Another Ride Along Story

Topic 20859 | Page 1

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Old School's Comment
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It's been a while since I did one of these threads where I share what it is like to be riding along with me, but I always felt they were helpful in some small way to new drivers coming into not only our forum, but also into the trucking career. This week my wife and our little Rat Terrier "Trixie" are riding along with me for their second time, and I will try to document our travels together while hopefully filling you in on how we do things out here for both efficiency and pleasure. I probably will not run as hard as I do when I am solo, but I think some of you new folks in here may well enjoy following along with us, and will gain some insights into what it's like actually being out here and working at this career. I am sitting in Delhi, Louisiana this morning waiting on her to get here. She is going to park her car at our yard here close to the SAPA plant where many of my loads on this dedicated flat-bed account originate. I return here usually once a week, and that will give her the opportunity to get back home at any point she decides she is ready. I'm hooked to our first load which is going from Delhi, LA up into the Northeast quadrant of the country. It has four stops on it...

- Riverdale, New Jersey

- Hamden, Connecticut

- Southington, Connecticut

- Farmington, Connecticut

I hope you both enjoy getting to follow along with us, and I really hope it helps some of you gain some insights into the career that I have found to be both challenging and enjoyable. For me it is the challenging part that makes it so enjoyable. I always like being challenged, and I always like overcoming those challenges. Trucking can provide you with a new set of challenges everyday because the variables are always in a state of change. It is conquering and overcoming these daily and variable challenges that make this career so rewarding to me. I'll update this thread as soon as I am able.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Susan D. 's Comment
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Hello to the Mrs. School and Trixie. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures.

Linden R.'s Comment
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Can't wait to hear it! Will you be taking 81 or 95 up? Or neither?

Bud A.'s Comment
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I love your ride along threads, Old School! Looking forward to it!

Deke's Comment
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Looking forward to the trip......thanks OS

MyNameGoesHere's Comment
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I've only read one so far and it was an enjoyable read. Look forward to this as well.

Phillyfan13's Comment
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Old School,

Looking forward to riding along with you!

Be safe


Peter M.'s Comment
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Old School's Comment
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Well, the first leg of our journey together is done - in the books. We left Delhi, Louisiana on Saturday at about 2:30 in the afternoon. I had already gotten my load ready to roll the night before, and I was just waiting on my wife to get there on Saturday so we could get this thing started. As a dedicated driver for this SAPA plant in Delhi, most of my loads originate right here from these loading bays at the back of their manufacturing facility.


Our load that we are pulling out with is loaded on a regular flat-bed trailer so it had to be tarped. It is also one of those challenging tarp jobs where the product is stacked up at different levels. These types of tarp jobs are challenging because the tarps don't usually ride that well going down the road because of the different "air spaces" involved in them between the different height levels of the product you are pulling. I did the best I could with it, and so far it has done fairly well. I have stopped frequently to check on it and make sure nothing is coming loose. We had to replace a few bungees along the way that had snapped from the pressures of the wind on the load. Here is what it looks like after we made our planned stop at the truck stop for our ten hour break.


We drove from Delhi, Louisiana to Greeneville, Tennessee. We spent our first night at the TA truck stop (Davy Crockett Travel Center) there on I-81, exit 36. First day we logged 649 miles. Now remember this is a run that I do quite often - I know where I have got to get to on each little leg of this trip so that I can make it come out right for the way I like to accomplish it. It was critical for the timing of this load that I get to Greeneville on that first part of the trip. Tonight we will be pushing the time limits just as hard so that we can get set up at our first stop in Riverdale, New Jersey, spend the night there on our customer's property and be there waiting on them when they arrive to work Monday morning. If you follow along with us you will see the importance of all this planning as it unfolds before you.

Here's a little interesting side story to this whole load/scenario. I arrived at the plant in Delhi on Friday night about 2200 (ten p.m.). They were just wrapping up my load, and I had to wait about thirty minutes for them to finish it up. The supervisor on that shift recognized me and began this curious line of questioning to me, "Hey Dale, is this your load?" "Yes sir, it is," I reply. "Why is it that you always take all these difficult loads," he questions me further. I don't even pause to think about what it is that he's asking and simply say, "These are the money makers." He shows a slight grin as he says, "Well, you must be making a lot more than all these other drivers, cause you are just about the only guy here who will take these Northeast loads."

I didn't even think about the conversation again until the next afternoon when I was speaking to my dispatcher on a phone call where he called me to make sure that the ETA I had given him was a good solid one. He mentioned to me in that call that the supervisor I had spoken with had just talked to him earlier on Friday and told him that he was concerned that he was over working me by making me do all these difficult runs. My dispatcher laughed and said, "I told him, I am not making him do these runs, he asks me for them. He is the only guy I've got that seems to get them done in a timely manner, and he is the only one that wants to do them." This is the kind of thing we talk about in here about being a top tier driver. If you can handle the good stuff, you can lobby for the good stuff, and you will get all of it you can do.

So far, we are having a great time together. We stopped in Fort Payne, Alabama for our thirty minute break and parked at the Wal-Mart. We picked up a few supplies for our journey, let our dog get some exercise, and just enjoyed the simple pleasure of all being together for a little while.

When we all get together on these trips, there is always the struggle of who is in charge of the "Jump seat."

Trixie thinks it is her domain...


And of course my wife thinks it belongs to her, so they usually just have to settle on a compromise...


There's more to come in a few days, so stay tuned!


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


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.

Linden R.'s Comment
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