Comments By Mr. Curmudgeon

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Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Stinky Trailers

ADM in Decatur requires clean, dry, rust and odor free containers for food export. If the container is meets the first criteria but stinks, they use Febreze in them. Spray on the walls and onto the floor, close up for a bit, then open and air out and the offensive odor is gone. These are mostly industrial odors tho, not decayed food.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Cannabis Testing, Swift, NYC Ban on Cannabis Testing

What a hilarious stream of commentary..

If we are in a free country, then we can use what is legal here, what is inexpensive, what works, what is natural, what is our choice-- when we are not working. Alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis-- period.

Thanks so much for your time.

DP, life is about choices. Choices have consequences. Your opinion may be enough to sway the FMCSA and other regulatory bodies into a change of policy and rule. It may happen. But, it won't happen in the time I have left remaining as a driver, I will be willing to wager.

Bottom line, your position has merit, because as a citizen you have a voice. You could be bold, and try to become the case that goes to the Supremes for adjudication. After a conviction, and an appeal at the Circuit level. And a denial at the District level. And that still doesn't guarantee that the Supremes will grant certiorari to your case ( the rate of petion for all certiorari success in 2017 was only about 3%, attorney submitted cases are about 6%). Or, you could focus on not raging against the machine and avoiding circumstances that would lead you into feeling the need or desire to use a regulated substance for relief of your medical symptoms. The rules are the rules, at least for the timeframe in which we work.

Good luck as you decide which course of action to take.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Cannabis Testing, Swift, NYC Ban on Cannabis Testing

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she got popped for a dirty urine teat and sent home.

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Whew!!! Glad I'm not the only one that laughed at the typo. Presuming, that is, that Rainy didn't actually INTEND that spelling...

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Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Reserve parking

Lebanon, IN is one of the places that is horrible. I paid, got there, and the two nice ladies behind the counter told me that they couldn't go knocking on doors due to "issues" from the past where the police were called. Meaning, some @$&&*# threatened them or something causing them to fear. So, they set me up with a parking space along the curb in the auto fueling side. Not easy to get into, but much quieter, and didn't smell like urine.

They even refunded my premium cost.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week

I-55 near Lexington Illinois, mile marker 178. Wolf packing in a big way, 6 Troopers working trucks on the ramps. Looks like the full line inspections, hoods open, Creepers out..

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Not completely trucking related, but...

Saw this on my news feed over Memorial Day weekend, then saw additional information on it today.

Not sure how not spending $200,000 is a fair offset to the cost to rework the road around it... but then, I'm no civil engineer. In fact, mostly uncivil...

No Boulder Removal, At Least This Year

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Preventable

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Oh, BTW, don't hide your spare key on your trailer. If you need to know why, maybe you shouldn't be a truck driver.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Concealed carry permit, reciprocation.

Politics aside, this is another thread that carries high level of potential for drama and name calling.

Remember that in most states, a violation of property owner bans on carry will likely carry a criminal sanction potential. This includes a ban on carry inside company property, and the courts are likely going to consider the truck a continuation of the company property. In my opinion, going to jail in general population is not conducive to a long career as anything other than victim.

Your actual mileage may vary.

Peace.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week

Illinois State Police have been inspecting the beejeezus out of rolling stock in the area of I55 - Arsenal Road (244MM). They are sitting on roadside, facing into traffic, watching trucks negotiate the sweeping left turn onto the Arsenal Rd throughway. Bad suspension will reflect itself here quite easily, it's a downhill, left curving off camber section of roadway. In the past three days (I'm terminal bound due to injury) they have been in the accident investigation area non-stop from 0600 through about 1500. No shortage of customers, four troopers - no waiting for a space on the porta scale / inspection pad. All inspections have been open hood. Yes, they started early... the cheaters... lol

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Parkland coward during shooting

This thread proves why politics and religion belong on political and religious forums. Lets stick to trucking!

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I worked as a customer service doorman at a local Irish pub for a year. We had a rule for staff discussions. No Politics. No Religion. If it works in an Irish Pub (some of the most politically charged and religiously impacted people on the planet) it probably should work here. I like the idea of archiving with a heading "Thou Shalt Not Open This Box of Pandora"

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Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Parkland coward during shooting

I worked for 27 years in a different profession before I became a driver. I know the history of the response protocols. I know how they have evolved and continue to evolve. I know from personal and professional experience how difficult it is to get people in that profession trained - multiple demands on their time, reticence on the part of the assignment location or personal choice to attend, apathy or "wont happen here ergo not important" mindset.

I would share my opinions, experience, and qualifications to make these statements, however... This is Trucking Truth. I voice those opinions on FarceBook. Or on my blog page. Not here.

Any outcome is still tragic for all involved. Peace.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Trip plan to run tmrrw

Which Wally are you parking at. Not many around here are truck friendly. FYI - Cabella's on 80/94 in Indiana does allow truck parking.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Why does this offer come now?

Rob, if you do jump back into supervision (after 17 years of it I wouldn't touch it with a pole!), don't give up your CDL-A and DOT Med. Those don't require a truck to maintain, and you're giving yourself a tactical advantage with Plan B. Finish out a year if you can before committing to a job swap. If you can, perhaps a visit to the dispatch center to see what you're inheriting may be prudent. Public Safety dispatch, as you know, is kind of a different animal than what you'd be getting into.

In any event, it's nice to have options! Good Luck, Brother!!!

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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What do you guys think about Roehl ?

Good reputation for safety. Their rolling stock is always new, or new looking. They must govern somewhere around 62 - 63 mph, or else give one helluva fuel bonus based on the standard highway speeds.

Good luck. Once you get past the first winter, and about a year, it will start being a blast. I mean, youre getting paid to drive! Your ten year old self (I'm still there) would be jealous of you...

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Low underpasses

Downtown St. Louis there is an underpass marked (IIRC, it's been a while) 13'6. It was evening, I got turned around on the directions, I was new, and it looked low. I got up closer to it, it looked even lower, so I stopped and GOAL. First thing I saw was scrape marks all over the bottom of the beams and rivets. NOPE!!! I backed up quite a ways (seemed like a mile) to make a turn onto a side street and get the heck outta there and find a different route.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Trucker safety

Dorsey, I am federally qualified to carry a concealed firearm over about 95% of the United States. That said, I don't carry a firearm when I am driving, as PackRat indicated. Trucking Company Policies are written by people very in tune to the concept of "Liability". Given that trucking outfits are generally viewed as being deep in the pockets, anything that could even whiff of liability for the outfit is stomped into non-existence by policies. I had a near miss about a year ago, on a road in the middle of nowhere. Didn't have a pistol. Didn't need it, ultimately, but one never closes their eyes to the potential.

Another consideration that you should be aware of is the frequency of "NO FIREARMS ALLOWED ON THIS PREMISE" at shippers and receivers. If something happens on one of these properties, and it turns out that a driver was armed in violation of those posted signs (at least in IL, and I suspect many other states) the driver is potentially looking at a felony offense. Delivering to a military base or federal installation? Vehicle interior subject to search, if unlawful carrying - Federal Felony Offense. There goes the Hazmat endorsement... smile.gif Many pitfalls...

A source that you may consider contacting is the Owner Operator Independent Driver's Association. They cater to a clientele comprised largely of owner operators, and the rules for an O/O are often different.

Good luck to you.

I am an NRA Lifer as well...

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Intermodal

Bruce, thanks for that. I do train new drivers on occasion, on a limited basis. I don't have a condo sleeper cab, so The bulk of our training is done by local drivers, I do field mentoring of otr drivers as needed. The move to recruiting, if it happens, is in a way an effort to " try on a new coat ".

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Is 50 too old to start with pro-driver career?

Yuriy, try to give the job at least a year before making a career decision. At six months, you will likely have just completed your first winter of driving, many of the skills required for this job will still be formative, and the frustrations / aggravations / sheer stupidity you encounter could very easily break your will. Giving yourself a year to become proficient and confident will likely give you a different outlook on the job. Many on here have commented on hitting the wall at 6 - 8 months.

Good luck to you at Swift Academy!!!

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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A walk on the ‘Darkside’ - working for a small company

Wow, flashing back to my "paying my dues" first employment in this career. Bending space and time to accomplish unrealistic delivery schedules, 'creative writing' on the log books, an informal DVIR process and half-arsed repairs. Yep - BT-DT-GTT.

Just a reminder - if you use a mobile phone, GPS, or pass any license plate recognition equipped cameras or cop cars, there is a digital record of your Lat/Long/Time stamp. Should some blue-hair decide to drive under your trailer tandems and pass over the rainbow bridge, all of those electronics will get grabbed and used to convict you (worst case scenario) for Reckless Homicide.

LRDSHIP, I don't envy you for the position you find yourself in. Good luck to you.

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Intermodal

I have been running intermodal, regularly, for the past few years in Chicago area and haul loads OTR Regional Midwest ( Chi rail to UP Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois Quad Cities destinations or origin point to Chi rail mostly) My observations:

1) Pool chassis', as G-Town and Rainy have already said, really are the worst. If you can find one that has all of the lights, FHSA sticker up to date, and tires that are fully inflated and have 2/32" or more of tread all the way around without flat spots or dry rot, the brakes will probably be sorely out of adjustment. Find a carrier that owns or leases their chassis', and self maintains. You'll have much less down time, not to mention the ingate will be faster most places since you won't have to have the chassis inspected on the way in.

2) Carrying a couple extra lamp assy's and glad hand seals is a good way to save yourself time. There have been days I have sat in the Quick Repair Lane for over an hour waiting for the dozen or so trucks in front of me to get their "quick" repairs done (usually tire issues - I replace burnt out lamps myself). If the mechanic at quick lane doesn't feel like fixing the chassis with a loaded container on it, you'll be told to take it to the lift line, have the container pulled off the offending chassis, take the bad order unit to the repair drop area, then you have to hunt thru to find a good order chassis to pick your container up. VERY time consuming. These quickly turn into 3+ hour visits.

3) Stops / miles or pay by load is not the best way to consistently make good money in Intermodal. Find a carrier that pays hourly. Several of the busier Chicago IM yards are notorious for lengthy delays - BNSF Logistics Park, NS Landers, BNSF Cicero to name a couple. CN Harvey is busy, but if they're not moving trains they generally get you out in an hour or less for a pickup. A delivery is usually faster.

4) On your first visit to any railyard, you're going to have to go to the Driver Assistance building to register and get fingerprinted for access control. If the railroad offers an intermodal driver's app for your phone, download and register. The app generally saves you time on check in, and more and more of the railyards are no longer printing the J-1 at exit kiosk. J-1 is, basically, the bill of lading for the load. You will need that if you get inspected, and having the rail apps means you get the J-1 out-gate emailed to you so you have the information if needed.

4) Chassis securement is important - twist lock devices at all four corners to hold the container down. Carry cheap zip-ties to secure those twist lock device security measures, they will vibrate open during travel, especially if you're deadheading the container on rough roads. Brightly colored ones are best - you can see them in your mirror while driving for a validation that you're secured properly, and the men and women in the unusual hats can see them as well (gives them one less reason to give you a second look). Our company does very little drop and hook intermodal, since we own our own rolling stock and don't want to leave it in the field to be pulled out inadvertently by drivers from another company. The Megas like Schneider, Swift and Hub often do drop hook which saves you down time as well.

Let me know if you have more questions. When I first started with G&D I was a utility driver, and spent about 50% of my time running I/M. Over the past two years or so, it has been about 90% of my activity. Generally, Intermodal is not a whole lot different than van work, and when you get back in the saddle, it may be worth exploring. I wont say I love it, but it's not as bad as the horror stories I was hearing when I was getting my CDL training. Intermodal is pretty much always busy, and there is a great availability of driving positions.

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