Profile For BardTale

BardTale's Info

  • Location:
    Griffin, GA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 12 months ago

BardTale's Bio

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Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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A story by BardTale

I worked in the South Jersey P&DC for 18 years. Did you run NDC too?

NDC, P&DC and BMC facilities. I think I've been to the post office you worked at, but im not in jersey often tho. Thats usually reserved for the local drivers based out of York, PA

Posted:  3 years, 9 months ago

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A story by BardTale

Hello fellow truckers!

I have sporadically posted in the past, but in seeing the various stories here, I've decided I would add to this lovely collection of such tales.

In this tale, I will wholeheartedly admit, my faith in the ability to safely drive, maneuver and be up to any challenge was shaken today. It's in this sentiment that I have not felt since my rookie days and to be frank, the experience has haunted me most of the evening.

To give a little background to this story. I'm normally an OTR dedicated regional driver, hailing USPS bulk mail to the various P&DC's around the east coast and mid-west locations. The account is based out of Bolingbrook, IL (Just north of Joliet) but there are facilities scattered across the previously said area.

A little over a week ago, one of my dispatchers had asked me to help out on a new account in Joliet. It was originally for a single week, but I got talked into doing two. One of the many reasons I agreed to help (Besides, it's paying VERY well), is it would give me a company certification for a curtain side flatbed and a little experience.

My first load with this startup account turned out to be a 17 stop load in and around the northwest suburbs of Chicago area and Rockford. That was a brutal three days and of those, I had to go over my hours two days in a row just to find a safe haven to park. My clean record now officially tarnished with a stern reprimand from my driver manager with the threat, if it happens again, I'll be suspended.

Afterwards, because of the way the new account works, all the loads go out on Sunday/Monday and then the drivers go elsewhere to pad out the week. The usual favorite go-to is the Home Depot RDC in Joliet.

To pad out my last day for the week, I was sent to the Petco DC. To their credit, they was super nice and I enjoyed my time there as I was just shuttling trailers from the DC to the nearby company terminal and bringing an empty back. Once that was done, I was free to bobtail to the nearest truck stop of my choice to go down for a 34.

At some point during the 34, I get a message asking me to report to the Home Depot RDC this morning (Sunday). Happy to get some rest from the previous week, I eagerly arrived at 6am and they told me it should be a simple day. (There is two offices for my company at this DC, Regional and Local. Since it's a Sunday, I reported over to the local office)

The first load was simple enough. Drive the loaded trailer to the DC in the Chicago area to a store, pick up a pallet trailer and bring it back. The second load, which was, simple enough, was the same deal. Except.... It was in one of the many areas that had a TON of low clearance bridges.

I researched the trip, cross referenced, called the store, I finally settled on a route in. (Keep in mind, I've got a road truck. Sleeper and all).

1232 W North Ave Chicago, IL 60642 0331238001601865290.jpg (Red Line going in, Blue Line going out)

Of all the places I've been to, of all the difficult places I've been, even on this startup account, this shook me to the very core today and I don't know why. Even though it's mostly one lane roads once you get off the interstate, people still decided to drive next to me and I had to block traffic just to make the turns. All in all, I give today a 1/10 rating.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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What do you do when you're out of hours and still waiting for (un/)load?

What I'm about to say is completely dependent on the company I work for, the account I'm working on and my dispatchers. What I'm allowed to do may not be allowed to be done elsewhere. With all that in mind; If I find myself in that situation, which does happen from time to time, If I'm expected to be loaded during my 10 hour break I'll crawl the truck (Keep it under 4MPH) from the truck parking area to the dock and visa versa. Then in the morning I'll put in my loaded/unloaded call after my pretrip inspection.

There have even been situations where the customer will allow me to drop the trailer in the door and I'll come pick it up in the morning if I'm not allowed to sleep on the property. This isn't always the case for the post offices I go to, but can be done for the distribution centers (RRD/LSC/Quad Graphics)

Best advice though, always 100% ask both the customer and your dispatch before anything is done like that. Make sure everybody is on the same page in that regard. This way your hind end is covered.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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Finding a new job with a preventable accidents on my record

I may be able to shed some light on this. Earlier this year, I had a coolant leak on my truck. (Turns out a hose developed a leak in it). While mine was gradual, when the truck detected the low coolant, it threw up warning lights on the dash for "imminent engine shut down". Which means I had a very short time period to pull off the road before the truck shut down to protect the engine.

This is just theorycrafting of course, it could of been possible that the truck, detecting the sudden drop in coolant level when the belt broke (The gentleman said that the container was melted?), it could of hit the container to such a degree to crack it causing it to spill out it's liquid. The truck detecting the sudden low level could of given the sudden solid red and flashing yellow engine warning lights. The OP being a new driver probably started panicking and started to look for a place to pull over, but was unable to at that point. In the search for a safe please, the truck could of shut down while the vehicle was still moving and he lost all the power to the steering.

So, based on my own past experiences, this is not an impossible situation.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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What’s needed to run my Xbox one in truck!

I'm one of those gaming truckers. That said, im not sure what inverters JB Hunt uses, but my truck came with a 1500 watt pre-installed.

My truck (currently) is an early 18 freightliner and although it doesn't have an auto idle or an APU, it can run my gaming laptop for about 3 hours with the engine off.

In terms of actual gaming, I may play for about an hour or so in the nights, but I set my hard bedtime limit to 2100 and wakeup between 0400-0600 depending on my pickup/delivery.

It's all about moderation. As a trucker, you just have to play the best trucking sim in the world. And it's got to be the top priority in your life. The moment that the gaming machine controls you, thats when things become a slippery slope of failure. Good luck fellow gaming trucker brother! :)

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Ghosting Your Company

Another example of the wrong way to go about it.

You're right and it could of went vastly different. I got lucky. I'm not going to defend my actions in that regard beyond I felt like I had no others options at the time. Stress is a PITA lol

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Ghosting Your Company

This is less advice and more of a story from my own personal drawer of trucking experience.

When I got back into trucking almost 3 years ago, I was hired into C.R England to get the much needed OTR experience. Because I already had my CDL but lacked the qualifications to be hired elsewhere, I didn't have to go through the school. My program basically was Trainer truck, upgrade to first seat.

To make a long story short, I felt that C.R. England lied to me (Whether they did or not, it's a moot point) about being a solo driver. Suffice to say, I was unhappy having a team partner. Although the following six months was miserable, I stuck it out. At the end of it, I had decided to quit and join the company I'm with now.

I didn't put in a two week notice, however, on the 2018 Christmas home time after delivering my last load, I dropped the trailer off in the Conley, GA terminal, drove home (40 miles away), cleaned it out and drove back up to the terminal. My very last Qualcomm message to them was a polite "Thank you for the job opportunity, but I have found employment elsewhere". Put the keys on the dip stick and my friend drove me home.

Although by the definition, I guess I ghosted C.R England, Although I did make sure I wasn't under a load and the truck was turned in at a terminal. My advice to the OP: You gotta keep your ducks in a row out here because if you don't, it can very well bite you in the behind. And as others have said, if you don't like your account, talk to your manager. And heck, even after doing a few Costco loads, I prefer them over the Amazon, Target or Home Depot accounts any day lol.

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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What trucker gps is better? My qualcomm keeps getting me into trouble...

With my last company, they used the Qualcomm and I absolutely hated the GPS on it. Granted, it was my training company and at times I relied way more than I should of and have learned that lesson the hard way on more than one occassion. Since moving to the company I'm with now, they use PeopleNet and a built in CoPilot GPS. In my honest opinion, CoPilot is a far superior GPS (They even have an android/ios app version of it).

That all said, I mostly just use CoPilot to do the heavy lifting of guiding my trip (After I have verified my route using more conventional means). When I get within 100 miles of my destination, I'll research the best way in (Assuming I'm going to a new place of course). This usually involves checking the route CoPilot is suggesting and then using google satellite maps to get a visual on the streets and figure out where the docks are; making adjustments as necessary.

Most of the places I go to are Post Office bulk mail distribution centers, newspapers, commercial printers and on occasion a bulk paper roll warehouse etc. (I work on a dedicated account). So I frequent the same places over and over generally. As many others have said, research, research and more research. When in doubt, call the customer up and verify the directions. :)

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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Toughest day on the road?

Last year at some point, I was loaned over to the Amazon account for my company. The first 5 days, while long, was mostly drive to point A, drop trailer off, pickup trailer B for the return trip, find a place to park for the night. (Drop and hooks). The last day I was to report to the AEC (Amazon Enrichment Center) in Southwest Chicago near Joliet. When I was given my assignment, it was a 12 stop load in and around various points in Chicago. Some drop and hooks (Take loaded trailer to a small distribution warehouse, drive a different empty or loaded back to the AEC).

The last two stops turned out to be live unloads. Both in northern Chicago and both in places that a road truck shouldn't go. I barely managed to scrape by on time for the first of the live unloads, and while waiting for the second to be unloaded, I ran out of time on my 14. (It was close to 1am at this point).

After calling up safety and informing them that I had to violate my HOS to find safe haven, I drove the 45 minutes and stopped at the first place I could find. The O'Hare service plaza. Immediately, I was out like a light.

The next morning after getting a stern talking to from my dispatch for violating my 14 hour the previous night, I went inside to take care of business. Coffee, restroom etc. On getting back to the truck, I realized I had locked my keys inside! (Unlucky for me, I had also left my phone in the truck as well). I walked around and begged to use somebody's phone, and luckily managed to google up a phone number for corporate. (It was an early sunday morning as well).

It took a few tries, but after explaining my situation, I was transferred to road safety and once again explained. We all shared at a laugh at my expense and they sent a locksmith to come open up my door. (There's a lesson to be learned here rookies. Always do your stupid check! Aka, never leave your truck without keys! lol)

The next hour was spent waiting for the locksmith and I huddled in the heated outdoor bathrooms (This particular service plaza was doing construction on the inside bathrooms, so they brought in one of those bathroom trailers for people to use) when nobody was in there. (Last thing to note, it was freezing and I only took a light jacket with me)

After all said and done, I returned the Amazon Trailer to the AEC and bobtailed back to my account DC to get ready to be dispatched on one of my normal loads. I was so ready to get up out of the windy city that day!

Posted:  4 years, 10 months ago

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Need some help with 90 degree alley dock and offset

I have been practicing the offset and 90 degree alley dock and have successfully completed them but I am just not developing a feel for it. I know it really comes with time and experience but I am getting frustrated that i seem to only be completing the maneuvers by chance than by skill or understanding.

The offset:

Say I have to offset to the right. I turn my wheel all the way to the left and look at my trailer and try to envision when the corner of the drivers side of the trailer is pointing toward the middle set of cones then turn the wheel to straighten the truck to see how I’m angled. 90% of the time the corner of the trailer on the drivers side isn’t even exposing so middle set of cones which means I didn’t cut it enough, or the inverse happens and I’ve cut it too much. Since I don’t have a feel for it I feel like I’m shooting blind and it’s just a 50/50 chance.

Is there anything I can reference or guide to get more consistent so I get my trailer more aligned between the cones?

Now for the 90 degree alley dock:

My main issue is that I am not getting the hang of which maneuver would work best to get the trailer in the set of cones. We are doing the drivers side alley dock so I initially start by cranking the wheel to the right to get a “V” angle then straighten my wheels out. I get the rear of the trailer near the opening of the cones and I need clarification when I should follow the trailer as opposed to keeping the wheel straight.

It seems when I keep the wheels straight the trailer begins to push the trailer on a pivot point. When I follow it the trailer it seems to continue moving backwards and also pivots but does so slowly.

Is there a general sense of when I should use each maneuver: the hard right turn, straight wheel, following the trailer? I feel like that is what is keeping me from successfully doing the 90 consistently.

Sorry for the long post but I wanted to list what I was doing so hopefully someone could point what I’m doing wrong.

Thank for the help!

Backing in general can be a rather fustrating experience for new drivers. It's one of the few skills in our toolset that requires experience to be halfway decent at.

However, if you are like myself, using a visual aid may help. Buy a toy truck and practice backing with it. It won't give you the mirror view, but it will give you the idea of how to visualize where the trailer should be and how to manage / maneuver it.

My other common advice is: watch other drivers and notice how they're moving the trailer around with the tractor.

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