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Topic 1775 | Page 6

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Richard O.'s Comment
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Hey PJ. I hope they get it worked out soon for you. I know you are anxious to get on the road. Have a nice Thanksgiving.

PJ's Comment
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Thanks Jana, you're probably very right. I got another call a little bit ago. They did some digging and found 3 other trainers going out on Friday that are somewhat in my area. They are going to see about getting me too one of them. They don't have an assignment yet so Friday morning they will get everything settled and get me moving. I am at my sisters house in Hot Springs Ar. instead of being in Ga. so will be nice having Thanksgiving with her and a lot of family I haven't seen in years.

PJ's Comment
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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. On friday afternoon I finally made it to a trainer. The holiday kinda upset the apple cart a bit. Here's a rundown so far.

Day 1: 1300 hrs spoke with my FTM. She found a trainer who was 75 miles away but was not routed toward me. I offered to meet him if that was ok. My sister was kind enough to take me too him. FTM seemed amazed and said that would be very helpful. I asked for his contact info. She was kind of hesitant on a meeting time so i said i would work it out with him. I called him and he was sitting at a truckstop waiting to go unload. He had a 5:45 appointment time, and already knew he could not get in early. I told him i could be there by 3:30 and he at first said he didn't want to pull me away early, but if I wanted to get there I could get my first delivery under my belt. I meet him at the truck stop. He was amazed. I showed up right when I said I would. We met and he said we had some time to kill. He asked about my background and told me his. He told me his style and i got my gear put up. We had a great conversation. He then proceeded to cover the qualcom and basic stuff in the truck. I trained in a 2007 Freightliner and this is a 2012 International Prostar. Quite different. We rolled over to Walmart DC and after getting our door assignment went to get in the truck. As I started to the passenger side he stopped me and asked where I thought I was going. He then pointed to the drivers seat. I got in and drove over and found our door. He said well lets see how you back. There was alot of room. I pulled up as I had in school and got it in in 1 shot with 1 pullup to square it. Walmat always makes you unhook and park. I did it all. We took the paperwork in and was told to wait in our truck for a call. We returned to the truck. He proceeded to give me feedback on the backing. He loved it. He said if I keep that up he will have a very easy week. I was thrilled. We went over more paperwork and bout an hour later got the call. I got our paperwork and hooked up and we were outta there. We already had another preplan waiting.

PJ's Comment
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Day 1 con't: We headed empty toward our next pickup. He took care of the messages while I drove. We had a 60 mile empty run and were to spend the night at the shipper. Easy enough right. We got over close and was on some very poorly marked streets. Alot of traffic and narrow lanes. We were both looking like crazy for our streets. The directions we had looked easy enough. Well I missed a turn and ended up 1 block off the route on a non truck route. Oops. I got going the right way and we were on a very narrow residential street. Found our turn. A very tight right. I did a button hook and barely made it. Went 1 block and had a steep downgrade. Directions said shipper was straight ahead. Well it was, but they had the entrance closed off with a backhoe and alot of missing pavement. We stopped and saw something on the fence. Walked up to i and it was a sign pointing trucks to the right. Oh boy. Tight right. In the position i was in no way was it happening. We had an extra 4 feet we could move over. I backed up the hill with my trainer spotting me. Moved over and used every fraction of an inch we could get. Creeped it around using all the available room which included a 15 foot wide dirt shoulder. Made it around and didn't ger stuck thank god. Found our way in from the other side. Got backed up to the dock and got ready for bed. My trainer asked what I thought about that situation. Then he told me there was less than 4 inches to spare from a power pole. I knew it was close, but wow. He asked what I would have done if I had been alone. I said call the lical cops for assistance. He said ok this is going to be a short week if you keep giving all the right answers. Oh by the way his name is Shawn (trainer), He was very pleased with me and we went to sleep

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Richard O.'s Comment
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Very cool PJ. I'm glad you had a spotter to help you out of that situation. We have been told that eventually we will end up on a wrong street and have to call the police for help. I just hope it doesn't happen on the first day. It's nice to read your diaries.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Great start! You didn't hit anything - in the end, that's all that really matters.

You're going to come across situations like that constantly - getting lost, really tough places to get into, and all sorts of other problems with traffic, weather, scheduling, routing, etc. The key is to always remain calm and keep in mind that everything is temporary. No matter what the situation, as long as you don't hit anything it will soon pass. Then you'll be left with nothing but a great story and lessons learned.

And don't forget to try to enjoy yourself out there! smile.gif

PJ's Comment
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Hey everyone, sorry haven't updated but been a bit busy.

Day 2: We woke up at 0600 hrs. and the worker arrived at 0645 hrs. There were trucks stacked everywhere. Boy was I glad we got in there when we did. We gave the gave the guy our load information and he went inside to look for it. About 10 minutes later he started loading. We were all done and out the dock at 0800 hrs. We asked how long the entrance was going to be torn up, and he said awhile. He said about 1 month ago they notified ALL trucking companies of the construction and not to go by the old directions. Gee I wonder where that memo ended up.

Off we went. We ran hard all day to make it to the Gary yard and drop the load for a relay. Simple enough. We got in late, but between us had the hours to get it done. We had another preplan waiting and just wanted to get it dropped and the other trailer we were picking up hooked up. Went off without a hitch.

This load was going to Michigan and had 3 stops. Shawn thought he recognized the receivers company name and when we googled it he said "Oh crap". Those locations are very tight and are a real pain in the you know what. We started to get going and park for the night. We couldn't get out of the yard. Our cards would not work. A maintance guy had to let us out. Wow.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
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Hi everyone. Sorry updates are delayed but I have been so busy didn't have a chance. I will boil the last 12 days down a bit so no one gets bored.

Days 3-6 was with Shawn. We had loads non stop and everyone were in hard to find places, and tight as can be. In 6 days I had 24 backs into shippers/receivers and all but 2 were very tight. I managed to get them done. A few pull throughs, which were nice compared to all those tight backs. We got to the terminal in Gary. Shawn is a 7/7 fleet guy and was due to get off. He stayed 1 extra day because he had training so I got an extra day with him. We spent that day running local deliveries all over Chicago and Wisconsin. We pulled a refer and took it to a shipper. I got to experience how noisy the unit is inside the truck and the pleasure of finding a trailer washout. All in all my time spent with him was extremely productive and positive. My biggest problem has been down shifting and I got much better. Still getting a few grinds here and there, but getting steadily better.

He debriefed me after all was said and done. He was very pleased with my skill level, work ethic, and attitude. He told me I had exceeded expecations all the way around. That made me feel real good.

I was reassigned on the 7th day. This trainer was an owner operator. That was a different perspective for sure. He met me at the Gary terminal and as soon as he met me he threw me a set of keys and told me to get my gear in the truck we had to roll to make a delivery. His name was John. We talked and I found out he had no idea I had been out with another trainer. I told him where I was at. He looked at me and said "wow that's a first for me". He asked me what I thought my weak areas were and I told him downshifting was the worst. He said ok. He said he was going to start at the beginning of the process and if I was comfortable with certain things we would move very quickly. We moved very quickly. After the first delivery I drove everything else the entire time I was with him. He worked with me on my shifting very intently and I have improved a lot. We covered 3000 miles in 7 days. We ran heavy loads, light loads, and everything in between. We ran all over Il, In, Oh, Pa, Nc, and Ga. We were in the very cold and snowy conditions. Boy was I glad to get back to the south. I got a first hand experience at what it is like to run 3000 miles a week. And we did not run the truck as a team. It was strictly solo, with me doing the driving, and everything else. There was more than 1 time I was a little uncomfortable with the weather conditions, but managed to get through it unscathed.

He went over all aspects of the truck and trailer getting me ready to test out. He had told the company after 3 days I was ready, but we kept getting loads routed away from a terminal. Finally they sent us south and told us I would be going to Atlanta to test out. When we were stopped we were going over the qualcom, mapping, and logs. It was a very intense training period.

Today was our last leg to Atlanta. Due to a pickup in NC we ran about 500 miles today starting at 0300 hrs. I am very beat. I did manage to take some of daniels great advice on managing my hours to avoid a reset. John was very impressed I had that knoweldege and stayed on top of it on my own.

The last 2 weeks have been amazing. I have gained insight and exposure to many various aspects of this career while with my trainers. Both of them are awesome in the way they train and relate in my opinion.

My FTM was very pleased to say the least with all the progress reports she received from both trainers. Neither one even know each other, and had no information from the other about me. They both rated me pretty high and I am very pleased with the entire experience.

I made it to Atlanta today and got checked in. It was late in their day and I was exhausted. I met the trainer that will give me my final road test in the morning. He seems like a nice guy from the first impression. He was interacting with some newer students here and I overheard the conversation. He was pretty low key and was walking the students through how to find their answers. They put me in the hotel with the orientation students for tonight. The trainer talked to the desk guy and told him to put me in a room by myself instead of with another student. He told him I wasn't a student, but an actual driver that needed a room. I was amazed he had said that, because until I pass this last test I am still considered a student.

I got in my room and my FTM was on the phone. She said she had just found out I was logged out of the trainers truck. I told her I was at the hotel already, had met the terminal trainer, and was all set to test at 0700 hrs. She said ok, good I'm glad it all came together. She told me to get a good nites sleep and I was scheduled to test right off in the morning, and once I get settled in my truck she would get with me. I told her the trainer had told me they did not have a truck for me as yet. She said that she had got with the main fleet manager over all the trucks and he assigned me truck 8043 already and it is listed as being at this terminal. She told me it's a 2012 International Prostar.

That's a very condensed version I know but honestly most of the specifics are all run together in my head at the moment.

I'll keep ya'll posted a little more often I hope.

I want to thank everyone for their help and encouragement as I have went through this process.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Fleet Manager:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brian's Comment
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Way to go! And good luck tomorrow morning!

Danny S.'s Comment
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PJ, sorry I hadn't read this post before I read Richard's sounds like everything thing is going great. Knowing that you already have a truck assigned to you is a great feeling I'm sure. Can't wait to hear about your first load as a rookie driver.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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