Profile For Buster's Buddy

Buster's Buddy's Info

  • Location:
    San Francisco, CA

  • Driving Status:
    Considering A Career

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 10 months ago

Buster's Buddy's Bio

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Posted:  7 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:  7 months, 1 week 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:  7 months, 1 week 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:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Why do drivers stay OTR over LTL?

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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:  7 months, 1 week 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.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Why do drivers stay OTR over LTL?

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.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Prescription glasses & Trucking

I’ve never had any issues with my trifocals when it comes to driving. I guess I’m another one where I compensate subconsciously. I’ve been driving big rigs, motor coaches, and passenger buses for over 5 years with progressives. Thanks to Zoom, I have recently learned I sometimes tilt my head when on the computer. I guess something’s off with the way my glasses fit.

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

View Topic:

On The Road Again...

Seems I’ll soon be rejoining all you fine folks back out on the highways. I’ve maintained my Class A over the years, although I’ve let endorsements drop away as I’ve moved from state to state as a tour guide, driving Class B from the Grand Canyon to Alaska to Napa Valley. Since my Class A is 4 years stale, my options are pretty limited. I did consider starting from the very beginning and going back to school, but Western Express has made me an acceptable offer: dry van Western 11 at 26cpm over 600 miles. That last part kinda hurts. Less than I started at 5 years ago. It bumps to 34cpm between 200 & 600 miles, and is even higher for shorter runs, but that’s not a plus to me. I got spoiled running the 5000 mile Laredo-to-Quebec turnaround. I want to get back to being a truck driver, not a truck trailer-shuttler. But, it gets me back out on the road, and I only have to sign a 6 month contract. Then I can start looking for greener pastures 😉

I know WE has a bad reputation, but I looked into a lot of the reviews. A surprising number of the bad video ones are in the category l-did-something-incredibly-stupid-and-crashed-and-now-the-mean-people-are-firing-me. Most of the good ones are I-do-my-job-and-everything’s-fine. And I know WE has always received positive marks here, especially for those of us with limited options.

One of the best parts is training is only five weeks. I definitely need the refresher in handling the trailers and all the business aspects. But in much less time than starting all over I’ll get my own truck again, and Buster & I will once again be part of that band of gypsies going down the highway.

Posted:  1 year, 11 months ago

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Returning to OTR from Class B

For the past 4 years I’ve been driving Class B vehicles, but I’m thinking about returning to OTR. I still hold my Class A with air brakes & tanker endorsements. I know I’ll be starting over, so I figure I’ll start with one of the big boys. My question is — is it possible to start with a mentoring program (like they do with new graduates), or do I need to start from the very beginning and attend trucking school again?

Two years ago I was all set to go back with Warner, but I was headhunted with an offer I couldn’t refuse. Since then I’ve moved from San Francisco to a small town in southeastern Arizona, and I’m concerned that is going to limit my options.

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Question Abt Cabs

These pics are from the initial installation in the Cascadia:

1469623774.9086.jpg1469623914.8366.jpg1469623793.8391.jpg

Posted:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

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:  5 years, 11 months ago

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Nice surprise on second anniversary

Congratulations on the anniversary and the sweet rig.

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