Profile For Feanor K.

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    1 year, 11 months ago

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Posted:  5 days, 17 hours ago

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Game: How Do You Motivate Yourself?

I should say "your jokes" probably so that is taken in the correct light : P

Posted:  5 days, 17 hours ago

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Game: How Do You Motivate Yourself?

I’m afraid of my driver manager.

Your comments always crack me up. Thanks for that!

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Failed My CDL road test - Need Advice

Definitely start lower imo. No harm doing 3rd or even 2nd. I remember I went up a hill in my CDL test, and I took the entire thing in like 5th gear cause I didn't wanna risk stalling. Traffic behind me mighta got a bit annoyed but I didn't stall, and the Examiner didn't say a word.

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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I am not confident but company wants me to take the driving test

Awesome job man! Personally I never felt ready at any new stage when I was getting started trucking, but if you just go with the attitude that you will do the best you can and take it slow, never failed me

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

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The photo and opportunity that took almost 7 years to achieve!

Grats man! Nice shot you got

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Starting class tomorrow, anyone else?

Goodluck Spaceman! Just remember that it is a stressful, trying time for everyone in school, and that it is perfectly normal to feel unready at nearly every stage (from your first drive to your CDL test to your first solo load), the key is to just push through and keep going until your mind finally has time to catch up.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Back On The Road

Last July I made the decision to turn in my keys and move on from trucking.

Next Monday, almost 7 months later, I will be assigned a truck and head out on the road again. And I'm excited :)

I honestly didn't expect I would get back into this profession with my criteria, let alone so soon, but the right opportunity came along and here I am.

My company offers home time and a work environment that I never expected, which should allow me the time and energy to work on my projects at home, all with a solid paycheck.

Have to say it's good to be back driving!

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Should I risk it?

Awesome job sticking with it! You showed integrity and discipline, and I have no doubt it will continue to pay off

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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My Rookie Year Wages (Flatbed)

Feanor, interesting info Can you lend me a few bucks?

You kidding? I'm a broke *** warehouse worker, atleast until next week. If anyone's getting a buck its me!

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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My Rookie Year Wages (Flatbed)

'I no longer drive for Systems, but I talked a lot about my experience with them in this thread.'

Woops! Forgot to provide the link. Link This is the thread I was referring too :P

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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My Rookie Year Wages (Flatbed)

Much obliged Feanor, your effort is not in vain.

For us prospects reading this website daily we appreciate the time you took and will combine the lessons explained here with the evidence yet again put forth that attitude and hard work makes the world turn in this industry.

Happy to help!

I actually have Systems Transport bookmarked for future reference once I have a year of OTR exp under my belt w/ TMC.

How are you liking ST thus far? and do they have a pet policy?

I no longer drive for Systems, but I talked a lot about my experience with them in this thread. The TL;DR is, they treated me fantastically and gave me all the miles I could handle. If you are willing to work hard and earn their appreciation, you will be rewarded. If you are interested in the Regional Heavy-haul Fleet, they run a great outfit, especially if you get Branden as your DM.

As far as pet policy, I honestly don't recall. I don't have any pets so I paid no attention : /

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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My Rookie Year Wages (Flatbed)

Hey TT'ers! Good to see yall again! Well actually I never really stopped lurking here, so I have seen you but... you get the point :P

So I haven't posted on here in a good while, but the last time I did I promised to do a post detailing my first year's earnings for anyone interested. I know when I was starting out I had a really hard time finding any detailed post about actual numbers, especially for Flatbedding. So hopefully this helps someone get a better idea. Keep in mind, trucking pay is very much performance based, so it can vary substantially by the person. That said, if you keep that in mind and use your discernment, I believe real numbers can be very useful to compare and draw your own conclusions!

I worked at System Transport fresh out of CDL school as an OTR Flatbed driver from 9/1/17 - 5/4/2018 and on their NW Heavy-haul Regional Fleet from 5/4/18 - 7/27-18. All said just shy of 11 months total. Out of that time, my first 10 weeks were Training. I have collected screenshots of an overview list, as well as all my stubs from their Driver Portal. It was kind of an awkward process, so be warned they didn't all come out perfect and you may have to zoom in.

I'll link the overview here, but the stubs are like 50 separate images so I will have to find a better way to conglomerate those in another post. Bear in mind, training period checks are included for both OTR and Regional (these are annotated on the stubs, but not the overview.) Anyway here it is!

System Transport: 9/1/2017 - 7/27/2018

My Gross total for the period was: $53,136.21

My Net total for the period was: $36,188.36

Total of 12 weeks training @ $700/wk included.

My mileage pay rate was 43/CPM.

I also received Tuition Reimbursement once per month in $396 chunks. I believe the total amount was $3500. 0097287001551557290.jpg0768616001551557326.jpg

So there it is! I hope this helps give some prospective drivers out there an idea for the kind of money you can make in your first year. Keep in mind, I screwed up a lot early, and as a result spent an extra long time in training (almost 3 months!). I also switched Fleets which came with more downtime and training.

All in all I could have done better in several categories, but this site prepared me amazingly well, and as a result I got some awesome miles and fantastic treatment from my company. By the time I hit my stride I was on pace to make easily 65k + for my second year, and if you run hard, be safe, and keep a good attitude you can expect the same!

In conclusion I hope this is helpful, and if you have any questions I'll be happy to try to answer them!

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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I have a problem with keeping my eating out spending low... How can I discipline myself?

One idea would be to cook up a lot of dishes on your home-time (things like rice and chicken or beef-heavy chili/spaghetti are tasty and easy to nuke) and store them in your fridge so all you gotta do is warm them up. Seal them well and they will last a long time. If you got a freezer you could put some in there as well if you are out for long periods, and rotate them to the fridge as it gets low.

I also workout frequently and I know the pain of road spending. Double scoop protein shakes also keep the hunger under control and are very cheap. Personally I load up on protein rich canned food (mostly beans as I'm vegetarian) and Minute rice. Combine and nuke and you have a decent meal in a couple minutes. Add a few slices of bread, maybe some PB and a protein shake and I can easily hit 3200 calories and my protein for the day for dirt cheap.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Plant based eater starting out

I was vegan for most of my year trucking, the exception, unfortunately, was my training period. Funny story, I had my car all loaded up with a month + worth of canned food, protein bars and boxes of oatmeal when I pulled up to my trainers truck. I took one look inside and knew it wasn't gonna work. I managed to fit enough food in there to last me about week, and could have maybe done more with some clever arranging, but as it turned out, I was waaaaay too preoccupied trying to survive that month to make the diet work anyway. Imo the training period is easily the most stressful and demanding time you will spend in a truck. I am not trying to discourage you here, I'm not saying it is not possible by any means, but if you are willing to give up your diet for a month, believe me, you will have more than you can handle without having to try to make extra shopping trips and food prep time.

If that is not an option, than I totally understand and respect it. In that case these are some ways I handled it after going solo. They don't all apply to training but I figured I'd throw them all in here anyway.

1 - If at all possible, get a Microwave and preferably a mini-fridge too. My trainer had both in his truck and was nice enough to share.

2 - Shop in bulk before you leave, and on your home-time. I would do my best to get a full month's worth of food every time I was home. Got some weird looks at Wal-Mart with my cart overflowing but you can fit it in the truck once you are solo, and it can save you a lot of pain in the rear trying to fit in stops at Wal-mart on the road. Not to mention a ridiculous amount of money if you can't make it and have to shop at a truckstop.

3 - Can Opener. Canned food is your friend. The majority of my diet was made up of canned black beans and Minute rice. You can really live on that stuff. Just keep in stock of Soy Sauce, it makes the difference. Throw a can of beans, 1/2c rice and a bit of extra water in a fridge dish, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes, let it sit for 5 and you got a good breakfast. Eat it with 3 slices of bread and you got almost 1500 protein-loaded Calories.

4 - Peanut Butter Bagels! These were my lifeline. Can't count how many times I had to skip breakfast to make an appointment and these saved my butt, they are so quick you can throw together a whole meal while you are being unloaded. Did you know 1 bagel is around 250 calories and depending on the brand (get Dave's Killer) up to 12g protein? 2 tbsp of PB is about another 200cals and 8g protein. That's 450 calories and 20 grams protein for a tasty snack that takes 30 seconds to prepare! Eat two of those and you got a solid meal. For real they are amazing!

5 - Protein Shakes/Bars. Most people will probably recommend vegan protein bars, and that is a great idea. They are super easy, loaded with protein and calories and tasty. They can be add up a bit price-wise though in my experience. I also get sick of them really fast. Personally I would recommend Protein Powder higher. You can get really good stuff for a dollar per serving and it will last forever (50 servings for a large size). It is super easy, cheap, space-efficient, and satisfying. All you need to do is get a shaker bottle for $5-$10 at walmart and you are set. I personally used water, to make it even cheaper and easier, but almond milk is even better if you got a mini fridge.

6 - Almond Milk keeps forever even without a fridge! It is true. Most of this isn't even refrigerated at the store, so they will last almost indefinitely un-opened, but what I found out is that they will last a hella long time even once they ARE opened. I've driven around almost a week in Arizona/Cali with a gallon of almond milk open and I finished it before it went sour.

I hope this helps and you have my respect for trying Vegan trucking, it is definitely a challenge! For me personally, it was one thing too many to handle in training, but I hopped right back on the wagon once I was upgraded to solo. I'm sure you can make it work if you really have a mind to, but I would encourage you to put just surviving and getting through training as your #1 priority. It is only a month or so and after that you can have all the time and space you need to do it your own way. That said, if I had the practice I do now with improvising in my own truck, I could probably have made it work. Either way, best of luck to you man, I really hope it all works out and you kick butt out there and get that upgrade!

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Odd question

Maybe I was lazy, but I always cut in between, day or night. I'm that guy you see running to and from the truck-stop like I'm being chased by Michael Myers. You probably thought I was running late or something, truth is just as likely I was in the middle of a 34 reset :P I just hate walking to and from those stops.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Rejection due to unemployment

Great job man! Way to push through and make it happen! I wouldn't worry about the wait, personally. Like OS said, holidays. Those Dispatchers want to get you in a truck as much as you do, I'd bet!

Posted:  8 months ago

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End of a Journey - My year of trucking.

Very interesting. Maybe I should check into barbering haha!

Thanks Will, I do plan to share more stuff soon!

Posted:  8 months ago

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End of a Journey - My year of trucking.

Thanks for the kind words Brett! I'm gonna give it my all, and I'll continue to pop in here, I always enjoy hearing the stories of other drivers, and sharing what bits of help I can. I made this post because I wanted to share my experience with everyone to give a little bit back to this awesome community, without whom I probably would never have made it half as far as I did. It's the absolute least I could do.

A very good read and well put, Feanor. I can relate, but in an opposite manner. I LOVE trucking. I tried Barbering when I first got out of the service. I enjoyed it and appreciated the skill I learned, I took a huge pay cut to go into trucking. Sounds funny huh. I hardly worked and made great money being a barber. I barely worked 3 1/2 days a week and averaged 1,200 a week in my pocket. But, I didn't love doing it. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. So I completely get where you are coming from.

Thanks Patrick! That's crazy though, I had no idea barbers were paid that way! But there is no replacement for doing what you love, eh?

Posted:  8 months ago

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End of a Journey - My year of trucking.

Anyway here is the rest!

I put in my request to switch to the Regional Northwest Heavy-Haul fleet mid-April and my company was great about it. They got me home at the end of the month, gave me a 3 day crash course in drop-axles, picking up a couple local loads with a trainer, then handed me the keys to my new truck.

Now I have to say, I was a little dubious going in about the pay. I had heard from my OTR trainer and other people at the yard that I shouldn't expect to make the same kind of money I was as an OTR driver. I had heard some good things as well, but I know how truckers tend to exaggerate so I was more inclined to believe the negative. Still, the idea of being home every weekend was enough for me to try it, even if I did expect a pay cut. Turns out, I needn't have worried.

They had warned me they would run me hard, and I told them the harder the better. They took me at my word. I hit the ground running with this fleet and it was really fantastic. From my first load out to my last, I was planned at LEAST one load ahead, often two. The work was hard and physical, something which was actually a huge improvement for me compared to the long long hours sitting when OTR. Even better was the pay, I had been all prepared to take the pay cut with a grimace, but I was surprised and delighted to find that all that tarping in the summer heat actually added up pretty quick on my check, and although I certainly wasn't running any 3200 mile weeks anymore, the superior mileage pay did wonders. After a month I realized that I was actually averaging MORE money, was feeling much better physically, and was home weekends consistently to boot.

Perhaps best of all was the appreciation I got from dispatch. I had been prepared to suck it up and repeat the whole 'proving myself' process for the next month or two, but at the end of my first week my dispatcher called to thank me for running hard, and told me he 'Could already tell I was going to be an excellent driver', followed by giving me a juicy 1600 mile round-trip load to Canada (somewhere I had ALWAYS wanted to go!) I was amazed and super happy to see how quickly my work was noticed, and it only got better from there.

I don't want to sound like I am bragging, but just to emphasize the way I was treated. And me just a rookie with less than 9 months under my belt at the time, and only a WEEK with the fleet! This is the true definition of a Performance Based profession. I truly feel I was treated like royalty here, and the only thing I was asked to do in exchange was work hard. Quite a change from previous jobs I have worked, where people with confident personalities or flashy degrees got the promotions. Don't get me wrong, I think that hard work pays off in the long run anywhere, but in trucking that work translates truly and instantly into appreciation and MONEY. That is something I will miss about this career.

So if it was all that fantastic, why did I quit after not quite 3 months? Simply put, trucking is not for me. The very fact that things had fallen out so perfectly really brought that home. Home every week? Check! Great money? Check! Good physical work and great DM? Check! ..... So why was I still not happy?

Because I chose trucking as a job, not a career. I want to be a writer, I want to design games, and work on my social and spiritual life. Trucking is a great career in a lot of ways, but for these goals, I found that working consistent 14+ hour days was just not conducive. Sure I was home weekends, but after 5-6 exhausting 14 hour days which ended in immediate collapse on my bunk, I was far more fit for the couch than for the discipline of working on the challenges of ANOTHER career. I tried to use trucking like I had done with past jobs, as a means to make money while building my true career in my free time. That is just not feasible, for me atleast.

Do I regret doing it? Well, this time last year I had never driven a manual vehicle, hardly been outside my home state in my life, let alone the country, was nervous about traveling and downright scared of big cities. One year later I have been to all but 3 or 4 states in the country + Canada, been through LA, NYC, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, NJ, Philly, Houston and just about ever other, and done it all in a 70 ft, 80k pound rig. I have no fear of traveling, in this country or others, I have gained a ton of confidence in myself, learned alot about patience and following through, finally got off my rear to get my passport and my GED, and even saved a nice chunk of money in the process. Do I regret that? WHAT IS THERE TO REGRET!?

In the end it is something I am very glad and thankful to have done. It is also something I will miss. Was quitting the right decision? Probably not from a financial standpoint. Quitting a good job where you are appreciated when you are young and single to chase dreams of being a published writer? Not advice you would hear from a financial consultant. But I do think it WAS the right decision for me.

Will I ever go back? It is not something I plan to do, but it is a skill I have gained for life, and I can't predict that far ahead. All I know is, for now, I'm going to take myself a vacation, relax, and then hit my old projects with all my newfound confidence and determination!

To the rest of you out there, you all have my respect for what you do, and my wishes for a safe journey!

Posted:  8 months ago

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End of a Journey - My year of trucking.

Feanor, that's a great post! There's a lot of honesty in it, and that's important for people to be able to see the realities of this career. Brett wrote an excellent article once about The Solitude In Trucking, and how it affects different people. It's a good read for anyone contemplating this career.

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you, and I'm really glad some of the things we teach in here were helpful to you during the past year.

Thanks Old School! This whole site was a huge benefit to me, but as a flat-bedder your posts particularly have been a big deal. That is a great article by Brett, I remember reading it early on but foolishly thought it wouldn't apply to me seeing as I was young and single. Lesson learned there.

Hello,

Your story is inspirational. I appreciate your honesty. I definately wouldn't say it's the end of a journey, but the next chapter in your trucking career. In my opinion, a regional driver puts his/her pants on the same way as an OTR. Congrats on making it a year, you have completed more than most.

Safe travels Chris

I'm afraid I phrased my post in a confusing way. I planned to do this story all in one post but I quickly ran out of room. I have been a regional driver for the last few months, and that is why I say end of a journey. I am done with trucking for the indefinite future. Believe me, I know regional drivers put on their pants! Especially in flat-bedding. That's a lot of tarping/securing! Sorry to be confusing with my title!

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