florida, through out the the MidWest, and 10 of the Western 11.

Hey, did you know Quebec is not bilingual? It was quite an experience driving in the dark in the rain through construction and trying to remember enough High School French to figure out if the sign I just passed meant NO THROUGH TRUCKS or NO TRUCKS NEXT EXIT. All with no working phone, text, or internet. Truly a Grand Adventure. I'll be better prepared next time.

All in all I still feel like I'm getting paid for me and my dog Buster to drive all over the place in our 100 sq ft RV. I highly recommend XPO, especially for those like me who want Company Paid Schooling (Crowder is awesome) and a pet friendly environment.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Feeling discouraged - afraid to park at crowded truck stops

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I always look for the easiest parking spot, often that means a spot on a corner or by a traffic lane

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F.Y.I. - These are the parking spaces where the most accidents occur as well.

An excellent point. Which means I need to clarify my statement. I never park on an outside edge or corner. As mentioned, these are the spots where most accidents occur. Even though they are easy to get in/out of, they are trouble waiting to happen.

When I say a corner or traffic lane what I really mean is an inside corner. For example, if the lot is just a square with parking around the edges and something occupying the center of the square (the truck stop building, fuel island, or pull through parking) then the spots at the corners face an open travel lane. In order to back into the majority of the spaces in the middle of the sides you would need to do a 45 degree backing maneuver. However, to pull into those few spaces on the edges you simply turn the corner and as soon as your trailer is inline you can straight back into them.

I hope this makes things more clear and not less so.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Ways to get Fired in Trucking?

Holding your phone in your hand while driving. When I was in orientation they had a fellow who upgraded, got into his brand new truck solo, and drove 1/2 mile away from the terminal. He cornered so hard it triggered the camera. He got a Qualcomm message to return to the terminal. When he arrived they showed him the photo of him talking on his hand held phone. Guess he was so excited to get his new truck he just couldn't wait to tell the folks back home. This is XPO's latest crusade - talking or texting hand held will get you fired first offense.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Picking up the wrong load.

I got lucky. I was far enough along in training that I was doing all the customer contact alone. Walked in, told him I was from XPO here to pick up a loaded trailer for Laredo. The fellow told me which trailer to hook to. The paper work didn't have the trailer number on it. When I was hooked I went back to tell him the dock hook was still attached (my trainer taught me to ALWAYS visually check you are unhooked from the dock - I wondered how all those DOT bumpers got bent backward). His reply was that he had just finished checking that it was unhooked. That's when we realized he sent me to the wrong trailer. I hadn't checked the BOL destination. Which I now do faithfully. Plus, I received a good reinforcement about always checking I'm clear to leave the dock.

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