Profile For Roadpilot

Roadpilot's Info

  • Location:
    Toledo, OH

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 11 months ago

Roadpilot's Bio

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Posted:  2 years ago

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They turned me loose!

Thanks for all the tips guys!

I didn't even think about the curtains, so I'll have a project for my 30min brake tomorrow.

Posted:  2 years ago

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They turned me loose!

Well after 3 1/2 weeks, countless states and 20k miles I got dropped off in Columbus last Thursday to start the upgrade process. After a waiting out the weekend to finish, I was assigned my truck yesterday afternoon, a 2015 Freightliner Cascadia. This morning I got a load out of Columbus heading to Louisiana to start this great adventure. Pretty happy with the truck, I asked for a manual so I can keep getting proficient with shifting, I used an automatic for close quarter training......did not like it at all. So if anybody sees a slightly clueless rookie in Swift 151507, come over and say hi!

Also, question. Does anyone have a good way to get rid of the smoked in smell. The truck is in otherwise great condition but the odor is bothering me. I've been spraying Febreeze and I've wiped down most of the interior but there is still that lingering smell

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Regional home weekends Trainee?

I know if you live in the in the Columbus area, rookies can get onto the Target account. However you have had to do your 200hrs with a mentor on the account AND the mentor has to recommend you

Posted:  2 years ago

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Swift Decatur GA

Memphis was overflowing with trailers as well. My mentor said it was the in preparation for the Walmart surge.

Posted:  2 years ago

View Topic:

Swift

Here's my diary of Orientation & Road Training with Swift. (Almost 3 years ago)

Last year I chatted with a Swift Mentor. I believe they like the mentors to drive manual shift trucks so the rookies get the experience. But I bet your new truck will be an automatic.

I'm upgrading now in Columbus and the way they are talking is unless you actually need a automatic, plan to get a manual. I'm planning on a manual but won't turn down an auto if offered

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Well I might as well update this while we wait.

We've still been running hard. After that Amazon load fell apart we got another load heading to PA. I got to drive the Donner Pass at night and in the rain. That was interesting, I crawled down the hill at 40mph, some guys were blasting down at 55+.....but i took the slow and steady route and made it down without any smoke or fire lol.

We've been pretty much been on a East Coast-Midwest boomerang dealing with mostly Amazon and UPS loads.

Got down to Dallas on Saturday, that was interesting trying to keep up with what the Qualcomm was telling me and where the construction was pushing me to go. I missed turns in and out but my mentor was able to get me back on track without any problems.

From there we went back Northeast on a UPS load and we brought a Amazon load to be T-Called in Gary. We are supposed to go to Joliet this afternoon to pick another Amazon load to Allentown however we're having the truck checked out by the shop because we heard a pretty loud air leak this morning. Hopefully they'll be able to find an fix the problem.

As of this morning I'm sitting at 189 hours so hopefully either Thursday or Friday I'll get dropped off at a terminal (probably Columbus) to upgrade. I'm anxious to get my solo career started even though I'm pretty nervous about it at the same time.

I'll update this again when I start the upgrade process. Everybody have a great week

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Swift dry van vs. reefer

Thanks for the replies, everyone. I'm having a hard time deciding between reefer and dry van.

Jim J and Roadpilot - really enjoy "seeing" where you've been running around to. Thanks a bunch!

No problem, just remember you aren't locked into one side of the house. Like I said I plan on going reefer but if I end up staying mostly east I'll go back to dry van. That's the beauty of Swift, they have enough freight that you can find a niche that works for you

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Roadpilot, glad to hear from you sounds like been pretty busy so far,and sounds like been all over the place, my hope is when i get as far as you are to get out west as much as i can ,and they can give me . good luck michael

Thanks Michael,

I've been hoping to get west as well and my mentor and his DM made it happen. He said he likes to run his trainees west at least once during their time on the truck, he's not a fan of Cali but he's willing to come out here to give the rookies some relevant experience.

Well our Amazon load fell apart. After waiting 90 minutes we got told our load was cancelled because of "low volume". So we were able to grab the empty we brought in and we bugged out at the Lathrop terminal (which is awesome btw) for the night. We have a new load picking up outside of Sacramento going to Illinois this afternoon so we are taking the time to get a minor air leak looked at and do laundry. I don't have too much longer with my mentor, I have 140hrs of driving and 38 of my required 40 backs done. I feel ready to go solo but it'll be a bit scary not to have my mentor there with me.

Well I'm gonna enjoy some NorCal sunshine, you folks have a great day

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Swift dry van vs. reefer

I'm with my mentor on the dry van side. We've pretty much been all over.

Started in Columbus, OH, went to Commerce GA, then up to South Carolina, then to Norfolk VA, then Marcy,NY, down to Hazelton PA, then a long haul to San Marcos TX, then up to Nebraska. Over to Jersey then up to Detroit, back east to Baltimore then over to Columbus, up to Grand Rapids then out to Otay Mesa CA. Then up to the Bay Area and tomorrow we head back east to Illinois. I plan on going on to the reefer side when I upgrade so I hope they can keep me running like this

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Holy crap, I can't believe it's been over a week since I've updated this. We've been running pretty hard so its been mostly just sleep and drive, sleep and drive.

Picking up where I left off, from Detroit we went to Hagerstown,MD then picked up a load outside of Baltimore to bring to Columbus. Then up to the Grand Rapids area to bring a load out to Otay Mesa, CA. That's the load we are currently on now, because it didn't have to deliver until Tuesday morning we had planned to spend a day in Vegas but the planners saw that we had extra time so they had us T Call this load in Vegas and well pick up a Amazon load at 1am and bring it up to the Bay Area. We already have pre plans out of the Bay Area to Moreno Valley then Kansas City so as long as Amazon holds up their end of the deal we'll be set for loads until at least midweek. Driving through the canyon's on I-15 was fun, the scenery was amazing, I hope to spend more time out west once I upgrade. I'm figuring on another 10 days with my mentor as long as the freight keeps moving as well as it has. That would mean about 30 days on his truck which is a bit less than average. My backing and shifting are still improving.....I was able to hit the dock in one shot earlier this week. I'm also getting more comfortable with the drop and hook procedures as well. So overall its going great. I honestly am feeling more comfortable running the truck and my confidence level is pretty healthy for once lol.

Like I said, I'll try to keep this updated as much as I can. Between the constant running and sketchy data service it's a bit tough but I will definitely update when I can.

Enjoy your holiday and have a great week folks

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Well I guess I should update this huh?

Well to pick up where I left off we finished the Amazon load down to San Marcos without any problems. Initially we had a preplan to bobtail to Houston to pick up a load to El Paso but things got switched around and we ended up picking up a load in nearby San Antonio to Nebraska. Needless to say both my mentor and I were happy we didn't have to deadhead 3 hours bobtail.

Now that I have over 50hrs behind the wheel were are now in team status and running team loads. I can honestly say after this I will never team again and it's not because of my mentor. For the past 10+ years of driving the bus I've trained myself to not sleep in/on a moving vehicle, so it's extremely hard for me to sleep when it's my turn to rest. It's only for 150 hrs and I'm banging out that time quickly.....I just can't wait for my own truck.

Well from Nebraska we did a drop and hook, picked up another trailer from the customer we dropped off at and we are headed up to my old stomping grounds of Connecticut. Then we are preplanned on a FedEx load from Newark to Detroit. After that is our DM's guess....personally I'm hoping to get out west.

I'm getting a lot more comfortable with the running the truck. I love this KW, I would kill to get one as my solo truck but there doesn't seem to be too many company KWs, they seem to offer these more to the lease operators. My mentor says I'm 99% likely to get a 2015/16 Freightliner which I feel is a bit of a step down but it is what it is.

If we can keep running the way we are I'll probably have my 200hrs within the next three weeks. Since I've gotten on my mentor's truck I've only driven less than 500 miles a day once, we had both a live load and unload that day. Today I 620 miles which for a 62mph truck isn't bad.

I'll try to update this as much as I can. Like I said, we are being run hard, my mentor is a platinum level driver so it seems to me that they make sure to keep him moving. Between that and the sketchy cell service in places (Nebraska I'm looking at you! Lol) I'll get to this as much as I can.

Now time to jump in the bunk and try to get some kind of sleep

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

Decided to go with Swift

Congrats and welcome to Swift. I am in my mentor phase having gone to the Academy in Columbus, my classmates from MI would have killed to stay up there lol

The only advice I can give is be professional, come in wanting to learn and communicate. From my short time here I've seen them bend over backwards to help students that have those traits. Also like it's been said, treat the whole process as one big interview. Certain people forget that until you get a driver's code you're technically not an employee so treat everyone like you'd want to be treated.

Good luck and hope to see you out here!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Well I'll finally give you guys a update on how we've been rolling.

After our night in Salisbury NC we continued to head north to our drop off in at the Walmart DC in Sutherland VA. On the way we got two are pre plans, one from another Walmart DC to upstate NY and then a load from PA to TX. The timing on the first one was totally unachievable, so before declining it my mentor called his DM and we found out the delivery time actually had a window of delivery time rather than a hard appointment time. As it became achievable we accepted both pre plans.

So once we dropped and hooked in Sutherland we headed to another Walmart DC outside of Chesapeake did another drop and hook, weighed the load then headed north. We decided to call in a night in Ashland VA because we both wanted a shower after 2 drop and hooks and we both could live with a early start the next morning.

The next morning we got an early start and continued heading northbound, taking 2 quick breaks and a 30 min break at the Swift terminal in Jonestown and dropped off about an hour before the end of the delivery window. After another dropping off that trailer and picking up an "MT" we swapped seats as I only had a hour of drive time left and we wanted to take our 10hrs at the Petro in Scranton which is only about 40mi away. And since we have a mid morning pick up time we were able to sleep in which was nice.

So right now I'm relaxing in the drivers lounge in the Petro, in another 1/2 we'll pretrip and head to our pickup and head down to San Marcos TX.

I'm feel 100% comfortable with driving the truck, 75% on shifting and probably 60% on my backing skills. I tend to be very critical of my mistakes so I'm probably doing better than I perceive but I want to be proficient at what I'm doing by the time I go solo.

I can tell you I love the T680 we have. I would love one as my solo truck but I think they are mostly lease trucks, I don't see too many company ones, I was shocked my mentor had one because he's a company driver.

And a piece of advice, comfortable clothes is a must. I'm pretty much a T-shirt and jeans guy but I'm learning that 9-10 of seat time in jeans isn't all that comfortable. I'll probably invest in some track pants for driving days and only wear jeans when I'm at a customer or terminal.

I'll update again when I can, have a great Monday folks!

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Thanks for reaffirming my decision G-Town. My main goal is just to be as proficient at all areas for the job when it comes time for me to upgrade. Maybe that's unrealistic but I want to be able to feel confident with what I'm doing when I get turned loose.

Well today was a mix of easy and tough work. We left the truck stop about 90 mins before our appointment time as we still had about 40 miles to go and I wanted to be ahead of the game because I know how my luck runs, and it did not disappoint. I missed the turn to the receiver. It wasn't too bad to get turned around but I was pretty upset with myself. In any case we still were about 30mins early to the receiver. We got a door right away and started getting unloaded. In the meantime we got set up with a preplan that was gonna be unacceptable time/distance wise so after double checking our trip plan we contacted my mentor's DM. The load actually has a pretty wide window as it's a drop and hook so we accepted it and after we were done unloaded we headed to our next pick up.

The ride to the shipper was pretty interesting as it was pretty much all state roads. I got some good practice on speed control and shifting going through all the small towns. We got the the shipper pretty much on time and got a door right away. Pretty good luck right? Nope they decided after loading it a 1/3 of the way to move us to another door on the other side of the building. So I got an additional back out of the deal. Once loaded and the BOL in hand we headed north. It was a pretty decent ride, I was glad to come through Charlotte after rush hour but even at 7pm it was still slow in spots. My mentor shared that he likes the fact that I have the knowledge from driving the bus to look in the distance for traffic because normally with a trainee he's still white knuckling it telling them to slow down.

We made it to the Love's in Salisbury NC without incident. This was a planned fuel stop and also are planned stop for the night, so after fueling we started the hunt for a spot. I found a easy pull through but then got informed by my mentor that it wasn't a real spot but an invention of other drivers "creative parking" so we pulled around to find a back in spot. Once we found one and I got angled he helped me get myself into the spot. And this is where I can say not all the other drivers are gonna be your friend. I had one guy blow his horn 3-4 times because he was in a rush, and it put pressure on me to get it done so while I got it in it wasn't a pretty sight. My mentor was pretty ticked at the guy and let me know not to rush, it's my butt if I hit something.

After a nice hot shower and a decent meal I'm beat. Because of the live unload and load I didn't do too many miles today, only about 350. Tomorrow will be my first experience with a Walmart DC, hopefully because it's just a drop and hook it'll be pretty painless, but again I know how my luck runs so I'm not gonna hold my breath.

Everybody have a safe night and I'll catch you all on the flip side

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

I basically brought everything listed in the link G-Town provided. I brought about 14 days of clothes though, I mostly brought T-shirts so they take up less space. Swift will also send you a list of items you want to have. Try not to have anymore than one duffel and another bag like a backpack. Some trainers don't have a lot of space, again this is where I'm lucky....my trainer has given me 2 draws and a cubby hole with is awesome but I'm still bunking with my duffel :). I've seen guys bring alot of stuff and when the mentor picks them up it becomes an issue, you don't want to start off a 4-6 week trip off on the wrong foot

I also brought my tablet because I have some books downloaded to it, and I stuffed a couple paperbacks in my duffel as well to pass the time. Also since my phone has a mobile hotspot I hopefully will be able to watch my assignments on the Swift University site on that rather on my phone. I would also recommend if you can swing it financially to get an unlimited plan, just because WiFi at the truck stops is spotty depending on where you are.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Roadpilot wrote:

double-quotes-start.png

Like I said, I wanted to go to the refrigerated side so initially I was set up with a refrigerated trainer. However he was on a Target dedicated account and I really did not want to be stuck running the same loads on the same areas when I was eventually gonna be going over the road , so I was switched to a mentor who is on the dry van side.

double-quotes-end.png

Interesting point. I respect your decision Roadpilot, I am sure it will work out for you. However I'd like to offer a different perspective on Target; or any Dedicated Retail Account that entails Distribution Center (DC) to store delivery. Most regional Target and Walmart (my assignment) DCs have 100 plus retail stores and probably at least 2 dozen vendor backhauls within their territory. My firsthand experience with Walmart; after 12 months there were still stores I hadn't visited. At this point I have been to all of them, however the territory ebbs & flows, changes based on the distribution channel. There are adds and deletes quarterly. My point, I might retrace the same delivery route (from first stop to fifth stop) only 2-3 times per month. You might think it becomes routine and monotonous, but what I have found to be true is an established list of favorites, stores and routes that maximize earning potential. That's another perspective.

The other less obvious factor, your Close-Quarter skills are tested more frequently and consistently on a retail Dedicated account than they would be OTR. On average I back 5-6 times per day, occasionally more. In 6 weeks with a mentor assigned to a Target account, you will likely perform an equivalent number of backs in less than half the time required if training OTR. Translates into far more real-world practice, you will develop your skills faster.

Please do not misunderstand, absolutely nothing wrong with the decision path you chose. This perspective might be beneficial to a student-driver facing a similar set of circumstances in the future by offering more data-points.

8-Speed vs. 10-speed, in a couple of days you'll forget all about the 10-speed pattern.

Good luck!

G-Town, Thanks for your insight on the dedicated accounts. I'll be 100% honest, I didn't even think about the Close Quarter backing. I was just thinking about the hills going out West and I really wanted to do that with a mentor next to me rather than being thrown to the wolves once I got solo. Now I'm thinking I may have missed a better opportunity but I'll make the best of what I have now.

Well today was my first day behind the wheel. We left the TA around 8am and headed out. After a little bit of a stumble with shifting ( I hadn't driven since last Wednesday) we got going pretty well. We were gonna try and make it all the way down to Commerce tonight and stay at the nearby TA but the traffic backup in Asheville getting on to 26 from 40 and then the lane closures on 26 pretty much killed that idea. We pulled into the Love's in Fair Play,SC and found a spot (Trucker's Path is awesome) with on 2mins left on my drive clock. Alot closer than we planned it but of course they had 2 closed on 85 because they were setting up for night work. So I got a real education on how to run the hills and how to have a Plan A,B,C, etc. Ran a total of 561 miles for today and considering the terrain and my general newness to running the truck I'm pleased with it. My shifting is getting better, there are still some rough spots but my mentor is confident that I'll be get it by the time my 200hrs are up. I cannot be more thankful that I got him, he has over a decade of experience and while he has a laid back personality he is able to get his knowledge across to me with no problem. Because we are only about 40 miles from the receiver we can sleep in a bit tomorrow and still make our appointment time, it's a live unload so how long it takes there can go either way, hopefully we get out in time to get dispatched on another load to keep us rolling over the weekend.

Thanks for reading and I'll update when I can

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Roadpilot, so columbus is not a reefer terminal? wonder where the nearest one is then? kind of curious about that

The nearest one would be Rochelle, Illinois. I was told also West Valley City, UT and Atlanta,GA are reefer terminals as well.

Well, day 3 of orientation

Today we did alot off paperwork and had a few lectures. The big one was on "Swift Decision Driving". Basically it was just how to be a more defensive driver in the truck. Had someone come talk to us from the shop about what they can do for us and how we interact with them. Did some trip planning and then we got our mentor assignments and driver codes. I'm officially a Swifty!

Like I said, I wanted to go to the refrigerated side so initially I was set up with a refrigerated trainer. However he was on a Target dedicated account and I really did not want to be stuck running the same loads on the same areas when I was eventually gonna be going over the road, so I was switched to a mentor who is on the dry van side. Once done I will end up taking a class on reefer and go to that division but getting this OTR experience is a bit more of a priority for me. My mentor Joe is extremely cool and experienced. He has a 8spd KW so this will definitely be an experience as I've only driven the 10spd Volvo's. Hopefully I will be able to refine my shifting skills during my time on the truck.

We set off late this afternoon to pick up a preloaded trailer at Kellogg in West Jefferson, OH. And as my luck runs the trailer wasn't done yet. We had to wait about 3hrs for them to finish.....the two other Swifty's had a similar wait, but it wasn't all dead time as we went through our trip plan to Commerce,GA. I like the fact that from the one that my mentor is included me in the decision making and getting me hands on time with the Qualcomm. I've heard horror stories so I'm thanking my lucky stars. Because he already had some drive time and the delay at the shipper we ended up just staying at the TA a couple miles up the road. Tomorrow I will drive for the first time and we are gonna try and hang out as many miles as we can. Our appointment is not until 10am on Friday but we want to be on time so we can get planned for the weekend.

I'll try to keep this updated as best I can. I've already had spots of no service at the shipper so it might end up being a couple days in between updates. I will keep you guys in the know!

Well time to hit the rack, 7am comes quick

Have a great night

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Quite possible they will bus you to your mentor/terminal. That is what happened to me...in the end it will all work out. Never lose focus or your spirit. Trucking...many times is a waiting game. Good luck!

Thanks G-Town!

I'm pretty flexible so I'll just take it as it goes. My interactions with everybody at the Columbus terminal have been positive since I started the Academy so I trust them to get me going in a reasonable time. The funny thing is today I was talking to one of the trainees from the previous class and he was spazzing out because his mentor was gonna be a day later than planned. He was all fired up and talking about quitting and going to Knight or Prime and all I could think was if you can't handle this kind of delay, how are you gonna handle when you get stuck at a shipper or receiver for hours on end? Assuming he stays I can see him being a "terminal rat".

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure Continues..... Orientation and Mentor Phase

Second day of orientation. First day I actually get paid! Lol

This morning started out doing a couple more assignments in Orientation Workbook. Also took the HOS/Log class as well, which was great. It definitely cleared up my confusion on the 8/2 split.

After lunch we covered topics about Payroll,the Qualcomm,Health Benefits, the Ranking Bonuses,and the Student Pay package.

I'll cover the student pay package here because there tends to be alot of misinformation about it. Basically for all On Duty Not Driving time is paid at your state minimum wage. Driving time is paid at $9.50/hr regardless of state of origin. Downtime, such as when your mentor takes home time, or if the truck has a breakdown is paid at $50 per every 24hrs you spend off duty. Not the greatest but its livable.

So tomorrow is the last day of orientation. We possibly will be leaving with mentors after we are done in the afternoon. I might have a bit of a snag as I'm going to the reefer side and since Columbus is not a reefer terminal I might have a slight wait for a reefer mentor.

I'm both excited and nervous about tomorrow but I think I can rise to the challenge.

Have a great night and I'll try to update tomorrow

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

My Swift Adventure- Columbus Academy

Roadpilot, ok thanks for the information, and as far as what been told to me will be the columbus ohio terminal, told i could drive it and they said would reimburse me for the gas up to the price of a bus ticket, so no biggie to me since save everything for taxes.

Having your car here will make you one of the "cool" kids as most of your classmates will have come by bus. One of our classmates has been helpful with running guys over to Walmart or Meijer's and we kick him a couple of dollars a piece to help him with gas.

Just a piece of advice, from what I heard you don't get the reimbursement until you go through orientation so plan accordingly

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