Profile For Turtle

Turtle's Info

  • Location:
    Upstate, NY

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 9 months ago

Turtle's Bio

Email Rtlang69@gmail.com

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Posted:  9 hours, 56 minutes ago

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Flatbedder woes

What is this tarping thing you speak of???

smile.gif

Posted:  18 hours, 30 minutes ago

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Walmart Private Fleet

The past several days have kind of run into a blur. I'm currently in the mentorship phase, where we go out with a trainer for a week or so to learn the ins and outs of how to keep the stores supplied. Coming from the flatbed world, this system of delivery is foreign to me, but I'm adapting to it. I don't have many details to give yet, as I'm still wrapping my mind around the steps involved. Not that it's all that difficult to comprehend. Just different, and I have to unlearn some things before I can learn others. I'll get more into that some other time, but rest assured that I absolutely love this job so far.

Met up with my trainer Sid the other day. The first impression I got from him was a good one. 65 years old, full of jokes and stories, and an 18-year veteran of Walmart Transportation. He's an equal-opportunity ballbuster, and we hit it off pretty quickly.

After a quick lesson on when, where, and how to get our trip information paperwork, we hooked up to our loaded trailer, and hit the road. Our first day was a live unload at a store, then on to a drop/hook at the second store. Brought that empty reefer back to the DC and took an empty dryvan to another DC. From there we took a loaded dryvan destined for yet another DC.

The next few days were very similar, bouncing between stores and DCs. Getting in and out of the locations has been very smooth so far. There is little to no wait time for live unloads. It takes longer for me to figure out the computer inputs than it does to get unloaded.

Walmart puts trainers and trainees up in hotels for the night (separate rooms). In the off chance that something happens and we can't make it to a hotel, I brought bedding with me just in case.

I'll come back with more when I have time. There are definitely some key differences between this job and what I'm accustomed to, and I'll try to explain as I go.

Peace out for now.

Posted:  19 hours, 35 minutes ago

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"Exaggeration Is The Key To Graduation"

*Insert funky beat here*

"If you want to drive a truck across the nation,

You must first go through a driving education.

When you go the extra mile,

You'll earn that CDL with style.

Exaggeration is the key to graduation."

Mic drop...

Posted:  3 days, 8 hours ago

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Trucking Truth Driver Productivity Leaderboard

In addition to the many variables that will inevitably come into play when determining a driver's productivity, there also exists the problem of defining productivity itself. I don't think you can easily put a number on that, even within similar jobs. Conditions change from one day / week to the next, and how we roll with those changes determines our daily outcome. It may be far easier to measure a driver's inefficiency or lack of productivity.

I am my own biggest competition. Measuring my success is done internally. Comparing myself to another driver is pointless, in that we each faced different obstacles in our day. Take G-Town and I for instance. Soon we'll be performing nearly the exact same job duties in nearly the exact same areas. But we'll each face our own set of challenges, and have to work within the parameters of those challenges to get stuff done. Yes, he's been doing this for a long time, and will likely run circles around me from an operational standpoint due to knowing the tips, tricks, and inner workings of the job. But on any given week, he could hit a series of snags while I have all gravy runs and get more done. Does that make me a more productive driver? Hardly. I just got lucky. When G-Town looks back at those snags and sees how he handled them in the most productive way possible, he can define that as success.

Again, you can't put a number on that. We can however continue to teach those tips, tricks, and inner workings here to help other drivers compete with themselves and always strive for more.

Posted:  4 days, 22 hours ago

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The Training Has Begun

I'm sure you'll be a safe, patient, conscientious trainer RD. Have fun with it. The next wave of Primates are depending on you!

smile.gifgood-luck.gif

Posted:  4 days, 22 hours ago

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Orientation !

Can't wait to hear your success story. It's all right there inside you. When you think you've hit a brick wall, please come to us. We'll try to help you find that resolve. Best of luck to you!

Posted:  4 days, 22 hours ago

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REALLY Heading to Veriah (Spelled Veriha) Sunday for Training Monday. Training Plan Update...

Best of luck to ya, Marc. You know we're all behind you. Make this happen.

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Posted:  4 days, 23 hours ago

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REALLY Heading to Veriah (Spelled Veriha) Sunday for Training Monday. Training Plan Update...

Best of luck to ya, Marc. You know we're all behind you. Make this happen.

good-luck.gifgood-luck-2.gif

Posted:  5 days, 18 hours ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

Fast-forwarding to my continued training at the DC.

Although my home DC is in Johnstown NY, certain logistical and training functions fall under the operational umbrella of the DC in Marcy NY, some 60ish miles away. This is where I will begin the next phase of my training.

Walmart booked me in a nearby hotel Sun, Mon, and Tue night to keep me from having to drive the 130 miles from home daily before orientation.

Mon11/4 - Tue11/5 0700 - 1700hrs

Breakfast at the hotel before shooting over to the DC. I'll skip most of the boring details, mon & tue were both filled with meet & greets, power meetings, signing HR stuff, q&a sessions, shop & warehouse tours, and fooood. Lots of fooood.

They know how to eat here, and aren't afraid to show it. Aside from the lunch ordered in from a nearby restaurant, there were cookies, cakes, and snacks seemingly in every room we entered. Someone jokingly said that us newbies we're now entering the "Freshman 15", where we'd gain 15 lbs in our freshman year. Determined to prove them wrong on that, I stuck with just water.

The atmosphere here is very laid back. From the transportation offices to the break room, everyone just seemed to be chillin. Obviously work was getting done, but it didn't keep anyone from smiling and chatting with you as you walked by.

The drivers. How shall I put this? Let's just say the drivers that were floating in and out left me feeling completely outclassed in their presence. Seeing badges proclaiming 10, 20, even 30 yrs longevity at Walmart, along with the Wall of Fame touting numerous 3 and 4 million milers, left me feeling really tiny with my puny 3 years.

I didn't run into any terminal rats. Naturally, anyone can find something to grumble about. But as a whole, everyone seems very happy to be here. As one driver put it:

"Welcome to Walmart. Where everyone complains, but no one ever leaves."

Wednesday got us out of the classroom and into a van with Dave, a 24-year veteran. He took us on short tours of some stores in the area before grabbing lunch at my home DC in Johnstown. There I got to finally meet my transportation manager and take a tour of that facility as well.

Closing the day back in Marcy, there were some computer training videos to watch before calling it a day. My training at Marcy is done now, so I go to my next hotel down the road from the DC in Johnstown.

Thursday I'll be meeting and going on the road for a day with my mentor, Sid. His regular days off are Fri & Sat, so I'll finish up the computer training at the terminal Friday morning before going home and returning Sunday for a week on the road with Sid.

Posted:  5 days, 20 hours ago

View Topic:

Work boots or no work boots during otr training??

They have aggressive tread

Aggressive tread may help you walk through the mud, but it won't give you traction on a frozen flatbed, greasy warehouse floor, or while climbing up on a lumber load. Thats where you need it most. Non-skid, oil and slip resistant soles are your safest option.

Posted:  6 days, 18 hours ago

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Me and My Mentor

Good deal. Be extra careful in that snow. Let us know how it goes.

good-luck.gif

Posted:  6 days, 18 hours ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

10/30 0700hrs Day 3

It's gameday. The final round. Today is our day to shine. The first day was just to see what we brought to the table. The second day gave us a chance to hone our skills, or correct a bad habit. Today is the "make or break" test for all the marbles. Either show them you have what it takes, or be sent home.

Side note: Even if you fail, Walmart won't send you packing immediately. They'll allow you to stay on through the week and fly home as scheduled. Just making it to Bentonville in itself is something to be proud of, and they will treat you with respect to the end.

On to the tests:

Pretrip- Once again I tested on a different truck than on the first two days, and once again had to find the faults on this 'out of service truck. Missing mudflap here, busted light there, etc.

I ran through the whole thing and confidently declared myself completed with the pre-trip. As we were walking away literally 1 minute later, I remembered the dadgum permit book that I forgot to check.

"Is it too late to mention the permit book?"

"Yup"

"Dang! Well, how did I do otherwise?"

"I can't tell you that. You'll find out tomorrow."

Pfft...

Backing- Still the exact same maneuver as the first two days. Honestly, if at this point you're still having major difficulty with this maneuver, you probably shouldn't be here.

GOAL, use your pullups, and don't hit anything. It's that simple.

She slipped in the hole nice and easy for me, somewhere in the ballpark of 5 minutes with GOALS and pullups.

Road test- The rural route. Once again, this route takes roughly 45 minutes, through some beautiful back roads. Upgrades, downgrades, curvy, narrow, sometimes residential, often downright questionable.

The examiner is chatting the whole way. To some this may be distracting. But I found it quite comforting actually, as we seemed to hit it off through some great conversation. This kept my mind settled and off of my nerves.

Lane control is critical on this route, especially in the curves. Trailer off-tracking will either put your tires in the weeds and ruts, or extend them into the opposite lane. Pay special attention to this.

Only once did I hiccup on a downshift, but recovered in a second with barely a noticeable grind. I was floating them gears almost like a pro, up and down. I know this isn't a big deal to some of you guys, but to me it was a huge moment of triumph in a very pivotal challenge.

Arriving back at the yard, all I got was a:

"Ok, just hang out till everyone else completes their tests, and we'll get you guys back to the hotel"

"So how did I do?"

"I can't tell you that. You'll find out tomorrow.

wtf-2.gif

They'll compile the notes and scores from all 9 tests you took and make their decision."

10/31 0700 Day 4

There were noticeably fewer candidates getting off the shuttles from the hotels. Those of us there were penned up behind the building again before being led inside. We walked in to music, banners, back-slapping, hand-shaking, shouts of congratulations, and fist-bumps all around.

Once things settle down, and we were in our seats, we heard the words:

Welcome Walmart drivers!

Obviously we already kinda knew we'd made it, but hearing those words really drove it home. This wasn't just another job interview. This was a leap of faith, a rite of passage, and a shared experience that brought all of us in that room closer.

I'll spare you the rest of the happy dance, but suffice it to say the rest of the day was spent in good spirits. A bunch of us met up for dinner & drinks later on, and oh was it deserved. It was a perfect night for celebration, and celebrate we did!

Fri 11/1 0900hrs.

Breakfast and lots of coffee at the Waffle House before the shuttle ride to the airport. We're flying home for the weekend, and beginning the next phase of training at our respective DCs Monday morning.

This was an emotionally taxing week, one filled with fear, anxiety, anticipation, hope, and humility.

Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Looking for a paid cdl trucking company for me and my wife to start. Please help! All info appreciated.

Welcome, Emily. I think you'll find it exactly as Amber described. There are numerous Paid CDL Training Programs that welcome team couples. But most if not all will want you to turn in your truck before leaving on an extended trip. Upon your return, you simply hop into another truck and roll again until your next vacation.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Starting on my path to a career in trucking!

Awesome, Brandon. We'll be following along.

Posted:  1 week ago

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Starting Roehl GYCDL program in Appleton WI Nov.11

Good luck Keith. Don't let the nerves get to you.

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Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

how is the hometime? Are you close enough to the DC to make it home nearly every night?

I won't have a firm handle on my schedule until I complete the onboarding process, and that could be another 2 weeks.

In my particular DC, there are a few schedule options available. I'll likely opt for the 5 on / 2 off, guaranteeing me at least two full days (not just a 34) at home every week. Busy seasons may push me into 5 1/2 day weeks.

When I make it back to the DC during my work week, I'll probably go home for the night. Likewise if I park at a Walmart near home. It's still just a little too early to know for sure.

How long is the training process to learn the Walmart way of doing things as an experienced driver?

Another tough question to answer. I've only just made it past the entry requirements. The real adjustment is yet to come. I'll certainly try to enlighten as I go.

Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

...cont.

That short little practice session, along with his coaching, did so much to smooth my shifting and boost my confidence.

After I got us back to the yard, he told me that more and more drivers are coming to Walmart with "mostly automatic" experience, and that I shouldn't let that bother me. I did just fine. Whew.

Day 2 complete, and I still haven't been called into the safety office. We've seen many who were, and that's supposedly a sign that they're on the shortlist to be cut.

Back to the hotel for an early supper and Facetime with my little bug.

Tomorrow: Gameday

Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

10/29 0700hrs Day 2

The morning started with the same rousing "Walk of Cheer" through all trainers and associates before settling into our seats. Cody, the training manager, began with a simple question: "Ok so who thought yesterday would be easier?"

Nearly every hand went up.

"Who went back to the hotel last night and studied?"

Same

"I hope so, because today will be even tougher."

With that, we launched into the same routine as yesterday. Half of us went upstairs for PowerPoints, and the rest continued with Round 2 of skills tests.

After being shown yesterday how they want the pretrip, today should be a breeze. However, they took note of which truck I inspected yesterday, and brought me to a different truck today. They gave me the same spiel about this truck being out of service, and they wanted me to point out everything I found wrong. There were in fact several items that wouldn't pass inspection, and I think I nailed them all. There's definitely some extra pressure in knowing I have to find the faults. Additionally, testing on a different truck each day ensures that I bring my A-game.

As I mentioned before, my own inspection is a little more detailed than what is expected here, but not by much. Also, they don't require you to use the strict verbiage like "Properly mounted & secure, Not cracked, bent or broken", etc. You simply have to point to the part and explain what you're looking for. I still find it hard to NOT use the exact verbiage that I'm so accustomed to, so I just roll with it anyway.

As I finished my in-cab inspection, I was about to climb out of the truck and complete the last step of the Walmart pre-trip: having the examiner assist me with checking the lights, when he called me over and said"

"Ok, explain the process for sliding your tandems."

Wha??

That came from out of left field, totally unexpected. It could have tripped me up had I not just went over this a couple days ago. You see, I'm a flatbedder with practically no experience at sliding tandems. I work with fixed-position spread axles, or a 2-position front axle. That isn't saying that I don't know how to slide tandems, just that I've never actually done it myself, or had to explain the process.

After a split-second "deer in the headlights" moment, I recovered and explained the easy procedure. Satisfied, he told me to carry on.

Feeling proud of myself, I proclaimed that I was done with my pretrip.

and completely forgot about that light check...

Afterward, when I asked him how I did, he said the only thing I missed was that light check. I let him trip me up and break my concentration. By design or not, I took that as a valuable lesson. Maintain your focus, whether in a test, or real-world situation.

The backing station was unchanged for day 2. As with any backing situation, the setup is key. Without it you will struggle. Nail the setup, and you'll be in position for a somewhat easy sight-side back into the hole. Before you put that truck in reverse, shut it off and GOAL, walking into and around the hole looking for nails or debris. Plan your attack, and finish by doing a complete 360 walk around the entire truck. Once you start backing, if all goes well you'll get yourself lined up at the entrance to the hole. GOAL again before the rear of your trailer enters the space between the other two trailers. 360 the truck/trailer again. Pull up if you need to. There are no limits to the amount of pull-ups or GOALS you can take. Yes, there is a "reasonable" time limit, but you can easily do this maneuver within 7-10 minutes with pullups and GOALS. Besides checking to see if you can back a trailer, they are also checking to see if you can do it safely. DO NOT get ballsy or lazy and assume you can make it, because there is precious little room for error. If you do this correctly, there is enough room to have yourself practically lined up and able to see down both sides of your trailer BEFORE pushing it into the hole. If you try to pivot that trailer after it's in the hole already, you will hit the blind side trailer. Don't be that driver.

Not to toot my own horn, but backing has always been a very strong skill for me. Even still I took two GOALS and two pullups, setting the brakes at 6 minutes.

The day 2 road test has me very nervous. My gear-shifting performance yesterday was dismal. Of all things, I can't let this be the skill that takes me out.

Today's course ran us through the "city" route. Increased traffic, tighter turns, more lights, signs, and pedestrians. However, there is nothing on this route that an experienced driver can't handle. In fact, the course I took my students on for the CDL exam in PA was a tad tougher than this, in the way of tighter turns. On the flip side, this course was much longer, taking roughly 45 minutes. The biggest thing you have to watch for are obvious: speed limits, traffic lights, following distance, etc. Normal stuff.

Avoiding downshifting wherever possible, I tried to hide my weakness. The examiner was on me though, and wasn't having it, asking me to downshift more when slowing to a stop. I begrudgingly admitted that I had very little experience in a manual. To his credit and my delight, he really helped me by calmly pointing out what I was doing wrong, and offering suggestions on how to improve. If that weren't enough, he even let me practice in areas where I normally wouldn't downshift, as long as traffic permitted.

Cont...

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

Working out of johnstown?

Yup, not far from your turf.

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Walmart Private Fleet

I forgot to add something important regarding the pre-trip test. All candidates inspect the same few trucks over in the boneyard.

Approaching the truck and trailer, the examiner said to me:

"These have been placed out of service, so you might find a few things wrong. There are no gotchas to trip you up, but I want you to inspect them as if you were taking them out on the road, and let me know if you find anything wrong."

This of course adds a new layer of difficulty to the pretrip. No longer can we simply recite the same checklist we learned back in the CDL exam. We actually have to look for problems, check the oil, see if the lug nuts are tight, pull the pushrod, thump the tires, etc. I love it. As professional truck drivers, a thorough pre-trip should be second nature, but knowing there are likely a few problems to point out makes me pay attention to every single thing for this exam.

"Well played, Mr Examiner. Well played. "

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