Profile For PPGER

PPGER's Info

  • Location:
    Sun City, AZ

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 9 months ago

PPGER's Bio

I'm 57 years old, retired LEO from Wisconsin, now living near Phoenix, AZ. I'm looking to get my CDL and start trucking. Like I said in my intro posting, I've always wanted to try my hand at OTR trucking and NOW seems like a good time in my life to finally pursue the goal.

I have had a pretty varied background: U.S. Air Force (active and reserve), pastor, martial arts instructor, IT professional, chairman of publications for a national martial arts organization, adjunct professor at university, and police officer. Seen a lot, done a lot. No real complaints.

Anyway, we have the empty nest now so there is nothing to hold me back from finally putting my hand to trucking.

This website has been a treasure trove of information and I really thank you all for your great input.

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Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

I think I'm done

What part of Ontario are they running you to?

Sorry if I wasn't clear. It Ontario, CA. Right there among Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, etc.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

I think I'm done

Thanks for making some calls on my behalf Old School. I specifically asked and my DM at the TIME about it and he flat it told me that he couldn't do anything about compensation. He said I could ask the manager about it but added that I'd have no success...

So far, my new DM is showing real concern and it's much appreciated. A big change from my old one. I'm currently stuck sitting at a shipper for a trailer that was supposed to be ready at 0900 this morning. I got here at 1230 and it isn't ready. They told me two more hours before it'll be ready, so over five hours late. Anyway, I'm sitting here waiting and my DM called to check on me and said they are working it from their end too. He must actually read those Qualcomm messages I send it. Very pleasant change.

And as anyways, thanks Old School and Brett for the sage advice.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

I think I'm done

Sorry for the delay, but here's an update. I never received layover or breakdown pay -- even after mentioning the situation to the terminal manager. I was down for nine days, July 5th - 13th.

I got a call on the 13th that my truck was finally back from the dealer and I had a nice load to Utah scheduled for the morning of the 14th. Later on that same day, I got a call from the terminal manager telling me that he would now be dispatching me for the "forseeable future." Hmm, I wondered. Turns out, my old DM was no longer with Knight.

Anyway, I show up around 0500 on the 14th to get to the shipper at 0800 for the Utah run. I get to my truck and it will not start. Dead. Not even dash lights. Plus, someone stole the spare tire off the back of it!! So, I call trip breakdown. After being on hold for fifty minutes, they told me to wait until the shop opened at 0700 and tell them and they would jump it. Then I had to call dispatch and let them know that there was no way I was going to make that 0800 delivery -- so lost the Utah run. When I was on the phone with my new DM (the terminal manager), I ask him why my old DM was no longer running me. He told me that my old dispatcher was no longer with the company. I asked him if he knew about my situation being down for over a week and how i was told no breakdown pay, etc. He then just said that he promised that I would get some good miles and make some good money the next few days.

Anyway, the shop finally comes out around 0800, jumps the truck and take it to the shop to see why it was dead. I finally get the truck back around 1000 hours. My new DM/TM comes out and talks with me. He tells me that he is looking for some good loads for me. I ended up with a Yuma-Ontario run, then back to Phoenix, then back to Ontario, then back to Phoenix.

My new DM really seems to be wanting to do better by me that my old DM, who I assume was fired. But there are still the same frustrations. I was supposed to have home time Sunday and Monday, but the consignee would not take load early like I was told by DM so I had to stick with the 2030 delivery time on Sunday night... Didn't get to a door until after 2230 and didn't get unloaded until around 0030. So I didn't get home until about 0130 on Monday. I am scheduled to go back out this morning, but still waiting on a preplan to pop up.

The other job stuff is still pending...

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

I think I'm done

Well, I've been driving for Knight for eight months now. Like everyone, I've had good days and not so good days, good weeks and not so good weeks. Being away from home has been harder than I expected. I expected to see more of the country, but 80%+ of Knight loads are between Phoenix and SoCal, up and down the 10 and 5 corridors. I told them that I would run all lower 48, but I've rarely gotten out of CA, OR, and WA.

Most of it has been as I expected -- thanks to all the helpful folks on this forum. I have a sense of accomplishment from the job. I expecially like how backing is no longer an issue like it was. I have pulled into some really tight docks the last few weeks and I remember thinking, "Man, I'm glad I wasn't having to do to this a few months ago!"

While I have enjoyed driving, this latest incident is, I'm afraid, the last straw. I cannot decide if I should just say goodbye to trucking or go to another company. Problem is, most other trucking jobs I see advertised want at least a year's experience. And I don't know that things would be different at any other company. I think that the problem of bad information from your DM (who blames it on the market manager or load planner) is the same everywhere (supposed to be drop and hook, but it's a 5 hour live load/unload, etc). Although, other companies with centralized dispatch might be different from Knight which has dispatch out of each terminal. I am debating whether to stay with Knight for a few more months and then look for a job driving local where I'm home most nights or at least every weekend, or whether to just say good bye to trucking.

But anyway, here's what appears to be the last straw with me:

Last Tuesday, July 5th, I dropped my truck off for service. That was supposed to be one day. Supposed to be back on the road Wednesday. Tuesday afternoon my DM tells me that my truck has to go to the dealer and that it should be finished Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. Okay.... What's wrong with it?, I ask. He doesn't know and tells me to call the shop. So I call the shop and after the usual forever on hold time, I get someone on the phone. He tells me that the rear timing cover is leaking. On Thursday, the 7th, I get a text from my DM telling me that my truck is ready and he has set me up with loads for Friday the 8th. Okay, good enough. THEN, shortly thereafter I get a message from him saying that he misread the email from the shop and that my truck will not be back from the dealer until the 13th!! That is nine days!! I ask about breakdown pay. He says that I can't get it because I am at my home terminal. I ask him how he expects me to go without work or a paycheck for over a week?? He says that he understands, but that is the way it is. I ask about a loaner. He says that none are available. I tell him that if I am willing to work and they take my truck out of service and cannot give me a loaner, that I should not be penalized by no pay for nine days. Sorry, is his answer. Then on Friday he tell me that he has found me a loaner... Okay, then I'll go out on Saturday. No wait, he texts back, it's a manual transmission. Can I drive a manual? Yes, I tell him, but Knight's policy is that you have to drive the same transmission that your trainer had and my trainer had an automatic. So, still no truck.

So, here I sit. I have been sitting since last Tuesday, July 5th. I will be sitting until at least Thursday, July 14th. No pay.

Yesterday, I filled out on-line job applications and I have two non-driving job interviews tomorrow. Part of me wants to stick it out four more months at Knight so I can move into another local driving job after I have a year's experience. Part of me wants to quit as soon as I can based on this latest incident with them. The whole thing with them seems so disrespectful of me and my time. If I want more than a couple days off, they tell me that they can't afford to have their truck sit that long and I have to come in and start running loads. But they have no problem with me sitting -- as if I can afford to sit for nine days!

The CPM is good now that I've been there for over six months. But on the other hand, when I think about all of the time that I give them that is uncompensated, it is pretty depressing. I know that trucking is a lifestyle, not just a job, but still. I've had some good paychecks from weeks where I ran a lot of miles. The number looks good until I figure how many hours it took to make it, then it's kind of depressing. Taking a local job paying $11-12 an hour, and being home may be a better option..

Anyway, that's for letting me vent.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

Swifts current idle policy

The Swift recruiter told me that their trucks have bunk coolers. Was that a fib?

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Food coolers?

I got a Coleman 40 qt about two weeks ago. So far so good. Got tired of buying ice every other day.

Posted:  8 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Knight CDL School Diary

Sorry for the lack of updates. I finally dug out the laptop and decided to try to catch up.

I have about 2500 more miles to go before finishing out my 30K miles under Knight's Squire program. After that, I "graduate" to the regular Knight program and get, I think, a 5 cent per mile raise.

So far, my foray into the trucking industry has been okay. I've had the usual glitches like others have posted about. You know -- discovering that the GPS is not accurate. Driving on a narrow, two-lane highway, hearing the "your destination is .2 miles on the right," from your GPS about the same time as you roll past the shipper's entrance which was before the actual address and having to drive a 12 mile circle to get back to the entrance because there is no way to back up on that two lane! That was fun!

Or arriving to pick up what was supposed to be a preloaded trailer only to find out that it'll be a live load instead, adding hours of unexpected delay to your day.

Or the unplanned detours when the exit you are supposed to take is closed and you have to take a long detour.

Being away from home is harder than I thought. Dispatchers and load planners quite often don't know what they are talking about.

On the other hand, I have been pleasantly surprised by the helpfulness of other drivers. The rude driver who expresses impatience with my backing skills have been rare -- probably less than two times. But I have had many drivers go out of their way to help me get backed into a tight spot at a dock or truck stop.

Posted:  8 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

How big of an SD card for dash cam?

I've got the Cobra CDR 840 dash cam too. The max size for the MicroSD card is 32gb, which is what I have. I also recommended adjusting the g-shock settings. Otherwise, normal bumps in the road set the thing off.

Posted:  8 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Truck Fleets with automatics transmissions

I believe Knight is transitioning to automatics too. I drove a 2015 International with an automatic and it was terrible. I now have a 2016 Freightliner with an automatic and I love it -- way better than the auto in the International! I also love how it has "descent control mode." Once you start the downgrade, with the cruise turned on, but not set, you turn on your engine brake, then when you are at the speed you want to maintain down the grade, you set the cruise and it will hold that speed down the grade. It modulates the engine brake setting and transmission gear to maintain the speed. I am impressed how well it usually works -- 6% grade at 79500 pounds and it'll hold it. Much less stressful!

Posted:  8 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

U-Turn in big rig and.... your fired! ??

Swift has a no u turn and no right turn on red policy

so does Knight...

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