Profile For Pacific Pearl

Pacific Pearl's Info

  • Location:
    Seattle, WA

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years ago

Pacific Pearl's Bio

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Posted:  1 month ago

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California Dreamin'?

This discussion was supposed to be about life a trucker in California and I know a fair amount about that.

How exactly? Other than unbridled narcissism without bounds, what qualifications do you possess? Why do you think you know more than a professional driver with a CDL who has safely and lawfully turned more than a MILLION MILES, many in Mexico's Gay District (some of the old timers still call it, "California")? Several professional drivers (all of whom possess actual qualifications) have asked you to reconsider your position and you just keep digging...

Not all the folks reading this forum are professional drivers (yet). It's important to convey accurate, truthful information for their innocent eyes so they don't start out on the wrong foot. Speeding is not o.k. Violating lane restrictions is not o.k. A professional driver will have a real bad time if he gets ticketed for either of these offenses. Telling the cop, your employer or the judge, "I saw a bunch of other people doing it, so I thought I could too" won't help with the ticket or the fine and may find the driver looking for a new job. Partially for the ticket, mostly for not accepting responsibility for their actions.

On the original point, California is easily the most regulated state for truck driving West of the Mississippi. Offenses (HOS, Hazmat) that would mean getting a ticket or maybe being put out of service in any other state mean JAIL TIME for the driver in California. In any other state (except Illinois) when you move to the state you exchange your old CDL and a small fee for a new CDL. In California you must retest! Not just for the CDL - you need to take the test for a Class C license! I mentioned the income tax rate (8-9.3%) in my earlier post, but left out the sales tax. The state sales tax is 7.5% but cities and counties can add their own sales taxes to that so in many cities and counties the actual sales tax is over 10%!

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

California Dreamin'?

Pacific Pearl states trucks are restricted to right lane only. That is not correct.

California Vehicle Code Section 21654 states that any vehicle on a highway that must proceed at a slower speed than normal traffic moving in the same direction must use the right-hand lane or stay as close as possible to the right-hand edge of the curb. The only exceptions are if the vehicle is overtaking and passing another car proceeding in the same direction or the vehicle is making a left turn. Since large trucks are legally required to travel no faster than 55 miles per hour, they may only be driven in the right lane on highways, except when the law allows otherwise

I've lived in California for 65 years .... I am not a truck driver...

That explains.... A LOT.

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

California Dreamin'?

Not sure if you're thinking about moving there or just visiting. The two biggest drivers for California freight are their ports (LA & Long Beach) and the I-5 corridor. There's also a lot of business moving freight out of California for the 76,000 trucks that are illegal to drive in California. You can't drive a pre-DEF truck in California PERIOD. That means there's plenty of work moving freight across the borders for those trucks.

California is big on truck regulations. If I drive on my regular route from WA to MD (25 miles past the White House) I will get called into TWO weigh stations - one about 25 miles East of my DC and the, "fake" weight station in WV that's really an unmanned brake check area. If I sub for another driver and go to the DC in Ontario I'll hit SIX between WA and San Francisco. Of course there's the other oppression - idle restrictions, truck parking restrictions near residential areas, trucks are right lane ONLY and a 55 mph speed limit for trucks.

Traffic is BRUTAL. I wouldn't drive I-5 if I were paid by the mile - it's not worth it. Driving through a metro area Portland, Sacramento, LA can take 20 to 30 minutes or 6 HOURS. Trust me, you work A LOT harder in the 6 hour version because of four wheelers making bad choices. I'd rather earn my $200 than take the <$5 pay package. There's also the drivers. A turn signal isn't a way of politely letting other drivers know your intentions - it's a challenge. Once your blinker starts flashing the cars in that lane or the lane you're already in will speed up in and try to pass you. Of course, monkey see, monkey do so other drivers will copy them so they don't get, :stuck behind a truck". Your only hope is to get your back end in the new lane and as quickly as possible or you'll be receiving your social security checks in the truck before a driver will let you in the lane you need to be in.

Parking at a truck stop near your receiver for an early morning delivery isn't really an option. Truck stops are usually a ways away from the population centers. If you're going into LA from I-5 North your best bet is Arvin. There are some smaller truck stops in the hills before you get to LA but it can be a trick finding a space because they're relatively small for the amount of traffic. From the East your best bet is Barstow.

The one good thing about driving in California is the weather. It's rare you would have to chain up on I-5. You can drive for YEARS without having to chain and if you did it would only be on the Siskiyous on your way to Oregon. If you have to go on I-80 to Reno or other points East you will chain several times a year, every year. While Winter driving on Donner can be BRUTAL they do have several large, wide spots for chaining up trucks and lots of signage letting you know about weather hazards.

If you're planning on moving there - DON'T. Income taxes are brutal (8% for $48,436 to $61,214, 9.3% after that). Housing costs are obscene (median cost of a house in Los Angeles in $955,000). AB5 makes it illegal for you to become an owner-ob.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Marten or Knight- Which to Choose

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Was that your personal experience or something you heard from someone else?

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It's been a few years so they may have changed their policy. I went to their orientation for a dedicated, home daily, weekends off account with Marten. I had a med cert that was less than 30 days old and the recruiter I was working with agreed that I wouldn't need a new physical. Imagine my surprise when I got a text from a clinic telling me I had an appointment with them on the same morning I was supposed to be at Marten's orientation in a city 24 miles away from the orientation site! The next day I got a call from a different Marten employee (not my recruiter) asking me if I was still planning on going to orientation. I told him, "Sure, but what's this clinic appointment at the same time in a different city?". He told me it was probably a mistake and just to ignore it and go to orientation. My recruiter told me I would need to do a pre-hire drug screen. Didn't mention any other testing.

When I showed up at orientation the woman running the show took roll call then drove me and another driver to the clinic. It was basically a physical conditioning test with a catch. As I was walking out the door, the tech lassoed me with a measuring tape around my neck. I was literally in motion leaving the room when he did that. He didn't ask me to stop moving or make any effort to ensure an accurate measurement. I wear a 17 1/2" neck in a dress shirt. The tech wrote down 18 3/4" on his form. I went home an measured my neck with a tape and then had the gf measure it - 17 1/2". I didn't think it would be an issue. WRONG!

On the afternoon of the second day of orientation, while we were filling out forms and finishing the hazmat training, the woman running the show handed me two forms separate from the stack of forms I and all the other drivers had been given. One was a sleep apnea self-assessment questionnaire, the second was a release authorizing the Mondovi Sleep Center to have access to all of my medical records. That's weird. Why would a driver in Washington have to have a sleep study done in Mondovi, WI? Oh yeah, Marten's headquarters are in Mondovi.

Obviously, I had several questions. Unfortunately the Marten rep running orientation was hard of hearing and refused to wear her hearing aids until the last hour of her workday, preferring to lip read. Her answers were less than satisfactory. Was it the unnecessary sleep study? (Slept next to an RN for several years. She would have noticed sleep apnea.) Was it the week on a Greyhound (unpaid) to travel to and from Wisconsin for the unnecessary sleep study? Was it the FIVE YEAR interest-free, "loan" for the forced sleep study, the bus ride and lodging? Was it the sneaky, underhanded way they went about it? Some combination or all of the above? Couldn't tell you - I shook my head and walked out. Got a better job. Marten still emails me job postings.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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A couple questions from a pre-greenhorn

Yes, your plan is viable.

1) Get a new passport. It's harder to lose or damage than a bc & ss card and you never know, you may need it if you drive a truck across the border into Canada.

2) If you don't have a fixed address or just want to change states check out the Escapees RV Club. For about $100/yr. They'll provide you with a domicile address and mailbox in Florida, South Dakota or Texas (all states without an income tax) that's perfectly legal to use as your state of residence on your CDL. When your mail arrives they'll send you an image of it. You can pick it up or have them forward it to your terminal, a truck stop or anyplace you want.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Marten or Knight- Which to Choose

Made me take a sleep apnea test...they pay for my CPAP, supplies and I have a sleep coach.

I'm glad you're happy with them. Read the fine print - in the event that you part ways with Marten in 5 years the cost of the sleep study, transportation to and from and lodging in Mondovi for your sleep study, and your CPAP machine are all immediately due and payable. It's about $10k and it's not pro-rated.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Some info on Indeed features - FYI

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To me, sign on bonuses are a red flag.

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I can co-sign on that. I don't use Indeed because it's too one-sided in the employer's favor:

1) There's no way to meaningfully screen results. Want no-touch freight, no California, paid hourly without a camera in your face? TOO BAD! You can only screen for generic criteria that isn't relevant - full-time or part-time?/OTR or regional?/Home daily, home weekly or home time? You have to read through ALL THE ADS then call a dozen recruiters to find out how close the jobs are to your requirements because there's no minimum requirements for criteria that employers must post in the ads.

2) Employers whose reputations are so terrible that no one would apply if they used their real name are allowed to use fake names in their ads. Send an application to, "Fourth Day Trucking" and get a call back from a CR England recruiter.

3) Even though I don't use Indeed anymore I still get emails telling me about jobs they think are a match. Again, matching is over simplified. Yes, that job looks good BUT it requires driving in Canada. Crossing the border requires an experimental vaccine I'm not interested in. Of course, that isn't an option in any of their check boxes for a reason why I'm not interested.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Changes, changes, changes

Interesting. I've always wondered about what motivates one carrier to sell out to another. I believe it's either a mutually beneficial merger or one company trying to keep from going bankrupt. Any other reasons?

Why does a company sell? It's usually one of three stories:

I like being rich, but don't like trucking - Some truck driver had a dream and built a small to mid-sized trucking company over decades of hard work. He either dies or retires, leaving the multi-million dollar trucking company to his kids and his widow who don't know anything about the industry, but like money so they sell. Gardner Trucking, Reddaway.

They forgot how to run a trucking company profitably - The name says it all, either they lost customers to more nimble competitors, made some bad choices or found themselves on the wrong side of too many jury verdicts. This can either mean the company gets sold as a complete unit or auctioned off piecemeal. Central Freight Lines, New England Motor Freight.

My business plan sucked so I'm taking my ball and going home - Even large, prosperous companies in the freight business have made acquisitions into other regions or other types of freight only to find that their plans didn't work out. Wilson Logistics bought Market Transport in 2019 to expand to the West Coast then sold those assets to Ashley Home Furnishings in 2021. UPS bought Overnite in 2005 then sold UPS Freight to TransForce last year.

Why do trucking companies buy other trucking companies? Because organic growth isn't an option. If a midwest carrier wants to expand to the West Coast they could hire sales people to knock and doors and make phone calls to prospective customers to build relationships, but it's cheaper and quicker just to buy a smaller carrier and get their customers in the deal. It's similar to banks buying other banks - they do it to get new customers because most people won't change banks.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Swift academy

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From what I understand, Amazon doesn’t own any trucks. They only own trailers and contract out for tractors to pull those trailers. If that is not accurate, please correct me.

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They do have their own trucks and drivers. There's a huge distribution center next to the airport I fly out of and I see them all the time. No fine print on the door saying, "Amazon affiliate" like FedEx and others do. I saw an article about 4 years ago describing how they were going to train warehouse workers to drive trucks. The only thing my google-fu could come up with was a link to Amazon's Career Choice program that pays for a worker's CDL training. It doesn't say anything about working for Amazon once they get their CDL though.

Apparently, they've re-fitted the program to reflect Jeff's three years and done philosophy. The jobs Amazon will pay for their employee's training in (CDL, aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies and nursing) are all NOT jobs working at Amazon.

Amazon recognizes that these workers are not likely to remain employed with the company forever, so rather than pretend otherwise, it is offering training for these employees’ next opportunity as a way to get the best work out of them for the limited time they get their paycheck from Amazon.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Swift academy

As a trainee driver I heard a lot of bad things about Swift. My first year driving I saw A LOT more FedEx trucks off roading/on fire/upside down and wondered why I heard so much about Swift but nothing about FedEx. Of course, that's before Amazon started putting trucks on the road...

Swift would have been a better choice than the first company I drove for.

Safety records:

Swift

FedEx Freight

Amazon

Note: They all have safety records that are ABOVE AVERAGE.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Trucking economics, trucking economies

How do companies absorb the cost of such a long deadhead?

Simple, they make enough from the hundreds of other trucks that are pulling freight profitably that day to cover the loss and then some. While the company makes less than the driver on the load after paying the bills (truck, maintenance and fuel) they make more than enough to cover the deadhead.

Link

A $1000 investment (in Knight-Swift) made in August 2012 would be worth $4,703.33, or a 370.33% gain, as of August 16, 2022, according to our calculations. Investors should note that this return excludes dividends but includes price increases.

The S&P 500 rose 205.73% and the price of gold increased 5.84% over the same time frame in comparison.

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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What are people interested in truck driving looking for in their education and their training?

I went to your site (https://amxtrucking.com/amx-academy/). There's a lot of things that don't fit or look sketchy. In one spot it says, "AMX Academy costs $2500" in another, "The total cost for training with AMX Academy ends up being approximately $300-$475, but that’s still less than a community college program ($2800-$3500) and significantly less than a private driving school, which starts at $2500 and can go way higher."

You don't list your average pass rate (what percentage of the drivers who enter the program leave with a CDL after their training). What does the trainee owe you after their training? What happens if the student doesn't finish their training for some reason? Is their obligation treated differently if they wash out, are hit by a truck or sent home with Monkeypox? There's a vague reference to, "..driving solo in your own trainer’s truck, earning money, and providing for your family or other goals." but no mention of how much they will be earning or how much the average driver makes in their first year after their training.

We live in an information age - any trainee can look up your school and a dozen others and compare them all side by side in an afternoon. If one company's website says, "Drivers are earning an average of $70,000 in their first year" do you picture a trainee spending the time to call up the recruiters at all the other schools on their list or assume the worst if they don't see it on your website?

Posted:  1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Question for the Union LTL folks (rookies & vets)

I've never heard of anyone being trapped in loading dock limbo who wanted to drive and didn't have a good reason (DUI's, accidents, under 21). If you clearly communicate your plans to drive during the interview they should be happy to accommodate you. You don't include your location but there are other union LTL options you didn't list:

T-Force

Yellow's regionals - Reddaway, Holland & New Penn

Oak Harbor Freight Lines if you're out West.

It's always a good idea to have a CDL training plan in place BEFORE getting your permit. As you're finding out it does expire whether you have your CDL or not.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Bored to tears.

One thing to remember - truck driving is a BIG TENT. Whether you just want a temporary vacation from truck driving or a permanent change of scenery you have options. There are plenty of jobs that would value your CDL and driving experience:

Airport Shuttle Bus Driver

I personally know a woman who makes $300-400 A DAY, not in wages (this job starts at $25/hr), but TIPS! Yeah, it's not a, "no touch" freight job, you do load the bags into the bus/van and unload them onto the curb, but it's not unloading 53' of half-ton pallets with a hand truck kind of thing.

Tour Bus Driver

There's not enough money to get me to be the ringmaster about the circus that is a modern Greyhound bus but tour buses are typically retirees and tourists from other countries. They tend to be well behaved and have higher than average incomes.

Incident Response Team Member

Not all CDL jobs are about hauling freight. There are plenty of government jobs with pensions, ridiculous benefits and lots of PAID downtime that require CDL's too.

Concert Tour Drivers

Whether you like the band, the pay or the groupies there of plenty of opportunities in entertainment hauling the performers and their gear. As a driver, you're part of the crew - put up in a hotel, catered food and great pay.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Can’t hold me back..

....do you know if CB radios come with the trucks or do I need to buy my own ? TY

Depends on the company. Most of the time it's BYOCB, but I have seen them provided in company trucks before. Save your cash and use your truck stop loyalty points to buy one.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Paid CDL Training - Maximum Home Time

Tanker and doubles/triples is a simple computer test. Haz-mat has a computer test but it also requires you to complete a TSA Hazardous Materials Endorsement Threat Assessment . In some states you must complete the assessment before you can take the test, in others you can take the test first but you must wait for the TSA background check to be completed before the endorsement is issued.

In some states (Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin) you start the TSA process in your local DMV branch, in other states you must go to a TSA office. You can schedule an appointment online. Walk-ins are allowed but they strongly encourage you to make an appointment. They ask you a few questions, take you fingerprints and verify your ID documents. A few weeks later they'll issue two letters - one to you and one to your state's DMV with the results.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Less than 21 years and graduated: where can I get an entry level CDL Class A job?

Truck Driver CDL A - Local | Manson, NC

Unfortunately, a lot of the ads don't mention a minimum age. I went through several ads only to find that while the ad didn't mention an age requirement, the company website did. For best results for I'd start with agencies - placement services for drivers.

Centerline Drivers

TransForce

They'll have dozens of local driving jobs and can match you to an employer that works for you.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Less than 21 years and graduated: where can I get an entry level CDL Class A job?

The 21 and over rule only applies to intrastate driving - as long as you stay in North Carolina it won't be an issue. Who will hire you:

Hostler positions - moving trailers around in the yard.

P&D (Pickup and Delivery) - Drivers who pick up and deliver LTL loads. You drive around a metro area picking up the freight that needs shipped and delivering the freight that comes in from other terminals. Most LTL companies are looking for P&D drivers.

Intermodal - Driving air/sea containers from a port or railyard to receivers within 150 air miles of the port or railyard.

Give me your closest city and I'll give you some actual job posting you can apply to.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Paid training schools that will accept one preventable accident?

How long ago was the accident? Most companies want to see three years between a new trainee and an at fault accident. The truth is that hiring decisions in this industry aren't made by the companies that own the trucks, they're made by the companies that insure the trucks. Now, let's say you didn't have a driving accident on your record. A company that hired you have to pay > $1,000/mo. more in insurance premiums to hire you than to hire an experienced CDL driver with a clean record. It would be much higher for a driver with a recent (less than 3 years) accident on their record. Would you hire an employee that cost you $2-$3,000 more PER MONTH when you have folks lined up around the block wanting the same job who won't?

Your best options are:

Join the Navy (or any other branch)! They'll put you to work driving a truck because they don't have to pay an insurance company. A two year enlistment will give you experience driving, a lifetime of benefits and burn away most of 3 years. A veteran, with truck driving experience and a clean (three years anyway) driving record would have to beat the recruiters off with a stick!

Get a job working the docks at an LTL company (Estes, Old Dominion, YRC, etc.) All the major LTL companies have, "dock to driver" programs where they train their dockworkers to drive a truck then give them a job as a truck driver. You'll have to wait a while with your record, but seniority starts from your hire date even as a dock worker. When they do turn you loose with a truck you'll have higher pay and more say about what run you'll drive with seniority.

In the meantime, keep yourself hireable (ticket, accident, drug and crime free).

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Looking to get my cdl

I’m looking into getting but I want to make sure that my system is entirely clean before I go sign up. I am currently saving my money for my class, I plan on going to Dalys truck driving school in Buford,Ga. How far back does a hair follicle test go back? Do schools do hair follicle testing?

It's a huge YMMV type of thing. How much you used, how long you've been a user, the potency of the weed you used, your metabolism and your percentage of body fat all factor in. Weed isn't like alcohol where after you're done using it your body processes it out in a few hours and you're clean. Your body stores THC and marijuana components in your body fat. If you're a lean individual with a low percentage of body fat and high level of activity in your day it can take less then half the time it takes an obese couch dweller who plays video games all day. Obviously, a regular, heavy user will have more stored up in their body than a light, infrequent user.

The range of 6 months to a year is accurate. Which end of the scale you're on will depend on your:

Percentage of body fat (cross country runner or couch potato) Daily activity level (resting heart rage below 60 bpm or not) Level of consumption (daily for the last 20 years or once or twice a month for a year or two) Potency of the weed you smoked (entry-level/home grown or max potency special blend)

Of course, if you guess wrong your career is over before it's begun. Better to be safe than to be on the FMCSA's black list. Some driver candidates decided to test themselves before going to school only to find that the cheap, home test they bought was less sensitive than the professional grade one they had to take at school. While hair testing isn't mandatory yet it's not going away and seems to be growing in popularity. It's driven by the insurance companies and the trial lawyers.

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