Profile For Brian K.

Brian K.'s Info

  • Location:
    FL

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 9 months ago

Brian K.'s Bio

My Name is Brian. bfking11@outlook.com, live in FL, Trying to get back into driving, Drove ~1.5+ or more million miles between 77 and 95, current CDL with XTP, current DOT physical, current TWIC card, valid passport, No recent experience in past 20+ years (My hurdle to get over to get employed), Would like to flatbed but anything to get recent OTR experience, If anyone knows a company that might be willing to give me an opportunity please drop an email. Thanks. Brian

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Posted:  2 years, 4 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Hi ya all,

It's been just a little over a year since I started at Stevens Transport. Let me tell you what I think about this company. They have very good equipment. If there is a problem with the truck or trailer, they will fix it right away. They either will send you to a truck stop to do the work or send someone out to you if it cannot be safely driven or pulled, no questions asked. I did not have to wait on loads and was kept as busy as I wanted. Sometimes you had to wait on meat loads but all companies pulling out of the meat patch, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, and a few other places all were in the boat. They do micromanage their drivers more than I cared for, what routes to take, where how much fuel to buy etc.... But with as many new and inexperience drivers you would need to keep a close eye on them.

If you are an experienced driver with many years under your belt, this might not be the place for you. If you a beginner, it's a good place to get a start in the industry. If you read some of my other previous comments you know I have drove truck for over 15 or more years and came back after a thirty-year break. I took me a while to get used to Stevens and vise versa. Once they realized they did not have to baby sit me I pretty much did my own thing, about six months.

The money was not the greatest but I enjoyed driving the country. Unfortunately, my son recently became ill and I left Stevens to say home and help take care of him. If things work out and he feels better in a few months I may look for something more regional so I can be home more often.

That's about it. I had a good year and hopefully will get back out there soon.

PS: The idea of buying a truck is a no go. They have gone way out of wack with pricing.

Brian

Posted:  2 years, 12 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Hi ya all, I'm back.

I want to close out this diary by saying thanks to the all you who been reading my many post and a special thanks for those who replied. Like Old School said, I am a grown man and kind of set in my ways but your comments and support kept me on track and truly help me reach my goal.

So where am I now, in Houston at the Flying J waiting for daylight to take my truck to the KW shop for repairs. Don't laugh or think I still having issues on the road because for the four months I been solo this electrical issue is the only real problem I've been having. Besides this the only other issue I had was a brake chamber replacement. So it been a pretty good four months. I been in nearly every state except the north west ones. Google tracks my phone and it says I been around the earth 1.9 times. I haven't looked up how far that is but sound like a lot of miles, lol.

Anyways, I really enjoy the driving. I quickly learned how to edit the entries in my qualcomm to optimize the number of hours I can drive etc.... I even edit the edits. Real expert now, doing splits and edits; not sure what DOT will say about that but I haven't been checked yet and barely seen an open scale house. Don't get me wrong, I been across a few but mostly if open I get the green light on my easy pass, think that what its called. Been very fortunate in that way. Let's hope it continues .

I am still thinking I will get six month worth of experience here, working on month five now, and then start looking for a company that runs into South Florida, not just Orlando area but Miami/Fort Lauderdale. Steven has a freight to Orlando and loads out of Lakeland at the coke plant but nothing much farther south that. They have produce loads going down there but I think teams get them over solo drivers. There maybe a reason for that. This last time I was out for 5 weeks before going home. I think they felt sorry for me and allow me to deadhead from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale and back to Lakeland and paid for the parking for 4 days. Not to shabby though.

Old School, if your reading this, used truck prices have sky rocketed. What I was looking at in Nov & Dec last year, in the 60 to 80 grand range are now over 100 grand. And there are very few to choose from, good ones anyway. I may just look for a good company in South Florida that has decent trucks and stay a company driver. But how I still miss a manual transmission. I shift the automatics by clicking a button but it just not the same.

If you post comment I will get a notice in my email and would love to read anything you have to say. But this will be my last post in this section. Maybe I will search around the site and find a more appropriate place to blog my exploits.

But for now, adios my friends. Stay safe, healthy, and happy trails!!

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

I hear ya Old School.

It's kind of been a wish of mine as far back as pre-2000 but could not afford one back then.

Later, a job change, marriage and a kid and old age came along. If I don't do it soon I never will. This is not to say I actually going to buy one but will evaluate after a few months solo. However, I am digressing from what this blog is supposed to be about, CDL Training Diaries.

I got through all the safely, backing, and road testing. All good on first try. Really thought I screwed up the road test but super surprised when I was told later on in the day, no issues with the driving test. So, I am sitting in the Stevens driver's lounge waiting on a truck. One should be ready today, if not by tomorrow for sure. I been here since Jan 10th and ready to get a load home to Florida. First time home they allow 7 day off. The recruiter I spoke with said I would be in a truck in less than two weeks. I learn a lesson there, not to believe everything your told. It's been three months and my wife has been patiently waiting for me to come home for a few days. I miss my wife and kid as well.

I just would like to say for those who are starting from scratch, permit, training, road testing for CDL, and road experience, Stevens is really a good place to start. Every week there is at least 20 to 30 kids, I call them kids, trying to fulfill a dream or get a job to support themselves or family. Some of the bull crap you go through will weed out those who are not willing to make the sacrifice. If they cannot make through Stevens’s training, it's not hard, they will not make it on the road. It is a training company and you do have to watch a lot of videos, answer questions after the videos along with a week of workshops before going on the road. If you complete the 240 hour you will go through another three-day grad orientation. Like I said above, it took me three months and I trained right along with those students who came here without a permit. Many have been here as long as I or longer.

I will post again when I get home, Hopefully next week sometime. The CDL Training Diary is about over. I accomplished what I wanted to and for those who are just starting out or thinking about driving the big trucks,

Persistence and encouragement from the Trucking Truth people will get you to your goal.

See you all later, Brian

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Things are looking up,

I am finally back in Dallas. Like I assumed, after Denver we went to Kansas and picked up a meat load delivering to a place near Sacramento CA and reloaded close by for Denton Texas. I racked up a good amount of driving time, 262 hours, well over my 240 requirement. In the morning I go to classes for two and a half days and if all goes well I will be assigned a truck and headed out solo.

You can stop reading here, the rest is just my thoughts. Continue if you like.

The second trainer was much different than the first. It's amazing, after talking to some of the others who just finished their 240 hours on the road, each trainee's story about their trainer was very different. Mostly the way they did trip planning, driving time etc.... My first trainer was very detailed in creating a trip plan but the second was minimalist. But either way, I never received any comments back on the qualcomm. However, the trip plan was rarely followed, too many variables along the way. I guess the office just wants to ensure you know where you were going and you know how to get there.

I remember many updates ago I mentioned I have a plan and that I would disclose this plan when the time is right. I feel now is as good of a time as any. My plan is to purchase my own truck. Many people out there have the same idea but because I have worked a life time and have put a side money for this purpose, I am fortunate enough to pay cash for a fairly new tractor with money left over for repairs, insurance, and plates. I want to drive debt free, haul to areas I want, and go home when I feel like it and take as much time off as I want. I would also like to lease to company such as Landstar, that has a loading board where you pick your loads and can run as little or as much as you want. I found a few companies that were similar to Landstar and required only six months of otr experience, Landstar requires a year.

So my plan came to a halt when no one would hire me because of no recent experience. Even when I mentioned I would buy a truck and lease it to them, the result was the same, sorry no recent experience. Upset that my past experience was stale and no longer taken into consideration, I vowed to myself I would find a way to get back on the road. At 67 years of age I didn't know how hard or easy it would be but by the end of the week If all goes well I will accomplished that goal. Now, just need to get some experience and my plan will be back on track. I must say, the experience using a electronic log was valuable along with getting familiar with the roads again. More construction out there than I thought and where there was empty fields or nothing at all, there are new bridges, highways, and buildings. You can definitely see a difference in the landscape from the 70's, 80's, and early 90's when I was driving otr to today's landscape. I can also feel a difference in attitude around the truck stops. Years ago it was a little more wild west but the people seemed more friendlier then. Don't know how to exactly explain it but there are subtle differences. Between the then and now, I prefer the then but still enjoy driving. BTW, the truck plan is currently under review and not necessary written in stone. Will have to revaluate at the six month point.

That's it for now. The next update will be soon after I pull out of the yard solo, hopefully this coming week. After that this blog will probably come to end or at least the updates will much farther apart.

Thank you all for the advice and continued support. I might not have made it this far if it had not been for you helpfully comments.

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Hi Scott,

I did 3 weeks of training on the Stevens yard and 240 hrs of otr with a trainer, about 6 weeks but we had 5 breakdowns. If you read my postings you know what I went through. They payed me only while getting my 240 hrs. The pay was $497.00 per week after taxes, payed on Friday. So about $3000.00 by the time I am issued a truck. Then starting pay of .40 cents a mile driving solo. I should start my solo driving later this coming week. I was concerned about riding with someone for that many hours but time went by faster than I thought. Don't get me wrong, there were time I almost went home but I stuck it out and looking back i have to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. So if you really want to drive, I say go for it!

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

I don't know, think trouble follows me around,

Hi Brian here with more trials and tribulations,

Well, I really hate to go on about these types of adventures but it's getting where I expect something to go wrong on every trip. I know things happen but here is the latest. I get pickup by the new trainer in Dallas headed to Houston to swap trailers with a guy and make a delivery to Laredo by 9 am on Friday. It's about 6:30 pm right now. I start driving right out of Dallas. We swap trailers and continue to Laredo; I am still driving. It's getting late and they don't like trainee's driving after 3 am so we swap drivers and continue. As I mention before, I need 44 hours to complete my driver trainee hours of 240, getting closer now. On the way to Laredo the Driver is noticing the air pressure dropping a little but hovering around 100 psi and believes there must be an air leak somewhere. It's almost 9 am by this time but the trainer suggest we better stop at the TA a few miles outside of Laredo and get it checked. The leak is getting worse. We have to pull over multiple time on the off ramp and buildup pressure to get to the TA. Lots of truck traffic and waiting for the green light etc...

TA mechanic diagnoses the problem and replaces an airbag on the tractor. There is a 3 to 4 hour wait for the Stevens office to approve the repair and another hour or so to do the work. Don't know where all the time went but we entered the shop at approximately 10 am and left around 4:30 pm. We got to our delivery a few minutes after 5 pm. We were supposed to drop the trailer but the security guard said no, come back on Monday. Believe it or not, please do, the air leak was not fix and we were still pulling over when driving in traffic. So, we go back to the TA, trailer and all. We found a spot out of the way and I asked him if we could do a few air tests of our own. We turned off the refer unit for a few minutes and disconnect the airlines to the trailer, built up full air pressure and turn off the truck leaving the brakes off. After crawling around under the truck, I could hear air leaking out around one of the brake chambers. Running my hands over the chamber I could also feel the air coming out as well. That must be the problem. Later that night the TA mechanic replaced the brake chamber and next morning we drop the trailer at the Stevens yard in Laredo, picked up a loaded trailer going to Fort Worth and we were off again or at least I thought we were? By the way, the brake chamber was the problem and the air pressure is back to where it should be, leak fixed.

I am driving again and as we are going through San Antonio, traffic is extremely heavy, a lot of stop and go and now the low fuel light come on. We have about 60 miles or so to the designated fuel stop provided by Stevens in the pre-trip. The trainer says no worries, we can make there with no problem, and we did. Ok it felt great to pulled into the fuel island. Don't stop reading now, lol. I have to laugh or I might just get too upset. It was a new place neither of us every been to. Think it was called "Rowdies" of something like that. Our fuel card worked somewhat but would not accept the truck's mileage. As soon as I put the mileage in it would come back saying incorrect mileage and cancelled the purchased. Tried at the fuel desk as well. We tried calling Steven but after a half an hour we decide to go to the Flying J just 7 mile down the road. Card always works there. I pull out of the fuel island and I get about 300 yards towards the exit and the trucks quits. It runs out of fuel. The good thing is we were still in the truck stop. We finally get Stevens on the phone about 45 minutes to an hour and says a service truck will be there to assist in about 90 minutes.

I need to end this blog, it getting too long but we get up and running, the fuel card is working again, and I am in Fort Worth. It’s about 10 am Sunday morning and waiting to be dispatched. Wonder what the next trip is going to be like. I'm not really upset but wondering when I will have an uneventful trip. The trainer is laid back and takes things in stride so no tension which makes the downtime easy to managed.

**New flash, Pre-Trip just came in. Going to Denver but load will not be ready until 3 am. Oh man, going to have to sit here all day and night. Getting a little frustrated now. Trainer thinks we will be headed to California after Denver and then hopefully back to Dallas. The round trip should give me all my trainee hours and I'll be done. So, I will grin and bear it knowing the end may be near, provided we don't break down. lol

That's it, I hope the next update I will have completed my hours and, on my way to solo driving in my own truck.

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Thanks for the words of wisdom,

Just got called a few minutes ago to meet another trainer in 3 hours. Getting my stuff together. Kind of excited again. I will post again when I get my last 44 hours of driver trainee in.

Your comments above are spot on. I am letting others influence me negatively. I will try to keep that in mind,

Off to meet the trainer,

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Well I am back and a little more discouraged,

I am trying to take all of yours advice and hang in there but there has been more disappointing developments since my last post. My trainer decided to call it quits. We were in Florida near the drivers home waiting to unload. It took about 4 to 5 hours to get unloaded, two or more hours just to get a door to back into. Anyways, just as they were getting the last few pallets off the trailer he received a quallcomm message saying he was being put on hold for any more loads until the truck's level 2 maintenance was completed. His frustration level was already high and this did not help matter at all. So we went to the nearest truck stop, a Love's just a few miles down the road and called Stevens for to get the level 2 setup. Well turns out they don't use Love's maintenance shops, at least not this one. Stevens told him to go to the TA about 50 miles down the road. Tension is growing higher but we go to the TA. Well it was getting late when we got there and he spoke to the shop and it would be the next morning or so before they could do the required maintenance. He wasn't far from home so his wife picked him up he spent the night at there. I stayed in the truck. When he arrived back at the truck stop the next morning he told me between he and his wife he decided to call it quits. He clean his stuff out of the truck and put it in his wife's car. Then, he got the truck serviced, spoked to his DM, and we were assigned a load to Waco. The load was schedule to delivered on Monday at 5 pm. We arrived in Dallas at 11 am Sunday. He was done. We dropped the truck and trailer on the yard. On the way to Dallas he had already booked a room and a flight back to Florida leaving Monday morning. I grabbed my stuff and I headed to the companies local hotel, the Luna and here I have been sitting since I Sunday afternoon. I guess you could say Monday since I met with the driver planner Monday morning. They did offer me a new trainer but I need to fly somewhere to met up with him. I turn it down and said I would wait for someone who was in the yard. I too am frustrated and thought a day or two of rest would be a good thing but it's going on 4 days now and if I don't get a trainer today or tomorrow I am not sure what I going to do. The sitting around has given me time to wonder if is all worth it. Yesterday was our 20 year anniversary and here I am sitting in a hotel. My wife is very understanding and says what ever I decide is ok by her. It's been almost 12 weeks since I been home. I need 44 more hours to complete my 240 hours of trainee driving time. Then 2 days of orientation and a final road test by Stevens. If I get through it all I can be a solo driver in about two weeks providing I pass grad orientation. That will make my training 3 months or longer, Jan 9th to April 1 or so and still would need to be dispatched a load to Florida to go home. Funny thing, my current roommate got his 240 hours but failed his Stevens road test. Said his bumper was just over the white line at a cross walk and in the city did not maintain a 6 second following distance at all times. Pretty hard to do in city traffic. He was assigned 90 more hours with a trainer. That definitely would be the end of Stevens for me. No more hours on the road as a trainee. My trainer reported on my trainee's card all aspects of my driving was excellent, night, rain, winter, wind etc... My backing up was excellent. If you read all my past post this isn't my first time out here. I have a million and a half mile under my belt but all pre-2000. The quallcomm and paper work is all new to me but I did pick that stuff up pretty well, The way we did the trip planning was odd though. What we sent in we barely ever followed. But that seemed to be the norm according to the trainer.

Regardless, If you interested I will post again in a week or so and let you all know what happen to me. Your opinions and comment help and quite often provide insight when times get gloomy. Thanks for that.

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Thanks guys,

I think I will take both of your advice. Almost all the items pack rat states I already adhere to, kinda of the way we did thing back in the day. And, Old School, I know better but being in truck with a trainer telling you things like I mentioned previously kind of brain washes you, if you know what I mean.

Again, thanks for the advice,

Brian

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Off to Stevens Transport on Monday the 10th, after 20+ years off the road

Hi all, I back with an update,

In the last couple of post I mentioned I ran over some road debris which caused some damaged, then a few days later blew two tires on the trailer, that's old news. Well I been enjoying the driving but after we got the trailer tires replaced we headed to pickup our load Iowa. It's been very cold as I noted and when we backed up to the dock to get the loaded the refer unit would not start. Whoo, what next. The trainer thought the battery was dead and a jump start would get it started. So while we waited for a service truck to come jump start the unit, the trailer was being loaded. Well, it never started and the load need to be unloaded and off to Sioux City to Thermo King for repairs. We got repaired and the next morning reloaded. After unloading in Fresno we got a load of fruit going to Chicago. Had to wait 4 or 5 hours to load but time went by pretty fast. A short time before getting to our destination and error message shows up on the refer. The temperature was holding fine. The error code said if the unit was running and holding temperature a repair can be done after delivery. So that's what we did. After unloading back to Thermo King again. Well, I am getting a fair amount of experience on what to do when things go wrong. The repair went quite quickly and back on the road again. This time to Rochelle to pick up some frozen food going to Maryland. I thought our trouble would be over for a while but I was wrong.

Come on guys, is this normal?, gees I hope not.

So we are headed to Maryland and the coolant level light comes on. We pull into a rest area to check it out and yep, a line to the APU is leaking and coolant level is low. So we sit and wait for road service again. After a couple of hours the service vehicle arrives. We close the values to the APU and switch the APU off and the service guy fills the reservoir back up to the proper level. Of course, this is only good enough to get us to our delivery. After unloading we went to another Thermo King in MD and this time it took all day to get it fix. I don't know if I want to go back to trucking after all this. But we get moving again and picked up our load in VA going to Winter Haven, FL. Trainer is happy, he is from Tampa and I am happy because the Trainer is happy and in a better mood. I am dealing with a lot here as a trainee, the driving is easy. Living in a small bunk with the trainer being frustrated because of the breakdowns etc.... I am trying to keep things lite and not add to his frustration. Right now we are in SC because as a trainee the truck can't run for more that 17 hours a day, no matter who is driving. So around 1 pm, I will drive the rest of the way to Winter Haven without issue I hope. If anything goes wrong, I may rent a car and go home. I live in Fl as well, Fort Lauderdale. No, I will stick it out at least to the end of the 240 hours.

I am more than half way through my 240 hrs required driving hours and can't wait to complete the last 80 or so hours. I still want to run solo but not sure Stevens is the place for me anymore. I will have my refresher course completed and the 240 hours of driving which equal to about 3 weeks of training at the Stevens yard and 6 weeks on the road. If I don't take the solo job with Stevens I am wonder if I can find a company in Florida that would hire me. I mention this because over the course of time the trainer, who is from Tampa, says Stevens will not get me home after 3 week out. He said it will be more like 5 or 6 weeks before I would see a load to Florida. If he is correct then I will need to find something that will get me home after at least 3 weeks. I am wondering if 9 weeks, training and driving and my old past history otr will be enough to get something in FL more to what I am looking for?? I wouldn't mind being out 3 weeks but 5 or 6 is a bit much.

Well, not much else to tell. So I will end here for the day and update again in a week or so. Maybe I will be done my 240 by then, hope so.

Brian

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