A Week In The Life Of ... ErrolV Driving GP Dedicated

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Errol V.'s Comment
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I've been driving for Swift for about 1 year now. A couple months ago I got hooked into the Georgia Pacific dedicated group. My area is Georgia Pacific business basically from Oklahoma - Texas east to the Carolinas and Florida. I want to put down a Trucking Truth Diary of a typical week of my GP dedicated route and see where it goes.

Monday. 453 miles, 9 hr driving, 11 hr total on duty. One pick-up.

St Petersburg, FL (start) - Palakta, FL (Pick up) - Ashburn, GA (stop)

I started this week in St Petersburg, FL. I had made a delivery to a Walmart DC close by and Saturday I started my 34 hour break.

Monday I had a delivery in Palatka, FL, about 180 miles from St Pete, with a 1000-1200 window. I figured an average speed of 50 MPH so 180/50= 3.6. Add a half an hour for pre trip, so the show started at 7 a.m.   The GPS brought me through Ocala, and then through Ocala National Forest. The forest was a beautiful ride on 2-lane highway, mostly trees of course. I got to the GP plant just after 10 a.m. I had never been here before so at one point I went down the wrong road in the plant, found a turn around, and went on to drop the empty trailer. My loaded trailer was on the other side of the plant so another few minutes at 10 mph.   I pre tripped the trailer and noticed the trailer ABS light was on. I double checked the connection, my air tank is full, and the light was still on. I called Swift On Road office and they said I should go back to the Ocala terminal for the repair. But that was 1 hour / 50 miles in the wrong direction! (I was supposed to head north for Atlanta.)

Drove the 50 miles back to Ocala terminal. (The ABS light was out like it's supposed to be!) Talked to the trailer repair tech, who checked out the light and found nothing wrong! A loss of 2 hours!   So nothing left to do but head north on I-75 and see how far I can get with my remaining 5 hours drive time. On the way up I kept my eye on how much time to my destination in Austell GA (north west of Atlanta.).

I stopped at a truckstop 170 miles short of my goal. I figured 170/55=3 (55 this time because it's almost all interstate). Add 1 hour because I have to go through Atlanta morning traffic = 4 hours drive time. Appointment time is 0900, so I start at 0500. Getting up at 0415 to start my pre trip. This appointment is for a live unload, so I should be maybe just a little bit early but certainly not too late.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

G-Town's Comment
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Like.

The Walmart DC, was it in Lakewood?

Errol V.'s Comment
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Like.

The Walmart DC, was it in Lakewood?

Arcadia, FL, outside of Port Charlotte.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Got up early started my pre trip at about 4:30. Drove up to Atlanta, and forgot I had to get fuel at the Love's in Jackson GA! Traffic was light, so I just pulled over on the interstate to stop for a second. Reset the GPS for Love's and found out I was 15 miles past the stop. Ok, I just lost 45 minutes!

Got back on I 75 heading north to Atlanta. Close to town, the entire freeway had come to a complete stop. I looked on INRIX maps (indicates freeway and traffic conditions). It showed the entire northbound freeway was closed, I guess for an accident. Luckily I had a chance to pull to an off ramp. A quick look on Google Maps, I found a highway that was parallel to the interstate and managed to get past that mess.

Showed up at the Publix DC about half an hour late for a live load. I checked in with the lumper chief, who asked me if I wanted to swap trailers for an empty and leave. Well, duh!

A minor problem here. The Qualcomm expected me to keep the same trailer when I put in the E-call. But I had a different trailer, so the Qualcomm said "Can't drop trailer. Order set as live unload. Contact DM , stay near this location until fixed." A message to my DM and I was on my way for my next pick up, just about 15 miles away.

SBC recycling appointment was for 12 noon. I pulled in at 11 o'clock. I went to the office, gave them the BL number, and the lady said "No, we have you scheduled for 4 p.m.! I'll see what the foreman wants to do."

The lady came back and said go back into door 9. And they can take care of you there. (I posted this backing problem as Backing Practice 02 if you want to see what I had to put up with)

After waiting for the load I had 4:20 on my 14 hour clock and 5:30 driving time. The 14 hour clock trumps drive time. I calculated the distance to the truck stop I wanted to get to and it was right at 4:20 travel time. So I took off blazing down the interstate at 62 MPH.

I got to Queen City truck stop in Meridian MS with three minutes to spare! Tomorrow I have about 2-1/2 hours to drive to my destination. My appointment is 10 a.m. so backing up 3 hours (add 1/2 hour for pre-trip, I need to leave by 7. I started my SB at about 6 pm. So plenty of time to relax tonight!

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Errol V.'s Comment
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I forgot the statistics for Tuesday:

Tuesday. 525 miles, 10 hr driving, 12:15 hr total on duty. One delivery, one pick-up, . Ashburn, GA (start) - Austell, GA (Deliver) - Powder Springs, GA (both near Atlanta) (Pick up) - Meridian, MS (stop)

Errol V.'s Comment
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Wednesday

Wednesday. 430 miles, 8 hr driving, 10-1/2 hr total on duty. One delivery, One pick-up.

Meridian, MS (start) - Monticello, MS (Drop+Pick up) - Dodge City, AL (stop)

My delivery appointment was for 10 o'clock and I was only 2 hours drive away. So I had nothing really to do in the morning until pre trip at 8.

Drove from Meridian to Monticello, got to delivery and there was no line! A good sign. After the live unload, I took the trailer to the drop yard, checked in the office for the pickup, and swapped trailers.

The whole unload, drop, and pick up took about 2 hours, so I was on the road to Huntsville AL, by 12:30. My Petro fuel stop (Dodge City) is close to Huntsville, so I figured I could make it with my drive time, and call it a day there.

I am now just over 1 hour away from my destination. The problem now is my appointment is 12 noon for live unload you need to respect live unload appointments so there's really nothing for me to do until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, about 14 hours break this time.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Thursday. 323 miles, 6 hr driving, 9 hr total on duty. One pick-up, one delivery.

Dodge City, AL (start) - Huntsville, AL (Pick up) - Pennington, AL (stop)

Since my delivery appointment is noon, and it's only about 70 miles from where I'm spending the night, I have all morning to do nothing! Also I will be delivering this load at about 1800 in Pennington AL.

Arrive plenty early at 1140. There is one truck in the only dock, another truck is waiting. I then am truck number 3. I ask another driver, it turns out you just sit and wait your turn. This could be 2-3 hours!

Well, almost two hours wait. I back into the dock at 1330. One hour later the red light goes on. Waiting for an hour before anything happens. A guy comes out for the bills and says "I'll get to you as soon as I can!"

Ok, I got to the dock at 1330, and they finally let me go at 1600 - that's a two and a half hour wait before I could leave.

Drove to Pennington AL for the delivery, got there at almost 1900. I made the drop in the drop yard and then was told to get a particular empty trailer. I drove all over before I could find it in you might say a "lost corner" of the lot.

I have less than one hour on my 14 hour clock, & I am supposed to be 60 miles away in 20 minutes to make a pick up tonight. Sorry, we do this tomorrow. I sent in a Macro 22 running late to let the office know.

Code Red NV's Comment
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Thanks for posting these, seeing the day to day workings of being a driver really helps.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Friday. 528 miles, 10:30 hr driving, 12:54 hr total on duty. One pickup, One drop/pickup, head for home.

Pennington, AL (start) - Meridian, MS (Drop) - Crossett, AR (Drop/Pick up) Memphis, TN (Home)

Spent the night (my 10 hours) in the Pennington drop yard. Because of the schedule I could not start my day until 0815. So, after my pre trip, I took off for the pickup place in Meridian MS.

The Meridian stop was pretty straight forward: drop yard to drop my delivery and pick up an empty. Half an hour. On to the GP plant in Crossett, AR, about 4-1/2 hours away.

Interstate , turn off in Laurel, MS, to four lane US highway, then finally 20 miles on 2 lanes. I felt good at GP Crossett: people arriving with empties are required to back into a clean out/ inspection station. There were 6 trucks in line. But I had a delivery, so I went directly to the driver's window, turned in my bills, and got my pick up.

The long one to start my next week: 719 miles from Crossett (SE Arkansas) to Franklin, OH (outside Cincinnati). But my job now is to get back to Memphis before my time runs out. 215 miles in four +/- hours is cutting it close. Solid driving gets me there with 15 minutes to spare.

Home for the weekend, and head for Ohio Monday morning!

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Steve_HBG's Comment
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719 miles from Crossett (SE Arkansas) to Franklin, OH

Safe Travels, Errol!

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