Heading To Dallas For Orientation

Topic 21202 | Page 2

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Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Hello from Greenfield IN. 😊👍

So; TX, KS, OK, MO, IN, IL, OH, WV, PA, KY, NC, SC,....some states several times.... Snow, sleet, a longish empty run in high winds, mountains and big city rush hour (Chicago). Just some of the areas covered and things experienced in the last 10 days....along with one of the qualifying 'mountain passes' (Fancy Gap ☺).

It's been a blast!!

In between times......learning the Qualcomm...watching training videos and taking tests...all in all, never a dull moment! ☺

You'll be glad to know, I'm sure; that 4 wheeler drivers here in the U.S. are just as 'nuts' as in the U.K. and Europe! I guess some things are consistent everywhere! lol

There are 6 levels of training to reach 'Grad 'status..each level being 7 days on the trainer's truck plus completion of a minimum number of hours of driving and the aforementioned tests and videos for that level. By carefully managing my HOS , and running on recaps, we have managed to accelerate me through Levels 1 and 2 and onto Level 3. Hopefully (according to him lol) this means that rather than 42 days on his truck with Paul, I should have the majority of everything completed by the time he goes home for 5 days on December 26th.

Not too sure if he wants me to succeed or if, because of the endless stream of questions, he just wants me off of his truck! lol😜

So; ....we're getting out of the cold weather; temporarily at least. Loading Indianapolis Airport in the a.m. headed south to Miami and the sunshine! 👍

Had one really nasty, tight reverse onto a dock at night...didn't realise he was pretty worried about it until I set the brakes once it was complete and he exclaimed..."Awesome dude!" and gave me a knuckle bump! lol

So; like I said; so far it's been a real blast!!

I will report in again in a few days to let y'all know if things are still going well 👍😊

If i might be allowed just one pat on the back for myself; it would be that after less than 2 weeks, I am in the top 8% of drivers on the mpg table...and climbing ☺ I love playing the saving fuel game...keeps me alert on long stretches and helps me figure out the rpm - torque - speed vs load curves....it's sorta my thing! lol

Until next time then; I bid you adieu. Keep it safe guys n gals.

Cheers! 👍

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Hello Chaps ☺

16 days on truck...

1 34 Hour reset

17 States

7417 miles driven. Some re-powers.

Some 'Live unloads and loads'

Some 'Drop and hooks' (gotta love 'em 👍)

Pretty much a normal day to day description of what we do; right? lol

Level 4 almost complete.

Parked El Paso, TX headed to Phoenix in the Morning. Then???

Paul thinks I'm nuts 'coz i keep asking if we can 'push on for another hour or so?'

Still absolutely loving It!

Absolutely tired! lol

Check in again soon 👍 Stay safe wherever you are.

Night all ☺

💤💤💤💤💤

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

PackRat's Comment
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Glad you're making it happen, and enjoy following your progress.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Howdy 😊

Great 3 day run from Tulare, CA and have Just parked up at the Pilot in Mebane, NC, where we will be spending Christmas day.

I will be getting home for 5 days Tuesday as my trainer has some scheduled home time.

So I just wanted to say to all of you on this fab site; whether at home with family or out here 'getting 'er done'....

My very best wishes for a great Christmas and the rest of the festive season.

Peace and happiness to y'all 🎅

Simon

G-Town's Comment
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Merry Christmas to you as well Simon.

Ithel's Comment
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Merry Christmas to you, too. Thank you also for your extended diary. It's helped me to keep remembering the big picture. Stay safe.

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Hello chaps ☺

I'm currently sitting at home in the middle of my few days off, waiting to hit the road again Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I have reached level 6 and have 50 hours left to complete the 'over the road training' portion of this whole process . Once complete I will be dropped at the Dallas facility for 'Grad class ' and then, all things being equal, good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, barring unforeseen circumstances.....pick your cliche... I should be assigned a truck and sent out with another Grad class 'trainee' to team drive in the 'real world'😜.

My previous life experience, both in aviation and also while 'lorry' driving in Europe, has me fully expecting this part to be the most challenging of the whole process...and rightly so! No longer will we have the luxury of a more experienced driver to, metaphorically, hold our hands and help us when things get tough. If we can't handle ourselves 'out there' then maybe it was not the correct (2nd) career choice; right?

Personally; I can't wait! I absolutely love a challenge! My team mate 'pro tem' , one of the guys I went through CDL school with, is very nervous...mainly about customer relations and the Qualcomm. I have been reassuring him, on an almost daily basis, that we will get 'er done! I have been dealing with the shippers and receivers almost from day one, thanks to my trainer. So far, politeness, a little flexibility and a smattering of charm have, well.... worked like a charm! 😜

Apologies....couldn't resist! lol

As for the Qualcomm; I have become pretty comfortable with It. Like all Pilots, I love a checklist; so I have made one up and carry it close to hand when travelling. I use it to ensure that the correct macros are sent at the appropriate times and places.....mostly! lol

I have also reassured my buddy that i have indeed made several mistakes on it along the way.....I was shown the correct way to amend my errors....One of which resulted in Stevens calling to check on why our trailer was 1750 miles from where it was shown on the tracking system as actually being....2 numbers transposed...oops! lol

I was not terminated, not bull whipped and no firing squads were used. The dispatcher that called actually laughed and said that they had figured as much!. In short; I have been telling him that as long as we 'run safely, run legally and make the deliveries on schedule', I believe that Stevens will forgive an occasional schoolboy error on the 'ole black box'. As a company known for it's training program; I can't imagine that they expect rookies to be perfect right from the start?

Question for the more experienced hands on this site; Is this a fair assumption? Or should I be scared? 😨lol

So; in summary; I believe that it.is only fair to say that the whole training/orientation/driving experience has by far exceeded my expectations.

To Brett, Old School, G-town, Rainy D...forgive me if i haven't specifically named you but there are too many to name y'all...to you guys and the multitude of other experienced 'old hands' and moderators on this fab site; many many thanks. As you are probably already aware; in addition to adding my $.02 worth of inane ramblings; I have spent many, many hours trawling the forums here and reading hundreds and hundreds of posts - trying to absorb some of the vast mountain of information and advice that you guys so graciously offer up for free.

Long may it continue! 👍

And to my trainer, Paul, a heartfelt thanks for putting up with me in very close quarters and passing along loads of very valuable knowledge. I realise that it has not been totally perfect....more about that in the next 'inane ramble'....be warned... lol Love ya dude....in a very manly, brotherhood of arms type way - of course! 😜

To any and all of y'all that have persisted and made it through my lengthy rambles...Thank you also.

May 2018 bring everything that you hope for and may your miles be long, your roads sunlit, smooth and congestion free. I head into the New Year full of hope and determination. I WILL 'get 'er done' and pray that y'all do too.

Happy New Year! 🥂

Cheers,

Simon

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
Ryan Remy's Comment
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Great read!

I was not aware Stevens has students team drive prior to going solo. How long does the team portion last before actually getting your own truck?

Thanks!

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
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Great read!

I was not aware Stevens has students team drive prior to going solo. How long does the team portion last before actually getting your own truck?

Thanks!

Hey Ryan ☺

Thanks for the kind words. 👍

Duringn our orientation, this approached was mentioned as a possibility. At that point in time I don't believe the program was officially in place.

As to whether or not this is now mandatory in the Stevens program; to be totally honest, I'm not completely sure....but I will definitely find out for you shortly. 👍I believe it's (possibly?) 90 hours each driver...but again, not 100% certain.

In addition, regardless of official sanction, this is something my team mate and I wanted to do. So we broached the subject with our Training Counsellors and were given enthusiastic support for the idea.

Our idea is that although we may not run as a true team, in that our hours will be somewhat limited (no driving between 03:00 and 07:00), it will give us the flexibility to maximise the possible miles. In addition, it gives us the opportunity to have an extra set of eyes up front for some of the time each day. Also, we and Stevens believe that we may benefit from additional opportunities to learn from each other's strengths and/or weaknesses, if any.

As I mentioned, I will find out the actual facts for you.

Cheers,

Simon

Simon D. (Grandpa)'s Comment
member avatar

Great read!

I was not aware Stevens has students team drive prior to going solo. How long does the team portion last before actually getting your own truck?

Thanks!

Hi again.

Well; I checked and teaming after training is not currently mandatory. 👍

So; if the idea horrified you... no worries! lol

Cheers,

Simon

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