Comments By J Johns

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  • J Johns
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Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

Thanks for all the awesome info. I start prime on the 21. I can't wait. For the permit test how many questions is it? I've studied the high road but what sections should I study specifically? My recruiter said the email I receive on Tuesday will have all the info I need as far as supplies and studying etc.

Let's see. I can't remember exactly what was on the test, but the following is what I studied in the High Road program that stood me in good stead: Rules & Regulations, Driving Safely, Transporting Cargo Safely, Air Brakes, Combination Vehicles, Tankers, Pre-Trip Inspection, Driving Exam.

We received some excellent advice on test-taking methodology from Brooke Mosely which I wish I had followed more closely. She said that if we are at all unsure of the answer we should hit 'skip' & move on. She said it was difficult to explain why it worked, but the wording of one question might jog your memory or clarify one that you skipped, & you would definitely test better. What she didn't say but which I learned at the DMV: if for example the section is 25 questions long and you get nearly all of the first 21 correct, even though you had to 'skip' four questions, the program will simply forgive you the remaining questions BECAUSE you cannot possibly fail even if you get them all wrong. It will grade you on the questions you DID answer, & forget about the rest. Pretty cool, huh? This only applies to the Missouri DMV in Springfield so far as I understood things & I reserve the right to be mistaken, haha.

Congrats on your excellent choice!

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

Damn, that's kinda jacked up.... "I'm gonna take home time, you stay in a flea bag hotel." (At least that's how it sounded)

Naww, it was an okay motel. He paid for it & I had the choice of eating at the truck stop across the street or a few very nearby restaurants. As it turned out, I ordered a pizza the first night then lived off of that and my dry provisions for the next two. I never left the hotel, did some laundry, stretched, rehydrated, read a good book. It was fine :)

I was just wondering how you were making out.

I'm doing great! I didn't get around to writing up the latest adventure referenced. Trouble is, we occasionally get loads that we're not supposed to share details about. On the bright side, these runs pay very well and though I'm only paid a flat rate while in training, I'm learning to do these great runs & our fleet manager is learning to trust me little by little. It's an interesting immersive-learning experience that it's difficult to convey. I'm glad I didn't let my fear of the unknown keep me from making the move into this industry. There's a lot to learn but that won't be a deterrent.

My trainer keeps a close eye out for my safety at truck stops which is a relief for a cutie like me ;j and for my partner who misses me terribly & worries. I hope that people looking into this career take into account how disconnected from family they're going to feel & to BE out here (mentally toughen dear self or prepare to waste a lot of time & wallow in Pure Human Misery)

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Well, coming home from Prime

Surprised!! But I agree with the post above. I hope this won't create a financial burden for you, the jobless month. I'm glad I can still expect to meet you someday at the terminal.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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2 former nurses about to graduate...

Finally gonna get paid to be a gypsy ;-)

RIIIGHT??

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

Home time is over. We picked up a load of frozen goods in Erie PA and now we're driving to Bethlehem PA. Here's how it went.

We packed our junk in the truck whose APU had been running all weekend so that the fridge wouldn't kill the batteries & waited to be given a load. Around 11am we got one, punched it into our Qualcomm navigation, filled up with fuel & drove the roughly 40 miles to the trailer wash-out nearest to our lane of travel. It's like a gigantic car wash, and there was a 2hr line to get in. Yikes, we were on a far tighter schedule than would allow for that wait so we checked it out & determined that a sweep-out would 'do', so we 'did'. Off we went to our pick-up location or as I'm learning to call it, "our 01" which was very nearby. We found it after a few misleading street signs & wrong turns, checked in at the gate as usual, sent in a Qualcomm macro (message) that we had 'arrived at shipper', changed the reefer temperature to -10°F as told, then waited to be informed of an open dock. We waited 30 minutes or less, backed into the dock which locked us in (cool), waited maybe another 30 minutes for the first forklift & less than 30 for the last. I went in for the paperwork while Greg pulled away from the dock, then I sent a 'departing shipper' macro & did a live-loaded call. We've been freeway driving since 5 minutes after that point; four hours & 15 minutes now, 2 hours & 45 minutes to go.

I'll try to update this after we've completed our delivery. I'm trying to get at least one load documented here.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

During my time on the road I rarely know the hour or even the day. It's difficult to dredge up the details of my days for this blog when everything is unfamiliar & yet rather mundane. This is as near as I'll come to apologizing for this shortcoming, haha. Anyway, my trainer dropped me off at a motel. He'll take home time with his new grandbaby so I just have to stay here until monday morning & not get into any trouble. I'm across the street from a Flying J ... I could go there for groceries, but I'd rather just skip the delightful company of truck stop lurkers. I decided to order one pizza & make it last with everything else I have -- trail mix, dried mango, jerky & an orange. Then the pizza delivery man slipped me his number with the receipt. Oh, dear. Yay me, I've still Got It *urm*

The reason I'm bothering to write tonight is as a public service: if you're in a motel room and you begin to get The Feeling, PLEASE DO NOT put on your headphones, watch a porno, AND WHIMPER AND GROAN WITH WILD ABANDON FOR AN HOUR AT A GO, SEVERAL TIMES IN ONE NIGHT, and then start tapping on your neighbor's wall (mine) when you notice that you can hear their music through the paper wall, playing at a very modest volume. You imperil your own life by ignoring this advice. Watch for me in the news -- Ohio near Lake Erie.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

I'd much rather do that than try to type out the entire previous 24 hours.

Let's see. First you stood in pairs before a doctor. She would ask you to (can't recall the order) put your arms straight & level to the front, then to the sides, then sweep them straight up, then one down & back to try to touch fingers behind you. Arms at a square to the front & elbows in "Don't let me push your hands together", "don't let me pull them apart", "squeeze this". Get down on one knee, stand up, repeat with the other knee, squat as far as you can go, and that's all I remember there.

Next, the obstacle course!!!!!! Kidding. You lift one box with (weights approximate) 20lbs above your head, then one with 40lbs to your chin, then if you're doing flatbed then one with 80lbs to your chest. Take one medium-heavy box back & forth between two points -- 4 trips -- and lower & lift each time using proper technique. Then the flatbed people lifted an actual tarp to a shoulder-high shelf, and everyone finished with 4-6 trips up 2 rungs on a ladder. This is to my best recollection. I'll try to encourage a friend to look this over & fill in the gaps if any.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Starting over with nothing

I'm with C.S., ask those questions. We'll be here for you.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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TT a pipeline for Prime?

I know that worry. My partner & I are homesick for each other, but doing just fine. Check out some fun apps to keep in touch. Of course there's text, but there's also a video option on facebook messenger, there's a sort of video-message app called Glide(?) that my trainer uses to talk to a friend as he drives which is fun & easy. Also, you'll probably be too busy to do much agonizing. It'll get to the point where you just drive & sleep & a few little tasks in between, no time to miss anyone, haha.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

Well let's see. I've put this off & now things are kind of running together.. In Bethlehem, PA we checked in & waited & checked & left a contact number & waited & checked & when we explained "we've been waiting all day now" were told "this is the first time I'm hearing of you" had to resist replying "no s***, because you just got here" but instead nodded mmhm mmkay mmhm & 20 minutes later they were handing us paperwork. We left Bethlehem around 1600, got me in the driver seat just before the freeway, caught some rush hour, DROVE THROUGH D.C. which was wild with apparently vibrant night-life, ugh, switched seats when we were 30 miles from our destination in Dunn, NC, & bedded down. Next day, on time for our appointment, we were told that the PO is not supposed to deliver there. We contacted our fleet manager, learned that we read the paperwork correctly but it's just that Purchase Order numbers isn't something we are responsible for checking. So we drove back to PA just barely missing D.C. rush hour, slept at a truck stop, & arrived this morning for our appointment just 152 miles from Bethlehem, in Greencastle. My trainer got paid more to bring the load back than to take it away in the first place so he's not mad, but what a costly mistake for the shipper! Being unloaded now. Bump bump bump.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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TT a pipeline for Prime?

I think you've made an excellent decision, but then I'm biased. My partner & I started there Feb 1st & while I'd like to say that no one was complaining, what I will say is that it was half-hearted at best, as though from habit, hahaha.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

Weariness!

Sunday, 2.28.2016, woke around 0700, and I drove out about 0900. I made it almost 300 miles through those mild hills east of St.Louis. My all-time record is probably 450 miles in a car in a day. I haven't LOVED the driving aspect of road trips, but obviously, I'm trusting myself to learn. Today I was concentrating on lane control, maintaining 60 mph without cruise control, & reading all signs. Greg says I did well & my right calf concurs -- I was glad for the down-hills when I could stretch & counter-flex. He drove for maybe 100 miles until the gusts of wind buffeting the vehicles were reaching 41mph. We parked & took a 3 hour nap which ended just at dusk when gusts were more like 25 mph. He drove for another 300 miles it seemed, & stopped at a truck stop a little after midnight. I was nodding off wildly for the last hour in the passenger seat, which was probably funny to see. Our load is going to Bethlehem PA, appointment for March 1st at 0700, but luckily we can deliver up to 24 hours early so of course we'll be taking that opportunity tomorrow morning.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime TNT first week

about 1 mile down the road from the Campus Inn is Pancho's Mexican restaurant. The carne asada burritos are pretty good. Closest thing to the socal version anyway

Psst. Shredded beef chimichangas. I gotta try those carne asada burritos, love that place.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

That's too bad, I've been keeping an eye out for the man who looks like my favorite singer/songwriter, Tony Kakko, haha! Maybe another time. Thanks for the luck :)

Saturday, 2.27.2016, shuttle to Millenium, breakfast, shuttle back to the Campus Inn, then I called my trainer who picked me up. He went into a flea market to kill time & I set up a little nest in the upper bunk. We picked up an empty trailer, waited in line for a wash, went to our first pick-up & I shadowed him while taking occasional notes. We dropped & hooked (the newly loaded trailer was inexplicably OFF), did our live loaded call and were about 10 minutes out of there before we learned that the trailer had an error code. Thankfully we were minutes from the Springfield terminal. We dropped it off, ate, fiddled with our phones, napped, and at about 10 or 11 we were able to drive out of there. We made it past St.Louis by 3am then stopped at a Pilot for the night. I need to start using military time, bleh.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

Thanks :D I will try.

2.26.2016, Friday, I received a qualcomm message on my phone through the Prime Mobile app. I forgot to mention that the last time I spoke with my fleet manager he 'added' me to the truck using my driver code. So the message was asking my trainer & I to go to the safety meeting at the Millenium if available. Greg didn't respond so far as I know (I only see messages from Prime, not his replies), & I didn't get a text from him, so I went to the meeting alone. Breakfast is free but seating can be difficult to come by. Most of the meeting was about how we're switching out to automatics soon, & so they brought some 2 & 3 million milers out who have been driving them & can speak definitively on how they handle. I got a text message from my partner whose trainer had arrived for a drive, so that's where they were when I got back to the room & packed & goofed off for a few hours. At around 3pm my partner returned for some shared goofing time. At about 4pm repairs to Greg's tractor had been completed so he picked me up with all my things & took me to the Millenium to work some load magic. The load assigned gave us 5 days to get to Spokane WA, but he wanted to squeeze in a smaller load for the coming paycheck. He managed that at the fuel desk in the driver's line-up building next to Millenium. The plan became the folowing: drive about town so I can warm up & he can know where I need help, then drop me off back at the Campus Inn for the night, drive out at noon the following day, & begin our work. So the first time I drove after my test wasn't awful & I'm happy to spend another night with my favorite person.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

My days of waiting for a trainer have run together, but I can say that ...

2.24.2016, Wednesday, we took the green shuttle to the post office to get our passports & cards. We plan to keep the passport books locked up for international travel & our cards with us for work-related border crossings. There was a sign saying that they expected people to make appointments for this service. I checked the paper Prime had given me & it said nothing about that, so I dared to hope. Sure enough, we were told that Prime people are fast & easy so don't worry about the appointment times. One stupid thing I did which may come back to bite me is that the only government-issued photo I.D. I brought was my ink-poor printed paper copy of my CDL-A, & none of my recently-voided state licenses. Surprising they would want to see those, huh? Like I say, it may come back to bite me, but the Department of State will let me know what they need, when & how they need it. We left & walked toward the DMV where there's a lovely little place called Hurts Donut, a shop we found to be strangely crowded on Friday & Saturday evenings. We now understand why that is -- I'll let you learn for yourselves. We caught the shuttle back to the Campus Inn from the DMV.

2.25.2016, Thursday, I met my new trainer! His name is Greg & as his Million-mile dinner was scheduled for the evening of our meeting, he can be safely assumed to be a prolific turner of safe miles. He invited his latest student to vouch for him to my partner & I. He's getting repairs done, so a Friday morning or afternoon departure seems more likely. It looks like Prime is working hard to get us two of it's best fleet manager's best drivers to set us up for success & the effort is not lost on me. We got our first paycheck & I noticed that they didn't take the three $200 weekly advances that we didn't touch in our accounts, but instead took the $25 from our paycheck that we were told they would use to repay themselves for those advances. As it seems they're planning to do it that way, & our paycheck was put into that same comdata account rather than our bank account because direct deposit takes a bit to kick in, I got to work figuring out comcheks. It took some doing, but we managed, deposited the checks with our phones because we do our banking online, then paid our bills & were left with a rather satisfying amount left over. We've been sitting on our butts earning money somehow, & it boggles the mind. However easily money comes in the future, I hope I never forget the lessons of the value of work that I've been learning all these years. Prime is spoiling us rotten, folks.

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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This Is Not Looking Good

^ I love that.

Great story, Dave! What's so bad about hotels that someone could find another quiet night distasteful anyway?

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Do it like Sonny Pruitt

^ chest

t h u m p i n g

Posted:  5 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

2.23.2016, Tuesday, up very early, redbox movie before we fielded a call from our new fleet manager, then each of us got a call from our respective PROspective TNT trainers, we went to Panchos for some excellent 24hr/day mexican food, bought passport photos & goodies at wal*mart, caught a shuttle to the Millenium building & met our fleet manager. He invited us to watch him work for a few minutes, which was illuminating but also eventually a little awkward. He described our trainers to us & we went back to the Campus Inn to netflix & sleep at about 4pm. I will meet my trainer 2.24 Wednesday evening and probably depart with him 2.25 Thursday morning. My partner will likely depart 2.29 Monday, as it seems that his trainer is taking a spot of home time until then.

Posted:  5 years, 11 months ago

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Prime Inc CDL Training Diary - Orientation, Local PSD, TNT Training

2.21.2016, Sunday, goofed off, rented redbox & glutted ourselves on sleep.

2.22.2016, Monday, went to see The Man In Whose Hands Our Futures Rest, assured him that we're packed & ready whenever he can find those trainers, then went to the TWIC office to get those cards. I am once again dismayed at my recruiter's advice to leave my marriage certificate at home. I can't get a card, but my partner can. I'm told that if I had a passport the point would be moot, and that the post office does not ask for a marriage license. That's nice, but a passport takes 6+weeks to process. We got a meal & headed home for a nap. We ended up not catching the shuttle to the post office, so we'll try again tomorrow. Redbox & bed early again.

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