Profile For Dart

Dart's Info

  • Location:
    TX

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 11 months ago

Dart's Bio

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Posted:  4 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Hey Dart, quick question.

DId Roehl come after you for the Gycdl training fees at all? or hotel , food fees?

been wondering exactly what happens when you dont finish the school and they terminate you.

thanks

Sorry it took so long to reply.

Yes, to the tune of about $6k. After about a month I got a letter, then started receiving calls from lawyers shortly thereafter.

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Good to hear from you, Tracy.

I'm doing well at Swift. About to finish up my 2nd month solo. They keep me running pretty well, as I usually don't have to sit more than a few hours without a load. If I do, a quick call to dispatch and I've got a load.

So far it's been the best job I've had since I left the military in 2012. As I get better, the job gets better.

How about you?

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Heat / AC in bunk areas

If they don't got apus then damn right I'm going to idle when it is hotter than heck. Swift will send us a message to idle less, but to do what is necessary so we sleep comfortably. Dart has a newer truck so his will automatically start and shut off (from what I heard the 2018 have this capability), I am in a 2016 so I just set the cruise control and the truck won't turn off. Good luck staying alive inside of a truck in desert or in the humidity of the east without having the a.c. going.

Actually, even though my truck is an '18, it's one of the older style '18's. It will automatically shut off after about 5 minutes of idling if the outside temp is between 35 and 68, but won't restart (as far as I'm aware, since I can't manually set Opti Idle on this truck).

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Heat / AC in bunk areas

Ok, more specifically, companies with no APUs, and possibly a no idle policy. I had read some companies had no idle policies so I mentioned it to a recruiter who dodged the question. Now it may have been an innocent dodge but it made me wonder.

My truck does not have an APU or EPU, no idle management, and it won't stay idling between 35 and 68 degrees (anything hotter or colder and it will idle as long as you keep the key on).

This really hasn't been a huge issue for me. It's made me nervous a few times, but not to the point of having an actual problem. I can run a crock pot, my laptop charger, phone charger, bunk lights, and a 12v fan for a few hours before bed, then the bunk heater or vent fan and the 12v fan all night without killing the battery. Just to be sure I won't kill the battery, I idle the truck for a few minutes (3-5 minutes) periodically when I'm awake.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Dah...I realized after I got on the road this morning I made a mistake in my previous post. Murphy's law, not Newton's law as I had posted.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Thank you.

Just wrapped up my first day of solo driving. Not very productive, but one of my most stressful days yet.

Let me back track a bit. I upgraded on Monday in Greer, SC and was sent by Greyhound to Rochelle, IL to pick up my truck (2018 Freightliner Cascadia 125 with an automatic...it's not one of the new style Cascadias). After getting on the bus and hopping in a cab to the terminal, the truck was locked and the keys were in a lock box where I was unable to get them until this morning. Stayed in the hotel last night and took the 10:30am shuttle to the terminal. BTW...no sooner did I walk into the terminal last night, and I already had a preplan for the load I'm on now.

Getting the truck was pretty uneventful except for having to get with maintenance and parts to get a few items for the truck. Pre tripped the truck, found an empty, got it aattached to me, and I was on my way.

The drive started fairly uneventful until I left the truck stop a few miles from the shipper. There was construction in front of the truck stop and I didn't see the no left turn sign until I was driving to the exit. So I take the right and watch for signs of how to get back to the interstate. I saw a sign with 3 flashing arrows to the left, looking like they were pointing me down a service road to go back an exit to get on the interstate. As I go down the road, tthere's a "no outlet" sign before an intersection.

There wasn't much traffic, so I decide to go straight to get a better look at the road. I figured that since there was almost no traffic I could just straight back to make the turn on the road that intersected the one I was on or back onto that road to turn around. As Newton's law states, if something can go wrong, it will. I see that the road I'm on dead ends into a gated lot. I only went about a truck length or 2 down the road. I bakc up SLOWLY, watching for traffic as I do so. Right as I get to the intersection, someone opened the flood gates and traffic started pouring off of this road. Fortunately, a passing motorist was kind enough to assist in blocking traffic and getting me on the road.

So I make the turn and start looking at the map on the GPS for roads leading back to the main road. All of the roads in this area were dead ends.

There was an ungated area where there were trucks coming out of, so I make that turn to ask if I could use the yard to turn around. There were do not enter signs all over the place. I ask a guy standing by the gate if I could go in there to turn around despite the signs, assuming he worked there (we all know what that means). He said yeah, go ahead. I pulled in and make a turn where it looked like I could turn around. A yard worker stopped me and started griping at me. I explained the situation and he helped me get the truck backed out and turned around.

I get out of there and make my pick up. The pick up was the easiest I've had thus far. I just had to check in, drop the empty, grab the loaded, do my Qualcomm work, and off I went. No need to check out.

Since the load doesn't deliver until Friday morning, and it's less than 400 miles, I figured I'd push it to near the delivery and take tomorrow off since I have family near there. Then it hit me "it's almost 5pm and I'm going to have to go through the Chicago/Gary area. If I push it too hard, I'm going to run out of hours around midnight and be stuck with nowhere to park." I decided to start looking for a place to shut down, knowing that it was going to take ages to find a spot. Not only that, traffic was horrendous and it started raining pretty hard. I went on for a couple of hours and couldn't find anything, so I took a fuel island 30 (ensuring not to block anyone).

After my 30, I continued my search for a parking spot. Traffic finally cleared up on I90 east, but the rain picked up. After a couple of hours and several botched parking attempts, I found a pull through at a truck only rest area.

I only have about 3 hours of driving to final, so I'll be able to get up tomorrow and find a better parking spot closer to my final with more amenities. Maybe even get to see my aunt tomorrow evening.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

I passed my upgrade tests with flying colors. I missed 1 question out of 57 on my written (it was a question about overspeed in a company truck...I've been in a lease operator's truck for my training and they're governed a bit higher than a company truck) and had 1 point deducted on my road test (I did too many pull ups on the backing portion).

I've been assigned a 2018 Freightliner with an automatic transmission , but I've got to go to Rochelle, IL to pick her up. After spending tonight and tomorrow in hotel Greyhound, I should be in my truck tomorrow night.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Thank you, Susan.

I'm looking forward to FINALLY taking off the training wheels and going solo.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Just completed my 200 hours of driving with Swift. I wasn't able to upgrade today because I got to the terminal late in the afternoon. I'll be in the hotel this weekend and upgrade Monday morning.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

I'm still at Swift and doing well so far. My mentor/friend was having some issues with his stability system giving off false critical events, so they put me on a truck with another mentor.

I've been running team for a bit now and have 137 behind the wheel hours of my 200 required to upgrade.

While Roehl pretty much had me in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Missouri, Swift has had me coast to coast (almost literally). I got on my current mentor's truck in South Carolina, drove down to Atlanta, then out to Phoenix, California, and Oregon. Went through Vegas at night and got to stop at the Hoover Dam for a few hours to take a bike ride and see the dam. Then back to Texas and Tennessee, which will soon be followed up by New Jersey.

As far as my driving, I'm doing well. More driving and fewer stops at customers has REALLY helped.

The biggest downside is I will likely be stuck in automatic trucks because both of my mentors have/have had automatics (I don't have an automatic only restriction, just minimal experience with a manual).

At this point, it looks like I should be able to take my upgrade tests in about a week (give or take a few days).

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Orientation Monday

Something else I was curious about....I've heard conflicting reports regarding how much time your mentor is allowed to give you behind the wheel each day in the beginning. A guy in my class told me his recruiter told him they're only allowed like 3 or 4 hours a day to start with. I wondered if that was true and if that's standard operating procedure for newbies or if it's ran on a case by case basis. Like if my mentor decides if I can handle it will he allow me to run full days (8 to 10 hours or whatever the case may be) from the beginning? I'm hoping thats the case so I can get a jump start on those hours as well as rack up some experience. I realize I shouldn't rush things but at the same time I'm really eager to get going.

After my ordeal with Roehl, my first day behind the wheel with Swift I drove about 6 or 8 hours. After that I typically get 450+ miles per day, with a couple lucky days in the 600 mile range. I'm wrapping up my 2nd week with a mentor and just finished an 11 hour driving day yesterday.

It will largely depend on you and how long you can remain alert. Don't rush yourself to do the big mile days early on. I've done 1,000 mile days in a car before driving a truck, but when I got behind the wheel of a truck 6-8 hours a day was all I could do before I was completely beat. Over time you will build up the stamina to run longer.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Orientation Monday

Thanks for the tips, Dart. One concern I have about something you posted. I don't live too far from the terminal I will be going to orientation at so I will be driving there each day. You said something about surrendering my license. This will be an issue if I am going to drive home each night. Will they give it back to me so I can legally drive home each night?

They return your license to you before you take the road test. If you don't take your road test day 1 and they don't return it to you by the end of the day, talk to the orientation instructor before you leave for day 1, I'm sure they'll work with you.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Orientation Monday

Almost forgot...what to bring.

Clothes for about a week. Truck stops and terminals have laundry facilities that you can use while on your 10 hour break. If you can, get a small package of laundry soap pouches (3 or 4 pouches should typically be enough) or purchase single use from the laundry room.

Toiletries...normal hygiene items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, razor, etc...), shower shoes (never know what kind of nasties are crawling around a public shower), a towel and washcloth (or loufa) for when showering at the terminal (truck stops typically provide clean towels and washcloths), any other anti-funk products you may need (foot powder, deodorant, aftershave, etc...), and any medications you may need (prescription, anti-fungal, antacids, etc...).

Work gloves and sunglasses. You will want to have a good pair of work gloves that will keep diesel fuel and grease off of your hands while doing pre-trip inspections, fueling, and trailer hooking/unhooking. Sunglasses, while not necessary, are very nice to have especially when driving into the rising or setting sun.

Pens and notebook. These come in handy for writing down load information and taking notes while talking with your mentor or during orientation.

Sleeping gear...at a minimum you'll need a sheet and blanket or sleeping bag.

Other supplies...12V (cigarette lighter plug) chargers for any electronics you bring (e-cigarette, cell phone, tablet, razor, etc...). If you smoke or vape, bring enough to get you through 3-4 weeks. Cigarettes are expensive at truck stops and vaping supplies are tough to come by on the road (especially if you use mods). When bringing nicotine devices, take into account increased usage if you use more while you drive. If you are a vaper, it may be a good idea to bring extra tanks (or higher capacity tanks) to "hot swap" tanks instead of filling while driving. If you are like me and need to sleep with a fan, bring a 12V car fan for the nights that the truck isn't running.

Lastly, a tip for packing. Your mentor may or may not have space cleared out for you to store your things. Expect to sleep with whatever you bring. Not sure if you packed to much? Find a twin bed and put your bags in the bed and lay down with them as if you're going to go to sleep. If you can't get comfortable, you packed too much or not tightly enough.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Swift Orientation Monday

If the orientation experience is similar at all terminals (I went to Lancaster for mine on September 18th), it should go something like this...

Day 1...surrender CDL and short/long form DOT medical cards (you'll get your CDL back before the road test and medical cards back by the end of day 3), drug tests, road tests, and A LOT of waiting around.

Day 2 and 3...wrapping up road tests that didn't get completed day 1 and retests for some of those that didn't do well enough on day 1, then death by PowerPoint for the remainder of the day and day 3.

Before you leave on day 3, you should at least know who your mentor will be and when he's (or she in some cases) supposed to be there.

Once out with your mentor, you will be doing most, of not all, of the driving for your first 50 hours of behind the wheel time. After that, your mentor will decide if you are ready to run teams (some may prefer to run "super solo" for the majority of your time with them). The remaining 150 hours may be run as a team (you have to have at least 200 hours of behind the wheel time before you can take the upgrade tests to go solo.).

For at least some of the time that you are with your mentor, you will be doing paper logs to ensure you know how to do them just in case the Qualcomm goes out.

You will also be logging all of your backs (at least 40 of them). There are some backs that you have to do. Day, night, angle, straight, and blind side backs have to be logged. You have to do a certain number of each back, then just log what type of back you do.

You should also receive several performance reviews from your mentor as you reach landmarks (50 hours, 100 hours, etc...).

Hopefully this will give yoy a bit more of an insight as to what to expect. If you have any more questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Training my wife at Swift

I would imagine so. When I went through Swift orientation a couple of weeks ago (Lancaster, TX terminal), a mom with several months of driving experience brought her son with her (who only has a few weeka of experience). She went through the mentor class the for the day and a half after orientation and is now training him. Once his training phase is complete, they plan on teaming for a while.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

My Swift orientation is now complete. Days 2 and 3 were both just waiting, slideshows, and paperwork.

Met up with my long time friend and received confirmation that he will be training me. Ate dinner and caught up with hom for a while before heading back to the hotel where I'll stay tonight.

Tomorrow I will be checking out of the hotel and moving on to my friend/mentor's truck. We're looking at a Friday afternoon departure.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Day 1 at Swift orientation.

Pretty boring all around. Morning was spent doing drug testing and DoT physicals for those that didn't have the proper paperwork. We also filled out some forms on TenStreet and some started their road tests.

Then the AMAZING (famous even) Swift Lancaster lunch. I had BBQ chicken with mac and cheese, rice, and bread. There were several other awesome looking choices...I just had to get the BBQ because that sweet smell hit me when I walked through the door.

After lunch we did the food safety stuff (which I did at Roehl twice, it was simple so I didn't push it), then finished road tests.

My road test was is a KW T680 with an 8 speed (yes, an 8 speed). It was a VERY short drive (maybe 5 or 10 minutes behind the wheel). I feel I did well, but the 8 speed tripped me up once when shifting to high range (I wanted to shift to what would be 6th on a 10 speed, but is a low gear on the 8). It really felt good to be back behind the wheel.

It's also looking like my friend will be my trainer. It's also nice that they provide for situations like this. There's a mother/son team here where she has some experience and he doesn't. Swift is allowing her to take the mentor class to train him so they can run team later. Pretty cool.

Gotta run. Just figured I'd pop in with a quick update.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Good luck at Swift. I'm in my last day of orientation at Werner. I will go out with training on Monday or Tuesday.

Thanks!!! Awesome to hear. Good luck to you at Werner as well.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

About to Start Training with Roehl

Thank you all for the well wishes.

After a few disappointments, I'm now scheduled for orientation with Swift on Monday. Time to move on and put my previous setbacks behind me.

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Company Training and Non-Compete

I'm getting a second chance to pursue my dream. I'm now scheduled for orientation with Swift at the Lancaster, TX terminal on Monday. It's also looking like things are lining up for my friend to train me.

Armed with the knowledge I've learned from my time at Roehl and from speaking with everyone here, I will make it work this time.

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