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

Topic 28708 | Page 4

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Papa Pig's Comment
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Rob, sounds like you have had a busy couple of weeks. It be like that sometimes, frustration, etc. you are handling it nicely. I’m sure there is a huge learning curve with flatbed with all of the different types of loads you have to secure. Question. I’m always seeing other truckers leaving mudflaps ripped off everywhere and was wondering if they would make good edge protection for certain loads? Seems like the would protect straps pretty good. Also you wouldn’t be at a loss if you had to do a trailer swap.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob, sounds like you have had a busy couple of weeks. It be like that sometimes, frustration, etc. you are handling it nicely. I’m sure there is a huge learning curve with flatbed with all of the different types of loads you have to secure. Question. I’m always seeing other truckers leaving mudflaps ripped off everywhere and was wondering if they would make good edge protection for certain loads? Seems like the would protect straps pretty good. Also you wouldn’t be at a loss if you had to do a trailer swap.

Mud flaps would work okay but they are too rigid to actually work for edge protection. At least the ones on our trucks. The key to edge protection is that they have to be durable enough to withstand things like sharp steel but flexible enough to conform to different product shapes.

Packrat has some fire hose at home which is perfect because it's both durable and flexible. But we just need to coordinate our schedules.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I'll grab that firehose for you next time I'm by the house. Next year.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Rob I’m sorry to hear of the frustrations, but it happens at times. Your handling it well and your trip planning seems spot on. Those are great miles you posted.

I never look at one week. Some are great and some are poor. Look at the monthly average as you posted. Keep up the good work.

If you get frustrated take a deep breath. You can always give me a shout if you still have my number.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

10/04/2020 Update

Next load is an easy one: shingles. Very quick load, you check in then a forklift operator leads you to where they have the shingles that you will haul. Fast load, quick, easy strap and then head out. This one is going all the way from Minnesota to Orlando, Florida. But shingles are heavy. My trailer weigh scale shows that I’m just over 34,000 lbs with the axles closed. After some advice from my mentors, I decide to open the axles. I will have to close them again for Florida, but I’ll at least get the practice right. Well, when I stop to slide them, somethings not right. When I switch the valve to pull the pins, they open but then close by the time I get in the truck. I finally find out the problem because it happened in PSD training. There is a release valve under the trailer that malfunctions and creates an air leak. When the air leak drains the tanks, the tractor protection valve trigger and the pins go back out. So, I roll with the axles closed. When I stop for the night in Illinois, I have the TA “fix” it by bypassing the valve. It works but I’m nervous that if I open them, I won’t be able to close them when I get to Florida. And before I DO close, then, I decide to scale at a CAT Scale. I have 34,080 on my trailer and decide to roll with that. I don’t get pulled into a scale until I get to Florida, which allows 44,000 lbs on your tandems.

The receiver in Orlando has a rather odd unload procedure. They have a large yard, like a Menards, but they make each truck stop at the gate and unstrap there. Then you have to wait until they are ready to unload. So, I spend about 3 hours total unloading shingles which is an easy unload.

I head out to Savannah, Georgia even before I get my next load, because that’s pretty much what you’re going to get coming out of Florida: sheet rock. Sure enough, sheet rock going to Boston area. I don’t have enough time to make Savannah on my clock that night. I stop just over the state line in Georgia. Next morning, I pick up, they tarp it, and get rolling as far as I can. The truck GPS wants to take me up I-95. Based on advice from Turtle, I decline. I take I-95 to I-26, to I-77, and then I-81. I make horrible time because there is an accident in Charlotte. It takes me about 45 minutes to go 2 miles. Traffic is still heavy after Charlotte. It’s like a holiday weekend. I shut down at the Love’s at exit 84 in Virginia.

Next morning, I’m rolling early. My fuel stop is at the Prime terminal in Pittston. In addition to fuel, I need to replace a tire chain that they issued that’s worthless. Plus, there are showers, laundry, café, etc. at the terminal. But the terminal is only 450 miles and I would like to get closer to the receiver. After some discussion with Turtle and Packrat about parking, I check the parking situation after Pittston. Not good. I decide to go ahead and shut down for my 34-hour reset at the Prime terminal. Since I’m staying at the terminal for my 34-hour reset, I call the trailer shop to have them reinstall the valve that the TA mechanic bypassed.

This time, no tarp repair or other projects. I went grocery shopping this morning, finally getting what I need for my prepared dinner system. I have an Instant Pot that has a sous vide function. I also have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. I put chicken, potatoes, and vegetables in a vacuum sealed bag with spices. Store the bag in my freezer on the truck. My plan is to pull out the prepared meal in the vacuum sealed bag, drop in the Instant Pot with water, and set the timer to be done when I’m finished driving for the day. We’ll see how it works out. I also got a pot roast that I’m cooking while I’m doing my laundry. Also, thoroughly cleaned the truck.

It has been a relaxing, and not frustrating, 34-hour reset. So, I’m feeling a little more encouraged about this career change.

Thanks for the words of encouragement and empathy with my frustrations. While some of the frustrations have weighed me down, as often shared on Trucking Truth, my experience and frustrations are to be expected in trucking. But even though I expected to have frustrations, they are tough to deal with at the time. PJ thanks for the offer to call. I talk to Turtle quite a bit. He gets the full brunt of Tommy the Terminal Rat. Yet despite my frustrations, I am still committed to continue driving flatbed. I hope to get fewer difficult loads and I hope to get to the point where the difficult loads are not as frustrating.

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.

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".

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”

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

10/13/2020 Update

Monday: delivered sheet rock to Boston area. Always interesting to get the local flavor when you deliver to places. There were police wearing peaked caps standing in the construction zone of the side street. They all looked like there were out of central casting: very ethnic looking Irish, German, and Italian. At the receiver, the forklift operator told me where I should park to pull my “tahps” off. Didn’t take long to get unloaded and pulled to a side street to wait for my next load and have breakfast.

Next load was slinkies out of Wallingford, Connecticut. My delivery was scheduled for Wednesday at 1330, but my FM got that moved up to 1030. They only take deliveries by appointment and didn’t have any appointments left for Tuesday. I would still make it there Tuesday, but because I couldn’t deliver Tuesday I kinda slept in a little. Regardless of the appointment, I called the receiver on my way just to ask if I could show up and see if I could get unloaded Tuesday. At first, he said no, but then said that I could wait in the gravel parking lot out of the way. I got there about 1500, checked in and was unloaded in about an hour.

Wednesday: Variety of steel products out of Ohio. The load weighed in at 47,980. I’m over 32,000 lbs empty. I had calibrated my truck and trailer right weigh scales, so I told them let’s load it and see where we are. I was just over 34,000 on both my drives and trailer. They took off what I thought was 1300 lbs, but when I looked at the BOL at the 90, I realized they took off 2,500 lbs. My weight on the CAT Scales was 77,980 with ¼ tank of fuel. Had they not removed 2,500 lbs I would have been over even with a ¼ tank of fuel. Although, as Turtle and Rainy will attest, I did realize they had removed 2,500 lbs until I saw the BOL at the receiver, so I was second guessing myself about having them remove the product. Regardless, I am glad that I had calibrated the truck and trailer scales, which were pretty dead on, because I knew right after they loaded me that I was overweight.

I had hoped to get this load dropped off early, Thursday afternoon, but no dice. I could have made it there by 1600 but they stop delivering at 1200. So, I got there about 1800 and had dinner with my daughter. I delivered the first thing the next morning because I stayed the night at the receiver.

Now, I had home time scheduled for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I could have deadheaded to St. Louis, after delivering the metal products. But instead I messaged my FM “Thank you sir, may I have another.” So he gives me a load picking up in Springfield, MO delivering in Middlebury, IN on Tuesday. The load was from one of Prime’s eco divisions that shreds steel belts. It was 25 bags of shredded steel belts from tires. Not easy to secure because it’s like strapping down a milk jug over the top. But I got it done and made it home about 2030 for three days home time.

Deadhead:

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

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.

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”

Cat Scales:

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”

Papa Pig's Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you are doing pretty well man. It’s always good to know your truck.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

10/17/2020 Monday after home time.

Had a loss of power issue as described in topic 28809. One check engine light comes on, then after I’m moving more a second check engine light comes on and I lose power. Fault codes are 4374, 3659, 3660, and 3661 which are DEF pump pressure and electrical system malfunctions that will trigger a “deration” of power. Apparently, the deration of power serves to protect the engine. Essentially, I’m running on 3 to 4 cylinders, which took some route planning to get from home to the Freightliner dealership in St. Louis because my maximum speed was about 45 mph, down hill.

So, they have replaced the MCM (motor control module) and they are working on other “recall” repairs. It’s 1015 on Tuesday, October 13 and I’m waiting for them to finish up my truck and get moving.

I get rolling about 1530 or so. My plan is to drive as far as I can, late into the night, so that I can have a full clock for the next morning. I end up stopping at the George Craig travel plaza on Interstate 80, which leaves me about 30 minutes to the receiver.

I get up after 8 hours in the sleeper because my plan is to get there early and still have some time on my clock to make it to my next load. However, the load that I get has 250 deadhead miles and I only have about 3.5 hours left on my clock. So I drive to a truck stop and shut down about 1130. I have until 1700 to pick up my Caterpillar tracks so, even with a two-hour break, I will get there about 1600. While I’m on my two-hour break, I get a message from dispatch “when do you get your time back.” I explain my plan and get a response “10-4.” I get to Caterpillar about 1600 and leave about 1830. I get as far as I can for the night, which is Mt. Vernon, Illinois. There are three large trucks stops and all of them are full. And there was not point in stopping short because everything was full leading up to Mt. Vernon. I end up having to pay for parking at the Pilot. C’est la vie.

Next day is nothing but driving. I’ve got 611 miles to my next fuel stop and about 730 miles to the receiver. My plan is to shoot for the fuel stop in Dublin, Georgia, with Atlanta being the wild card, trying to make it as far as I can. My timing is not right for Atlanta, as I’ll be rolling through at rush hour. But some traffic delays slow me down so that I will be rolling through Atlanta between 1900 and 2000. I rolling through pretty good when the truck loses power again. I shared that story in another thread so I won’t recount it again. Essentially, it’s the same problem that I had last weekend.

I end up having to go to the Freightliner dealer on Friday. They won’t get it fixed before Monday, so, I’m stuck in Atlanta for the weekend.

Deadhead:

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

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

10/27/2020

Ended up getting repowered on the Caterpillar track load going to the port in Savannah, Georgia. Although, as soon as my repower driver left, they handed me the keys to my truck saying it was fixed.

Had a lot of back and forth through Atlanta with the next loads. Got a load out of Marietta, Georgia that went to Elizabethton, TN. So twice on I-285 for that load. That load delivered to a farm house that was the most difficult backing I’ve had yet. I posted pictures of it in Rob Ts’. backing practice thread. I had to back from a narrow two lane driveway onto a one lane farm road that had fences, a gate, and pine trees lining the driveway. And I had to do it in the dark. Also had a new experience a COD load, with a twist, which I didn’t know until I looked at the paperwork after we started unloading. The receiver disagreed with the amount on the BOL, so I had to wait a while for our shipping customer to approve the lesser amount. They give you a Fedex envelope to mail the check to the shipping customer, but I had a difficult time finding a Fedex drop box.

Next load I hauled Caterpillar skid steers. They are like Bobcats. Those went to North Carolina, where I had to bump a dock and then final delivery back in Atlanta. Interestingly, they went to the Caterpillar dealer right next to my hotel where I stayed when I was broke down. Both of these load were short. 289 miles and 526 miles.

After that, I got a nice Charlotte Pipe gravy run going to McKenzie, North Dakota: over 1800 miles. Relatively easy securement, but I did have issues with some of the smaller pipe walking out on me. One piece was about ¾ of the way out and ready to fall when I did a load check. I delivered this about noon on Monday, earlier than expected. And had a little interesting interaction with dispatch after that.

I had about 3 hours left on my 70 when I sent in my departure. I had sent a message that morning to my FM asking if I could get set up for a load after my 34 hour reset. At least get headed in the right direction for the next load. Apparently, my FM missed the part in my message that I was out of my hours on my 70 because I get a load picking up in Gwinner, North Dakota, exactly 3 hours away. And the load is scheduled to deliver over the next three days. I send a message to my FM and follow up with a call explaining that I won’t get hours until the morning after tomorrow, either a 34 reset or running recaps. So, after some discussion, I agree that I go pick it up that day and then figure out where to land for the night. It’s a Bobcat load that I’m securing at 1900, in the dark, and its 14 degrees. Not to mention the snow on the ground and the trailer deck. Snow and ice covered aluminum has a special slipperiness to it.

I get the load secured, signed off and head out. About a mile up the road, I find an abandoned supper club with a huge parking lot and one truck already settled in for the night. I pull in, settle in, and eat salad for dinner. It’s about 45 degrees inside the truck. While I’m eating, the bunk heater keeps turning off, displaying an error code, and by the time I’m finished eating I figure I’m going to have to idle to get the truck warmed up. However, as I’m sitting in the driver’s seat waiting for the truck to warm up, I notice the low fuel light come on. I have about an 1/8th of a tank. After some consideration, I decide to head out to my fuel stop in Summit, South Dakota, so that I have full tanks if I have to idle the truck all night. I get there about 2300 fuel up and crash. Gratefully, the bunk heater worked just fine all night.

So, I’m taking my 34 at the Coffee Cup Travel Plaza in Summit, South Dakota. I enjoyed a nice leisurely coffee this morning, out of the truck, put a pot roast in the instant pot that has been cooking all day, cleaned the truck, took a shower, and am enjoying a nice break from the hectic pace of the flatbed trucking life.

I updated my load spreadsheet and logged about 22,000 miles my first two months. The regular flatbed work runs slower than boat loads and I took four days off in October.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

You're killing it Rob. Are you enjoying it as much as you thought you would? How do you get the pipe back in the proper place when it walks out like that?

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