FedEx Freight Driver Apprentice

Topic 25933 | Page 12

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Banks's Comment
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I woke up Saturday morning to a phone call. The guy on the other end said "Hey, we have a FedEx ground run if your interested." I said "sure, text me the info".

I got the FedEx ground terminal I'm starting at and where I'm going. That's all the info they had for me.

I start going through my FedEx contacts to see who has done this before and I got a hit. He tells me you do to our hub pick up a tractor and go to ground. At ground you pick up an empty 53 footer and go to this warehouse. Drop the empty and they'll give you a BOL for a full one. Once you get to the other ground terminal pick up another empty and drop it at the original ground terminal and bobtail back.

Just my luck I get to my hub and the guy I texted calls me. He says to wait for him because he's on his way to the hub, we have the same run. The only difference is the final ground terminal but we're picking up empties and the same terminal and picking up trailers at the same warehouse.

This worked out great because I would've been lost without the help. I would've figured it out, but it would've taken a lot longer. I know it would have because I was completely lost when I got to end terminal and I had no idea what to do. I called him up and he walked through it.

The biggest issue I had with this run was that it was unexpected and scheduled for 2230. I slept though the night and I had trouble taking naps.

This was the longest run I've had yet. I finished the day with around 550 miles. I got back to my hub with 52 minutes left on my clock and a flat tire on my car. After all of that, I had to change a tire.

The funniest part of this is that FedEx ground will not allow a contractor to hire me because I don't have enough experience. The irony.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

PackRat's Comment
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That's a bunch of miles spur of the moment, especially for a driver not used to it. Nice work!

Banks's Comment
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That's a bunch of miles spur of the moment, especially for a driver not used to it. Nice work!

Thanks PackRat. It was exhausting, but the thought of not completing it never crossed my mind. Taking a nap would have definitely been a temptation if I had a sleeper lol.

Banks's Comment
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A lot of you reference this Murphy fella and up until this week, I thought he was a myth.

Monday and Tuesday were normal dock days. Wednesday started out the same and then I ran into Murphy.

At 0400 I get called to road dispatch. Nothing abnormal about that. When I get there they say "we need you to go to North Newark and then to West long island. Take this West long island and an empty to Newark. When you get there drop the empty and they're going to give you another West long island trailer".

My response was "it's 4 in the morning, do you know the traffic in going to hit out there". Dispatch said "I know it sucks, but we have some guaranteed shipments we have to get there ASAP". Translation: you don't have a choice, get moving.

I hook up as quick as possible, did a quick pretrip and brake test and head out. On the drive there I'm thinking ahead. I'm hoping that my trailer at Newark is lighter than the lead I have now so I don't have to break down the entire set. When I got there, the trailer I was picking up was heavier and that had to be my lead trailer. I break down my set and put together the new set and take my 30.

I head out to West Long Island and I got a little lucky. I didn't hit any traffic on the George Washington Bridge or the Cross Bronx Expressway. I did hit a ton of traffic on the LIE (I 495). I got to the hub broke down my set and had a spotter put the trailers away. I went into dispatch to find out what I'm taking back and she says 2 empties. I forgot I had my gloves on and pulled the paperwork out of my pocket. They were covered in thick grease and she said to just throw them out. After a million apologies I went back out to hook up another set. I hook up and put the trailer info into my handheld. The handheld says my rear trailer has freight in it. It doesn't because I checked it before hooking it, but the computer won't let me take it. I had to break down this set and do it again. Before hooking I put the trailer info into the handheld to make sure it'll let me take them. I hook up and leave West Long Island with 4 hours left on my 14.

I wasn't so lucky this time around. Usual long island traffic, a break down on the GWB and construction on I80. I made it back to the hub with 45 minutes left on my clock. I post trip, break my set, put the trailers away, fuel and park my tractor. 3 minutes left on my clock. I did a whole 260 miles that day.

After all of this, I had errands to run. Prior engagements that could not be put off. This is the the warning I give everybody getting into this with the thought of being home more. I had a full 14 hour work day and things to take care of after work. I went home, showered and went to bed. I slept 5 hours before having to wake up to go back to work.

Friday I get called into road dispatch. I instantly think to myself "I'm not doing that again" and I head over. They tell me they me to go to Newburgh. Simple enough, 100 miles there and 100 back. No, it's not simple. It took me 3 hours to leave the yard. First I couldn't find my tractor. They issue me a spare that happens to be a manual. I'm spoiled, I'm not taking a manual. I take the manual and drive around the yard to find the tractor I was initially assigned. I find it sitting in a corner. A sweet auto shifting kenworth. Time to hook up. I go grab a dolly, drop in front of my tail and go get my lead. When I go to hook the set, the dolly isn't locking on the kingpin. It goes into the locked position, but it's not locking. Forget it, don't feel comfortable with the dolly. I park my lead and take the dolly to maintenance to put it out of service. I grab another dolly and hook my set. When I go to hook my airlines the entire glad hand connection popped off my lead trailer. I don't have a handheld so I can't start my delay clock. At this point I would go to my hourly rate of pay until this issue is resolved. I go grab a spotter to take the trailer to maintenance and they take about half an hour to fix it. Once it's fixed, I hook up and call Central to get my delay pay. Unfortunately, I tried to insert the delay pay after everything was done and since it was being processed I had to wait so they can edit it. Now it's time to head out. I got to Newburgh with no issues. At Newburgh, I have to park the trailers and then I go to dispatch. They tell me I'm taking empties back. I didn't learn my lesson in long island and I hook up without running the trailer numbers. Sure enough, my tail is coming back as not empty. I just went back in and told dispatch what was going on and they were able to switch the status to empty. I take my 30 and head out.

Driving back it was really windy. Driving with a set of empty doubles in the wind is not fun. I had to slow down considerably and put my hazards on until I got passed it. Once I got passed it, it started raining hard. A drive that's normally 2 hours long took almost 3.

This week was loaded with challenges. There were some mixed love and hate feelings all the way around. I didn't volunteer for runs this weekend because it's supposed to snow. I'll sit that out and enjoy my time at home.

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.

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Sorry, but I really enjoy reading these because its the same problems I have had, just a different name on the door.

Empty sets in the wind are a ton of fun, not sure if you can do it but this past Thursday it was pretty windy so I asked dispatch of they had anything with weight I can take back. Unfortunately they didn't have anything this but I have asked in past and they found me something I could take instead of having empties.

Good call on avoiding snow if at all possible especially for your first winter. Don't try to impress everyone by running in it, 2 years ago when I started they where calling for snow and my dispatcher said only 2 out of 38 drivers ran and 1 of them ended up in a ditch. Your license and safety is more important.

Keep up the stories coming! I feel your pain lol

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.
G-Town's Comment
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Banks I know you had a tough week...but Man, you are a truck driver now. You handled all that they had to throw at you like a seasoned pro.

By the time I finished reading your latest post, I was smiling. Some may have “read” difficulty, I read triumph!

Great Job!

Banks's Comment
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I volunteered for a Thanksgiving run. The run was on Friday and I didn't have anything going on, so I jumped on it. The pay structure for a paid holiday off is exactly the same as it always is. Miles and tasks (,drop, hook, fuel etc), but in addition to that I get paid the 8 hours I would get for staying home.

I had 2 options, go to Ohio (I forget the city) or go to Newburgh, NY to New Haven, CT and back home. I chose the latter. Although it was less miles, I didn't want to drive out west and hit snow. I definitely didn't want to do that with a 600 mile run. I've been to Newburgh a bunch of times, nothing new there and no stories about it.

I've never been to New Haven, not even in a POV. FedEx usually does a good job in giving directions via the handheld. The directions are usually vague, but it lays out the route they want you to take so it'll say something like "take 84E to CT, exit 8 to 95N". Not a lot of info, but enough. Since I've never been to New Haven, I wrote the directions down on a piece of paper and attached it to the sun visor. I left Newburgh and headed up in that direction.

I don't know if I read the directions wrong or if they were just wrong, but on the drive it didn't feel right. That's the only way I can explain it. I felt like I was going the wrong way so I pulled into a text stop (that's what NY calls a rest stop). Fortunately, it was empty. These stops are usually overflowing into the shoulder with trucks. I looked at the map on my phone and I knew I did something wrong somewhere. I had to figure out a new way to get there and so I looked at all the main roads. The only one that made sense to me was exit 10 off of 84 to route 25. That would take me straight to 95.

I got off at exit 10 and my anxiety was through the roof. Palms sweaty and my heart racing, I went for it. Eventually, I hit a roundabout. This had to be the smallest roundabout I've ever seen and to top it off it had a huge light pole right in the middle. I stop to examine it because I'm pulling 2-28 foot trailers and I want to make sure I can get around it. I pull all the way to the right and then swing left talking up the entire road and just squeezing by the pole. A little more luck on my side because there were markings for cars to park but no parked cars.

I take route 25 and my anxiety is still high because I don't know whats ahead of me. I feel better when I see a truck traveling in the opposite direction. Then I see a sign for a 7% downgrade and I know I'm good because there are trucker signs meaning it's ok for me to be here. I take this road straight down about 20 miles and then I finally hit 95.

I get to the New Haven terminal and this place is tiny. It looked like drivers were just dropping trailers wherever all weekend and this is going to suck. I had to break down my set on the street and I dropped my trailers wherever I could in the yard. I have to take empties back and I learned my lesson from last week. I punch the trailer numbers in my handheld first to make sure they're empty. I had to grab each trailer individually and pull them into the street to hook my set. Normally, I don't move my tail. I drop a dolly in front of it and hook it up to my lead. I didn't have the space to do that here and so I had to do it on the street.

I got directions on how to get home on my handheld. It says take 95 S to 80 W. I looked at the traffic overview and decided not to do that. The George Washington Bridge had delays going all the way back to white plains. Instead, I took the tappan zee. It was more miles that I didn't get paid for but a lot faster. My ETA was about 2 hours so I start driving and listening to my podcasts. The first one was an hour long. It finished and I'm still in Connecticut. That's how much traffic there was. Once I made it to the tappen zee, it was smooth sailing.

I got paid for 377 miles and I drove about 440 miles. It was also a 12 hour day. It was one of those days, but I learned a lot. I always try to get as much information as possible about a location I'm going to that I've never been to before, but that's hard to do on a holiday because there's nobody around and I don't want to call people and interrupt their family time.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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You are having ALL the fun!!!! shocked.png

(not jealous)

Banks's Comment
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You are having ALL the fun!!!! shocked.png

(not jealous)

Believe it or not, I'm having a blast lol

There's nothing like overcoming these challenges and having to figure these things out. In the moment it's frustrating, but when it's done I feel like "f**k yeah, I did it". That feeling makes it all worth it.

Rob T.'s Comment
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Keep up the great work.

There's nothing like overcoming these challenges and having to figure these things out. In the moment it's frustrating, but when it's done I feel like "f**k yeah, I did it". That feeling makes it all worth it.

That's a good way to look at it.

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