Profile For Uncle Rake

Uncle Rake's Info

  • Location:
    Lubbock, TX

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 3 months ago

Uncle Rake's Bio

Started orientation with Prime September 9, 2020. So far, first week with trainer has taken us from Springfield to Stratford, TX, to Winslow AZ, to southern CA, to Sumner, Washington. We’ll see how it goes from here..

Uncle Rake's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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I Blame This Website

Oh yeah, and before I could get to the tiny streets, I had to do U-turns (the legal kind) on Roosevelt Blvd, just to get into lanes where I could actually turn onto the tiny streets. The lanes where you can turn are separated from the primary lanes by a median, and I'm talking about traffic going the same direction. (I'm sure this makes sense to those who've seen it.)

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

View Topic:

I Blame This Website

Yes sir, Wakefern was the place. As difficult as I thought it was, I think I'd take it every day over where I am now, at Philly Cheese Steak Inc in Philadelphia. Seems I drove by every LaSalle old-house-turned-into-student-housing in town to get here. Lots of streets designed for subcompact cars, not trucks. But as far as I know, I didn't hit anything (yet).

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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I Blame This Website

Shortly after my solo career began, I contacted my fleet manager to let him know I would take any load. I told him I would take repetitive loads, or the loads no one else wanted. I said these things because of all I learned here on this site about working hard, not complaining, and not refusing any loads. So when I found myself in Newark, New Jersey (after about 3 weeks of solo experience), about to traverse the course below, I realized my predicament related directly to the TT education I had received.

So if you are new to the site, let this be a lesson to you.

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Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Solo Trucking

Got back to Springfield with my trainer on Monday, January 18, 2021. Had sent my FM a message that morning asking about starting my paperwork and he said he had already begun. When I texted him later he said that classes on Tuesday were already full but I could start on Wednesday morning. He told me that all I needed to do on Tuesday was watch ELD mandate videos and then call logging to go over things with them. I watched the videos and then called but she could not verify that I had watched the videos because apparently I watched them in the wrong section. So after our call I went to the correct section which is certifications, and watched the hour long video again. As a part of the upgrade process, I would later watch the video a third time. This video is probably the longest one I have watched at just under an hour.

Classes Wednesday morning began at 700. Mostly we watched videos about distracted driving and the dangers associated with not being careful while driving. Then we went to the SIM lab. We drove in a couple of different scenarios. My second one was in snowy conditions. Although I had driven probably thousands of miles during training in such conditions without problems, I slid off the road going up an exit ramp in the simulator. Our test to pass the simulator involved backing the truck between two buildings into a dock. The instructor gave us an idea of how he would do it and I followed his example. We had one opportunity to practice and then the second time was the test. I managed to get it backed in both times and then the instructor told me I was finished. He gave me a schedule for what I needed to do next. All it included was watching CBTs, and going to a class on automatic transmissions in the plaza which would be available at 1330 the next couple days. I managed to go ahead and get to the class on Wednesday and then went back to my room and worked on the CBTs. I finished them around 2300 and sent an email given on the schedule. The email was just to let them know I was ready to move towards getting a truck and what division I would be driving and whether I would be company or lease. Thursday morning I got an email with a link which I would use to get in line for obtaining a truck. I received a call about 1030 Thursday morning telling me they had a truck for me.

All my training was in a Freightliner Cascadia. I downloaded the user manual and tried to get very familiar with it. I watched videos about different features of the truck. I went to pick up my own truck, and walked out and found it, and it is an International. I spent Thursday afternoon going over the truck with their checklist and found a number of issues that needed to be resolved. I got it into the truck shop Thursday evening and they finished with it just before 0100. They said one of the issues needed to be addressed by the body shop and that people would be available there around 0600. I drove it back to campus and went to bed. Got up at 0530 to shower so I could call the body shop at 0600. I left messages with the shop number and the supervisor number but did not get a response. In about 30 minutes I went ahead and drove over there and found everyone there very helpful. They had to repair holes in the back of the cab where the upper load lock bracket had been torn out. Then they put in another upper bracket. A young man in detailing worked very hard and got most of the grease out of the driver's seat belt. They finished around 1100. I washed my clothes and ate lunch and got back to campus around 1400 to load up my stuff. I texted my FM that my PTA would be around 1500.

Just before 1500 I got a call from dispatch that I had a trailer to pick up in Bedford, Pennsylvania, location code WALBED. I did not see that as a load in the system so I checked with my FM and he confirmed that it was legitimate. (I learned later that loads to not show up in the system until they are actually hauling something.) So I took off for Pennsylvania. After driving about 6 and ½ hours I got very sleepy. I had gotten little sleep the previous night. I saw a ramp with trucks parked on the shoulder so I exited there and slept about 3 and 1/2 hours. I got up later and got to a truck stop with the remaining part of my hours. After my break I started traveling East again. At some point I had a brief pause where I sent a message to dispatch because I still had not seen my trip in the system. They responded and said that I needed to be going to Wisconsin instead of Pennsylvania. They said the location code I needed was WALBD not WALBED. After checking with a friend with more experience I started moving towards Wisconsin, where I did find my first trailer at a Walmart DC in the middle of a significant snow storm. Thus my training ended and my solo career began.

I want to thank both of you who followed this story. Thank you for your interest and your helpful comments. Actually, I have been encouraged by many of you and I appreciate your support. I have been wanting to finish this up for several weeks now, but initially did not have the right equipment, and then did not find the time. But here I sit in a Philadelphia parking lot, hoping to deliver 43k pounds of beef to Philadelphia Cheese Steak at 0600, weather permitting.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Fifth Time Is the Charm

Rick, yes I am driving for Prime. The only thing I have heard about their policy in relation to adverse driving conditions is that if you think it is too unsafe to drive, you are free to park it and wait. If I understand correctly, the only time my trainer felt the need to do that was in a blizzard in Maine where he could not move. He has also shut down when mandated by law enforcement. Normally, he attempts to continue as long as possible, even in adverse conditions. This time the need to put on chains was suddenly mandated by conditions around us. I guess we could have parked there and waited, but we chose the other option. As it turned out, despite installation in very hard snowfall and removal in hard rain, the experience was not that difficult.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Fifth Time Is the Charm

Fifth Time Is the Charm

The first time I went through Snoqualmie pass (on I-90 in WA) was just after I started TNT training. It was snowing, and my trainer was asleep in the sleeper. I used the engine brake to control my speed. At one point I felt the truck slip a little so I quickly disengaged the brake. That was the only time I noticed a problem, and I did continue to use the engine brake. The second time I went through the pass, my trainer was sleeping, it was snowing, and I went through it again.

On our third attempt through the area, my trainer was scheduled to drive and we had been under a chain order. We were wondering whether or not to go ahead and chain up when someone came through and told us they had lifted the chain requirement. We checked the Washington DOT website, and sure enough chains were not required for Snoqualmie. So we took off across the interstate again and as soon as we got under one of those LED warning signs, it said chains were required. We wondered about the discrepancy but decided to go ahead and take our chances. We made it through the area without any problems without chains.

The fourth time we encountered Snoqualmie, my trainer woke me at 0100 on January 12, 2021. He said we were approaching the area and chains were required. He had never used chains and I certainly had not. We were pretty fast learners I would say. I think we had our six chains on in about 40 minutes. That included moving a lot of things to get to them. (I will just leave that statement as it is.) As we eased out on the highway the ride was so rough we wondered if we had done something wrong. Eventually we got up closer to our 30 mph limit and the ride was much smoother. We made it through the area without any problems. When we got to the worst area, it was not difficult to tell why chains were required. And then, when we got to the chain removal area, behold, all six chains were still on the tires!

Following the completion of our last load in the northwest, I needed less than 1500 miles to complete my TNT training. I figured they would route us toward Springfield so I could get my miles done and to be ready for an upgrade. Instead, we are picking up two loads in Washington and taking them to Connecticut, a total trip of over 3,000 miles. By the time I do manage to get back to Springfield, I may be closer to 60,000 miles. But that's okay.

When I checked the weather for Snoqualmie last night, just in case we headed that way, which according to our history would seem likely, it showed that no restrictions were required. Sure enough, that is exactly the route we took, and thankfully, the roads were indeed clear. So if you have to go through Snoqualmie, and conditions are less than favorable, keep trying and eventually it will get better. That’s not to say the entire trip was easy this morning. I experienced times when I thought I was in a snow globe. But the temperature stayed in the middle 30s at least so conditions never got really bad.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

By the numbers 2020

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Is that a serious criteria of yours Uncle Rake? If so, I am curious why? If it's just a personal preference, that's fine, but it sure seems to be an extremely limiting factor in today's marketplace.

It was just a question based on [previously] unconfirmed information, OS. At this point in my career, I’ve only driven for Prime whose fleet is limited to automatics. So my license is limited to automatics, but I wouldn’t consider that a difficult hurdle to overcome, if necessary.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

By the numbers 2020

Turtle, I have a couple questions about driving for Walmart.

Do they require you to live within a certain distance from the DC?

Someone told me they are moving toward automatic trucks. Can you confirm or deny that?

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Lease Operator Advantages

Thanks for the information, Kearsey.

Thanks for your willingness to help, Ted. I told my fleet manager today that I will be a company driver, and that I am 100% certain of that decision.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Lease Operator Advantages

Thank you for the link, Rob. I know I have read dozens of articles on TT about leasing and none of them recommended it, to say the least.

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But in all that I had not read Rob‘s experience and the responses. If I had, I would probably not have posed my question.

Some of you asked about my current progress. We have a load headed to Washington right now which should put me over 49,000 miles toward the required 50,000. Wherever they send us from Washington should be enough. I wish I knew how soon after reaching the limit they would start processing me toward driving my own truck. Please do not read into that phrase “my own truck” that I have any idea of leasing. (Btw, editing this post on an iPad while lying in the sleeper of a Freightliner on a bumpy road in the Midwest has reminded me why I seldom write posts at this point in my progress. In fact, it has taken me six or eight attempts to successfully hit the preview button for this post.)

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

HOS Scenario

Butch is very thankful for all of your responses. He is still trying to understand the best way to do things, and hopes within a week or so to be making decisions on his own so that he does not end up in these challenging predicaments.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

HOS Scenario

Let’s say a driver named Butch begins with a fresh clock by driving to a Walmart DC. His appointment time is at 0400. Butch starts at 2300 and arrives at the DC an hour early at 0300. Butch will eventually get through the gate and get to a door and get checked in with his paperwork by 0340. Butch will wait to be unloaded until 0830.

Butch went off duty at 0300 as soon as he entered the gate. Then he used personal conveyance to get to the door so that his clock has not been running since he arrived. Since he has been off duty for 5 1/2 hours, Butch decides to use PC to move to a truck stop about 20 miles away. There he waits an additional four hours to end his 10 hour break and get his time back to continue moving to the next stop.

What is your assessment of Butch’s actions? Could he have handled things in a better way? What options would the split sleeper birth provide in his situation?

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

It’s been a while since my last update. When this load to Washington finishes, I should have about 40,000 miles of TNT training completed. Perhaps I can finish training within the first couple weeks in January. I have had a couple close calls with the trailer, but thankfully saw the situation in time to keep from hitting anything. I keep thinking of what G-town’s trainer said about “watching your wagon.” That phrase often goes through my mind as well.
I probably spent over 100 hours reading the posts at trucking truth before starting my training. Once I got into the long days of TNT training, I guess it just took me a while to get back to taking the time to read and respond. Thank you to everyone for the wealth of wisdom provided in this site. It continues to help me in many ways.

Posted:  2 months ago

View Topic:

Lease Operator Advantages

Well, it’s been about six weeks since I asked for input from lease operators and I never heard from anyone. Perhaps that in itself answers my question. Thank you to those of you who responded.

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

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Lease Operator Advantages

I have read the negative reasons in the forum why new drivers should not become lease operators. I am sure there is wisdom in being cautious when starting out. I am not in any hurry but I do like to research things in advance. I wonder if some of you who are lease operators would be willing to dialogue with me directly through email (raif.turner@gmail.com) or text messaging (806-789-8877).

If not, I would also welcome your input here in the forum.

Thank you for your information.

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Thanks, Rob.
I'm still taking notes of my days, but never seem to have enough time to edit them enough for another post. Every time we finish a load a day (or two) early, they find us another load. The nerve of some people!
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Hope to get it all updated as soon as possible.

Posted:  4 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Thank you, PackRat! I appreciate all the encouragement you have given me through the process.

I remember when I saw you in Lubbock that you told me your pseudonym is related to the amount of tools you carry. What would you say are the most important tools that you use most frequently? I am beginning to think about what I will need when I eventually have my own truck. I have a lot of tools of my own and a lot that I inherited from my father. I am sure there will be some specialized tools I will need to purchase as well.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Next we got into the truck to begin the road test. We pulled out onto the street beside the practice pad and he told me I needed to increase my speed. I tried to keep my speed slightly below the posted limit. We drove down to an intersection and turned left. Just after crossing the first overpass he asked me what the weight limit on it was. I did not see any indication of the weight limit for that overpass. We drove over it later in a personal vehicle and could not see a sign then either. I don’t know if he was testing my honesty or if we just missed what we should have seen. We drove out a major section of highway and then turned off onto a two lane road. We eventually ended up on a street that looked like it could have been for a residential area but the buildings in that area were large commercial buildings. In that section he asked me to demonstrate an emergency stop. I had tried to find information online for an emergency stop in a commercial vehicle. The only instruction I found said to turn on your right turn signal, move to the side of the road, turn on four-way flashers, and set the emergency brakes. I did that and then told the examiner that if I was going to be there longer than 10 minutes I would set out my triangles. The only part I got wrong was not being completely parallel with the curb. In total, I had four points deducted on my driving test. The other two deductions were related to failure to stop behind the white line at intersections. In both cases, I remember pulling up to where I could see approaching traffic. Apparently I should have stopped behind the white line and then pulled up to check traffic. In all, I passed all three sections of my test and I am thankful that section of my training has ended.

Friday—Tuesday

Just before I began my test I met another student who was about to test. Afterwards, I spoke to him and found that he lives in Amarillo Texas, about 100 miles from my home. He said he had his own vehicle in Springfield and he was going home. He said I could ride with him. I checked with my trainer to see if that was an option for me. He checked with dispatch and they said that was a possibility. So I got to to come home and spend a few days with my family. I will be here until my trainer gets a load and comes to pick me up. It was great to be home. On Monday I was able to get my license transferred to Texas, and on Tuesday I was able to take care of some labs my doctor wanted me to do. But the greatest part of being home was to spend time with my family.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Friday, October 9

Test day finally arrived. We had to be at the plaza by 830. I wanted to be there by 800 and thankfully my trainer was in agreement. We had practiced backing maneuvers Thursday night from 1900-2200. That’s a good thing, because I was going to need it. We checked in at the desk when we arrived at the plaza. I have learned that checking in is always a good idea when you are scheduled to be at the plaza. Shortly after 900 I met my examiner. He came across as a thorough, seriously minded individual who was not unfriendly. He told us to get a trailer and meet him at pad 8–easier said than done. We went to the location where the trailers are kept but all of them were taken. We saw one parked perpendicular to the others and went back to the plaza and asked someone about using it. After getting approval, we hooked up to that one and went to the prescribed location. The examiner started to look at the trailer and found that the rear doors were wired shut. He said that one would not work. He saw another trainer who was waiting for her student to be tested. He told us that he had called her and we could get her trailer. After finally acquiring a trailer we went back to our prescribed testing location.

For the pre-trip portion, he had me go through the engine compartment and then the other three required sections: the coupling area, the lights test, and the in cab inspection. When we had finished he said that I received 46 of 47 possible points. I learned then that the steering gearbox has more than one hose. I had identified the gearbox and “hose.” He said I should have said “hoses.” So don’t forget the importance of that plural word.

Next we moved to the backing tests. I completed the straight line without any issues. On performing the offset back, I heard the whistle indicating that I had backed too far to the right, incurring a two point penalty. I pulled up and backed it in without additional penalties. Then he asked me to do the right side parallel park, an exercise that had given me no difficulties during practice, once we had the correct movements. I started in the right place but got my initial angle wrong. Several times during practice I had made slight adjustments to the angle as I was backing and corrected it, ending with the trailer in the right place. This time, however, my angle was too much to overcome. First I went over the boundary to my right, incurring another two point penalty. Then I ended up on top of the pylons on the front of the box, incurring another two point penalty. I had used my first GOAL to insure my trailer tires were located correctly. When I ended up on top of the pylons, I decided I needed another look. I couldn’t see how I was going to avoid running over the pylons. The examiner told me I could not back up again until I was within the boundaries. I started to get back in the truck but then went and asked him if I could pull up and start over. He said that I could. When I got back into the truck I stopped worrying about the pylons and just pulled forward directly over them. I saw the examiner pick one up and put it back into place. By this time I was beginning to wonder if I was nearing the end of my fifteen minute time limit. I told myself there was nothing I could do about that and just to do my best. I pulled up past the starting point and backed up into the correct beginning position. This time I got my initial angle correct, backed until I saw my trailer tires on the line in my mirror, made the correct turns, and put the truck and trailer in the box. Normally, I would have used my second GOAL to verify I was completely within the boundaries. But I had no more options for getting out of the truck, and my time limit was still looming in the back of my mind. I checked the mirrors quickly, and sounded the horn. Thankfully I completed the requirements within the time limit, and ended within the boundaries. In all, I lost eight points on my parallel parking attempt. That brought my total deductions to 10, just within the 12 points allowed. My advice to others who might find themselves beginning the parallel maneuver with a bad starting angle is to use a pull-up and get your angle correct. The maneuver allows two pull-ups without penalty. Once the initial angle is correct, pull-ups are rarely needed at all for parallel parking. Thankfully, I passed, and that is the most important thing.

Continued below . . .

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Really enjoying your stories as I prepare for school on the 19th

Thank you for the response, Edson. I wish you the best of success!

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