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

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Rob D.'s Comment
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1/10/2021 Update continued

Friday night, I stop at Little America in Flagstaff, Arizona. Even though I get in late, I don’t sleep late. So, I’ve got some time in the morning for securement work and leisure. One of my ratchet straps had fallen off the top of a stack of tarps, so I had to fix that. And took some pictures of the load since I had the tarp rolled back. I still had plenty of time to have a leisurely breakfast at the restaurant there. Chorizo and eggs.

Saturday, I churned some miles. There was a winter weather advisory, but I seemed to miss anything significant. Made it to the Petro in Amarillo for a total of 640 miles, leaving me with about 470 to the receiver. I will call on my way there Monday to see if I can deliver Monday later in the day, and then get set up for another load first thing Tuesday morning. With this load, I will have over 3,600 on this paycheck. If I can get another load delivered by the Wednesday payroll cutoff, I may have over 4,000 miles on this paycheck. I drove over 3,300 miles in the last six days.

This morning, I relocated to the Pilot this morning after the parking lots cleared out, because I have shower credits at the Pilot/Flying J, but not at TA/Petro. Updated my pay and mileage spreadsheet. I had posted my earnings before, but I had forgot to include my travel allowance, which is 7 cents per mile. Then off to the Big Texan Steak Ranch for 9 oz Ribeye. And cooking chicken tiki masala right now for dinner.

After I deliver this load Monday, I will have about 52,000 dispatched miles. After factoring in my travel allowance pay, I’m right at $37,000 gross pay for the 8 months (next Friday) since my hire date, plus my paycheck next Friday.

Rob D.'s Comment
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January 17, 2020 Update; frustrating week.

On another 34-hour reset in Oak Grove, Missouri. Would have gone farther toward my destination, but as I posted in an earlier update, there are really not any good truck stops in the Kansas City area.

Delivered the tarps Monday toward the end of the day. For any other Prime flatbed drivers, you will know Joplin Tarp, in Joplin, Missouri. As I understand it, they supply all tarps for Prime company flatbed drivers, and I think that even a lot of lease operators get their custom tarps from there. My appointment window ended at 1700, and I would be getting there about 1630 or so. So, I called and spoke to the owner who said he would have some of the guys stay late. He even mentioned that he would not tell them that I was coming. As he said, “along the lines of its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.” He’d rather not tell them and then say, “oh look, we have flatbed to unload.” I got there about 1615 and got unloaded and rolling in about an hour and half.

Got my proposed next load just before I got to Joplin Tarp, which was flatbed trailers going from Springfield, Missouri to Pittston, Pennsylvania. I know I would not have to tarp those. And I expected they would be at the terminal ready to go. So, the idea was to get to Prime’s Springfield terminal, find the trailers, strap them, and then get rolling early in the morning. This is where my frustrating week begins.

When I finally find the “haul trailer” it has chains and straps on the deck but no trailers. I let night dispatch know, who says my regular FM will take care of it first thing in the morning. Well, my FM tells me to take the other trailers to the trailer rebuild shop. After looking all over for the trailers, I find out from the yard dog outside the trailer rebuild shop, the other trailers that I was supposed to haul were not there. So, the trailer rebuild shop found two more step decks to load on the haul trailer, but didn’t get them loaded until 1300. After strapping, heading to outbound, and then returning to pick up the chains and straps that outbound demanded from me, I didn’t get rolling until almost 1600. With Prime flatbed, if you are “repowering” a load that has securement already on it, you simply give flatbed supply the same number of chains and straps that are on the already secured trailer. I used my own straps so I just left the chains and straps at trailer rebuild. Not good enough for outbound, I had to go back and get them.

So, I get rolling and decide that I’m going to try to make it to Pittston in two days. I drive late into the night, both Tuesday and Wednesday night. Not only am I driving late into the night, which makes for a long day because I was up early on Tuesday, but it also shifts my schedule forwards. So, I can’t even roll again until 1000 on Thursday. I get a short load of about 370 miles total from Sapa/Hydro in Cressona, Pennsylvania. Old School’s regular shipper. I’m thinking, great, I can get back on schedule. Wrong. The load of essentially aluminum beams is hands down the worst load I’ve hauled

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.

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.

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.
Papa Pig's Comment
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Rob d. Please excuse my ignorance cause I am home every weekend but I am curious. I notice you post that you take a lot of 34’s while you out there. So you not run recaps? Or is it not beneficial for you to do so?

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
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I'm wondering, Rob D. ~

What was so bad about O/S 's Hydro load ?!?!?!

Thanks!

~ Anne ~

Rob D.'s Comment
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January 17, 2020 update; continued

A very tall load with loads of sharp corners. I used every piece of edge protection I have. And the load was uneven as well for tarping purposes. Uneven both front to rear and side to side. Even the “old hat” guy who has tarped “thousands” of loads, was complaining about how they loaded it. He tried tarping it by having a blue lumber tarp in the back, Followed by a black steel tarp next. Well, that didn’t work. So, I pulled off the blue lumber tarp, put my smoke tarp in the back of the load, pulled my black lumber tarp down to overlap with my smoke tarp which gave me just enough overlap on the top top tier two lumber tarps on top. I was there for a good six hours total. Probably two to three hours just dealing with the tarp. And to top it off, it was loaded heavy on the front. I was 35K+ on my drives. I closed the trailer axles, which put me about 33.5K on my drives. My total weight was just over 79K.

0395934001610918771.jpg

0672336001610918847.jpg

I get rolling and stop short, even though I still have time on my drive clock, because I am just exhausted. I get up the next morning and get rolling to the delivery. The unload went better, but still took a while because I had to put all that stuff away. Plus, I had to roll up four tarps while it snowed. But the snow turned to liquid as soon as if hit anything so, my tarps and straps were all soaking wet.

At this point, I just want the rest of the day off. And I get it. My next load doesn’t pick up until early the next morning, Saturday. I make it to the shipper Friday night and spend the night there. I’m picking up an elevator, some assembly required. As I found out, elevator loads are tall in the front and then the small stuff tapers off toward the back. The timing on this load is tight, when factoring in a 34-hour reset. My appointment time at the shipper is 0700, but I need to get on the road at least by 1100, to be able to get to Junction City, Kansas by Monday at 1000. I end up making good time. I leave about 0945 local time. So, I have about an hour cushion on the back end. I drive all day through to the Oak Grove 70 Petro. After my reset is over tomorrow at 0600, I’ll have 4 hours to drive 159 miles. Not super easy, but comfortable.

I am right as my 5 month solo mark, with the following numbers.

54,435 dispatched miles. 48% tarped load (not including hauling boats)

Rob d. Please excuse my ignorance cause I am home every weekend but I am curious. I notice you post that you take a lot of 34’s while you out there. So you not run recaps? Or is it not beneficial for you to do so?

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Rob d. Please excuse my ignorance cause I am home every weekend but I am curious. I notice you post that you take a lot of 34’s while you out there. So you not run recaps? Or is it not beneficial for you to do so?

Papa Pig,

A couple of different reasons why I take a 34-hour reset pretty much each weekend.

Forced 34-hour reset: With a Monday start, and using pretty much all my drive clock each day, I burn through my 70-hour clock by the end of the day Saturday. So, my FM generally sets me up with a "weekend" load on Friday, usually 800 to 1,500 miles that delivers on Monday. I will either make it all the way to the receiver and deliver first thing Monday morning or I'll have to drive some on Monday, but still deliver on Monday. Most flatbed receivers are only open Monday through Friday. So, taking 34-hour reset does not delay delivering the load.

Natural 34-hour reset. Sometimes, like this week, I still have time on my clock. But, it just makes sense to push hard on Saturday and take a 34-hour reset. It helps both me and my FM manage my clock. We even talked about this the other day when he asked me again about training. We both know how much time I have each day 11/14. Until, I come up to the end of my 70-hour clock. But, as I mentioned, he factors a 34-hour reset into my "weekend" load. It works out to be a predictable schedule.

Personal preference: I prefer to maximize my drive clock each day. Plus, I like having "weekends" off. Most of the time, I deliver Friday morning and then get my weekend load about 1000. Once I pick that up and get rolling, let's say 1300, I'm just driving Friday and Saturday. If I don't have to push my clock, like my current load, I'm in "tourist mode." I stop as frequently as I want. And once I get to where I'm going I have at least one day off to myself. I do laundry, update my diary, Zoom with my wife, cook. ,etc.

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.
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm wondering, Rob D. ~

What was so bad about O/S 's Hydro load ?!?!?!

Thanks!

~ Anne ~

I was having internet connection problems. See the rest of the update, including the pictures of that load.

Anne A. (momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, Rob D. ...... oh my WOW... that load looks mucked up, for sure.. SORRY.

What a grueling day, eh?

You sure NAILED it, though.

I love following along; flatbed is the most mystifying of hauls to me; never did get to see much in person w/my guy; just Jersey barriers / lennels ... big deal, haha!

Thanks for sharing, man.

~ Anne ~

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

When you talk about the "haul trailer" is there anything special about it that differs from a typical flat, or is that just referring to the trailer that you're hooked to?

You're doing great, keep it up!

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

When you talk about the "haul trailer" is there anything special about it that differs from a typical flat, or is that just referring to the trailer that you're hooked to?

You're doing great, keep it up!

Rob T.

It was just a regular 53' flatbed trailer. They stack two other trailers on it and you secure it with chains and straps. I just used straps, but next time I will make sure to use chains as well. You run the chains through the rub rail, angled front and back from the middle trailer so that you have a very solid forward and rearward force to prevent the trailers from shifting forward or back.

Rob.

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