Jim Palmer Trucking - Missoula MT

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DeputyDawg's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for these great updates, Dave. I'll be starting CDL school with Wil-Trans around the middle of December and, knowing that Jim Palmer's training is so similar, this has been invaluable reading and has helped me a lot! I hope you continue to post updates. Wishing you continued success and stay safe.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

Dave S (formerly known as's Comment
member avatar

You're welcome DeputyDawg. I think the few differences are you'll have to do a parallel park for the CDL test (Missouri requirement?) and the proximity to Prime's main terminal.

One of these days I'll get to tour the Prime terminal. All I've seen of it is the inspection bays in Springfield and Salt Lake City.

Thank you for these great updates, Dave. I'll be starting CDL school with Wil-Trans around the middle of December and, knowing that Jim Palmer's training is so similar, this has been invaluable reading and has helped me a lot! I hope you continue to post updates. Wishing you continued success and stay safe.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Dave S (formerly known as's Comment
member avatar

Been a few weeks since an update. So here we go!

Picking up where I left off, made it to St. Louis with the load of apples. Next was a Budweiser load for Fort Smith AR. After that was a Tyson load out of Noel MO for the Walmart DC in North Platte NE. Let me give a little wisdom here. If you have to do a pickup in Noel Missouri DON'T follow the GPS and take state route 90. Never mind why just don't do it! LOL Okay, I'll tell y'all why. It's twisty, hilly (steep hills!) and it is narrow, very narrow...

Cool thing about that trip was I was able to take my 10 in Hutchinson on Thanksgiving day! Next load was Lexington NE to Emporia KS. Now I was expecting to get some home time soon after being out for 9 weeks but the weekend after Thanksgiving was a big surprise! Next trip was Dodge City KS to Opelika AL. Ran into one of the heaviest rains I have experienced in a 4 wheeler or truck! Next trip was Tuscaloosa AL to Woodburn IN. Nothing exciting happened there. Then Greenfield IN to Delaware OH with a stop in Hilliard OH. Now on a trip from Wellston OH to a Walmart DC in Corinne UT. Look like there is a preplan for a trip from Salt Lake City to Missoula. Highlight of this past week was getting across Wyoming unscathed!

Until next time, stay safe!

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.

Han Solo Cup (aka, Pablo)'s Comment
member avatar

I just mapped that out on Google Maps and that looks really exciting. I'm envious. Have fun and post when you're able to.

Dave S (formerly known as's Comment
member avatar

Well, my 9 month anniversary (6 months solo) is quickly approaching so it's time for an update!

So much has happened and I've learn a lot of things and don't quite know where to start. Still no accidents *knocks on wood*. Almost had a blowout and also had a cracked rim. Stumped the dude trying to find the leak until he sprayed the inside. Maintenance hadn't seen anything like it yet. Lets not forget about all of the wrong turn adventures. Last but not least, lots of winter driving.

Oh winter driving, that is where I'll start. Since it is spring and getting shutdown in western Nebraska do to an April blizzard. How fitting! Of all the things I've learned about winter driving the most important is knowing when to call it a day and park. Ice and white out conditions are automatically parked. Need chains? Parked! There were a few times on Homestake, Lookout and Sherman Summit passes I should have chained up but made it up and down safely.

Running I-90 in Montana and Wyoming plus I-80 really makes one appreciate the states that clear the roads! Oops, forget about Oregon. They don't use salt to treat the roads! I-84 through the Columbia Gorge was a real treat this past February. 4 1/2 hours to travel 130 miles. Troutdale T/A to Broadman Loves. This was the day before the 24hr shutdown on February 12th! Biggest lesson learned this past winter, slow down! If others are being stupid, get off the road and shutdown.

Another lesson learned. Never trust a GPS with out checking a map first! Watch for signs and double check truck routes in and out of locations. Check company direction and if needed call the location for directions. Arnold PA has a Smithfield plant. There is one way in and out. It's an older part of Pittsburgh and the streets are narrow. Very narrow! Miss a turn (like the turn from Pittsburgh St on to the C. L. Schmitt Bridge) and there isn't anywhere to turn around. But!, you can make a loop to get back on track! How do I know this? Ain't telling *grin*.

Also, bypasses are built for a reason. Example, 435 and 635 in Kansas City are the best way through. Was going south on I-29 to I-49. GPS routed me through KC instead of around. Lost an hour do to traffic. Might have been the shortest route but definitely the slowest. With that in mind short cuts can be awesome. From KC to Springfield, taking MO 7 to MO 13 is a great route that cuts off 50 or so miles. Another short cut that cuts of 50 plus miles is US 212 from Crow Agency, MT to Belle Fourche, SD then US 85 to Spearfish, SD.

Until next time, stay safe!

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Oz's Comment
member avatar

Considering JP as my starting company for best fit. Is manual/stick still an option? What brand/s do they currently run?

Great read, hope all keeps going well.

Dave S (formerly known as's Comment
member avatar

Considering JP as my starting company for best fit. Is manual/stick still an option? What brand/s do they currently run?

Great read, hope all keeps going well.

In my honest opinion, Jim Palmer is a great company to drive for and a great place to start. As of today, I'm a month shy of my year and have no plans on moving anywhere else.

Jim Palmer/Wil-Trans run Freightliner Cascadia and Peterbilt 579 with an oddball Volvo (maybe one or two) thrown in. Unless it was ordered with a manual for a lease operator all the newer trucks are going to be autoshift. They'll train and test in a manual if possible so you won't have the restriction on your CDL. My next truck will more then likely be an autoshift and I'm really looking forward to it.

Be sure to give the recruiters a call as they can answer a lot more questions then I can. Good luck and be safe!

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.

Wil-Trans:

Darrel Wilson bought his first tractor in 1980 at age 20, but, being too young to meet OTR age requirements, he leased the truck out and hired a driver.

Through growth and acquisition, Wil-Trans now employs over 200 drivers, and has a long-standing partnership with Prime, Inc. to haul their refrigerated freight. The family of businesses also includes Jim Palmer Trucking and O & S Trucking.

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