Home Run, Inc.

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PackRat's Comment
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Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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Reporting live from Strasburg, Ohio I’d like to ask PackRat if he remembers what it felt like when Ezekiel Elliot went 85 yards right through the hear of the south...Buckeye fans, and die hard Tide fans (are there any other kind?) know exactly what I’m typing about...now...back to our regularly scheduled report...

After meeting Keith at the Home Run terminal in Xenia, we travelled to Monroe to pick up a load from Deceuninck aka ‘Detroit Tech’. The load consisted of 27 racks of some sort of plastic trim which is used in the manufacture of windows. Our appointment was for 1:00 p.m. and we were 10 minutes early, however we waited over an hour before a forklift operator was available to load us. By the time everything was strapped down and tarped it was well after 3:30.

We traveled through Lebanon to 71 north, use 270 to skirt around C-bus and its construction nightmares, and picked up I70. We turned north onto I77 and are now ensconced at the receivers here in beautiful Tuscarawas (I think) County where we will sleep and unload at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.

I experienced a lot and even managed to retain some of it. I’ve gotta figure out a system for throwing straps over the top of the load for securement purposes. I was woeful with my attempts today, however I believe I’ve developed a system which will include tennis balls and 3/8” wire cable. I’ll report more on that after a bit of engineering back in Cincinnati.

As those of you in this niche know, it’s nearly impossible to include too much securement when attaching a load to the trailer. I’m looking forward to learning the many, many ways to keep stuff where it’s supposed to be. Keith believes that tomorrow we’ll be picking up a coil of steel and moving it to somewhere in Springfield, so that will be another adventure.

I did not drive any today as the results of Monday’s drug screen have not yet been communicated to the mother ship back in Xenia. I know I’ll pass, unless they’re screening for coffee in which case I’ll show as positive. How much would it suck to get left on the side of the road up here in northeastern Ohio?

To date the only item I failed to pack is toilet paper. I know that there was a shortage of it early on during the pandemic, and I know that most (all?) truck stops have an adequate supply, but what about those awkward times in the middle of the night when you’re sleeping at the receiver and you find it necessary to sneak outside and dig a cat hole? TMI, I know...sorry, not sorry, but I’m trying to ‘keep it real’ as Anne said in her first review of my work.

I’m gonna make a sandwich, eat a banana, and crawl into my bunk (the top one, of course since I’m the FNG). Keith doesn’t believe I’ll sleep at all tonight, but I’m betting he’ll be surprised. I can pretty much sleep anywhere and I proved it yesterday when I took a nap sitting upright in a chair in the Urgent Care on downtown Xenia while I waited for my name to be called.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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Get to a WM and buy a box of large, sturdy trash bags and keep these on your truck for whenever you may have an emergency #2 at night. Better safe than sorry.

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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Tonight I’m typing from the rear of the Lowe’s in Wapakoneta. We’re parked here for the night as we will deliver bright and early (sort of) at 7:00 a.m. Thankfully, Keith’s International ProStar Plus has curtains for the bunk area because Lowe’s has really bright security lights. He didn’t think I’d sleep very well last night but he was wrong. I woke up once around 2:00 a.m. and then sleep soundly until has alarm went off at 6:00.

We left Strasburg this morning after delivering the vinyl window trim items and headed to Wheeling, West Virginia in order to pick of a 40k pound steel coil from Wheeling Nippon. The drive over was spectacular as we passed Lake Tappon (sp). The mist/fog coming off the water was wicked cool. I had never been inside a steel plant and the operation of the huge cranes was fascinating to me. By shortly after 10 I had seen and assisted a second style of securement as we used lots of chains, beveled 4X4s, rubber mats, a coil tarp, and many, many bungees to secure and protect the shipment.

I’m a big fan of mountains, so the ride through eastern Ohio, western West Virginia, and east central Ohio was fun while we headed to Springfield and CoilPlus for our delivery. We lucked out as we hit Columbus shortly after 2:00 p.m., thereby missing the evening commute. We drove right through town on I70. C-bus has a lot of construction going on, but we had minimal delays. I was amazed when I saw two coyotes (both alive) on the side of the road, about 30 feet from the interstate about five miles west of the I70/I71 merge. It’s incredible how animals can adapt to man.

The coil drop off was much easier than the vinyl delivery and it didn’t take us long to store the equipment and head down SR 41 to Washington Courthouse to a Lowe’s DC where we picked up the trailer that is the cause of our presence here in Wapak. The pick-up process is pretty simple, but is very forward-looking as we performed what was basically a ‘drop-and-hook’ as we parked our empty trailer and left two Home Run tarps and some bungee cords in the parking lot for use by the Lowe’s staff who would load our empty trailer for delivery by another driver. We found the trailer assigned to us and improved the level of securement for the product with more bungees, 2” and 4” straps. We repositioned and re-secured the tarp and headed out.

During our pre-trip of the trailer we discovered a tire that wasn’t quite up to standard, so we stopped by the Home Run terminal so that the after hours mechanics could asses the tire. Jeff, the night chief (I just made that title up) decided to change out the tire. The air-driven impact wrench made short work of the lug nuts and we were back on the road in about 20 minutes.

Home Run has still not received the results of Monday’s drug test, so I haven’t driven any since I got in the truck with Keith on Tuesday morning. On the upside, i haven’t received a call from the lab asking me about any substances for which they are screening as this would require verification from a physician concerning any prescriptions written for me and would further delay my training. Hopefully, the results will come back tomorrow so that I can begin logging some hours. To date I have about 20 hours of seat time counting my school training time and drive time accumulated during my testing.

Our plan is to drop the load here at Lowe’s tomorrow morning and then head south down I75 to the Love’s truck stop about 10 miles away. We’ll eat breakfast and shower, then head back to Washington Courthouse to pick up another load from the Lowe’s DC and head to Indianapolis. I believe our route will take us south on I71 to the outer belt around Cincinnati (I275) then northwest on I74. We’re using this path rather than heading due west on I70 because of all the construction delays. I’m learning that miles mean absolutely nothing when we’re being paid for performance and delivery.

Time for supper and then off to bed.

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.

Interstate:

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

Drop-and-hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Howdy, Cincy ~!!

I was just getting ready to sign off myself, and saw your update. AWESOME, but for the missing 'test' results. As long as you know you are good; no reason to stress, man. This Covid has SO many things back logged, it's not even laughable anymore.

I've been to that Love's in 'WaPACK' with the hubby ... needed some 'pieces parts' for the tractor/trailer when we were pulling asphalt. Decent area; heck YOU know the state better'n I do, haha!

Thanks for the update, as always. Kudos on your progress!

Enjoy your supper, get some rest; hope you get your 'clearance to drive' tomorrow, then!

Thanks for sharing; be safe!

~ Anne ~

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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Editor’s note: I was advised by my mother (she is now a subscriber here and reads all of my entries...shortly, I am sure, she will begin posting) that I was born in St Ann’s Hospital in Columbus. She reports that she was there, and that most of the time I was in the room with her. Further, she states that Mt. Carmel East was not founded until 1972 and I was eight years old at that time.

My apologies for any inconvenience my error may have caused.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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Today was a day of ‘firsts’...I received a negative drug screen meaning that I was cleared to drive, therefore I took a position in the driver’s seat for the first time with Home Run when I switched places with KT at the rest stop on I71 just south of the Jeremiah Morrow Bridge as we headed down the highway after picking up another Lowe’s load which we are delivering to a location in Indianapolis in the morning.

Today was also the first time I drove a semi in the rain as we encountered light but steady rainfall from Lebanon until we were well into Indiana on I74. I took it slow, paid very careful attention to my following distance, and did my best to anticipate and plan for any unplanned and unexpected maneuvers by other motorists.

My biggest problem while driving was attempting to downshift at too high of a speed and at too high RPM. I’m disappointed in this as that was my issue during my first attempt at passing my road test.

I had my first visit to a truck stop as a professional driver when we stopped at the Love’s location outside of Sidney while returning from Wapak after dropping off our load at the Lowe’s there. Keith advised that this store was new, and it showed. I had never showered at a truck stop before, so he advised as to the process. Since he has unlimited showers and soda refills due to his Platinum status for the month of October, he simply told the attendant that we needed a ‘team’ shower meaning that we needed two shower rooms instead of one. I was given a small piece of paper with the number of the shower room on it, and the five-digit passcode to use in order to access the room. My room number, and then Keith’s, was called almost immediately. The room, at least at this Love’s, was quite large as it was at least double the size of the bathrooms at many upscale hotels. It was outfitted with a sink (of course), a mirror, a GFCI circuit, a bench, pegs on the wall for my clothes, a toilet (complete with two-play paper!), and a large walk-in shower. Soap, shampoo, a towel, a washcloth and a bath mat were also included.

After showering and a breakfast we headed to ‘the mother ship’ in Xenia to check on the results of my drug screen. I was getting antsy to drive, but I understood that it can take time to process the test. We tracked down the Safety Director for HR who checked and gave me the good news that I was cleared to drive. I was quite happy to get this news because I have had limited driving time (less than 20 hours to date).

Also in my list of ‘firsts’ was my first wrong turn while driving when I took I465, the circle highway around Indy, to the south rather than the north. I didn’t panic. I stayed in my lane and continued on. We took I65 north and swapped places someplace near the Keystone Avenue exit ramp. Keith brought us the rest of the way to our destination. We’ll be here until tomorrow morning. We’re scheduled to be unloaded around 9:00 a.m., but we may luck out and get emptied at 6.

We will drive to Richmond, Indiana where we’ll pick up a load of treated lumber. We’ll drop our empty trailer, hook up to the assigned trailer and get weighed on the shipper’s scale. Provided we’re not overweight, we’ll proceed to our terminal , park the rig and head to our respective homes for the weekend as the lumber is scheduled to be delivered to an 84 Lumber store in Columbia Station (Ohio) on Monday morning.

Right now I’m sitting in a BW3’s near the Lowe’s taking advantage of their free wi-fi. Polling results show that my reader count has grown to nearly double digits as my wife and three friends are now enjoying (?) my stream of consciousness. Thank you to each of you.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Editor’s note: I was advised by my mother (she is now a subscriber here and reads all of my entries...shortly, I am sure, she will begin posting) that I was born in St Ann’s Hospital in Columbus. She reports that she was there, and that most of the time I was in the room with her. Further, she states that Mt. Carmel East was not founded until 1972 and I was eight years old at that time.

My apologies for any inconvenience my error may have caused.

Cincy, that is so cool~!!

Your mom sounds hysterical, hahahahaha!!! You're about MY age, then .. cool~!!

The following ''update" post is awesome. Sounds like you are coming along wonderfully~!! And followers in the double digits..can't beat that! Are me and PackRat in the #'s, too ?!?!? LoL...

Keep in mind that many people read this forum, and don't register for weeks or months, if ever .. as they still are trying to decide if trucking 'is for them.' I bet you get my 'drift,' haha!

Keep on keeping on, man. I'm lovin' it~! Another Ohio company I can say I know someone that drives for !

~ Anne ~

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

Let’s see if I can ‘put a bow’ on my first week of training, then take a (very short) break here in the 513 so that I’m ready to go on Monday...

We woke up at 5:00 a.m. in order to be ready to got if/when the good folks at Lowe’s were ready, willing and able to unload us at 6. The perfect day would have been an early morning unload in Indy, then the drive to Richmond, Indiana where we would drop our empty trailer and pick up the next load which would (a) be already waiting for us, and (b) under weight. From Richmond we would dock with the mother ship in Xenia and leave our rig in the yard where it would be ready for us on Monday morning for our pre-noon drop-off in Cuyahoga County. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men...

Lowe’s did not begin the unloading process until about 10:30, so we sat around for over four hours (im)patiently waiting as we had a 9:00 a.m. appointment. While we were a little antsy, the fella that was really gonna feel some pain was the O/O that had arrived Thursday night, fully loaded, but had not called for an appointment. Apparently, the same driver had pulled a similar stunt on Tuesday and the receiving staff had taken pity upon him and had squeezed him in between other trucks. It was clear by our conversation with the receiving department that Friday was not Tuesday, and that their compassion and generosity had limits. The O/O was going to sit until well after lunch since he had already been into the store twice complaining about the hold up. I learned a very valuable lesson: call first and understand that we are a service provider and that our customer will unload us as they are able. Showing up without an appointment makes folks sad and they will demonstrate their displeasure in different ways. I can only imagine what the rest of this driver’s day, weekend and even next week will look like since he was ‘delayed’ in Indy.

I drove us back to Xenia from Richmond. We lucked out as we missed the brunt of the rush hour commute through Dayton on I70, I75, and US 35. I was able to keep a steady pace although I was passed by nearly everything on the road due to my cautious approach and the fact that the Home Run trucks are governed at 68 mph. Better safe than sorry.

I was glad to drive in the sun after dealing with Thursday’s rain. The precipitation pushed back the harvest of this year’s soy bean crop as well. All this week as we drove throughout Ohio we watched farmers cutting beans and to a lesser extent, corn. If I had to select a theme song for this week it would absolutely be ‘Harvest Time’ by Luke Bryan. We saw many precision operations in play as multiple combines, like so many giant locusts, cut beans which had been planted in late March or early April. The plants which had taken four to five months to reach maturity and dry were cut, separated from the pods, stored in the bellies of the combines, and then disgorged into the grain hoppers which were then delivered to nearby silos. Frequently we briefly had our visibility reduced by grain dust blowing across the highway. Today was different since the rain had pushed the pause button until the crops could dry. I’m sure that we’ll see the process kick back into action once the beans draw out and the moisture content is reduced to an acceptable level.

My shifting was better today, however I still need to work on slowing the truck to an acceptable speed when downshifting. Also, I need to develop my skill set so that I can make turns through intersections at an acceptable speed without straining the engine or shifting during the process.

I’m tired, so I’ll bring this entry to a close. As I said, I was up at 5:00 a.m. and returned to Xenia around 3:30. From there I drove the hour home to suburban Cincinnati, then showered and shaved before immediately heading 50 minutes north to Middletown to officiate a high school football game. The game was a challenge both mentally and physically. Another 50 minute trip back home wasn’t as difficult since I was still wound up on the remaining Adrenalin from the contest. Now I’m crashing as I need to sleep before working a couple of lower level football games tomorrow morning and afternoon.

I’m out of gear and my brake valves are popped out. I’m not gonna turn on my APU to continue. Gonna take my 34 (plus some). Overall, I’m satisfied with my first week, but I know I have a lot to work on and more importantly I have a plan for improvement.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Chief Brody's Comment
member avatar

Nice posts about your journey and training. There are far more people reading your posts than you realize.

As far as throwing straps, I use the "granny shot" method. Just like junior high basketball ball, I put the rolled strap below my belt and flip it up and over with both hands. There isn't a load I can't clear that way. For shorter loads, I use a "free throw" style that gives me good control to put it right in the groove between the edge protectors.

Keep posting your story.

Before you know it, you will be out on your own and training will seem like a distant memory.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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