Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Topic 27910 | Page 15

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Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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So I’m back at home again for the 4th. My last home time before the final leg. I’m sitting on about 35,000 miles into TNT. So about 3 to 4 weeks left after I go back out on the road. Packrat is heading into town and we (my wife) will meet him later today. And no jokes/deception this time. Just straight forward updates.

June 28, 2020: Day off; Hanging with Turtle

I wake up about 0700 and check my phone to see how far we are from the Loves in Canaan, NY. So guess where we are? Anybody. Buehler, Buehler? That’s right I-86. The I-86 route was about 40 miles longer, so I text Turtle to let him know we’ll be about an hour later. I lay my head down for a while, but then realize I’m not going back to sleep. So I get up, put my clothes on, make the lower bunk, and open the curtains. We’re on a two-lane narrow road with no shoulder. wtf.gif . Instead of just staying on I-86, my trainer headed north to connect to I-390 which would get us back on I-90. I text Turtle to let him know we will be more like two hours late. The next day when I checked the Qualcomm , the trainer added 70 miles to the trip.

We get to the Loves and Turtle rolls up on his “big two wheeler” as Bob Seeger says. So he gets to see my trainer back into the spot. I’ll let Turtle comment on my trainer’s backing skills.

Meet and greet all around. Then Turtle and I go to the “Welcome Center” inside the Love’s which is a room with two benches, but then move out to a picnic table next to the dog park so we can sit across the table from each other.

Now my admiration for Turtle is no secret. His advice has always been spot on and his mentorship has helped me maintain my positive attitude. But sometimes meeting your hero can be disappointing.

It was the exact opposite with Turtle. He is one of the most genuine persons I have ever met. TT preaches humility as a key to success. Despite his success at Prime, as reported on this Forum, and exceling among his fellow drivers at WMPF, a prestigious position, his self-deprecating “I’m just an ole redneck” and his body language showed that his humility is more than just lip service. In fact, he didn’t even know that he had been driver of the month in the flatbed division while at Prime. And despite his prestigious position as a WMPF driver, he does not come across as an elitist. Rather, when he mentioned he has experienced, first hand, the respect he gets as a WMPF driver, he just stated it as matter of fact. And he told me (not in this conversation), that he hesitated to post his WMPF pay numbers, because he didn’t want to sound like a braggart. While he’s definitely more than “just an ole redneck,” he seems to be content with his career in trucking. As he has mentioned on this forum, he sometimes misses flatbedding and the OTR adventure. He’s got his short-term and long-term goals. But he really seems content with how things have turned out for him. He doesn’t pretend to be someone other than a WMPF driver nor did he even express any desire for higher aspirations. Rather, his seemingly simple life seems to be fulfilling for him.

So much for my Turtle man crush.

After several weather delays, Turtle headed out and I called my wife just to hear her voice.

Call it a night early because we’re up again early for tomorrow’s delivery.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

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.

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.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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June 30, 2020; Deliver slinkies to Greenfield, IN; pick up preloaded building materials; Havertown, PA.

The receiver opens at 7:00, but as usual, they’re knocking on our door the first thing after they get into work. This place is smaller than a place like Georgia Pacific, but we still pull into the building for unload. They weighed each slinky as they pulled it off and soon we’re sending our empty message to wait for another load. It’s Tuesday and my trainer wants to get back to Alabama by Thursday.

We get a load of building materials going to Havertown, PA. G-town’s stomping grounds. But not the ideal location to get me to St. Louis or him to Mobile, Alabama. We take the load anyway.

We pick it up and head to a TA near Havertown, PA for the night. It’s close to Philly and we’re getting in late at night, so I’m thinking parking will suck.

I get in late and do a circle around the lot. Sure enough, no free parking spaces and there’s a euro style deliver van parked in a full length truck spot. A**hole, I say to myself. I go down the aisle of reserved spaces and there are several open. They’re angled parking spaces, but all blind side backs. I pull up next to a spot under a light so I have good visibility, exhale, and pull forward to get set up for my blind side back. My set up stinks. Instead of trying to fix it from there, I decide to make a loop around the lot and try it again. When I'm pull along the same free parking aisle I had just left, I see the euro style delivery van is gone. “Yes.” Angled, parking, adequate space on my passenger side, piece of cake. Although, I am still waiting to long to chase it and had to pull up again.

My trainer wakes up after I’m logging into the sleeper berth. Again, nice to sleep in a stationary truck.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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Forgot June 29:

June 29, 2020: Deliver to lumber supply; Pickup slinkies

We deliver to a building supply place early. There a few other flatbeds there but not so many that we have to wait. This place, like other receivers, has “flatbed parking spaces.” Unlike dry van where you back into docks, the “flatbed parking spaces” are lined out in the yard and spaced out enough so the forklift can access both sides of the trailer. My trainer parks in one and we remove the tarps and straps. After we’re standing there waiting, one of the forklift driver’s who has been zooming around unloading other flatbeds, stops and apologizes that it is taking so long to get us unloaded. No biggie. As I’ve said before, we’ve never really had to wait that long.

While we’re waiting another flatbedder comes over to talk to my trainer. They are talking about chaining methods. So far, my experience has been that there is a camaraderie among flatbedders where they will talk “shop” and share tips and tricks.

Before long, we’re unloaded and headed out for our next load of slinkies from Nucor Steel in Connecticut. My trainer lets me do most of the coil rack set up. And while I’m waiting for the forklift operator to load the coils I talk to the flatbedder in front of me who has Prime steel tarps and I find out that terminal rats are not just in the terminals.

He says he spent 6 months at Prime, as a lease operator. He says to me “now I don’t want to rain on your parade, but all these good miles you’re getting with your trainer are going to end when you go solo.” He proceeds to tell me (Old School you can skip this part) about how he didn’t get good loads and dispatch didn’t keep him running. That he thought he would have more control over the loads he ran. Blah, blah, blah. I tuned him out after a while and then as soon as I saw the forklift move toward our trailer, said “gotta go and make sure my coils are in the right spot.”

We got secured and headed out. Headed to Greenfield, Indiana. Along the way, in New Jersey I see a U-haul trailer jackknife wreck.

0513223001593799648.jpg

Then a little later, I see a car by the side of the road, with a woman walking away from the car and road. As I get close, I see what looks to be a 6 year old boy, towheaded and pasty while, with his pants and underwear around his ankle, He has his t-shirt pulled up to his neck. It was obvious that he was peeing and was going to make sure that no pee got on his clothes.

The rest of the drive was uneventful. My trainer got there late at night after he took over so we got to sleep in a stationary truck.

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.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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July 1, 2020: Deliver to Havertown PA; Pick up Charlotte Pipe

Up early and off to the building site. Now, as I’ve mentioned before, we don’t really bump docks. And usually our instructions on where to park to unload are “somewhere in the middle so I can access both sides of the trailer.” This building site was the polar opposite. Just getting there was a challenge with the tight streets. And they had no space on site to park a box van let alone a 53’ trailer because the construction covered the entire site. Rather we had to park in the entrance to an automotive repair place. They unloaded us through the gate to the building site. See the picture below.

0084761001593800273.jpg

And we had to pull forward twice so they could access the middle and rear of the trailer through the gate.

Afterward, we had to pull forward to turn around on the automotive repair place parking lot. See the picture below.

0636338001593800355.jpg

My trainer didn’t hit anything, at least not turning around in the parking lot that is.

After we headed out, got our next Charlotte Pipe load going to Greenville, SC. Off to Muncy, PA to pick up the pre-loaded trailer.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, I don’t want this to be a trainer rant diary, but an incident did happen. I’d rather not tell, but here’s a hint: the catch phrase of the moderator in whose area we had just delivered.

On the way toward Greenville, we are figuring out options to get me home, swinging through St. Louis in the truck is not an option. Final plan is that I will fly out of Greenville-Spartanburg airport at 7:25 a.m.

I get in about 0400. Another angled parking job while my trainer is asleep. Rather than trying to sleep for an hour and a half and get up, I just have my trainer take me straight to the airport.

Fly home and get some sleep. I’ll be heading out again next Wednesday or Thursday.

In the home stretch at that point.

TWIC:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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So my mentor and I had a text exchange referencing Queen songs. And I've always been a fan of song parodies, ala Weird Al Yankovic.

And since I've gotten feedback that people enjoy my diary, I figured I'd push my luck.

Flatbedder's Rhapsody (a Bohemian Rhapsody Parody)

0434571001593802011.jpg0877188001593802051.jpg

PackRat's Comment
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Not making it today. Sorry Rob.

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
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Not making it today. Sorry Rob.

No worries.

I'm glad you're safe. It's a testament to your driving skill.

Turtle's Comment
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Thanks for the kind, Rob. What you see is what you get with me. Give me a few Heiney Lights, a guitar, and a bonfire and you might see my inner crazy come out.

Speaking of crazy...

That song...omg. I not ashamed to admit I literally LOL'd when I read it. Yup, you're turning into a trucker...

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.
Old School's Comment
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Rob, that Flatbedder's Rhapsody is awesome!

Your hooked - it's obvious now!

Excellent entries... your diary is great!

Delco Dave's Comment
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Havertown is real close to my house, my stomping grounds as well!! Curious... are your loads going to the addition they are building to the elementary school near the intersection of Eagle Rd & Lawrence road?? Thats the only large construction job I recall seeing in Htown lately

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