Profile For Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue Angel)

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue Angel)'s Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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    10 years, 11 months ago

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue Angel)'s Bio

I have been driving OTR for a little over a year now.

I am with my second company. And they are as different as night and day.

They don't mix words about driver safety or comfort. So far as I can tell they really put the driver first.

I don't have to wait for hours for an answer to a question. Or hours/days for my next load.

If it keeps up the way it is now, I will be here for many many years to come.

I am ex Navy. High school grad with a little bit of college.

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Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Long-haul driving and boredom

I don't know if there is a possible correlation between "trucking in space" and travelling this nations highways. I've never been bored for a single moment. This is a job that requires intense concentration, and personally I think that those who don't possess that ability probably don't last long at it. There is so much to see and be aware of as you are traversing the roads in an 80,000 pound vehicle that is about seventy feet long and bends in the middle, that boredom would be detrimental to your safety and well being. A professional driver has got to be constantly aware of all the different spaces around him, including above and below him, and constantly trying to anticipate what others around him are about to do that the only way boredom is going to overtake him is if he's slacking up on his responsibility to be on the alert.

Now, I'm not going to be critical of those who enjoy books on CD or stuff like that, but for me it is just too much additional stuff for me to process at the same time when I'm driving. Those type of things actually wear me out more quickly. Maybe I'm just a person who is "all in" when I'm committed to doing something - I'm intense about my work and adding in the additional things to process at the same time just has a tiring effect on me.

AMEN Old School.

If you get bored while driving, then it is time to stop and take a break. If boredom becomes a problem, maybe it is time to hang up your keys.

Yes, there are times, especially going thru places like NE, ID, etc where when you see miles and miles and miles and miles, etc of nothing but corn, yes it does get a little boring.

But that is scenery. Scenery does change, eventually.

To me that is the biggest point against night time driving. All you see, unless you are in a populated area, is black. Maybe stars if it is a clear night. That, to me, after enough miles is more boring than all the rows of corn I see traveling the north mid-west.

When I get tired of looking at corn, I start looking at the cars more closely. I used to be pretty good at cars. Types. Models. Year, make, etc. Now that they all look the same, it is hard sometimes to tell a Ford from a Chevy. So I have been trying to get better at car makes and models.

That also helps if one runs you off the road. Hoping that never ever happens to anyone. But it is a perk of my "game".

Audio books. I have tried them. I am usually so concentrated on my driving, which everyone should be, when I do have a book in, I can drive a 100 miles and have no idea what the book was about. Because I didn't comprehend it.

Just like the radio. I can have it on all day and barely remember a single song that has played. It is on for noise usually.

And the talk radio. I am like the other driver. I try to stay away from it. Nothing I have every heard ever seems to agree with my view points, so I stay away from it.

If you get bored, change something. Get out and walk around. Change the road you are traveling. Something. Anything to involve a change.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 9 months ago

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Sirius satellite radio question

If you have a smartphone, you can download the SiriusXM app for free and stream your subscription on your mobile device. No need for a receiver or antenna. I just plug my phone headphone port into the truck radio auxiliary port and it works great.

One less thing to mount or remove and re-install if you switch trucks.

Using your cell phone is one option. And if you get All Access, you get a lot more channels than on an actual Sirius Radio. However, there is one big difference.

If you don't have cell phone coverage, you don't any music.

With Sirius Radio, you almost always have coverage. If it can see the sky, you have music.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Cabbage and The Grapevine. Are they monsters or horrors?

I stand corrected about the length of the Grapevine. I was going by what my trainer had said after we came back across it back into LA.

The one I am talking about starts near Bakersfield, CA.

Nice country and beautiful views.

And as far as I 68. I have travel that road so many times I almost know it by heart.

I know the hill you are talking about. It has the scale house on the EB side. It is a little tricky. But I have smelled more rubber burning on Sidling Hill than anywhere else.

Great point to put out there about learning without the engine brake. But all in all, all winter driving is different than summer driving. Not just going down hills.

Keep it safe out hear, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Cabbage and The Grapevine. Are they monsters or horrors?

Actually, I traveled both directions.

Had a drop in LA. Went north for a pickup which ended up cancelled when we arrived. Came back to the Flying J and had to do a 34 while waiting on another load.

Both trips across were empty, and while that changes how you cross a mountain, it doesn't change the mountain.

I have crossed many mountains that had at least 2 runaway ramps on them on one side or both.

Can't remember where it was, but I traveled one a while back that had three runaway ramps on the side I went down. And it was very curvy. Curvy and steep. Probably why it had three ramps.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Cabbage and The Grapevine. Are they monsters or horrors?

For those of you that don't know, these are two nicknames of sections of roads. Both happen to be in the west. I have heard horror stories about them both. And told to fear them.

One is in California, (The Grapevine), and the other in Oregon.

I have been across both. The Grapevine I crossed while I was in training. And didn't even know it till I was on the other side. My trainer asked me what I felt about The Grapevine. I asked them where that was. He said, you just crossed it. I said, it was a hill. Like all other hills. Just a bit longer is all.

While you should respect them and be totally aware of them, I don't think fear is needed.

I have been across The Great Wolf Pass at 10,865 feet. I have been thru the Eisenhower Tunnels at 11,000 feet. And other mountains not so tall.

While all of the above mentions sections of roads or places should be respected, there are other sections of roads (In my opinion) in this country that are much more dangerous. And to be aware of.

While a driver should keep roads and places like The Grapevine, Cabbage, Eisenhower Tunnel (I-70 West of Denver, CO) and The Great Wolf Pass in his mind and be aware of them. There are other roads that will bite you a lot faster if you are not paying attention.

The 4 that I mentions, while very tall (except for Cabbage), they don't have a real steep climb or downgrade. The trick with Cabbage is it's curves. LOTS of them.

Great Wolf Pass has a 6-8% grade. I-70 that climbs to the Eisenhower Tunnels is 6% at the most. Some places much less. And the Grapevine is 7% at the worst.

Like I said, what makes these sections so rough is how long they are. But steep and short roads will bite you just as bad and much faster.

I traveled a section of road today that everyone needs to be aware of and concerned with.

I-5 in California. From just south of Mt Shasta area to well into Oregon.

It is almost constant up and down, up and down. The least grade I hit was 6%. And it went as high as 12% grade. Now if you think that is not steep. Try climbing it with 43,000 lbs.

I was down in 6th gear a lot.

No, the grades are not as long. But many of the down grades had a sharp curve at the bottom. Most were 1-2 miles in length. Some upwards of 4 miles. Not like the 12 mile downgrade on The Grapevine. But just as dangerous if not more so.

I think the highest altitude I hit on that road was 4,012 feet. Far below the 11,000 feet of I-70. But no less dangerous.

I think I have found a road that will give the up and down hills in the east a run for their money. rofl-3.gif

No matter the hill. Where it is at. If it has a nickname or not. Always. Always, keep your head about you and use your engine brake and downshift.

Don't worry about other trucks if they are passing you.

There is an old trucker's saying. It has been posted here several times.

"You can go down a hill too slow as many times as you want. You will only go down too fast, once. "

What roads have you been on that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up? smile.gif

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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I went to school thru Celadon and spent all total about 15 months with them.

I started off making 27 cpm till my 120,000 miles were done then I went to 33 cpm.

Shortly there after I move to another company.

I was lucky in the 15 months there if I got 2000 miles in one week.

I have had paychecks of 100 dollars to just over 500. And that was a very long week.

I sat for days and days waiting on a load.

Each company hauls freight and that is their job. Each company has different ways of doing things but moving freight is their jobs.

You have to find a company that fits you and what you like. But in my opinion and my opinion only. I would not recommend Celadon to anyone.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Is this a phase that happens from time to time?

Is this a phase that trucking goes thru or is trucking going down hill?

Here lately, maybe over the last 2-3 weeks I have heard more complaints from drivers than I have ever heard.

I have been in shop status for almost a week now. I won't go into details. Actually rather boring. Since I spend so much time in the shop as it is.

Anyway. For the last three nights the company has been putting me up in a local hotel. From the people I have seen there are several companies represented there.

Except for the new drivers going thru orientation, I have not heard one single good thing about any company.

Well, maybe that is being to specific. Not companies really. Just the trucking industry period.

How drivers are being treated by shippers and receivers. (With that I wonder how the driver treats the shipper/receiver). But even I have seen it. And I really try to be pleasant with everyone. I have always believe in the old saying, "You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar".

But I have never seen such disenchanted drivers or employees in my life.

I have heard the whole line of complaints. Setting too long at a shipper/receiver and loosing money. Held up in traffic for hours because dispatch made the drop right at rush hour. And tons and tons more.

Does this run in cycles or is trucking getting worse? Or is it the heat?

Breakdowns seem the worst. Like I said, I have been here since last Friday getting my truck worked on. Everyday, I see some of the same faces, but also see some new faces. Every shop I have visited is always days and days backed up.

I know you have those drivers that are "lounge lizards" and don't care if they actually drive or not. But there are many like me, that hate setting. And after a dozen times of your truck breaking down, it does get a little disheartening.

Is this a phase or is trucking going down hill?

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

The most important piece of equipment.

an atlas is really important to what are you gonna do if gps fails in any of the ways possible? you could lose sat signal / phone signal, maps could be outdated, could give incorrect info or not be able to find an address, could break... batteries die... all kinds of problems an atlas though will always work out for you, although it would be best to buy an updated one at least once a year in case rules change or roads change.

Absolutely an atlas is the most important thing to carry.

However. When you get into a city, unless it is a very large city, an atlas is just about useless. Most don't have detailed city maps, so trying to find a city street without directions would be real fun to do.

A GPS does have just about every city across the country mapped out. Therefore it has the streets to show you. Even the smaller towns that an atlas barely even shows. And believe me, you will be put there. I have been more than once.

You are totally right about batteries going dead. Or the GPS just up and die on you for no reason. That is why it is pointed out here to PREPLAN, PREPLAN, PREPLAN.

Always, always, ALWAYS preplan all of your trips.

If you are using Qualcomm all, or at least the companies that I have worked for, have customer directions that they can send you. I ALWAYS as for the directions.

Even in remote places. Because the directions might tell you of weight limit roads or bridges that the GPS or your atlas knows nothing about. And they are out there.

Keep it safe our here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Friendly reminder (the trucker wife's version)

Being a trucker's wife isn't easy. Far from it.

There is a shirt I got my wife from a Flying J. It says, the only thing stronger than a trucker is a trucker's wife.

I got her the wrong size therefore she doesn't wear it, but she does like it. And when I first gave it to her, she said, that hit the nail on the head.

I am ex-Navy and now into trucking. Thru two different marriages.

The DOD had a huge medical department from some big name university (I can't remember which one) do a study. Why is there such a high divorce rate among military families.

The study took 4 years and of course many millions of our tax dollars. But they came to a simple conclusion. The divorce rate is so high because the family is apart so much of the time. There is no real family unity.

DUH. Everyone in the military could have told them that and saved millions of dollars. But just as with out government. The DOD refused to agree with their points and said it has to be deeper than that. And they dropped it.

There is not much difference in trucking except you are not gone so long at a time and you are still here in the US. Usually just a phone call away. But it is still a split family.

As far as keeping the conversations light. I have been in the military and now in trucking. In my opinion, I think that is total hogwash.

I want to know what it going on at home. That is my home too. Do I need to know all the "messy" details. No. But I still want to be kept in the loop.

My wife called me the other day. We had a water leak under our house. I am almost 2000 miles away. There is nothing I can do about it. But I am still glad she called me.

I told her to turn the water off outside. (Which her dad had already done it). Then get on the phone and call a plumber or a contractor.

All in all, she helped her dad look around in the garage and they found stuff to repair the leak. Is it something I needed to know? No, not really. But I am glad she told me.

I might be 2000 miles away at times, but I am still her husband, partner, and friend. I am still a part of the family.

She has called me complaining about her job or something that happened at work. And I do the same to her. That is what families do. They lean on each other. And yes, even from 2000 miles away you can still lean on your partner's shoulders.

Keep it safe out there, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Illegal immigrants in trucking??

Why do they have to be illegal?

There is a program set forth by our wonderful government that allows drivers from Mexico to legally driver here in the US.

For those of you that are going to school with Celadon or work for them. Before I moved on from there, they were moving their yard in Laredo, TX to make room for a school to teach driving. And one of the requirements for an instructor was they had to speak Spanish.

When I still worked there, they put messages out to their long time drivers. For anyone that spoke Spanish to contact either the main office in Indy or the offices in Laredo.

I was told later by a driver that he was offered a job teaching in Laredo.

He turned them down.

And as far as being caught.

There was a story on the news a few weeks ago. A driver was driving thru PA and got off at the wrong exit. He went right thru a town with a weight limit road of 10 tons. He was stopped. He didn't have a CDL. He could hardly speak a word of english. He blamed the wrong turn on his GPS which only spoke english. Which he did not understand.

The load he was carrying was mostly steel pipe for the oil field.

They called a tow truck company to tow the truck to impound. The wrecker that they sent was having a hard time pulling it. The DOT weighed the truck. It weighted out to over 90,000 lbs. The tow company brought in their BIG wrecker.

The driver was fined 17,000 dollars. He tried to call the company he "worked" for but the number had been disconnected as the story went. The driver was put in jail. He was there for 7 days before someone bonded him out. Maybe the family, the story didn't say.

Well he missed his court date and hasn't been seen since last I heard.

Yeah you might get caught. But how many don't?

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

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