Comments By Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue Angel) avatar

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Posted:  6 years ago

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Trick Drivers Running Nights

Old School,

I could have worded it differently when I said "when I set I loose money".

A more correct statement would be, When I set, it costs me money.

I get bored. When I had a DVD player, I would buy movie after movie to watch. On one 34 I did with my last company, I walked to a shopping center about a mile down the road. And I spent money.

15 dollars for a movie and about 12 dollars for dinner.

So it is much cheaper for me to keep rolling. In more ways than one.

As far as the income point. No matter is you work on recaps or do 34's every week. The income potential is the same.

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

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  6 years ago

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Trick Drivers Running Nights

Errol V. Glad it works for you and glad you feel safe with only 4 hours of sleep.

I know a lot of doctors and lawyers that would disagree with that point. But what ever works for you.

I have known many men that could work that schedule day after day after day of nights and be fine. Others, like myself, can't.

As far as the thick curtains in the sleeper cab. Your body clock doesn't care if it is a heavy curtain or a brick wall. If it doesn't want you to sleep you won't.

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

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  6 years ago

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Trick Drivers Running Nights

I have run into an issue just lately that I am following to see what course it takes.

In the past I have posted my "daily routine" and how I like to run. For those of you that have not read any of my posts and seen it, I will post it again here.

I don't mean to bore you, but I do this because it leads to the main point of this post.

I try to start out between 5-6 am. Hit the road no later than 7am. I run recaps so I try to run 8-9 hours a day on duty. Not always my drive time due to several reasons. Weather, traffic, construction, etc.

I hit my stopping point by 1800. No later than 1900 if I can help it. I hate hitting a truck stop late and fighting for a place to park. Or find out it is full and have to drive another 100 miles to the next truck stop.

I don't do restarts. When I set I loose money.

I try my best to run during the daytime. For several reason. Most are personal. Better light. Better visibility. And just because I like to run during the day better.

But the most important point. I try to run during the daytime because I don't sleep good during daylight hours. Never have been able to. Even when I was young and in the military. I usually worked evenings/nights in the military. The next day when I would get off work, I would sleep maybe 2-4 hours and I was up and going again.

On the weekends I would crash and sleep and sleep and sleep. But I was much younger then and my system could take it.

I am older now and maybe not much wiser, but I understand my limits. Yes, I can do a night run from time to time if I don't make a habit out of it.

As of late I have been talking to a few other drivers. Trying to find the ones that like running nights. I have found out, by a very large majority, most drivers don't like driving nights. Not like the old days when trucks were all you saw on at night on the roads.

However. Something else has come to my attention. I want to center around the three most recent drivers that I have found that like running nights.

All three do restarts. They drive 10-11 hours a day. Average 3000 miles a week. And when their hours are up they take a restart. And all three admitted that the sleep most of the time during their restart.

All three admitted to the same problem I have of sleeping during the daytime. One driver even admitted that if he got more than 2 hours sleep during the day, he was lucky.

They all said the same thing about why they run at night. Less traffic and less hassle putting up with the idiots out here on the road.

Well, who is the idiot? The person that drives during the daytime because he/she admits to their limits on running nights. Or the guy/girl that denies they have an issue driving an 80,000 missile down the road with only 2 or 3 hours sleep?

We have enough people causing us problems out here on the road. We need to stop making problems of our own.

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

The Blue Angel.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Erase day 1 or take 34 what do you prefer?

OK, my head was about to explode trying to read this and figure out the point you were trying to make.

All in all, it makes no difference in the miles per week, per day, per month, etc, etc, if you run on recaps or do 34 hour resets.

You can get in just as many miles either way. It all depends on you. If you want to run 7 days a week. Or you like "2" days off every week.

There are many differences in how many miles 2 different drivers will get each and every week. Terrain. Traffic. Road construction. Weather. How long each one has to set at a shipper or receiver. How many drop and hooks compared to live loads. ETC.

But on paper, it doesn't matter which you choose. Running on recaps of doing 34's. Miles add up the same with both.

As far as running when you want. That can be done. Up to a point.

What I am about to say, some old timers will say that I am not a true deep down trucker. Well that may be so. But I run safe. I don't push an envelope like some truckers do. I run electronic logs, which tickles me pink. The paper logs, yeah you could in theory make lots more money. But if you had a less than "legal" dispatcher or company you were working for, you ran till you were about to drop.

I usually start my day between 4 to 6am. I run all day long. Bathroom stops and maybe a lunch stop. Around 5pm I am looking for my nights stay.

Every trucker will tell you. Make sure you plan out your trips. Make sure you have your stops planned out. Well, I do that to an extent. But they aren't set in stone. I make a target location on where I WANT to stop for the night. But I also keep in mind how many T/S or R/A are close by. Just in case I don't have a good day or I have a great day.

I don't do nights unless it is totally, absolutely, down and out a have to case. I don't sleep good during the day time. Never have been able too. Even years ago when I was much younger and in the military. If I worked nights, I was lucky to sleep maybe 4 hours a day.

I might not be the smartest guy in the bunch. But I know when and when not to push myself. And doing too many nights is pushing me out of my "comfort zone." So, I stay away from nights as much as possible.

Working your HOS is something that takes practice and it has to be done everyday, every week and every load you handle. So you can make it come out in your favor.

I run recaps. I run 7 days a week. I try to run 8 1/2 to 9 hours a day. Some days I have to run maybe 10 hours. The next day or within a couple of days, I will run a 7 hour day. When it rolls around again, I push a couple of hours off the 10 over to the 7 hour day.

No matter which one you choose. You can't get a perfect 8.75 hour day. And you can't get a perfect 11 hour day. So you have average and work it out to work best for you.

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

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Hauling for NASA

I was thinking about some of the neat conversation about the companies and types of runs a driver gets when pulling for Concerts, Plays and other traveling stage events and it got me to thinking about other interesting industries and types of work that's out there off the beaten path.

Do any of you guys and gals know what carriers NASA likes to use for moving equipment and supplies around? Considering NASA is a very large and diverse organization with locations all over the country, I presume they have loads that would fall under all avenues of the different trucking specialties out there.... Dry Van, Reefer, Tanker, Flat Bed ... and of course there are perhaps many loads that could be high value and involve national security.

Have any of y'all done any pickups or deliveries at say Kennedy Space Center in Florida or the Johnson Space Center in Houston?

I think it would be a pretty cool conversation to be able to say you pulled a load that is now part of the International Space Station in orbit. That's a load that is quite literally "out of this world". lol :)


I don't know who or what he hauls. But a guy that lives a few miles from me hauls government loads. Most times he has no idea what he is hauling.

Doesn't know where the pickup is or where the drop is until the moment he sets in the seat. And there are times he has a "guide" along that just tells him which turns to take.

And, the real kicker. He is not allowed to talk to anyone about where he has been. Or if he knows what he has hauled, he can't talk about it.

But the pay. As an old saying goes. "Over the moon". He works on average about 6 months a years. He makes enough in that time to support his family for the whole year.

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

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Best and worst cities for trucking traffic?

There is not a city, of any size, in the US that is not terrible during rush hour. NYC, Washington, D.C., Los Angles, Atlanta, etc. How about during off hours. That is where you learn what cities are bad to drive thru.

I have driven thru NYC, Washington, DFW, Atlanta, and many others during rush hour many many times. But without a doubt, in my opinion, the worst city any time, rush hour or not, is Chicago. There is almost no time of day it isn't rush hour there. confused.gif

I have been thru there at 6am. 2pm. 2am. And have never found a time that it wasn't busy. With other cities there is almost always a time when the traffic is not "rush hour" and it is pretty easy to go thru.

Washington, DC. If you hit it before 6 or 7am, you usually don't have a problem. Same way with NYC area. Maybe a little earlier. But there are times you will be on easy street going thru.

I noticed Boston was mentioned. The serious thing to me about Boston is like Chicago. 53 foot boxes have no business inside the city limits at all.

At least in Manhattan they have banned anything over 40 feet (without a special permit and escorts). Now if the other boroughs would follow suit.

I was in a suburb of Boston the other day in my truck. The first time I was in that specific area in a truck. I was on pins and needles that whole time. And yes, I had an accident. Not my fault, but it still happened. I won't get into the details here, that is not the topic here. But suffice to say. 53 foot trailers don't belong in these cities.

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

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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A new tool for a trucker

I have seen that tablet advertised. It looks really good. The price is way out of my range at this point.

However (here is the "BUT" that people always look for).

With a GPS, that is all it does. GPS mapping. With a tablet, it is like a minicomputer. There are many things you can do with it. And many ways you can get distracted by it. Like texting on a cell phone.

It would all depend on who you got inspected by. What kind of mood they were in. ETC.

My very first level 1 DOT inspection happened last year in Canada. Since it was my first I asked tons of questions. I want to be as legal as possible. That money comes out of my pocket.

At that time the "Trucker's Tablet" was something new. But I did ask the DOT agent about it. Flat out, in no mixed information I was told they were illegal in Canada. If found in a truck, they would be removed and the driver would be fined.

As was told to me by this agent (which I knew ahead of time), the tablet is not a simple GPS. If hooked to the internet it becomes a fully operational computer. Which is illegal to have in the cab of a truck.

Now, it saying that, I will repeat what I said above.

I would all depend on who you get inspected by. What kind of mood they were in. If the last trucker they inspected really got them going. ETC.

It is like any other issue. For example. Using a bluetooth that covers both ears or having ear buds in both ears at the same time is suppose to be illegal. But I see drivers get by with them all the time.

I was behind a car hauler at a weigh station the other day that was empty. It was a day cab so I could see inside his cab. I could tell he had both buds in. And his head was just rocking back and forth to what he was listening too. I was sure they would pull him around back. I mean it was as plain as the nose on your face, he was not fully concentrating on his driving. He was jamming down on his tunes.

Nope. Went right on thru the weigh station. I was totally surprised. wtf.gif

Just my two cents.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own. Joe S (The Blue Angel)

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Why take a refresher course if you have trucking experience?

I drove truck several years ago and I also spent several years driving a tour bus all over the place.

And when I got back into trucking, I had to go the whole way. Not just a refresher course.

I questioned it a few times till one day one of my instructor said, "Just because a driver has been driving for years, doesn't mean he has been doing it right".

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own. Joe S (The Blue Angel)

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Yeah they push and push to make sure you arrive in their time frame. Then all of the sudden you get a message. I can use playback on mine to hear it, but if it is a load assignment.

Now I have 30 minutes to answer. I pull over and start working on it. Some loads take a little while to work on. And now they are asking you what you are stopped for and what is taking so long. wtf.gif

There has to be a better system.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own. Joe S (The Blue Angel).

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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I have a serious problem I need help with.

I learned this from a driver from Canada. When it's really cold and raining/freezing rain leave your sun visors down when you have your defroster on. It helps trap the warm air and keep it close to the windshield keeping it warmer so stuff doesn't freeze.

Now that is brilliant. I will try that...

The only problem with my ProStar is ice building up on the wipers, making the sweeps clear inconsistently. I think that is called driving in winter conditions, however.. lol

I wonder if the passenger side defroster vent is blocked a bit.... ?

The ice building up on the wipers. I have that issue also.

I went out and bought a good set of actual winter blades. My company won't supply them. It doesn't cure the problem, but it helps a bunch.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own. Joe S (The Blue Angel)

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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I have a serious problem I need help with.

I also have the same problem with it squirting onto my mirrors. I keep a small window cleaner scrub next to my seat and open my window and clean my mirror. Takes three seconds.

As far is it freezing, put 100% alcohol in your windshield washer fluid. Alcohol does not freeze and should help your problem.

Great idea on the scraper beside the door. And a great idea on the alcohol. I don't have an issue with the fluid freezing. It is the freezing rain collecting on the windshield.

I did ask one of our mechanics about putting alcohol into the washer system. He said, yeah great idea. Go for it...... if you want to pay to replace the whole system.

He said over a period of time, the alcohol eats away the rubber hoses and makes them brittle. It will also pit the plastic jug. So, I have stayed away from that. But thanks for the ideas.

Haven't thought of Rain X. We used to use it when I drove bus. I really didn't care much for it. Yes, it worked great. But it seemed to put a film on the windshield that would distort on coming headlights when it was raining. It made it hard to see on two lane roads. At least for me.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own. Joe S (The Blue Angel)

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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I have a serious problem I need help with.

Maybe this isn't a new issue, but I sure could use some help if others have the same issue.

I am driving a 2013 ProStar International. I have talked to different shops in the company and can't get a good answer.

In really cold weather (below 15 degrees) if there is a freezing rain, the right side of my window, right in my view, freezes over and won't melt.

Depending on how bad the freezing rain is, sometimes I have to stop every 3 or 4 miles to let it melt off.

Once I am stopped, it clears up in a few seconds. But the second I start down the road again, I start getting my windshield frozen over.

I have tried putting a fan in the window to help move the air. I have opened my window. The passenger's window. Turned the heat up till I am cooking in my cab. I have turned the heat down till it is just warm.

I have put those things on my wipers to hold them tighter to the windshield. They help with wind, but don't do a thing with freezing rain.

I have used the cold weather washer fluid and it clears it up as long as I keep squirting the liquid on it. But as soon as I stop, it freezes over again.

And that brings me to another issue. The over-spray from my side goes right onto my mirror. It isn't long before my mirror is so covered, I can't see out of it. Is there anything that anyone knows of, that can be put on the mirror or the truck door to keep the over-spray off the mirror?

If anyone has any answers, I would deeply appreciate them.

As I have said, my company shops have been no help.

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

Joe S (The Blue Angel)

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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My truck stop app sucks.

Using the app while you are driving???

Isn't that the same thing as using your cell phone while driving? Isn't that illegal?

And unsafe to boot.

Next time you are driving by a weigh station that is open and you want to let other drivers know, make sure you let the DOT officers see you using your phone while driving.

I can't figure out the reason why you need to warn other drivers of a weigh station being open. If I am caught with a heavy load, not only will I get a ticket that the company won't pay for, I will loose my job. So, I make sure I have a legit load before I get to a weigh station.

Well most times. Sometimes you hit those "hidden" ones before you make it to a scale.

Don't get me wrong. I have all those apps. And yes, I do use them from time to time while I am driving. BUT NEVER when I am near a weigh station or going thru a town.

I use them if there is no place to pull off and I am running really behind and need to know where the next rest area or T/S is. But never when I am around lots of traffic.

My favorite app have become Trucker Path. It still has some issues that they are working on. But it is a darn good one to find a stop or plan a route.

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

Joe S (The Blue Angel.)

Posted:  6 years, 4 months ago

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APU's or Battery Packs

I have tried and tried to find out the answer to this question, but I am coming up empty. I would appreciate help if anyone can.

I have just finished reading the DOT regulation on the 400 lb increase weight allowance. And I understand it as much as any non-lawyer can.

What I am trying to find out however is something I read a few months back about the "battery pack" APU's.

The law is very clear about the APU and the weight allowance. But what I read was a statement from the DOT stating that the battery pack was not an actual APU. It still needed the truck engine to start and run to keep the battries charged. And therfore it was not a true APU and the trucks that had the battery packs did not qualify for the 400 lb weight increase.

The reason I ask this, I was just "forced" to take an over weight load and they quoted the DOT rule to allow the trip.

It was only 420 lbs over. I know I lost some with fuel consumption. But not enough by the time I got to a scale house. Luckly they were all closed.

But 100 lb is as good as 1000 when you cross that scale.

Please help if you can shed any light on this issue.

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

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Dealing with Planners

For the first 8 months where I am working I went thru dispatchers like crazy. I think 4 in 6 months.

Somewhere my issues, some were not.

I was getting all kinds of terrible loads 150 miles, 200 miles, 500 miles, just anything came my way I got it.

Only one time in those eight months that I ever lose my temper at a dispatcher when he tried to tell me that the computer showed me getting somewhere and I could get it there and I was stuck in rush hour traffic.

I lost my cool and told him to send the computer drive the truck.

Other than that one time I never lost my cool. But I kept getting the bottom of the barrel with loads my paychecks were terrible.

Finally I got a great dispatcher. She fought for all of her drivers. She would get me a 1200 mile load and call me with the details. Make sure I could do it and understood it.

Over 50% of the time, as soon as she would leave and go home, the load planners would pull it off me and give me a 2 or 3 hundred mile load.

I had had enough. I didn't loose my temper, but I did go over their heads to their boss. Things changed. For 2 weeks.

After another month, again I went to a boss. Things changed. For a week.

I finally went to one of the bosses, boss and told him what was going on. He sent me out west, away from the mess.

As long as my new dispatcher has anything to do with it, things are good. But something has happened again. Came off home time two weeks ago.

And for some reason again, I am being kept mostly in the east.

Maybe it is not with all companies, but here where I work, it seems the load Planners control everything. And since we never see them, we are at their mercy.

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

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Should you be scared or concerned?

If you have met a Canadian driver with that kind of an attitude, he is not true Canadian. LOL

While I hate crossing into and out of Canada, once there, I would much rather drive there than even here in the states.

It is rare in Canada to find the rudeness you find here in the states everywhere.

Keep it safe out here. The life you save might be your own. The Blue Angel.

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Thinking about celadon instead of stevens

There are loads of posts on TT about Celadon. Try going to the search bar and typing the word Celadon and the posts should come up.

I don't know anything about Stevens. So I can't say one way or another.

Just keep looking for the posts you'll find them.

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

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Should you be scared or concerned?

Nope, not Russian.

Let's just say. He was from a lot closer home.

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

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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

There is a difference in making a legal, required U turn vs an illegal U turn.

Try making a delivery to one of the auto plants in Detroit or Warren MI without making a U turn.

Unless you want to travel through tons of city streets, you have to make u turns in Detroit or Warren. That's how the streets are set up.

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

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Should you be scared or concerned?

Something happened to me about a month ago and I am still trying to get my head wrapped around it.

I overnighted in a Flying J on I 70 east of Denver a few weeks ago. I had already closed my curtains and was watching some TV before bed.

I hear a gentle slap on my drivers door. Nothing serious so I really wasn't concerned. Something like maybe someone tripped and caught themselves on my step.

Then all of the sudden my truck starts rocking. I am thinking what the h....

I get up and pull back my drivers curtain. Here is a guy jumping all over my steps and a flatbed trailer maybe 3 inches from my fender. A cargo container touching my drivers mirror.

He has tried to pull in and didn't have the right angle. Why he pulled in is beyond me. There was tons of room to do a straight line back.

The slap I heard was the binding strap when he pulled past my mirror. Now he couldn't back up and he couldn't go forward.

I asked him how in the world he got into this mess. With a very heavy accent, and I won't say what kind. I don't want to be labled a racist, he said, "I am sorry, I am just learning."

We all have to learn, I am still learning.

I asked him where his trainer was. What he said next is what has me scared or at least very concerned.

He said, "I don't have a trainer, I am teaching myself."

I am sure some of the "Old Timmers" around taught themselves way back when. But those were different times.

Less traffic. Lighter loads. Several differences.

I just scares me to think the driver passing me in that truck might be teaching himself.

I looked the truck over. Plain, older Freightliner. No markings. No markings on the load. Just a red cargo box.

Keep it safe out here. And keep a closer eye on that truck passing you. The Blue Angel.

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