First Week Finished

Topic 23307 | Page 2

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ChefsJK's Comment
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Should have said hello, lol.

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I bet you went to the Graingers in Bordentown for you empty huh, lol.

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Yep. 😆

Robsteeler's Comment
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Okay. I meant to continue this as a day by day to flesh out this first week, but too much time has passed. So I’ll just summarize what I remember. I woke up in this mountain truck stop the next morning, and did my bathroom visit, pretrip, and headed to Pittsburgh to drop my trailer at Giant Eagle. Pulled up to the gate where I was immediately told to turn around and wait down the street. I parked on the most open area on a side street to avoid having to maneuver in the huge line of trucks. Took the guard my paperwork and finally got a door to back to. Took me like 25 minutes to get in, lol! So I dropped that trailer and picked up an empty to take to a nearby wood stove pellet place that I was going to take to Massachusetts. When I get to the last 10 mile section of road, it’s a complete donkey path that I’d be white knuckled in in a car. Road edges are crumbling, lots of places have no guard rail, and narrow as hell. I’m starting to question if the Qualcomm gps is right. This doesn’t seem like a road for heavy trucks, so I’m hugging the center and going super slow. I don’t care at this point, lol! So I’m really nervous at a big curve because there’s a huge drop off, and I can picture myself forgetting the off tracking and having the trailer pull me right off the mountain! I’m looking at my tandems so hard, I’m shocked to see a small truck seemingly headed right for me. He’s repainting the freaking lines. Now. While I’m going around a curve on a narrow little donkey trail. I just kept going and decided to let him worry about it. I just kept watching to ensure I didn’t die and moved down the road. Of course I ran over his nice crisp lines and cared not a whit. So I got to the place and drove over their old fashioned scale bridge thing, and got loaded with 44,000lbs of wood pellets. Scale on the way out said I was 79,900lbs, so I was really nervous about the return trip through the donkey path. Made it alive to West Virginia, and scaled the truck at a truck stop. Had to slide the tandems three times before I got it right. Luckily, there was another Schneider driver there and he helped me get it right. He also gave me his spot since the truck stop was full and I only had an hour left on my clock. So I had hot food and a shower. Bliss. I noticed a nice coat of yellow paint all over my wheel well and mud flaps during my post trip. Weird.🤔 So next day, I get a change on my assignment. I’m to go back to Carlisle and drop the trailer as a relay. Okay so fast forward, and I’m in Carlisle. They call me into the office and I have to go line by line over the “accident.” This woman really drags me through it and doesn’t want to hear anything about the spotter I claimed. Then she asks if I dropped the trailer yet. No, I replied. Good. Swing by the fuel line and wait for me. Afterwards came the most screamingest, nit-picking-ist, run through the local (what seemed like walking paths) roads, that made my qualification tests look like a complete joke. She was not pleased. So round two, they get the old guy with a million years trucking to take me out. He similarly seemed to be unimpressed with my meager skills. By this point I’m out of confidence and not sure what’s gonna happen next.

Lady instructor calls me in and tells me to get some rest and I’d be evaluated in the morning. So next day rolls around, and I’m showered and ready lady goes around my truck screaming about everything wrong with it. “What’s this?!” She almost rage strokes when she points at a huge scrape/crunch in the hood. That was there when I got it, I’ve got time and date stamped photos if you’d like to see. Also the steps on the passenger side... She looks around for more to gig me on...”this paint! It’s on the trailer too, so you can’t say that was like that!” I explained the donkey trail scenario and she stone faced me the whole time like I was Satan’s grandkid in the flesh. Finally, she ran out of issues and gave me to another instructor in her beat ‘em up department. This guy found me the tightest, most bicycle friendly looking roads and intersections in the area. He was also hyper critical, but finally got me to head back in and have a discussion. A lot of back and forth with me acknowledging how I screwed the pooch, and they grudgingly allowed me to remain employed. After determining I still had plenty of hours left, they sent me back out with a load. Did a couple loads over the next day and then got my home time. That was sweet and much needed by that point!

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.
David M.'s Comment
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Man, that sounds brutal. Glad you made it through and kept your job. I'll do my best to learn from your pain, I'm sure my company has a process just like that and I never want to see it.

Will H.'s Comment
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Man, that sounds brutal. Glad you made it through and kept your job. I'll do my best to learn from your pain, I'm sure my company has a process just like that and I never want to see it.

Rob has a lot of great lessons for us in my honest opinion.

Rob keep at it. Don't let them get you down. Just focus on what you need to do one step at a time and be safe out there buddy.

Robsteeler's Comment
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The next week was good, and the next week as well. By the following week I seemed to be doing well backing, and I stopped worrying about it. That’s when it got to be where I couldn’t back into a space to save my life. Many of you said it could or would happen and it did. Then I go to this cluster of a DelMonte warehouse near Baltimore and they give me a door. I’m trying and trying and I get to a point where I’m at a weird angle so I stop to GOAL. I look and figure the back is pretty okay, so I can cut the tractor over to push the front of the trailer in line. I’m about three feet away from the trailer next to me. I start moving until I hear the shouts. Doh! I rubbed the trailer next to me! I seemed to forget that trailers aren’t magic, they move backwards when you reverse,even if you are moving the front. They made me pull out and wait. Their boss came out with a camera and paperwork and began making a federal case out of it. I felt really bad at first because it looked like the side of the trailer was dished in until I got out and realized that was the wood grain design on the decal covering the side of the trailer. I looked at it and it was just scrapes on the giant decal. So after the Spanish Inquisition, I had the Spanish Instruction. Yep. They sent out their driver to guide me in. First he started in Spanish but I told him English and he almost used English after that.😂 They finally got me in and I loaded and left. Delivered, cleaned out the trailer and got a live load in Virginia. That I had to drop as a relay in Newark and go on my home time because it was Friday. Clock ran out in New Jersey before I got there. Dropped it Saturday morning and went home. Of course I was dreading a return to the, as I call them, Crash Nazis on Monday. Didn’t have a relaxing weekend. I figured when I got sick that I was just feeling bad in anticipation of that. Until my fever got to 104.5 and I figured there might be a problem! Well, that’s where my journey is at right now. I’ll update or start another thread as things progress, but I’ll probably be home for a couple of weeks. Take care and safe driving!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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