Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Topic 27910 | Page 19

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PackRat's Comment
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4-Ways and Triangles!

Banks's Comment
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According to Nancy, when the foals are about 2 years they have a veterinarian report done and then sold at auction. One of her foals sold at auction for $900,000.

I'm in the wrong business.

Mike D.'s Comment
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Bob Baffert has a colt that they paid $2.5 million for.

Those people have more money than they know what to do with.

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According to Nancy, when the foals are about 2 years they have a veterinarian report done and then sold at auction. One of her foals sold at auction for $900,000.

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I'm in the wrong business.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob D.'s Comment
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Been a while since I last updated, because as I mentioned before, I keep my diary on my Chromebook and I need to get somewhere that has WIFI to upload. Plus, as you will read below, it has been quite the hectic week. For the record, if anyone might suspect that I am making up the drama of my diary, I would not doubt your skepticism. But, for what it’s worth, these things are really happening.

July 21, 2020: Delivery in the Bronx; SAPA Hydro; Old School chance meeting.

I wake up on the top bunk and then just melt down into the bottom bunk to continue sleeping. When I wake up for the day we are at the receiver in the Bronx. We are early so we have to wait. Luckily, there is enough space on the street for us to parallel park and wait.

Now on another thread a prospective driver said he thought about flatbed because its does require a high level of backing skill. Ha. See the screenshot below of the gate where we had to back into. And the screen shot does not do it justice because there are not as many cars on the street as there were when we backed in. It took a while, but we got it. And the only casualties were a few of the collapsible plastic lane dividers in the street and our driver’s side landing gear sand pad. It must have hit the sidewalk when we were backing in and bent it and pulled one side off so it was hanging from only one side.

After we get unloaded we head to the Vince Lombardi Travel Center, but before long we get another load picking up from the Hydro, Cressona, PA. Plant. I learned from the safety video we had to watch that they “y” is pronounced with a long “e” sound. As we’re pulling into the Hydro lot, there’s a “ready line” were the trucks park and I see a red Knight Volvo, with the unmistakable face that I’ve seen several times on this forum. I get out and walk up the truck, the driver looking at me like “who is this guy.” But Old School rolls down the window and I say “It’s Rob from the forum.” We chat a little and Old School gives me the rundown of the procedures for this Hydro plant, which is scale in, drop your trailer, scale your bobtail , pick up the loaded trailer inside, strap, tarp, scale out, and then boogie.

When I go to drop the trailer, the sand pads won’t rest even on the ground because fo the one that is bent. So I take a winch bar and bend the support out beyond the spindle that holds it. Then I lower the landing gear to make sure it the laanding gear is sitting solid on the sandpad, cranking it a little more than usual so that it will stay in place when I drop the trailer.

After we come back to scale our tractor, the girl at the desk made us watch the safety video, even though I told her that Old School just told me everything I need to know. The main thing about these places is that they don’t want you to get on the load. They have two different tarping options. Self-serve where you back into a spot that had ladders on each side or the drop down tarping machine like they use at Georgia Pacific.

So after we get all loaded, I drop back by Old School’s truck, because I know we would catch hell if we didn’t get pictures. After that we head out later in the day. We’ve got about 1200 miles to go to our first drop in Tampa, Florida. We’ll cover that in about 26 hours but the receivers will be closed by the time we get there, so we won’t deliver until July 23.

So since we’ve got the time, we stop at Walmart for shopping. And then after that we stop at Love’s for showers.

I drive mostly through the night. And even though Packrat reminded me of the confusing exchanges through the Capital Beltway, I did take a wrong exit and had to reroute. No big deal.

The yellow line is the gate and blue is my 5th grade drawing of the truck.

0140988001595813124.jpg

Bobtail:

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

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

July 23, 2020: Florida Two Drop; Guest Personality.

A little frustrations today, which I, as always took in stride. However, given the prevalence of terminal rats in trucking, I thought it would be entertaining to describe the day’s events as a terminal rat would describe them. So Tommy the Terminal Rat will be today’s guest personality. The facts relayed below will be same, but my perspective on them is different than Tommy the Terminal Rat’s perspective.

My stupid trainer forgot to set his alarm. He tried to blame it on his cheap ass phone. Even so, it’s still his fault for buying a cheap ass phone. So I, the supposed student, have to wake him up at 0700. We head out to our second stop, hoping to have them unload us first. We get there about 0730 and find out, which my idiot trainer should have known, that they can’t unload us because their stuff is under a whole bunch of other crap for our first stop. And they have this stupid rule that they “can’t touch someone else’s stuff.” So, I head out to the first stop for our 0930 appointment.

We get there at 0930 only to wait for an hour. They have one lane for receiving and there is another truck in front of us. What’s the point in making an appointment if you don’t keep them. So, I’m just sitting there watching my 14 hour clock dwindle away, wondering what time we’re actually going to get unloaded and get out of here. We untarp and unstrap. In the process, I realize that the straps are essentially floppy loose. My trainer apparently didn’t do any load checks so he left me driving an unsecured load.

So after we get inside, I realize the reason why we had to wait an hour. The guy unloading is slow, both physically and mentally. We pull into the “second bay.” The large warehouse structure is divided into three sections. Each section has different products, so you pull into the bay where you product gets unloaded. And they have these huge overhead cranes that unload you. The trained monkey unloading us has a remote in his hand that he uses to control the cranes. Now this aluminum is a hodge podge of aluminum crap that the idiots Hydro didn’t load correctly. They put the longer pieces on top of the shorter pieces so that you have to take almost everything off one at a time. Yet the trained monkey didn’t realize this and tried to pick up several bundles at a time, only to watch the shorter pieces fall down in the middle as he raised them. And he didn’t just do this once, but several times.

After about and hour and half of this, we pull outside to retarp the rest of the load. As we do, it starts to rain. So we’re tarping this stupid **** in the rain.

Then its back to the same jerk offs that refused to unload us that morning. When we get there, it’s like a ghost town. So I track someone down. He remembers us and says “I wish we would have unloaded you in the morning, because the day crew is in a safety briefing and the next shift doesn’t come on for another hour.” Crap. Even though we got there by the time they told us for the day crew to unload us, we have to wait another hour.

He tells us to park under a shed a couple of buildigs over. So we got there and wait. Someone will come and get us. Nope, after and hour and half, I flag down a guy on a forklift who told us to untarp and unstrap, and then pull out into the open. And its raining. So, we retarp for nothing because they are going to unload us in the rain. In fact, they don’t have anywhere covered to unload at all. Yet they wanted us to tarp the load?

So we get all unloaded and head back to the Pilot where we spent the night to wait for another load. Steel going to Long Beach, California. The worst traffic anywhere. AND we have to deadhead almost 500 miles to pick up the coils in the middle of the night.

I drive until both my clock and my patience for this crap run out. My trainer takes over to drive the rest of the way to Calvert, Alabama.

Rob’s commentary on Tommy’s post.

First, I should have done a load check. Second, here’s my brain fart on the load checks. When I do load checks, I pull the strap to check the tightness. With a tarped load, it’s difficult to access the strap because of the tarp. However, as Turtle pointed out to me, all you need to do is pull on the winch with a winch bar to test the tightness. A learning experience that I won’t forget, because we lucked out that we didn’t lose our load.

Deadhead:

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

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Old School's Comment
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As we’re pulling into the Hydro lot, there’s a “ready line” were the trucks park and I see a red Knight Volvo, with the unmistakable face that I’ve seen several times on this forum. I get out and walk up the truck, the driver looking at me like “who is this guy.” But Old School rolls down the window and I say “It’s Rob from the forum.” We chat a little and Old School gives me the rundown of the procedures for this Hydro plant

Hey Rob, it was great meeting you! That particular Hydro plant is one of my regular haunts. I'm in and out of that one regularly. I always thought I'd run into "Turtle" there, but fate never put us there at the same moment.

Your diary is excellent, and your trainer seriously reminds me of mine. Waking mine up at the time he had previously told me we would roll out was a frequent occurrence. You're already starting to realize why we say trucking is almost like living three lifetimes. The stories you'll gather are endless.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
We untarp and unstrap. In the process, I realize that the straps are essentially floppy loose. My trainer apparently didn’t do any load checks so he left me driving an unsecured load.

Rob, was that the Hydro load?

That aluminum material is prone to compress as it bounces and jiggles down the road. That's one of the things I stress to the new drivers on this account - stop and check your load/straps frequently.

By the way, that was a great post - your gonna make a great terminal rat if you decide to step over the edge one day.smile.gif

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

July 24, 2020: Steel load; Baby Coil; Layover in Mobile.

I wake up just as my trainer is checking into the massive industrial complex where we pick up our steel load. The complex is so large that the GPS has the internal streets mapped. The shipping building is similar to where we had delivered the our first load of aluminum in Florida; product is separated into bays and you line up in the bay where the your product is stored. They did have the large building crane, but they used a regular forklift to load us with 10 steel sheets and one baby coil.

The shipper is about 50 miles from Mobile, so my trainer goes there for a couple of hours to see his wife. He drops me off at a Cracker Barrel, where I have my breakfast. After he picks me up we head out.

Even though my trainer had drove to Calvert and Mobile, he drive the first shift because he had been on personal conveyance.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

July 25, 2020: Driving toward Long Beach; Moe Bandy Parody warranted.

I take over driving about 0230 and drive through to El Paso, Texas. Shortly after my trainer takes over, we have a flat on the trailer. Both TAs we called were busy, so we go to this independent repair shop that is less than 5 miles away.

The Younger Folks probably don’t even know Moe Bandy, let alone his popular song “Here I am I’m Drunk Again.” Well, the appropriate parody would be “Here I am I’m Stuck Again.” My trainer misses the turn for the repair shop, and you guessed, pulls another u-turn. For those familiar with desert dirt/sand, it looks real hard but as soon as you put pressure on it, it collapses under weight. So, when my trainer felt dirt shifting under the weight of the truck, he gunned it which did two things. First, it pushed the steer tires further into the sand. Second, he dug a nice hole with the drive tires. Now we’re stuck. And the trailer is crosswise over the paved road forcing cars to go on the soft shoulder to go around it. My trainer puts cones out on the road

My trainer’s plan is to unhook from the trailer, rehook with the tractor, then drive further off road to get back on the paved road. He says, “see this dirt is solid.” I push on it with my shoe and show him how it collapses under any weight. Plus, when we try to pull the fifth wheel release, no dice. My plan is to dig away the berms that have formed in front of the driver tires then pull slowly through the dirt back onto the road. We don’t have a shovel, but a plastic bucket, which I start using to dig out the dirt. A hispanic guy in a pickup brings me a shovel, I start digging away. Meanwhile, a guy with a Ram 3500 stops and offers to pull us out. As I’m talking to my trainer, the guy who gave me the shovel grabs the shovel from me and continues to dig the dirt away from the drive tires. My trainer gets a chain out to hook to the deer guard and the hitch of the Ram 3500.

I tell my trainer to let me drive while the Ram 3500 pulls on the deer guard because I have experience off road driving (i.e. slow and steady to maintain traction). With the Ram 3500 pulling and me slow and steady on the pedal, we pull right back on to the paved road. I get out of the cab as the Ram 3500 is unhooking the chain from his bumper and I tell him “you earned your man card today. We’re running about 77,000 lbs.” He says this is the first time. I don’t know exactly how much force he actually applied. While his truck has a lot of horsepower, I don’t know if it’s got the torque to pull a truck with our weight.

We get to the independent truck repair place and get the two tires fixed and then we’re on our way. No more drama for today.

I hit the sleeper, expecting to wake up in Palm Springs where we had planned to stop short of Long Beach and then drive the last 100 miles Monday morning.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

July 26, 2020: Another day, another two flats.

I wake up in the middle of the night, but we’re not in Palm Springs. We’re about 250 miles away at a Love’s. One of the trailer tires that we just replaced yesterday went flat. And according to my trainer, they can’t work on it until 7:00 in the morning. So we both got to sleep.

I wake up at 7:00 and go to check in at the repair shop. No ticket had been filled out, so I have the shop tech fill out a work order. He says we’re six on the list. Oh well, we got the time.

Another driver “JC” (I’ll explain below how I know his name) comes to check in about his truck and the tech who filled out my ticket says “there’s six people in front of you.” JC yells at the tech that there were five people in front of him last night. So they both start shouting at each other and the tech tells JC to get off the property. JC turns to me and says “didn’t he start yelling at me first.” I tell him this is not my fight, but then try to intervene just to get both of them to call down. But JC storms out.

After the tension settles, I ask the tech, very meekly, what the general ETA is for our work to be done. He pauses and then says “you know what, you’re now third on the list.” At this point my trainer comes asking about the status, I tell him we’re third on the list and then he turns to the tech with the same posture that JC had. I tell my trainer to relax because I had found out why there is a backlog. The overnight tech just quit in the middle of the shift. So my trainer calms downs.

I go to the convenience store to get coffee and breakfast tacos. On the way back, I see JC and ask him if “they made up.” He says, “yeah we’re all good.” When I walk into the repair shop, the tech that had moved us up on the list is shuffling work orders. When he sees me, he says “pull your truck into the first bay. The two guys ahead of you didn’t answer when I call.”

So I go get my trainer to pull the truck into the bay. As he’s backing into the bay, the tire next to the flat tire blows. The noise brings JC out of the repair and he stands next to me watching my trainer back the truck into the bay. We strike up a conversation, and as I mentioned before, you don’t have to go to terminals to find terminal rats. Although, despite being a hothead, JC seemed to be pretty level headed.

JC drives flatbed for Malone Trucking, which is CRST’s flatbed division. Malone Trucking does not team like CRST. JC runs solo. Below is more detail on the conversation with JC.

Now that we have two flats, we need to send in a new Road Assist for approval.

I sit there and update my journal while waiting for the truck to get fixed. A couple of polite nudges, spurred the tech to check the Love’s Shop Connect for the work authorization from Prime. As I sit there writing my journal and thinking about what JC said with CRST looking at your record, I begin to feel sorry for my trainer. Just within the time that I’ve been on the truck, several of these incidents would be a basis for Prime to fire him (cancel his lease operator contract). I didn’t even bother to relay the information that JC gave me about Malone Trucking because I don’t think he would be considered with his record.

Before long the trailer is done and we’re on our way to Palm Springs where we will spend the night before delivering in the morning.

Ribeye steaks, grilled asparagus, and sweet potato for dinner.

Sidenote on JC.

JC started with Prime, but “they did me wrong.” JC has a felony conviction, having spent time in prison. From what I gathered from JC, he didn’t fully disclose his prison record on his first employment application, but he did disclose it on the second paper application. In fact, he said they discussed, in detail, his prison record in the file review interview. They didn’t send him home at this point, but rather hired him, issued him a truck, then fired him after he had been out on the road for a while. JC believes that Prime hired him and kept him on “just long enough to get the money for hiring felons.” Don’t know if it’s true or not. I’m just relaying what he said.

JC is a lease operator with Malone Trucking. According to him, after the CRST Expedited trucks are taken out of service, they send them (or some of them) to the flatbed division. As a result you are getting a truck with 500,000 miles, but your lease payment is only $395 per week, as compared to Prime’s lease payments which are around $1,000 per week. With a little simple math, assuming a 4 years of leasing for a new truck and then leasing a used truck, they’re collecting almost $280,000 on a truck in 6 years. JC said that CRST also has a purchase option and CRST will help you with the down payment. With CRST, you get 75% of the line haul and you pick your own loads from three available load boards. CRST, Schneider (I think I remember that right, and DAT) You still have an FM , but they simply assign the load to your truck. JC said that Malone wants at least 6 months flatbed experience and they will look at your record. He further qualified his comments by saying “if you are interested, research it.”

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.

Line Haul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Fm:

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.
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