My First Solo Run Part One

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Joseph L.'s Comment
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Okay okay I know what you're thinking wait aren't you a company driver for CRST and don't they use teams , the answer is yes and no. CRST has three divisions Expedited, regional and dedicated. As for as I know regional and dedicated are generally solo while Expedited is generally teams. However in very extreme circumstances even drivers with the Expedited division can find themselves driving solo. So I was on unwanted home time. Things had gone south with first co driver pretty much to the point I was ready to strangle him. We decided to part company and it seems like he parted ways with the company I will post about that experience later. So I am at home in Las Vegas waiting for a co driver when I learned that I probably won't get another co driver for another week. I am not happy, the wife is very unhappy. I sat down went over all the down time I had since getting hired and found out that since August I had nearly four weeks of not driving. Four weeks of not earning money. I went from unhappy to tick off. I waited for 24 hours and called my DM. I told them that if this was how things were going to be then I would need to persue other options. I was very polite and respectful and explained that this wasn't my first choice. The DM told me he would call me back A few hours later my phone rang and he asked how would I feel about doing a solo run? There was a load going from California to Pennsylvania but the shipper had no available trailers and the only one they could locate just happened to be in Las Vegas. So I said yes empty trailer from Vegas to L.A should be simple. Yeahrofl-3.gif So I get to where this empty trailer is and right away I realized that I was going to have problems. I was convinced that someone had use a crane to lower the bleeping trailer to where it was parked. Not only is there that problem but directly in front of the trailer is a parking area with a one car directly in front of where I need to couple and pull forward to turn out. So first I had to work on getting the trailer to right height so the king pin and 5th wheel would couple correctly. After dealing with that it was time to get out of there. So I got out the truck and walked around figuring out how I would need to pull forward , backup and turn to get out of this tight spot. So over the next forty five minutes I creep forward slowly turn and back up every time I pull forward, back up, turn I get out of the truck and walk around. Finally I get the truck and trailer turn so I can pull out. The next challenge was getting out of Las Vegas which took about another hour with traffic. Finally I am on the road going to California. I stopped in Barstow California for a bathroom break and to recheck the area I was going to. I wanted to be prepared for problems and oh boy there would be problems. So I finally reach the shippers. After checking in I am told to drive around this building and park by the fence. So I enter the yard and even though I had looked at this place using Google maps, it didn't show just how congested this place was. Someone hadn't park trailers there, they had come in and built them and left them in the worst areas possible. The first challenge was getting around the building. I realized that if I didn't want to to hit the building I needed to go around I was going to have to the Left as far as I could, I know that I am going to make contact with this trailer that looks like it has been there for years considering it didn't have tandems and was on the ground it probably had been. So I squeeze slowly by I can see my trailer brush up against the other trailer barely touching it. After I get by i get out to check for damages to my trailer and the other, none. Okay so I continue forward looking for a place to park. I find one but it's not desirable so I continue forward. I come to a dead end and the only way out is to turn around. To accomplish that I am going to have once again do a series of pull ups, back ups and turns to the driver side to get out of this area fifteen minutes I work at this. Finally I get out of this area go back to this other area turn around and get back to the only available spot for my trailer. I am going to have to back between these two trailers that aren't exactly parked straight. This will be my first time actually doing this by myself. Every other time I was with my trainer or co driver. But now I am on my own. I get out look (G.O.A.L-Get Out and look.). Trying to figure out out how I am going to do this. I realized that I am going to slowly be backing and turning at snail speeds to get the trailer into position. For the next thirty minutes maybe closer to an hour I work at this. Just like in Las Vegas I constantly get out and look. Finally I get the trailer park praise Goddancing-banana.gif Now it's time to go to receiving and find out when the load will be ready. I learned that it won't be ready till later in the afternoon, it's 2:30 am. I would end up setting for almost two days.

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.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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".

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.
Steve L.'s Comment
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A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. It sounds like you’ve already overcome challenges other drivers would’ve never attempted.

Congratulations!

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
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So how did it feel to be doing this solo compared to teaming? Mind you did have an uncomfortable team partner to be with. And even though you had challenges, you stuck to your guns and did it anyway. Congratulations!

dancing.gif

You persevered through a tough situation and got 'er done. So maybe you can convince CRST to keep you solo, who knows? Just food for thought.

Susan D. 's Comment
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You did well. The most important thing for any driver to remember, is when things are Rocky, maintain your cool, take a deep breath and think things through to figure out how to deal with the situation.

I once had to attempt to get under a blocked in trailer and I hooked it from the SIDE, pulled it over a bit, unhooked then got in front of the trailer to hook up properly. I couldn't just swing it around from that jackknife hook because I had my satellite dome poking out in the way and would have risked clipping and damaging it.

Half Pint's Comment
member avatar

You did well. The most important thing for any driver to remember, is when things are Rocky, maintain your cool, take a deep breath and think things through to figure out how to deal with the situation.

Best advice ever. It can't be said enough.

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. It sounds like you’ve already overcome challenges other drivers would’ve never attempted.

Congratulations!

I had no choice. I have bills to pay and I had over stay my welcome at home, it was messing with the schedule my wife has for our daughter. It was a bit scary doing it by myself the first time but I actually enjoyed it

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

So how did it feel to be doing this solo compared to teaming? Mind you did have an uncomfortable team partner to be with. And even though you had challenges, you stuck to your guns and did it anyway. Congratulations!

dancing.gif

You persevered through a tough situation and got 'er done. So maybe you can convince CRST to keep you solo, who knows? Just food for thought.

To be honest I don't see myself staying with CRST after my contract ends. I have had four nearly five weeks of unwanted down time. My first co driver was a basket case, my second within an hour of meeting them told me that they were going to to another company probably in a few weeks. My first choice is to finish my contract with CRST I don't hold them responsible for the flakey co drivers. But I have a family to support, bills to pay. I am actually enjoying being solo more and more.

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

You did well. The most important thing for any driver to remember, is when things are Rocky, maintain your cool, take a deep breath and think things through to figure out how to deal with the situation.

I once had to attempt to get under a blocked in trailer and I hooked it from the SIDE, pulled it over a bit, unhooked then got in front of the trailer to hook up properly. I couldn't just swing it around from that jackknife hook because I had my satellite dome poking out in the way and would have risked clipping and damaging it.

Thank you. The most important thing for me was to go slow and get out and look. Baby steps. Oh yes staying relax really helped.

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

You did well. The most important thing for any driver to remember, is when things are Rocky, maintain your cool, take a deep breath and think things through to figure out how to deal with the situation.

double-quotes-end.png

Best advice ever. It can't be said enough.

Could not agree more.

Joseph L.'s Comment
member avatar

Part 2. Okay I started writing this a short time ago and accidentally close out the window. So I ended up waiting from 2:30 am Friday morning till 10:00 am Sunday morning. I sat over 34 hours and reset my 70 hour clock . I finally got my trailer loaded and headed to the CRST terminal over in jurapa valley. It was Sunday with very little traffic. From the shipper to the terminal was about an hour drive. Once at the terminal I found a parking space and got parked. I then went inside to meet my new co driver who was getting off his trainers truck. He had did home town two weeks prior. So I was told that he would be good to go for a few weeks before he went on home time again. I was looking at staying out over four weeks, but I know people want to see their families. I finally meet my co driver (2 .0) we get to talking and I think okay maybe this guy will work out, then he started saying things that started rasing red flags this site I believe calls them terminal rats. Around 4pm we decided to head out. I don't remember where we were going Arkansas or west Virginia. So we head out. I am driving and that's when my co driver tells me, he's been in contact with another company, he could be gone by next weekend or by that Wednesday. Sorry he told me but if it comes down to it you will have to drop me at a bus stationsorry.gif I was what? I am going to drop you where wtf-2.gif No I told him I will be nice and drop you at truck stop somewhere if possible close to Greyhound but I won't go out my way or drive this truck a hundred miles out the way to get you to a bus. He said if he is driving he will. I don't respond. My plan was to report him call the DM and explain what is going on. However by Tuesday or Wednesday he was going to stick around at least till the end of the of year. By Thursday afternoon he was gone and I was solo driver again

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.

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.
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