Rookie Solo Driving Diary

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Noob_Driver's Comment
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Packrats diary has inspired me to start my own daily diary from the perspective of a rookie driver coming up on his 1 year solo mark in a few months.

A little bit about myself, I switched careers after working 18 years in retail management and could no longer stomach that job. I started school in February of 2019 at MTI in Richfield Wisconsin at a Millis Transfer sponsored school. Upon completion of the course and passing my CDL exams i started with a trainer in mid march. I completed the 15k miles required (actually did 24) and got my own truck in late May. I drive a 2017 Kenworth T680 with 437k miles. Ive been solo now for almost 7 months and learn something new daily and am constantly humbled by what i dont know. If this can help any rookies or people thinking about starting in this career on what to expect on the road it will be a success, also I would really like feedback from the veterans on how I can improve!

Day 1 back from hometime.

Got to the truck Sunday night so i could get a good nights sleep. My hometime ends on Monday but i live 2.5 hours from my home terminal where my truck is and rather than driving through Chicago in the AM its easier to sleep in the truck overnight.

Woke up at 5am and hit ready for dispatch to start my week. Got a load that was dropped at our Richfield terminal that had to be run up to Neenah Wi. No exact delivery time its a drop and hook so i took some time to shower and shave my head as well as run across the street to a quik trip for some essentials. By essentials i mean bagels and their salted caramel iced coffee which is nectar of the gods.

Get back to the truck around 6 am and go on duty for my pretrip. Then rolled over to the fuel island and topped off the tanks and rolled over to the loaded trailer line to find my trailer. Located my trailer and backed under it and switched to on duty drop and hook. Hooked up all my airlines and electrical then hit the light test button and grabbed my flashlight. Did a trailer inspection and finding no problems sent my loaded message on the QC. Driving out of the terminal i stopped and filled up on DEF and then was on my way.

I got to my final at 730 and checked in was given a door and backed in slid my tandems and dropped the trailer. Sent my empty messages on the QC and fired off another Ready for Dispatch message. Unfortunately they didnt have any emptys but we do alot of drop and hooks in the area so i didnt think Id have to go hunt at other locations for an empty.

My next load picks up across town and its preloaded so i head over and check in then drive to another yard to pick up my loaded trailer. Hook up and do another trailer inspection slide my tandems forward and shoot off my loaded message on the QC.

This load has a delivery appt tomorrow on the 26th at 9pm in Saratoga Springs NY. Just over 1k miles loaded. Pretty tight schedule and im starting the week running long hours again so i see another reset in my near future. I finished the day at the Commodore Perry service plaza on the Ohio turnpike. Will roll out at 430 am when my 10 is over.

556 miles today - 10hrs 22 min on duty -9hrs 34 min driving.

542 miles to go tomorrow. The reciever allows overnight parking so ill be staying there after i deliver.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

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.

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".

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.

PackRat's Comment
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That a gurl!

I knew you could do a diary, too!

smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

Noob_Driver's Comment
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Day 2.

Started my clock at 0430 with my pretrip. After a conversation yesterday with my diapatcher i asked if i could deliver early and he said it shouldn't be an issue so i sent an eta of 1530 and rolled out.

My fuel solution was Austinburg Ohio but looking at my fuel level i decided to skip it and use our terminal in Weedsport NY where i can also pickup some windshield fluid, coolant and some anti gel just in case.

Pulled into our terminal at 1145 and switched to on duty fueling and topped off the tanks. Switched to off duty and started my 30 min break, stopped in the shop and got what I needed.

After my break I headed back to I90 and headed east to my final in Saratoga Springs.

About an hour out i got a few messages which usually means a preplan so i pulled over at the next service plaza and checked my messages. Sure enough its my next load, a pickup at a beer distributor with Dunnage heading back to the miller brewery in Trenton Ohio.

I got to my final at 1530 and went to check in and to my suprise its a drop and hook! Ive delivered here 4 times prior and its always been a live unload and it can be a huge pain depending on what door you get.

0145426001582675429.jpg

I usually end up in one of the top docks which is a blindside, luckily today i dropped my loaded trailer up front and grabbed an empty.

After inspecting the new empty i sent my empty message on the QC.

My pickup tomorrow is at 10am and its 2.5 hours away from me and I only had 1.5 hrs left on my clock. I could stay where i was, they allow overnight parking but i wasnt really tired so i drove off my clock and parked at a rest stop 1 hr away from my pickup. Ill probably message diapatch early tomorrow to see of i can pick this up early.

Stats for the day: 10:42 min driving 11:20 on duty 599 miles

Unfortunately i wont make it to Trenton tomorrow to deliver so my question is should i use another 9+ hour driving day or split the difference and try to avoid a reset?

Oh and Turtle if your reading this, i drove past you DC in Johnstown and i know your from the area. Is there a better route to saratoga springs then to take highway 29? I hate going through fultonville.

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.

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.

Noob_Driver's Comment
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Sorry i missed a few days. Wasnt feeling well and had some rough days.

Day 3. 2/26

Was told no early pick up so waited until 830 am for my pretrip and got rolling.

Arrived at my shipper in New York Mills at 0945 and checked in.

They had no idea i was coming so i waited around for about 15 minutes until they figured it out.

Apparently return dunnage (bulkheads, spacers, pallets, empty and damaged kegs are generated automatically by miller several times a year. No pickup info available prior to you showing up, so it usually happens when you go to a distributor and you pull your trailer out and realize its loaded. This has happened to me in NY before.) Dispatch told me to send him a message when loaded so he can generate a load in the system with the info the distributor gives me.

Apparently dunnage ia also not a big priority so at 1300 i finally get loaded send all my info and wait 15 min for my dispatcher to create the trip for me.

Im not really feeling very well so i figure it best to shutdown early (mistake) and park at the TA in Erie Pa at 1630.

Drive time 6hrs

On duty 6.5 hrs

Miles 340

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.

Bulkhead:

A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Noob_Driver's Comment
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Day 4 2/27

Woke up to 6 inches of snow in Erie and icy conditions. Message dispatch im going to wait a bit for the roads to clear and plows to start salting. PA had a travel restriction on I90 for commercial vehicles for 45mph in the right lane only.

At 5am i start my pretrip seeing trucks moving along 90 pretty well from my spot in the lot. At 0515 i realize my breaks are frozen. After 45 min banging on drums with my sledge i get them free and start rolling.

Took my 30 at a pilot on I71 i know always has parking cant remember what town now.... Jeffersonville? Fired off a message to diapatch aasking if i can deliver a day early and then shut down to get sone rest and kick thia bug i have. Got the go ahead so staryed rolling again.

Arrived at the brewery in Trenton Ohio at 1300. They were crazy busy with the outbound scale line wrapped around the building which is probably 1/4 mile easy. Im feeling better i dont have to wait in that line to scale out with a load. I drop my trailer and check in with recieving send my empty messages and shoot over a message letting dispatch know im done for the day and heading to our terminal.

Arrived at the terminal at 1400 fueled did a post trip and was parked at 1420.

I was completley shocked by how many trucks ignored the speed and lane restrictions on 90.... I stopped counting after 25 and thats a ashort run from Erie to the state line with Ohio. The roads were bad too the left lane was way worse than the right but they coupd care less.

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.

Noob_Driver's Comment
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Day 4 numbers.

6.4 hrs driving

7.24 hrs on duty

350 miles.

Noob_Driver's Comment
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Day 5

Wake up feeling much better finally. Hit ready for diapatch at 4am. Get a beer load from the brewery in Trenton to a distributor in North Aurora il.

Start my pretrip at 0430 and get to the Brewery at 0450. Check in and get my trailer info and go looking. Find my trailer and hookup do a inspection and hop in the back to secure the load with straps. Slide my tandems to the 3 hole and head for the outbound scales.

Its a heavy load at 78.5k all the axles look good so i sign my paperwork and roll out at 0510.

Scale at the TA on I70 20 miles before Indiana and im all legal so i roll ahead.

Arrived at my reciever at 1140 am and checked in. Theyre all on lunch so a driver for them tells me to pick an open spot between docks 1 and 5. Hit the dock and wait.

Unloaded at 1315 and hit ready for dispatch. Dispatcher asks for a favor... Quick across town run, pick up a trailer at a heartland drop yard in Romeoville and run it across town for delivery then go up to carol stream for a load to ames iowa then pickup in Ames Iowa on a load to Lithia Springs Ga. That sounds pretty good! Easy drop and hooks in iowa and Ga.

So this drop lot is a disaster. Some logistics company runs it and we lease space. Check in at security Gotta slide tandems all they way back prior to entering. Then check in again with the office give your info again then drive around again drop your empty hook to your load and leave. I drop my 17 series (thats important) and grab my trailer and head out at 1424. Guy at the gate is screaming at security who is screaming at him so i sit and wait 20 more minutes in line to leave at 1444.

Get to the reciever at a 1511 and check in. They tell me your appt was at 1300. I apologize and explain i wasnt dispatched until 1330. Sge said we will get to you when we can and gave me a door. Finally unloaded at 1845, my 14hr clock is shot, my iowa to georgia preplan has been pulled. I PC to the I55 truckstop and park for the night at 1900.

Message my dispatcher and get a similiar load to ames iowa for pickup at 11am on saturday. Notes say must have 17 series or newer trailer...... I have a 15. I sent a message pointing this out and told him i just dropped a 17 earlier in the day and i will grab it in the am.

7.4 hrs driving

8.34 hrs on duty

384 miles.

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".

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.

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.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
Oh and Turtle if your reading this, i drove past you DC in Johnstown and i know your from the area. Is there a better route to saratoga springs then to take highway 29? I hate going through fultonville.

Sorry, I missed this the other day.

There really isn't a better way to get to Saratoga from the West unless you just stay on 90 all the way to 87 and go up from there. Adds a few miles but it's easier.

Once you get through Fultonville and Gloversville it's smooth sailing on 29. Nice scenery.

Noob_Driver's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Oh and Turtle if your reading this, i drove past you DC in Johnstown and i know your from the area. Is there a better route to saratoga springs then to take highway 29? I hate going through fultonville.

double-quotes-end.png

Sorry, I missed this the other day.

There really isn't a better way to get to Saratoga from the West unless you just stay on 90 all the way to 87 and go up from there. Adds a few miles but it's easier.

Once you get through Fultonville and Gloversville it's smooth sailing on 29. Nice scenery.

It gorgeous up there but that tight right turn is annoying onto Main st. I feel bad for you having to make it so often.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
that tight right turn is annoying onto Main st.

I've done it so many times I don't even notice it anymore lol. There's always plenty of room

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