Profile For Mr. Curmudgeon

Mr. Curmudgeon's Info

  • Location:
    Cordes Junction, AZ

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Curmudgeon's Bio

I joined this profession after 28 years in another profession. Knew it was getting time to retire, and started a skills assessment. What did I do daily that I could do when I grew up? Well, sarcasm and profanity aren't really marketable skills in the private sector, but DRIVING? That I did pretty much all day, every day. Didn't hurt that I had a brother doing this for over a decade that said "Hey, you could always drive a truck. I mean, if I can do it... "

Worked about a year and a half doing OTR regional, home every weekend for 32 hours (add in one hour each way to terminal). Learned. A lot. Missed my family. A lot. Got paid by the mile, NOT a lot. Ended up finding a gig with a company that hired me for local driving, home every day, paid by the hour, tractor and trailer shop on site for prompt and effective repairs. Jumped at the chance and haven't looked back. After two years of local work, I climbed back into a sleeper, and am running OTR Regional Midwest pulling intermodal and dry van loads. Happy as a clam again.

I do dabble a bit in training drivers that come over to our company, as a polisher / finisher for folks that need some extra one on one training time to get them fully smoothed out and ready for solo.

The outfit I work for is G&D Integrated, based in Morton, IL with terminals in Joliet, Morton, Champaign, Decatur, and Montgomery, Illinois, with additional footprints in Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina. No job or outfit is perfect, but I've been with these folks for long enough to know it's where I will finish out my career, as they're a good outfit.

After about 8 years in the driver seat, I was forced to retire from driving. Three titanium spacers where disks used to rest and a sensitivity to vertical vibration resulting in gradually increasing nerve pain in the left arm resulted in my Neurosurgeon telling me I should find something else to do, as the vibration was going to hasten the degeneration of the other disks in my cervical spine. Paralyzed / lack of control of the arms vs. doing what I really like to do? I opted to give Mrs. Curmudgeon her due - and not intentionally cause injury to myself so that I could keep driving.

We moved out of Illinois to Arizona, and are happy living in the country.

Mr. Curmudgeon's Photo Gallery Group 1 of 3

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Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Just above freezing temps are dangerous

A trick I learned from my brother was to watch the backside or your westcoast mirror. When you see glazing there, you know that it's possible/ likely everywhere. Also, keep an eye out for spray from your drive tires, or the tires of other units on the roadway. Precipitation falling without spray rising from the road generally means ice is forming.

My first winter of driving, I was kinda pushed into running a load of potato chips (about 13k) from Detroit back to DOT Foods in Hellinois. Through one of those lake effect / central western Michigan blizzards. Several of the super truckers that chided me on CB for not going fast enough (visibility was pathetic - dangerously short) as they passed me before I pulled off at Watervliet were in the median or off into ditch six hours later when the sun came out and the roads got treated. I just drove past without comment.

Glad you made it safe.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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6+ month update

Sounds like things are working well for you, Dave!

Thanks for the update.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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New to the trucking industry and need some guidance!

Hi, Kayla! Welcome to TT.

I went through the self-pay, private school route to get my CDL, and do not recommend it, so your choice to go the Employer Paid CDL route is a solid well reasoned decision. You mention that 'something' is nagging at you about Swift. Quite likely you've been influenced by the common wisdom (which is quite 'common' in the old world english dictionary definition, and NOT wisdom in the real world). Swift and Roehl are both good outfits which will train you well, and will expect you to give this lifestyle 100% each and every day from the time you arrive at their training site until the day you retire or resign. If you are able to give your employer a full hard day of safe and law abiding work, each and every day, adapting to the frequent changes and disruptions without complaining or expecting special treatment, you will get along well in the career.

Being a professional driver means, first, being professional. All of the interactions you have with customers, other drivers, and coworkers reflects on not only the company but you as well. If you decide to "ride for the brand", it will become readily apparent before too long to those that are able to guide you to great success in the career.

I drove for a number of years, for two different outfits. One gave me a shot when nobody else would. The other allowed me to maximize my earning and satisfaction potential through service to them and OUR customers. No matter who you drive for, remember that the shippers, receivers and brokers are ultimately YOUR customers, treat them accordingly (as you would want to be treated as a customer) and you will do well in the field.

-Get Out And Look. -Oh, and wear a hat for the first year. At least ALWAYS when backing. It keeps the sweat out of your eyes.

Wishing you great success.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Holiday Cheer

Blessed HanaRamaKwanzaMas to all y'all. That greeting will be likely equally offensive, or equally inclusive and diverse, depending on your viewpoint.

From my viewpoint here in Cordes Junction, AZ (I-17 MM262) the holidays are shaping up to look OK. Flying back to Hellinois on Christmas Eve to surprise my 87 year old mom for Christmas, then flying back Christmas Day. Anticipating my son and his wife to fly out for a few days twixt New Years and Christmas. We got snow last night, and ice, and rain, and thunder. As I was driving back down the mountain from Camp Verde through the brutal heavy blowing snow (sans road chem treatments) I told The Beloved, Mrs. Curmudgeon, "Tonight is one of those nights I don't miss driving a truck". Most of the line haulers that run that route were already either on the shoulders or running about 20mph with flashers on.

Be safe, please, and remember that those of us formerly in the mix sure DO APPRECIATE what you subject yourselves to for us. Thank you for your service to our Nation - not in a military sense, but in a "willingly giving of yourselves and your talents to make our lives better" sense.

Blessings!

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

I-17 CLOSURES between Phoenix and Flagstaff

Anthem Way is MM229.

Sunset Point is MM252.

SB parking is avail at Cordes 263, or up at Middle Verde Road across the road from the Cliff Castle Casino.

Not sure what is gonna be avail down on the valley side.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

I-17 CLOSURES between Phoenix and Flagstaff

Arizona Department of Transportation is installing a flex lane between anthem way and the sunset point rest area. To accomplish that flex lane, they will be doing overnight road closures of several hour duration several days per week, both directions, to accommodate blasting operations. This is a long term project

The 3 following images are from a Department of Transportation press release.

0291780001669778473.jpg

0733918001669778499.jpg

0270878001669778529.jpg

I live in the affected area. Despite WHAT your GPS tells you, any road that parallels 17 in that area is going to cause you a world of hurt if you try to take an 18 down them. They are mostly county roads, some FS roads, and they may see a surfacing grade once every 4 to 6 months. You can go west on 40 to 89 and south thru prescott, but 89 south of prescott is death in the White Spars. Take 40 to 93 then south into phx, but the extra miles and time will kill you as well... When they say "no viable" they aren't kidding. I can run the FS roads at about 30 in my 4wd, and the ruts and soft edges are omnipresent.

Be safe.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Truck stuck in Sumner Tunnel (Boston) Friday afternoon/evening

I have encountered underpasses labeled 13'6" that just didn't LOOK right three or four times. I pull up, 4 ways on, window down, and stop. GOAL and look for scrapes on the leading edge and FAR side (upslope inside can reduce the clearance for your mid to tail) If they looked ok, then I used to creep up to the point where the front of the trailer is a few inches away from the leading edge. Take a look while standing on the catwalk if you can. One unlabeled underpass in StLouis had scratch marks on some of the rivets on the lower surface of the cross beam.... that one I backed up a block or so and made 2 left for a re-route.

If in doubt, re-route. Calling the locals for help is never wrong...

Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

Maverick Transportation

Jasmine, great news! I spent some time chatting with a maverick driver at an independent truckstop in the Indy area during one of the ice events that shut 65 down. He loved the outfit, had been flat bedding with them for a few years, and was very up on them.

Good equipment. Lots of loads. Decent immediate supervision. Prompt repairs. Those were his impressions.

Enjoy the training!

Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

What's up with Amazon Prime movers

Amazon hooks cops up?

1) I had to purchase schtuff for an agency. Amazon did NOTHING to hook us up, unless they bid on something, and their bills were NEVER lower than local outfits that wanted our business.

2) Have any ot y'all that are inclined to believe the well intentioned drivel like this ever met any of the folks in the unusual hats that do traffic enforcement on the I? I have and in another lifetime I worked with them. I can assure you, not Jeff Bezos, not Donald Trump, and not (possibly) even the good lord heyzu creestoh would dissuade them from ringing up (in a most vigourous and ruthless manner), were they to see them, a CMV for the behaviors described in these posts.

3) Were some post commander, field supervisor, or worse yet REMF Pogue administrator (the ones that would be involved with the ubiquitously hinted at, and oh so very sinister sounding "hook-up") to suggest or even hint at giving "the 'zon" a pass on this kinda behavior, the news media would get more than a whiff of it, thanks to "someone close to the matter that requested anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak on the matter".

4) Your "high speed low drag looking like street bums and hood rats" units would be the ones that would be familiar with the "hook up", and might consider not ringing the driver up. But they don't make stops on the I. It is beneath them... sorry.gif

Tin foil? Nay.. complete immersion in molten aluminium.

(Keeping with the Brit spelling trend of my post).

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can starting companies like swift would take a stale license?

Granted that was 5 years ago.

I didn't add that caveat to my comments, and likely should have. The nature of the hiring process seems to be much different now than it was in 2013. Speaking with my DM from my former outfit, he indicated that in order to get drivers they are lowering experience requirements, and have partnered with a couple of junior college / tech college driving programs to get drivers on line. When I started with them they were a hard and fast 12 months OTR experience. I suppose it it possible that more outfits are willing to take a driver with no real-world experience (vs. driving school) behind the wheel and a two year stale CDL. I don't know why they would, but I guess it is the nature of the industry. No offense intended to OP or anyone else out there that has a stale A, and a hankering to drive.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Can starting companies like swift would take a stale license?

Hi, Victor. You ask a valid question, and I would be delighted to give you my perspective on the issue.

I got my CDL, self pay, in August, 2012. I then sustained a work injury at what was then my (non-trucking) employer and was not able to get the injury resolved for about a year. So, our situations have time frame similarity.

In July, 2013 I began looking for driving jobs. I applied to most of the bigs, and was turned down, universally. because I had a "stale CDL". I was offered the opportunity with three or four outfits to accept employment and go through their CDL training program. In my hubris, I declined. I don't want to say that only a crappy company would hire me, but I DID end up at what would be best described as a "Last Chance" outfit. Others on here have described some of these outfits as crappy. The one that hired me gave me a shot, took a chance on me, and gave me over a year of experience. I ended up at a regional carrier that had a unique business model that was highly supportive of driver efforts to bend space and time. I gave them a year and then moved on to a company that was a bit less... unique. If I were to do it again, I'd choke down the crow and go through the CDL school of one of the bigs and get solid employment with a solid training program. That would be my recommendation for your consideration. You would get paid while in training, you would learn their expectations and methods of operation from day one, and they would have an investment in seeing you succeed.

I doubt that you will be able to get hired direct to driving by Swift, Roehl, Schneider, or most of other big carriers. You might get on that way with a carrier that is last chance.

Good fortune to you as your pursue this as a career.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Training isn't for me.

I did training for almost all of my previous career. I was fortunate in that, as I was able to being some techniques to the truck that helped when I was tasked with training drivers new to the outfit. We only hired 1 year experienced OTR drivers.

I was amazed at the slipshod attitude many had, and after the first day with the first trainee, realized take nothing for granted and reverted to my FTO routine.

Tell them. Show them. Let them perform. Pretrip. Post trip. Data terminal. Backing. Paperwork. Etc... I would tell them, I am going to show you the correct way to do tasks, in accordance with how the company wants them done. I am also willing to learn from you, so let's make this a joint effort to get u up to speed and on your own. Safety and efficiency are my top concerns.

And like others, the ones that have no retention (wilfully or nature, matters not) were just maddening. Some just didn't make it. (Including the one troubled driver that I had to tell to turn off her face time while she was driving, and another day heard her side of the phone call talking to a friend about how she was going to learn to roll up some blunts at the party on the upcoming holiday weekend) When I went OTR, my training slot ended, as the training was all done locally and intermodal. I didn't miss the extra $50 per diem.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Older potential driver and trying to overcome one obstacle that would prevent me from moving forward.

I went the self pay route.

Were I to do it over, I would go the company paid route. Myriad reasons, but first and foremost is they train you their way, with all of the expectations and guidance from day one.

Coming out with a CDL from a school, and then getting injured and not able to start right away rendered my CDL stale (more than 30 days old). I ended up with a second chance outfit. They weren't bad, just their business model differed with my concepts of space and time, especially coming from a LE background.

Go with company sponsored training, accept the commitment to them for a year, and ensure that they will give you at least 4 weeks of one on one road training.

Good Luck!

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Change of career from law enforcement to CDL driver

Hey, Ryan!

Sorry, Keron posted. Hey, Keron!!!

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

How good or bad is this work offer?

FYI - be prepared to dedicate a large part of your time and life to trucking. It's very demanding.

This is the way to accomplish good earnings and a lot of job satisfaction in the career. You need to be willing to flex your life around the needs of the job for the first year, at minimum.

That is how you learn, and how you develop a reputation for reliability. With that reputation comes the respect of your driver manager, and the subsequent flexibility directed back to you.

If you fight against the lifestyle, the lifestyle will eat you alive. It isn't easy, but then if it were, anyone could do this Job.

Good luck in your decision.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Change of career from law enforcement to CDL driver

Hey, Ryan! Thanks for still being OTJ in the New Era of American Law Enforcement! Read my comment from a couple of years back for my perspectives on doing the career swap.

It will not be easy, but if you (as Cool Hand Luke proclaimed) have your mind right, you can make a sorta smooth transition.

While I am out of the cab for now, the value of ALL those skills learned and demonstrated daily as a copper transition well into trucking. Self reliance. Integrity. Willingness to do that little bit extra. Ability to woosha your way thru the day.

There is no perfect job, and leaving the LE side to jump into a power unit will require a complete reset of your life style. If you do decide to do so, the advice to go thru company sponsored training is sound. Like field training, the outfits will teach you THEIR way of doing things, from the start. And while you invest with them, they invest in you.

The only other piece of advice I would give, is to tell the hiring folks that what you did before doesn't need to be discussed. You should, in my experience based opinion (with all that opinion entails) manage that discussion with those whom you care to share it with.

Good Luck!!!

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Best Fleets to Drive For ?

Top of the morning! This topic seems to float to the top pretty often. This came into my feed really early this morning. While I suspect there is a lot of outfit self-promotion, I saw names of a number of places discussed (positively) recently.

Putting this forward for informational purposes only. And, yes, full disclosure: I will vote for my former outfit. They treated me well, and the last full year there my gross was right shy of $80k.

This is a link to the survey and info: Best Fleets to Drive For

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

FedEx deliver driver, preventable accident?

Planks with spikes are GREAT on tires. And dog paws... that's when the problems start.

dancing-dog.gif

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Suicidal deer

Second week solo, leaving the terminal with a 44000# load of haz on I80 through Joliet. MASSIVE 10pt (5pt Western count) comes up outta the median overgrowth and tries to outrun me... he lost.

Took 6 weeks for the company to get me to HQ for body repairs (it was an FLD so only cracked hood fiber). Left HQ, heading east on I72, less than 45 minutes after rolling out, and two deer decided they NEEDED that segment of roadway, one of them got to keep it. My dispatcher thought I was busting on him... the recruiter sent me an email with a photo of a company power unit with two deer images photoshopped onto the driver door..

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Done with first week on the road

Drew: another critical thing is to learn YOUR equipment. My last power unit was a Freightliner with tag axle. The suspension pressure gauge on that was slightly different for legal drive weight than the rest of the fleet. Learn what psi reading approximates 34k, and use that as a guide And your trainer, in my opinion, gave you bad info. They can ALWAYS bust your balls for a thousand pounds o/w on axle. If they do, it isn't on them, it's on you. Don't give them any reason to even think about it, scale and be sure.

It's like the grizzled old veteran driver when I had just started at my last outfit (he was about 10 years younger than me at the time) who saw me coming out from beneath a trailer while I was completing my pre-trip who told me "Yall don't have to get that crazy about them things around here." Response? "Yes, I do. It's not your CDL and CSA, it's mine. You drive yours and I'll drive mine". Shortcuts are what cause problems for us in this profession. And God forbid you be o/w and have a 2004 Buick with the blue hair grannies in it drive between your drive axles and trailer tandems. That one is on you, because ya shouldn't oughtta been on the road.

In IL it's called Reckless Homicide, and the ISP has very little love for drivers that cause death. Experience speaking here, I worked with a bunch of them over the years of my first career.

Enjoy the newness of this profession, and do all you can to keep that excitement and enthusiasm... there is no drama unless you let there be. You're getting paid to carry the stuff that keeps our Nation running. That, in and of itself, is cause to rejoice each day!

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