Profile For John L.

John L.'s Info

  • Location:
    Norfolk, VA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 6 months ago

John L.'s Bio

I'm a former industrial electrician and electrical/control engineer.

I'm tired of fighting for scraps in a shrinking market. I've been faced with a diminishing slice of a diminishing pie for many years now.

I'm excited to be starting a career where I'll actually be in demand rather than facing obsolescence.

And having the opportunity to see so much more of America while earning a decent living wage is just that much more of a bonus.

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Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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How to stay the heck awake??!!

I drive no more than 4 to 5 hours per shift (or block, if you will) and then stop for at least 2 hours for a nap. Then I drive another 4 to five hours and stop for at least 8 hours. Rinse and repeat and you have completed an 8/2 split to reset your clock; and your never driving long, so fatigue doesn't become a problem.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

YATD - Yet Another Training Diary

Part 2 starts today.

Sunday, Jan 1, 2017:

I'm packed an ready to go. I'll be leaving later this afternoon to drive to Indianapolis, IN to attend orientation beginning Tuesday, Jan 3. I'll stop for the night just north of Louisville, KY and finish the last hour or so of the drive Monday morning. That will get me into Indy rested and leave me plenty of time to check into the dorm at CDA and find my way around the campus.

For my fellow radio amateurs: I'll be monitoring the 2m FM calling frequency and transmitting my position via APRS.

For anyone on CB radio: I'll also be monitoring CB channels 19 & 21

For anyone who is interested in tracking my progress: You can track my position as reported via APRS by clicking here.

I'll post my next update after I arrive at Celadon Driving Academy on Monday. And I'll resume weekly updates on my training at that time.

I hope that everyone has a happy, safe, and prosperous new year!

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Thanks for everything you do for us.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Deleted thread: Did I violate some protocol?

Thank you Brett.

I hope you didn't think that I was attempting to convince everyone to get their amateur radio license, buy some expensive equipment, and abandon the TT Tracker.

I was only wanting to provide those who were interested with an interesting demonstration of the capabilities of amateur radio. We often talk about how CB radio is a useful tool, so I thought that my thread was appropriate for this forum.

I'm interested how the TT Tracker updates. Does it automatically update my position using my ip address when I log in? I'm glad to know that it works in real time, although I don't understand how that's possible.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Deleted thread: Did I violate some protocol?

The thread that I started about near-real time tracking using amateur radio and APRS has been deleted.

Can anyone explain why?

Moderators: Do you have access to my email address? If you'd rather not discuss it in the open forum, please contact me via email.

I hope that I haven't offended anyone or broken any rules of order.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Trucking is Tough

Old School said:

I got confused on who said what.

Sometimes I get confused on what I said,

so it kind of balances out.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Trucking is Tough

Old School said:

Jason, earlier you stated this...

My take-away from the many conversations on this forum and the advise that is regularly given is this:

Most drivers fail because they enter this industry with unrealistic expectations.

Actually, I said that.

And for what its worth, my only expectation is the potential to earn 30 to 40 thousand dollars per year and to be living in the truck for 45 to 47 weeks per year. Anything that I get in excess of that (more money, recognition of my efforts, etc.) I will consider only as bonuses.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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Thought that I was overpacking

Vendingdude said:

I think it'd be easier once in the truck to have two or three smaller bags than one big one. Easier to find things and stash them than tripping over one big bag.

My thoughts exactly. In fact that was (and is) my primary question in this thread.

I'm still trying to figure out just how big is a big bag, and how small is a smaller one?

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Trucking is Tough


I hear what your saying and understand where you are coming from. I'm retired from the construction industry and was also an organizer for the union (IBEW), so I know what its like out there for the skilled trades. Chasing a diminishing slice of a diminishing pie is the colorful way of saying that we are quickly approaching obsolescence.

By the numbers:

You already know that you wont be home every night, and that you'll have the equivalent of half as many weekends off as compared to those who only work 40 hours & 5 days per week. But that's not the problem that your facing... your either getting less than 40 hours and cant pay your bills, or your working 6 or 7 days a week and have no time for your family. Compared to your work/life balance when you were deployed and your current status, trucking is not likely to be too challenging.

My take-away from the many conversations on this forum and the advise that is regularly given is this:

Most drivers fail because they enter this industry with unrealistic expectations.

If you recognize the facts that you may not always get home time exactly when you request it, that you will drive more miles then you get paid for, that you will have good weeks and bad (meaning good and bad paychecks), and that the entire industry is performance based then you have a better chance to succeed.

Of course I wrote the previous paragraph for myself as much as I did for you since I am now 48 hours out before I leave for orientation for my first driving job. Read every bit of Brett's book, every article on every topic that is recommended, and as many training diaries and other threads on this forum as you can stand. Make sure you have an honest and accurate picture of the lifestyle required for this industry and then you should be able to decide if you - and your family - and trucking, are a good fit.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Thought that I was overpacking

Thanks G-Town,

I've added two pair of thermals to my kit and although I didn't list them, I do indeed have the three pair of gloves that you mentioned (plus one pair of brown jersey gloves) packed.

I'll have my bibs in the car (I'm driving to orientation) but I won't worry about making room for them in my bags.

I like your suggestion for storing my fuel gloves in a zip-lock bag - they are great general storage items - and will add a few to my kit.

I'll be departing in about 60 hours, so I am into the final phase of preparation.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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What does Prime check before approving you for orientation?

All of this is on your DAC report and you can request a free copy from HireRight once a year. You can also request a copy of your MVR, usually for a minimal fee (in VA it is $7 for an online report, $10 for hard copy).

I highly recommend that everyone preparing to begin training or change companies start by getting both reports.

I did and (so far) have had no surprises.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Thought that I was overpacking

Also, and as an addendum to my over packing question:

I'm wondering if I need to pack my bib overalls. I have two pair sitting here - one insulated and one non-insulated.

How often, or how likely will I be out in the elements long enough to need to dress for long exposure to cold weather?

I'm thinking about events like chaining tires, replacing mud flaps, lights, reflectors, etc. An hour or so in the weather with just jeans and a heavy coat may not be so bad (although a change of clothes after the event will likely be needed), but longer than that might require better outer wear. That is why I'm wondering about my overalls.

I also realized that I don't have any thermal underwear (long-johns) packed.

Is there any consensus regarding winter wardrobes during training?

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Thought that I was overpacking

Nancy asked:

The sleeping bag liner, that accounts for bed sheet?

Yes, more or less...

It is just a single layered micro-fiber sheet, cut the same size and shape as a sleeping bag (also has a zipper like the bag). Like a sheet, it keeps the bed, or in this case the bag, clean - and is easier to wash and dry than the bag (or bed...). It also provides some extra insulation and warmth if needed and when rolled and stored it is not much bigger than a beer can.

My sleeping bag is a warm weather bag - rated for only 36° F max (45° F comfort) - so the extra insulation provided by the liner is important in the event that the bunk heater in the truck is unable to keep the cab warm (as is often reported by members of this forum). That is also the reason that I have packed two extra micro-fiber blankets.

The blankets are both the sized for a full bed, but store about the size of a half roll of paper towels. By themselves, the blankets don't provide a lot of warmth, but as part of a layered sleeping system along with the bag and liner, just one blanket can add another 10° F of warmth (from my observations and testing). The entire ensemble packs into the space of half a milk crate or about 800 cubic inches and is very light weight (I don't have any notes on weight and have already packed my scale into storage so I cannot report the weight).

Oh, and within that half a milk crate is my two compressible pillows! I like them more than inflatable pillows, even though the take up more space (each one is about 1.5 times the size of a beer can).

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Best personal vehicle to let sit.

For what its worth:

I would not replace the car. For the few days each year that you will be needing a car, why not just rent one?

Save yourself the cost of insurance, license fees, maintenance, etc.

At $75 per day, it should cost around $3300 per year to rent a car rather than own one. How does that compare with your cost of owning your vehicle?

Of course you should be able to rent a car for less than $75 per day and that may reduce the yearly cost, but I'd rather work from the high end of the equation to avoid under bidding.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Thought that I was overpacking

Thanks Errol,

I'll only be in Indianapolis for 5 days before I begin my 10K miles with a trainer (finished driver training at the community college and have my CDL in hand).

My deluxe atlas, dry-ease markers, tool bag, CB and ham radios, file box, storage bins, cooler, and additional items, are already packed and loaded (or installed) in my car.

I selected my training items and bags, as well as my solo items, based upon the lists and many discussions here on Trucking Truth.

Do you have any thoughts regarding the number or size of the bags that I've mentioned?

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Thought that I was overpacking

Isaac replied:

That's a lot of clothes. You can do laundry on the road.

Too many socks? Or too many hats?

Could you be more specific?

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Thought that I was overpacking

It is now less than a week until I report for orientation at Celadon.

In preparation for the journey (and in anticipation of sharing space in a truck with my trainer) I've been packing, sorting, paring-down, and repacking my gear into two, 3-day backpacks. Each pack is about 22" tall, 15" wide, and 8" deep, yielding about 3000 cubic inches of storage each (for a total of 6000 cu in). Strapped to one of the packs, in a piggy-back configuration, is a 1000 cubic inch day pack where I currently store my laptop and writing supplies, but which will also serve as a shower bag to carry my change of clothes and dopp kit.

When both of these bags are filled:

5 pair of jeans (plus one pair on me)

6 oxford shirts (plus on on me)

10 long sleeve t-shirts (plus one on me)

10 pair boxers (see the pattern?)

10 pair socks (and...)

10 bandanna's (and...)

2 light weight jackets (heavy coat will be on me - January in Indianapolis!)

2 pair shoes (boots will be on me)

spare belt

2 fold-able hats (plus one on me, and then I'm dressed)

1 scarf (might be on me...)

1 balaclava (I hope it won't get that cold...)

eyeglasses and spares

shower shoes

sleeping bag (on outside of pack)

sleeping bag liner

2 compressible pillows

microfiber blanket

microfiber towel and washcloth

laundry bag

dopp kit

meds bag

laptop and charger (12V & 120V)

notepad and pens

water bottle

cellphone and charger (12V & 120V)

flashlight and multitool

they seem very big and bulky, so I pulled a 32" duffel bag out of storage: 32x15x15 yields 7200 cubic inches.

Everything except the day pack with the laptop, notepad and pens, and water bottle fit in the duffel with room to spare.

I think the consensus on TT is to bring a single 26" duffel, although it seems that some have suggested packing in two 26" bags.

I therefore think that my two 3-day bags (with the day pack) should fit the bill.

I'm hoping for some comments and/or feedback.


Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Texas CDL skills test fail

In Virginia, after your third failed attempt, you must attend and pass a refresher course before you can retest.

Bill is correct in that your local DMV office or CDL testing site is the best place to go for accurate information.

Good luck.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:


Congratulations on getting your CDL A.

Did you attend a training program, or do it on your own? The question is relevant since most companies will not hire new (inexperienced) drivers unless they have completed an accredited training program. You may find that any company that offers you an opportunity, may also require you to attend some type of training - at the minimum, their refresher program; and quite possibly a full training course.

Finally, only driving and safety violations will appear on your DAC. Rejections from your employment applications will not.

So the short version is:

Apply to any and every company that you can. You may get lots of rejections (you may get none!) but you will almost certainly get some approvals. But if you never ask, you will never get a positive response.

Good luck!

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc. CDL training. Springfield, Missouri

Congratulations Turtle!

Well done.

Keep working to bring the BP down... the trucking part will be easy - your on the right path with the right attitude.

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