Delivering To Grocery Stores

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Rob T.'s Comment
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After that route Saturday I did my errands and left the YMCA around 1245pm. Got home and showered then kids were waking up from naps so we went to the park. We got home around 330pm and I decided to make up something quick for dinner instead of eating with the family and laying down immediately after. Played with the kids for about an hour, talked while they ate dinner then had to lay down for bed about 530pm.

Sunday I ended up taking a 3 store minneapolis run and a backhaul of orange juice with a midnight departure. I woke up at 10pm, had to take the dog out get dressed and eat something light and out the door by 1030. Clocked in at 11pm and set off for my route at 1145 after doing my pretrip and taking the truck through the wash bay. Pretty uneventful drive up had me arrive at:

Robbinsdale Arrival 340-425 Depart

Brooklyn park 445-525

Maple grove 550-600.

0503538001582556615.jpg

Robbinsdale and brooklyn park were each about half the trailer, store staff was waiting on me so it all went to the sales floor to be stocked on shelves. Maple Grove was only 1 pallet of kitchen supplies that wouldn't fit on the other truck they had deliver. It took me more time getting someone to let me in the door than it did to unload. Most of our stores were previously 24 hours but 2 weeks ago they changed all stores closed midnight to 5am. There were a couple stores I used to walk to the front instead of waiting on a manager because they took so long. Cant do that anymore and one of the first days they changed the hours I waited outside 15 minutes in Cedar Rapids before they let me in. Night stock is still there, it's just closed for customers.

Anyways, I ended up having issues getting my backhaul to legal weights which ate up some time. I made it back to PDI at 1255pm with about 10 minutes to spare on my 14 clock. Because I didnt take my 2nd break I wrote it on my sheet and it will be paid out extra.

Other than the issue with backhaul it was a very uneventful day. I've been to all 3 stores before so there weren't any surprises.

Total miles 531

Drive line 9:15

On Duty 5:00

Total paid hours 14:45 (plus extra 30 minutes)

Due to getting done so late I went straight home. I got there around 2pm (half hour drive) and jumped in shower right away. By the time I was done the kids were awake, played with them for about an hour, watched tv and talked with the wife for 20 minutes then we started dinner. Ate about 445pm and I went to lay down at 6pm because I'd be waking at 1130pm for a 130am depart to Omaha. I absolutely love my job, but as you can see the days I work there really isnt much time to do anything except get ready for the next day. We do have shorter runs but then I'm not making any money. With a 4 day work week I want to get as close to 14 as possible.

I forgot to mention that on Saturday when I was at the West Des Moines store I was talking to the Hyvee produce driver. He was saying they've needed 15-20 drivers to take the day off several times in the last 3 weeks. This is because nobody is taking vacation time right now, summer will be a different story. Unfortunately for them, they had a couple guys at the bottom of seniority that have only worked 2 days in the last 3 weeks. They can either use vacation time or go unpaid. Thankfully PDI will find us something to do whether it's a route strictly to clean up stores, run a layover route as a team or even if it's working the warehouse for 8 hours unloading empty pallets and bread trays. Regardless we're never forced to take a day off. Last year from just before memorial day until the end of september they were frequently needing extra drivers. They were even asking us to run loads for 1 of the other DC's due to having no drivers available and the 3rd party companies we go through didnt either. The only requirement is we have atleast 16 hours available on our 70 if it's a long run. That should give us enough time to get back, or get as close as possible for them to send another driver in a company car to avoid taking a 34 on the road. Other than that if the works available we can work as much as we want as long as we had the hours to do so.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I had a long entry typed out and accidentally deleted the entire thing as I was getting ready to transfer it into here so I'll keep this one short as I'm about to crawl in bed.

Monday woke up at 1130pm and was out the door by midnight to clock in at 1230am. Out the gate by 115am.

I had 2 stops in Omaha and 2 LTL assignments for the day. My drive out was uneventful but I was a little tired so I stopped for a coffee on my way out of town. I arrived at my first stop, Omaha #11 405am-525 depart

Omaha #2 545-635

US Foods Omaha 725- 920

LPB Earlham Iowa 1150-1215

I took my break before heading to my first LTL delivery which in hindsite I should have done after getting there. US Foods is north of downtown and I needed to drive on the edge of it to get there. I ended up hitting the start of rush hour due to this decision. I sat for an hour and a half at US Foods before going in to see how much longer. I was told atleast an hour, possibly 2. They were only getting 2 pallets with a total of about 300 cases so I threw them myself. The paperwork I was given said it'd be 5 pallets total. 13 cases per layer with 5 layers per pallet. I got 3 layers of my first pallet done and the reciever came over to help me down stack. I walked out with my bills in hand 20 minutes after I had gone in to check on it. Stopped to take my other 30 minute paid break in Stuart Iowa on my way back. Google showed me that my stop in Earlham may be tight.

0109264001582673697.jpg here is how it actually was as I came around the corner

0929397001582673784.jpg

This was taken as I walked back to my truck after checking in0328888001582674973.jpg

it had a somewhat weird angle and plenty of room by the dock door so I'd just get it somewhat in then readjust. The dock worker watching me seemed surprised to see I hit it dang near perfect on my first try.

0237276001582673955.jpg

If it looks strange always walk it and look for clues if you need to such as tire tracks. This is even easier in gravel. Some docks will be very difficult but if other drivers have done it why cant I? As long as I dont hit anything I consider it a job well done regardless how long it takes. I picked up 2 pallets of Chitterlings headed to Boston Massachusetts. We have several owner operators that run LTL freight all over the country for us then bring back a full load for our stores. It must be profitable otherwise I doubt we would do it. The only other company I've heard of doing these things is Pepsi, I've talked to a couple shuttle drivers for pepsi that regularly haul loads of shingles rather than coming back empty.

Store Omaha #11 was also a pain in the butt

0030756001582674167.jpg as I approached I considered pulling in from the bottom and doing a driver side back but decided blindside may be easier given the angle. As I was about to pull in a vendor also did and parked where the white truck is to the left of the dock. I ended up whipping a U-turn and doing driver side back.

I made it back to PDI at 105pm. By the time I did post trip, paperwork I clocked out around 145pm.

Total miles 344

Drive time 7:00

On Duty 4:45

Total hours paid 13:15

Once I start my day all time is logged On Duty with the exception of my 2 30 minute paid breaks. I got a 45 minute workout in at the YMCA before going home to shower and play with the kids. We ate dinner around 5pm, played some more before kids went to bed at 7pm. Wife and I crawled into bed at 7pm as well and I was asleep by 730pm until 6am. Tuesday i was off so it was spent doing errands and other tasks. I ate about 330pm so I could lay down around 5pm for a 1am depart to the middle of no where (Norfolk Nebraska) for 1 store delivery with 2 LTL pickups in Norfolk then deliver 1 of them to a cold storage in Des Moines before going back to the yard. I always lay down an hour earlier than I need to my first day back as a way to unwind knowing I'll toss and turn for atleast an hour anyways.

Believe it or not I did cut it short compared to what it was smile.gif

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rookie Doyenne's Comment
member avatar

Rob, with all the detail you provide, it's almost like trucking along with you and as a result, getting a very realistic sense of this aspect of the industry. I examine the maps and pics and imagine the maneuvers you describe. I think I'll get one of those toy trucks to put through the moves and add a kinesthetic learning dimension for examples like those you've thoughtfully provided above.

Wow! Home time is really at a premium during your 4 day work week and I remember those days, sleep getting put aside when there's little ones around. Knowing that you're taking time that might compete with more rest in order to contribute here is very appreciated thank-you-2.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for following along Rookie Doyenne. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Most of our stores are easy to dock, the challenges (and FUN!) come at our backhauls or LTL freight. I actually work on my the diary throughout the day while waiting to be loaded or unloaded in a notepad program as I have time then add the pics where needed later on. On October 9th we began using our new ELD's. In that time, 4 1/2 months, I've driven 30,139 miles and I'm ranked 54 of 148 full time drivers for safety. Our ranking is based on miles, time spent driving, speeding and hard braking. In that time I had been flagged for speeding 1 hour and 36 minutes which equated to less than 1% (it shows as 0%). The time speeding is a mixture of coming downhill, but most of it isnt actually speeding. There are several stretches of road we drive that the ELD isnt updated with the new speed limit. Most state and u.s. highways in Nebraska are now 65 mph for 2 lane, and 70 or 75mph for 4 lane but our ELD thinks its 60 and 65 respectively. We're flagged as speeding if we're doing 5 mph or more over.

Continued.....

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Wednesday was a frustrating day but all in all it went ok and i made great money. I had chosen a 1 store in Norfolk, with 2 LTL pickups in Norfolk, and direct deliver one of them when I got back to Des Moines. The store I had was 23 pallets, 30,000 pounds. The dairy cooler was about 110 normal walking steps from the dock and the meat cooler was probably 20 less. I got a good bit of walking in. The reason my day was frustrating was the customer that bought from Henningsen had hired us to haul their freight and goofed up. The pickup that was supposed to direct deliver was scheduled to pickup in Norfolk but that's where they make the product, they ship it out of their cold storage facility in Omaha. When I arrived at the Norfolk location they were clueless what I was picking up so I called the guy at PDI that deals with that stuff. In the end it took 35 minutes to figure out they sent me to the wrong place. By that time I only had 20 minutes until I needed my DOT break so I took it out on the street as there is absolutely nothing outside of Norfolk NE. I made it to the other facility in Omaha without too much trouble, kinda tight but the dock I had was super easy to hit. The next issue came when I went to direct deliver it. The paperwork had a different address in another part of that page so they refused to accept it saying i needed to take it to their other cold storage facility in town. I called my contact at PDI and informed him I could run it to the other facility if needed but it would take me 10 minutes to get there and another 15 back to our yard and I only had 1:30 left on my 16 clock so I'd need to be unloaded ASAP. Yes, you read that right, I needed to use my extension that local drivers are allowed. He told me hang tight 5 minutes so he could contact who hired us. I was indeed at the correct location so the customer called the storage facility and I was unloaded within 10 minutes.

Anyways, I laid down last night around 5pm but didnt end up falling asleep until about 630. My alarm went off at 11pm, out the door about 1130 and clocked in at midnight. After doing my inspection and double checking my paperwork to the labels on pallets like I always do I was out the gate at 1240am. If we take the wrong load it's a 1 week unpaid suspension, same with dropping a trailer.

Norfolk #2 arrival 450-620am

LTL pickups:

Tielke Sandwiches 640-705

Henningsen Foods (Norfolk) 710-745

Henningsen Foods (Omaha) 1015-1040

Drop off at Britton Cold Des Moines 140-255

Got back to PDI at 315pm.

Total miles 515 (was scheduled for 482)

Drive line 9:25

On duty 5:45

Total paid hours was just a couple minutes short of 16 hours making it a $480 day.

I had only been to Norfolk once and that was my 2nd day with a trainer over a year ago. He took a bunch of different roads to get their and I decided to take a different way. I quickly learned why he didnt go the way I ended up taking. I knew there was a bridge with a permanent 36 ton weight limit and 10 foot width rrestriction but I didnt realize it was as sketchy as it was even with a 20 mph limit. 0212548001582762779.jpg thankfully I didnt meet any oncoming traffic on it. After that the speed limit went up to 65 on the 2 lane. It was so hilly that I didnt even feel comfortable doing 50 because I couldnt see over the hills. Thankfully it flattened out quite a bit after the first 50 miles and in that time I only seen 7 oncoming cars as it was about 330am. It was 110 miles to Norfolk from I29 at the Onawa exit which is where you'll see that wonderful bridge crossing the river into Nebraska.

When I got to the store the Hyvee produce driver was in the dock and the milk guy was pulling out of the other. I needed to sightside offset 2 lanes to get it into the dock between the rail to my left and the truck on the right.. 0584109001582761708.jpg

First backhaul was tight getting into, it required doing a 90 between concrete walls with only a foot or so space on each side.0545878001582762046.jpg it took a couple adjustments but I got it in. 0034336001582762210.jpg Henningsen Omaha had me dock in the door to the left (driverside) of the black truck. I had plenty of room to get it in as there weren't other trailers over there but space was limited to pull up straight. 0668104001582762450.jpg other than that the day went well. Views like this make you appreciate how good we have it not being cooped up in an office cubicle 0405344001582763624.jpg with the region I live in I'm very fortunate the traffic is often this non existent after I'm away from the big cities

This is where my journey took me. 3 hour 48 minutes from PDI to Norfolk

0524126001582765317.jpg

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

SAP:

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

1 thing I forgot to mention is although I was frustrated I did not show it. I offered to do what it takes to get the job done and make sure our customer is satisfied. The most irritating part about the entire ordeal is it ended up adding roughly 40 miles to my route. As I got close to where I picked up in Omaha I seen another 1 of our trucks that could have picked up the 2 pallets for me only .7 miles from where I was headed. He was sitting on the street waiting for a dock to open.. less than 1 mile away! Oh well, i made more money today than originally planned so I cant complain too much.

we're a team and it was my turn to step up to the plate and get it done

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Saturday was a long day! I couldn't sleep to save my life despite laying down at 5pm. I had taken a midnight departure with 1 store and a backhaul. I wasnt the happiest with the route I took but all the other routes I could choose from would've only been 9 hours. I think I only got a total of 2 1/2 hours of sleep. I Woke up at 10pm, out the door about 1030 to clock in at 11pm. I got out of the gate at 1140. It was 250 miles to my first stop in Peru Illinois. I surprisingly felt good but still stopped and grabbed a coffee on my way out of town. I ended up stopping in Walcott to get a quick 15 minute nap as well. This was only the 2nd time I've needed a nap before getting my store off but I really needed that. I ended up setting 3 alarms on my phone just in case I missed the first 2 😁. I guess I'm paranoid. After my nap I finished the drive with no issues.

Peru arrival 355am- 435

Rochelle Tyson 530-640

Back at PDI 1155am.

The dock at the Peru store is set up strange. This picture is a little outdated so it's not as bad but it's still a pain.

0900910001583080719.jpg ideally you'd be able to pull in where trailers are staged then offset but they're remodeling and have storage trailers there as well as roll off dumpsters. I've been here a few times and have done it several different ways but opted this time to pull into customer parking lot and back along the building to do about a 45 degree back into the dock between the storage trailer and building. If the parking lot was full or their was a lot of traffic I would have done it differently. That's one perk of delivering overnight. One big downside is it's often times much colder and it's harder to see you may be coming up on an icy patch. I'm thankful I haven't dealt with too much snow and ice covered roads this year. With temps in the 50s all week I'm hoping we're done but I doubt it. It always seems like March we get a single significant snow event. When I get to my stores I always get the dock plate put in before i use the restroom if needed so the store is aware I'm there. This time it worked out great, they started unloading me by the time I got back!

I was a little nervous going to the Tyson plant in Rochelle for a drop and hook due to the only other time I'd gone there. It is very tight and the pad number they gave me last time was in a terrible spot so my setup sucked. The pad I was assigned this time would've made it tight as well but there was another trailer already there so I put it in a different one. Still tight, but it only took me 3 pullups and GOAL instead of about 20. Either way both times I didn't hit anything and that's all I care about at the end of the day. Got my paperwork, found the loaded trailer, did inspections and headed on the other side of I-88 to take my 30 at the Loves truck stop. I only took a half hour of my hour break I get and hit the road. On long drive days (for me) I tend to split up the drive back. I'm getting old, I'm 30! About 20 minutes after getting back on the road I got a call from dispatch that went something like this. "Hey Rob its ***** what trailer did you pickup? P.O. # ****** right? Everything go ok with picking it up? Good, good, the warehouse is waiting on that product so please get back here as soon as possible. Drive safe but minimize stops on the way back so we can ship that product with the trucks going out this afternoon". I ended up stopping for a potty break about halfway back but was back on the road after grabbing a drink. When we get back to the yard we're assigned a pad number that pops up on a screen after it reads our trailer number. This time was no different but because they were waiting on me I called the warehouse office to find out what door they wanted it in. I figured there's no reason to drop it in a pad when it's going to be moved into a door right away. As soon as I set my brakes they locked it in and started unloading. Due to this being a hot load they will pay me the additional break even though I didnt take it as long as I document the reason. I clocked out 1230 after doing paperwork and post trip.

Total miles 563

Drive line 9:20

On Duty 2:45

Total paid hours 13.5 (plus 30 minute break)

0781939001583083221.jpg

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.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

As I got home on Saturday dispatch called me for my turn to pick my route for Sunday. I could pick from 11pm depart time going 575 for 2 stops in Madison WI or a couple 2am departs going about 250 miles. I took a 3 store 330am depart. It's a couple hours later than I prefer but with how tired I was it'd be a terrible idea to take the madison run knowing I hardly slept the day prior, had a few things I wanted to get done and I'd be starting my day exactly 10 hours after ending my previous shift to get out of the gate on time. Before bidding started they asked for 5 people to take the day off, only 4 people wanted it off so they sent out another text. Nobody called so dispatch asked me if I'd take it off when I turned paperwork in. I told him i wanted to work because I already had monday approved off. When he called me i told him the routes left don't look like fun and i should've taken the day off jokingly. I jumped in the shower right away and laid down and woke up about an hour later at 3pm to my kids shaking me telling me its wake up time. Got up, played with them, ate dinner, played some more then we all crawled into bed about 7. My wife said I was out instantly. I remember waking up 3 different times thinking i overslept because my clock said times I'm usually awake or already at work. However I felt much better! Woke up at 130am, out the door at 2 and clocked in making money at 230am. Did my usual morning routine and set out on my trip around 315am. I stayed in Iowa today and delivered Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids #5 and Coralville #2, with CR5 and Coralville 2 also requiring cleanup. All 3 DC's are assigned certain stores we cleanup. Regardless if its one our stores or not if it doesnt interfere with a backhaul if I have one. The way I see it is there's no reason to go back empty, or with less than a full load of empty pallets if I can help it. Typically it isnt very time consuming just load a couple stacks up and hit the road. Marshalltown had 2 stacks on the dock so I grabbed those and took off despite not being scheduled. Stores all came off easy but cleanup was time consuming at my last 2 stores. They're both high volume stores and in turn need to put the full stacks of empty pallets outside due to lack of space in their backroom.

Marshalltown 420- 450am

Cedar Rapids #5 630-800

Coralville #2 830-930

Back at PDI 1245pm.

I took my full hour break on the way back at a place I usually stop at when I go east. The Brooklyn IA Kwik Star MM 201. Always clean, plenty of pull through parking and good reasonable hot food if I'm hungry.

Cedar Rapids store only took me about 35 minutes to unload and the next hour was spent cleaning up. They had 7 stacks of pallets outside so instead of waiting an hour for a manager to come in that is forklift certified I pulled them all back inside using a pallet jack They also had 71 big garbage bags full of recycled plastic grocery bags that needed to go with me. That really irritated me, that store gets delivery atleast 3 times a week and each time its scheduled to clean up. Clearly the other drivers haven't done their job. I started grabbing them then 2 store employees came to help me. The only time I will not cleanup outside is if its pouring rain or if there's too much ice buildup I can't get the pallet jack out there and forklift cant get traction. If a certain task takes me longer to do I'm ok with that being paid hourly. With that being said I'm also not going to milk the clock. Unfortunately we have a few guys like that. It doesnt matter if it's a 250 mile 1 store run, or 500 miles and 5 stores they'll drag the day out to get 12 to 13 hours. I can only hope eventually they get caught, especially if they're not doing their job right. As I pulled into the coralville store the backroom manager was moving a pallet of ice melt with the forklift outside so I stopped and told him I'd be more than happy to take their empty pallets when I was unloaded. I will usually grab a hand jack and move them to the front as they load me up to maximize how many I take back. We ended up putting the last stack in sideways and I headed home with a full trailer of empty pallets, plastic bags for recycling and empty bread trays we take back to the bread company that makes our private label bread. It may seem weird that we're picking up plastic bags for recycling but Hyvee has a mission to significantly cut waste and wasted resources.

Total miles 269

Drive line 5:15

On Duty 4:30

Total paid hours 10:45

Continued....

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

0631359001583179694.jpg The only hard part of the day was docking at CR 5. Here I am backed into the dock

0690528001583178739.jpg This was taken from the street after unloading and closing my doors 0085916001583178628.jpg

It's not terrible if you're able to utilize that space. Sundays there are no vendors allowed to deliver to any stores so it's not a problem. During the week they typically park in there so you're backing in off the street which can get really difficult if the residents in nearby homes are parked on the street. I think if you had to back in off the street blindsiding would be easier than sight side due to placement of garbage cans and the fence. Unfortunately every road we could take to deliver here is marked not a truck route and another driver told me cops have been called for taking the road to blindside in. Here is an overhead of this dock area

0344412001583179604.jpg

After I got home we immediately loaded the kids up and went for a drive. We're looking at buying a house in the next couple months so we wanted to go check out smaller towns north of Ames. We're really considering buying in a town that would be a 40 mile one-way drive to work for me. Very reasonable housing in what appears to be great small town living. Went out to dinner at Red Robin, played for a bit and then all crawled into bed about 730pm. Unfortunately with everything going on I haven't been able to exercise like I've been trying to. I'm off Monday using a vacation day, regularly scheduled off tuesday so my next and last entry (for now) will be wednesday where I will also include what my pay was. I've had to stay out overnight with this job probably 8 times or so, and the amount of free time on my 10 hour break amazed me. Not every local home daily job will give you more free time than driving OTR.

OTR:

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

40 mile one-way after driving around at work? Sounds like a very long distance to me. Remember, you're not going to be young forever, so that drive is going to get old too, after several years.

I know all about long commutes to work five or six days a week.

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