Roehl Driver Training From Start To End.....

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Wine Taster's Comment
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Got it all worked out. I was worrying about the cost of the trip. Apparently, the FM was not as concerned. She thanked me for trying to do it as cheap as possible. With the train, cab ride and hotel, it came in at just under $250. I told her that I had upgraded the train to business class and that I did not expect them to pay for the upgrade from coach. She told me to not worry about it. Then, OMG the cab ride for 20 miles is going to be $70. I thought they would balk at that. Nope. The cab ride cost as much as the train ticket. Go figure. Anyway, I head out early in the morning. My train leaves at 0815. My sister is going to drive me to the station 2 hours away. Then I get to lay over in D.C. for 4 hours. I may go do a little sightseeing if I have time.

Now to figure out what to pack. I am still leaning toward a lot of shorts. Wear shorts while driving and then put on my carhart bibs when I get out to work. Hope my trainer doesn't think I am crazy.

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.
Wine Taster's Comment
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On the train and heading to meet the trainer. It is crazy to think, I am 40 something years old and as nervous as a 10 year old kid in school. I am not sure what to expect. It is going to be interesting living in small quarters with a complete stranger. The trip from Newport News to D.C. will take about 4 hours. Then I have a 4 hour layover until I get on another train to Harper's Ferry, WV. Then I have to take a cab to the hotel. Tomorrow morning, I will meet with my trainer for an even longer trip. I just hope I do well. I tend to chatter a lot when I am nervous so I need to just keep telling myself to remain calm and quite. For the next two weeks, I am going to be a sponge. I want to absorb as much knowledge as I can. It is all too real now. This is the start of a new chapter of my life. Let's see where it leads.

Just a side note, if you ever take a train, upgrade to business class. It cost an extra $27 for me to upgrade today. It is well worth the cost. No screaming kids. No crazies. Only like 10 people in the entire car. It is well worth the price. I have been in coach before and it is ok but business class is a much better bargain for what you get. Sadly, the next train I get on did not have a business class so I got to go coach. It will only be for a hour.

Jimmy P. 's Comment
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I for one can't wait to hear about the next chapter of your adventure ! Thank you for sharing !

Wine Taster's Comment
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This morning I meet my trainer at 0700. He had already done the pre-trip because he drove 45 minutes to Leesburg, VA. We had a delivery right around the corner. We headed straight there. He had a full load of ceiling tiles. here were a couple of trucks ahead of us. So, we checked in with the foreman. He said as soon as the truck ahead was done, they would have us pull u[p to unload. While we waited, Tony showed me how to check in at the consignee on the qualcomm. He looked over all my paperwork and made sure I had my license, med card, passport, etc. He asked some question about the training I had received in school. How much backing did you get? Did you get to do any training with a split tandem trailer? Things like that. He was happy to hear we did get to do some split axle trailer training before coming out on the road. He asked if i had been to Gary, IN for securement training. I had.

After we had drop the load we had, we stored all the straps. We swept the trailer off. We are in a curtain side trailer. Occasionally at Roehl, the flatbed drivers have to haul one. We clipped the sides back down. We get a message on the comm that says to have a truck scaled once we get emptied. Apparently, load planners wanted to know if we could get a 47,000 pound load. Tony laugh and said there was no way that would work. We drove to the scales. We weight in at 35066. At most, we could haul 45,000 pounds. He called the FM (fleet manager) and gave him the scale numbers. Then we sat for a couple of hours waiting for a load assignment. So we got assigned a load of insulation tiles from Winchester, VA to Goldsboro, NC. We actually have a second delivery stop in Clayton. So, we hit the road.

Every couple of hours or 3 we stopped and did a load and vehicle check. Took a break. Tony drove most of the morning covering different training stuff. Then as we are coming into Richmond, VA the traffic started getting heavy because of rush hour. It was a round 1800. It slowed us down to a crawl. Tony had been on duty for about three more hours than me. We stopped at a rest area and it was my turn to drive. I was a little nervous because this is an international truck and I have been training in freightliners. Not to mention, it has been a week and I was feeling like I was going to forget the training I had. Well, I hopped in the seat and I my shifting was actually not that bad. I ground the gears a little but it was more just learning the new feel of the truck. Before long, I was back in the saddle. We stayed in traffic for a while. Once we got past the accident, it was easy sailing. We stopped at our fuel stop and filled up. Tony showed me how to use my EFS card. Then we got right back to it. We were trying to get to NC before shutting down. We pulled into a Pilot right out side of Roanoke Rapids, NC right around 2000. Tony was past his 14 hour clock and I was about 13 hours into mine. We shut down for the night. I did not get any backing in today. Tony did not want me to back in the dark tonight and this Pilot is really tight for parking. We watched one guy pull up like 9 times with little adjustments just to get back straight with the trailer so he could back the rest of the way in. He did an amazing backing job. I was so surprised he got it where he did.

Today was good. It was long. The only downer for me, Tony is going on home time on Friday. That means I get another trainer. Just hope I get another good one. Tony and I seem to get along well. All in all, I think I am doing OK. We will see!

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.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

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.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.
PJ's Comment
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Your in for some very long days. I didn't realize we're in the same neck of the woods....I was just outside DC for a pickup. I'm headed to Big Island VA then south somewhere. It would be cool to grab a hot cup if we run across the same path.. Just remember always!!!!! Slow down and take a deep breath when you start getting ramped up.....Otherwise stupid stuff will happen.... Be safe

Wine Taster's Comment
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This morning I was up at 0500. Time to get moving. I went inside and brushed my teeth and goto cleaned up for the day. I came outside and started the pre trip. Everything looked great until I got to the trailer. We have an ABS light issue that we called maintenance about yesterday. It comes on and then goes off. Comes on again, stays on for a while and then goes off. Well, this morning I found out why. The metal ring that covers the brake pads was hanging around the axle. The bolts were holding a piece of the ring in place where it was supposed to be connected. The metal was completely cracked so we have a metal ring around the axle. I made sure that it would not cut into the tire if we drove. There is now way to get it off with out pulling both tires off or cutting it with a saw. Neither option was possible. So, we called maintenance and showed them pictures. They deemed us safe to drive. They said to have it repaired at the next terminal.

Pre - trip done. We hit the road. I had my trip plan written down. Just so happens I was being tested and did not know it. As I look over and see exit 116 as I drive by it. Tony laughed when I said I had missed my exit. He said he knew. He wanted to see if I was paying attention to my signs. Lesson learned. Well, luckily we had debated earlier if route 42 was good for trucks. There was one part of it not orange in the atlas. There were no restrictions on the restrictions page. Tony said don't worry about missing it because we could hit route 70 and not have to worry if we could drive there. I did not miss my next exit.

We got to our delivery and dropped two of the four stacks of insulation we were hauling. The schedule was a bit tight because unload was at 1030. It was around 0800 now. This place was ridiculous tight. Tony said it was one of the tightest yards he had ever seen. Once we got unloaded we had to do a figure 8 around a building, trailer, and construction supplies to get back out. I did most of it solo with little input. It was a challenge for sure. The only other option was backing back into a 4 lane highway with heavy traffic. NOT!

Wal-mart happen to be down the road so we told the FM we were heading there. I got back to the truck and we had a load assignment. The assignment said to pick up in Merry Oak, NC. I looked in the map, not there. I searched google maps. Nope! I talked to Tony on the phone and had me send a message to get directions. We finally got it all figure out after a bit. Then we realized, we were going to be cutting it close to getting there in time. I drove there and got the around 1415. Still had some crazy shifting problems. I am not sure if it is being in a new truck or what. We had to be there by 1500. I went to the shipping office and we did not have the correct pick up numbers. We called dispatch and he FM. Finally, after calling the company that we would deliver too, we got the correct numbers. In total, it was almost 43000 pounds of brick. They wanted us to put on 44,500 but it would put that curtain van overweight. We got loaded no problem. I strapped most of the load while Tony supervised. I got it all done in just under an hours. We checked what I had done and said I had used the proper number of straps. Everything looked good.

So, we set out to get as far as we could. I had like 4 hours remaining on my 11 hour clock. We had to go out of our way about 30 miles to a TA just to find a scale. We could not hit I-40 without checking the load. We were hoping the load would not put us overweight. Our weight ended up being just under 80K. No more than a 2K difference on the axles. Phew! I had less than 2 hours left on my 14 clock now.

Tony had about an hour longer than me. He drove to our next assigned fuel stop. It was a Pilot on I-77. Tony said we would shut down and take a shower there. When we got there around 2000, it was packed. When I say packed, I mean some trucks triple parked with orange cones sitting at there bumpers. Tony had about 45 minutes left to drive. I had zero!. We got fuel. Tony said we should have stayed at the TA we stopped at earlier. Ol well. We checked a Flying J a little way back. Packed worst than Pilot. Due to time, we had to backtrack just a bit and hit a rest area. It was insane packed too. We found a spot along the road heading out. We had no choice because we were out of time. I took my towel, baby wipes, and shaving bag and got as clean as I could in the bathroom. At least I had food supplies from the walmart run this morning.

This brick load is 830 miles to Chicago. Tomorrow will be all driving. We are going to try and make it to Gary, IN and hit the terminal there. We can get the trailer looked at and get a nice shower. Maybe even some laundry. Not sure we can make it all the way there. Hopefully, we will hit not traffic. We will have some baby mountains as Tony calls them.

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.

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.
Wine Taster's Comment
member avatar

Your in for some very long days. I didn't realize we're in the same neck of the woods....I was just outside DC for a pickup. I'm headed to Big Island VA then south somewhere. It would be cool to grab a hot cup if we run across the same path.. Just remember always!!!!! Slow down and take a deep breath when you start getting ramped up.....Otherwise stupid stuff will happen.... Be safe

Dang PJ. Sorry I missed ya. Give me a call sometime.

Weatherman's Comment
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Thank you for the updates. Roehl is currently #1 on my wish list to work for and this is great info. keep em coming! good-luck.gif

Wine Taster's Comment
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Today was day three of phase 2 training. Tony and I got settled in kind of late last night. He asked me if I would be OK for an early start. I said it was not a problem. We checked the logs to see what time I could drive. I could start at 0500. So, I got up at 0515. By the time I got the pre trip done and checked the load, Tony was up and about. We had a lot of miles to knock down today so we could get close to Chicago. We were trying to make the terminal in Gary, IN. I was driving by 0600. We were in WV and right out the rest stop I was going uphill. I drove for 3 hours. We stopped at a rest stop to do a vehicle check and it ended up as a 30 minute break as well. Back on the road again. My shifting was much better today. I finally figured out what I had been doing wrong. The Freightliners, we had to rev a lot higher on downshifts. The Internationals only require a tap of the accelerator to get the gear in. I still had a few grinds and misses but over all I was hitting my gears. Tony hardly said anything while I was driving except one time. I was going downhill and we were talking about something. I did not realize how fast the truck had picked up. When I realized it was fast, I see the needle past the 65 mark. The speed limit was 70. Anyway, Roehl qualcomm is set to flag you at anything above 70. By the time I got on the breaks, I was a hair over. Yeap it dinged me. (When we looked in the history later, it said I was above 70 for 3 seconds.) Tony razzed me a bit about watching my speed. It amazes me how fast these trucks gain speed when they are fully loaded. My next stop for a vehicle check, you could smell the brakes. They were not smoking and Tony said I had done very well with the braking and control down the hills.

We get almost all the way through WV and hit US 35 North. Then we ran smack dab into a parking lot. Trucks were lined up for miles. Apparently, there was an accident ahead. The road was shut down due to a fatality. A car ran into an old tractor that was pulling a hay cart. The tractor rolled over on top of the driver. Sad stuff. We sat there for 2 hours before we could move. Once we got going, Tony made a call to the place we were delivering to tomorrow. Instead of 1000, they wanted us to be in at 0800. Tony told them we would make it happen. We had to start figuring out clock times. It was going to be very close for me to make Gary, IN before running out of time. Then we get another message. I was getting my new trainer tonight instead of Friday. We had to meet him on I - 80 because he has a wide load and can not deviate from his route. Now Tony was trying to figure out his clock so he could make the 0800 delivery. I dove as far as I possibly could, then Tony hopped in and drove for about 2 hours to the truck stop we meet Bill at.

Bill and I spoke briefly and then I went into the Petro to get some dinner. I am tired. It was a long day driving hills, traffic, fatalities, etc. So, now I lay here in the top bunk of the new trainer's truck. Hopefully, he and I will get along. New trainer, new rules. Different ways of doing things. Feels like I am starting all over again. Tomorrow we head to upstate NY with this oversize load. Yet another challenge to overcome.

So much too learn, so little time.

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.

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.
Jim M.'s Comment
member avatar

Great stuff Wine Taster! I'm enjoying the "ride-along".

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