Schneider Orientation - Charlotte, NC

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Steve L.'s Comment
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Day 7-12:

Just finished my week driving with my TE and it was a great week. I drove from Monday through Friday and racked up around 1500 miles.

Thomas was my TE for the week and he runs a dedicated route. This allowed him to get home on weekends and occasionaly during the week. Thomas was a former instructor for Schneider, so I not only had an experienced driver to mentor me, but a seasoned instructor who could help me out with my weaknesses.

Monday we picked up a load of paper and delivered it to Atlanta. This was a great learning experience on several fronts. First, paper is heavy and the truck I drove that day weighed around 78,000 pounds. After learning to drive with empty trailers, it was definitely different driving with all that weight especially going down hills. 78,000 pounds will really push the truck down the hill and I found myself hanging on as the truck sped up to 70 to 75 mph going down hill. Even though Schneider governs their trucks at 60 mph, when going down the hills the truck can exceed that speed.

The second fun part was driving through Atlanta traffic. It's bad enough if you're driving a car, but imagine driving in 5 lanes of rush hour traffic with a semi, it's definitely stressful. However, over time I learned to relax and definitely improved my shifting skills. I must have shifted a 100 times in heavy traffic, a great learning experience.

Another eye opening experience was backing. While they schools do their best to prepare you for backing a semi, the real world is different. One place we went I had to let Thomas back in while I watched. You have never seen so many hair pin curves in your life. Another drop off point was so crowded with moving trucks I was surprised their wasn't an accident. However, throughout the week I took my turn backing into these challenging spaces. While not an expert by any means, I definitely got better as the week went on. And while loading docs were challenging, some truck stops were just as chaotic. One thing I learned from this week is if I can park at a Walmart, I'll do that before I'll park at a truck stop. Just less congested and a lot more quiet.

The first night we parked at a Walmart near where my TE lived. So I got to spend my first night in a truck by myself. So how was it? Well, I enjoyed it. The sleeper was comfortable and I slept pretty well. You do have to get used to different noises such as passing traffic and if when I woke up around 2:00 am in the morning, I had to walk over to Walmart to use their facilities. Another nice thing about parking at Walmart was the ability to shop for food. Instead of eating at the nearby Waffle House, I went to Walmart and picked up a banana and yogurt for breakfast. Also, since we stopped early in the evening, I was able to get an hour walk in walking around the parking lot.

The rest of the week was delivering to locations around Charlotte, North Carolina and another return trip to Atlanta.

The longest day I put in driving was a 10 hour day driving almost 500 miles. I will tell you by the time I was finished with that day I was totally exhausted. However, the great part was I slept like a baby that night. But when I woke up in the morning I was definitely sore...but a good sore.

Along my travels I was able to pick my TE's brain and get advice on life on the road. Since he had been an over-the-road trucker he gave me great advice about what to expect and taught me many things about being a truck driver.

Thomas did ask me as we were neared the end of our week, what I thought about truck driving. I told him I really enjoyed it and was looking forward to getting my own truck.

I started the week nervous I wasn't ready to be on the road with my own truck. However, by the end of the week I was more confident I could handle the road on my own. I still have a lot to learn and I am not an expert by any means, but having a great mentor helped boost my confidence and I fell a lot better about going on the road by myself.

So a great week and I want to definitely thank Thomas for being a great mentor.

This was awesome! Congratulations! I haul lots of those paper loads. The nice thing about 'em is if it's a live load/unload it usually only takes them about 20-30 minutes.

Atlanta and Charlotte are best about 4-5am. And avoid Atlanta in the rain. I don't know why they can't drive in the rain without crashing.

:)

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."

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

ChickieMonster's Comment
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I am going through exactly the same thing this week. First time with a heavy load, in the mountains and a major city. Think Atlanta is bad? Try LA! I just did that tonight and I have to do it again in the morning at rush hour to get to our next appointment.

Terminal Rat ( aka...J's Comment
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ChickieMonster, leaving LA county vs entering should be a piece of cake in the morning by comparison. Most of the commuters are going the opposite direction. I'm assuming you are using the 605 N to the 10 W and possibly the 15 N. If you are leaving early enough you will see what I'm talking about. When you glance at the other side of the fwy and see the endless stream of head and tail lights, you may even feel sorry for the people that have to do this every morning in order to just get to work. I know I do and that's a big part of why I'm leaving... LOL!

JJ

Errol V.'s Comment
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Jj's directions:

I'm assuming you are using the 605 N to the 10 W and possibly the 15 N

Instead of 605 to I-10, maybe 605 to 60 (or all the way up to the 210?). The 10 is too overused. Never go the 91! Bad news 24/7 almost.
rofl-3.gif

But you forgot one assumption: ChickieMonster delivered in SFS, but what is her pickup?

ChickieMonster's Comment
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We have another drop in El Monte. And we don't know where our pick up is yet so I'm not sure how this is going to work...

Errol V.'s Comment
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We have another drop in El Monte. And we don't know where our pick up is yet so I'm not sure how this is going to work...

El Monte is right up the 605, but you or your GPS knew that. But, often the GPS will select the shortest freeway to get out of there. If you're heading east, and GPS lady says take the I-10, consider the 210 a bit north for the traffic situation. (210 is great for less traffic if you're heading north, too.)

I know it's Sunday, if today's your appointment, but that don't mean nuthin' for LA traffic! Monday's only worser.

ChickieMonster's Comment
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I'm so tired I didn't even realize it was Sunday! Ugh...

Errol V.'s Comment
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Yeah, it gets that way, especially with teams, since you don't have a STOP in your day.

Terminal Rat ( aka...J's Comment
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Jj's directions:

double-quotes-start.png

I'm assuming you are using the 605 N to the 10 W and possibly the 15 N

double-quotes-end.png

Instead of 605 to I-10, maybe 605 to 60 (or all the way up to the 210?). The 10 is too overused. Never go the 91! Bad news 24/7 almost.
rofl-3.gif

But you forgot one assumption: ChickieMonster delivered in SFS, but what is her pickup?

You're right I don't / didn't know her pickup. BTW the 91 E is a piece of cake up until the 57 N, anything after that is crazy...LOL!

You really never know, I was mostly just trying to be supportive. ;^)

IMHO the 60 E is probably the best option and with any luck her pickup is somewhere around Ontario / Fontana and they can get out the heck of here before 1:00 - 2:00 PM or so. LOL!

JJ

Terminal Rat ( aka...J's Comment
member avatar

Oooops, El Monte. OK maybe the 210 E then, but we still don't know where her pickup is. Heck, I'm getting tired just typing this. LOL!

Good Luck Chickie!

JJ

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