Profile For Tracy W.

Tracy W.'s Info

  • Location:
    Billings, MT

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 10 months ago

Tracy W.'s Bio

One of the old guys...but relatively new to trucking. Started driving in 2013. Prior life was Navy, defense contactor, IT guy and Operations manager. Got old and was laid off during economic downturn. Now an OTR driver for Watkins Shepard based in Missoula Montana.

Tracy W.'s Photo Gallery

Page 1 of 14

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

NEED ADVISE!!!!! Made to drive while sick and dangerous conditions.

Change companies as soon as you can. A responsible company would not force you to drive while sick, it's as dangerous as driving under the influence.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Has anyone ever picked up the wrong load ?

I pulled a trailer from Conover, NC to Sayreville, NJ. When I got there, I backed into the dock and took my paperwork in. They were pretty happy to see me. Seems the previous guy had pulled the wrong trailer (two numbers transposed on the trailer), EMPTY, all the way from Conover to Sayreville and didn't realize until he opened the doors at the destination.

The receiver said he was pretty proud of himself for making it on time until he opened the doors of the trailer....

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

My life is changing again..

Well all, Haven't been on in a while. Busy driving and dealing with life.

I passed over my two year mark driving, still no tickets or accidents. CSA points from a blown seal on one of my drives during a level 1 inspection in California, and from a blown tire in Arizona. Both were bogus. The tire blowout happened on a 106 degree day westbound on I10 outside of Phoenix. The Highway Patrol was right behind me. I pulled over immediately and the jerk still gave me 18 CSA points, despite doing a maintenance check and being unable to find anything wrong with my rig. I take really good care of stuff on my outfit and am anal about pre-trip inspections, I always keep everything working at 100% and don't roll if it's broken. The Officer even commented on how great everything was as he handed me the red slip and put me out of service. Still mad about it.

Anyway, on the life change, a few weeks ago, my wife was diagnosed with cancer, devastating news but we might be getting a handle on it after an operation and starting radiation therapy in a couple weeks. Prognosis looks good.

I couldn't be on the road and away from her while this is going on though. I'd be going crazy. About a week after the diagnosis I received a call from First Interstate Bank .... completely unexpected ... asking me to apply for a job with their IT Security Team. I honestly believed I was through working in Information Technology. As an aside, those who know me will recall I worked as an IT guy for 37 years before coming to trucking. I was headed home to be with my wife at the time and was able to go in for the first interview. A couple weeks later, I happened to be rolling through town when they had me in for a second interview, and this past week they offered me the job. I accepted.

Here's another great thing. I work for Watkins-Shepard, the greatest trucking firm there is. The folks at WKSH had been keeping up on my wife's illness and always asked how she was doing. After accepting the job, I called up WKSH and asked them how long they would need me to keep running before I went to my new job. I was absolutely prepared to stay on for two or three weeks if needed. The dispatcher immediately got me on the next available load to Montana, and they told me once I dropped that load in Helena, MT, to just bobtail to Billings, MT where my home is and turn my truck in there.

They did this at their own expense and out of pure kindness. On my way through our company headquarters in Missoula with the load I stopped and said goodbye to everyone as I've developed a great relationship with everyone from HR, to Dispatch, to Safety, to the Maintenance Shops. They were all great, and all told me if I came back to trucking that they wanted me back. I honestly wouldn't work for anyone else, and I highly recommend Watkins Shepard to anyone who is looking to start trucking or for a change. You will not be sorry!

I've appreciated very much everyone's support here, and am grateful for the guidance and support.

Good luck with all you do!

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

US Trucking didn't except me

Watkins Shepard is hiring, generally if you are within 100 miles of a terminal.

I really like working for them.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

What Is YOUR Favorite Truck!?

double-quotes-start.png

Volvo 780 with workstation setup. About as close to having an RV-Style sleeper as it gets. Best setup on the road. The new I-Shift transmission are the smoothest out there. Downside of Volvo is their PARTS NETWORK - though they have been improving on that area.

KW T680 with workstation setup. Smaller sleeper by a few inches. Second best setup on the road.

I'm looking at "full-timing" - so my consideration is a sleeper that I'm going to be spending near 100% of my time in.

Rick

double-quotes-end.png

I haven't heard good things about the Volvo power plants. How about you?

I love my Volvo....have a D13 engine, it works great. We had some problems with the automatic transmissions last year, but Volvo came in and did fleet wide modifications and we haven't had issues since. You couldn't pry my truck out of my cold dead fingers.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Parked regeneration

Most importantly, don't do it under trees, overhanging roof, anything else over the stack, or below if you have the horizontal exhaust.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

What is on your 'must have' list

Some things I haven't seen mentioned

Along with my laptop I have a Neat Scanner and a portable printer. Scan in receipts and destroy paper copy, makes things a lot easier at tax time.

I do a LOT of Audiobooks. I use my points at Love's, Pilot, TA to buy them, but my hometown library also lets me download them. Really makes the miles fly by.

Kindle or tablet for reading books.

Leaf Blower for cleaning trailer, also a battery power cutoff tool (uses the same batteries as the leaf blower) to cut off Bolt and Wire trailer seals. You can't believe how many people want to borrow it once they see me use it.

Since I am a solo driver, I've rigged up milk crates on the top bunk facing outward, secured with cable ties. Then I put small bungee cords across them and use them to secure boxes of cereal, chips, bread, clothes, etc. Makes them easily accessible and manageable.

Small microwave, dorm refrigerator (put some spongy mats under the reefer, it will last a lot longer from the bouncing around it gets), small slow cooker mounted in a milk crate with bungee cords. Load a meal in it the morning, let it cook all day while you drive. Nice to have an inexpensive hot meal when you stop.

Eating in truck stop restaurants is very expensive...anything you can do to save money is good.

I've rigged up a bungee cord over the foot of my bunk hooked to a cabinet in front and a seat belt connection in the back. I use it to hang my clothes on since I had the clothes cabinet removed for my reefer and microwave.

There is more stuff. I think one day I'll make the list and take pictures so I can put it up here.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Thank you trucking truth!

Hey Tracy, I hope everything goes well for your wife. My trainer and I are still sitting in Shelby. Long story. At least the prime rib was good last night...

Thanks! The operation was successful. Now both her hips are bionic. shocked.png

Going to go back to work Monday, my company has arranged for me to drive locally for two weeks before going back to OTR (one more reason I love this company). She's getting around pretty well and has abandoned the walker for a cane, which she'll probably be able to stop using in a couple weeks. Life with no more pain for her will be good. Took the Indian Health Service over a year to approve each of her hip surgeries, but at least they are paying for them.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Favorite trucking companies

double-quotes-start.png

I have to agree with Daniel on this...I choose the company i went to because it fills the needs i wanted the most.All companies big and small have good and bad..but everyone needs to choose based on what fits you the best.

double-quotes-end.png

Yeah you should choose a company what fits your needs I agree with that but I don't think there is such a perfect company in any line of work you do.

It really depends on what you interpret as perfect. My company has a terminal in my home town, let's me bobtail my truck home when here (I've been home for three weeks now while my wife has an operation, and they let me keep my truck even though I'm just a company driver), I roll through here a lot as it's a major freight lane meaning I can overnight or 34h here enroute, they give me 20 miles per day Personal Conveyance, have paid me on time and without error every single paycheck, treat me like a human being and part of the team, pay actual miles driven, give me good loads with good miles (I always do over 10,000 miles a month), my fuel card always works, they fix stuff when it's broken and don't ask me to limp somewhere illegally, provide great equipment, have terminals throughout the country in really handy places and are just generally good people.

Now....I may sound like a commercial for Watkins Shepard, but I want to share with the rest of you my experience with a great company, and we are looking for people right now. We have more freight than we have drivers and we have some empty trucks waiting for drivers.

Will it be perfect for everyone? Nope ... but then, you just can't please some people no matter what you do. But it's sure been great for me.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

BUYING FOOD ON THE ROAD???

Hi guys, can anyone tell me if it's ok to take your tractor to drive a reasonable distance to a store and buy food,drinks, etc? I'm talking about when you're out of hours and sitting at a terminal or truck stop waiting for your hours to reset. My wife said she read in someone's blog they do this, but I didn't think it was allowed. I eat fast food and the truck stop ready made sandwiches mostly, she wants me to buy food bulk and make/reheat it for myself to save $$, and have a more balanced diet. We're really at odds over this, so any and all comments would be appreciated, thanks!

My company allows 20 miles per day for Personal Conveyance, which logs that way on the PeopleNet system we use and is legal. Usually there are many WalMart stores along the way (the Rand McNally GPS lists them in Quick Stops) and you can hit them during the day without going Out Of Route. I usually do so during the enforced 30 min break (even if I take longer to get the shopping done, it fulfills the requirement) or if I make the WalMart my overnight location. If you plan to make the WalMart your overnight, be darn sure that particular WalMart allows overnight parking, as not all of them do.

WalMart sustains truckers in many ways, cheap shopping for food, toiletries, hardware; overnights and restrooms. If you do stop at a Walmart, park as far from the building and traffic as you can, ALWAYS go in, seek out a manager, tell them you would like to overnight there, ask permission and thank them copiously for making their parking lot available.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Daylight Saving Time

What chickens are you getting Brett? we got Rhode Island Reds......Thanks for the heads up Anchorman

We have Golden Sexlink. About 20 layers, usually get 5 or six males every year and butcher them at 6 months for fresh meat.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

T mobile reliable phone service to have over the road?

double-quotes-start.png

Verizon. Hands down. More expensive, but works way more places than the others. With any of them, be careful driving near the Canadian border. It's easy to pick up a Canadian tower and you will get charged ridiculous fees for international calls.

Tracy

double-quotes-end.png

If you have a Simple Choice plan from Tmobile, they do not charge anything extra for International Data and Text's in Canada. They charge 20 Cents a minute for calls made while roaming in Canada..

And there is my point. $12 an hour for International. If you call much, you will get hit hard. My son works the Bakken oil field in North Dakota and had several hundred dollars the first month he was there. Get the international plan if you are going to be running the border much, or don't call.

Verizon coverage is still way better than T-Mobile.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Saving money

double-quotes-start.png

If you get rid of any mortgage/rent payments, no utilities, and get your mail at a relative or friend's home, you can probably get away with only having the regular expense of your cell phone and food. I made over $40K my first year as a driver, if you are single you should be able to put away a significant chunk of that, especially with per diem and expense claims on your taxes.

Tracy

double-quotes-end.png

If you are taking the "standard per diem" deduction - what other kind of "un-reimbursed expenses" are you taking?

Rick

Anything I buy for the truck that could be construed an expense. Tools like a socket set, drill, etc. The company would probably reimburse me, but I prefer owning it myself. Clothing that is job related like coveralls for chaining up, steel toed boots, etc. Bedding for the truck, FedEx expense if I have to send something, ATM fees, etc.

Do an Internet search for 'Trucker Tax Deductions' and you will find a lot of information.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Trucking stories

Hi. I'm not a trucker. I'm a writer who writes stories about trucking. I've written for Freightliner, Western Star, Detroit, RoadPro, Wilson, RoadKing etc. I tend to do articles about truckers' lives, life-work balance, families etc. Right now, I'm working on an article about how truckers on the road use technology to participate in family events (birthdays, recitals, football games etc.). Does the stay-at-home spouse post pics to Facebook? Tweet the game? Does the driver Skype into the birthday party? Facetime?

Would like to hear from any drivers who can speak to this. Also, open to any story ideas or suggestions for articles you'd like to read about.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you.

My wife and I Skype occasionally, but 95% of our communication is still via phone. Since a Bluetooth headset is pretty much a requirement for a OTR trucker today, I'm able to call my wife while driving, and I probably check in with her more than husbands who live at home do during their workday. As far as family events, one of the nice things about being a driver is I can schedule days off in the middle of a week, which allows a lot of flexibility to be home when I like.

As an OTR driver, I'm certainly away from home more than I like for personal relationships and it does present some problems dealing with financial issues, but I have a laptop computer, a scanner, a printer and a smartphone that acts as a hotspot which allows me to do most things as if I was sitting at home or in an office just down the street. I also download audiobooks from my hometown public library to my iPod or a USB Drive and play them through my truck stereo system that is every bit as sophisticated as what comes in higher end 4 wheelers.

Many truckers today have or can have a pretty sophisticated suite of equipment at their beck and call, most truck stops have wifi or the drivers has their own hotspot to access the Internet on. I know of some drivers who play online games such as World of Warcraft in their downtime while on the road. Technology being what it is, space is the only limiting factor to what technology you can have on the road.

Hope that helps. Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Favorite trucking companies

double-quotes-start.png

I'll put in my bid here also. Watkins Shepard!! Great company, treats drivers very well, pays actual miles driven, not the zip code to zip code scam many companies do. Mostly Dry Van, good long runs nationwide (and Canada if you like). About 20 terminals around the country. New trucks, upgrading trailers, good benefits.

They have treated me very well, and I love driving for them.

www.wksh.com or call recruiting at 800-392-2470

Tracy

double-quotes-end.png

How's the home time?

You accumulate 1 day per six out. The technical rule is that you have to be out at least two weeks to take home time. I usually roll harder, and rarely take home time, but that is because I often roll through my home town of Billings, MT as it is on a freight lane. I'm often out for 4 to 6 weeks at a time, but it is a personal choice.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Thank you trucking truth!

I really have no desire to see Montana in february behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler

LOL, from the guy sitting in a restaurant in Shelby Montana waiting for our next load...

There is less snow here right now then there was when I last drove through New Mexico.

Dang....I'm sitting in Billings, MT right now, my home terminal. My wife is having a hip replacement operation, so have been here a couple weeks. If you roll through, give me a yell!

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

What is the weirdest/coolest/interesting Freight you have hauled?

I don't flatbed, but have come across a few interesting loads. This one is of a HUGE Kenworth truck that I assume is headed for a mine somewhere, caught this pic in Cheyenne, WY:

huge kenworth truck loaded on a flatbed

And here is the world's largest barbecue. It's a tanker truck converted into a barbecue, caught this pic in Modesto, CA:

Big Taste Grill tanker truck converted into BBQ restaurant

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

T mobile reliable phone service to have over the road?

Verizon. Hands down. More expensive, but works way more places than the others. With any of them, be careful driving near the Canadian border. It's easy to pick up a Canadian tower and you will get charged ridiculous fees for international calls.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Saving money

If you get rid of any mortgage/rent payments, no utilities, and get your mail at a relative or friend's home, you can probably get away with only having the regular expense of your cell phone and food. I made over $40K my first year as a driver, if you are single you should be able to put away a significant chunk of that, especially with per diem and expense claims on your taxes.

Tracy

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Your success is ALL about YOUR attitude!

All the reality tv shows are scripted....except, of course, Duck Dynasty, which is 100% real.

smile.gif

Tracy

Page 1 of 14

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More