Profile For Rob D.

Rob D.'s Info

  • Location:
    Ballwin, MO

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    1 year, 7 months ago

Rob D.'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.

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Posted:  3 days, 21 hours ago

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Prime Inc. PSD Covid Edition

Just wondering if at the end of the day if lightweight reefer and flatbed are a big difference in pay or not.

Flatbed is now 48 CPM. as far as money in your pocket I ran 2,400 miles my first week of " real" flatbed loads. I had a lot of difficult securing on those loads and some long unloads. This last week I got 1,800 miles Thursday to Sunday. 2,100 including deadhead to hometime location. I'm on home time starting tomorrow. So while the CPM maybe less the miles are there to offest the rate. Plus tarp pay.

Posted:  1 week ago

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A Trainer's Dream Student!!

My favorite sign is in Georgia. It ain't littering its "throwing trash on the highway"

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Postcards from the Road! (Post Yours Please!)

My neighbor at the Pilot in Roland Ok

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

View Topic:

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

9/14/2020 Update

So, the honeymoon is over. I hauled my last boat load last Wednesday and then got a load of building materials. I had posted a picture of it in the Flatbed Variety thread. These particular loads are notorious for difficult securement because they just throw stuff everywhere. As far as working load limit, you exceed it several times over because you have to throw extra straps just to secure the loose pieces that weighs hardly anything. I had three separate straps just for these rolls of sheet metal. It took me about 1:45 to secure it. It’s a short load so I deliver the next day in Iowa.

The materials I deliver are to repair roof of industrial buildings damaged by the high winds. Because there are so many pieces on the load, it takes over 2 hours to unload. So I have very little time left on my clock but I make it to my next load which is sheet rock. They have a specific procedure where you drop your trailer, they load and tarp it, then you secure it and leave. Being new, I didn’t know the procedure, but one guy was pretty helpful.

After I’m all secured, I go to pull out and get the low air pressure warning. I think because I’ve been sitting go a while or had been using the brakes and shifting a lot. However, I soon realize that the trailer has an air leak. It’s coming from the front axle (48’ spread axle trailer) and just spewing air out. After getting the air pressure built up and charging the trailer air system, I crawl up under the trailer to find the elbow to a brass fitting just spewing air. I get out my tool kit, tighten the brass fitting, and push in on the elbow. That seems to have fixed it. (BTW, I had some help in diagnosing this from Packrat). Head out and get as far as I can.

I deliver to a Kohl’s jobsite the next day and it’s another long wait. They are two flatbeds in front of me and they are using a crane lift the sheet rock up on the roof one small section at a time. After about three hours they bring a telehandler (forklift with a boom) and unload me next.

It’s Friday afternoon now and I my next load is picking up in Chicago. Tight corners, precarious bridges, and a decent amount of tariff. I get there about 17:45. Again, they have a procedure but they are neither good at communicating it or executing it themselves. The load is steel pipe and it needs to be tarped. Steel pipe will slice right through tarps. I get my moving blankets on as best I can. I give my 2 steel tarps and smoke tarp to the guy who loads tarps machine and he says that they won’t work; he needs my blue lumber tarp. After he loads the tarp machine he leaves for lunch and tells me that someone else will drop the tarps on the load. This new guy and I find out that the other guy loaded the tarps on the machine sideways. That’s why they weren’t long enough. After the tarps dropping several times, we get them on. After I pull out, the blue lumber tarp blows half way off. I realize how screwed up the tarp job is and decide to redo it the correct way with two steel tarps and my smoke tarp. I spend about 2 hours rotating one of the steel tarps (the second guy and I had put at least one on the correct way) and added my smoke tarp. I also spent some time making sure that that the tarp was not pressed against the sharp edges of the steel pipe. After packing everything up I head out on PC because I’ve blown through my 14 hour clock. I have to drive about 50 miles because I’m in Chicago and the Petro at exit 240 is the closet truck stop of any size.

On the way to the Petro, I get a message from dispatch “did you make to the 01; are you loaded.” I didn’t send and arrival or departure. And I also realize that I left without my bill of lading. When I get to the Petro, I message that I did get loaded and drove about 50 miles away for the night. Can I get an electronic copy of the bill of lading? While I’m having the message exchange with dispatch, I get a call from the shipper (the second guy who helped f up my tarps). Good thing I didn’t go off on him because now I need his help. I explain that I’m 50 miles away and he asks me to text my e-mail address to him; he will e-mail all the paperwork to me.

I will be spending another 34 hour reset at home, so I print them off at home and take them with me to the receiver on Monday. After I come back to the truck on Sunday, I realize that the steel pipe has cut through the tarps. A couple of 1 inch cuts. I pull them part way off, put more moving blankets down, and tape up the holes.

I get started early Monday morning and make it to the receiver about 8:45. One of the first things that the forklift operator says is that we didn’t need to tarp the load. They leave the pipe out in the elements. It takes about and hour and half to unload. Then I have to wait for a while to get the next load, which is plywood going to Davenport, Iowa. About 960 miles total.

So, even with all of the delays and frustrations, I will have over 2,400 miles on this next paycheck.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Papa Pigs Zainy Rookie Solo Adventures

Come over to flatbed. It will be like a vacation.

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

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Flatbed Variety

My first load after hauling the boatloads.

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My reaction

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Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

Postcards from the Road! (Post Yours Please!)

this was yesterday on I-94 Eastbound at Exit 71 in Michigam

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Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

View Topic:

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

Way to go Rob, you're killing it! Perhaps I overlooked it but are you doing a dedicated account with these boat loads or is that just the way it's worked out? That's awesome that you've been able to stop by the house when passing through.

Keep up the great work. What you've accomplished so far is hard for many experienced drivers. To think its only been a few weeks on your own is outstanding. Just don't over do it and burn yourself out.

Rob it just worked out this way. I think because I was bobtail at the Springfield terminal they sent me to Tracker on my first Load. And then after that it just seemed to flow from one load to another.

It was nice to have a relaxing 34 here in Peculiar Missouri. I got to see my daughter and just have some down time.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

View Topic:

Papa Pigs Zainy Rookie Solo Adventures

It's awesome. We had a new front door put in years ago and they gave us this "special glass cleaner" which is basically the same as the Sprayway. I'm glad you posted it. I bought mine at Walmart.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

View Topic:

Papa Pigs Zainy Rookie Solo Adventures

While I haven't commented much, I have been reading your thread.

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Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

View Topic:

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

I’ve been to Tennessee, Georgia (Atlanta area), Denver, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Minnesota. Wisconsin drivers are my new most hated drivers. One guy passed me on the left and got back into the right line despite the two flashing signs and a row of barrels indicating the right lane was closed. Another time I had my left turn signal on to merge left because the right lane was closing. I had it on for quite a while and let two cars get ahead of me so there was enough gap for me to get over. The car in the left lane behind me kept coming up beside me even though I was already half way in the lane. And it’s not just the drivers, in a construction zone where traffic had been reduced to one lane, there was a right lane closed ahead sign. Interesting, after the sign, it opened up into two lanes.

In addition to the boat hauling nuances, I’m learning a lot about driving generally. I’ve learned you really need to pack things tightly in these storage compartments if you don’t want a jumble of stuff when you open it. I’ve also learned that you have to be careful how you move in these Cascadias. If you try to use the lower bunk as a workspace while standing up you will hit your head on the ladder mount. Also, you need to make sure you close all of the cabinet doors because you’ll hit your head on those.

As far as driving, backing these trailers is both easy and hard. They are 53’ trailers but the kingpin is pretty far forward to where there is only about 2 inches overhang in front of my fifth wheel. I’m 75 feet from the back of the trailer to the deer guard. These are closed tandems so they are easy to make turns, but the tandems are positioned as far forward as the most forward position on a box trailer. All that trailer behind the tandems makes it hard to back into a spot without encroaching into the passenger side park spot next to you. You pretty much need to have the trailer almost perfectly parallel to the parking spot to not go over the line. So far, I’ve been able to find either two open spots together or get my set up to where I can see both sides of my trailer.

As far as my “cinch strap” I learned why you want to fold up the excess strap. When backing into a Bass Pro loading dock area, I heard what sounded like I had hit something. I had done a thorough GOAL before started backed to make sure I had plenty of room. I looked in my mirrors and there was nothing around me. As I’m getting ready to get out of the truck, a FedEx driver says “here, I saved your strap.” The excess had gotten caught underneath the drive tires and broke. Not only did it break the excess, it pulled the anchor for the ratchet so hard it tore half of it off. It had pulled the ratchet so tight I had to cut the strap to get the ratchet off. Now I use the remnants as a cinch strap. After you unload the boats, you have to break down the supports and secure then on the trailer. I use the cinch strap to pull them all together. So far, I am really enjoying this. Even with running hard, I do have free time, I’ve been using it for truck and securement related stuff. At some point, I’ll run out of things to reorganize and then can use my free time more leisurely. I also hope to keep this thread updated more.

I also almost got stung by the Labor Day Weekend Holiday. On the way to the 02, I called only to get message that they were closed for the holiday weekend and would reopen Tuesday. I called the 03 and found out they were open on Saturday. When I got there on Saturday, I asked the manager if he knew someone at the 02. He was able to contact one of the owners via Facebook. After calls all around, I got approval to drop both boats at the 03 so that I would not have to wait until Tuesday to deliver. Someone, I can’t remember who, told me to make sure to document all of this with Qualcomm messages. Good thing I did because I got a message from someone along the lines of “who the f gave you permission to drop both boats at the 03.” This was immediately followed two minutes later with a message. “Ok, see the QC messages, thanks.”

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

View Topic:

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

I haven’t posted lately because I’ve been churning and burning through my 70 each week. I’m on a 34 hour reset right now in Peculiar, Missouri. After I deliver on Monday, I’ll have over 9,900 dispatched miles in three weeks. About the same, in miles driven. As I mentioned in my first post, I had over 3,100 miles my first week. I had over 3,200 miles my second week. And about 3,500 my third week. The 3,100 miles was my first paycheck. For my second paycheck, I was able to get the third load back in time to make the payroll cut off, so that paycheck had over 4,500 miles. After I deliver this load, I’ll have ve got over 2,100 miles so far on this pay period and this afternoon I got a message that I’m preplanned for another 1,100 mile load, which I should be able to complete before the payroll cutoff. So my first three paychecks will be 3,100 mile, 4,500 mile, and 3,200 miles. Also, because I’m hauling light loads and then empty trailers back to Lebanon, my fuel mileage is great. After two weeks, I’m 5th on my FM’s board.

With my free time, I’ve been organizing, and reorganizing the truck, when I haven’t been at home seeing my wife. The nice thing about bringing the trailers back to Lebanon, Missouri, is I can get home for a 34 or even a 10 hour break on the way back. So, you can understand why I haven’t had that much time to update my thread.

Although I had mentioned in my first post that these boat loads are relatively easy, there are some nuances that make it challenging. Maverick has this dedicated account. At one of the Bass Pro Shop deliveries, I talked to one of the Maverick drivers. He said that Maverick has had the account for about a year. He said that Werner had it before and lost it because, among other things, they had dropped pontoon boats, which I could understand given my first load where the winch strap for the pontoon boat broke. More on that below. A receiver confirmed this when he told me that “Werner was comical.”

In addition to the independent landing gear, the Maverick driver told me that some of the really old trailers have the landing gear very close to the mudflaps. His Maverick truck had the fifth wheel very far back. Interestingly, that morning I had seen what looked like a Prime mudflap, with the arm still attached, laying in the yard at Lebanon. The other nuance about hauling boats involves how the boats are loaded. The reason why the strap broke on the pontoon boat (and the reason why Werner dropped pontoon boats) is that the boat was angled back. Pontoon boats can weigh in excess of 6,000 lbs. This is not a lot but those straps are designed to hold the boat on the boat trailer either level or titled a little forward. The strap is not designed to hold the weight of the boat titled back on the boat trailer. I had another boat that was angled forward with the front of the boat on two 2 X 6s. Because of the forward angle the boat trailer pushed the 2 X 6s down the slope that goes from the wheel wells and the trailer was resting on the steel trailer. I used my winch bar for leverage to get the 2 X 6s back up on the upper tier and under the boat trailer frame. Since then, I use my “cinch strap” (more on that below) to secure the 2 X 6s to the boat trailer frame so it doesn’t slide forward. I had another boat where all of the 2 inch securement straps pulled the boat in the same direction. I had to constantly stop and tighten the 2 inch straps (I know, I should have redone them).

Another nuance for hauling boats involves backing. It’s either one extreme or the other. Bass Pros are easy. They generally unload you in a parking lot. But the independent dealers are a mix. One receiver in Wisconsin had me deliver to their boat storage facility on a two lane road with no shoulders and a considerable slope off the edge of the pavement. I tried to back in from the road, but I didn’t have enough room for my steer tires to chase the trailer and still stay on pavement. I ended up pulling in and had to back out onto the two lane road. I had good visibility in both directions and a lot of room to maneuver in the parking lot, so I backed out quickly before any cars came upon me.

Another nuance about hauling boats involves time and liability. These boats are pretty pristine. They use carpet in between the nylon straps and the boat frame to protect the boat frame. So you really need to go over the boat with a fine tooth comb when you pick them up because many of the receivers will spend a good 30 minutes to an hour inspecting the boat.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

View Topic:

Passed Road Test

Congratulations. I hope your next phase of training goes well.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

View Topic:

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

Things are going well. I've just been busy running boatloads. I had a 3200 mile week for my second week. I'll update you more when I have time.

Posted:  1 month ago

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

Nice!

I would love to do Marine/boat transport one day. I dream of delivering yachts one day.

I just lucked into this.

But I hope I get another.

Posted:  1 month ago

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

As I posted in my diary, I got my truck in less than 24 hours from the time I put my name on the list. After getting most of the rest of my stuff on the truck, I waited for my first load. And let me tell you, it was a boat load, literally. Two pontoons delivering to two Bass Pro Shops in Tennessee with a total dispatched miles of over 1,500.

These are actually pretty easy. You go to the shipper and pick up the shipper's preloaded trailer. You check that the serial numbers match the bill of lading. Three serial numbers: boat, trailer, motor. You also check for damage. They take a picture of your load and the bills of lading. Then your off. After you unload, you break down the support structure and bring back the empty trailer. Essentially, I had about 750 miles to get to my deliveries and then about the same mileage back to the shipper.

I pushed my clock to get most of the way to the first shipper on Monday. Delivered both loads on Tuesday, then got as far as I could back to the shipper. On Wednesday, I hustled so I could get back about 4:15. Got another boat load. Two pontoons and a bass boat at two different stops. As I said the trailers belong to the shippers. They are kinda low bow type trailers and have 4 X 4 square holes in the rub rail where they put the supports to load the boats. This second load had a newer trailer and something I had never seen or even heard of before: independent landing gear. I hooked up, raised the landing gear, and connected my air and electrical lines. As I'm walking on the passenger side of the trailer I notice the landing gear is down and think to myself I KNOW I raised the landing gear. Well I did, on the driver's side. There is a separate crank for the passenger's side.

This trip is over 1,600 miles. I only had about two hours left on my clock and got as far as I could. I practically made it to the first receiver on Thursday. I delivered first thing in the morning Friday, then headed to the second receiver and delivered there. I called on the way and the lady told me about special instructions. Essentially, if I follow the GPS, I'll get in a place where I can't get out. This receiver in on a rural two lane road, no shoulder, and grass encroaching into the pavement. There are also limbs hanging over the road that are hitting the cab (I hope not the boats). When I get to the receiver, she comes out and tells me that I need to drive a mile and half up the road to turn around "at the Y in the road" and then come back the other way so that I can back underneath the hoist. I had to do a blind side back at the Y in the road. But I did it and got back to the receiver.

I deliver one pontoon and one bass boat. I get as far back as I can on Friday. And then finish up on Saturday, getting into St. Louis about noon. As approved by my FM, I'm taking a 34 hour reset and will drop off the trailer tomorrow (Monday).

So for my first solo week, I got over 3,100 miles and a long 34 hour reset at home.

There were some challenges that I faced, other than the blind side back, but I'll take the 5th as to the rest of the story. But for the most part I'm pretty pleased with my first solo week.

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Posted:  1 month ago

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SLC Prime on Monday the 24th

Welcome to Trucking Truth and good luck at Prime.

I'm flatbed and am loving it.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Been a busy first week solo, so I am just now finding some time to thank all you for your support and encouragement.

I'll post another thread about my first week.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Flatbed Variety

"On the pontoon . . ."

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Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

August 11, 2020: Flatbed Securement Class (hands on).

We show up at the “Plaza” building which has where inbound/outbound and the training pad. There are also some truck parking spaces where they have flatbed trailer for securement practice. He shows us some tips and tricks and has us throw some straps. We skip chaining and tarping. I guess we showed enough confidence and competence that he took our word that we knew how to throw chains. I also got to see a “j hook,” which is a nice little gadget that fits into any of the channels along the length of the trailer. You can hook a strap or a chain to it and it has a 6,600 working load limit.

After securement class, I went ahead and put my name on the waiting list for a truck (per my instructor’s recommendation). I took the last upgrade class; automatic transmissions. The same instructor who gave the flatbed securement class gave this class.

After that, I went back to my room and called Success Leasing to see where I am on the list. Number 1. She said that they get new trucks in each day at 0900 and if there is a truck tomorrow, they would call me.

While I have been angling to get onto Turtle’s fleet manager’s board, I haven’t been officially assigned a company fleet manager. All fleet managers are either lease or company. I exchanged e-mails with my proposed fleet manager today and also called the flatbed division office to tell them I wanted to be on his board.

My plan, which has been sanctioned by my proposed fleet manager, is to drive home until a truck becomes available for me. With me being 1st on the list, I will need to touch base with the folks that assign trucks to make sure that I can go home until they call me. The purpose of my plan is to equip my truck with all my personal gear as well, so that I don’t need to get routed home for me to get my personal gear.

After getting some moving blankets and other recommended items from Harbor Freight, I call it a night.

August 12 & 13, 2020: Becoming a Rookie Solo Driver.

I get up expecting a pretty leisurely day as I’ve completed everything and it’s just a waiting game. I head toward the Cracker Barrel for breakfast and decide to walk past it just to get some exercise. After breakfast I head back to the Campus Inn to update my log. Just as I sit down, my phone rings. It’s Success Leasing, they already have a flatbed truck for me.

I head over to the Z building to pick up the truck inspection sheet for the truck. I head outside to find the truck for inspection. It’s a 2019 Cascadia with 227,000 miles on it. I’ll post some picture of it when I get back there. There is no key in the truck, so I get three made at the parts shop. They keep masters in the parts shop organized by truck numbers.

After I complete the inspection, I go to permits to get my permit book and then head over to the flatbed shop at inbound/outbound. It takes a while to get all my flatbed equipment loaded on the truck, getting done about 6 p.m. I then load what I had on my trainer’s truck onto my truck. They have transfer stations where you can park your personal vehicle right next to your work truck.

I still have the rest of my stuff that I have ordered for my truck at home. With my fleet manager’s permission, I leave the next day to go home through the weekend and become available for dispatch on Monday. I was able to get assigned to Turtle’s old fleet manager. So at this point, I’m essentially a rookie solo driver.

I have some thoughts about training that are still gelling in my head so I will most likely add those later.

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