Profile For Sparky

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    3 years, 4 months ago

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Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Truck dogs - pets in 8x8 world

I've brought my cat with me for Swift since I started driving. No problem at all. Everyone always says "But how can you deal with the smell?" Easy. I clean it. Kitty litter has come a long way in masking smells, so obviously these people aren't cat owners or that would be common sense to them. I clean it at the end of every day and put it in my trash bag with the rest of my trash. If anything my trash smells more than my actual cat litter. But I do not have a trash bin, just a trash bag hanging from one of the arm chairs. Anyway, I think it would be easier because I don't have to stop to ensure she does her business at a truck stop or rest area, so more time driving.

Don't get me wrong, I do walk her. Yes, walk her as in on a leash and harness. I'll walk her when I make my trips to Walmart or a Target, since they never have an issue with it. I'll occasionally walk her around if I do a 30 at a rest area but she being a cat, she gets her exercise from running around on the top bunk and hoping off it while I am sleeping.

But I am bias, I prefer cats just because they do no require as much maintenance as dogs do. They clean themselves and they go to the bathroom by themselves. But since I am not a dog owner I cannot tell you the pros or cons of having a dog. The cons for a cat I would say are that you need seat covers or a towel to prevent the fur from getting everywhere. And before people say "But cats will scratch and ruin everything!!!1!!1" no, no they will not. I bought a small scratching post and she knows she is only allowed to use that. I have NEVER had an issue with seats being torn or clawed at.

So this is just my input as a cat owner. Hope it helps.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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California Pay for Swift (might switch companies)

I have been with Swift for about 10 months now, coming into 1 year of driving (had my license longer, but COVID caused me to get off the truck to take care of family). I was being told that I got paid between .45 and .47 (and obviously more like .52 for miles fewer than 150 miles and things alike). I was fine with it, but when I looked at my check I noticed I was getting .42 or .43. So I called payroll and after a very lengthy discussion I found out that because I live in California they are required to show an hourly pay. So, what they end up doing is taking off 2 cents of my miles to make up for the rest pay that we get, which is minimum wage for 2 hours per pay period. They also informed me that there is PRODUCTION pay (miles) and HOURLY pay (uh.. hourly..). Whichever is higher, I get that pay. So, say I work 65 hours one week, that would be roughly $910 a week. That's good, no complaints. However, if I drove 2.1k miles at an average of .46, that would be $966 ($50 more a week, which is $200 more a month, $2,400 a year, so it adds up). But since I am in California, I don't average .46, I average about .44. So why would I want to run hard, use the same amount of hours, if I can just take low miles, work up my clock, and get the higher pay? I feel like I'm running hard for free if the hourly will just end up being more BECAUSE they are taking out more for production.

We also just recently got a 2 cent raise, but I won't be seeing that 2 cent raise since they take it out to cover rest pay. I have no complaints about Swift other than that, I want to stay with them longer but unless I am missing something or just being dumb and not understanding the pay, I feel like I am being used for miles. Am I overthinking this? Am I possibly not understanding something important? Is this a silly reason to leave a company?

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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I heard CRST only pays you for what you drive, not for what the truck drives. I know some companies pay you split or together (example, if you are on a .50 split, you get .25 for say all 5k miles that month, OR .50 for the 2500 you drove, because either way it is the same). I asked a recruiter and they said "No, you get the split for your miles, not all".. so I was like.. cool I get .32 for 2700 miles? I can make more solo. I could be wrong though, or the recruiter just didn't understand? Who knows.

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

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Texas doing something about nuclear verdicts against truckers

This seems horrible. I have to do more research into this and what benefits the truck drivers have if this passes, if any.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

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Trucking under Democratic or Republican Government

I hate Trump, rambling idiot. But I believe the trucking industry will still thrive.

It isn't even political at this point, I'm more fearful of driverless trucks ruining this for us than who is seated in the White House.

But we can speculate all we want, come back in 4 years and see who was right or who was wrong. I just want people to be happy doing what they are doing, so long as they are not hurting others in the process.

Posted:  2 years ago

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Leaving dryvan to go to Flatbed

I'm still with Swift, but I'll no longer be doing their dryvan side of things. Someone from Phoenix got in contact with me and asked if I wanted to do flatbed (I had sent in an email a few months ago saying I was interested but they wanted me to have a few more months of driving experience before switching).

I go to flatbed orientation next week for Swift, but I'm kind of scared/excited. I've done a lot of research into flatbed and the hassles and struggles it offers but I like physical labor.

That and I was offered a job with System Transport and I heard they were good at training people like me with no flatbed experience and were a overall good company but I know Swift and I like it here. Plus I can bring my cat along in the truck at Swift, can't with System. So a totally new adventure awaits me next week.

Posted:  2 years, 1 month ago

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Trucking landscape could look different after Nov. 3

Not going to vote for someone who is a public figure and refuses to wear a mask, of all things.

Also not going to vote for someone who looks like they are about to fall over any moment.

That being said, the electoral college decides, not our vote. :)

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

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When to know how to start your backing

Soni was with my mentor and he always said "go this many trucks past" but I still never understood when to stop. If I want to do a offset doni just align my mirror to the center of the spot I want to back in and pull away until I am facing 12 o'clock then 9o'clock then just start backing in? How do I know when the setup is complete? He always said "go past this many trucks then start turning away" but what if I'm at the end and there are no trucks to measure that with?

I would keep asking "okay but how do I know when I am at the point when I want to start setting up for my back? How do I know how to set up?" And he just always said "past this truck start turning " but that didn't help me. Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

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Officially Going Solo Tomorrow. It's Been a Long Journey.

Well it's happening. I'm done with my 200 hours at Swift and they have my truck ready and everything. I'm more nervous than excited but I'm sure that's normal. I've got a lot of backing skills to improve on and I know my 2 weakest points.

1: My setup. I still don't know when to stop before turning. How far do I pull up before I start turning? Until the back of my trailer is in the middle of the front of the spot I want to go in then I start turning? That's one thing I will need help on.

2: I sometimes forget which way I need to turn the wheel to make my trailer respond. I know it's opposite (I turn my wheel left to make the trailer go right) but in the mirror I get stuck and panic a little.

But even despite all that I know I'm a safe driver. Never once did I trigger the cameras in the truck for following distance or speeding. If a car or truck get in front of me I just back off until I'm 6-8 seconds behind them again. No biggie. I just hope i don't miss any turns and panic or mess up. And those dang round-abouts. I guess at times you just have to hog 2 lanes in order to make your turn? Haha.

Well time to get started on this. I'll keep everyone posted on my first week solo.

Posted:  2 years, 6 months ago

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Companies that will take on new cdl grads with 0-3 month exp and will do tuition reimbursement ?

So I finished my training with Swift and CR and I applied with Schneider and when they verified my work exp they said I was "experienced" with a little over 3 months verified. But I want something local and all they have is something where I would be home twice a week doing 6 western states.

Are there other companies that will take me with little experience but also do a tuition reimbursement? I tried US xpress but they said I still had a financial obligation to CR so they couldn't take me until that was fulfilled. Swift needs at least 6 months and so do other major carriers. I'm located in southern California if that helps.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Past felonies and DUI's over ten years old any companies hire me???

I think they will. They only go back so far I believe (7 years?). You should be fine. My friend who had a felony told her recruiter that she didn't commit any felonies (it was beyond 7 years when it happened) when she was asked and her record came back clean. Know your state laws. In California you don't have to disclose things past certain years due to things like the Fair Ord. Act and the San Fransisco Fair Employment.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Having a hard time learning how to clutch/shift (Swift)

I understand that, but 20 students for 1 truck for 15 minutes each for one day then onto a new day expecting us to remember everything is the hard part for me. Yeah, I hit a snag only because I didn't know about their contract and once I read it I got discouraged. Over here in California you don't pay for the schooling unless you pass, but in other states you owe them even if you fail, so I dropped out after learning that on time 2nd day.

I remember reading from around here that the number 1 tip (besides GOAL) is to not give up or be discouraged if at first it isn't working perfectly. I'm in that phase where I want to throw in the towel but I know that this will pass.

Sparky, one of the big things you have to realize is that you will be expected to catch on quickly. That is one of the indicators in truck driver training that gives the instructors confidence you have what it takes to succeed at this career. Trucking requires the ability to adapt and assess situations quickly. It also requires some tenacity and persistence at getting things done.

Apparently you already hit a snag at Wilson. That's okay - I hit a few snags along my way, but you've got to shine now that you're getting another shot. Listen to this podcast and take heed.

Why Is Truck Driver Training Done In Such A Rush?

Posted:  3 years ago

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Having a hard time learning how to clutch/shift (Swift)

Well our class is big. 20 students. Students from last week were a little slow and took up 3 trucks which left us with 1. So 20 students for 1 truck, we each got 15 minutes worth in the truck and that was it.

Yeah, I've been observing and listening but it's all so new so I'm getting myself confused. I think I got it. Foot on clutch, then brake, then move into 3rd then foot off brake then ease off the clutch and start rolling? Then when backing, foot on clutch and brake, come to a stop, then move into reverse, foot off brake and ease off clutch?

We're learning off setting right now and I have these turns down better than I do getting into gear, but once I'm in gear I'm in control. Just getting to that point is slow for me I guess

It sounds like you're describing the initial procedure of getting the truck rolling from a dead stop. Isn't there an instructor right there with you explaining what to do?

I'd stay away from YouTube if I were you. You're definitely over thinking this.

One of the most important things you need to be doing is observing others and paying close attention to your instructor. You're all wound up about the order of things and it's stressing you out. It's just not that critical if you release the parking brake first then put your foot on the brake pedal, or if you do those in the opposite order. All your doing is keeping the truck from rolling freely with the brakes. Then you push the clutch in while keeping your other foot on the brake. The clutch is disengaged when you push it with your foot which allows you to select a gear. So now you put into 3rd gear. Sounds easy right? It is - you can do this!

Now comes the tricky part. Start slowly easing the clutch out. You should hear a slight change in the engine sound and RPM as the clutch begins to engage. You can even feel the truck getting ready to roll. That's when you take your right foot off the brake while still slowly releasing the clutch. That will get the beast moving properly.

It's all new, but it's really simple. You're letting it overwhelm you. Don't be so timid. You're the one in control - take charge and be confident. The most critical behaviors you should be doing right now are listening and observing. Pay attention to how the instructor does it and how the students who are having success do it. You should have lots of time to observe others. Don't waste that time.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Having a hard time learning how to clutch/shift (Swift)

So I decided to go with Swift instead. We're in the yard only going into 3rd gear, no higher and no using the gas pedal.

I think I'm over thinking everything. I never know if I have to push in the clutch, then brake then start shifting..or do I go in (if truck is on), foot on brake and clutch, then move it into 3rd then parking brakes in and foot off brake then let it roll by slowly letting off the clutch? I've looked at YouTube videos and I might have it but I'm confused. I just don't know the proper way of doing it (no double clutch and no using the accelerator for purposes of Swift, just using 3rd gear in the yard)

Any help would be appreciated. I really want to get this accomplished and get this down. I've never driven a manual before and heard that it should be easier to learn since I won't be in stubborn habits.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

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Starting with Wilson- my Adventure Diary

I left California on Saturday and got to Montana Monday morning. I was in a 10 hour layover in Las Vegas where I just sat and watched crime shows on the tv for 10 hours. Switched between 5 buses but in the end I finally arrived here. When I got to my hotel I brushed my teeth and notified my recruiter that I was ready to be picked up. There are about 6 of us here so that's good. Not crowded at all.

Wilson picked us up and dropped us off at the physical place to get drug tested and to get our physical done. After that they got us lunch at a little nice Mexican place. We then went to the facility where we just signed papers, went over orientation and onboarding and learned more in depth about the contract. The one thing I'm not fond of is for home time we can only have a max of 5 days, but other than that I really enjoyed everything.

Tomorrow we will be taking the permit test, where we have 2 attempts to pass it and if we don't they send us home. I feel very confident about passing it so I'm not too worried about that. Once that's done we are going to do more paperwork then drive around the yard dead head so we can get familiar with the manual and the truck overall.

But as of now I'm going to take a long nap. I got maybe a total of 3 hours of sleep from all the bus switching and layover in the stations. I want to be well rested for tomorrow and see what tomorrow brings. I'll update it with a lot more once we do more.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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It's Official, July 29th with Wilson

I probably wasn't clear. Studying for the permit is all me. Getting my actual cdl training in 1 weeks for the actual cdl a license is what I'm stressing

You should be able to get clp the day you show up, its not their job to study for you. Your weeks training is learning how to handle a truck before they send you out with a trainer to get more experience in handling a truck. I'm noy trying to be rude here, I just want to clear up your misconception on who is responsible for the permit training. That being said if you use this site and a study app on your phone you should have 0 problems passing the permit test on the first try.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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It's Official, July 29th with Wilson

Well it's official. I signed the papers, did all the required testing and video watching I needed to before I leave. Now all I need to do is make sure I study the CDL permit and hope that 1 week of training with them will be long enough for me to get my CDL before I go out on the road with my trainer.

And good thing is I'm only doing western 10, so I'm hoping I'll be home a lot more than if I were to do all 48.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

I heard that during the test they don't let you get out and look, you can only use mirrors


What is GOAL? I always see it mentioned.


G Get

O Out

A And

L Look

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

I'm more concerned about bad weather or something out of my control and I don't want to get penalized for it

My Sons belief is except all loads, long and short. Why turn down miles and money. A 850 mile load pay the same per mile as a 1200 mile load... I don’t think he will ever turn down money.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Going with Wilson Logistics

Ah okay, I see. What is GOAL? I always see it mentioned. So overall it was a good experience? Wilson doesn't have forced dispatch do they?

Actually it took him a bit longer because he scraped a trailer at a TA and got 10k more training miles. He wasn’t upset, he was expecting the additional miles. He did not GOAL, and I believe he found the addition training a positive experience. Plus, it was a preventable.

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