PackRat's 2020 Daily Driving Diary

Topic 27353 | Page 4

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PackRat's Comment
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9 January 2020

Kind of a bust today. Started out early this morning from the TN rest stop around 0530, after a thorough pre trip. Cruised about 200 miles, until I started getting the warning to do a regeneration on the motor before Nashville on I-40 westbound. Stopped at a rest area, then ran a parked regen cycle for about 40 minutes until the error code cleared itself.

*NOTE* When doing a parked regeneration on your truck, make sure you park on a solid surface, free of debris and not over anything combustible. The exhaust temperature can exceed 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, which will easily start a fire.

Sometime after rolling again, I started to develop a migraine headache, which destroys me completely, especially driving. So I let dispatch know my predicament. I stopped at a rest area near the TN and KY border on I-24 near Clarksville, TN. Met another relay driver and swapped this load to him for delivery around 1400.

Afterward, jumped into the sleeper and tried not to move or make any noises for several hours. Headache has now mostly passed, and currently waiting for the next dispatch.

Sometimes you're the bug instead of the windshield....


Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

PackRat's Comment
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10 January 2020

Received my next planned load dispatch yesterday morning there near Clarksville around 0800. Was to drive deadhead 145 miles to Jackson, TN to be live loaded. Arrived at the shipper at 1240, checked in, backed in the dock and started that process. Loading complete, checked over all the BOLs and rolling by 1400.

This load is only 13,000 lbs of product, going 465 paid miles to a Home Depot DC in Joliet, IL. It's a drop off and cannot arrive before 0001 on Sunday, 12 January.

I drove from the shipper on many back roads in TN and KY before finally making my way back to I-24 near the KY and IL border. Since the rIn and wind were really beginning to gain strength, I stopped at the first rest area in IL to check out the weather radar around 1645. Looking at several sources I used, including watching the local TV station news and weather reports, I decided to stay there over night. Luckily, I parked when I did, because overnight the area of my trip received anywhere from four to seven inches of rain, huge winds, and even tornado warnings. When in doubt stop and park.

Yesterday, we logged about 265 paid miles driving for 5.5 hours, and 0.5 hours On Duty totaling 6.0 hours to return on recaps next week.


To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.


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.

PackRat's Comment
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11 January 2020

I left that rest area in Southern, IL yesterday morning around 0700 and started driving north on I-57. Immediately encountered big wind and choppy gusts, which always lends itself to a highly anticipated, fun-filled day when hauling a 12,600 lb load in the trailer.....NOT!

*NOTE* If you can legally do so, adjust the trailer tandems as wide as possible in high winds to add more stability. Keep in mind this decreases your maneuverability when turning at intersections, though.

Traveled north until nearly at my destination of Joliet, IL. However, after rain and wind all day, the temperature had progressively dropped throughout the day. At 0700 when I started further south, the temp had been 56 degrees, but once I reached Wilmington, IL, it was 32 degrees. The rain that had been falling was becoming freezing rain and sleet, so I chose to stop 11 miles before the delivery, do a ten hour break, then evaluate the roads at 0100 on Sunday, 12 JAN. When I did peek outside then, it was an icy mess, and still precipitating, temps had dropped to 24 degrees and the winds were still moving the tractor around where I sat at the Petro. I remained in my bunk after sending dispatch a update on the weather. Since I had until noon on Sunday to deliver, I was not worried about a late message. Always keep your dispatch up to speed on what's going on: sick, weather, traffic, breakdown, zombies, whatever. Communicate what's happening on your end. Don't assume they know because they don't. Some of these dispatchers are watching from 40 to 125 trucks during their shift.

So for Saturday, I drove a whopping 320 paid miles in 5.5 hours, and utilized 0.5 hours On Duty time for a total of 6 hours. That time will return magically next week as my recaps gift from the ELD gods.

Notice that I drove the same amount the past two days (5.5 hours), but had more miles on Saturday. The reason? All Interstate driving on Saturday, whereas Friday had been over 120 miles on secondary roads throughout TN and KY.

More posts tomorrow gang....


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 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".


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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Missed yesterday! We'll bring everything up to date with this one.

12 January 2020

Got back up around 0430 to check out the weather at the Wilmington, IL truck stop. I saw some other trucks rolling out, so I figured I could make it less than 10 miles to the delivery in Joliet. Drove about 35 - 45 mph to the final for that drop. Hardest part was finding an empty trailer, which took about 30 minutes.

Got the next dispatch to drive DH about 2.5 miles away to a drop yard we use to grab a relay load already there. Found it easily fir the swap, then back rolling again in under a half hour. Instructions were to drive north 246 miles to deliver in Adam's, WI anytime after 0700 the following morning (Monday). So I headed to the Petro in Portage, WI to park.

Driving time on Sunday was only 215 miles for 4.4 hours, with 0.9 hours On Duty for a total of 5.3 hours off the 70 hour clock.



Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

13 January 2020

Got up around 0500 at Portage to open the curtains on 5" of new snow from the night before. Since I watched the weather, not unexpected and I was ready for a slow drive. Got going and drove the 40 miles to Adam's for the delivery in about an hour and a half. Mostly two-lane roads that had not seen a lot of plows yet. Checked in at 0710, unloaded and set for the next one before 0800. Doesn't take long to unload seven giant rolls of paper at Westrock.

The next dispatch had me heading east to Menasha, WI to pick up seven more giant rolls of paper to take back south to Jackson, TN. Hmmm.....deja vu in reverse! Had to get to the shipper 86 miles away ASAP, but before noon. Made it into the dock at 1020, loaded and rolling again before 1215. The delivery is set for 0800 on 15 JAN, so plenty of time to drive the 675 miles. I stopped at the TA in Janesville, WI for my extended break. Mainly to get a good parking spot early AND catch a nap before the College Football Championship Game started at 2000 CST. No nap, but I did listen to LSU win their 16th game!

For Monday, I only drove 260 miles in 5.6 hours (snow), and had 0.5 hours On Duty for 6.1 hours total. Slow and safe, plenty of time, no need to push it so I didn't.

*Funniest thing I've seen this month so far. I was going through some small town in WI and saw two marked police cars sitting in the drive thru line at a Dunkin Donuts. Classic cops stereotype! Wish I had a picture.



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.


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.

PackRat's Comment
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14 January 2020

Got up and did my pre trip starting at 0420 this morning in Janesville, WI at the TA. Foggy and 36 degrees, but no ice. Nice! No issues, so on the Interstate heading south towards my next fuel stop 215 miles away in Decatur, IL. Stopped there around 0900 for fuel for the truck, then my 30 minute break.

Continued rolling southward after that until earlier this afternoon when I parked at a rest stop on I-24 at the IL and KY state borders.

Only big thing today was seeing how high the Kaskaskia River is running in southern IL. I was on one state road that had water just coming over the surface, and debris strewn everywhere in spots. I've never seen it this high this century. I saw it over the levees in many places, so I'm sure houses and structures downstream are flooding. I feel bad for the farmers in IL and WI. Too much water everywhere.

Today I drove for 420 miles in 8.3 hours, using up 0.5 hours On Duty for a total of 8.4 hours for the recaps next week.


Here's a picture of the river at flood stage.


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

PackRat's Comment
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15 January 2020

Got up this morning at 0430 for the pre trip inspection at that rest stop in Illinois to heavy fog and misting rain. Prelude of what I would have nearly all day today- liquid sunshine. Got moving and drove the rest of the way to the consignee for my 0800 live unload of the giant paper rolls. Easy unload in under an hour. Bonus!

The next dispatch was to drive 48 miles south from Jackson, TN to Middleton, TN for the next live loading. Only problem I saw was the appointment time was to be at 1430. Remember that I started my clock at 0430, and it's now 0900. I can be there hopefully by 1030 at the latest. So I arrive and go check in with the shipping office lady, explaining my situation and how great it would be to load earlier. No problem, she tells me. End result was I was loaded and weighed, sealed, and checked out at 1330, an hour before my scheduled arrival time. Glad I got there early, and it never hurts to ask about getting loaded or unloaded early. Sometimes they actually say YES! The load is 43,380 lbs of minerals from their mine, heading to just southeast of Dallas, TX for a 0800 live unload on Friday. 580 total paid miles and lots of time to get there.

Since there is so much time on this one ( like every load so far this month), I drove westward past Memphis, then merged onto my main route for this run- I-40. Just across the line in AR, I parked at one of the truck only parking areas.

For today, I drove 272 miles in 5.8 hours (fog and backroads for slow going), and used 0.4 hours On Duty time for a 6.2 hour total. Not many miles or hours each day, but making all the appointments on time. Hopefully, the sales people are beating the bushes before Spring arrives. I've been out six weeks as of today, and this has been the slowest I've ever seen it for driving.

Continued tomorrow....


The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

16 January 2020

Got up this morning to more overcast and mist at that truck parking area. Overnight, several other trucks created their own parking spots, so it was a bit tricky leaving this morning at 0530. After driving west on I-40 to North Little Rock, I stopped for 95 gallons of fuel to top the tanks. That put me at around 78,500 lbs total. Glad that AR and TX are generally flat.

Got off of I-40 onto I-30 just west of LR for the remainder of the days drive. Saw the sun for about 10 minutes before the clouds, rain, and wind gusts returned from the west. I noticed just after lunchtime that the few truck stops on my route were beginning to fill up, so I stopped about 85 miles short at a Pilot in Sulphur Springs, TX. 85 miles remain to the scheduled unload tomorrow at 0600 in Seagoville, TX.

For today I drove 370 miles in 6.1 hours (all Interstate for a change), and used 0.4 hours of On Duty time totaling 6.5 hours to gain back next week on recaps.

As I wrote that it's been a very slow period, after looking at my notes, I have been out this time for six weeks. For DEC 2018 I had 9890 paid miles, and so far only 3784 miles this month. Grand total for this period is only 13,574. This same period in 2018/2019, I had 20,046 miles, plus seven days off in there, so really only five weeks.

The journey continues tomorrow.....


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

17 January 2020

Yesterday, I got up early to drive the remainder to the 0600 delivery in Seagoville, TX. Got there, checked in , called to dock, unloaded, etc with no problems. Complete at 0704and waiting for the instructions for the next one.

The next trip was to drive 20 miles through Dallas Friday morning traffic in the rain to get to the next shipper for a live load. Fun times, especially when construction zones are added in. Arrived at 0828 and departed at 1038 with a heavy load of Alfalfa horse food pellets, bound for a Tractor Supply DC in Waco, TX (one of our biggest corporate customers). This drive was just under 100 Mike's south, with an open time window. Got there and was told to "drop it anywhere you you can find an empty slot in the lot". There were at least 200 trailer spots there, but only two that were open, so I used one. Very tight backing here, with minimal room to the front, so lots of pull ups and small movements -- a real geometry puzzle for some of the spots.

Dropped that successfully, then sent in all the required messages on the PeopleNet. I knew my next trip was originating from this same DC before arriving, so no need to find an empty trailer. The information came through eventually, and I went to the opposite side of the building to find my preloaded trailer. After hooking to it, and doing a trailer pre trip, we go inside to get our paperwork. Normally the only humans we interact with here is the guard at the gate. I could not locate my paperwork inside after looking through every box with the BOLs TWICE, so I walked back to the trailer to check the nose box. Maybe it's in there? Nope! Back I go inside to see if I can locate somebody. After more than an hour, I finally got somebody, then he told someone, that then found a supervisor. After another 90 minutes, I was on my way out the gate. This load goes to another Tractor Supply DC, 1406 miles away, in Hagerstown, MD to be dropped off on Monday.

Since my clock was running down, and it still being a rainy Friday afternoon, I decided to park about five miles away at a truck stop I spotted on my way in. Best part is there is a Harley Davidson dealer next door, and I can never have too many tshirts. After buying only two, I returned to the truck for food and sleep.

For Friday, I used 4.5 hours Driving 235 miles, and 0.7 hours On Duty, for a total of 5.2 hours.



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.


Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

18 January 2020

Got up and going this morning from a Flying J near Waco, TX. More rain, of course, but at least it's not snow. 0230 was the perfect time to negotiate my way around Dallas, so traffic was predictably light. Thankful that I've had very little wind with this 15,000 lbs load in the trailer.

Today, I'm splitting the day up, so I drove 430 miles in 7.1 hours to this point. I am now parked at a Petro truck stop in North Little Rock, AR for my 10 hour break. The plan is to get going sourheast again around 2200. Checking out the weather radar, the big storm is now in front of me, so I am more than happy to just follow it along. My plan is to stop near here for fuel at a Love's across the street, then drive to just east of Knoxville, TN for another break.

Continued posts tomorrow....

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