Profile For Cincybeerhawk

Cincybeerhawk's Info

  • Location:
    Cincinnati, OH

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    9 months, 1 week ago

Cincybeerhawk's Bio

Green as grass. I’ve completed three weeks of a four week (minimum) training program with Home Run, Inc., a regional flatbed company with its corporate headquarters in Xenia, Ohio. I’ve learned that I enjoy moving the strange and uncommon loads (boulders and rocks are my early favorites. I’m forging a new path in this industry after being laid-off/furloughed from a Fortune 200 Company as a result of Covid 19.

Buckeye born and bred. I don’t quit...ever.

I have a front row seat on the ‘struggle bus’ as I attempt to learn how to operate a truck. I need help and that’s why I’m here.

I’m smart enough to utilize the ‘3:1 Rule’ (listen three times as often as you speak).

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Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

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Home Run, Inc.

It’s been (too) long since I’ve made an entry in my diary. A lot has occurred since my last post. I’m starting to see (a little bit of) the light, but I’m smart enough to know that there’s still so very much that I haven’t experienced.

I’m typing this while I’m stuck at a travel plaza east of Bryan on the Ohio Turnpike. I’m not ‘stuck’ in the sense that weather has me at a standstill, rather I ran out of hours, both daily and for the week, after picking up a load at the nearby Menards’ DC. I’ll be here all weekend (at least until 4:00 a.m. on Sunday). Rather than make the three hour, 45 minute drive down to Xenia, then another hour home, only to turn around about six hours later in order to pick up my truck and drive to Indy for a 5:00 a.m. Monday delivery, I’ll sit tight until about daybreak on Sunday, then drive straight to Greenwood (a southern suburb of Indianapolis).

This sucks on toast (weird visual and one that I hope doesn’t get me censured by Leaderships here). Tonight was suppossed to be ‘Date Night’ for my wife and me. I guess it could be worse. This place does have (a) a shower, (b) laundry facilities, and (c) Burger King and Starbucks, but on the downside I won’t get to work on the farm or see my wife and our dog.

I get it; this is a customer service industry, so asking management at a well-known home improvement store to expedite the unloading of drywall from my flatbed (no way should it 4.5 hours to empty a 48 foot skateboard), is stepping out of bounds, and I shouldn’t need to spend three hours searching for my trailer at a drywall manufacturing company. Both factors contributed greatly to my current plight.

If you’re still reading, thanks for tuning in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say (sic) between now and early Sunday morning.

Posted:  5 months ago

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Anyone at Love’s on US 24 in Eastern Indiana?

I’m taking my 10 at the Love’s on US 24 on Woodburn, Ind. Anyone else here? I’ll be ready for a meal in about an hour. I’d love to sit quietly and learn some stuff...

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

I now have a week under my belt as a company driver for Home Run, Inc. I’m not sure 5500 characters will be enough to adequately share all that has gone one in the past 168 hours, but I’ll try.

Last Monday was pretty simple as I was assigned to a truck - a 2006 International 9200i 10 speed. Like all of trucks in HR’s regional fleet, it’s red. With over 1.1 million miles on it, you can imagine the amount of cleaning it needed (and still needs), so I spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday cleaning it as best I could while the area got hit with about 3” of snow and freezing rain. I’ll tip my cap to Jeff Saylor and the night staff of mechanics who spent way too much time with me answering questions and adjusting various components.

I set sail Tuesday afternoon. I had a Noon pickup on Wednesday at Continental Building in Cold Spring, Kentucky (just across the river from Cincinnati) for my first load: drywall found for a lumber store in Findlay. It didn’t make sense to drive home, then back to Xenia for the truck very early the next day, so I stashed the rig in the parking lot of a Lowe’s near my home.

Four hours. That’s how long it took me from ingress to egress at Continental. As can be expected, my 45 degree alley dock skills are a work in progress, so it took me a while to drop the empty trailer. We’ll compound my lack of skills with my failure to remember to pull the release arm so I could disengage from the flatbed. My bungi cord work was on point, however my strap throwing technique was about on par with my alley docking. Findlay is a pretty easy drive as it’s straight out I75, the only problem was that I was nearly out of hours, so I spent the night in a ‘bootleg’ truck stop (read that as a vacant gravel lot behind the Wendy’s off of Exit 99 in Anna. I had my choice of hamburgers, Taco Bell, of Subway. I was very pleased that a 24-hour Speedway was across the street.

My delivery appointment was Wednesday at 7:00 a.m., so I wasted no time at all learning what we all know so well: don’t trust Garmin. I didn’t get lost, or routed down a one-way street or into a residential neighborhood, however the directions led me through Columbus Grove rather than two exits further north which would have allowed me to utilize state routes designed for industrial traffic.

Once I was empty I was directed back to Continental for another load of sheet-rock. This time my destination was the newly-minted Menard’s in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I was (much?) quicker with the securement this time (two hours, fifteen minutes), however I was ‘live-loaded’ since my shipment was not ready when I arrived. I gotta think a good bit of the time savings was due to the fact that I was not required to drop my trailer. Due to my lack of confidence in my backing (especially in the dark) I opted for a ‘work-around’ and spent the night at a 24-hour ‘comfort’ area at the weigh station on I71 just south of the 71/75 split. I was there early, so I got a prime spot.

I was up well before dawn on Friday in order to miss the morning commute through Louisville and make my appointment. The Menard was so new that its address (100 Menards Way) did not register on any navigational aids, so it was fortunate that I had called for directions. I arrived on time and in a steady but light rain. I will not spend any time on a monologue/stream-of-consciousness relative to what occurred during the 4 1/2 hours it took the staff to take delivery. I’ll leave it at this: we were all new at our jobs at one time (kind of ironic, huh?) and it showed.

The delay put me behind as I was assigned 50K of mortar from a factory in Sellarsburg, Indiana. I wish I had the two fellows who loaded me at Lehigh Hanson (another address that was missing/inaccurate on navigational systems) with me at Menards. Clearly, they were professionals as they were very practiced at their craft. I, on the other hand, needed about three hours to properly tarp, strap, and secure the load. Again I was out of hours, but it didn’t matter as a minor (?) train derailment prevented me from exiting the immediate area. Another night, another adventure as I spent it on the side of Riley Road, just east of US 31.

My dispatcher, the lovely and talented Kami Wristel, had already been in touch with the good people at Columbus Builders Supply and had advised them that I would be delivering the cement on Monday (today) rather than the end of the day on Friday.

I dutifully logged my 10 hours off duty, then left the Hoosier State (I have no idea what highways I used, but I experienced my first tunnel while driving a semi) and arrived back at the Lowe’s on East Kemper around 7:30 a.m. A quick post-trip, a VIR, laundry grabbed and the truck secured and I was off for a very short weekend.

Since I had to deliver at 7:30 this morning, I wanted to get a jump on the drive (Columbus is only 90 miles from Cincinnati), however since I had driven on Saturday, I was subject to a 34-hour re-set. I just can’t tell time, I guess, ‘cause I logged in eight minutes too early which caused all sorts of distress back at the mother ship. Another night and another unique resting place...this time at the ‘on’ ramp from the NB rest area on I71 at the JB Morrow Bridge in Warren County. I made sure to keep the driver’s side drive tires on pavement in order to avoid getting stuck literally.

I’m out of space and I’m exhausted. I’ll work to pick up the thread tomorrow.

Posted:  5 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

I’m hoping that this is my last post...under the title ‘Company Driver in Training’ as tomorrow I meet with the training director/recruiter/HR Manager for what I believe will be an assignment to a truck. I’ve been in training for about six weeks. There have been a couple of hiccups — Keith’s positive Covid 19 test and Gary’s micro-managing style — however through it all I have learned a lot and have improved my skills a bunch. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know nearly as much as I need to know and will continue to utilize all available resources as I strive to meet the standards set forth by the professionals in this business.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Keith Taylor, Gary Ellis, and Gordon Burge who all gave selflessly of their time and experience. It wasn’t always easy (nothing worth earning ever comes easy) or pleasant, but I know that their intentions are pure.

My goal was to complete my company training by mid-November and I almost made it. Now, as I look at the forecast for the next 40 hours, I see that the region is under a ‘Winter Weather Advisory’. Beautiful. I’ll be inventorying the truck, pre-tripping it, and ‘moving in’ with temperatures in the upper 20’s and about 3” of snow accumulating (do not laugh at me, those of you who routinely travel the Upper Midwest, The Great Plains and the Continental Divide). Actually, I’m looking forward to the challenge. My belief is that any (most?) rookies ought to be able to pilot a rig when the temperature is 75 degrees, the roads are dry, and visibility is ideal. We’ll find out what kind a game I have when conditions are less than perfect. I’m smart enough to know this: if I don’t believe I have the skills to be driving, I’ll be parked. Safety is the key to everything.

I’ll continue to post (hopefully on a more regular basis) as I enter the mainstream of the industry. I’m sure I’ll have questions, and I trust that you will have answers. I’ll celebrate my victories, and game-plan to avoid a repetition of my mistakes. I’ll get plenty of sleep, eat properly, and manage my finances correctly. I’ll make the most of my home time by ensuring that I spend time with my family. Finally, I’ll remember that everything I do when I’m out on the road reflects not only on me and Home Run, Inc., but also on all of you, regardless of the name on the side of your truck.

Thanks for reading.

CBH

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

Rob: Thank you for taking the time to construct and share your response. I’ll certainly take it to heart. Perhaps I am expecting too much. After reading your entry I realize that regardless of who trains me or how much instruction I receive, when I’m assigned to a truck I will still be lacking ‘the big E’ — Experience.

I get that, and I’m prepared for it. ‘Work the problem’ is a phrase I’ve adopted ever since I heard it on a television show (Seal Team, I think). I believe each individual learns best in one of three ways: (a) by being shown, (b) by doing/performing the action, or (c) by reading about the action. I’m definitely a ‘doer’, however the trainer I rode with the past two weeks was definitely one who subscribed to the ‘show’ method of instructing. By the time we returned to Xenia on Thursday we were both very frustrated.

I’ll work this week to improve in all aspects and have set as my goal to be assigned to a truck on Monday, December 1.

CBH

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Home Run, Inc.

I am creating this entry as I sit at home here in the 513 after another week of training. Yesterday, upon our return to Xenia, I sat down (literally) with our recruiter/training manager and requested another week with a different instructor. It’s not that I’m not getting ‘it’, it’s that I’ve not had the requisite amount of opportunities to work on and practice our craft. For those football enthusiasts reading along (thanks with sticking with me throughout my journey), it’s sorta like being allowed to be in the huddle, but then being told to stand behind the line of scrimmage and watch while the play is run. I learn best when I perform the action, not while I’m watching it or reading about it. The instructor to whom I was assigned was a ‘shower’ and that greatly retarded my learning.

Fortunately, Home Run has a deep well of training talent and I will be working with a trainer who lives in the Portsmouth, Ohio area but who has a Mississippi (601) area code for a cell number. We talked briefly on the phone yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and the plan is to meet somewhere in the southern Ohio area as soon as we learn where we’re headed on Monday.

The on-boarding with HR has definitely taken longer than I had planned, but I’m not disappointed or frustrated. If I had been told that I was being assigned to a truck beginning on Monday, I would have been ok with it, however my confidence and my abilities will develop to a higher level with another week with a tutor/mentor.

I’ll tip my cap to those in the industry who are trainers. It can’t be an easy job. You’re committing yourself to a partnership with a random stranger (was that redundant? I believe it was) for an unknown period of time. Living with a rookie in the cab of a truck (8X8X8) has got to be a challenge. You are exposed to all sorts of personal quirks, cultures, hygiene practices, and last but certainly not least, driving abilities and work ethics. On behalf of myself and the other FNGs in the industry, thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience with us as we work to establish ourselves.

CBH

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Home Run, Inc.

Incidentally, I just read an article that the bridge is scheduled to stay closed for repairs through 23 December. OMG!

You are correct, sir! I will not dedicate any of 5500 characters with a lengthy monologue/soliloquy concerning the advantages of the available detours. There are benefits and drawbacks to all of them depending upon the destination and the time of day one may be traveling.

Posted:  5 months, 3 weeks ago

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Trainer

We’ve read all types of reports and responses about trainers, both good and bad. Some trainers seem to generally care, while others are in it solely for the money. Here’s a question I’d like to pose to the community: how many companies actually have some sort of ‘train the trainer’ program where those that are entrusted with the development and shaping of us FNGs are taught what the company wants and expects of a rookie?

It seems that often times trainers may simply attempt to create a ‘fraternal twin’ of themselves when attempting to teach a newbie using the mentality ‘well, that’s the way I’ve always done it, so that must be the best way to do it’ when presenting a necessary skill to the uninitiated. Do companies/corporations have distinct, specific plans and structure for their neophytes?

I’ll hang up and listen off the air...

Cincybeerhawk

Posted:  5 months, 4 weeks ago

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Home Run, Inc.

Tonight I’m typing from the corner booth (literally) in the Subway at the Pilot in Bath, New York. We left yesterday (Sunday) with a load from Deceuninck (yes, I spelled it correctly, Mother!) near Monroe, Ohio and drove it to Clifton Park (near Schenectady, New York) after a stop just east of the Pennsylvania/New York border. Between yesterday and today we’ve logged over 1000 miles and I drove 80% of it.

Greg: I’m super embarrassed that I mis-identified the bridge where the truck crash occurred. I pride myself in my knowledge of the geography and roads of Greater Cincinnati and I absolutely got that wrong on many levels. Thanks for the fix. You are correct about the Lowe’s DC and Home Run’s involvement there. I do not know the boundaries of our involvement as it relates how far west, north, south, and east we drive from them, but I know we go at least as far as Indy to the west and Erie, Pa. on the east. I believe we to as far as Elizabethtown, Kentucky to the south. I have been told that we are attempting to earn a position with Menard’s when their new DC in Washington Courthouse is completed. Time will tell.

Rob D.: Thank you for the words of encouragement. My frustration stems not from a lack of patience as I have a tremendous level of that, rather it is rooted in the method and style of the training I have received. It is way too easy to find folks posting on here about the level, scope, type, and direction of the guidance they have received from various companies, and I will not take this diary in that direction. I know that what you typed about the learning curve and being overwhelmed is true. I do not lack for self confidence and I relish the opportunity to ‘work the problem’ once I am released and on my own.

Tomorrow morning we head to Angelica for a load of treated lumber which we will move to Hamilton, Ohio. The weather forecast is calling for a little bit of show, and I’m looking forward to this new challenge.

Today we/I experienced an inspection (Level 3) courtesy of the New York State Troopers. For those unfamiliar with truck inspections in the Empire State, they are a bit different than in Ohio as NY does not have the traditional ‘weigh station’, rather they utilized rest areas. Every truck is required to pull in, regardless of a company’s CSA score. Some are waved on, some are inspected (Class 1 or Class 3, I guess). My trainer believed that we were selected because I missed a shift and ground the gears when downshifting upon our entry to the site. I made sure to ask the trooper why we were selected and specifically asked if my missed shift was the reason. I was advised that our participation (sic) was entirely random. I was quite glad to hear this as the last thing I wanted was word getting around HR as to the reason for the inspection. The inspection was clean; no violations. I really didn’t care that we were inspected as we had plenty of time on our clock, but I did not want unfounded rumors circulating back at the Mother Ship (capitalization intentional).

I, like most other FNGs (flippin’ new guys/gals) am still mastering the art of backing as it relates to parking at the truck stops. As long as I can get the truck and the trailer straight, I’ll grade out at a solid ‘C’. I do a lot better when I can work through the challenge on my own as opposed to having someone attempt to coach me. Yes; I use many, many GOALs (‘get out and looks’ for those not in the industry) and I really don’t care if I hold others up. I don’t work for them, and they would not have to answer to Leadership if I hit something. Patience is the key. I’ll pull up as many times as I need to in order to complete the operation.

I think I’m tired. We parked at about 7:15 tonight and we’ll want to get a decent start tomorrow in order to drive to the shipper, secure the wood, then make the 6.5 hour drive back to southwestern Ohio.

More later, perhaps tomorrow night.

Thank you again Greg and Rob for your insights.

CBH

Posted:  6 months ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

This will be a relatively brief (for me) summation of Week 4 of my training with Home Run, Inc. This installment did not go at all as I wanted it to. I will not go into great detail as I am not one to use a social media platform as a means to rant or to air grievances.

I did not drive as much as I wanted/needed to (207 miles) for the week, however I did learn some new stuff (all by watching) as we travelled all over (literally) our great state as we were once again in Strausburg followed by a stop in Milan to pick up shingles, then down to suburban Cincinnati, then across the river into Kentucky for drywall in Silver Grove (no, I had nothing to do with the crash which has closed the Clay Wade Bailey (sp) Bridge), up to Defiance, then to Holiday City for a load from the Menard’s DC which we drove across the state to Athens, then back to Washington Courthouse for a Lowe’s load which was moved to Erie, Pa. and then home.

I will be leaving tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. to meet my trainer for a second (and hopefully final) week with him and the conclusion of my training. We’ll be moving long vinyl sheets from Monroe to upstate New York and then pick up lumber on our backhaul.

I am looking forward to the conclusion of my training and will work very hard this week to earn an assignment to a truck. I am trying very hard to maintain a positive attitude. I may (or may not) have the time to post during the week, but I’ll certainly have a detailed entry at the conclusion of this week.

Thanks for reading.

Cincybeerhawk

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

I’m spending most of today (between watching updates on the election results) researching threads concerning the Qualcomm (sic) and all that goes into it. Between my two trainers I’ve received different sets of information (both ‘downloads’ pretty much correct from what I can tell) but not identical. I’m working to sort it all out and the past posts her on TT by many, many members, rookies and vets alike, are proving very helpful.

At the risk of stating what many already know, I’ll share what I (think I’ve) learned and then read with great interest any responses and comments. During my first three weeks of training I was very diligent as I updated my current status to a new status whenever I changed my activities. Since I’m a skateboarder (sic), the time securing and tarping loads is always shown as ‘on duty’, driving is obviously ‘driving’, and sleeping was either ‘off duty’ or ‘sleeper birth’. I believe we (flatbedders) may log more time as ‘on duty’ (working but not driving) since the securement and tapping process can take a bit of time based upon the contents of the load. I’m certainly not trying to pick a fight with those who must wait to be loaded or unloaded at their various stops, so I’ll apologize if I offended anyone with that last statement. So far, so good, I think...

Home Run has several different tabs within the Qualcomm system which show the truck and driver’s status (I’m betting most companies have similar/identical conditions): (a) arrive shipper, (b) depart shipper, (c) arrive consignee, and (d) empty call. There is various data that we enter into the fields within each tab — load, reference number, tractor number, trailer number, bill of lading number, etc. I’m very structured and have developed my own ‘paper’ system using 3X5 file cards (a practice suggested to me by my parents during the early educational period in my life) to record this information from the various documents and messages we receive during the course of a week. Each card is dated and formatted so I can quickly find the information I needed.

Here’s the (kinda) scary logistical ‘stuff’ I learned Wednesday and Thursday: I was introduced to the ‘Load’ tab on the Qualcomm under the (I think) Hours of Service tab. I NEVER KNEW THAT EXISTED (emphasis intentional) until Gary showed that to me on Wednesday afternoon. I get it; this is very important legally, but I never knew it was there. I guess I thought the data for the LOAD tab was simply transferred to those cells when I input it via ‘arrive shipper’, ‘depart shipper’ and the other designations. I did not know that a separate entry was required in order for me to be in compliance!

When (if?) any veterans read this and are able to control their laughter at yet another rookie mistake made by this FNG I’ll gladly read and learn from your responses. Until then I’m think I’m gonna head east to Two Walnuts, get a good night’s sleep and climb up in a tree and see if any deer wander by in the morning....

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

Tonight’s entry is being created while in the cab of a 2020 International LT at a TA truck stop near Hebron, Ohio. How I got here is a story unto itself (I hope I don’t run out of space in its telling).

I awoke a little before 9 this morning after a full night of watching election returns (I signed off shortly after 2:30 a.m.) to find a text message on my phone from Kyle Ritchie, the recruiter for Home Run. I was notified that I had been reassigned to Gary Ellis, another trainer, while Keith was quarantining/isolating due to a positive test for Covid 19. I immediately called Gary and after a brief ‘who/what/when/where/why’ concerning our respective lives (guys can do that, it’s in our DNA) I was directed to meet him at the Mother Ship/yard at noon.

I did not worry at all about packing as I had handled that Sunday afternoon. All I needed to do was throw my duffle bag in the truck and grab a little bit of food, take a shower and shave and head north to Xenia. I arrived right on time and Gary soon pulled up.

After grabbing the remainder of my gear from Truck #607 and stowing my stuff in the rear of Gary’s rig we were off to deliver a load of lumber to Piqua and then to Monroe to pick up a load from Decevninck, a manufacturer of plastic articles used in the production of windows. The sheets of plastic will be delivered tomorrow morning to Strausburg (sp). I have made this trip before as it was the first run during my training with Keith.

I look forward to my time with Gary as he has 20 years in the industry and has already shared a lot of new tricks to the trade. I’m learning how to ‘short strap’ when securing loads to our flatbed and my knowledge of the Qualcomm has been expanded.

More to come tomorrow night when we return to Greene county and I travel back to the 513. It’s about time for lights out. Our ‘clock’ becomes active at 7:00 a.m. and we want to be on the road shortly afterwards

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

Good news as I received an email advising that I’m Covid negative. I notified Corporate and quickly received a response that I’ll be getting a call on Wednesday (tomorrow) informing me as to my new trainer since Keith is on the bench for a couple of weeks.

More to come. For now I’ll stay on my couch and continue to watch election results...

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Expert opinion needed ref Covid 19 subject

Good, no, great advice from all of you. Thanks!

Rob: Yes, fortunately my wife and I are capable of handling a couple of weeks without my training pay and the idea of tugging on the apron strings (metaphorically, of course) of Mother in Xenia is not the type of impression I want to make so soon into my employment with Home Run.

Kearsey: My choice of words (get what’s mine) was inappropriate, you are correct. I should have phrased it better and a bit softer, I agree. I will use your suggestion if circumstances proceed to that point.

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

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Expert opinion needed ref Covid 19 subject

I am attaching (I hope) a link regarding payment for work missed due to quarantining due to Covid 19 issues. I am not currently ill, but was notified by my trainer that he had tested positive (‘Rapid Test’ I believe) on Friday after we returned to ‘The Mother Ship’. I took a test on Saturday and am now waiting for the results (2 - 5 business days). I have been directed by the recruiter/de facto HR Manager, via text message, to stay home until I have the results and to then advise Management.

I don’t want to rock the boat as I am a trainee, but I do want what is mine based upon the government’s rulings. Can somebody, anybody, advise me as to whether we as truckers are eligible for the benefits set forth in this link? I’ll hang up and read any/all responses and act accordingly.

Thank you

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-employee-paid-leave

Cincybeerhawk

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

I may have just walked by the truck that picked up your load that you'd left in Xenia. It's a Home Run truck with tarps that like could very well be drywall. I'm at the Loves in Lodi, Ohio.

I hope not. If the driver went through Lodi on the way to Perrysburg he/she went way out of the way since the destination is over by Toledo and Lodi is in Medina County.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

Covid! My trainer sent me a text Friday evening that he tested positive for Covid. He has no idea where or how he contracted it. Upon receiving this notification, I immediately scheduled myself for a test at a nearby drive-through pharmacy where the results will be made available to me within a couple of days. I have texted and phoned Corporate and am awaiting directions on how to behave (professionally, that is) concerning this unwanted and unexpected roadblock/detour in my training.

Selfishly, I am looking at this from a personal viewpoint as this could push back my the completion of my training as much as two weeks and delay my assignment to a tractor until mid-November. All sorts of other things will be impacted, too: training pay, ‘stay on’ bonuses, and credit toward days worked until I am eligible for insurance are tops on my list.

Professionally, Home Run will need to implement a plan in order to get our load of drywall from Xenia to Perrysburg, Ohio in time to meet our 11:00 a.m. Monday appointment.

As ‘things’ settle into place I will update this diary.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

It’s Sunday around noon at the end of Week Three/beginning of Week Four during my training cycle with Home Run, Inc., and I’m constructing this entry from the living room of your home in the 513. The morning is full of sun, but windy. This is a welcome change (the sun, that is) from the nearly non-stop rain we encountered last week.

Wednesday I had my first experience with hauling drywall when we moved a load from the manufacturing plant operated by Continental in Silver Grove, Kentucky (my brethren w/TMC are probably well acquainted with this setting as over 90% of the loads coming out of there do so behind their black tractors) to a Lowe’s store slightly north of Lima, Ohio. Pulling the wall board wasn’t a lot different than pulling a ‘Heinz 57’ shipment from a Lowe’s distribution center with the exception that all of the product must be tarped for protection from the elements and edge protectors are mandatory. The climb up the steep hill from Silver Grove to US 27 near Northern Kentucky University allowed me to practice my downshifting. At times our speed was down to 35 mph on a road set for 50. Yes, I had my four-way flashers activated for safety. I did not stall the truck and succeeded in completing the ascent without grinding the gears or lugging the engine, so I counted this as a victory.

We spent the night in yet another Lowe’s parking lot because we had an 8:00 a.m. appointment on Thursday. Shortly after our 11:00 p.m. arrival Wednesday night, rain began again and it was falling straight down when we awoke in the morning. The manager at Lowe’s was reluctant to accept our shipment during the precipitation so we skillfully employed our dispatcher to accelerate the process (Teddy Roosevelt once said, “walk softly and carry a big stick”, so we escalated the situation to our people back at the Mother Ship ). Finally, around 11, with rain still falling, we received word that we were to be unloaded as our drywall had been specifically ordered for a project and was needed by the customer no later than Friday morning when the store opened. This was the fastest unload I’ve ever been a part of as both Keith and I, as well as five Lowe’s associates, hustled the drywall off our truck to a relatively dry location in front of the store.

After completing our ‘Empty Call’ we were off to Bluffton to visit another quarry where we picked up 14 skids of rock for a landscaper in Beavercreek, a suburb of Dayton. I enjoyed the trip into the quarry here almost as much as our drive into Reed’s in Bloomington on Monday. I quickly learned that there is nothing to fear about entering a quarry as long as I drove slowly and used the fundamentals I learned in school. There is very little chance of getting stuck, because (a) we were not the first semi to ever enter the area, therefore the roadways had the proper turning radius and (b) the paths were developed to support the 80,000 of a semi. We headed south down I75, then east on US 35 to our exit and again were unloaded in a downpour.

Next, we were off to the Lowe’s DC in Washington Courthouse for a load bound for Lawrenceburg, Indiana and a 4:00 a.m. (!!!) appointment on Friday. The process at Lowe’s is becoming second nature to me as I develop ‘muscle memory’ as it relates to the process at this location. We announced our presence, dropped our tarps and bungee cords, parked our empty trailer (I’m getting better), located and connected to our full trailer, secured the product and fastened down the tarp, then drove and parked with about 10 minutes remaining on our clock.

I’ve developed a system for handling the Lowe’s loads. I work from the front of the trailer to the back: I use the Qualcomm for the ‘arrive shipper’ notification before I exit the cab. Next, I connect the electrical line, followed by the two airlines from the tractor to the trailer. Third, I completely raise the landing gear (after ensuring that we don’t have any ‘gap’ between the apron of the trailer and the fifth wheel of the tractor). We throw the existing straps from the trailer over the untarped (is that even a word?) portion of the load and add any two-inch straps we believe are necessary. Once that portion of the load is properly cinched down we work on the front portion of the load (this product is usually covered with Home Run tarps by the loaders from Lowe’s). Often we throw additional straps over the red tarps before we use many, many bungee cords to secure it to the trailer. Our final check is a ‘tug test’ (trailer brake on, tractor brake off) in first gear before we move from our parking spot. Our last action is a stop at the guard check in order to receive our bill of lading for the upcoming stop. Finally, I use the Qualcomm for a ‘Depart Shipper’ notification and we’re off!

After the 4:00 a.m. (we were up at 3 to unstrap and untarp) appointment, we went back to sleep for a couple of hours before meeting a football officiating friend of mine for breakfast at the Waffle House near the entrance to I275. Then it was off to a Continental for another shipment of drywall. Unfortunately, the original load assigned to us was not scheduled to be ready until 4:00 p.m., therefore we contacted our dispatcher and were switched to a trailer already prepared for shipment. After securing the tarps, we drove up the hill to Highland Heights, then back into Ohio (skirting the edge of downtown Cincinnati) and back to Xenia where the load sits.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

CRST - From Bus Ticket Email to Fully Employed(Hopefully)

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! That’s the same way to learn the pre-trip. Break each area of the truck down into smaller portions.

In my state (Ohio) there are four ‘action’ parts of the engine compartment: alternator, water pump, air compressor, and power steering pump. Three (in most cases) are gear driven and one is belt driven. There are four sections: brakes, tires, steering, and suspension. Each have a specific number of parts. Brakes, tires, and suspension repeat themselves (with minor variations) over the steer axle, the drive axle(s) and the trailer axles.

The coupling system ‘tells’ a story involving the apron, the king pin, the locking jaws, the platform, the mounting bolts, the truck frame, and the skid plate. Learn the story.

The landing gear has its story as does the tandem system.

Perhaps most important of all is the in-cab and the air loss test. Practice this until you can do it backwards and forwards and be prepared and be ready to react when something unexpected happens during your test (what are you gonna do if the alarm buzzer begins sounding while you have your foot on the service brake for one minute as you test the system to ensure that you do not lose anymore than 4 psi?).

It can seem overwhelming, but once you break each component down, it will work. Be sure to practice it ‘out loud’ since you’ll be conducting the pre-trip verbally to the examiner. If you don’t have a lot of experience speaking publicly this can be a roadblock that will need to be overcome.

Posted:  6 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

Home Run, Inc.

So, here I sit, another day closer to completing my training with Home Run and another day closer to earning a truck and a position on staff as a flatbed driver. I’m ****ed about the wallet thing, but hopefully our destination tomorrow will allow us to drive by the yard in order for me to secure my license. I have already developed a protocol so that I will not make that mistake again.

We completed our ‘Woody’ up north. I developed the term in honor of Woody Hayes. We, like WWH, traveled north, took care of business and returned to Ohio without spending any money north of the border. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, I’ll relate it as best I can. For those of you from the state up north you may stop reading and return to studying for your upcoming CDP exams (I hope you pass this time).

I believe the incident occurred sometime in the early 70’s when Woody, accompanied by an assistant coach (I think it was Lou Holtz or Earle Bruce — if someone can set me straight I’d be appreciative), was recruiting in Michigan. Woody was always the passenger, and whatever assistant was on the trip was always the driver. The assistant noticed that the car was low on gas and suggested to Woody that they pull over and fuel up. Woody directed the assistant to continue south. As the fuel level continued to dwindle the assistant became more and more concerned with each passing of an available exit ramp. Again, he advised Woody of the need for gas and again Woody told the the coach to maintain course. With the needle almost pegged on ‘E’’ the nervous assistant asked a third time for permission to stop. Woody looked at his subordinate and told him that he would push the car to the Ohio line before he would spend any money up north.

For those of you who are familiar with Woody Hayes lore you will notice that I edited the language the coach used. I did this on purpose as this is a family website. Further, I don’t want to get banned from posting.

Good night, now.

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