Profile For Eric C. (Easy E)

Eric C. (Easy E)'s Info

Eric C. (Easy E)'s Bio

Driving since September 2016. Before that I spent twenty years managing IT/Telecom teams.

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Posted:  2 years ago

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Werner Regional / Dedicated vs Western Express

Well I am glad this thread is here. I have been driving since September 2016, started with Schneider on the Dollar General account. I brought up some safety concerns to my DM, and was told to suck it up or moved on, so I moved on to AV Carriers, out of Illinois, with a yard in Bloomington, CA. I have been hauling team freight for FedEx, UPS, Werner and Amazon for the last 7 months with AVC, giving me 9 months OTR. Definitely a newbie here, but fortunately I have had some great people give me excellent advice since I started.

AVC has really made life difficult the last few months, some weeks I get 1,000 miles, others I get 5,000 or more. The pay is decent too, .27cpm all miles, and if I run any solo, I get the whole .54 cpm. Not bad when they are running me. But they just cant keep the freight moving.

In the last two weeks I decided to make a change and have been checking out a bunch of different companies, and finally settled on dry van with Western Express. I want to get into the company, and more than likely move into the Flatbed division once I have a bit of consistent money in my pocket. If anyone has advice on the best way to work with WE, I'll take any advice I can get.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted:  5 years ago

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A new beginning at Advance School of Driving (Fontana, CA)

I guess this would be the next installment, so let me start by saying there has been a lot going on. Charles W. sent me a message, and this is essentially my reply to him...

Yes I did complete the 160 hr course at ASD. They are a great school and I endorse them to everyone I talk to. The instructors are awesome, the staff is awesome... What to know: - They do not provide housing, so if you live out of the area, you should plan for that. - They also do not provide meals, plan for that. - The job placement is "meh", basically they can give you phone numbers, but they are the same as you can get yourself on the internet.

You will learn to drive a tractor trailer combination. The truck will be a sleeper model so you will learn to use your side mirrors correctly. This is different than a large number of the schools that basically have you drive a day cab. Big difference in the experience.

Here are some things that I wish I would have known before starting....

Practice, Practice, Practice.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

KNOW all the parts of the truck and trailer for your Pre-Trip Inspection. They should give you all the materials for it. I highly recommend making sure you know each part, and understand what it does, and how it works. It makes learning your pre-trip easier. Also, practice walking through the pre-trip inspection aloud. Don't be afraid to speak up, the EXAMINER will need to hear you during the test. Make sure you get into a solid routine that you can commit to memory, and don't need any study guides. The quicker you get this down, the better.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

KNOW how to complete all of your Air Brake and Emergency Brake tests. Memorize the pressures and procedures ASAP. Make a point of verbally going through them making the physical motions as you mentally go through the processes. Keep in mind that while the air tanks are pressurizing, you can be doing the INSIDE portion of the pre-trip. Make this a habit as well.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

Get your straight-line backing down cold. That will make everything else easy.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

They will probably tell you this, but make sure when you are backing the rig, you put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and turn it in the direction you want the TRAILER to go. When driving normally (or backing without a trailer), you hold the wheel at like 9 and 3 and turn it the direction you want the truck to go. When backing, do not be afraid to Get Out And Look (GOAL) to make sure you have space to maneuver.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

When shifting the truck do not put the clutch to the floor unless you are coming to a stop. You will learn to double-clutch. Why? Because this is what they teach at this school It is not difficult, but learning to find the gears while double-clutching is kinda like riding a unicycle, juggling chainsaws, and flipping hot cakes all at the same time. At least at first. RELAX... Relax...relax... don't be afraid of shifting. Don't force anything, if it doesn't slide into gear with a gentle press on the stick, you are over-revving, under revving, or trying to put it in the wrong gear for your current speed. Don't try to force the shifter into gear. Listen, yes LISTEN to the instructor...They will give you the tools to be successful.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

Since you are going through WIA, you will be taking the test at the San Bernardino Commercial DMV. Make sure you have your spatial awareness down. I found that the backing range (where you test your yard maneuvers) at the DMV uses tighter dimensions than the State Approved layout used at ASD. Problem is when I asked, the DMV gave me a verbal nod that they were the same sizes as they used at ASD. It sure didn't feel like it. When I practiced at ASD, I felt like I had plenty of room. At the DMV, I swear there was at least a foot to eighteen inches difference.

*** FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELT ***

I keep mentioning the seat belt, because if you move the truck an inch without your seat belt fastened, most of the DMV examiners will FAIL you before you get on the road.

Finally, don't be afraid to ask for more time behind the wheel if you are not feeling the groove.

And finally finally, if at first you don't pass the test at the DMV, relax, get some more behind the wheel time, and you will be OK.

Best of luck to you on this new adventure!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Prime or Western Express

As a recent CDL recipient, I want to drive flatbed. As a husband, father, grandfather, I need to maximize my home time, but I need to pay the mortgage too. Can anyone give me some pro's con's for these two companies based on their experience? And yes, I know I am inviting disgruntled and former employees as well as those who are happy or content with their respective companies. I just need honest, first person experiences to draw from.

Thank you for any insight you can provide, positive or negative.

Best,

Eric

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Anyone use the WIA grant program to help pay for CDL school?

Just last week I got my CDL through Advance School of Driving in Fontana, CA using WIA funding. I could have signed on with Swift, CR England, Knight, or CRST on their 2 week to truck program, however after doing a lot of research, I decided WIA would be the way to go. Here are some of the factors that influenced my decision:

- I wanted to start off in flatbed. All of the companies running their own programs were only hiring for dry van or refrigerated. . - I wanted to choose the company I started with. - I wanted to avoid being tied to a 8 month to 1 year contract with a specific organization. If life takes me in a different direction before my first year is up, I didn't want to have to pay back the cost of tuition. - I did not want to be tied to a lower starting pay for the first year in order to pay back the school tuition.

That about sums it up.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Told to drive when it's obvious you're too tired.

From watching the video this guy posted, it sounds like he made very poor use of his additional 10 hour break. OK, I get it, you just got a full nights sleep, worked for 20 minutes, and now you have another 10 hrs to kill. From the video, it sounds like he was about 6 hrs into this drive, as he mentioned that he was well rested after the first break, but that was 17 hours earlier.

Now I am no slim jim for sure and am working at getting healthier, so what I am about to say may sound hypocritical... You have another 10 hours to kill... Go exercise for the next hour, eat a good meal, get a shower, then if you are not tired yet, exercise some more. Once you have physically exhausted yourself (and judging by his apparent size, that should not take too long) crawl into your bunk and go back to sleep. That should give your exhausted body a good 5-7 hours of needed rest. Wake up, and go go go!

OK maybe this is all to simplistic for me to get, but seriously, use your time wisely. OK Enough blah blah from the new CDL holder. ;-)

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Looking for help with 90* ally dock manuver

Having just gone through this at Advanced School of Driving in Fontana, my instructor gave me some tips to help make it through the backing exercises.

First thing you need to master is straight line backing. Pull forward and get the tractor as close to straight in line as possible and center the steering wheel. As you prepare to back up, put your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel. While backing, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. And never move more than a quarter or at most a half turn of the wheel. If you keep a close eye on the back wheels of the trailer in your drivers side mirrors, use that side as your guide. If you need to move the trailer wheels closer to the left line, you move your hand left from the bottom of the steering wheel. Only move about a quarter turn, then turn back the other way to straighten out the tractor. Practice this and you should master straight line backing.

For the 90 degree alley dock, line up about 8-10 feet away from the front edge of the docking cones. Idle up (I used 4th on a 10 speed) so your door lock knob is aligned with the far side cone, and start counting up 12 seconds then stop. Go into reverse, and turn the wheel to a right hand lock. And allow the tractor to come to just less than 90 degrees off the trailer. Now this is where it gets a bit tricky. You have to remember that right is tight, left is loose. So while you are completing the maneuver, as soon as you hit that 90 degree mark, you stop and lock the wheels back in the opposite direction. At this point, before you start moving again, get your head out the window and track the trailer. This is where you have to just learn how to watch the trailer and get it into the hole, making adjustments as you go back. And you should not need to completely uncurl the hook on the trailer unless you hooked it too tight to begin with, or if you are cleaning up a straight line back. If you need to do a pull up to straighten out the tractor and trailer, then you can back in easier. If you master straight line backing, you should be able to get it into the hole for your test with one pull up, maybe two.

Hope this helps a bit. Best of luck!

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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A new beginning at Advance School of Driving (Fontana, CA)

About me:

I am a 41 year old male who has been in the technology industry for about 25 years, primarily in management positions. I was lad off in January 2013, and have been out of work since. Talking to recruiters in Southern California, I have been told that for every technology position (including management) that is open, they estimate there are over 400 applicants trying to land that job. The prospects are not getting any better. I could blame our government for making it cost prohibitive to operate in the US, and for not taxing the crap out of import goods, but that won't get me a paycheck, right now anyway.

I have wanted to be a truck driver since I was a little kid. Growing up, I worked in a specialty auto repair shop and got to drive pretty much everything except a combination vehicle. All kinds of cars, trucks, RVs, buses, cab and chassis internationals, even a 1977 Peterbilt dump with a 4 speed brownie box (that was a terrifying experience at 18) through the streets of downtown Los Angeles.

I met my wife about the same time, strangely enough, while T-hunting on the CB radio. Hey, don't judge! We have been together ever since, and evenly yoked. Over the years we agreed that we wanted to retire by driving around the country in our own truck, picking up loads as needed, and making money while visiting our family, friends, and experiencing America. Like I said, that was the retirement plan.

And so it begins...

With circumstances such as they are, my wife suggested I get a start on this as not much else was knocking on the door. So, I contacted the local Employment Development Department, and got connected with a W[orkforce] I[nvestment] A[ct] administrator. They offered me the option of going to a local school in Lancaster, CA (Hi-Desert Truck Driving School). I had not seen many positive comments about them, so I asked to attend another school of my choice. I found Advance School of Driving (ASD) about 90 minutes from home, and inked the enrollment contract.

After going to the school to get the contract inked, I then went to get my DOT physical at the Ontario Testing Center. I thought I had everything squared away... but, the doctor wanted a letter from my current treating physician for my sleep apnea treatment. No big deal, right? Except I have not been working in a year, and don't have a regular doctor, and don't have insurance. So I begin the hunt to find a new doctor, as I only have two weeks before school is supposed to start.

Now, I am beginning to get worried. I am a big guy at just under 300 lbs, so I know my BMI will force a sleep study and all that entails of I start over. So I start calling, and calling, and calling... finally, my wife's doctor agrees to talk to me. I tell him what I am trying to accomplish and what I need from him. He is very apprehensive, as I would expect him to be. He grills me about the therapy, my pressures, usage cycles, consistency, sleep tendencies, sleeping position, diet, exercise, etc. He said he would agree to treat me, and we agreed to a follow up visit, and that we would get me an updated sleep study as soon as I had insurance. In the mean time, he agreed on a cash basis, and wrote me the letter I needed, and faxed it to the DOT doctor. Woot! and with only 2 days to spare.

Talked to the DOT doctors office later that day, and they had received it. Now I just wait for school to start. Since I am going to be 90-120 minute commute from home, I found a guy on craigslist that will allow me to room with him for $15/day. Now keep in mind I am not able to go to any of the terminals because I am not going through any of the company sponsored training programs. I hope this guy is not an axe murderer or my new career may be "cut" short. hahaha. ok I just could't resist.

Talked to the guy on the phone and he just moved down to So Cal, and needs help paying for the motel. Seems like a decent guy, I cross my fingers and agree to the deal, it's only for a month anyway, right? Turns out to be a good kid, and we get along well. It works for a place to crash and shower. So I make plans to head down on Sunday nights, and come home on Friday afternoons. Next is to get my stuff together. I am certainly not rolling in cash, so in addition to gas in my Ram 1500 to and from San Dimas, I also have the daily commute 30 minutes into Fontana, plus $75/week for a room, plus food, etc. This is going to cost me a bit outta pocket, and with Unemployment being cut off at the first of the year, I am already running short.

The wife and I set about getting provisions together. This part is nothing new. I spent the last 3-1/2 working years commuting like this weekly. So that kinda prepared us for this. Home made beef jerky, PB&J, cereal, bananas, apples, and Subway $5 footlongs ($2.50 per meal!!) will easily carry me through. Clothes packed, 5 gallon water container in the truck, ice chest for milk, and whatever. And it's time to head out on Sunday night to meet the new roomie face to face and get settled for the week. (to be continued...)

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Low status stigma of Truck Driver?

I guess that all really depends on who you are as a person. I have been making about 75k/yr in the tech management arena. I am going into Trucking. Why? First, I have always wanted to be a trucker. Second, job stability. Third, I am going to bust my butt to do this industry proud and make some decent money while I work toward building a retirement.

Perfect plan? No... but when I use facts, gain knowledge, and put my experience to use, I can usually make happen what I want. Will I be a millionaire? Nope. But I plan on working with my wife as a team in a few years, and that will allow us to pay our bills, buy a small bit of real estate, and hopefully put enough money into savings so that we can eventually buy our own truck and retire into trucking.

I have a friend of mine who did just that. They bought their truck for cash, and use it to travel the country, visiting their family and friends, while making a couple bucks along the way to pay for gas and incidentals. They don't use hotels, just the sleeper on the truck. It works for them, they like each other. LOL!

Use your smarts. If you think you want a desk job, and aren't willing to bust your butt to make a buck, then maybe this is not for you. But if you are a hard worker, willing to put yourself out there, with a positive can do attitude, and do the job safely and efficiently, you will probably do well... Or so I have been reading. ;-)

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

OTR Trucking is HARD WORK???

I'm right here with you guys. I have been in IT/Tech Support Management for over 20 years. I have worked with fortune 500 corporations, and mom/pop shops. Sadly, I was laid off back in January of this year, and have not been able to find steady work since. Talking to a couple of recruiters has confirmed that most positions that open in the Los Angeles area get an average of about 400 applicants. Not very good odds.

So I am currently studying to get my permit, and playing the game to see if I can get WIOA funding. I like to work hard, and I definitely understand the stress of a desk job. I averaged about 60 hours a week actually in the office, and another 10-15 at home or driving where I was handling work related issues. I am definitely not afraid of long hours sitting, or of hard work.

I am really hoping to get into realm of flatbedding as it sounds like more of a challenge, more interesting, and better pay. As soon as my son heads off to college in 2 years, the wife will be free to join me, as we take this adventure together.

Best of luck to you!

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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No money to live off of taking a paid cdl training class

Doug, if you are seriously hurting that bad, go sign up for General Relief and request emergency funds. I hear that they will often give you a $100 to $200 emergency funds as a one time deal. Its not a lot, but its something!

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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IntelliRoute TND 720 GPS for $197 plus tax.

Nice find, Woody!!

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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1st year take home pay

If that was your net, would you estimate your gross to be in the $45k range?

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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Sleep Apnea Legislation - Speculation, Diagnosis, Treatment

I was talking to a friend of mine that just finished school in TX, he said he ended up shelling out some $1200 just for the machine, then tack on another $600 for the sleep study. Ouch! I found this place where you can get your basic CPAP for as little as $260. They are set up to comply with the monitoring guidelines. CPAP for Truckers

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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GPS Question

You can get the IntelliRoute here as a factory refurb for under $250. Intelliroute TND 720

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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Sleep Apnea Legislation - Speculation, Diagnosis, Treatment

Thanks, Old School! Have to tell ya, I have been sweating it just a bit. :-)

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Sleep Apnea Legislation - Speculation, Diagnosis, Treatment

Hi all,

I am currently studying for my permit and will be attending school in a couple months (or less hopefully) with either WIA Federal Retraining, or on my own dime if I cannot get funding. I know I need to go through all the medical stuff, and I had not been too worried about it until...

I started hearing and reading about the forced sleep apnea testing. There is a lot of discussion about the dangers of driving with untreated sleep apnea, and I definitely agree with them. I had a friend who was tired and didn't pull over when he started getting the feeling. The end result was a near miss, but it got his attention... and he was just driving his car to to normal office day job. Go get a sleep study done. If you need treatment, get it. I can save your life or that of your loved ones.

Now back to my concern. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 7 years ago. I have been under treatment using a CPAP, and take it with me anytime I am staying over night someplace. My quality of life has never been better. I have also lost almost 40 pounds in the last year or so. Yeah, I am a fluffy 280 now and working to continue getting that down as well. I do not have high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes by walking 2.5 mi/day (working in some jogging), going to the Gym 3x/week for some weight training, eating more protein rich foods, fewer carbs, etc, etc.

So the question is, and I have not been able to find an answer anywhere, if I am being treated for Sleep Apnea, what are my chances of passing a DOT medical exam? I know, totally long winded to get to that, but I wanted to put it out there. Thanks for letting me jabber on.

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

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Lease operator/owner operator

Wow, doing a bit of research and I can see where a married company team can make a pretty darn comfortable living. Thank you for pointing me in that direction.

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Lease operator/owner operator

Brett, Dan, Dave, Guy, and Tracy:

You're rockstars. I appreciate the fact you are not sugar coating any of this. The wife and I will definitely be working toward the company driver team. While I am very familiar with managing multi-million dollar operating budgets, running lean and mean, finding ways to save/make more $$, this definitely sounds like it would be more stress free.

Any recommendations on running as a hubby/wifey team? Company recommendations?

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Lease operator/owner operator

Listen, husband-wife teams are highly coveted in trucking. Any company that runs teams will do anything to acquire as many husband-wife teams as possible. After a couple of years experience you and your wife could gross $100k or so without an ounce of financial risk or having to learn how to run a business by simply being company drivers.

I definitely appreciate the feedback on this. I don't mind the idea one bit of being a company driver for a couple years. And you are certainly right about learning the industry, knowledge is power in anything. That may definitely be the best way to go in the end, however is there any freedom in being able to see family/friends around the country as a company driver? Or taking my granddaughter with us for a week or two? As a company driver do you have the opportunity to get into a larger sleeper or are you relegated to the standard manufacturer builds?

Please understand, I am not discounting any of what you have said. Even if I drive company for several years, I am still not going to know the hidden costs of being an O/O without more information from experienced and successful owners.

My family is currently living on about less than $2000/mo including a mortgage, so cutting a couple hundred dollars monthly in food costs by cooking instead of eating at truck stops & restaurants, is being able to put that money into savings. That was just a singular idea, and definitely not the premise of my survival plan.

So aside from the apparent relative ease of remaining a company driver (sorry I am a glutton for punishment), are there any recommendations from currently successful O/O's I might be able to glean from?

Thank you for having this website and forum, they truly are amazing resources.

Posted:  5 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Lease operator/owner operator

Sorry, part of the first paragraph apparently didn't go: For the last several years I have been working away from home for a week at a time. I know this is a much longer time away from home, but I feel like it is a bit of preparation for what is to come.

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