Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

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Uncle Rake's Comment
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I'm following along on your training journey, Raif.


I'm enjoying your diary Uncle Rake! Safe travels!

Thanks, PackRat & Tortuga!


Operating While Intoxicated

Uncle Rake's Comment
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Sunday, September 20

I drove about five hours yesterday through southern Oregon mountains. Then my trainer drove through the night to get us to Sumner, Washington around 0400. After sleeping a few hours I got up and called my wife using the new headset. It seemed to work well even as I walked through the parking lot. I am not implying that its range is that great. It worked well since I had the phone in my pocket.

When my trainer woke up we looked for another location to spend Sunday night since the current lot charges for staying there. We did not find a local truck stop and had to go south of Sumner about 40 miles. We spent the day in Olympia Washington and will sleep here tonight. Our delivery tomorrow is at 0940 in Sumner, so we will probably be there at least an hour early. I think I have the first sixteen verses of Philippians 1 pretty well tucked away in my memory. I need to practice it another couple of days to make sure, but I look forward to moving on to the next section. In The Ten Lists today, part of the reading included my favorite passage in Scripture so I have to share that with you. The verses I have been sharing may sound a little unusual. I’ve been reading through the NLT because that is what my sister reads. So it does sound different, but in many cases it is also helpful to read from a different translation. In my opinion, the more colloquial versions help in some places such as the book of Job. These translations make the speeches of Job’s friends sound more like something we would hear today. Anyway here is the NLT version of Romans 5:1-2, my favorite passage:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Uncle Rake's Comment
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Monday, September 21

I forgot to mention yesterday that my first week with the trainer is completed. I have had a good opportunity to drive in various terrains. I have also driven in places with a lot of traffic and a lot less traffic. I think I am pretty comfortable driving a truck now. I am sure my comfort will continue to increase as I continue to drive. I also forgot to mention yesterday that the verse list I read was for day 83. One more thing that I saw yesterday was the man parked beside us in his Western Star truck. He said it has 1,600,000 miles. That’s a lot of miles for one truck.

Left Olympia & arrived at Costco at 0850 for 0945 appointment time (allowed for one hour early). They took paperwork then gave us a pager. They told us to park to the side & wait for pager alert to tell us which door to go to. Time for breakfast & TTL, Day 84. Have Philippians 1:1-16 about 99% committed to memory. Wonderful book of Scripture for memorization & meditation.

After being unloaded, we went back to Sumner Truck stop & waited for hours to return at 1430. Received instructions for new load from Wenatchee, WA to New Jersey. I got some sleep while waiting, considering the possibility of night driving, but I believe my trainer intends to drive.

Uncle Rake's Comment
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Tuesday, September 22

Between the two of us, we managed to drive 717 miles today. If we can repeat that for the next three days we should be able to get these apples to NJ on time. This was my first trip across eastern Washington. I found it interesting how it could suddenly change from majestic mountains to fertile farm land. Northern Idaho is beautiful, especially around lake Coeur d’Alene. But I think I have enjoyed Montana most. The often untamed mountains, with rivers flowing along the bottoms appeal to this small town Texas boy. I started a spreadsheet today to keep track of my miles. Managed 347 miles in six hours with an average speed of 57.8 MPH.

I guess the drive across unfamiliar territory distracted me from TTL today, but I did get some work on the memory project.


Operating While Intoxicated

Uncle Rake's Comment
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Wednesday, September 23

Started this morning at 0700, just as soon as my trainer regained his 14 hour clock. He and I can each drive 11 hours per day, but he has to be “on duty” anytime I’m driving as long as I’m a student. That limits our daily driving to his 14 hour clock, which is actually less due to breaks for food or fuel. Eastern Montana somewhat desolate, so this is a good time for The Ten Lists, Day 85.

Very first verse spoke to me today: “After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you” (John 17:1). Reminds me of Matthew 5:16 which teaches that we should live in such a way that others will see our lives & glorify our Father in heaven.

Thursday , September 24

Started today from Sioux Falls, SD. Apparently someone decided our 700 mile days were either too extreme for PSD , or insufficient to get us to NJ on time because now we are heading to Wisconsin where a team will take our load. I-90 is taking us across southern Minnesota. This stretch of highway has a number of old, charming farm buildings nestled within abundant fields of corn.

The Ten Lists for day 86 brought me to Psalm 86:5: “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.”


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.
Uncle Rake's Comment
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Friday , September 25

Last night we slept in Belvedere, IL at a shipper’s location for the first time. We were nearing the end of our 14 around 2200 last night, and not sure where we would find available parking in this area. I awoke before my trainer this morning and completed The Ten Lists, Day 87.

Today I had the “privilege” of being routed through Chicago on a Friday afternoon between 2 and 4 PM. It wasn’t too bad until traffic came to a stop because of a wreck that was a mile or two ahead. We sat mostly still for probably at least a half hour. It was not until that evening that I realized I had received a message on the QC during that time. The message said, “You are in driving status and truck is showing stopped. Please change your duty status if you have not already done so.” When I saw the message Friday evening, I asked my trainer if I should respond and ask if there is a duty status for “stopped in Chicago traffic jam.” He said that would not be necessary.

Saturday , September 26

Last night we slept in Borculo, MI at another shipper’s location. We arrived at 0200 with about 30 minutes remaining on our clock. I awoke before my trainer this morning and completed The Ten Lists, Day 88. In this list is Romans 10:13 “For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This morning I finally had the chance to do a number of things that I had observed, but had not done. First of all I had the opportunity to back the tractor under a trailer and connect. I practiced sliding the tandems to find the best weight balance. The rear tandem axles on the trailer may be slid forward and backwards to shift weight between the trailer and the tractor. The tandems have two locking pins on each side which lock into holes on the trailer frame. The trailer has about 12 available holes for the pins but some states have limitations on which holes may be used in their state. My beginning weights were unbalanced by about 2500 pounds. On the recommendation of my trainer, I moved the tandems to the center position available in the states where we will be traveling. After that it was still off by about 1000 pounds and so we moved it one more pin. That change balanced the two weights almost exactly. I also had the opportunity to send the macro message to Prime related to the trailer we picked up and the message related to leaving the shipper. Then I called in the live load where they verify information in the macro messages. I could tell the person I spoke with must do this dozens of times per day because it was difficult to understand exactly what he was saying. That is probably not a problem for drivers who have been through the process so many times they know the questions before they are asked.

I pulled the trailer out of the yard and handled the paperwork at the guard shack. Since our load only had to travel about 700 miles, I had the opportunity to do most of the driving. Driving to the location the previous night, I had wondered why we were routed through several small towns from the south, rather than on Lake Michigan Drive which was only a few miles north of our delivery. I may have learned why on our way out when it did route us to that road. I experienced what I have read multiple times here on TT about the “adventures” of detours. Lake Michigan Drive would have been a great path to reach the interstate we needed if the ramp to the interstate had not been closed. Since it was closed, we continued down that route which led us onto Fulton, Street, directly toward the center of downtown Grand Rapids. We had just gotten into an area where the speed limit was 25, and the looming buildings of downtown were only a few blocks away, when the QC led us to turn right. I stayed as far left as I could without hitting cars in the left lane, turned as widely as I could to the right, and still the rear trailer tires went over the curb. However, we did not hit any signs and so it was considered a successful turn. We still had some smaller city streets to navigate but did manage to get to the freeway before long. That did not get us completely out of the woods. My trainer was looking at the GPS and the QC, trying to understand the best way to get to where we needed to go. He looked up just as we were facing a fork in the road and he told me which way to go. Unfortunately, we needed to go the other way. Thankfully, in this case we only had to take the next exit and come back to the interchange to acquire the right direction. I had prepared for such changes last week when a similar maneuver was required to avoid downtown Los Angeles.


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.


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 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".


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


Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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Ah, yes! Grand Rapids construction detours to get back to I-196.

I experienced that fun myself two days ago.

Uncle Rake's Comment
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Sunday—Wednesday, September 27-29

Delivered load to Tyson plant. My trainer allowed me to back the trailer into its position, between two other trailers. The lines between the trailers were not single but more like a very narrow zero so I had a little extra space in this endeavor. My trainer has tried to give me instructions throughout the process in the past but now he is beginning to allow me to experience it for myself and gain an understanding of how the trailer responds. I think this will help me more than anything. Today we are traveling to Pittston Pennsylvania to get a new truck. We will actually find out later that it is a “newer” truck rather than a “new” one. We ended up being in Pittston from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon to take care of everything related to the truck. It needed some repairs and a thorough cleaning. My trainer did a very thorough cleaning to eliminate the odors associated with the previous driver’s smoking.

Once we started driving again on Wednesday, our fleet manager began routing us back towards Springfield where I can take my driving tests. I still believe I could’ve passed the pre-trip inspection when I first got to Springfield from my prior studies. I also believe I will have the backing maneuvers down well with another practice session.


We drove across Pennsylvania and then to Ohio on Wednesday night. We have made some shorter deliveries in the Indiana area. Our route to the truck wash carried us through Amish territory. I actually followed an Amish horse drawn cart through a small town until it turned off. We are currently waiting to be unloaded at a Walmart DC in Auburn, IN. Our next load picks up in Canton, OH and delivers in California. We will only carry it as far as Springfield. We will drop the trailer there so I can finish preparation and take my CDL exams.

White Line

From the beginning of training, my trainer has taught me to stay close to the white line on the outside of the right lane. He said one of his former students never really tried to follow his instructions on that, so I took the challenge. I have wondered though if my driving exam might go better if I am able to maintain a position in the center of the lane. But to work well with my trainer, I have continued to refine my skills of driving right alongside the white line with the right hand tires, sometimes slightly over the line. I have also noted many other drivers who stay very close to the outside line. It does seem reasonable to give extra room to drivers closest to you, especially when some of them seem to prefer driving all over their own lane. The rumble strip is usually outside the white line and it lets me know when I have gone a little bit too far. The truck we were using the first two weeks did not have any kind of warning for driving too close to the side of the lane.

We got a newer truck! Guess what it has! Yes, it has the warnings which activate when the truck goes over the white line. The warning makes a sound in the dash on the side where the infraction takes place. The sound resembles the sound of tires on the rumble strips found on many highways these days, but at a faster speed. So now I have two challenges: Drive near the white line according to my trainer’s instructions, and avoid getting too close to the white line and activating the lane departure warning. I had the opportunity to drive quite a bit one day, and practiced my new method. Apparently, I was not activating the warning often enough. As my trainer was driving the next day, he explained how we should be activating the warning fairly often. Nearly every time another truck passed us on the left (which is often if you drive for Prime), he was moving to the right far enough to activate the warning. I’m still trying to find the right balance.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.


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.

Fleet Manager:

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.
Uncle Rake's Comment
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Back to Springfield

Note: I remember reading through other people’s diaries and wondering why the detailed information that was included in the beginning seemed to decline at some point through the process. Now that I am the one doing the writing of my own experiences, I realize why the information declines. Along the way events begin to run together. It is also more difficult to find determination and clarity to write at the available odd hours throughout the night.

We got back to Springfield Monday afternoon (October 5) around 1400. We scheduled a time on the practice pad for 1700 and spent at least two hours working on backing maneuvers. On this day everything went well except for parallel parking. I had a chance to text someone I went through orientation with and she said parallel parking was the easiest part for her. So I spent some time looking at YouTube videos. We were making a couple of mistakes which were corrected during our practice session Tuesday evening. These maneuvers really are pretty easy to accomplish if you follow the correct instructions. Although my alley dock on Monday seemed to go well, it was much more difficult on Tuesday. Thankfully the difficulties we encountered led us to realize the advantages of a pull-up while still angled toward the parking spot. Even if we end up with one extra pull-up on this particular maneuver, one point would be well used if it gets us into the spot successfully. My trainer also messaged his fleet manager to see about scheduling my test for me. On Wednesday morning he received a response asking if we want to test on Friday. I told my trainer to respond and tell him we want to test today (Wednesday), but I’m afraid it’s probably going to be Friday. At least that should give us another couple days to refine my backing skills.

Fleet Manager:

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.
Edson's Comment
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Really enjoying your stories as I prepare for school on the 19th

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