Profile For Uncle Rake

Uncle Rake's Info

  • Location:
    Lubbock, TX

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years 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:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Solo Reefer Beginning

Tuesday, Feb 23, TTL 109

I got a load yesterday morning about 0930. I picked it up in Fort Morgan Colorado and it had to be in Nebraska city Nebraska by 1100 today. I drove to the fuel stop which is in Henderson Nebraska at exit 342 on I 80. I had decided that if the place had parking I would park tonight and fuel in the morning and if it did not have parking I would fuel there and drive to the first rest area or TA that had available parking. When I got to there the name of it was Fuel Stop but in the QUALCOMM it was listed as Fuel Mart. When I got there no other trucks were parked and so it was easy for me to stay there overnight. I woke up this morning about 0400. I made coffee and read my lists and had some RBC. I decided to leave there in time to get to the 90 by 1000. The 90 was very easy to work with since they only had two dock doors. While I was there I called Ralph Smith and had a good but brief visit with him. He said they had been spared from the Covid illness.

I got a pre-plan to pick up in Lincoln Nebraska and haul to Denton Texas. The 01 and the 90 are both scheduled for 1900. Since neither involves dropping the trailer I went to the closest trailer wash which is in the edge of Iowa. I got the trailer washed out and thought about taking a nap but I’ve been lying here now for an hour and a half without sleep so I decided to update this. My plan is to leave here at 1630 so that I can get to the 01 by 1800 which is an hour earlier than I am scheduled to arrive. I used personal conveyance to move over to the truck wash today to try to conserve the hours in relation to my split so that I can have more options after I am loaded this evening. I have a box with chicken and Brussels sprouts in the freezer which I intend to put in the hot logic cooker just after I wake up today if I get some sleep or around 1600 so that hopefully it will be ready while I am at the 01. Part of my thinking today is related to how I should maximize my time in relation to picking up at 1900, getting my 10 hour break at some point, and delivering in Denton tomorrow at 1900 which is about 550 miles away. I will obviously be looking for a place to sleep later at night than I prefer. This is just another skill which I need to develop.

According to the GPS, pick up location was only an hour away but I wanted to get here at least an hour early and I ended up leaving a little after 1600. Got here to the location in Lincoln and got checked in and into a door by 17:45. Maybe I can get out of here early and get an early start on the trip to Denton.

I don't know that getting here early helped too much. I guess it helped to back into a door during daylight but now it is 18:45 and I don't think they have begun to load the truck. Perhaps 1900 start time is as good as it gets. At 1858 the truck started shaking so now I'm getting loaded.

Wednesday, February 24, TTL 110

Yesterday was a good example of using the split sleeper berth. My delivery was at 1100 so I wanted to be there by 1000. I was about 110 miles away so I started driving at 0800. After delivery I had a pre-plan for my next load which was to be picked up at 1900. The next load included 54 miles of driving empty and then 600 miles loaded. It was to be a live load so I wanted to get the trailer washed out. I drove to the nearest washout facility and went off duty. After two hours that froze my 14 hour clock. I only ended up driving until about 2330 but I could’ve driven until about 0200 this morning before nearing the end of my 14 hours because of the pause in the split sleeper berth provision. The extra hours I drove last night will help me have enough time today to get to the 90 by 1900 with time left on my clock to find a place to park. I will begin driving today needing 420 miles to reach the 90.

Well, I reached the 90 by 1630 but they did not get me unloaded until 530 Thursday morning.

Posted:  8 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Solo Reefer Beginning

When I am driving, a lot of interesting things take place as I travel. But even a few days later when I try to remember how things happened and where, I have trouble getting the details correct. So I started trying to record the events of my days so that I could read back through it and remember how things occurred. From the beginning, I considered the possibility of sharing my notes with this website but I was unsure how long I would continue and did not want to embarrass myself with a very short account. So I have waited a few weeks before sharing it.

My hope is that it will give some insight to those who are going through training. I hope it will possibly teach a thing or two. I also hope that some of the more experienced drivers will explain (nicely) areas where I could have done things better so that we can all learn from my mistakes.

I will try to edit my notes for each week and then post the information weekly. Weeks at Prime end Wednesdays at 1600. To keep me from editing too much, I will leave in some names of people you will not know. The length of the material may necessitate multiple posts for some weeks. The log picks up in the middle of my fifth week as a solo driver.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Ten Lists 107

Yesterday I got to Stratford, TX about 6 PM after spending time with Rebecca, James and Katrina in Amarillo. We ate lunch at the Big Texan and then went to Walmart where I got the coffee pot with metal carafe and then I went back to James’s house and took a shower. I left there about 1615. This was the time when the transmission in the truck had trouble engaging. I drove about 30 feet out of my parking place behind the Big Texan and it stalled. I finally got it to work and made it to the Pilot a few miles down the road where it stalled again as I was pulling up to a pump. Later that evening as I was driving into Stratford, the transmission disengaged and I coasted to a side street. Eventually I managed to get it going again and got parked at the Pilot.

This morning I left the Pilot at 0600. I got to another Pilot in Lyman Colorado when I stopped to go to the bathroom. When I came back to the truck more than half the air in the tanks was gone. I charged the tanks up to around 100 and noted that when the truck was idling normally it was losing more air than it was gaining. I walked around the trailer and found that the line going into the scale was leaking very badly. I contacted road assist and they told me to take it to TA to have it repaired.

I am supposed to be able to get into the TA around 1600. If so, that should enable me to make this delivery today which is still 130 miles away. The 90 is in Loveland Colorado. I picked up this load at Kraft in Fort Worth.

For my first pot of coffee in the new coffee pot maker this morning, I tried making 8 cups of coffee and it equaled about 2 1/2 of my cups. I think tomorrow I will try about 6 1/2 and see how that comes out.

Waited six hours in total today for the repairs and so I did not get to the Walmart distribution Center until about 1830. Kept waiting to see if they would send me another load. When I decided they were not going to send one, I left there about 2100. Going to try sleeping on a city street for the first time tonight. We will see how it goes. Right now I have a big nice salad but I also have some hamburger meat and vegetables which will be ready any minute now.

Monday, February 22, TTL 108

Alarm was set for 0530 but I woke up around five for the final time. I think my brake valve popped out about four and woke me up. I may still have more air leaking than should be.

I ate some plain yogurt and walnuts for breakfast. I filled the coffee pot to what looked like 6 1/2 cups and it is still slightly more than what I need. Tomorrow I will fill it to the top of the six and see how I come out. My fleet manager contacted me about 0600, just 30 minutes before I finished my break. He asked if I was out of the shop. I figured he would’ve seen the messages I sent yesterday, especially the ones about leaving the 90 after I had delivered. I really wish I knew better what to communicate with him. I don’t want to bug him but I certainly want to keep him informed.

I am parked on Saint Cloud Drive just north west of Wendy’s in Loveland, CO, just south of Stallion Drive. I am thankful no law-enforcement person has asked me to move yet. I hope I get a load before that happens. I parked here because it was almost 2100 when I finished at the DC and I didn’t want to go truck stop hopping looking for a place to park.

Posted:  9 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

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:  9 months, 2 weeks 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:  9 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

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:  9 months, 2 weeks 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:  10 months, 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:  10 months, 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:  10 months, 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:  10 months, 2 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:  10 months, 2 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:  10 months, 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.

smile.gif

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:  10 months, 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:  11 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:  11 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:  11 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:  1 year ago

View Topic:

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:  1 year, 1 month 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:  1 year, 1 month 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:  1 year, 1 month 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.

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