Profile For BardTale

BardTale's Info

  • Location:
    Griffin, GA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 2 months ago

BardTale's Bio

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BardTale's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  1 year, 12 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:  1 year, 12 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:  2 years 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:  2 years 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:  2 years 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:  2 years, 7 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:  2 years, 7 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:  2 years, 7 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:  3 years 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:  3 years 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.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Hit the Driver Appreciation cookout Trifecta.

I think I may of perhaps beaten your record. I delivered into Bolingbrook, IL, attended the account cookout, was told by my safety director that I needed to get new tires, so went to the shop and attended the cookout at Channahon, IL while they replaced 9 out of 10 tractor tires. Went up to the Chicago terminal (cookout) to look for a trailer. Failing to find one, I went back to Bolingbrook to try another DC (Cookout) and not finding one there either, I drove up to Aurora, IL and attended a cookout and found an empty!

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Whats the best Company to start off with. I have no experience.

To be truthful, go with whatever company works for you. The main suspects are all good choices for starting out with

That all said, every company has their ups and downs. But, one thing to consider, no matter which company you choose, most training companies will try to push you for the first year.

That first year is crucial. It sounds harsh, but the trial by fire method (As I like to call it), is there to weed out those who can and those who cannot.

I'm unsure of the numbers, but I'm confident in saying that 3 out of 5 people who make it past truck driving school and the trainer truck , will probably quit before the 6 month mark.

I'm not saying it's a bad experience. But it's certainly not easy either. Especially when somebody isn't used to potentially 14 hour days, 7 days a week with only a a short bit of time to yourself each day plus getting enough sleep.

It's worth it though. And I hope for the best. There are many fine folks in this forum who are more than willing to be your cheerleaders.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Just going to add my whole 2 cents here. If it makes me sound like a bigot? Well. So be it.

From a guys point of view, most guys go into the bathroom to do one of three things. Urinate, defecate or wash hands. Sometimes all three, sometimes two or just one. In any combination. But regardless of the reason, most guys simply want to get to get in, get out and continue on with the rest of the day.

Most guys don't talk to others in the bathroom. If there is a conversation, it's usually at the sinks and even then, it's kept to a minimum. And nobody really cares who's in there unless the stalls are full and you really have pay homage to the great porcelain throne. I can't speak for the women's bathroom, but if a woman came into the guys, the event wouldn't even hardly register on the weird-o-meter. In my book, it's a non issue.

Only thing I ever ask for anybody, guy or gal. Please don't clog up the toilets/sinks etc with a massive amounts of toilet paper and/or paper towels and PLUS, for the LOVE of everything unholy. PLEASE, flush the damn commode.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Need money who can help.

I lost my bank card and I’m broke on the road. What’s the best way a trucker can have his wife send him money? Is there a way? Thank you.

Most pilot/flying J/TA's have a Western Union. If your credit/bank card is still active and you know the info, you could send the money to yourself online. Or your wife could send money as well. No matter the method, you will be required to call up WU and obtain a "Pin" number to complete and pickup the transfer.

Posted:  3 years, 8 months ago

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7 month update with Jb hunt

Glad to see another JB Driver. I myself started with the company nearly 1 year ago. The experience has been great. I can't speak for any of the other accounts, but I was placed onto the R.R Donnelly account, and the dispatchers over here are 10 kinds of awesome.

When I got back into trucking, I went with C.R England. And while I won't speak bad about the company, it was a miserable experience for me. (I already had my CDL, so I didn't need to go through the school/and or go under contract). Once I met the requirements for J.B Hunt, I politely left the company and came on over here.

From the the first day of orientation to now, I don't think I could ask for anything more from a company. On my specific account, it's got the feel of a small company within the framework of a larger one (Only about 100 or so drivers on the account) and I would suggest it to anybody who doesn't mind hauling 75,000 on average through the midwest and east coast. (Also, frequently visiting USPS facilities) lol.

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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New-ish driver looking for advice.

Thank you both for the reply. It's a lot to think on. Though I will also admit, sitting up here while waiting for a truck to be assigned seems soul crushing. (Doesn't help that this entire campus seems to just suck the joy out of life lol)

After I upgraded Friday, one of the ladies in the upstairs offices asked me if I was willing to drive a first phase student home (He just graduated from the school and asked for home time before going out with the trainer)

He lives in Atlanta as well, so I see this as a good opportunity to at least head home to pick up a few things, drop him off and keep on rolling till about the 10th before I request official home time.

The reason for this is mostly because my gf is getting kicked out of her place on the 12th and the plan is for her to come ride with me, and convince her to get her CDL, and eventually, we can drive as a team.

So, hopefully tomorrow I'm getting a truck as none of the office staff here world on the weekend lol

Posted:  5 years, 2 months ago

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New-ish driver looking for advice.

Hello and salutations everybody!

As the title says, I'm hoping to be able to get some advice on my current situation. Also please pardon the brand new account. I just recently found this message board!

Here's the basic gist of my sitation. Years ago, I had originally gotten my CDL (Back in 07 or 08 i think?) And I was hired right out of the school by PAM.

At the time, I had quit after 4 months because I had thought that the career/lifestyle wasn't for me.

Fast forward 10 years give or take, and after paying off the debt years ago, I had decided to reenter the industry as i think i am older and hopefully wiser.

Unlike a lot if people, I had maintained my CDL everyone I renewed my license, even though I was not driving a commercial vehicle.

Prior to the recent events, I would half hearted call up a company to see if they would be willing to hire me (I'd call up the big 6) and each one told me that i would have to retake a certification course for the recent experience needed to be hired.

This would lead to being discouraged as, when I asked about it, the recertification courses offered at the training schools was nearly the price of the cdl classes themselves!

So fast forward until recently, I was looking for work on one of those job finder apps, and saw CR England. Without much thought, I clicked it, put in my info and moved on.

A couple of days later, a recruiter calls me up and I explain everything. The recruiter lady tells me that they'd love to hire me, but I would have to complete between 140-180 hours on a trainer truck then I would upgrade directly into my own assigned truck.

I'm ecstatic of course, thanking her and telling her how grateful I am, but in all that, I ask one very specific question, "Will I be a solo seat?"

I'm assured this is the case, and next week I'm in Atlanta at the Conley yard attending orientation. After 4 days there, I'm officially hired and on a waiting list for a trainer. Though, during the proccess, I kept asking, am I being hired as a solo seat?

Fast forward to today, I have completed the 180 hours on the trainer truck, and after abit of a snafu of scheduling, I take my phase 1 upgrade road and backing test, directly skipping phase 2 altogether and into first seat. So I'm just waiting for a truck to be assigned to me now.

During this time here in salt lake city, I once asked if I was going to be upgraded into a solo seat, and I'm politely informed that CR England is a team driving conpany with little or no solo seat jobs available.

I don't want to seem ungrateful for being hired, but I know that I do not want to train or team drive. May I ask for some advice please?

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