Rookie Solo Adventures Of A Knuckle Draggin Primate (Rob D.)

Topic 28708 | Page 2

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G-Town's Comment
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G-Town's Comment
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Rob, I thoroughly enjoyed your diary. Great information and at times, entertaining. Awesome. Well done.

Good luck with the solo phase of your career.

Rob T.'s Comment
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How're things going for you Rob D?

Papa Pig's Comment
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Rob T. I think the skipper took one of those boats out in a charter

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob D.'s Comment
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Things are going well. I've just been busy running boatloads. I had a 3200 mile week for my second week. I'll update you more when I have time.

Rob D.'s Comment
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I haven’t posted lately because I’ve been churning and burning through my 70 each week. I’m on a 34 hour reset right now in Peculiar, Missouri. After I deliver on Monday, I’ll have over 9,900 dispatched miles in three weeks. About the same, in miles driven. As I mentioned in my first post, I had over 3,100 miles my first week. I had over 3,200 miles my second week. And about 3,500 my third week. The 3,100 miles was my first paycheck. For my second paycheck, I was able to get the third load back in time to make the payroll cut off, so that paycheck had over 4,500 miles. After I deliver this load, I’ll have ve got over 2,100 miles so far on this pay period and this afternoon I got a message that I’m preplanned for another 1,100 mile load, which I should be able to complete before the payroll cutoff. So my first three paychecks will be 3,100 mile, 4,500 mile, and 3,200 miles. Also, because I’m hauling light loads and then empty trailers back to Lebanon, my fuel mileage is great. After two weeks, I’m 5th on my FM’s board.

With my free time, I’ve been organizing, and reorganizing the truck, when I haven’t been at home seeing my wife. The nice thing about bringing the trailers back to Lebanon, Missouri, is I can get home for a 34 or even a 10 hour break on the way back. So, you can understand why I haven’t had that much time to update my thread.

Although I had mentioned in my first post that these boat loads are relatively easy, there are some nuances that make it challenging. Maverick has this dedicated account. At one of the Bass Pro Shop deliveries, I talked to one of the Maverick drivers. He said that Maverick has had the account for about a year. He said that Werner had it before and lost it because, among other things, they had dropped pontoon boats, which I could understand given my first load where the winch strap for the pontoon boat broke. More on that below. A receiver confirmed this when he told me that “Werner was comical.”

In addition to the independent landing gear, the Maverick driver told me that some of the really old trailers have the landing gear very close to the mudflaps. His Maverick truck had the fifth wheel very far back. Interestingly, that morning I had seen what looked like a Prime mudflap, with the arm still attached, laying in the yard at Lebanon. The other nuance about hauling boats involves how the boats are loaded. The reason why the strap broke on the pontoon boat (and the reason why Werner dropped pontoon boats) is that the boat was angled back. Pontoon boats can weigh in excess of 6,000 lbs. This is not a lot but those straps are designed to hold the boat on the boat trailer either level or titled a little forward. The strap is not designed to hold the weight of the boat titled back on the boat trailer. I had another boat that was angled forward with the front of the boat on two 2 X 6s. Because of the forward angle the boat trailer pushed the 2 X 6s down the slope that goes from the wheel wells and the trailer was resting on the steel trailer. I used my winch bar for leverage to get the 2 X 6s back up on the upper tier and under the boat trailer frame. Since then, I use my “cinch strap” (more on that below) to secure the 2 X 6s to the boat trailer frame so it doesn’t slide forward. I had another boat where all of the 2 inch securement straps pulled the boat in the same direction. I had to constantly stop and tighten the 2 inch straps (I know, I should have redone them).

Another nuance for hauling boats involves backing. It’s either one extreme or the other. Bass Pros are easy. They generally unload you in a parking lot. But the independent dealers are a mix. One receiver in Wisconsin had me deliver to their boat storage facility on a two lane road with no shoulders and a considerable slope off the edge of the pavement. I tried to back in from the road, but I didn’t have enough room for my steer tires to chase the trailer and still stay on pavement. I ended up pulling in and had to back out onto the two lane road. I had good visibility in both directions and a lot of room to maneuver in the parking lot, so I backed out quickly before any cars came upon me.

Another nuance about hauling boats involves time and liability. These boats are pretty pristine. They use carpet in between the nylon straps and the boat frame to protect the boat frame. So you really need to go over the boat with a fine tooth comb when you pick them up because many of the receivers will spend a good 30 minutes to an hour inspecting the boat.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob D.'s Comment
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I’ve been to Tennessee, Georgia (Atlanta area), Denver, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Minnesota. Wisconsin drivers are my new most hated drivers. One guy passed me on the left and got back into the right line despite the two flashing signs and a row of barrels indicating the right lane was closed. Another time I had my left turn signal on to merge left because the right lane was closing. I had it on for quite a while and let two cars get ahead of me so there was enough gap for me to get over. The car in the left lane behind me kept coming up beside me even though I was already half way in the lane. And it’s not just the drivers, in a construction zone where traffic had been reduced to one lane, there was a right lane closed ahead sign. Interesting, after the sign, it opened up into two lanes.

In addition to the boat hauling nuances, I’m learning a lot about driving generally. I’ve learned you really need to pack things tightly in these storage compartments if you don’t want a jumble of stuff when you open it. I’ve also learned that you have to be careful how you move in these Cascadias. If you try to use the lower bunk as a workspace while standing up you will hit your head on the ladder mount. Also, you need to make sure you close all of the cabinet doors because you’ll hit your head on those.

As far as driving, backing these trailers is both easy and hard. They are 53’ trailers but the kingpin is pretty far forward to where there is only about 2 inches overhang in front of my fifth wheel. I’m 75 feet from the back of the trailer to the deer guard. These are closed tandems so they are easy to make turns, but the tandems are positioned as far forward as the most forward position on a box trailer. All that trailer behind the tandems makes it hard to back into a spot without encroaching into the passenger side park spot next to you. You pretty much need to have the trailer almost perfectly parallel to the parking spot to not go over the line. So far, I’ve been able to find either two open spots together or get my set up to where I can see both sides of my trailer.

As far as my “cinch strap” I learned why you want to fold up the excess strap. When backing into a Bass Pro loading dock area, I heard what sounded like I had hit something. I had done a thorough GOAL before started backed to make sure I had plenty of room. I looked in my mirrors and there was nothing around me. As I’m getting ready to get out of the truck, a FedEx driver says “here, I saved your strap.” The excess had gotten caught underneath the drive tires and broke. Not only did it break the excess, it pulled the anchor for the ratchet so hard it tore half of it off. It had pulled the ratchet so tight I had to cut the strap to get the ratchet off. Now I use the remnants as a cinch strap. After you unload the boats, you have to break down the supports and secure then on the trailer. I use the cinch strap to pull them all together. So far, I am really enjoying this. Even with running hard, I do have free time, I’ve been using it for truck and securement related stuff. At some point, I’ll run out of things to reorganize and then can use my free time more leisurely. I also hope to keep this thread updated more.

I also almost got stung by the Labor Day Weekend Holiday. On the way to the 02, I called only to get message that they were closed for the holiday weekend and would reopen Tuesday. I called the 03 and found out they were open on Saturday. When I got there on Saturday, I asked the manager if he knew someone at the 02. He was able to contact one of the owners via Facebook. After calls all around, I got approval to drop both boats at the 03 so that I would not have to wait until Tuesday to deliver. Someone, I can’t remember who, told me to make sure to document all of this with Qualcomm messages. Good thing I did because I got a message from someone along the lines of “who the f gave you permission to drop both boats at the 03.” This was immediately followed two minutes later with a message. “Ok, see the QC messages, thanks.”

Tandems:

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:

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".

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
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Way to go Rob, you're killing it! Perhaps I overlooked it but are you doing a dedicated account with these boat loads or is that just the way it's worked out? That's awesome that you've been able to stop by the house when passing through.

Keep up the great work. What you've accomplished so far is hard for many experienced drivers. To think its only been a few weeks on your own is outstanding. Just don't over do it and burn yourself out.

Rob D.'s Comment
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Way to go Rob, you're killing it! Perhaps I overlooked it but are you doing a dedicated account with these boat loads or is that just the way it's worked out? That's awesome that you've been able to stop by the house when passing through.

Keep up the great work. What you've accomplished so far is hard for many experienced drivers. To think its only been a few weeks on your own is outstanding. Just don't over do it and burn yourself out.

Rob it just worked out this way. I think because I was bobtail at the Springfield terminal they sent me to Tracker on my first Load. And then after that it just seemed to flow from one load to another.

It was nice to have a relaxing 34 here in Peculiar Missouri. I got to see my daughter and just have some down time.

Bobtail:

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

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.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
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I know who told you to always put it in writing. And I claim that position. Lol

Great job

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