Profile For Larry K.

Larry K.'s Info

  • Location:
    Moss Landing, CA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Team Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 6 months ago

Larry K.'s Bio

My wife and I are a husband/wife team running primarily OTR reefer (but we do a little bit of darn near everything).

Page 1 of 3

Next Page
Go To Page:    

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Now, despite this being an automatic, one would think this would be an exciting moment! I mean a BRAND NEW truck...cool right? Wrong! Have you seen the movie Lost In Space? You know the scene where they are launching the Jupiter 2 spacecraft and the pilot says “And the monkey flips the switch”? Yeah well, let’s just say we’ve named our new truck “Jupiter” (we left out the “2” as it would be insulting to our previous truck). This truck does everything for you to the point that my 16 year old could drive it. What’s more is that they have disabled all driving modes other than the economy mode, so it’s not just an automatic but a neutered automatic! In addition to this they told us they would not be able to install our inverter until May or June due to needing some part. This means we lost all the fun and challenge of driving a truck while simultaneously losing the ability to cook or watch tv . As the night driver, this truck is every bit as boring to drive through the night as I feared it would be. Now, as though that’s not sufficient reason to be bummed, this truck has some serious design flaws for a husband/wife team. For one thing the storage sucks and we are now a mobile storage unit and planning how we can get rid of about 25% of our stuff on home time next week (fortunately we don’t need cooking supplies anymore). Secondly the sleeping arrangement sucks. My wife and I “spend time” together in the lower bunk while on resets or waiting on loads but I will typically sleep in the upper bunk when stopped for extended periods. The upper bunk has significantly reduced headroom. The only way to access the upper bunk is from the fold down ladder which can not be raised or lowered by the person in the upper bunk. This ladder effectively cages in the person in the lower bunk and blocks access to cupboards as it is located dead center, so naturally, my wife wants it up as much as possible. This in turn means I’m stuck up there till she puts it down. (Or I can do gymnastics trying to get into a position to slide down without anywhere to place my feet.) The ladder was apparently also designed for someone with boots on as it sure as hell wasn’t designed for a bare foot person about to go to bed. Oh, and god forbid my wife decides to turn on the fancy new lighting system while I’m asleep as I’ll wake up feeling like I’m in a tanning bed!

Anyhow, *****, *****...I know. There is a bright side. We left on this last run feeling thoroughly satisfied with our company and truck and are now about to head home feeling as though we’ve gone to work for a completely new company. As such, the sky is now the limit! While we didn’t want to make any changes, thereby fixing something that wasn’t broken, we now have nothing to lose. We’ve spoken with our old dispatch and have been told we can pick and choose from anything we want to do within the company due to coming up on a full year of zero service failures and zero safety violations. Anything but go back to them that is as, because they were such a good team they have now been tasked with handling only new drivers and those who are problem drivers. (We almost feel sorrier for them than ourselves.) We’ve also been offered numerous opportunities with other companies and, in fact, have a friend working for a small company out of Minnesota that would offer us significantly higher pay, quality equipment, and the ability to run super-solo if we so desire. (We’ll know more about that next week.) Any way you cut it we will definitely finish out our full year with our current company but the concept of making a switch that would allow us to learn more about the industry, and potentially make more money doing so, is becoming quite appealing. It sucks however because it was never our intention to think of our company as a “starter company”. We’re even exploring the option of getting some flatbed experience and in fact literally just spent the past hour talking to a gentleman with 37 years of flatbedding experience who gave us several leads. My wife and I have considerable experience running our own business, could buy a truck tomorrow if we desired, and are very much self motivated individuals, so a progression towards an independent owner-op situation is not out of the question (despite the dire warnings...though a great deal of homework is still required.)

Anyhow, gotta get rolling again but that’s where we happen to be at for the moment folks.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

In A Big Company...It’s All About The Fleet Team!

For a while now I’ve been thinking it was time to post an update. Initially I had planned to talk about some of the pre-conceived notions we had prior to getting into the industry versus what the realities are out here. Then this happened....

We’ve been out for approximately seven weeks now and will be taking home time next week. About two weeks into this run we began hearing rumors through the grapevine that the company was about to initiate a major scrambling of their fleet teams, resulting in most drivers being transferred to entirely new teams. This was a major nerve wracking prospect as we had developed an excellent relationship with our fleet team and have heard horror stories about how bad things can go when this happens. We even personally know folks who have quit other companies after just such a change up. It was for this very reason that we wouldn’t even consider taking other opportunities within the company, such as a dedicated route, as doing so meant losing our trusted fleet team.

We immediately called our dispatchers and discovered they were planning to call us and inform us of the change that evening. As it turned out we were to be assigned to our new fleet team beginning the following day!! Our original team assured us that our new team had been fully informed that we were their best team and we were told all we had to do was keep doing what we’d been doing and all would be fine. On our side the plan was to keep calm, hope for the best, and cross our fingers that the last ten months of paying our dues and building relationships wasn’t completely erased. Unfortunately, that’s not how it’s been going.

Upon being assigned to our new team we were currently in the process of delivering on multiple trip plans remaining from our previous team. We received no “welcome to the new team” message or call. We finally arrived at our receiver in Olney, Illinois, and completed the prior trip plans, at 2:00am on a Saturday morning. We then proceeded to sit there for THREE DAYS waiting on our next load! In fact we sat for seven out of the next eleven days. (To be fair, one day was for a minor mechanical issue and one was for weather. The other five and a half however were waiting on loads to be dispatched.) In the weeks to come we ran into multiple issues in which we would arrive at shippers only to have them look at us like we had three heads and wonder why we were there. On one occasion we arrived at our appointment to find that our fleet team had the date wrong and the actual appointment was for the next day...so we sat for 24 hours. On another we arrived to discover the load we were to pick up had been picked up by another carrier...8 DAYS earlier! (They even commented “Your dispatch is all screwed up!”.) Just a couple days ago we actually had to stop in the middle of the night and put our foot down, telling dispatch that the truck would not move any further until such time as they provide us with a trip plan that accurately depicted what we had been verbally, or through messages, instructed to do. We’ve also seen multiple errors in the trip plans themselves that we were able to overcome simply because we had the correct information via messages from the planners. More than anything we’ve had the distinct impression that we have returned to being nobodies and that the past ten months of building a reputation was all for not! None of this was ever an issue with our previous team.

Now to add insult to injury, we had been told we’d be able to keep our truck (which we loved) for another 150k miles, or so, as long as it didn’t start developing issues. Last week however we received a trip plan to head to corporate headquarters and drop a load. Our A/C had been lacking oomf recently so we asked if the shop could take a look at it while we were there and at that time were informed that we wouldn’t need to worry about it as we were coming in to be assigned a new truck. We asked if there was any way we could be issued a manual, knowing it’s all going automatic, and we were told it shouldn’t be a problem as the automatics were being reserved for the new drivers coming in with licenses restricted to automatics. What we got was a brand new (150 miles on it and still plastic wrapped) 2018 Freightliner Cascadia...automatic.

-continued-

Posted:  7 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

I’m Pretty Sure We’re Officially Truckers Now!

Seeing as how it’s been over three months now it would be easy for anyone now reading this thread to assume that we had gone the way of the dodo like so many other new drivers. Quite the contrary!

We have now traveled 36 states, most multiple times, and logged almost exactly 70,000 miles on our own (in addition to our training mileage). We’ve routinely run reefer and dry van, high security and high value. We’ve been dispatched to shippers and receivers on rural farms and chicken ranches as well as those located in urban areas such as downtown LA or Dallas, during rush hour no less. We’ve been placed on many of the most major accounts our company has over the past several months and have completed all runs with zero safety violations, and with zero service failures. We even added “interstate drug runners” to our resumes at one point by transporting high value and high security pharmaceuticals that had to be aimlessly driven around for ten hours to prevent the possibility of being hijacked while we waited for the receiver to open. As such we have recently been placed on a temporary dedicated account for the holidays, running time sensitive freight through the northern states, despite it being our first winter. In fact we have been asked at times to serve as discretionary drivers, scouting out the weather and reporting conditions for others following in our tracks. We’ve traveled through the remnants of each one of the major hurricanes that have hit the country, through the smoke of many of the major fires, and over most of the passes most often talked about. We’ve crossed the country east-to-west, west-to-east, north-to-south, south-to-north and diagonally more times than we can keep track of without looking back at logs. Things that turned our knuckles white and clenched our cheeks just a few months ago, are now just par for the course. It’s rather insane just how rapidly things have changed and truly hard to believe that just nine months ago neither of us had ever been behind the wheel of a big rig! In spite of all this, there is a new sight to see, a new challenge to face, and something new to learn virtually every day!

A Little On How Our Preliminary Expectations Are Panning Out

Our Choice of Company

We continue to be absolutely thrilled with our choice of company and, at this point, it would require a pretty sweet deal to convince us to go elsewhere. From the moment we established a reputation with our trainer we have been treated like gold ever since. We’ve never experienced an unreasonable issue with getting home for home time and in fact have been offered to take more time if we need it. If we need time between loads to shop, do laundry, or whatever, we simply say so. Our pay has always been correct and our raises have come with our upgrades right on schedule. Don’t get me wrong, there’s always some irritation with skeleton night or weekend crews, but nothing that should come as any surprise to anyone who has previously been involved in the corporate world. Our company is geared toward teams and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for someone intending to go solo. That being said, if you’re a “natural team” (meaning coming in as relatives or friends who already know each other) and you have questions, feel free to ask me and we can arrange to speak privately.

The Money

For the most part the money is exactly what we expected it to be prior to starting school (at this point) and I’m confident we’ll continue to see it increase. Much of the financial end comes down to our own decisions as drivers. What type of account we’re on and how we manage our time makes all the difference in the world at the end of the week. For example, at times we’ve taken a reset when we didn’t absolutely have to simply because we were plum whooped. Other times you’re forced into a reset because you didn’t manage your time in such a manner as to allow you to continue to run on recaps. As you become more familiar with how it all works you become more efficient and with that the income increases, at least that’s how it’s working for us so far.

You also have to take it on an average. There will be many things beyond your control and you’ll just have to let it roll off your back and have a better week next week. For example, I have ample time to write now as we are in just such a predicament. We were running west bound I-80 through Wyoming early this past Friday attempting to beat incoming winter weather conditions and arrive in Troutdale, Oregon late Friday night. Needless to say the weather set in quicker than Wyoming DOT was predicting and I-80 was shut down right in front of us. We immediately got off at the Little America to wait it out and received word they were opening back up three hours later. Twenty miles later we found ourselves on solid ice and stuck in traffic caused by an accident ahead. As we sat there our company declared an in-house mandatory shutdown for the area (we don’t run on ice). Needless to say all this delayed our arrival to early this morning (a Sunday) and put us in a situation of having to wait till Tuesday morning to get our run back! Nearly 3 days running lost when all’s said and done. Oh well, such is trucking! Time to stock up, get some good food, catch up on Netflix, do a little Christmas shopping, write a blog post, and maybe even show the wife some love!

Till next time guys!

Posted:  10 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

An overdue update!

On our first home time - California - August 1st

A lot to report here over the past couple weeks! I'll do my best to cover the portions that would be pertinent to those seeking to go down this road themselves. We got out of Hutchins and finished our run to Libertyville, Illinois. From there we received the final load of our training that had us arriving at the main terminal in Tennessee on the evening of Wednesday, July 19th. Our trainer got us checked into the hotel and met us at the terminal the following morning where we checked in for our upgrade testing. My wife literally cried while saying goodbye to our trainer, something I find amazing as, from all the stories we'd been told, we should have been celebrating the end of multiple weeks of hell. Upon checking in the office lady noticed that my wife looked absolutely beat and gave us the option of beginning our four day upgrade process on Friday the 21'st...we elected to take that option. We put the morning to good use by taking the time to meet our fleet managers in person and then proceeded to the hotel to catch up on some much needed sleep.

Upgrade testing

Upgrade testing turned out to be more training than it was testing. The trainers were a combination of individuals who ran the yard and were dedicated trainers, and OTR trainers who were filling in as yard trainers while in the terminal for various reasons. Once again I have to say that we were thoroughly impressed first and foremost by the people. Everyone at this company actually seems to give a damn! From the ex-drill seargent dedicated trainers, to the OTR drivers who got stuck having to train us green peas, everyone was great! We spent three days in a training yard where we learned maneuvers such as the 180˚ back. This is simply a maneuver in which you begin with a line of barrels along the drivers side of the vehicle and must back untill your tandems reach the last barrel, pivot 180˚ around that barrel, and end up facing the other direction with the barrels again on the drivers side. I actually found this maneuver rather fun as it was something completely new. We also practiced maneuvers ranging from basic turns, to offset lane changes, to 45˚ alley docks. Day three was spent on final testing. In order to test out of the yard we had to perform four 45˚ alley docks between trailers, in succession, within one hour. Of course this must be performed without hitting barrels, trailers, or having to be stopped by a trainer for any safety reason. I knocked mine out without any issue whatsoever. My wife suffered a bit of test anxiety and initially had to stop and go sit down to calm herself. She had spent the past four weeks doing this everyday and was good enough that she'd been parking in spots so tight that you couldn't walk between the trailers once we were parked, but nerves got the better of her. Once she calmed down she hammered out her four without issue. The culmination of this testing was essentially our successful upgrade as the following morning was simply spent in a classroom going over everything from payroll to company policies.

Upgrade to our Upgrade

We not only lucked out by having a great trainer but lucked out in that he is one of the few dedicated reefer trainers within the company and has an excellent reputation. In addition he was going to bat for us in a big way and singing our praises to our fleet managers and company management. Throughout training we came to the conclusion that we wanted to remain running the semi-dedicated refrigerated runs that we'd been running with our trainer. (This will involve coast-to-coast reefer runs with numerous dry-van runs, of all types, thrown in as necessary to get us back to a coast-to-coast reefer run.) It was explained to us that after our initial upgrade we'd be required to put in a minimum of six months before we'd qualify to upgrade to reefer. As it turned out we were invited to take the reefer class, and go through the necessary interviews, immediately after lunch on our fourth day. We did so and ended up being upgraded to semi-dedicated reefer, and coded as such in the system, within four hours of being upgraded to drivers! This was all being done as other members of our upgrade class gave us dirty looks and were clearly wondering how we managed to pull it off!

Truck assignment

As the latter part of our upgrade was happening our trainer was flown to California to pick up a truck and a student. As it turned out the truck he was bringing back was cherry. It's an exceptionally clean 10 spd Freightliner with 120k and a direct tv system and inverter pre-installed. He went to bat for us again and we ended up with a hand-picked truck!

First runs on our own

Our first run was a dry-van of Little Debbie's which departed Tennessee and delivered in Kingman, Az. (The folks at Little Debbie's offered us a job! Lol!) We delivered several hours early and without issue. The second was an Amazon load from Arizona to Tracy, California. Amazon loaded us 6000lbs overweight on our tandems (when set at Ca limit) but after a five hour re-work we also delivered that load without a hitch.

Home Time

We're now on home time till Fri 8/4. We're outfitting the truck for the long term and have installed a CB as well as obtaining a Mack-daddy custom mattress. We'll also be adding a 12volt cooler prior to taking off again.

As always, wish us luck!

Posted:  11 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Training Nearly Complete!

Monday, July 17th - Hutchins, Tx - 4:30am local

Almost exactly one week since my last update and, as it turns out, I've got some time to burn. We've now crossed the country about seven and a half times and are on the very tail end of our training. We each need about two more shifts and we'll have met all the necessary training requirements and will be dropped at the main terminal in Chattanooga, probably Thursday, to begin final testing. After that we'll be assigned our own truck and will be given a load to our home area where we'll take about six days of much needed home time, outfit our new truck, and finally be able to get our dog! From there we'll be on our own! As much as we love our trainer we are SOOO ready to be on our own and develop our own routine! My intention will be to keep this thread running well into the first year of our driving, though posts will likely become less frequent. I'll be posting details on the upgrade testing, which I think will be valuable, and I want the thread to reflect such things as wether we get the miles and make the money we anticipated when initially planning all this. Our trainer assures us that we will be getting the same kinda loads and miles after we upgrade as we've gotten during training and we have learned that it was no accident that he was designated as our trainer. Apparently we are being groomed to run precisely as we have been and will run a lot of refrigerated loads with some high-security and high-value dry van loads thrown in here and there. Ironically it doesn't seem as though we'll being doing much hazmat. If that all proves true then we should find ourselves actually doing better financially during the first few months than we had anticipated, but I'll be sure to report how it actually pans out.

So, what have we done the past week? Honestly, it's beginning to blur together to the point that I now have to pull out my logs and remind myself! We finished that load into Salt Lake City and then grabbed a refrigerated trailer and headed up to Logan, Utah to make the first of two cheese pick-ups. The drive up to Logan is absolutely gorgeous! As seems to be all to commonly the case, we got a little tied up at the shipper in Logan due to not having the correct pick-up numbers and then proceeded to Fillmore, Utah for the second cheese pick-up. In Fillmore we again discovered we had not been given the correct pick-up numbers by dispatch and ended up spending the night as it got worked out. No matter, it was a beautiful place to stop and the weather was perfect for a change. (Apparently this is a new account and actually belongs to a sister company, hence the confusion on the numbers.) We finally got out of there and delivered in Pomona, California. From Pomona we picked up a load of organic produce in Colton, Ca and delivered to a Walmart distribution center in Shelbyville, Tennessee. From Shelbyville we departed for La Vergne, Tennessee where we picked up a UPS load and delivered in Irving, Texas about 8 hours ago. We now have a pre-plan to pickup a FedEx load in Fort Worth, Tx and deliver it on the north side of Chicago, unfortunately, we discovered a blown hub seal upon arriving in Irving. We're now sitting here at a terminal in Hutchins, Texas waiting on the shop to open in order to have it replaced. As it should be a quick fix, we anticipate being able to make our pickup and head to Chicago but we'll see here in about an hour or two. After that we'll likely get a load heading back to Tennessee and will complete our training and be dropped off to test out.

So that's it guys. For those following along, I'll be sure to give a detailed account as to what is involved in the whole testing out and upgrade process as well as the process of being issued a truck. Stay tuned!

Posted:  11 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Can I type from the passenger seat while moving?

7/10/17 11:30 Eastern

Since it's been ten days since my last update, let's find out! So we have now crossed the country five times and are about a third of the way on our sixth. In addition we've spent a great deal of time running loads around and throughout the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. My wife and I logged 7008 miles in one seven day stretch and are now two thirds of the way through our required training hours. Incidentally, we're currently on a training salary but had we have been on miles we would have been paid for 7930 miles that week simply because of the way in which the loads fell and were submitted! We expect to be going in for our upgrade testing in about ten days or so and anticpate passing and receiving our own truck without issue.

So what have we been doing the past ten days? Well, aside from laying down a ton of miles, we've enjoyed several trucking perks and are still having one hell of an adventure! We picked up a load of lettuce in Salinas, that put us at a gross weight of around 77,500, and hauled it to just outside Nashville, Tennessee. We then hauled frozen chicken back to Los Angeles. Then it was miscellaneous refrigerated items to Gordonsville, Virginia. That was followed by a couple short runs, one of which was a light load of Amazon products and the other was 44,409 lbs of magazines that were fresh off the press. We're now hauling fiber optic cabling of some sort from Georgia to Salt Lake City, Utah and are, at this very moment, about to cross the border from Illinois into St. Louis, Missouri. We'll be stopping in about fifteen minutes and I'll drive the night away.

We've stopped in Morristown, Tennessee and had a wonderful afternoon and evening with our trainers family in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. We were able to stop in Huntersville, North Carolina and spend an evening with my wife's parents, who we hadn't seen in three years. Every time the truck stops it seems the folks around us are speaking with a different accent. We've gotten to peek behind the curtain of numerous industries, having seen the inside of massive Amazon distribution centers, huge printing operations, chicken processing facilities and refrigerated distribution centers.

That's all for now, time to drive!

Posted:  11 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Things are happening fast now!

6/30/17 4:00 am local

Well, as I have to try and stay awake so as not to mess up my sleep schedule, it seems as good a time as any for an update. We're now sitting in Petaluma, California waiting till 8:00 am for the receiver to unload the frozen chicken we brought them. I'm blown away looking at the times on my own posts and realizing that I was sitting at a rail yard in Atlanta, Ga just 56 hours ago!

So, in that time, we left Atlanta with a load of carpeting that was headed for Salt Lake City. Somewhere outside of New Baden, Illinois we received word that we were going to have to perform a "re-power". We met another team at a truck stop and swapped our trailer full of carpets for their refrigerated trailer full of frozen chicken that was headed for Petaluma, California. Along this route from Atlanta to Petaluma we've: Discovered that Kentucky and southern Illinois are absolutely gorgeous (especially in the early morning hours). My wife dodged storms coming through Nebraska and then, in mid-Nebraska, I took over after dark and drove right through some major thunderstorms between there and Cheyenne, Wyoming. My wife got her first taste of a major downgrade between Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah. Played some slots and took showers in Sparks, Nevada. I took over driving right at sunset in Sparks and started my shift by driving Donner Pass, in the dark and through major construction, for the first time, as everyone slept. (Well, technically the trainer stayed awake as far as the weight station and agricultural check point before saying "You've got this. I trust you" and crashing out himself.)

By 1:00 pm local today we'll have come full circle. After we get this load unloaded we'll run to have the trailer washed/sanitized and then well be picking up a load of Foster Farms in, of all places, Salinas, California! We'll immediately take that load and head back to Tennessee.

It's been one crazy (and exhausting) week!

Posted:  11 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Cornelius- Keep in mind my limited experience here, but from what I've seen the experienced drivers and trainers want to get out of the terminals as quickly as absolutely possible. For one thing it's a place you can get stuck for any number of reasons and, of course, if you're chilling at the terminal you're not getting miles and making money. Second, and you'll here this around the forum from the experienced guys, you have what they refer to as the "terminal rats". These are a select few individuals who've been sitting at the terminal for an unordinarily long time without a load and they want to do nothing but spread negativity and complain. So far, from the few we've met, if you talk to these individuals for a few minutes you won't be a danged bit surprised that they aren't at the top of the list with their fleet managers. Meanwhile you'll see seasoned drivers hit the terminal, run around like chickens with their heads cut off for a few hours, and then they're gone again. Our trainer has 18 years driving and 16 with our company. We barely had time to shower and get a load of laundry done before we were heading out on another load!

Posted:  11 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

I'm very glad you're enjoying Cornelius!

Needless to say the adventure continues! We grabbed showers at the main terminal, did laundry, dropped off the truck we were delivering, swapped all of our personal stuff over to the trainers regular truck, and developed a deeper understanding as to why drivers hate going into terminals. We then immediately received a load assignment and took off. We are to pick up a trailer in Atlanta, Ga and then grab the load and head for Salt Lake City, Utah. As I'll be driving tonight I went to sleep. I awoke to the truck stopping over and over as my wife and trainer yelled out the window repeatedly attempting to get directions from people. I sat up to find myself in the middle of this MASSIVE rail yard here in Atlanta, Georgia attempting to find our trailer under an absolutely gorgeous sunset. The place is miles long and filled with thousands upon thousands of trailers. As nobody can find the damn thing we are still, at this very moment, driving through rows, upon rows, upon rows of trailers hunting for it as dispatch attempts to obtain more information as to it's actual location.

Posted:  11 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Starting To Feel Like Truckers!

6/27/17

We finally got our truck out of the Freightliner dealership in Tucson around 1:00pm last Friday. Turned out to be a simple fix which required a $20 part, $500+ in labor and a total of two days worth of training time. At that time we requested a load and were given one at about 4:30 in the evening. We were dispatched to pick up a trailer in Phoenix and then proceed with it to to a Marshall's distribution center, also in Phoenix, where it would be a "high value" drop-and-hook. Delivery was to be made in Lakeland, Florida. Total drive time of around 44 hours.

Unfortunately, upon arriving at the Marshall's distribution center we discovered that they required a "release number" which did not correspond with any of the numbers provided by dispatch. We ended up parked just outside the distribution center swapping messages back and forth with nighttime dispatch all night as they attempted to find this required number. Long story short we finally got out of there with our load around 10:00am local on Saturday.

The next 44 hours (or so) we're spent driving across the desert in 110˚+ heat most of the way. The trainer has become VERY comfortable with my driving and devotes the majority of his time to my wife while sleeping through portions of my driving time. I've been doing the vast majority of night driving and typically begin my driving around 2:00am. I believe it was my first full night (days & times are really blending together and becoming a blur) in which I was coming into San Antonio, Texas. Had a blast navigating the rolling hills on the way in and a sense of victory after having navigated the interchanges and construction zones on the way through the city.

I checked off two new-to-me states on this run as we reached Alabama and eventually Florida. In Florida I began my shift shortly after reaching I-75 and drove down to Tampa and then took I-4 over to Lakeland to make the delivery. My wife and trainer woke up right as I arrived at the receiver. Shortly before reaching Lakeland we received a subsequent "high security" load which departed from Sarasota and was headed for Georgia. I drove us back to Tampa and proceeded to a truck stop in order to grab some much needed showers. I then drove us down to Sarasota to pick-up the load. My wife took over upon departure as you are not allowed to stop with a high security load until you're 200 miles from the shipper. I have to say that as I was making the deliveries and pick-ups in Florida I just kept contemplating how freaking crazy it was that I was essentially "cruising" Florida with an 18 wheeler. I hit numerous areas of heavy traffic, drove plenty of intercity streets and really nailed down my newly acquired skill of floating gears. (Which I can now do fairly smoothly all the way up or down!)

We spent the night last night at a truck stop in Georgia (another new-to-us state) as we had the delivery scheduled for this morning and had to stop at least 50 miles before the receiver due to it being a high security load. Temperature was a nice 83˚ in beautiful Georgia so we enjoyed a little mellow out of truck time around the truck stop.

We're now on our way to the main terminal in Tennessee (another new-to-us state) to drop this truck off and get our trainers regular truck. Should arrive in about an hour or so. This first couple runs (after the breakdown) have been awesome and we couldn't be happier so far with both the company and especially our trainer. As we were coming through Louisiana, a state my wife loves, and eventually the new-to-us states my wife actually uttered the words "they're gonna pay us to do this". We've learned a massive amount of things in the past few days, undergone a great deal of stress, and have been completely exhausted at times, but overall, I have to say we're having a lot of fun doing it! Hell of an adventure at this point!

Looking forward to seeing corporate and then finding out where our next destination will be!

Posted:  12 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

So by this time my wife and I are thinking we are about out of there. Darkness had already fallen and I know that it is I who will be first to drive. We'd been up since about 5:00 in the morning but I was wired at the idea of finally getting to drive and was ready to go. It was then that we find out we'll be waiting 3-4 hours on the paperwork and are told we'd better try and get some sleep.

At about 1:30am we awaken to the truck moving. The trainer had gotten the paperwork and was already headed for the gate. He stopped on the way out so we could all use the bathroom and asked if one of us was ready to drive, to which I quickly volunteered with one request...COFFEE! We checked out and headed to a truck stop down the street for some much needed caffeine and then I took over. Like the truck we took our road test in, this truck has a much tighter shifting pattern than our old Volvo at school but, with a little grinding here and there, I got us out of there and onto the freeway without issue.

With a weight of a little over 66,000 the first thing I noticed was that driving a loaded truck really didn't feel any different from driving the empty truck in school. Within the first hour I was shifting the truck nice and smooth and thoroughly getting a kick out of the whole experience. I got my first experience pulling some hills on I-10 heading for Arizona and quickly got the hang of it. By the hour and a half mark my wife had already gone back to sleep and the trainer was complimenting me on my ability to handle the truck. Needless to say this is nothing like CDL testing! Out here it's your ability to handle the truck safely that counts, not a bunch of nit-picky BS! Shortly thereafter he tells me that, if I'm comfortable, he's gonna grab some shut eye and that all I have to do is say his name and he'll wake up (He wasn't kidding. He jumps up instantly if you so much as say his name or if a message comes across the Qualcomm). He explains the procedures for the weigh station at the Arizona border and proceeds to go to bed. I find myself driving across the desert, thoroughly loving life for another 45 minutes before my wife joins me in the passenger seat. We watch the sunrise while trucking across the desert until finally reaching Phoenix in morning rush hour. By this time I'm thoroughly comfortable with the truck and handled the traffic of Phoenix like a pro, if I do say so myself. I make it to Eloy, Arizona with about 5 minutes left on my clock before my mandatory 30 minute break. As nobody had slept much at this point, my wife was to take over from here.

We get fuel in Eloy and both my wife and I practice a few 45˚ alley docks (we're required to do a certain number throughout our training and they must be at different locations each time). Then my wife takes us out. I stay up for about an hour as the trainer rides shotgun and wait untill I see her driving comfortably, and enjoying herself, before finally deciding to go to sleep. About 20 miles outside of Wilcox, Arizona I awake to my wife saying "What the hell just happened". Like the trainer I instantly wake up the moment something is amiss. The truck had completely died at 65mph and she had to coast to stop along side the freeway. The truck then restarted and we made it another 10 miles before it happened again. We got it started again and made it to the truck stop in Wilcox where our trainer called breakdown.

Needless to say we were told we could not drive the truck and they would be sending another team to get the load. Once the team arrived they'd be sending a tow truck to pick us up and take us to Freightliner in Tucson. As it turned out the other team ran out of hours and didn't make it to us untill 2:00am this morning. The tow truck arrived around 7:00am and, after getting hooked up, we had a nice ride in a pretty sweet Peterbilt back into Tucson. (Did I mention it's about 110˚ outside during all this? Thankfully the truck would idle fine.) So we spent the entire day chilling at Freightliner only to be told that we'd need to get a hotel and they'd get to us in the morning tomorrow.

So here we are. At a hotel and anxious as hell to get back out there. On the bright side we probably missed that storm coming up out of the Gulf but at this point we have no idea what the plan is going to be. Hoping the truck is fixed right away in the morning and we'll get another load from someplace local and continue on towards Tennessee.

Posted:  12 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

The Beginning Of Our On-The-Road Training

Your results may vary, but this is how it's going for us...(PS this will be a lengthy post)

So let me begin by saying that thus far this has been nothing like the training horror stories we've read about. We absolutely lucked out with a trainer who not only knows his stuff, but is a genuinely cool guy who is mellow, patient and all smiles. That being said, we haven't gotten off to the best of starts. Read on for the story.

Our trainer arrived at the terminal around noon this past Monday. We were told at that time to get our stuff together, check out of our hotel and take a company van to the terminal (they've been letting us personally drive the company vans). We arrive at the terminal to get the rundown regarding what the plan is going to be. The company has a number of trucks at the terminal in California that need to be transported back to the Tennessee terminal. These are trucks that are 1-2 years old and are being placed out of service (as we understand it they will be traded-in for new trucks). Shortly after arriving at the terminal we are told that we are waiting to be assigned one of these trucks and then will be assigned a load. In the meantime we got to meet our trainer as he was running around like a chicken with his head cut off getting everything squared away. He's a small, soft spoken, Hispanic gentlemen about our age who is literally all smiles. Our immediate impression was that we were gonna get along with this guy no problem.

A few hours later we are assigned our truck. It's a 2016 Freightliner 10spd with about 500k on it. To our eyes it looked brand new but by company standards it's done. Our first task was to get a new mattress in it and load up our stuff. As we were doing so the man who runs the terminal came out and was literally over the top about wanting to make sure we had everything we needed and made sure we knew we could come to him for anything. Seriously, it's crazy how well we're being treated to this point so far!

So after getting settled in we're waiting on a load. Several hours go by and we're told by our trainer that we'd likely be waiting till morning as the shipper he anticipated was closed on Mondays. Sure enough we ended up sleeping in the truck at the terminal that night with our trainer. My wife and I took the bottom bunk, which surprisingly turned out to be fine, and the trainer took the top. As it was in the high 90's just prior to the sun going down we idled all night. Slept fine and it wasn't nearly as awkward as we anticipated.

The next morning we receive our load assignment. We are told we are to pick up a refrigerated load in Colton, California at 8:00pm and will be delivering it to a Walmart in Brundidge, Alabama. My wife and I had pictured bob-tailing directly to Colton and picking up a loaded trailer to head out. As it turned out our trainer told us to grab showers and do any last minute items at noon as we'd be headed out by 1:00. We were excited (and nervous) to get going but honestly had no idea why we'd be leaving at 1:00 when Colton was just 35 or so miles away. My wife and I had been running around town in a rental car and were both pretty nervous about driving an unfamiliar truck through LA traffic on the way out of town. Most importantly my wife did not want to start out driving at night and therefore wanted to be first to drive so my shift would begin after dark. When we were getting ready to leave the trainer gave her the option of either driving out of the terminal or we could start driving when we got out of the city. Obviously she opted to let him take us out. SOOOO glad she did!!!

So it turns out we have to go pick-up a trailer at a location that in itself was a pain to get to in traffic. Upon arriving we discover that they had a little accident with the trailer and had ripped a door completely off it's hinges. Fortunately, they had several trailers and we were able to locate another empty. We inspected the trailer, reported the issue on the first trailer via the Qualcomm and learned how to pre-trip the refrigeration unit. Then we headed out to a Blue Beacon truck wash in downtown LA to have the trailer cleaned and sanitized. On the way there the trainer is laughing and telling us stories as my wife and I are sitting there bug-eyed as we watch him navigate through insane gridlocked traffic and take us to a truck wash located in the worst possible place we could imagine having to take an 18-wheeler. Seriously insane! The road in was lined on both sides with straight trucks leaving an alley down the center barely wide enough to accommodate the truck. You'd have to have really seen it, but it was nuts.

So finally we get the trailer washed out and head for Colton. We arrive at a HUGE refrigerated distribution center along with what looked like every trucker in the country. We first learn how to check through security and discover that this will be a drop-and-hook. We then navigate around the building passed what seemed like thousands of trucks and trailers and find a home for the trailer we brought. Then we go into the warehouse to check in. Upon going inside we find ourselves in what seemed like the worlds biggest freezer. Seriously it was the size of a Boeing plant! Both my wife and I were seriously impressed at seeing what it takes to bring food to the masses. We get our trailer and the trainer and I secure the load and then scale it. -continued-

Posted:  12 months ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

About to embark upon the biggest hurdle

It's hard to believe that, after all the nerve-racking things we've been through, permit testing, medicals, first day driving a semi, all the incredibly stressful and chaotic DMV final testing, all the evaluations necessary to get hired...it was all leading up to today and the beginning of what seems universally considered to be "the hard part". Trainer should be here by noon and we may leave as early as this afternoon (possibly in the morning). Minimum of 5 weeks living in a truck with a complete stranger as he teaches us what this is really all about. Fortunately, we're both intelligent enough to know that, at this point, we know nothing! Our first run will be about 2000 miles to Tennessee. The experienced folks have all assured us that we'll want to quit within the first couple days (not sure that helped). Right now it's an odd mixture of excitement, anticipation and utter dread!

Incidentally, as soon as we received our trainers name I Googled him. A company article came up from 2013 in which he won his state truck driving championship and was sent on to represent the company at the national level. VERY glad to know we'll be with someone experienced who knows what they're doing!

Wish us luck! (No, seriously....wish us luck!)

As they say... "The only difference between an ordeal and an adventure is your attitude!"

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Company Orientation Day 4 (Yesterday)

Day four was less of an orientation and rather was centered around one thing. We are now officially hired! The morning was spent simply going over the last minute details of actually being employed with the company. We were issued our company ID numbers, assigned our comdata cards, assigned to a training team, a trainer and a fleet manager.

After that was finished we met with a wellness coach. This is simply an individual contracted with an outside company that assists drivers to stay healthy and meet their personal health goals while on the road. They also assist you in insuring that you'll pass your future DOT physicals. Incidentally, they took my blood pressure again to establish a base-line. As there was nothing riding on this blood pressure test there was no stressing over it and it came out ideal for my age.

DMV Fiasco (Again!!)

I'd love to say this day was nothing but celebration and high-fives for getting hired, unfortunately that was not the case. After orientation was over we headed to the DMV to take our doubles/triples and tanker endorsements. This DMV was packed and we waited a solid twenty minutes just to get to the check-in window. Here in California you must now prove residency and citizenship with multiple documents and, thinking ahead, we brought all of that with us. As we checked in the lady asked for these documents, as well as our CDL's, and looked everything over prior to even giving us a number. She even chuckled that we were on top of things and had clearly been through this before. My wife received the lower of the two numbers and, after about a thirty minute wait, she was called to a window and went to take her tests. Then I was called. My wife received her official license a couple days prior to leaving for orientation, unfortunately, mine did not arrive and therefore I'm still operating with the paper temporary one. Needless to say they would not allow me test until I receive the hard copy, thereby making this trip to the DMV pointless as it's a both-of-us or neither-of-us situation. (It would have been really nice if the lady at check-in had mentioned that as we'd have just left!)

My wife easily passed both her tests and returned to the window. Now at this point this would have been little more than an inconvenience, that is until she was informed that her hazmat had been dropped from her license!! Hazmat is critical for us, so this was not good! They were telling her that she'd have to re-take the hazmat test in order to have it added again. While she very likely would have passed, she hadn't even looked over the information since passing the first time and was absolutely distraught at the concept she may fail. As she was unwilling to even risk the possibility they initially were going to void her application for doubles/tripes and tankers and just drop her back to hazmat only so she could leave having what she came in with. Anyhow, this literally turned into tears being shed (she's been stressed as it is and didn't need this crap at this point). Ultimately they managed to wave the need for her to test and she finally walked out having hazmat, doubles/triples and tankers. Unfortunately, as they wouldn't allow me to test for tankers, it really has no benefit at this point. Upon returning to our company we were told that the DMV was incorrect to begin with and that she never should have been required to re-take hazmat since she passed and received it so recently. Gotta love the DMV!

So we're now just hanging out waiting on our trainer at this point. As he's currently on the other side of the country were waiting on a decision for one of three options. Either he'll drive here and pick us up, he'll fly here and we'll drive a local truck back to the main terminal or we'll fly to the main terminal and meet him. We're good with any of those options and simply waiting.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Company Orientation Day 3

Not a great deal to report today. We reported for orientation at the same time as yesterday and continued with training videos. Today the videos were focused more upon route planning, safe driving practices and company apps which we will be utilizing. In the afternoon we continued going over how to fill out our paper logbooks and completing them for the days we have "worked" so far. We also spent a great deal of time in just general conversation and I have to say, again, everyone has been fantastic.

As it turns out we will have one more short day of orientation and will likely finish around noon tomorrow. While some individuals were informed they were hired today (primarily those coming in with experience) we were told that they should have our paperwork completed tomorrow morning and that we will receive our employee ID numbers and be officially employees at that time. As we will be training together as a husband/wife team we expect to get our trainer sometime next week. We could be wrong, but we both get the impression that there is a genuine effort being made to insure that they get us a good one. Fingers crossed that we are correct in that!

Do You Vape? We do!

So this is a side note item but something we were initially a bit concerned about. I think others may be as well. My wife and I quit smoking and switched to vaping in late 2009, before hardly anyone even knew what "vaping" was. Neither of us has touched a cigarette since. As such we were concerned that in order to have a trainer tolerant of vaping we'd have to subject ourselves to being with a smoker, which would have been really tough for my wife especially. Turns out that our concerns were completely unfounded. I've been amazed at how many experienced drivers have rolled into the terminal and are vaping rather than smoking. We informed our safety manager today that we do vape and, if we had to, we'd go with an out-of-truck smoker if it was necessary. He responded with a resounding "NO" and told us that as vapers we don't want to be in a truck full of smoke and ashes that would soak into everything we own, or even an out-of-truck smoker for that matter. Very understanding! It makes total sense to me that companies would prefer vaping, after all the same benefits it provides us are major benefits for the company. The vehicles don't stink, you're not burning everything, you don't have ashes and trash everywhere, etc. Anyhow, we're both very pleasantly surprised that this turned out to be a complete non-issue!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Company Orientation Day 2

As stated in the last post, all the critical stuff was completed yesterday so today was far more relaxed. The morning began by meeting the shuttle at 7:50am for the twenty minute ride to the terminal. Upon arriving we sat down in the classroom, with coffee in hand this time as we couldn't have any yesterday, and began watching videos. After watching a couple hours of videos we watched a few more videos, then they threw in a couple more videos just for good measure! Lol! As far as the content they were more training related today rather than introductory in nature. They ranged from very informative pre-trip procedures to training on how to use the Qualcomm. Our company is primarily a team based, hazmat orientated, company. As such we spent the latter part of the afternoon going over the hazmat related aspects of the companies freight. I should probably mention for those just looking into the trucking industry that "hazmat" is often very innocuous, everyday items, such as batteries or lighters. We've always known that the real training would come after CDL school when we finally got on with a company. Today we spoke in detail regarding the numerous clients we may service with this company and one thing became abundantly clear...we have a LOT to learn in the months ahead aside from simply how to safely maneuver a truck!

A Hazmat Issue To Be Aware Of

So if you've read the entire thread you are aware of the issue we had regarding our school requesting we hold off on our doubles/triples and tanker endorsements. Initially we planned on banging them out anyhow but decided against it as we didn't want to chance any further delays in the testing process. Upon receiving our CDL's I e-mailed our company recruiter and explained that we had our hazmat but did not obtain the other endorsements due to the schools request. She explained that we could do them in the future when, and if, we wished. Well today we discovered that is NOT the case. Our company does not run tankers, however, we must have the tanker endorsement to run hazmat. In fact, if I understood correctly, everyone must have the tanker endorsement to run hazmat after this past April. (Someone experienced may be able to shed more light on that.) Anyhow, guess what we'll be doing Thursday? Yep, back to the DMV to hammer out a couple more endorsement tests. Shouldn't be any big deal, but it sucks.

Company Impression Thus Far

I have to say that so far we are both very pleased with our decision to come to this company. We've been treated well in terms of accommodations and they've been providing all meals. Nearly everyone we've met has been great, from the experienced drivers and fellow students to the terminal personnel. This particular terminal is not the main terminal for the company but it is clean in terms of the drivers lounge, laundry facilities, showers and classrooms. From our inexperienced perspective the equipment all appears new, clean and well maintained. From the end of the day yesterday and throughout today we've seen indications that the job is ours to lose and that we hold value as a husband/wife team with clean backgrounds. It was clear today that some individuals are already experiencing issues regarding background related items. At least one has been sent home and it appears two others may be having issues (We mind our own business but can't help but notice). We, on the other hand, brought a mound of paperwork, just to be on the safe side, and haven't even had to show any of it other than the basics. I'm guessing our background checks made it pretty cut and dry.

Incidentally, we were singled out today and it was pointed out that if we "really want to maximize our income" they "really like" husband/wife teams for their long distance dedicated refrigerated runs. We actually hope to go refrigerated as we've heard numerous times that the freight and miles are more consistent. We also happen to know that this company services a refrigerated client just 14 miles from our home, having numerous trucks there everytime we pass by. We're just not sure about the concept of running a dedicated route yet. We know that's likely where the money is, and we see the benefits of knowing our route like the back of our hands. We also want to see the entire country and gain the trucking experience from doing so though. In addition we have friends running a dedicated route with Schneider and, as the husband in this equation, I'm not sure I want to drop my wife directly into the exhausting situation of running out our clock every week with a 34 hour reset at home. I'm sure we'll learn more as our training progresses and determine what's right for us. In the meantime, and as I said before, it's nice to have options!

I'm sure that eventually someone will ask what company we're with and I'm also aware that some experienced folks may very likely be able to guess. I think that in order to have the freedom to convey our experience as it actually happens it's important that I don't make this a company specific thread and withhold that bit of information.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Company Orientation Day 1

What a day! Phew! Not particularly difficult in the "hard work" sense but rather in the very stressful "if we're gonna get sent home, it'll likely happen today" sense. We woke up about 4:00am, after neither of us having slept particularly well, to meet the shuttle at 6:30. We arrived to discover that we had gotten lucky with an exceptionally small orientation class of seven people. The first few hours were filled with watching videos while simultaneously filling out mounds of paperwork. Periodically throughout this we'd be pulled out, one at a time, to perform our physical agility tests, blood pressure tests and drug tests. Paperwork consisted of everything from benefit enrollments to sexual harassment policies. The videos ranged from company introductory videos to comdata videos. Unfortunately, very little from the videos stuck as we were doing paperwork and being pulled out of the room as they were playing. After all the morning activities were completed we had a short, 10 minute, drive test. The final task, performed at the end of the day, was to complete two drives on the simulator.

Physical Agility Test & Blood Pressure

I had watched videos on the physical agility test and really wasn't concerned about it for either of us. As it turned out it was a cake walk. You're taken into the terminal weight room and you begin by having your blood pressure taken. THIS I was worried about simply because I stress and my blood pressure can spike to borderline levels. Turned out it was 120/89, or right about there. They then have you doing ten squats in which you must place your hands together and touch the floor each time. Afterwards they check your heart rate. Then you lift a milk crate filled with 30lbs off a knee high bench and must turn 90˚, squat until it touches the floor, lift it again, turn 90˚ back to the bench and set it down. You repeat this three times and then they take your heart rate again. They then place an additional 20lbs in the crate, for a total of 50lbs, and you repeat the same process. After that they have a diamond plated steel bench designed to simulate the rear of a trailer. You must step up on the lower bar, then kneel up onto the deck, then place one foot flat on the deck in front of you. You then reverse the process to get down and they take your heart rate. You are then taken to a pull bar, which is a bar tied at both ends which attaches to a scale mounted on the wall. You first must pull the bar and I believe the target number was 90lbs. Then you push the bar for 75lbs. (The weight may be backwards there but that's what I believe they said.) They then take your heart rate again. And that's it! All done! (Incidentally my wife and I are in our early forties and are each packing 30 more pounds than we should be. Still not an issue.)

Drug Test

Pee in a cup, then initial it.

Drive Test

To my wife's credit she jumped at the chance to be the first one in the truck. I nervously watched as she drove out and returned about ten minutes later. Passed! A couple guys waiting on trainers told me as she left that it was easy and really just amounted to going around the block. I was however warned that there was one turn where everyone clips a ditch. When my wife returned I went out to meet the examiner (I guess that's what you'd call him but we later discovered he runs the whole show here). As I met my wife she told me she had passed, but warned me that she got dinged for taking the second turn to wide (which I thought was odd). She also informed me that the truck was far different from any we'd driven, the gears were much tighter and the layout was different. I made a mental note and headed out. As I got in the truck it was clear that she was correct. It will be great driving these trucks in the long run but there was zero time to get to know it and it was far different from our old Volvo at school. I approached the second turn (all right turns) and remembered to watch taking it to too wide. Bad advice! I kept it tight and barely, and I mean barely, hung the outside of my tire over the ditch. Needles to say I got another chance and passed just fine. Turns out the issue was that my wife held it in the left lane too long before getting over. That's what she was dinged for, not "taking it to wide". Anyhow, we passed!

Simulator!

This was a trip as we'd never had access to a simulator at our school! There were two drives, the first being a super easy simulator introduction. The second drive is what I'll call the "the roads are packed and EVERYONE is a freaking a@&hole" test!!! It was insane! Over the course of a few simulated miles you have people that won't let you merge, idiots running out into the freeway, a semi on the opposing side of the freeway that crashes and explodes making you think someone hit your truck, an ambulance parked on the shoulder that veers out in front of you to respond to the crashed truck, cars cutting in front of you, people changing tires half in the road, rain, thunder, lightning and ice. It was freaking nuts and felt like we were playing Grand Theft Auto - Trucking Edition!!! My wife scored a 94% and I scored 93%. Both generous scores if you ask me, and yes, she beat me again!

We're not supposed to know if we're hired till Wednesday. That being said, we literally passed everything critical today so, barring something completely unforeseen, it's looking good.

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

Pre-Orientation Update

Well, we're here and all checked in at the motel for orientation. Gotta say that at this point we're both just sitting here thinking how weird it is to finally be at this stage. The hotel they put us up in is a perfectly acceptable basic travelers motel. Room is clean & comfortable, a/c works and the internet is free and faster than what were used to on our boat. The whole experience is oddly reminiscent of my being shipped off to New Orleans for the diving industry, except that this time it's me and my wife rather than me and a dozen other guys stressing out over what's going to happen over the next few days. My wife did get a kick out of counting all the female truckers we passed going over the Grapevine on the way here. No less than half a dozen or so counted just on the Grapevine itself.

Our recruiter had told us that, upon arriving at the hotel, the front desk would give us a packet of paperwork to fill out and that we should e-mail her to confirm our check-in. In fact we were told that if we could arrive early we'd be able to get the packet filled out and be one step ahead for orientation. Unfortunately the front desk had no packet for us but instead just a "welcome" letter telling us to meet the shuttle at 6:30am tomorrow and listing what we'd need to bring. I then e-mailed our recruiter from the room, as requested, and immediately received an auto-response stating she'd be out of the office till 6/19. and provided the e-mail of another recruiter who'd assist individuals seeking assistance for orientations beginning 6/12. Apparently she failed to mention to us this past week that she would be gone the week of our orientation. Not to worry, I fully expected the recruiter to drop us like a hot potato the moment we arrived for orientation. Of course, we also don't actually need her for anything at the moment so I'll think positive and just assume that if we need something the other gentleman will handle it.

Anyhow, orientation will last three days and I'll post a "what we did today" in the evenings if time permits. Obviously this is a critical stage so we'll keep our fingers crossed that all goes well and take it one day at a time.

Update to the update....lol

Just prior to hitting the "submit" button the room phone rang, A company representative called us down to meet in the lobby and went over the details of orientation. Nice young lady. So far it seems like they've got it together!

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

First off let me start with a big thank you from both of us for all the congratulatory comments. Much appreciated!

Update - June 6th

As today was supposed to be the day in which we were to depart for tomorrow's orientation, I thought I'd post an update as to the current status. This, again, is simply so that those who wish to embark upon this journey in the future can see how it actually goes down, or at least can potentially go down.

Initially we were supposed to receive our hotel confirmations from our company on Monday of this week however, we were called Saturday mid-day and informed that the Wednesday (6/7) orientation at the California terminal was, unfortunately, full. As such we were given three potential alternatives and were given thirty minutes to discuss them prior to having to call back and confirm. We could leave Sunday morning and attend orientation beginning this Monday, we could wait till the following Monday (6/12) to attend, or the company would immediately book us plane tickets out of San Francisco to fly us directly to the Tennessee terminal for a Wednesday orientation. I was actually rather impressed by that last option. I wasn't even aware companies would be willing to spring for last minute plane tickets as most of the stories I've read involve Greyhound tickets, even over great distances. We've sent the company several documents and, supposedly, they have actually conducted all of our background checks so at this time I'm choosing to believe it's a sign that we are highly desirable as potential employees. (Probably not the case, but it sounds good!)

The first option involved departing less than 24hrs from being notified and posed numerous issues. We had a rental car booked (no desire to ride Greyhound if it can be avoided) and we'd have to reschedule, on the weekend, and for the next day (a Sunday). We also have arrangements secured for our dog to be taken care of while we complete company training and had no ability to positively rearrange that in thirty minutes.

The offer to fly out, while appreciated, involved having to get someone to give us a ride to San Francisco International Airport, which is an hour and a half away, on a Tuesday and during work hours. Again, not something we could positively arrange and confirm within thirty minutes. I'll also be honest in that my wife and I like to have our bases covered. We're aware from the stories of others that orientation is NOT a guarantee of employment and that individuals can be sent home for any one of numerous reasons. Often times we hear that people are left high-and-dry when this occurs and stuck trying to find a way home on their own. If this should happen to one or both of us, we'd rather be in Southern California with a rental car than in Tennessee needing to pay for a return plane ticket to California on a last minute booking!

Ultimately we selected the option of going next Monday. We'll depart Sunday the 11th and begin orientation Monday the 12th. And to think, I was under the impression that all the hurry-up-and-wait stuff wasn't going to start until we began running freight!

Interesting side note:

Upon going into our school to pick up our diplomas the office lady confided in us and told us a story which explains the headaches we experienced with testing at our commercial DMV. I immediately had to come home and Google it for myself. Apparently, and from what the office lady told us, this DMV is still under a major crackdown as it is embroiled in an ongoing investigation due to one of these false CDL's being issued to an individual who got into an accident resulting in multiple fatalities. My wife is absolutely convinced that they had me pegged as being undercover! Lol! (Who knows, but I wouldn't doubt it.)

See for yourself: https://calcoastnews.com/2015/08/salinas-dmv-employee-traded-drivers-licenses-for-bribes/

Posted:  1 year ago

View Topic:

A Husband and Wife Trucking Journey

First major hurdle down! CDL's obtained!

My wife's retest was scheduled for 10:15 this morning and, by absolutely pure luck, the owner of the school was able to catch a cancellation and get me into the time slot immediately following hers. We both passed without any issue at all this time and literally did so back-to-back! There were a few interesting tidbits regarding some issues with our truck, both the trucks we had in for testing in fact, but at this point I'm just gonna leave this update with a big "WE PASSED!" and enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend!

We spoke to our company yesterday and, making the assumption we'd both pass today, they scheduled our orientation date. We're gonna take a week to decompress from phase one and square a few personal things away in preparation for being gone. We'll then be leaving on June 6th and will begin our three day company orientation on the 7th. After that we can start tackling the next major hurdle of company training!

Page 1 of 3

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