Profile For Chief Brody

Chief Brody's Info

  • Location:
    Ballwin, MO

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 5 months ago

Chief Brody's Bio

Born in Houston, Texas but grew up in Missouri. All over Missouri. Joined the Marines out of high school and then transferred to active duty Army. After the Army went to college and then to law school. Worked for St. Louis County for 8 years, doing a variety of governmental legal work. After leaving the County, I worked in three private law firms doing real estate development and public incentives. After 22 years in the law practice, I got burnt out. I got tired of the impossible volume of work, the push to generate more business and associated marketing, networking and sales, the unreasonable clients, the office politics, and the general lack of integrity in a profession governed by ethics rules—self-governed I might add.. I am an adventurous person. I have sky-dived, scuba dived, rode several centuries (100 miles in a day) on a bicycle, rode an Ironbutt (1000 miles in a day; non certified) on a motorcycle, completed an Ironman triathlon in 2003, got my EMT license in 2011 (expired now), rode Route 66 on a Harley in 2017 and 5900 miles through the eastern United States and Canada, including the Trans-labrador highway, on a Triumph Tiger 800 in 2019.

I like to travel and prefer trips where I drive. In fact, driving has always been a source of rejuvenation for me. I prefer to be alone. I like to be active, so physical work doesn’t bother me. I like challenges and am pretty resourceful in overcoming obstacles. I analyze everything, probably overanalyze most things, but it serves me well because I am good at figuring out systems.

So after much research for a second career later in life, I decided to make the drastic career change into trucking at the age of 52.

Chief Brody's Photo Gallery Group 1 of 19

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Posted:  8 hours, 25 minutes ago

View Topic:

Rookie Solo Adventures of a Knuckle Draggin Primate (Rob D.)

Anne,

The watermelons are just a Charlotte Pipe thing. The shipper leaves watermelons for the drivers and the receivers.

The sign is a real sign as you're leaving Brooklyn. I zoomed in more so you could read it better. Here is the original picture.

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BTW, I can take those pictures hands free.

Posted:  15 hours, 6 minutes ago

View Topic:

Get off the truck

Miami, Florida, July 2021; Everglades National Park

As I had posted my rookie solo diary, Miami is not my favorite place. In addition to the hectic, unappealing city itself, during the summer it is very hot and rains several times a day.

But, just southwest of Miami lies the Everglades National Park and then south of there, the Florida Keys. It was like when I was stationed at Ft. Irwin. One of the crappiest duty stations, but you are 2 hours from Vegas and 2 hours from Los Angeles. And, had I known at the time, I would have gone to Moab, Utah more for hiking. I rented a car for the down and drove down the Everglades National Park.

The Everglades National Park main road is about 50 miles long. There is not a lot of primitive, back country hiking. Rather there are 6 interpretative trails that you can access from the main road. The interpretive trails give you a good understanding of the Everglades ecosystem and some nice scenery. See the link to the pictures below. If you want to rent a kayak or canoe, there are boat trails where you can immerse yourself into the Everglades. At the very end of the main road the Flamingo Visitor Center gives you a good view of the keys to the south. Also, they bridges near the marina there

I ended up meeting a woman from Paris. Saw an alligator and a manatee.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/JDehEqgjuwTn6YiZA

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Posted:  15 hours, 22 minutes ago

View Topic:

Rookie Solo Adventures of a Knuckle Draggin Primate (Rob D.)

7/25/2021 continued

Because I’m in Illinois, a Chicago load is on the table. Nothing good comes out of Chicago and one of the worst, of any flatbed loads, is Allied Tube out of Harvey. It is notorious for being slow because the employees just have no sense of urgency. So, that’s what I get. I get there about 1600 and am promptly told that my appointment is 2000. And although I get into the bay by 2000, no forklift operator even comes to my truck for over three hours. He finally starts loading me at 2330 and doesn’t finish 0200 the next day.

This four-stop, tarped load is going to Miami, Florida. While I have never refused a load since I’ve been solo, while I’m driving south, I thinking about sending a message to my FM that Allied Tube, Harvey might be my only load that I won’t haul. This may be moot because I plan to send him a message regarding options.

As I have mentioned before and in other threads, at Prime you have the option to run regional right out of TNT. I chose OTR, because I wanted to see more of the lower 48 and get a large variety of loads. The idea being, that I wanted to get the actual experience of hauling different loads to different areas so that I would know firsthand, rather than based on conjecture. One place that has surprised me is Los Angeles. I really don’t mind running loads to Los Angeles. Now that I have a year solo under my belt, I plan to see what regional and/or dedicated options I have.

On the way down the Florida, I had a collision warning critical event. I was in the second from the right lane. A car to my left pulled in front of me and just stopped, wanting to get to the exit. A couple of days later my FM asked me about it, saying that it appeared that someone had pulled in front of me. Prime does not have cameras, but they have the “data.” Nothing showed on my radar before the collision warning, so they could see I was not following close. I ended up saving the video from my dashcam, but my FM said he didn’t need to see it. It was clear from the data what had happened.

My four stops went pretty well. Although the forklift operator as Allied Tube in Harvey took forever to unload me, he did put the stops in easy groupings.

After my deliveries, I head to the Florida 595 truck stop which is a complete pit. There are junk vehicles and four-wheelers parked in the truck parking spots. So based on that, and other things like the bad drivers, Miami is one of my least favorite cities now. Although, I did end going to the Everglades National Park, where I met a woman from Paris, saw a alligator and manatee. See my other “Get Off the Truck” thread.

As far as surprisingly easy deliveries, my next load out of Florida is Charlotte Pipe going to Brooklyn, New York. It’s over 700 miles deadhead. Easy securement, no tarp. And for the first time since I went solo, there are four watermelons on my trailer. It’s a Charlotte Pipe thing.

I end spending the night in Pennsylvania, leaving 170 miles to drive into Brooklyn. Based on Turtle’s recommendation, the drive into the City had practically no traffic. I had each turn planned very well and even put waypoints on my GPS so it wouldn’t try to take me a different route. It took me just over 3 hours. All of the intersections were wide enough to make my turns. And after my delivery, my GPS took me out on a truck route that was nice and easy. Interestingly, the tightest situation I encountered all day was getting out of my parking spot that morning. It was one of those really tight Pilot’s. I had to G.O.A.L. three times.

My next load is lumber out of Towanda, Pennsylvania. I’ve been there before. It’s the place that has 10-ton weight limit on the access road. Tarped load, but they put your tarps on and all you have to do it bungee them down. I have actually started using rope more rather than bungees. I like them better because they hold the tarp better. There is no elasticity in the rope. And, I’m getting quicker at using the rope. Heading south from here you take US 220, which as Turtle’s Walmart trainer called it a “goat path.” But I’ve got time on this load. It’s going to Darlington, South Carolina and doesn’t delivery until Monday. The scenery through Pennsylvania was nice.

I will deliver this load Monday and then I’ll pretty much be heading to Springfield for my next home time.

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Posted:  15 hours, 29 minutes ago

View Topic:

Rookie Solo Adventures of a Knuckle Draggin Primate (Rob D.)

7/25/2021 Update: North Carolina

While I don’t really need it that much, I am on another 34-hour reset here in Dunn, North Carolina. Not much tourism this time. Just going to catch up my diary. I am coming up on one year solo. So, I will end this diary at that point. Hopefully, it has been helpful.

Delivered the load to Centerville, Utah Monday. Nothing eventful other than a lesson in making notes on shippers and receivers. This particular receiver has a back gate where you are supposed to arrive and then call. If you go to the delivery address, you’ll be in the wrong place.

Next load it out of Cedar City, Utah. Easy PVC pipe load going to Clackamas, Oregon. Pretty easy delivery to one of those one of those common warehouse areas where you pull into the central drive and there are opposing docks on each side. There was some confusion about my delivery time. The receiver had me scheduled for a week earlier at noon. I ended up showing up early, about 900 and good thing, because that was a better time for the receiver. At Prime we have people who call and schedule the appointments. For some reason, this person was adamant that I could not make it there before noon. Got unloaded pretty quick.

Next load it SAPA/Hydro aluminum logs out of The Dalles, Oregon. I had just driven through that area, which is the quite scenic Columbia River Gorge area. Nice scenery. Unexpectedly, I had to tarp this one. The guard said that they had an aluminum log fall off a trailer so ever since then, they require them to be tarped. No big deal. I had bought two smaller canvas tarps to cover metal loads where there is just too much exposed metal to cover well. The canvas worked really well. Instead of tons of moving blankets, just one 10 X 5 tarp in the front and one 8 X 6 tarp in the back. Four bungees and done. This shipper was the same one where my TNT trainer got into it with Jeff, the forklift operator. I saw Jeff there and asked him about it. He didn’t remember.

This load is going to Unicoi, Tennessee. Total miles are over 2600. I really should have done a better job of keeping my weekly diary. When it’s been more than two weeks, I struggle to remember as many details.

Next load is enormous radiators out of Lexington, Tennessee. I had posted pictures in the flatbed variety thread. Interestingly, as large mine were, there were others that were over 12 feet tall. Those were on the ground next to a dry van trailer. They were about one foot below the top of the dry van. In addition, to having never hauled these before, the large variety of flatbed loads makes it difficult to know how to secure things. These were only about 4,000 lbs each. They load these sideways, with the large tall radiator portion parallel to the rub rail. The forklift operator said to put two chains on that side, then one strap holding down the back side. I realized pretty quickly that not only is all the weight toward the front, where I had both chains, but with the two chains pulling against that side, the only thing preventing them from toppling off the side of the trailer was one strap. I didn’t like that. So, I ended up running one of my chains to the opposite side of the trailer. However, that had a tendency to twist the radiator sideways, which make the chains loose. After some more thought, I realized that one chain through the anchor point to the front of the trailer, then to both sides of the trailer, then another identical chain toward the rear of the trailer provided much better securement. In fact, it would have been the most obvious securement if I hadn’t listened to the forklift operator.

Delivery to Lafayette, Indiana went smooth. Remove four chains and lift off the radiators. Fifteen minutes. Then I’m off to Constantine, Michigan to pick up paperboard going to Charleston, Illinois. Constantine, is just over the state line from Indiana. Even though everyone else there had to tarp these, I didn’t because my run was so short.

Posted:  5 days, 4 hours ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

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Most of your reasoning is not based on reality.

In theory, flatbed would get fewer miles because of the securement. However, and if Kearsey jumps in, she can verify this, but, on average, you spend a lot longer waiting at the shipper and receiver with reefer than it does to take me even my longest securement.

As far as busy or slow season, if you look at the DAT load boards flatbed ALWAYS has more loads per available track in any other division. And it completely went off the charts during the covid pandemic. So, while there is a supposed Slow season in the winterhave never slowed down in the past year at all in any way shape or form.

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Hey Chief... would you say you averaged about 5000 miles a week during your flatbed training?

Yes. Some weeks were only four thousand miles but the other weeks were close to six thousand miles or even over 6,000 miles.

Posted:  1 week ago

View Topic:

Real Drivers vs Fake Drivers - a recruiter speaks

Tammy,

It’s refreshing to see a prospective driver want to learn how to properly inspect your truck. Unfortunately, learning to recite the words of the pre-trip does not give you a true understanding of the mechanics of these vehicles.

At Prime, they have a class for drivers where mechanics teach you more about your vehicle beyond the pre-trip inspection.

Also, at Prime, when you go through inbound at any of the terminals, they will generally perform an inspection. They focus more on the trailer, but at least it is nice to have someone else looking at your equipment. Prime also has tire pressure monitoring systems for the tractor. When I had a steer tire puncture, the tire pressure monitoring alarm went off before I could feel it through the steering wheel. Prime’s trailer have auto-inflate systems for the trailer tires. If there is a leak, a white light on the front corner of the trailer illuminates.

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Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

View Topic:

Starting My New Career With Prime Inc.

What dedicated account are you running?

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

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Damn voice-to-text.

Flatbed is a lot cooler to pick that.

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Seriously, Garrett . . . I agree, as does my other half. It just wasn't for us.. we liked tanks better, back in the day.

Flatbedders are a 'breed' of their own; the camaraderie still exists; and he's (we've) noticed that fact... even HERE!

WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK?

SweetLew just left 12 years driving in the Army, and went Prime C'seat TNT...flatbed!! If the price of the 'tools' are spooking you.... quit thinking on that!

Just my 2 cents, as always! If I were you, I'd go skateboarding!!

Less wait times, better scheduling, idk... on and on and on.

Again, just me.

~ Anne ~

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No, the tools isn't holding me back anymore. I suppose what's holding me back is:

I think refer might just be the better start for a rookie. Brett has an article on here where he says dry van or refer is definitely the better way in over flatbed for rookies... just more simplicity, less dangerous & less stress on top of an already very stressful experience. Its his opinion of course, but it makes sense and I agree with it.

Plus, for Prime, refer drivers get more miles on average and see a little more of the country apparently. From what I've gathered, at Prime all the divisions make about the same at the end of the day...so that means more hard work and stress doing flatbed for just a bit more if not the same I'd make doing refer.

Also, if the economy crashes hard soon- that would have a pretty dramatic effect on flatbed work, but not so much at all on refer. *Has the increase in the prices of building materials lately and these mysterious "product shortages" already had an effect on flatbed work, by chance?

I would be starting out in flatbed moving into the slow season for that division.

What's interesting though is that I'm definitely feeling "pulled" toward flatbed for some reason, despite how logic is telling me to go refer. Like its a gut feeling/intuition thing. Maybe its just that flatbed sounds more exciting and stimulating whereas refer sounds pretty boring. I've always done better at jobs that were exciting, dynamic and non-routine. Routine and complacency destroys me. Its that quality that inadvertently led me down the path to become a chef- something I NEVER thought I'd become. Just the thought of having an office cubicle job has always depressed the s*** out of me.

Most of your reasoning is not based on reality.

In theory, flatbed would get fewer miles because of the securement. However, and if Kearsey jumps in, she can verify this, but, on average, you spend a lot longer waiting at the shipper and receiver with reefer than it does to take me even my longest securement.

As far as busy or slow season, if you look at the DAT load boards flatbed ALWAYS has more loads per available track in any other division. And it completely went off the charts during the covid pandemic. So, while there is a supposed Slow season in the winterhave never slowed down in the past year at all in any way shape or form.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Prime's physical test for flatbed division

I posted that too hastily. Now I remember that the more involved Physical Agility Test was at the beginning. I don't know why SweetLou had a less involved one, but I do remember all of the potential flatbedders going through it at the beginning.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Prime's physical test for flatbed division

There's another one that you'll do when you go through the flatbed boot camp

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

Damn voice-to-text.

Flatbed is a lot cooler to pick that.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

But that is a lot cooler so pick that

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Prime's physical test for flatbed division

Garrett

I forget the specifics but the box you have to lift to your waist is not 100 lbs. I think it's 85 lbs. Then you do have to lift a tarp up to a shelf that's chest-high. The tarp is about 65 lbs. And there are a couple of other things all of which if you're in any decent shape you can do.

I will tell you though that the Agility Test is actually easier than what you will encounter when you're out on your own. The lumber tarps weigh about a hundred pounds. I can get them up on my deck but when they're wet it's a struggle.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

Flatbed Variety

Bet you wouldn't have to worry about truck overheating on those big long climbs if you had radiators like this.

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Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

As far as securement equipment the cost is about $4,000 that they take it out in each paycheck at $75. But you generally tarp at least one load a week and the tarp pay is at least $80. So, you will at least recoup the cost of the equipment in tarp pay.

As far as schedule and sleeping, you generally run Bankers hours with flatbed. Most shippers and receivers are only open during the week and during the day. You will have the occasional load during the night. But that is rare.

As far as regularity of loads, I am always running and very rarely have to wait very long for a late assignment.

Posted:  1 week, 5 days ago

View Topic:

CDL past records rules

I'm going to have to disagree with Laura on this one.

A DUI or DWI is more than just a mere traffic infraction. Especially when, as you say, he had a 3rd DWI that was a felony.

When companies do a criminal background check they check your driving record for traffic infractions but they also check your criminal background record.

A DWI will show up in that separate criminal background record.

In addition, most applications ask if he's ever been arrested or if he's ever had a felony. He will need to answer that application answer honestly and provide the details. If he doesn't his application will immediately go into do not hire pile because not only did he have a felony DWI but he lied on his application.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

You're current schedule sounds pretty sweet man. How much experience did it take to get a nice schedule like that? Just out of curiosity

I pretty much ran that schedule right off the bat. Because the boat loads were easy, I could settle into a good schedule. Now ,there are some weeks where I spend more time securing, but for the most part the schedule works well for me and my FM. It's nice for me and predictable for my FM.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Life work balance

Amy,

Because, as they say, Trucking is a lifestyle, you need to look at the work life balance a little different than a typical job.

I'll use my schedule as an example. I am away from home for 3-4 weeks at a time. But, I text my wife regularly, including sending pictures, and buy postcards and gifts from places I visit.

I generally log 60 to 70 hours in six days and then have one day off. While that sounds like a lot, I'll give you an example schedule.

Monday: wake up and drive 1 hour to my delivery. 1 hour to unload. Then drive 3 hours to the receiver to get my next load. 2 hours to load. Drive 6 hours. So while one could consider this a 13-hour day, during the 10 hours of drive time, I either talk on the phone, listen to podcasts, listen to books on tape, or listen to music.

Tuesday: 10 to 11 hours of driving. Same thing here. I talk on the phone, listen to podcasts, listen to books on tape, or listen to music. Because this is a "driving only" day, I may stop at some interesting sites along the way.

Wednesday; same as Monday

Thursday: same as Tuesday.

Friday: same as Monday and Wednesday.

Saturday: same as Tuesday and Thursday. But usually, I will stop more often at interesting sites. Or go by a Walmart for shopping.

Sunday: day off wherever i happen to land. Last weekend was Evanston, Wyoming.

So while I am "on the clock" for 60 to 70 hours each week, the loading and delivery part of the that 60 to 70 hours is about 10 hours, but can be as much as 20 hours each week. Then add about 10 more hours for the part of the driving that involves navigating to a shipper or receiver. This is off interstate type of driving where I don't talk on the phone or listen to podcasts for safety reasons. In addition, when I'm on the interstate and go through a weigh station or encounter traffic, I will get off the phone or pause my podcast or book on tape. But that still leaves most of your "on the clock" time as "your time." At the end of each day, during my 10-hour break, I usually go for a walk, looking for geocaches, eat dinner, and take a shower.

The key to leveraging this available "your time" is to plan ahead. I have a podcast que that I set ahead of time. So, all I need to do is hit play once I start rolling.

Hope this helps.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Why has my backing gotten so bad?

Tammy

The mentality of "adapt and overcome," in my opinion, is a very necessary trait for a truck driver. For those who have that capability, this turns into a very rewarding career. Those who are unable to "adapt and overcome" they become increasingly frustrated and often wash out. I think much of the frustration with Zach involves his seeming incapability to adapt and overcome.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Western Express 3-4 weeks training sufficient?

I am coming up on the end of one year solo in the Prime flatbed division. I did 50,000 miles of TNT before I went solo.

As to your first question, is 3-4 weeks of training sufficient? As others have said, you will not really feel prepared whether you go through 2 weeks of training or three months of TNT. That being said, I felt that I was ready to go solo after about 3-4 weeks of training. IMO, doing it yourself is where you really learn. As far as driving and backing, I began to feel more confident after 6 months. As far as securement, I am still learning things.

Prime TNT. It is brutal and, IMO, too long. But, I would not let that be the determining factor. Put your head down and, once you are out on your own for 6 months, it will seem like a distant memory.

Prime flatbed. You will run all over the lower 48, although, I rarely make it to the east coast. You have the option right out of TNT to do regional or OTR. They have a "Texas regional" that is very popular with the lease operators. There are some dedicated accounts as well. I ran boat loads right after going solo, which was pretty easy. You pick up tracker boats from Lebanon, Missouri. The loads are prestrapped. So, all you need to do is deliver nthem, unstrap, and return the empty trailer to Lebanon.

After that, I had the general run of the mill flatbed loads. PVC pipe, building materials, shingles, SAPA Hydro, Bobcats, CAT generators, HVAC units, cable channels, insulation, onions, etc. For me, the most aggravating part of flatbed is tarping. First, it takes more time. Second, it takes time to learn how to put the tarps on without catching air, of damaging your tarps. Many times, it seems no matter what you do, the tarp catches too much air. And it requires more scrutiny as to your loads checks. If the tarp comes loose you really need to fix it right away.

As far as running, I run pretty hard, but my schedule is reasonable. I generally start with a fresh 70-hour clock Monday and deliver a load that I picked up Friday morning. I get 2 to 4 loads that week before I get my next "weekend load." After I deliver Friday morning, I'll get a load of about 1,000 to 1,500 miles. I get as far as I can Friday and Saturday, then take a 34-hour reset Saturday night through Monday morning. Deliver that "weekend load" Monday. Rinse, repeat.

Good luck with your decision and keep us updated on your progress.

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