Profile For JanaBanana

JanaBanana's Info

  • Location:
    Redding, CA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Team Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    10 years, 9 months ago

JanaBanana's Bio

I am a mom of 4 and grandmother of 5 entering into the trucking industry as a mid-life career change. My fiance and I just finished a 7 week training with Covenant Transport and are starting our new adventure.

https://www.facebook.com/drivenwomen.usa is where you can find recipes and pictures related to my stories. Give the page a "like" so you can get updates <3

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Posted:  10 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Graduate driving school: Check!

Being Sick and Being a Driver

I have wanted to touch on the subject of not feeling well and being stuck on a truck. The first part of this is all about your lady time, and sh*** is about to get real in here. I would like to take this opportunity to warn and or apologize to OldSchool, Brett and any of the other men who like to read our forum.

I worried about the day that my time would come around. I am peri-menopausal, have fibroids and I am anemic. These conditions create the "Perfect Uterine Storm". A real recipe for a disaster. Sofas will be ruined! Underwear will be considered disposable! I will sit on a towel in my car when I drive to the market for my second 40 pack of overnight pads!

I got pretty lucky with my inconsistent lady parts while I was in training with 2 men. I had just sent Aunt Flow packing right before we started and didn't hear from her for 8 weeks. You're probably thinking I was sooo lucky! No. These types of delays only serve to anger Mother Nature. So she sent Aunt Flow to check on me.... and teach me a lesson about skipping a month.

She showed up right as were getting our first job. You may remember we went from California to New Jersey and then to Chattanooga, WORST WEEK EVER!! Aunt Flow stayed for two weeks. WORST 2 WEEKS EVER!! I was ready for this as far as supplies and a plan. Sweet Jay has been through some tough stuff with me and we talked about the storm and how we would handle it.

Whatta a joke. here's how it goes with The Perfect Uterine Storm. Uterine Fibroids are exctly what they sound like, knots of fiber that grow and harden in your uterus. They make periods very painful and very messy. They rarely turn cancerous, but can cause a laundry list of problems if left untreated. I hate taking man-made medicines and will do anything to avoid surgery. I have a really good Doctor back home who understands me and a holistic nurse at Womens Health who is sweet and knowledgeable. Anyhow, they create little pockets of space where fluids like blood can hide and the suprise you when you stand up!

So, Sweet Jay and I had a plan and it was a waste of time. I had to make so many stops it was amazing that we made anything on time. I learned how to park, climb down and run to the rest area all in one motion... while clenching! I ruined some clothes, bought some clothes, ruined some clothes. I didn't wear makeup for those 2 weeks either. It's easier to drive and cry that way. carried a Walmart bag everywhere when we were stopped. It had pads, undies, pants, feminine wipes, Aleve. I looked like a crazy bag lady who has a penchant for pharmacies and personal care.

Just to give you an idea of just how evil Aunt Flow is, remember at the start I mentioned Anemia? This process was so bad at one point that my Doc wanted to hospitalize me for a transfusion! My blood iron has been as low as a 4 and it should be around 12-13. I just had my blood checked the other day and I was at 10, so we're good.

I just want you to realize that you should have a plan, but don't count on it working. You're best bet may be to "to go with the flow". Pun intentional.

Part 2, FLU!

So after almost being killed by my lady parts, I had about 10 days of healthy bliss. Then about a week and a half ago, I was driving a late night shift. I hate these shifts, they are really hard on me. Sweet Jay likes them and usually drives them, but our hours get twisted once in awhile. I found myself really struggling to stay awake, like on the verge of being unsafe! I did as I was trained, found a rest area, sent a message to dispatch and took a 30 minute nap. It worked, I was able to walk around the truck to wake up and got back to driving. I was back to square one after about and hour and a half. I took another break and let Sweet Jay know what was going on. I carefully drove just until his 10 hour break was up, then he sent me to bed.

I woke up aching and coughing and hot. I felt so much pain in my joints I thought I was dying! Sweet Jay informed me that I had the flu. "No!" I yelled! I don't get the flu! Ask my kids! Ask my former employees! I'm the person who pulls doubles when the whole crew is sick, cough cough, yack! Wait, what was that? "It's the sound of the flu, Honey... Can you drive?" Jay was stroking my head. That hurt. "Of course I can drive. I DON'T have the flu!". I actually had Jay buy us a carbon monoxide alarm, because I refused to believe I was ill from a virus. That damn thing still hasn't gone off!

We had a reefer load that couldn't sit and wait for a sissy with the flu. It was really good miles and our 4th payload of the week. All I could see were dollar signs, or were those stars from coughing? Whatever, I drove cross country totally sick. Jay did his best to keep me in daylight and I took naps when I needed them. By the time we hit Pennsylvania on Sunday I was asking to be taken to the hospital. The female Doogie Howser there said I was on the verge of surviving a bout with Influenza. From all the abuse I piled on myself I also had several small infections. My throat, ears, fracking uterus (figures, traitor) and my belly button? WTH?

I got my antibiotics, took 3 days off and am now back on the road. The meds and rest are working, I had no pain today, the cough is dry and fading and I have agreed to Sweet Jay's new rule. No Driving Sick! I'll gladly acknowledge my limitations from now on!

I hope you all are healthy and have a blessed day!

Posted:  10 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Graduate driving school: Check!

Hi Everyone~ A post from sunny California!

So, we finally got out of Chattanooga, after all the repairs to the truck, permits all updated and a load going west towards home. We were hauling for a major parcel company and had some hazmat items in there, so we were placarded this time. The weather through Texas was so bad that we had to stop for the night. It was so cold in Texas that one of our mirrors cracked. It was actually two cracks, frame to frame and a DOT ticket if inspected. So we called breakdown for advice and they said "fix it". We went to Amarillo and put her in the shop. While sitting in the waiting lounge, our DM (driver manager) calls and asks "why are you in Amarillo and not moving?" I told him about the mirror and that we had called breakdown. He was very upset, (apparently the breakdown department doesn't communicate with dispatch). Lesson learned, your DM is your everything and you have to tell him EVERYTHING. So, he's freaking out a little, this load HAS to be on time. Major carrier, our company is trying to get their foot in the door and get contracted etc. He just kept saying "oh my God, it can't be late". I said " Look, it's not going to be late, we don't don't mess around. We're not sightseeing or stopping for coffee and gossip at every truck stop. We're 4 hours ahead of schedule and will be on time". HaHa, said Mother Nature as we were leaving Texas. It started really snowing in late afternoon in New Mexico. I-10 was on a mandatory shutdown. We were on 40 and the snow wasn't sticking, so I kept going! It was quite exhilarating to actually use a lot of skills I had learned in school. I kept it safe, slow and steady. Jay would poke his head out every now and then and ask if I felt comfortable. I would evaluate the situation honestly before answering. The snow was blowing but not sticking, I was following a salt truck and had felt no slippage, I was keeping my speed low and even in pace with the salt truck. I wasn't stressed or tired, so we kept going. We got to Los Angeles, found our destination easily and delivered 45 minutes early. Our DM sent us a Qualcomm message and said "Good job guys." That felt great! He got us a couple of little hopper loads to get us closer to home so we could get our dog. Vato The Wonder Chihuahua is now on our truck and seems very content to be back with Mom and Dad. He needs to see a vet which will happen on our next day off (his little hiney glands are swollen), and we're just waiting for a load now. I will say it again, I am super thankful that we did our training during winter. I feel confident and well prepared. I know my limitations and will stop when it's unsafe to be on the road, even if the load will be late. It's my life on the line after all, not the DM's. I am a firm believer in being honest about my abilities. I was being passed up by a ton of drivers the other night, and when I got to the bottom of the pass I didn't see any of them stuck in a drift or wrecked in the median. Good for them! I applaud their skills and hope to be as good a driver one day. But for now, I will creep along behind the salt trucks and snow plows, doing my best to be safely upright and safely on time!

Have a Blessed day everyone!

Posted:  10 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Graduate driving school: Check!

Thanks Starcar, We're both working on it! Jay has been more his normal self the last few days, so wonderful! We've been at the yard for 5 days now trying to get the new truck rolling. We discovered an out of date IFTA sticker late Friday, too late to be replaced. So we were stuck for the entire weekend. We took that time to really make sure we had all our ducks in a row and made a ton of new friends in the process. Yesterday (Monday) we found out that the sticker issue wouldn't be resolved until 4:30... the time that dispatch leaves. We took that in stride and went back to the truck. A mechanic was walking by and heard our belts squeaking and asked us to take the truck back to inspections, he had been looking for it. So now, Tuesday morning and she's in the bay getting a new headlight lens and 2 new windshields! We have made friends with a lot of the service guys here and now realize that they may not see this truck for 6 months or more and want to make as many repairs as they can. Their job is as important to safety as ours is. So we have a new appreciation for the guy who says "That miniature chip in the glass will be a major crack some day, let's fix it now". Now we're just hoping that we can get routed to Northern California to pick up our Chihuahua "Vato". Our daughters are taking turns spoiling him. He's going to be impossible, I'm sure!

Have a blessed day everyone! Pictures of the truck will be posted very soon at https://www.facebook.com/drivenwomen.usa

~ Jana ~

Posted:  10 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Graduate driving school: Check!

FIRST SOLO TRIP, NO TRAINER!

Hi girls (and guys), ready for an update? Ok then!

So we got our first assignment last week and it was a doozy. First of all we were delivering an older International to Chattanooga so the company can sell it or trade it in. It's been well used and has a few issues, add to that the fact that I have never been in one and the panel setup is way different than anything we've driven so far, so of course we called breakdown several times and asked "Where is (this) switch or (that) doo-dad?". We learned a lot about that truck as we rolled. Time was short. We were excited, nervous and determined to do a good job. We prayed for no major complications, but little did we know we were in for a test of a lot of skills.

The drops were in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The first problem was in Az. The dock manager there was heated over the way the trailer was loaded. He had to pull every pallet out to get his order because two of his were in the front. He wasn’t mad at us, it was the Cali guys who messed up, but it took a couple hours to re-load. We had started out 1.5 hours ahead and left 2 hours behind. Then, we were headed to Illinois and got a call from our dispatch office. We had made an error when planning our fuel stops and were a hundred miles off course. We had to back track to the correct highway. We were now 4 hours behind for our next stop. We get into Illinois and that was the start of the most recent freak storm. You may have seen that on the news… snow in the south and the east was crazy!

Jay was driving in winds that were 40-60 mph. Our load was solid and had some weight so he cautiously pushed through it. That slowed us wayyy down, we delivered 10 hours late, the receivers were nice and met us at the dock at 4:am. My honey woke me for my shift a few hours later and I looked out to see nothing but white. The roads were cleared but frozen. The drifts were deep, powdery and blowing across the road. I had daylight and salt trucks, I pushed through it. I lost count of trucks in the ditches, some on their side, some jack knifed, some just stuck. All from the night before. When we were dealing with wind, they were dealing with blizzard. It was a sobering, scary and slow drive through Illinois and Ohio.

All of our appointments had been reset so we were trying to see ourselves as still on time but knowing that we really weren't made us disappointed. We did the rest of our east coast as best we could (Jersey is nuts by the way, not built for trucks!) Our stress levels were maxed out. We had to pay all the east coast tolls out of pocket because the truck didn't have PrePass, that was nearly $180, a good amount of our meager savings. We finished and went to the company yard in Allentown, Pa. and spent the night snapping at each other and wondering why we wanted to do this. We did a quick and stressful refer load to Walmart the next morning which was late due to construction.We both felt like we had failed big time, Jay was blaming himself because of the fuel stops, I was trying to get him to see it my way and not quit… we were a hot mess. We thought our dispatch was going to think we couldn't handle this.

Then he called us. He had a “high value security load”. Very important stuff. Our trainer had prepared us for this. These loads are watched closely by the security team and customer relations. You have to call when you stop for anything. One driver has to stay with the truck at all times. You have to drive non-stop for hours once you’re loaded to avoid possible hijacking. Serious stuff. A chance for redemption (in our minds). We started by apologizing to each other and making a pact to be successful and no more whining, to recognize the things you can change and be patient about the things you cannot change. The world does not recognize or run by our schedule.

Yes, the shipper was not ready. Yes, we sat in an alley behind the loading dock in Jersey waiting for hours. Yes the load was late and no, our security team and dispatchers did not blame us. When they found out that we had to sit in that alley they actually apologized and made arrangements for us to stop at a secure locale for a potty break before hitting the highway. This leg of the trip was so good. The weather had cleared and the sky was blue. We drove highway I81 all the way down to Tennessee through some of the prettiest countryside the USA has to offer. Even prettier with all the snow off the roads! We met our relay driver in Knoxville, traded trailers and headed for corporate headquarters in Chattanooga. They inspected our trade truck and we are currently spending the weekend here getting our new truck set up. We got to meet all the people we talk to on the phone and everyone seemed genuinely happy to meet us. Our pot of gold at the end of this jacked up rainbow? We get to watch the Super Bowl today on a big screen in the drivers lounge!

Our new truck is really nice and I’ll be posting pictures and videos of it on Face Book later today at (https://www.facebook.com/drivenwomen.usa)

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

~Jana~

Posted:  10 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

So....can we get some updates Ladies in trucking????

Absolutely loving this new adventure. Found a wonderful teammate, finished my training and have dealt with some of the hardest issues we face being away from loved ones. Hoping to get home for the first time in 5 months come February. Found out I-80 through Wyoming sucks this time if year.

5 months! Girl, you have some cahones bigger than most men :)) I hope you get your home time soon and congrats on finding a good teammate!!!

Posted:  10 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Just how hard is it to shift gears?

Old School nailed it right on the head (as usual)! Today's trucks shift just as easily as a car, I trained in a Volvo and you could use your fingertips. The shifting pattern is an "H" pattern 10 speed for most company trucks. Pretty basic stuff. I'd never done it until last October when I started school. I'm currently on a Cali to New Jersey run with my man and having a great time!

Posted:  10 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Graduate driving school: Check!

STARCAR...All I can say is JEALOUS!!! I can't wait to see your pictures!!!

Posted:  10 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Graduate driving school: Check!

Thanks Spirit! The FB address is Mother Truckers, Professional Women Drivers. Don't laugh, I was tired and had a creative brain fart lol! I've got a lot of likes so far and will be adding content soon. Jay and I leave for southern Cali tonight. We are picking up an old truck that needs to go to Tennessee for trade in and we'll get our truck there. I am pretty excited!

Have a blessed evening <3

Posted:  10 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Keeping in shape while OTR......???????

Hi everyone,

Free Spirit, I'd be interested to know what you do "food-wise" OT. My husband and I are beginning drivers school this next Monday. I've been looking for ways to prepare meals and stay on track with the way we've been eating for years before this decision to drive together was made...

Hi Andrea,

I've been working on an eating plan for the last couple of months too. The goal for me is to save money as well, by not eating restaurant or fast food. Jay and I bought a "lunch box cooker" for about $25. It gets up to 300 degrees. I have made casseroles for two, heat up burritos, cans of soup, chili, made scrambles eggs... I love this thing. I'm trying to link a pic so cross your fingers... http://i1361.photobucket.com/albums/r671/jana_turner1/Facebook/Mobile%20Uploads/1525490_10152381097522224_1293906600_n.jpg

We also have a cooler with a drain. We by 3 days worth of food at a time. Sandwiches to go with the soup and yogurt for snacks. Healthy choices are easier if you can pop into a grocery. I LOVE SALAD! Easy Easy Easy and so good!

For exercise (aside from the obvious stuff like walking), Jay and I thought that a baseball and gloves would be a fun way to pass the time while waiting to be loaded. I've been on the road for 7 weeks so let me know if you need more specific info!

Posted:  10 years, 4 months ago

View Topic:

Central Refrigeration.

Hi Timmy!

I just graduated in November and just finished training with a great company. I'll tell you what my instructor at school told me about the driving portion of the CDL test... IT'S JUST DRIVING! Just take a deep breath and do what you do, don't over think it. While you're in school try to learn the sound of the gear ratio as well as the RPM and speed. I can shift my car just by hearing the engine, you just know it needs to be shifted. You want to have the same feel for your truck. During the test if you boggle a gear you won't fail. Remember that 6th gear will save you in most situations.

The tester I had was really cool and explained a lot before we started. They really don't want to fail people, they know how hard you worked to get there. But their number 1 priority is public safety. Be aware of your trailer at all times. Check your mirrors every 8 seconds. Stay on your lane. Make your wide turns smoothly and safely... don't hit the curb! Hitting the curb or any object, impeding traffic or scaring the crud out of the examiner are the main things that will fail you.

As far as feeling like you don't get enough truck time, that will work itself out as people graduate. If you are stuck in the yard, do your pre-trip... over and over and over and over, LOL! It's a lot of info to remember along with the in-cab test, but you'll get it.

All I can say is that I am a lady of a certain age. If I can do this, you most certainly can! Go be the the top 1%!!!

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