Home Run, Inc.

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Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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Today was Day 1 in Week 2 of my training and to it I stapled another ‘first’ as it was the first time I drove in the dark when we left Xenia shortly after 6:00 a.m. with the load of treated lumber we picked up in Richmond on Friday. We headed to an 84 Lumber in Columbia Station. It was raining, so I kept an above average following distance and my speed in the low 60’s.

We reached Columbus shortly after the peak of the morning commute and I successfully dodged barrels and barriers as we maintained a course north on I71. It seems like the construction projects in C-bus have been underway since Gilligan was Governor! My shifting still needs work as I do have not yet mastered rpms and speed when downshifting.

After dropping off the wood we headed to Milan to pick up a load of shingles. We traveled through Norwalk which has one of the best nicknames in all of high school sports: the truckers. Urban legend holds that the mothers’ support group for the athletic teams is named the ‘Mother Truckers’. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s a great story to tell.

I had the opportunity to ‘back’ twice today: once when we stopped at the Love’s at Exit 165 on I71. I looked, felt, and acted like an FNG, but I didn’t hit anything. Driving KT’s International ProStar + is just a bit different than maneuvering the International day cabs at school, and a 48’ flatbed is a change from the 40’ dry vans I am accustomed to. The process is still the same, though: don’t try to do anything with the rig until you have your tractor and your trailer straight, and don’t over-steer.

Getting through the intersections (both straight and making turns) while under load will take some practice. I’m still double-clutching (and will be for some time), so I almost feel sorry for anyone behind me.

We had what I called an ‘average’ day today. I have the following scale on which I measure our day’s activity: if we ‘touch’ three loads, that is we deliver one, pick up and deliver and second, and pick up a third load, I call that a good day. If we deliver a load and then pick up and even deliver a second load (but don’t pick up a third), I score our work as an ‘average’ day. If we only handle one load of freight, either delivering what we had picked up the day before, but not securing a second load to our trailer or if we simply pick up and deliver one shipment, then I count that as a ‘poor’ day. My ‘rules’ for judging our day may be tough to follow, but I like having measurable goals.

I know that we can only control what we can; that we have no influence over how quickly we get loaded and unloaded, and that traffic and weather and road conditions are not in our sphere of influence. I’m focusing on what we can control: safety, a top-notch level of customer service, and load management to name three.

Supper tonight was in the Denny’s at the Flying J at the Delaware/Sunbury (sp) exit. After many hours in the truck we just wanted to get out and stretch our legs and watch people. Home Run offers a very nice per diem program, so I’m basically eating for free.

We’re parked for the night, so I’ll experience another ‘first’: sleeping in a truck stop. I’ve heard stories...we’ll see if any of them are true...small sample size, I know. If anything odd or unexpected occurs I’ll be sure to include the details.

Tomorrow we drop off our load of shingles in Columbus, and then drive down to Washington Courthouse for another ‘Heinz 57’ Lowe’s load which we’ll secure and then drive up to New Philadelphia. Our delivery appointment is not until 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, so we’ll be spending the night in another Lowe’s parking lot.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

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

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Haya Cincy; still following~!!

Was that YOU GUYS up on 224 about 11 pm last night? Up by Pepperidge Farms . . . Willard. Saw an HR rig; thought of ya!

confused.gifembarrassed.gifconfused.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

Haya Cincy; still following~!!

Was that YOU GUYS up on 224 about 11 pm last night? Up by Pepperidge Farms . . . Willard. Saw an HR rig; thought of ya!

confused.gifembarrassed.gifconfused.gif

Nope...Tuesday night we slept behind the Lowe’s in New Philadelphia. We had sushi at a nice Japanese restaurant next door. Real sushi, not frozen stuff. Wednesday night we were in Zanesville, again at a Lowe’s. This time we had Donato’s delivered. Home Run has a per diem program in place where we get/earn/are given $66 for each day that we are more than 50 miles from our home zip code.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PackRat's Comment
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The per diem is a nationwide by the IRS. Most large carriers have this as an option for OTR drivers.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

The per diem is a nationwide by the IRS. Most large carriers have this as an option for OTR drivers.

Yeah for us. Properly managed it has many, many uses, I guess.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

Week Two is in the books. We moved two more coils, visited a couple of more Lowe’s stores, dropped off treated lumber and shingles in the rain, drove in the dark for the first time, and saw the resulting carnage from a four-truck (at least) wreck.

The wreck was Thursday afternoon eastbound on I70 just west of Zanesville. Fortunately, we were traveling west with our second coil of the week. The front end of a white semi was completely caved in which provided an ominous reminder of the ‘12-15 second following distance’ rule we learned in school at Napier’s....either that, or a case of distracted driving and maybe a little bit of both. When we passed the crash site traffic was already backed up for about two miles. We didn’t have the CB on (in order to avoid any distracted driving by yours truly), so we didn’t hear any of the scuttlebutt about the incident.

The transportation of the steel coils is pretty interesting. Mats, beveled 4X4s, a metal frame, chains, binders, and a coil bag, are all used to insure the securement and the safety of the load. Home Run moves coils from Wheeling Nippon to CorePlus in Springfield. The hills of east central Ohio present a special challenge when pulling a 40K load. I had never given the inclines much thought when driving my pickup truck, but I quickly learned the need for using the proper gear when climbing and descending while pulling all that steel.

One of the many keys to success in our industry is the proper management of sleep. I have read and heard a lot about this aspect of the life and have pledged to myself that I will make time for adequate rest. I can sleep anywhere. I proved that last week as I spent Saturday night at our farm in Adams County, I slept Sunday night at home in the 513, and Monday in the top bunk of Keith’s International ProStar Plus and awoke each day ready to go for the day. Keith likes to keep the temperature inside the truck low enough that we could hang meat, but that didn’t bother me in the least as I have a Kelty sleeping bag rated for 20 degrees.

Reading back, I noticed that I haven’t spent much (any?) time writing about my trainer, Keith T. Shame on me for waiting this long to introduce him, as he has more influence on my development as a professional driver than anyone since I’ll spend at least four weeks and literally thousands of miles with him. He will introduce me to many, many conditions and experiences along the way.

Keith graduated in the early 90’s from nearby East Clinton High School where he played center on the football team that went undefeated his senior year. After working different jobs and at the urging of his wife, he attended a public driving school and joined the staff at Home Run a couple of years ago. He quickly became a ‘go-to guy’ for other drivers, both his junior and senior. We instantly connected due to our connection to high school football (I’m a certified OHSAA referee), our love of everything Buckeye football, and most importantly our ‘never say no’ attitude when it comes to accepting loads or handling situations on the road.

I am very structured individually, both personally and professionally, and that fits well with Keith’s training style. Week One was dedicated to ‘shows’ as he demonstrated and advised the proper methods for securing various loads. When I was finally cleared to drive, he pretty much let me do my own thing unless I asked for help or was on the cusp of committing an unsafe act. Not once did he order me out of the driver’s seat so that we could complete a task or maneuver more quickly, rather he coached me and let me work through my struggles and learn. This week I handled all the driving, both forward and backward, at the shippers, receivers, and in the truck stops. Highways, city streets, and county roads were all mine. My personal gremlin, the hated 90 degree alley dock (a necessity at Wheeling Nippon), was once again attacked (but not vanquished forever) as Keith spotted me while I backed into the factory. Additionally, I was charged with the operation of the QualComm system as we constantly apprised the ‘Mother Ship’ of our arrivals and departures and empty calls and managed our hours of service. Next week I will inherit (?) the responsibility of completing the bills of lading and other mandatory paperwork.

We leave Monday afternoon to pick up another Lowe’s load and will have a night delivery in Bloomington, Indiana. Until then I’ll be making myself useful around the house (translation: being underfoot as I interrupt my wife’s weekend routines).

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

Greetings from Holiday City (a distribution center for Menard’s near Montpelier, Ohio). We’re spending the night here before picking up our load sometime tomorrow morning. There are a couple of good things about moving Menard’s product and a couple of things that are less than ideal. First, our parking location is about 50 yards from a drivers’ check-in building which is complete with a fully equipped mens’ room. Next is Menard’s unloading process/policy — when we arrive at the drop-off store we’ll be swarmed like ant’s on a cookie at a picnic so we’ll be in and out very quickly. The ‘bad’ is that it’s raining again. Next is the fact that we never know what time our load will be ready. It’s pretty much ‘hurry up and wait’. There are no appointments.

Yesterday (Monday) and today was filled with highs and lows. We drove through the rain (again) from Washington Courthouse to our appointment in Bloomington. I was quite pleased with my performance as I was driving, therefore I had an opportunity to work on my backing when I parked our empty trailer in the row of flatbeds at the DC. It was not perfect, but I was in control and I knew what to do and how to do it. I used many GOALs and lots of pull-ups as I carefully positioned the unit right where I wanted it.

I’m becoming familiar with the process for properly securing the load to the full trailer, so Keith and I are cutting down our prep time significantly. I still suck (compared to KT) at throwing straps in a confined area, but I’m improving and I can tell where to properly the 4” straps and where to add 2” straps. My bungee cord work is improving, although I have a tendency to use more bands than may be necessary, but better too many than too few.

This week I’ve been placed in charge of all of our paperwork, so I’m now driving, handling the Qualcomm , and managing the bills of lading for the various loads. Remembering the sequence and the proper time for the various notifications (arrive shipper , depart shipper, arrive consignee , and empty call) is important. We haven’t touched Macros yet, so I’m guessing I’ll learn about those next week. Keith will handle all verbal communication with the Mother Ship throughout out time together.

The drive to Bloomington was anything but uneventful as we passed through Cincinnati shortly before the height of the evening rush hour. We encountered a bit of a traffic jam in Indy as one lane of the WB 74 merge onto I475 was closed due to a jackknifed semi which had slid off the road and was being pulled upright and back to the expressway. ‘Speed for conditions’ would be three words to describe the wreck as the rollover/crash had occurred on an exit ramp. It seems that the entire state of Indiana is under construction as we encountered many, many barrels and cones during our drive down southbound US 69. One plus was that we were unloaded last night so that we were ready to go early this morning...and that’s when I experienced my downfall...when I could not locate my wallet and my license.

On my drive to Xenia on Monday morning I had first driven by our farm in Adams County to pick up and deliver our 16 foot Hobie Catamaran to the Highland County Fairgrounds where it will spend the winter in one of the enclosed buildings. From Hillsboro I drove west up 73 to US 68. I stopped for lunch at a Wendy’s at the intersection of I71 and 68. After paying for my lunch I put my wallet where I always do: in the console of my truck. I failed to remember to put it back in my pocket when we departed for the Lowe’s DC and I didn’t discover my mistake until inventorying my pockets prior to going to bed Last night. As a result, I was unable to drive today when we picked up four huge boulders at a quarry in suburban Bloomington and delivered them to an emergency project on the shores of Lake Michigan in Covert Township, Michigan.

I was absolutely crushed, as this was by far the most unusual and challenging load we’ve encountered to date. In order to get loaded we drove through the mud and muck of Reed’s Quarry, dodging rusted and abandoned equipment and slabs of rock that were nearly the size of our truck. Once the four rocks (combined weight of nearly 45K) had been placed evenly on our trailer we utilized the existing 4” straps as well as chains (again...better too much securement than not enough) before departing for our drive north. Since I did not have my license on me physically, I was in the passenger seat. That sucked on toast.

Our delivery location for the stones was an address on Blue Star Highway. I believe this is a state route, but I know for sure that the speed limit is 55. We were unloaded by a massive bulldozer which had the bucket replaced with forks large enough to handle rock weighing in excess of five tons. The unloading was not without incident as the driver of the giant forklift fumbled (I cannot resist the football reference since this occurred in meat-chicken and my love of all things Buckeye-football related as well our as team’s recent dominance of the 11 from the school up north is well documented) off of our trailer and onto the road. I’ll tip my cap to (a) the engineers who designed and planned the highway and (b) the construction crew who built it since this boulder weighing in excess of 11,000 pounds fell about 60 inches onto the roadway and didn’t leave a mark. Alex, the driver and ‘ball carrier’ hustled around our truck and picked up his fumble.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

So, here I sit, another day closer to completing my training with Home Run and another day closer to earning a truck and a position on staff as a flatbed driver. I’m ****ed about the wallet thing, but hopefully our destination tomorrow will allow us to drive by the yard in order for me to secure my license. I have already developed a protocol so that I will not make that mistake again.

We completed our ‘Woody’ up north. I developed the term in honor of Woody Hayes. We, like WWH, traveled north, took care of business and returned to Ohio without spending any money north of the border. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, I’ll relate it as best I can. For those of you from the state up north you may stop reading and return to studying for your upcoming CDP exams (I hope you pass this time).

I believe the incident occurred sometime in the early 70’s when Woody, accompanied by an assistant coach (I think it was Lou Holtz or Earle Bruce — if someone can set me straight I’d be appreciative), was recruiting in Michigan. Woody was always the passenger, and whatever assistant was on the trip was always the driver. The assistant noticed that the car was low on gas and suggested to Woody that they pull over and fuel up. Woody directed the assistant to continue south. As the fuel level continued to dwindle the assistant became more and more concerned with each passing of an available exit ramp. Again, he advised Woody of the need for gas and again Woody told the the coach to maintain course. With the needle almost pegged on ‘E’’ the nervous assistant asked a third time for permission to stop. Woody looked at his subordinate and told him that he would push the car to the Ohio line before he would spend any money up north.

For those of you who are familiar with Woody Hayes lore you will notice that I edited the language the coach used. I did this on purpose as this is a family website. Further, I don’t want to get banned from posting.

Good night, now.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Chief Brody's Comment
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Great update keep them coming.

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
member avatar

It’s Sunday around noon at the end of Week Three/beginning of Week Four during my training cycle with Home Run, Inc., and I’m constructing this entry from the living room of your home in the 513. The morning is full of sun, but windy. This is a welcome change (the sun, that is) from the nearly non-stop rain we encountered last week.

Wednesday I had my first experience with hauling drywall when we moved a load from the manufacturing plant operated by Continental in Silver Grove, Kentucky (my brethren w/TMC are probably well acquainted with this setting as over 90% of the loads coming out of there do so behind their black tractors) to a Lowe’s store slightly north of Lima, Ohio. Pulling the wall board wasn’t a lot different than pulling a ‘Heinz 57’ shipment from a Lowe’s distribution center with the exception that all of the product must be tarped for protection from the elements and edge protectors are mandatory. The climb up the steep hill from Silver Grove to US 27 near Northern Kentucky University allowed me to practice my downshifting. At times our speed was down to 35 mph on a road set for 50. Yes, I had my four-way flashers activated for safety. I did not stall the truck and succeeded in completing the ascent without grinding the gears or lugging the engine, so I counted this as a victory.

We spent the night in yet another Lowe’s parking lot because we had an 8:00 a.m. appointment on Thursday. Shortly after our 11:00 p.m. arrival Wednesday night, rain began again and it was falling straight down when we awoke in the morning. The manager at Lowe’s was reluctant to accept our shipment during the precipitation so we skillfully employed our dispatcher to accelerate the process (Teddy Roosevelt once said, “walk softly and carry a big stick”, so we escalated the situation to our people back at the Mother Ship ). Finally, around 11, with rain still falling, we received word that we were to be unloaded as our drywall had been specifically ordered for a project and was needed by the customer no later than Friday morning when the store opened. This was the fastest unload I’ve ever been a part of as both Keith and I, as well as five Lowe’s associates, hustled the drywall off our truck to a relatively dry location in front of the store.

After completing our ‘Empty Call’ we were off to Bluffton to visit another quarry where we picked up 14 skids of rock for a landscaper in Beavercreek, a suburb of Dayton. I enjoyed the trip into the quarry here almost as much as our drive into Reed’s in Bloomington on Monday. I quickly learned that there is nothing to fear about entering a quarry as long as I drove slowly and used the fundamentals I learned in school. There is very little chance of getting stuck, because (a) we were not the first semi to ever enter the area, therefore the roadways had the proper turning radius and (b) the paths were developed to support the 80,000 of a semi. We headed south down I75, then east on US 35 to our exit and again were unloaded in a downpour.

Next, we were off to the Lowe’s DC in Washington Courthouse for a load bound for Lawrenceburg, Indiana and a 4:00 a.m. (!!!) appointment on Friday. The process at Lowe’s is becoming second nature to me as I develop ‘muscle memory’ as it relates to the process at this location. We announced our presence, dropped our tarps and bungee cords, parked our empty trailer (I’m getting better), located and connected to our full trailer, secured the product and fastened down the tarp, then drove and parked with about 10 minutes remaining on our clock.

I’ve developed a system for handling the Lowe’s loads. I work from the front of the trailer to the back: I use the Qualcomm for the ‘arrive shipper’ notification before I exit the cab. Next, I connect the electrical line, followed by the two airlines from the tractor to the trailer. Third, I completely raise the landing gear (after ensuring that we don’t have any ‘gap’ between the apron of the trailer and the fifth wheel of the tractor). We throw the existing straps from the trailer over the untarped (is that even a word?) portion of the load and add any two-inch straps we believe are necessary. Once that portion of the load is properly cinched down we work on the front portion of the load (this product is usually covered with Home Run tarps by the loaders from Lowe’s). Often we throw additional straps over the red tarps before we use many, many bungee cords to secure it to the trailer. Our final check is a ‘tug test’ (trailer brake on, tractor brake off) in first gear before we move from our parking spot. Our last action is a stop at the guard check in order to receive our bill of lading for the upcoming stop. Finally, I use the Qualcomm for a ‘Depart Shipper’ notification and we’re off!

After the 4:00 a.m. (we were up at 3 to unstrap and untarp) appointment, we went back to sleep for a couple of hours before meeting a football officiating friend of mine for breakfast at the Waffle House near the entrance to I275. Then it was off to a Continental for another shipment of drywall. Unfortunately, the original load assigned to us was not scheduled to be ready until 4:00 p.m., therefore we contacted our dispatcher and were switched to a trailer already prepared for shipment. After securing the tarps, we drove up the hill to Highland Heights, then back into Ohio (skirting the edge of downtown Cincinnati) and back to Xenia where the load sits.

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

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