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

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Tortuga 's Comment
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Great updates Rob D. Keep em coming, I'm enjoying your adventures!

PJ's Comment
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Awesome job my friend. Rob is very correct, there are many experienced drivers that would not do as well. The longer you do those loads the easier it will get, pretty much second nature.

I’m very glad to hear your enjoying it. Keep up the good work.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob D.'s Comment
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9/14/2020 Update

So, the honeymoon is over. I hauled my last boat load last Wednesday and then got a load of building materials. I had posted a picture of it in the Flatbed Variety thread. These particular loads are notorious for difficult securement because they just throw stuff everywhere. As far as working load limit, you exceed it several times over because you have to throw extra straps just to secure the loose pieces that weighs hardly anything. I had three separate straps just for these rolls of sheet metal. It took me about 1:45 to secure it. It’s a short load so I deliver the next day in Iowa.

The materials I deliver are to repair roof of industrial buildings damaged by the high winds. Because there are so many pieces on the load, it takes over 2 hours to unload. So I have very little time left on my clock but I make it to my next load which is sheet rock. They have a specific procedure where you drop your trailer, they load and tarp it, then you secure it and leave. Being new, I didn’t know the procedure, but one guy was pretty helpful.

After I’m all secured, I go to pull out and get the low air pressure warning. I think because I’ve been sitting go a while or had been using the brakes and shifting a lot. However, I soon realize that the trailer has an air leak. It’s coming from the front axle (48’ spread axle trailer) and just spewing air out. After getting the air pressure built up and charging the trailer air system, I crawl up under the trailer to find the elbow to a brass fitting just spewing air. I get out my tool kit, tighten the brass fitting, and push in on the elbow. That seems to have fixed it. (BTW, I had some help in diagnosing this from Packrat). Head out and get as far as I can.

I deliver to a Kohl’s jobsite the next day and it’s another long wait. They are two flatbeds in front of me and they are using a crane lift the sheet rock up on the roof one small section at a time. After about three hours they bring a telehandler (forklift with a boom) and unload me next.

It’s Friday afternoon now and I my next load is picking up in Chicago. Tight corners, precarious bridges, and a decent amount of tariff. I get there about 17:45. Again, they have a procedure but they are neither good at communicating it or executing it themselves. The load is steel pipe and it needs to be tarped. Steel pipe will slice right through tarps. I get my moving blankets on as best I can. I give my 2 steel tarps and smoke tarp to the guy who loads tarps machine and he says that they won’t work; he needs my blue lumber tarp. After he loads the tarp machine he leaves for lunch and tells me that someone else will drop the tarps on the load. This new guy and I find out that the other guy loaded the tarps on the machine sideways. That’s why they weren’t long enough. After the tarps dropping several times, we get them on. After I pull out, the blue lumber tarp blows half way off. I realize how screwed up the tarp job is and decide to redo it the correct way with two steel tarps and my smoke tarp. I spend about 2 hours rotating one of the steel tarps (the second guy and I had put at least one on the correct way) and added my smoke tarp. I also spent some time making sure that that the tarp was not pressed against the sharp edges of the steel pipe. After packing everything up I head out on PC because I’ve blown through my 14 hour clock. I have to drive about 50 miles because I’m in Chicago and the Petro at exit 240 is the closet truck stop of any size.

On the way to the Petro, I get a message from dispatch “did you make to the 01; are you loaded.” I didn’t send and arrival or departure. And I also realize that I left without my bill of lading. When I get to the Petro, I message that I did get loaded and drove about 50 miles away for the night. Can I get an electronic copy of the bill of lading? While I’m having the message exchange with dispatch, I get a call from the shipper (the second guy who helped f up my tarps). Good thing I didn’t go off on him because now I need his help. I explain that I’m 50 miles away and he asks me to text my e-mail address to him; he will e-mail all the paperwork to me.

I will be spending another 34 hour reset at home, so I print them off at home and take them with me to the receiver on Monday. After I come back to the truck on Sunday, I realize that the steel pipe has cut through the tarps. A couple of 1 inch cuts. I pull them part way off, put more moving blankets down, and tape up the holes.

I get started early Monday morning and make it to the receiver about 8:45. One of the first things that the forklift operator says is that we didn’t need to tarp the load. They leave the pipe out in the elements. It takes about and hour and half to unload. Then I have to wait for a while to get the next load, which is plywood going to Davenport, Iowa. About 960 miles total.

So, even with all of the delays and frustrations, I will have over 2,400 miles on this next paycheck.

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.

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.

Papa Pig's Comment
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Rob, come on over to my side of the world . You won’t have to deal with any of that 🤣😂 I had to ... you do it to me so often . Lol

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Rob welcome to real world trucking. I’m sorry you had such a rough week, but sounds like you handled it very well.

When I did flatbed I drove for a private fleet and didn’t have to deal with that stuff.

I much prefer tankers. Drop the stuff in, close the hatch and roll.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

You have good weeks and bad ones. Thats just trucking. Even still with all the difficulties 2400 miles ain't nothing to sneeze at. Ill admit I was jealous with the boat loads but its loads like those ones that make me glad im a door swinger lol

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob D.'s Comment
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9/24/2020 Update

While it’s only been ten days since my last update, it feels a lot longer. The frustrations continued Monday and culminating Tuesday with me descending into a “f this crap” attitude.

The plywood load out of Arkansas needed to be tarped. Although I generally knew that this shipper would not allow you on the load to tarp, I did not see a tarp machine and I read all the warning signs, none of which said don’t get on the load. After I had one tarp completely and the other on top of the load, the forklift operator drives up to me and tells me I can’t be tarping on the load. I have to use the tarping machine. Where are the tarping machines I ask?. Above where I loaded. I didn’t see them because it was not a normal tarping station. It was a single set of hooks above where I loaded with a controller bungeed to the wall. So, I have to back into the building again to finish tarping.

After I get all secured, I head out. I have about three and half hours on my clock. Now the route that I’m taking follows US 67 North. When I look to see where I can stop for the night, the closet major truck stop is over 200 miles away. I probably won’t make that far so, I pick a mom and pop place to stop for the night.

A little way down the road I notice some of my tarps flapping so I stop and bungee strap them down. No big deal. A little later, I notice what looks like the underside of the tarp exposed. I stop and check the load and sure enough the rear tarp has pulled back. When I’m checking it, I also notice that the corners of the plywood are starting to cut holes in my lumber tarps. I put the rear tarp under the front tarp and secure the seam with a 2 inch strap, tape the holes and head out. At this point, I’m running up against my 14-hour clock because the time I took to secure the first time plus all the stops. So I’m going to be cutting it tight to make it to my stop for the night and there are no options that I can find before my planned stop for the night.

In addition to this aggravation, my phone is not working. I cannot make or receive calls. So, I can’t call the Menards in Iowa to find out their receiving hours.

When I stop for the night, I decide that I need to redo my securement. I pull back the tarps section at time, completely redo my straps, adding blankets to cover the corners of the plywood, and retarp the entire load. It takes me about two hours.

By the time I’m done, I am completely frustrated. Not in the Tommy Terminal Rat way, in that I complain that I’m getting difficult securement loads. I am more frustrated at myself. Because I’m new and really didn’t’ learn a whole lot about these type of loads, because we didn’t get any. So, by the time I go to bed, I feel just fed up.

I still feel the way the next morning, but I just put my head down and drive to the receiver. I deliver the load Wednesday morning. There is another truck in front of me and I get almost everything packed away by the time they are ready to unload me. Despite being new and slow, I’m not delayed it.

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.

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.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

9/24/2020 update continued

Next load is building materials out of Mount Pleasant, Iowa on Wednesday and delivering in Brainerd, Minnesota on Thursday. No tarping and no real difficult securement. But I do need to add some belly straps to make sure the load is secure and edge protectors so my straps don’t get cut. It’s a short run that I deliver the next day. It’s a small construction company and the load is larger than normal for them. They have me pull around back and unstrap. After I unstrap, they have me pull to another spot. Then another spot. Then they decide that they want me to restrap and deliver to their construction site. So, I restrap and follow the manager to the building site. Again, another long unload because building materials need to be removed one piece at a time. By the time I’m done for the day they can’t get me another load so I find a Holiday truck stop nearby for the night.

Next load comes at 0630 128 miles away for pickup and 244 miles away for delivery at Menards. Easy shingle load. Dispatch says this can deliver tomorrow. Nope, I’m getting this sucker there today. I get to the shipper early, quick strap job, drive the 244 miles to the receiver and send my empty message by 1500. Before my regular FM leaves for the day. I am scheduled for home time starting Monday. I get a load picking up in Troy, Illinois, 300 plus miles dead head, and delivering to Troy, Michigan. Monday. I make it almost to Hannibal, Missouri before I shut down for the night. Before I leave the next morning, I call the shipper to find out their receiving hours for Monday. It’s a small business so I get the owner’s cell phone instead of an automated message tree. He says that he might be able to accommodate a Sunday delivery. He just needs to know exactly what I’m bringing. I tell him I’ll text him pictures of the load and bill of lading when I pick it up. I get to St. Louis about 0900. Find and secure the load, send pictures and head out. I make it to within 130 miles of the receiver Saturday. I get a text later on that night that I can unload Sunday. I tell him I’ll be there by 1000.

I get there about 0930 and the owner is just showing up. They have me drive into this old industrial manufacturing building through a series of 12-foot wide doors. Probably about 300 or 400 total feet into this building. It takes us about 3 hours to unload. Then I head out to Chicago, which is where I’m scheduled for home time. I make it there about 1900. I decompress from a frustrating week, looking forward to four days in a row of home time, which I will spend with my wife in Door County Wisconsin.

So even for this short week, I’ll get almost 1800 miles on my paycheck.

For my first rookie solo month, I logged 14,174 dispatched miles.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

It has been hectic and frustrating. As I mentioned above, I could complain that I got a bunch of “bad loads,” because they involved difficult securement and long unloads, but my frustration stems more from my lack of experience. Two of the loads that took me a long time to secure and/or resecure, would go a lot smoother and quicker now that I know what to expect from them. I had set my intention for at least my first six months to focus on learning the job. I just have to be patient with that and remind myself of that intention.

All in, and notwithstanding the frustrating week last week, I have no regrets choosing trucking and flatbed. Even though the challenges of securement may be more difficult, I take pride in the job well done.

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

9/27/2020 Update; back after home time.

A little confusion about locations from dispatch. I get up early thinking that I’ll get another early load like I did last Friday. When I am about to ping dispatch, I get a message saying that they are looking for a load for me, its just difficult because of my location. That’s odd, I think there should be a lot of loads coming out of Chicago. When I do get a load, its back near Detroit where I unloaded on Sunday. And the empty miles says 35. As I’m driving there, I call dispatch to remind him that I’m headed there but that I am actually rolling out of Chicago. There are a couple of seconds of silence, during which I interject “should I stop.” “No, no, keep rolling.” While I never confirmed this apparently, even though I took home time in Chicago, they dispatched as if I were in Detroit.

I get to the shipper about 1900, which is my appointment time. Although there are several trucks ahead of me, I get in pretty quick. This load is rectangular steel tubes that have knife sharp edges. Loading is not all that fast, and I take my time tarping because I don’t want my tarps cut again. They have a tarping station where there are nets that connect to your stake pockets to create a safety net. I used them, but probably won’t use them again next time because they are huge time killers. Total turn around time is about 3.5 hours. After I leave, I roll about 90 miles and stop for the night. The total loaded miles for this load is about 775 and doesn’t delivery until Monday morning. So, I get another 34-hour break.

After I had loaded Friday night, the drive scale that Prime has in the trucks registered about 29,000 lbs. Doing some math while I was driving, I thought it might be a good idea to weigh at the CAT scale. My total weight was 75,000 lbs, but for some reason, now my drives are only 27,000 lbs. So, I am 36,000 on my closed axles (53’ trailer). And to complicate this, my route has me going through Wisconsin, which requires my axles to be closed for kingpin laws. After some discussion with Turtle, I decide to open my axles which moves 2,000 lbs onto my drives, leaving me with 34,000 lbs on my trailer, and reroute through Iowa to avoid Wisconsin. I also notice that the steel is cutting through my tarps so, I put some of the carpet that I appropriated from hauling boat loads But the steel even cut through the carpet. The holes in the corners are not that bad, but the bottom of my tarp at the back get sliced up pretty good with several 8-10 inch gashes. To say I’m frustrated and ****ed is an understatement. I do my best to resecure the tarps to minimize more damage and drive on.

I end up stopping short of my drive clock because my route goes north on US 63 and there is about a 200 mile gap after Waterloo, Iowa for major truck stops. My time I have left on my clock would be cutting it close. Regardless of when I shut down, I will end up getting to the receiver at the same time Monday. It’s just if I were to drive 3 more hours, that’s three more hours I have for my 70 starting next week.

I spend a lot of time on my 34-hour reset repairing my tarps. Prime gives you tarp patches and glue. I also bought some Gorilla tarp tap that works really well. It’s worth the $15 per 10 feet of tape. After I get it all fixed, I resecure it really well. I had bought some of these plastic corner edge protectors that I used for all of the corners and put a lot of blankets around. I had bought some more moving blankets at the Harbor Freight in Waterloo, Iowa. When retarping I made sure that the tarp was pulled away from any of the steel edges, except for the corners and edges that I had protected.

The delivery goes pretty smooth. They have you untarp and mostly unstrap and then pull in through the building, unloading you with a crane that spans the inside of the building. My tarp repair and retarping worked well. No more damage.

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.

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

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