Home Run, Inc.

Topic 28968 | Page 6

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Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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I’m hoping that this is my last post...under the title ‘Company Driver in Training’ as tomorrow I meet with the training director/recruiter/HR Manager for what I believe will be an assignment to a truck. I’ve been in training for about six weeks. There have been a couple of hiccups — Keith’s positive Covid 19 test and Gary’s micro-managing style — however through it all I have learned a lot and have improved my skills a bunch. I’m smart enough to know that I don’t know nearly as much as I need to know and will continue to utilize all available resources as I strive to meet the standards set forth by the professionals in this business.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Keith Taylor, Gary Ellis, and Gordon Burge who all gave selflessly of their time and experience. It wasn’t always easy (nothing worth earning ever comes easy) or pleasant, but I know that their intentions are pure.

My goal was to complete my company training by mid-November and I almost made it. Now, as I look at the forecast for the next 40 hours, I see that the region is under a ‘Winter Weather Advisory’. Beautiful. I’ll be inventorying the truck, pre-tripping it, and ‘moving in’ with temperatures in the upper 20’s and about 3” of snow accumulating (do not laugh at me, those of you who routinely travel the Upper Midwest, The Great Plains and the Continental Divide). Actually, I’m looking forward to the challenge. My belief is that any (most?) rookies ought to be able to pilot a rig when the temperature is 75 degrees, the roads are dry, and visibility is ideal. We’ll find out what kind a game I have when conditions are less than perfect. I’m smart enough to know this: if I don’t believe I have the skills to be driving, I’ll be parked. Safety is the key to everything.

I’ll continue to post (hopefully on a more regular basis) as I enter the mainstream of the industry. I’m sure I’ll have questions, and I trust that you will have answers. I’ll celebrate my victories, and game-plan to avoid a repetition of my mistakes. I’ll get plenty of sleep, eat properly, and manage my finances correctly. I’ll make the most of my home time by ensuring that I spend time with my family. Finally, I’ll remember that everything I do when I’m out on the road reflects not only on me and Home Run, Inc., but also on all of you, regardless of the name on the side of your truck.

Thanks for reading.

CBH

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Chief Brody's Comment
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Congratulations on hitting another Milestone. Keep us up-to-date on your progress and if there's any help it I or the others can offer please ask

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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I now have a week under my belt as a company driver for Home Run, Inc. I’m not sure 5500 characters will be enough to adequately share all that has gone one in the past 168 hours, but I’ll try.

Last Monday was pretty simple as I was assigned to a truck - a 2006 International 9200i 10 speed. Like all of trucks in HR’s regional fleet, it’s red. With over 1.1 million miles on it, you can imagine the amount of cleaning it needed (and still needs), so I spent the better part of Monday and Tuesday cleaning it as best I could while the area got hit with about 3” of snow and freezing rain. I’ll tip my cap to Jeff Saylor and the night staff of mechanics who spent way too much time with me answering questions and adjusting various components.

I set sail Tuesday afternoon. I had a Noon pickup on Wednesday at Continental Building in Cold Spring, Kentucky (just across the river from Cincinnati) for my first load: drywall found for a lumber store in Findlay. It didn’t make sense to drive home, then back to Xenia for the truck very early the next day, so I stashed the rig in the parking lot of a Lowe’s near my home.

Four hours. That’s how long it took me from ingress to egress at Continental. As can be expected, my 45 degree alley dock skills are a work in progress, so it took me a while to drop the empty trailer. We’ll compound my lack of skills with my failure to remember to pull the release arm so I could disengage from the flatbed. My bungi cord work was on point, however my strap throwing technique was about on par with my alley docking. Findlay is a pretty easy drive as it’s straight out I75, the only problem was that I was nearly out of hours, so I spent the night in a ‘bootleg’ truck stop (read that as a vacant gravel lot behind the Wendy’s off of Exit 99 in Anna. I had my choice of hamburgers, Taco Bell, of Subway. I was very pleased that a 24-hour Speedway was across the street.

My delivery appointment was Wednesday at 7:00 a.m., so I wasted no time at all learning what we all know so well: don’t trust Garmin. I didn’t get lost, or routed down a one-way street or into a residential neighborhood, however the directions led me through Columbus Grove rather than two exits further north which would have allowed me to utilize state routes designed for industrial traffic.

Once I was empty I was directed back to Continental for another load of sheet-rock. This time my destination was the newly-minted Menard’s in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. I was (much?) quicker with the securement this time (two hours, fifteen minutes), however I was ‘live-loaded’ since my shipment was not ready when I arrived. I gotta think a good bit of the time savings was due to the fact that I was not required to drop my trailer. Due to my lack of confidence in my backing (especially in the dark) I opted for a ‘work-around’ and spent the night at a 24-hour ‘comfort’ area at the weigh station on I71 just south of the 71/75 split. I was there early, so I got a prime spot.

I was up well before dawn on Friday in order to miss the morning commute through Louisville and make my appointment. The Menard was so new that its address (100 Menards Way) did not register on any navigational aids, so it was fortunate that I had called for directions. I arrived on time and in a steady but light rain. I will not spend any time on a monologue/stream-of-consciousness relative to what occurred during the 4 1/2 hours it took the staff to take delivery. I’ll leave it at this: we were all new at our jobs at one time (kind of ironic, huh?) and it showed.

The delay put me behind as I was assigned 50K of mortar from a factory in Sellarsburg, Indiana. I wish I had the two fellows who loaded me at Lehigh Hanson (another address that was missing/inaccurate on navigational systems) with me at Menards. Clearly, they were professionals as they were very practiced at their craft. I, on the other hand, needed about three hours to properly tarp, strap, and secure the load. Again I was out of hours, but it didn’t matter as a minor (?) train derailment prevented me from exiting the immediate area. Another night, another adventure as I spent it on the side of Riley Road, just east of US 31.

My dispatcher , the lovely and talented Kami Wristel, had already been in touch with the good people at Columbus Builders Supply and had advised them that I would be delivering the cement on Monday (today) rather than the end of the day on Friday.

I dutifully logged my 10 hours off duty, then left the Hoosier State (I have no idea what highways I used, but I experienced my first tunnel while driving a semi) and arrived back at the Lowe’s on East Kemper around 7:30 a.m. A quick post-trip, a VIR, laundry grabbed and the truck secured and I was off for a very short weekend.

Since I had to deliver at 7:30 this morning, I wanted to get a jump on the drive (Columbus is only 90 miles from Cincinnati), however since I had driven on Saturday, I was subject to a 34-hour re-set. I just can’t tell time, I guess, ‘cause I logged in eight minutes too early which caused all sorts of distress back at the mother ship. Another night and another unique resting place...this time at the ‘on’ ramp from the NB rest area on I71 at the JB Morrow Bridge in Warren County. I made sure to keep the driver’s side drive tires on pavement in order to avoid getting stuck literally.

I’m out of space and I’m exhausted. I’ll work to pick up the thread tomorrow.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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.

Tortuga 's Comment
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Great update CBH!

Old School's Comment
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That was a great update!

There's nothing like being tired to help you sleep well. You are doing great - keep the faith. This job will challenge you. Just be up to the challenge and you will conquer it. There are much better days ahead!

Chief Brody's Comment
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Great update. I have been following along and I wanted to comment on this earlier but I've just been busy. I am just a little bit ahead of you as far as being solo so I thought I would share some of the things that I have learned. Some of this is my own opinion so take it for what it's worth.

With regard to securement I take a long time as well and I am torn between trying to do it quickly and make mistakes or having to resecure or taking my time to do it right. I have generally made the decision to take the extra time to do it right especially with my tarping so that I don't have to fix it down the road. I am beginning to learn some ways to be more efficient with securement for loads that I've secured before. But even with a new load I haven't secured before I can apply some techniques from past experience.

With regards to the Garmin do you have yours connected with the Smartlink app to your phone? Because if you do you can find your location on Google Maps and send the precise location to the Garmin by "sharing" it to the Smartlink app. I use satellite view and street view to find the truck entrance and drop a pin right there. Of course any GPS will take you weird ways so you just have to pay attention.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Cincybeerhawk's Comment
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It’s been (too) long since I’ve made an entry in my diary. A lot has occurred since my last post. I’m starting to see (a little bit of) the light, but I’m smart enough to know that there’s still so very much that I haven’t experienced.

I’m typing this while I’m stuck at a travel plaza east of Bryan on the Ohio Turnpike. I’m not ‘stuck’ in the sense that weather has me at a standstill, rather I ran out of hours, both daily and for the week, after picking up a load at the nearby Menards’ DC. I’ll be here all weekend (at least until 4:00 a.m. on Sunday). Rather than make the three hour, 45 minute drive down to Xenia, then another hour home, only to turn around about six hours later in order to pick up my truck and drive to Indy for a 5:00 a.m. Monday delivery, I’ll sit tight until about daybreak on Sunday, then drive straight to Greenwood (a southern suburb of Indianapolis).

This sucks on toast (weird visual and one that I hope doesn’t get me censured by Leaderships here). Tonight was suppossed to be ‘Date Night’ for my wife and me. I guess it could be worse. This place does have (a) a shower, (b) laundry facilities, and (c) Burger King and Starbucks, but on the downside I won’t get to work on the farm or see my wife and our dog.

I get it; this is a customer service industry, so asking management at a well-known home improvement store to expedite the unloading of drywall from my flatbed (no way should it 4.5 hours to empty a 48 foot skateboard), is stepping out of bounds, and I shouldn’t need to spend three hours searching for my trailer at a drywall manufacturing company. Both factors contributed greatly to my current plight.

If you’re still reading, thanks for tuning in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say (sic) between now and early Sunday morning.

PackRat's Comment
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Still reading here.

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