Off To Stevens Transport On Monday The 10th, After 20+ Years Off The Road

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Old School's Comment
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I wish the best for you Brian!

I'll save my breath from warning you not to purchase a truck. You are a grown man with plenty of life experience. I don't think it is a good idea, but I won't elaborate. I sincerely hope you do well at this. You know what you are getting into.

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

I hear ya Old School.

It's kind of been a wish of mine as far back as pre-2000 but could not afford one back then.

Later, a job change, marriage and a kid and old age came along. If I don't do it soon I never will. This is not to say I actually going to buy one but will evaluate after a few months solo. However, I am digressing from what this blog is supposed to be about, CDL Training Diaries.

I got through all the safely, backing, and road testing. All good on first try. Really thought I screwed up the road test but super surprised when I was told later on in the day, no issues with the driving test. So, I am sitting in the Stevens driver's lounge waiting on a truck. One should be ready today, if not by tomorrow for sure. I been here since Jan 10th and ready to get a load home to Florida. First time home they allow 7 day off. The recruiter I spoke with said I would be in a truck in less than two weeks. I learn a lesson there, not to believe everything your told. It's been three months and my wife has been patiently waiting for me to come home for a few days. I miss my wife and kid as well.

I just would like to say for those who are starting from scratch, permit, training, road testing for CDL, and road experience, Stevens is really a good place to start. Every week there is at least 20 to 30 kids, I call them kids, trying to fulfill a dream or get a job to support themselves or family. Some of the bull crap you go through will weed out those who are not willing to make the sacrifice. If they cannot make through Stevens’s training, it's not hard, they will not make it on the road. It is a training company and you do have to watch a lot of videos, answer questions after the videos along with a week of workshops before going on the road. If you complete the 240 hour you will go through another three-day grad orientation. Like I said above, it took me three months and I trained right along with those students who came here without a permit. Many have been here as long as I or longer.

I will post again when I get home, Hopefully next week sometime. The CDL Training Diary is about over. I accomplished what I wanted to and for those who are just starting out or thinking about driving the big trucks,

Persistence and encouragement from the Trucking Truth people will get you to your goal.

See you all later, Brian

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hi ya all, I'm back.

I want to close out this diary by saying thanks to the all you who been reading my many post and a special thanks for those who replied. Like Old School said, I am a grown man and kind of set in my ways but your comments and support kept me on track and truly help me reach my goal.

So where am I now, in Houston at the Flying J waiting for daylight to take my truck to the KW shop for repairs. Don't laugh or think I still having issues on the road because for the four months I been solo this electrical issue is the only real problem I've been having. Besides this the only other issue I had was a brake chamber replacement. So it been a pretty good four months. I been in nearly every state except the north west ones. Google tracks my phone and it says I been around the earth 1.9 times. I haven't looked up how far that is but sound like a lot of miles, lol.

Anyways, I really enjoy the driving. I quickly learned how to edit the entries in my qualcomm to optimize the number of hours I can drive etc.... I even edit the edits. Real expert now, doing splits and edits; not sure what DOT will say about that but I haven't been checked yet and barely seen an open scale house. Don't get me wrong, I been across a few but mostly if open I get the green light on my easy pass, think that what its called. Been very fortunate in that way. Let's hope it continues .

I am still thinking I will get six month worth of experience here, working on month five now, and then start looking for a company that runs into South Florida, not just Orlando area but Miami/Fort Lauderdale. Steven has a freight to Orlando and loads out of Lakeland at the coke plant but nothing much farther south that. They have produce loads going down there but I think teams get them over solo drivers. There maybe a reason for that. This last time I was out for 5 weeks before going home. I think they felt sorry for me and allow me to deadhead from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale and back to Lakeland and paid for the parking for 4 days. Not to shabby though.

Old School, if your reading this, used truck prices have sky rocketed. What I was looking at in Nov & Dec last year, in the 60 to 80 grand range are now over 100 grand. And there are very few to choose from, good ones anyway. I may just look for a good company in South Florida that has decent trucks and stay a company driver. But how I still miss a manual transmission. I shift the automatics by clicking a button but it just not the same.

If you post comment I will get a notice in my email and would love to read anything you have to say. But this will be my last post in this section. Maybe I will search around the site and find a more appropriate place to blog my exploits.

But for now, adios my friends. Stay safe, healthy, and happy trails!!

Brian

Deadhead:

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

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.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Brian, check out Cypress Truck Lines in Jacksosnville, FL. They may have a gig that works for you, and I bet they still have a few manual shift trucks in their fleet.

Brian K.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi ya all,

It's been just a little over a year since I started at Stevens Transport. Let me tell you what I think about this company. They have very good equipment. If there is a problem with the truck or trailer, they will fix it right away. They either will send you to a truck stop to do the work or send someone out to you if it cannot be safely driven or pulled, no questions asked. I did not have to wait on loads and was kept as busy as I wanted. Sometimes you had to wait on meat loads but all companies pulling out of the meat patch, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, and a few other places all were in the boat. They do micromanage their drivers more than I cared for, what routes to take, where how much fuel to buy etc.... But with as many new and inexperience drivers you would need to keep a close eye on them.

If you are an experienced driver with many years under your belt, this might not be the place for you. If you a beginner, it's a good place to get a start in the industry. If you read some of my other previous comments you know I have drove truck for over 15 or more years and came back after a thirty-year break. I took me a while to get used to Stevens and vise versa. Once they realized they did not have to baby sit me I pretty much did my own thing, about six months.

The money was not the greatest but I enjoyed driving the country. Unfortunately, my son recently became ill and I left Stevens to say home and help take care of him. If things work out and he feels better in a few months I may look for something more regional so I can be home more often.

That's about it. I had a good year and hopefully will get back out there soon.

PS: The idea of buying a truck is a no go. They have gone way out of wack with pricing.

Brian

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.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Hi ya all,

It's been just a little over a year since I started at Stevens Transport. Let me tell you what I think about this company. They have very good equipment. If there is a problem with the truck or trailer, they will fix it right away. They either will send you to a truck stop to do the work or send someone out to you if it cannot be safely driven or pulled, no questions asked. I did not have to wait on loads and was kept as busy as I wanted. Sometimes you had to wait on meat loads but all companies pulling out of the meat patch, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, and a few other places all were in the boat. They do micromanage their drivers more than I cared for, what routes to take, where how much fuel to buy etc.... But with as many new and inexperience drivers you would need to keep a close eye on them.

If you are an experienced driver with many years under your belt, this might not be the place for you. If you a beginner, it's a good place to get a start in the industry. If you read some of my other previous comments you know I have drove truck for over 15 or more years and came back after a thirty-year break. I took me a while to get used to Stevens and vise versa. Once they realized they did not have to baby sit me I pretty much did my own thing, about six months.

The money was not the greatest but I enjoyed driving the country. Unfortunately, my son recently became ill and I left Stevens to say home and help take care of him. If things work out and he feels better in a few months I may look for something more regional so I can be home more often.

That's about it. I had a good year and hopefully will get back out there soon.

PS: The idea of buying a truck is a no go. They have gone way out of wack with pricing.

Brian

SO GOOD to see you stop back in Brian!!!!!!!

What a wonderful update to your diary; so sorry to hear about your son, however.

Keep your license clean, and when the time is right, something may show up in your favor!

I've got family in Manatee county, I'll keep my ears open for anything 'Florida' trucking wise, for ya. You COULD look into LTL (ie: ODFL, ABF, etc...) in the meantime.

I totally wish you the best;

~ Anne ~

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.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
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