Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Topic 27910 | Page 1

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Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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When I first looked into trucking I thought it would be relatively easy and stress free. Driving around the country, alone and content, all the while enjoying the beautiful scenery of our awe-inspiring country. After researching trucking, I learned that my first impression about trucking was, quite frankly, delusional. I learned that maneuvering a 70+ foot vehicle on roads not designed for a building on wheels and backing that monstrosity into tight parking spots challenges even the most experienced driver. I learned that the extent of Federal and state regulations over trucking is overwhelming and the consequences of running afoul of those regulations can leave you unemployed, and maybe unemployable as a driver. I learned that each day truck drivers encounter similar but unique frustrations of traffic, hostile drivers, breakdowns, delays at shippers or receivers, lack of available parking, bad weather, DOT inspections, and many other things that I have yet to learn or experience. I now realize that picking up a load, moving it from point A to point B, and delivering it involves a lot more than turning the key, putting the truck in gear, and driving. And I have so much more to learn and experience, because I am writing this diary even before my first day of orientation at Prime in Springfield, Missouri.

But after all I’ve learned, I still want to pursue a career in trucking. Most of the reasons why I first looked into I still expect will come to pass, just not the delusional fantasy world that I envisioned in the beginning. I won’t list those reasons because everyone has opinions about everything and I want to avoid a debate. Some of my reasons go against conventional wisdom. The simple fact that I have chosen to leave a prestigious job with a six-figure salary to become a truck driver shows that I don’t always follow conventional wisdom. Suffice it to say that everyone has their own personal reasons for everything they do. My reasons to pursue trucking are as unique to me as my fingerprints. No one else has to agree with my reasons and no one else will suffer if my reasons are misguided. They are mine alone and I will accept full responsibility for all my decisions. I will say for sure that I don’t expect trucking to be easy. And I plan to follow the practical advice that the experienced drivers have shared on this website, in order to avoid the fate of those stubborn new drivers who failed, and, at best, left trucking forever on their own terms. I have committed to at least one year, which is the undisputed advice given to new drivers. If after that year, I haven’t gotten what I want out of trucking, I will find something else. Regardless, I will summarize at the end of this diary either my success or failure.

My primary goal above all else for this coming year is to maintain a positive attitude. As I have learned from Brett and others on this website, truck drivers seem to fall into two polarized camps. Those who let the frustrations of the job turn them into toxic people or those who take the challenges in stride and relish the freedom and adventure of trucking. I plan to focus on those things I want to get out of trucking. I intend to embrace the adventure of traveling the lower 48, seeing sunrises and sunsets, absorbing the beautiful scenery, and meeting provincial people across the country. I want to maintain my sarcasm and sense of humor. I hope to be able to share my frustrating experiences with a sense of amusement rather than bitterness. I intend to continue to quote movies, books, and poems. Many people may not appreciate my brand of humor but that’s okay. My personality, like my reasons to pursue trucking, is mine alone. If I can maintain a positive attitude, I expect that all of the other important goals of the first year of trucking will fall into place. My goal of maintaining a positive attitude and embracing the adventure of trucking stems from the fact that I refuse to fall in with the “mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation.” Rather, in the true spirit of the irony of another poem, I plan to follow the “road less traveled” by driving more than 100,000 miles of interstate.

So with that introduction, after a two week delay because the world has been shut down because of COVID 19, I am scheduled to begin orientation at Prime in Springfield, Missouri on April 6, 2020. I intend to drive flatbed. I already have my CLP , the hard card, with all the endorsements, which is valid through February 8, 2021. I intend to keep a detailed daily log of my driving. I may not post everyday, but I will summarize as much as I can when I do post. I intend to maintain a daily driving log and share links to that log, as well as a photo album, for those who want to see more than just the posts on this thread.

There you have it. The best laid plans of mice and men.

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.

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.

Interstate:

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I look forward to following along.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me The present only toucheth thee: But, Och! I backward cast my e'e. On prospects drear! An' forward, tho' I canna see, I guess an' fear!

-from "To a Mouse"

Better the devil you know...

Rob, you've spent enough time and due diligence researching this field, that I am absolutely certain you are entering with eyes wide open to the emotional turmoil that often comes with trucking. Knowing, at least in part, the common pitfalls of both training and solo learning will no doubt help you along the way.

truck drivers seem to fall into two polarized camps. Those who let the frustrations of the job turn them into toxic people or those who take the challenges in stride and relish the freedom and adventure of trucking.

Profound, and completely true. Keep a cool nature and level head. When things go awry, and they will, write it up as experience and move on.

Don't sweat the petty things, and don't pet the sweaty things.

It will be my pleasure to watch you progress. Good luck my friend, and stay safe.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

HtRedNeck's Comment
member avatar

Good luck, I am hoping to join Prime in the reefer division. I have to wait until the DMV opens to get my CLP in Nevada, though.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Bullitt_VW's Comment
member avatar

Im in the same situation with my state’s DMV.

Rob, all the best and good luck!

Good luck, I am hoping to join Prime in the reefer division. I have to wait until the DMV opens to get my CLP in Nevada, though.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

Im in the same situation with my state’s DMV.

Rob, all the best and good luck!

double-quotes-start.png

Good luck, I am hoping to join Prime in the reefer division. I have to wait until the DMV opens to get my CLP in Nevada, though.

double-quotes-end.png

I am so glad that I was proactive in getting my CLP before Coronageddon closed the DMV's.

As a little updated, my recruiter asked me to start orientation Wednesday rather than Monday. And being the good doobie that I am, I graciously agreed.

Looking forward to seeing both of your training diaries.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Rob, you know the things we teach, but you haven't experienced them yet. You've got the right approach. Expect to be tried beyond what would normally unsettle you. My first year was tough. Partially it was simply that I'm tough on myself. I'm an over achiever, and it seemed a thousand things rose up to resist my efforts on a daily basis.

I like to come out on top. I like winning. This really is a competitive field, but you don't always have clear sight of your competitors accomplishments. You've got to be above average to get the real benefits from trucking. That takes a lot of effort and commitment.

You need to be self motivated and very flexible. I juggle my schedule differently every week. I know what has to be done to be efficient. That took me several years to master, but it reaps rewards for me regularly. Once you've established yourself like that the folks in the office will rely on you heavily. That puts more responsibility on your shoulders and more money in your coffers.

I'm looking forward to following along with your journey.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bird-one's Comment
member avatar

Looking forward to following along in your journey man. No luck needed. You got this.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

I too look forward to following your journey.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Today is the day, Rob. Warm wishes and best of luck to you. Knock it out of the park, and know that all of us here at TT are behind ya!

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