Comments By John S.

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  • John S.
  • Joined:
  • 7 years, 5 months ago
  • Comments:
  • 20

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Posted:  7 years, 1 month ago

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I've made it!

Also a new solo driver here. I was a bit sceptical about those thermoelectric coolers but gotta say they do work fantastic. I got the Mobicool W45, but I imagine they all work the same...

The only other equipment I got was a RoadPro 12v Food Warmer. I use it with aluminum loaf pans with a bit of water under the pan to steam heat up my pre-made home meals I freeze and pack in the cooler at the beginning of the week. Does take 25-30 minutes but the result is fantastic piping hot and moist meals, better than a microwave, IMO... I also use it to boil water for coffee/tea.

I was planning on getting the company max allowed 1500W inverter installed and a microwave, but the current setup does a decent enough job that I'll hold off on that expense (and space) for now.

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Hi guys,

Just a quick update. I'm done with orientation and training and all went really well. Company is sending me out solo starting tomorrow for the regional division!

Got my truck assigned this past friday. It's a 2005 International with a C13/10-speed. It ain't nothing to brag about but I went over and as far as I can tell it looks mechanically solid and all maintenance was done to it recently. But I'll take what is given to me and will try to make the most of it.

The dispatch seems like a nice guy. His plan is to start me out slowly and ramp up from there depending how I do. The company also has a great support structure in place for new drivers, so I wont really be left on my own.

Still can't believe I just pulled the trigger on this career mid-january and here I am going solo before mid-april. And loving every minute of it so far!

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Crossing to and from Canada

Yeah, 13hrs driving out of 14 hrs on-duty. Also more flexibility with off-duty splitting and split sleeper options, and can defer off-duty to next day to extend driving hours etc. Although if you are just going to London it probably wont come into play much. Can read more here if curious and have some time: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/060555

Nothing really wrong with Qu├ębec. I'm from Quebec myself and have a love/hate relationship with the province. The rest of Canada just loves some Quebec bashing and vice versa, I guess kinda like west coast vs. east coast for you.

Not sure what to do around London. For me it's just the town where I turn right onto Hwy402 towards Sarnia and onto I-69W towards Flint & Lansing. Or about the half-way point marker from Toronto to Windsor/Detroit, lol.

If heading further up the 401, Toronto traffic is a mess like any major metropolitan area. But the EnRoute service areas with their Tim Hortons every 40-50 miles are super nice.

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Crossing to and from Canada

If clean background, no DUIs and valid passport = no problem

It's not all that different up here. Well, except Quebec but even then....

Just remember 4.1m = 13'6" and 100km/h=62mph and you should be good.

Which part of Canada will you be running?

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Looks like I am going to be a Swiftie!!!!!

That's awesome Victor, congrats! smile.gif

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

No problem Garth, no offence taken.

And thanks Victor!

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Brett, Garth, Dan, Tractor Man, thanks for the welcome.

Yesss, I'm super fired up and excited to get started next Monday. After a long dark winter in so many different ways, I'm really looking forward to spring weather and hitting the open road in this beautiful part of the continent.

I know I have so much to learn, but learning is something I love to do, and take pride in learning as much as I can about anything I do and doing it well. I have no doubt this career will keep me learning hopefully until my retirement, 15-20 years from now, or maybe beyond. As long as them AI driven autonomous trucks don't take over, haha... ;)

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Indeed and pardon application is in progress. Although at this point a Cdn pardon will not clear it from US databases...

I actually lived life for the past 25 years thinking I did not have a criminal record. I was sure that it was an unconditional discharge that gets wiped off the records after 1 year or at least that's what I (wrongly) understood when pleading. It was only when I requested a pre-employment screening report which came back "not clear" and then submitted the fingerprints to RCMP to get the records is when I realized it was a summary CC conviction. I really wish a former employer would have flagged this in a background check years ago. Or even that I would have been stopped and questioned about it at the border years ago... Would have dealt with it then.

You should have gotten a pardon back in Canada. It would have saved you a lot of headaches

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Continued...

As I got back to my car in the parking lot ready to head home, I got a call from Company A and they were ready to hire me as a US driver and asked if I was ready to start on March 20th or 27th! One week orientation and some driving practice, one or two weeks local/regional runs with a trainer and then Solo to US! Now here's the best part. In case I have issues crossing to US, they will help me with getting a FAST card and while this is in progress (might take a few months), they will have me running regional Ontario-Quebec-Maritimes provinces corridor, home every weekend! Plus, they have a local terminal 15 minutes from my home! And they run paper logs (double-edged sword for a rookie, i know...)

No brainer really, I decided to go with company A. Will start next Monday March 27th!

My simple plan: -Work hard
-Keep a positive attitude
-Be professional
-Develop a good relationship with Dispatch
-Listen and learn
-Do the PTIs religiously
-Dont hit anything!
-Stay away from terminal rats (thanks Brett, that last podcast was full of awesome stuff as usual)

All check, feel free to add and wish me luck!

Posted:  7 years, 2 months ago

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Another career journey begins, enabled by TT

Hello all,

First post and intro as I've been lurking on here for a couple of months, soaking in the tons of information. Thank god I found this site early on while researching this career!

A huge thanks to Brett for this site and all the moderators and regular contributors to this forum! The information on here is priceless.

I am (was) and IT Professional for almost 25 years. After losing my management level job a few months ago, I was left disillusioned and plenty of soul searching ensued as to what do I want to do until retirement. Like for many, driving a big American rig was a long time dream that was sorta kept in the closet, mostly due to the stigma associated with that career choice.

Thankfully I am at a point at my life where I no longer care or live by any such prejudices... And my wife fully supports me, the kids are now big enough (15 & 11) to be relatively low maintenance and think this is cool (for now at least). My mother, well, she looked like she was ready to jump into her grave (as Brett put it) upon hearing about my career change, lolll. She handled it a bit better after I explained to her that no, I will not be loading/unloading 40,000 lbs of Idaho potatoes and chances are relatively slim of me dying in a fiery crash...

So I signed up for a private trucking school in middle of January, passed my CLP a couple of weeks later and got my CDL on March 7th. I tried getting pre-hires but things work a bit different up here in Canada. Basically every single employer told me to get the CDL first and then call them for a road test. So literally on March 8 I started calling the companies back.

Now this is where things got interesting and a bit different from what happens in the US. I do have a minor misdemeanor on my record that goes back 25 years ago, was not what the US CBP calls a crime of "moral turpitude" (murder, drugs, sex, aggravated violence, theft etc.), and I was always eligible to cross the border and did so literally a hundred times over the years for work and pleasure. I was upfront with all the companies that I applied for of course but all the big players (Schneider, Challenger, TransForce etc.) flat-out refused to even consider me upon finding out... As one recruiter put it: "You can cross the border a hundred times without a problem and then on the 101st time they can turn you around. It just takes one overzealous agent. We cant take the risk". Since 90% of jobs in Canada require crossing to US, man was I dejected at that point...

I didn't give up though. Kept going down the list and calling. I then saw one company that was holding a Saturday March 11 open-house/interviews/road-tests at a town about a 90 minute drive from my place, so I figured my best bet would be to show up and present myself in person. So I did. Showed up early and was the first one on site. Road-test went well, interview went well, then I explained my situation. The recruiter said they've dealt with cases like mine a few times, but said they would need to review with legal and then decide if they would offer me a position. Fingers crossed... BTW, the company is a medium-size carrier (about 400 trucks) and is considered a "bottom-feeder" by many up here for various (usual) reasons. But having been on here just long enough to learn that most of what I've read elsewhere is probably not true and if they would give me a chance, I'd take it, do my best and find out for myself...

There was one more company left on my list. Company B. Another medium carrier so-called "bottom-feeder" with about 300 trucks, and the reason I left them for last is that they do mostly US West coast runs in teams. But if that was my only option I was ready to take it. I applied online and literally 20 minutes after hitting the send button I got a call and an invite for a road test on March 16. The "road-test" was actually done on a simulator. Was an interesting experience and an impressive rig, 13-speed, clutch, grinds gears and all. In a simulator they can throw all kinds of scenarios at you that cannot be replicated in real life. Four-wheelers slamming brakes in front of you, another one attempting a suicide pass on a two-lane road, a biker jumping on to the road from a parking lot, a low clearance bridge, a car stopped partly on the shoulder and another truck coming in opposite directions, climb an 18% grade with 45,000lbs load from a dead-stop, followed by a few 10-15% descents and climbs, etc. It was INTERESTING/FUN to say the least. I did fail to note the low-bridge sign, and parking on the simulator was a disaster. Other then a 90 degree turn with a straight back, I struggled with all other scenarios. But instructor said I did much better than average and with a couple of hours of yard practice backing up i'd be ok and definitely good enough to hire.

Interview went very well. What they would do for my record is make me attempt to cross the border and report to US customs with a letter of employment and ask to have a look at my record and confirm if I would be eligible to cross with a CMV. If not, ask whether or not do I need a waiver. In that's case the company would support and help me to get the necessary documents. One week orientation would start on 27th, then first two runs to West-Coast with a trainer (not a team run). 4th week out as a team. So I had my first offer from Company B. Yay!

To be continued...Sorry for long post...

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