Prime Flatbed; Springfield, Missouri; Spring 2020

Topic 27910 | Page 21

Page 21 of 23 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

I've focused the last week or so on just getting through TNT , so, I've been neglecting the diary a little. As I write this, I'm sitting at the Campus Inn in Springfield, Missouri, having completed TNT training. I'll post the rest of my TNT diary and the upgrade process because I think that many prospective Prime flatbedders might find that informative as well. After that, I'll close out this diary.

July 31, 2020: Deliver Rebar Coils; Another steel load

We deliver the rebar coils early in the morning. It’s a small place, and unlike other places, they take their time doing other things before they unload us. Still, we’re unloaded by 0900. And for the first time, we have to wait 3 hours for a new load assignment. And when we get the load assignment, it's only 1200 miles. I’m sitting on about 47,000 miles and was hoping to get two longer loads and be done. Oh well, I can be patient.

My trainer drivers to the shipper. This shipper is notorious for delays. They have one line of trucks for loading. There are about 5 trucks inside the building where they load and 3 in front of us outside the building. They require all trucks to be loaded and tarped before leaving the building. So we have about a two hour wait to get inside.

It’s a pretty easy load to secure and tarp.

We’re going through St. Louis and I’ll get a 34 hour reset over the weekend. The plan is for me to drive through the night to St. Louis where my trainer will take over and drive to Springfield. I’ll meet him there Sunday.

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.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

August 1, 2020: 34 hour; Got to see my wife.

My wife picks me up at the Walmart. I spend a few hours at home, doing laundry, and checking out the stuff for my truck that has been delivered while I’ve been out on the road. Then my wife, my dog, and I head out for Springfield where we’ll spend the night.

Drive down to Springfield and stay at the Best Western Coach House. They have a dog park and lots of space for my Staffordshire Terrier to roam around.

Eat dinner at the dog park and then early to bed.

August 2, 2020: Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield; Trainer’s Truck

We’ve got a few hours before my wife heads back home, so after looking at the Springfield vistor’s guide, I find Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield. The Battle of Wilson’s Creek was the first major Civil War battle west of the Mississippi. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield is part of the National Park system. Although the fees were waived at the time, it reminded me to order my National Park Annual Pass, as recommended by Turtle.

After my wife heads home, I walk back to the Millennium Building to update my diary. On the way there, I see my PSD trainer’s new Peterbilt truck. Thinking that he’s here in Springfield, I call him. Come to find out that, even though he sent me a picture of his new truck, he hasn’t seen it in person. While walking around looking at it and telling my PSD trainer what has and hasn’t been done, I realize its unlocked. So I take the grand tour inside, describing things to my PSD trainer. After we end the call, my trainer asks me to take a better picture of the truck from the outside. Being the nice guy that I am, I take several pictures of the outside and inside and text them to them.

Since we had gotten this load assignment, I had been mulling over in my mind the peculiar nature of the load. It took three hours, which was unusual. It’s only 1,200 miles which is short for a weekend load, and it delivered close to Springfield. My hopeful thinking was that they were bringing me in to upgrade and I had discussed this with one of my mentors. Now I am not only highly cynical, I’m quite the practical joker as well. And as I’m walking back to the Millennium Building with all these pictures of a new Peterbilt on my phone, I think to myself “you know what would be funny?”

That’s right. I text my mentor that they brought me in to upgrade and sent him pictures of a brand new custom Peterbilt, telling him that was my truck. Not realizing the limit of my sick sense of humor, he was quite taken aback when he found out it was a practical joke. He’s already promised payback. Won’t know when or where, but I’m sure it will be good.

After talking with my mentor, I meet up with Stoug D. and we go to Lambert’s for dinner. For those not familiar with Lambert’s its one of those novelty atmosphere restaurants. Heavy country decor on the inside and the menu is all you can eat country comfort food. Lambert’s is also the “home of throwed rolls” where they toss their oven hot rolls to you from a cart.

Stoug seems like a good guy and I think he’ll succeed at trucking.

After dinner, I take Stoug back to the Campus Inn and I head back to the Millennium Building.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

August 3, 2020: Deliver Steel in Muskogee, OK; pick up sheet rock headed for Elizabeth, NJ.

I find out, as we head through outbound, why we got the weird load. I had to pee in the cup for a random drug test. They also have you hold a litmus strip in your mouth to check for alcohol. I passed the alcohol test and am pretty sure I’ll pass the drug test.

Pretty uneventful today. We deliver our load first thing in the morning in Muskogee, OK. I hear the song every time I see the words.

No long wait for a load this time. We’ve got a load assignment even before we get the auto-generated message that says “got your empty will have a load ASAP.” A load of drywall/sheet rock going to Elizabeth, NJ, which is close to Newark. It’s over 1,500 total dispatched miles. I’ll have only about 500 miles left after we deliver this load.

The shipper is near Nashville, Arkansas, in a very rural area. Mostly two-lane hilly, twisty roads with several small towns with 35 mph speed limits. I had to stay on my toes, but it was a nice break from the monotony of the interstate. The scenery wasn’t bad either.

We head to the Love’s in Little Rock where my trainer meets up with friends. I get some dinner and a shower. After that, I drive a few more miles and call it a night. Sleeping in a stationary truck tonight.

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.

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.

Interstate:

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

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

August 4, 2020: Continuing to drive to Elizabeth, NJ.

Nothing really eventful today. Just driving from Little Rock to Elizabeth, NJ. We stop at a truck stop about 50 miles from the receiver. So, I get to sleep in a stationary truck again tonight.

August 5, 2020: Deliver to Elizabeth NJ; Pick up Cat Forklift.

I drive to the receiver. My mentor had warned me about NJ drivers and he was correct. They will constantly take away any safe following distance you try to maintain. So after about 5 cars doing this, I closed the space enough to prevent more cars from entering my lane but far enough back to control my following distance somewhat.

Our receiver is a building supply place that is interspersed with residential areas. So lots of tight corners with cars parked at the corners. You had to pull into the building supply place in a particular way (they had lines on the pavement). And then after unloaded, you backed out a specific way. At first, I didn’t understand how they wanted me to back and turn, but after a few attempts I figured it out and we went on our way.

On the way out, I’m following the Garmin GPS, which is trying to take me back to the interstate. At one intersection it says to turn left. I look down that street and see a 11’4” bridge. Nope, not going there. The GPS tells me to turn left at the next street, which has a 11’8” bridge. Nope. I keep on going until the GPS finally takes me to the interstate.

We’re heading to Mconnelsburg, PA to pick up a CAT telehandler (boom forklift). It’s an easy pick up. You back up to the dock, they drive it on the trailer, four chains, two straps, and we’re back on our way. This load is over 2,000 total miles and will put me over the 50,000 mile threshold for TNT.

My trainer takes over after my clock runs out. Sleeping in a moving truck tonight.

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

August 6, 2020: Travel to Mobile; Continue to Edinburg, Texas

I drive after my trainer’s clock runs out. He wants to spend some time in Mobile. We end up spending most of the day there. He takes me to Cracker Barrel for breakfast while he runs some errands. Then, I sleep for a couple of hours. Then I eat dinner again at Cracker Barrel before we head out to continue our trip to Edinburg, Texas.

August 7 2020: Deliver Cat Forklift; pick up building material at Laredo, Texas.

I drive to the receiver, which is a CAT dealer near the Mexican border. A little interesting event. No, we didn’t get stuck, but the CAT telehandler operator almost drove off the side of the trailer. The CAT telehandler extended to the edge of each rub rail. So there was not a lot of room for error. While backing up off the trailer the front right tire began to drift off the right side of the trailer until it got to the point where it was only on the rub rail. My trainer pointed this out and the operator stopped and got out to see that he almost toppled a more than $200,000 piece of equipment. The operator’s solution was to get a heavy duty forklift (the telehandler weighed over 34,000 lbs) to lift the telehandler and move it over. In the process, the deck of the flatbed bent down. The flatbeds are designed to flex with the load. You may have noticed that an empty flatbed will look bowed up. It flattens out under load. But it was not the full length of the trailer that bore the weight of the telehandler. Rather the trailer bowed down between the two flatbed axles (48’ foot trailer).

The telehandler operator got the equipment off the trailer and soon we were on our way to Prime’s Laredo terminal. On the way we pick up Whataburger, because I had never had it before. It was good for a classic burger, but nothing to write home about.

Similar to the previous load we had that delivered near the Mexico border, we followed along the Mexican border on our way to Laredo along Texas 285, which is a two lane road with wide shoulders that are key to the South Texas traffic etiquette. Cars or trucks behind you will tailgate you. Not to necessarily be obnoxious, but rather to signal you that they expect you to pull over to the shoulder to let them pass. When in Rome.

We make it to Laredo early evening and pick up my last load of TNT; building materials headed for Fargo, ND. The building materials are long steel beams that extend beyond the front and back of the trailer. We secure the load with several straps, including several belly straps. My trainer does not have a ladder so I had to figure out how to position myself to push the straps through the gaps in the steel. In the process of winching down a strap, I break one. We had inherited some old straps from a repower load. They should probably be thrown away, but that’s my trainer’s decision, not mine. Before long we’re secured and on our way.

I drive until my clock runs out and my trainer takes over.

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.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

August 8, 2020: Final drive to Springfield, Missouri

I take over in Dallas, my least favorite city so far, about 0600. The thing I don’t like about Dallas, is that the interchanges have very short distances to get to the lane you need. Even with trip planning and the GPS telling you what lane you need, you still need to make split second decisions at many of the interchanges. Well, I missed one for Interstate 45 that was to lead me to US 75. Rather than getting off at the next exit, which may have put me on streets where I’d rather not be, I continued on my current Interstate until the GPS rerouted me on major highways.

One last challenge before my TNT ends. I stopped along US 75 at a Pilot to get coffee. As I’m going in, another driver flags me down to let me know that a piece of the dunnage, a 3 X 3 board, had partially worked its way out. The dunnage was at the back of the load, providing significant support, so I didn’t want to remove it completely. But the steel beam where the dunnage had worked itself out had collapsed some, so I couldn’t just slide the dunnage back underneath. Rather, I used another piece of dunnage to pry up the steel beam and slide the 3 X 3 board back underneath. In addition to having slid out, the dunnage had slid to the side as well. So I used the other piece of dunnage to knock the 3 X 3 board over so that it was more even.

After the last little flatbed challenge, I headed out north toward Oklahoma and Interstate 44, my last highway for my entire TNT phase. The excitement of ending TNT grew at each benchmark; getting onto Interstate 44, 100 miles from the Springfield terminal , crossing the state line into Missouri, 60 miles or 1 hour from the terminal, 30 miles or 30 minutes from the terminal, pulling off the interstate, and pulling into inbound at the terminal.

After we get through inbound, I drive over to the “truck transfer area” where Prime has a place where you can park your personal vehicle right next to your truck to unload or load. I get all my stuff off the truck and after a few parting words from my trainer, I’m in my truck with all my stuff and free from Shawshank.

I will have a few more entries to describe the upgrade process and then a few entries on my thoughts about the training process.

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.

Interstate:

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

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.

Mike D.'s Comment
member avatar

That 45/75 mix up has happened to me, multiple times, and it sucks in a regular four wheel vehicle, an 18 wheeler must be extremely stressful.

Congratulations on passing

August 8, 2020: Final drive to Springfield, Missouri

I take over in Dallas, my least favorite city so far, about 0600. The thing I don’t like about Dallas, is that the interchanges have very short distances to get to the lane you need. Even with trip planning and the GPS telling you what lane you need, you still need to make split second decisions at many of the interchanges. Well, I missed one for Interstate 45 that was to lead me to US 75. Rather than getting off at the next exit, which may have put me on streets where I’d rather not be, I continued on my current Interstate until the GPS rerouted me on major highways.

One last challenge before my TNT ends. I stopped along US 75 at a Pilot to get coffee. As I’m going in, another driver flags me down to let me know that a piece of the dunnage, a 3 X 3 board, had partially worked its way out. The dunnage was at the back of the load, providing significant support, so I didn’t want to remove it completely. But the steel beam where the dunnage had worked itself out had collapsed some, so I couldn’t just slide the dunnage back underneath. Rather, I used another piece of dunnage to pry up the steel beam and slide the 3 X 3 board back underneath. In addition to having slid out, the dunnage had slid to the side as well. So I used the other piece of dunnage to knock the 3 X 3 board over so that it was more even.

After the last little flatbed challenge, I headed out north toward Oklahoma and Interstate 44, my last highway for my entire TNT phase. The excitement of ending TNT grew at each benchmark; getting onto Interstate 44, 100 miles from the Springfield terminal , crossing the state line into Missouri, 60 miles or 1 hour from the terminal, 30 miles or 30 minutes from the terminal, pulling off the interstate, and pulling into inbound at the terminal.

After we get through inbound, I drive over to the “truck transfer area” where Prime has a place where you can park your personal vehicle right next to your truck to unload or load. I get all my stuff off the truck and after a few parting words from my trainer, I’m in my truck with all my stuff and free from Shawshank.

I will have a few more entries to describe the upgrade process and then a few entries on my thoughts about the training process.

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.

Interstate:

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

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Rob, you were born for this!

I have thoroughly enjoyed following along in your diary. Your trainers reminded me of my own personal experience, and I'll tell you while it wasn't the "best" experience, it was certainly formative in my outcome as a successful trucker. I learned a lot about what not to do.

Congratulations, you've done a remarkable job of being patient and forbearing. Those qualities will serve you well.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Uncle Rake's Comment
member avatar

Rob,

I agree with OS’s comment. Thank you for the remarkably detailed account of your experience from beginning to end. I am to find out tomorrow or the next day if Prime has accepted me for training. I’ve found your diary to be as valuable as Turtle’s account. I look forward to reading future experiences as you begin work in your own truck.

Congratulations!

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

August 9, 2020: Upgrade Class

The upgrade process is pretty minimal if you’re going company. If you’re going lease, it’s more involved because they basically give you a crash course in how to run your “business.” Because I’m flatbed, I also need to do the “Flatbed Bootcamp.”

0730: We show up to the classroom to watch several safety videos. Then we go to the simulator’s to drive several scenarios. Daytime (watch out for the low bridge), night driving, and then a couple of winter driving scenarios. You can’t “fail” these, but if you hit the bridge or run off the road in the snow, they give you pointers on what you could have done differently.

After that, you have to pass a backing skills test. You drive across a bridge overpass, pull in to a delivery yard, back into the dock, then pull back out to go back across the bridge overpass. I thought it would be some sort of challenging alley dock, but it was pretty easy. You actually have enough room to pull up in the delivery yard to mostly do a straight back. Your time limit is 10 minutes. It took me 8 minutes 25 seconds and I got 100%. I said to the guy running the simulators “who says flatbedders can’t bump a dock.” He said that overall the flatbedders perform better on the backing skills test.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and into the evening doing the CBTs (computer based training). The same videos that I have already watched twice. The one about the danger of u-turns showed a truck stuck almost identical to getting stuck the second time outside of El Paso, Texas.

0458331001597193427.jpg

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.

Page 21 of 23 Previous Page Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More