A Week In The Life Of A Gypsum Express Dedicated Flatbed Driver

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Chris L's Comment
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Since allot of members have posted about their weekly activities I thought I would share a typical week for me. 1/24/21 Sunday picked up a load of five coils from the Novelis, Oswego NY mill to Ball Metal can in Middletown NY (For you Coors Light Drinkers - You are welcome) smile.gif An easy 233 mile run down to Middletown arrived at 23:00 and unloaded and back on the road by midnight heading back to Baldwinsville NY. 1/25/21 another load from Novelis for a Middletown delivery and then a follow on reload of Joint compound from U.S. Gypsum Corp in Avenel NJ. Arrived at Middletown at 22:00 then back on the road by 23:00 heading down to Avenel. arrived by 0100 and shut down till 08:00 when I can get in to get loaded I got lucky and was able find space on the entrance side of the warehouse to shut down so I wouldn't have to creep as far.

1/26/21 Started getting loaded around 09:00 18 pallets of 4.5 gallon buckets of Joint Compound. By 11:00 I was on the road heading back up to Syracuse for a 07:00 Wednesday Morning delivery. While I was heading to Syracuse my tractor kept losing electrical power it would cut out then turn back on again it happened 6 times while I driving. When I got to Syracuse I dropped my trailer at the receiver and headed over to our Maintenance shop to have them look at the problem. It turned out to be one of the control modules was bad so the Mechanics changed it out. I headed back to the receiver and hooked back up to my trailer and got the load unstrapped and shut down till 07:00.

1/27/21 Unloaded and back on the road by 08:00 and heading back to our Oswego Yard to refuel and wait for my Middletown assignment. My FM called me while I was in route to Oswego my FM calls to tell me that after I deliver to Middletown I will move empty from Middletown to the Rietnhour trailer factory in Birdsboro Pa and drop off my trailer for repair work and pick up a repaired trailer down there.

Once I got back to Oswego I had to take all the equipment that I wouldn't need off the trailer headed for repair and cross load it to my spare trailer. Once I got the extra equipment cross loaded My Middletown assignment came and I headed to the mill to get loaded up and then headed out since it was still early I tried to get my delivery window pushed up so I could get a jump on heading down to Birdsboro. I could not deliver early so I stopped at a rest stop about 50 miles from Middletown and shut down for 8 hours. After I delivered to Middletown I headed for Birdsboro with a projected arrival time of 04:30. My routing had me driving from Middletown west on 84 towards the PA state line then heading down Route 209 to I80 west to PA33 South to I78 West to PA222 to reading PA. The only problem is Route 209 from the I84 exit to I80 is off limits to Commerical Vehicles. So after about a half hour discussion with the night dispatcher I had to drive "Out of Route" and take I84 west to I380 South to I80 East to PA33 south to get back on route.

1/28/21 With the re-route I arrived at the Rietnhour factory at 07:30. I swapped out trailers and cross loaded the securement straps that I used on the coils earlier. I got my next assignment and had to head south to Hoover Specialty Wood products located in Oxford PA to pick up a load of fire retardant lumber and take haul it to Whitesboro NY. I get to Oxford and start to get loaded the yard guy started to load the trailer from the back to the front when he gets ready to load the front I go to release the front curtain and it won't release the switch is bad so I have manually open the front curtain from the inside and the turns into a big fight but I finally get it open and the yard guy finishes loading the wood. Of course the wind is blowing so every time I try to throw a securement strap the wind catches them and they get all twisted or just slid off the lumber pallets so my morning continues to be a big frustration. I finally get the load secure fight again with closing and securing the front curtain and get on the road.

1/29/21 I arrive at the receiver around 08:00 check in and get unloaded again I have to fight with the manual release for the front curtain. The week is done _ or so I think - I get back to the Oswego Yard refuel and cross load equipment (for the third time) onto my spare trailer. As I finish up and drop off the trailer my FM calls me and asks if I could load a coil from the hot side of the mill I said sure so I got to hook up to a open flat bed but its so cold the grease on my 5th wheel had thickened up enough that every time backed underneath the locking bar would not slide across the kingpin to lock it in I finally just pushed on the release handle and the locking bar slid over and locked in the king pin.

I get over to the hot mill shipping side and check in and back into the loading area and start to set up flat bed to receive the single coil weighing in at 30k. I go and grab one of the chains and the hook falls off the end of the chain so now I have to scrounge up a cotter pin so I can reattach the hood to the end of the chain I get that fixed and get the coil loaded and start to secure the coil next problem I have is on of the chains that I grabbed is to short so I trade my short chain with a Western Express driver for a long chain. I finish up securing and covering the coil and get back to the yard and finish out my day and head home!

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.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

James R.'s Comment
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I've always wondered about you gypsum guys. I rarely have a flatbed but i'll load at the silver grove continental building products and you guys seem to have the majority of the dedicated work there.

Navypoppop's Comment
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Chris L.,

Great thread! I love reading about the adventures of current drivers since I've been retired for over 9 years after 45 years OTR. Keep up the good work and always keep safe, healthy and prosperous. Also I almost forgot to thank you for your service. Your avatar shows what I believe is a Blackhawk? I'm not good at Army things. I was Navy as was my daughter, my son is 18 year Navy Senior Chief Mineman and my son-in-law is retiring 22 year Army Blackhawk pilot. God bless you and the USA.

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.

Chris L's Comment
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Navypoppop wrote

Chris L.,

Great thread! I love reading about the adventures of current drivers since I've been retired for over 9 years after 45 years OTR. Keep up the good work and always keep safe, healthy and prosperous. Also I almost forgot to thank you for your service. Your avatar shows what I believe is a Blackhawk? I'm not good at Army things. I was Navy as was my daughter, my son is 18 year Navy Senior Chief Mineman and my son-in-law is retiring 22 year Army Blackhawk pilot. God bless you and the USA.

That picture was taken in Afghanistan I was working as a contractor back then I just realized it's already been 9 years since I went on that adventure.

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.

Turtle's Comment
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Sounds like an interesting and varied week. During my time at Prime, I pulled many loads from both the hot and cold sides of Novellis. Can't say I miss it all that much haha.

Chris L's Comment
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Here is a picture of my typical Middletown load each coil weights just over 12k. Getting ready to head to Buchanan NY to pick up a load of Sheet rock.

Chris L's Comment
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Old School's Comment
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That looks like fun Chris! I'd rather haul coils than sheetrock any day! I never liked hauling sheetrock. It just seemed like I couldn't really secure it the way I wanted without crushing it. I always felt like my securement was compromised just to protect the product from damage. I drove extra cautiously while hauling sheetrock. I had a fear of having to hit my brakes really hard and causing sheetrock to shift and slide forward into the back of the cab.

Chris L's Comment
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Old School wrote:

That looks like fun Chris! I'd rather haul coils than sheetrock any day! I never liked hauling sheetrock. It just seemed like I couldn't really secure it the way I wanted without crushing it. I always felt like my securement was compromised just to protect the product from damage. I drove extra cautiously while hauling sheetrock. I had a fear of having to hit my brakes really hard and causing sheetrock to shift and slide forward into the back of the cab.

I hear you not a fan of Sheet Rock! Even though I have a Rollight cover it doesn't make securing it any easier! My Primary trailer is being repaired so I have my spare and I think it's going to be the death of me...lol Every time I have to fight to get the clips for the load straps through the rubber flap that is under the chain wells it a huge P.I.T.A. and of course when I get the straps through and throw them over the load the straps always twist. UGH!!!!

Chris L's Comment
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1/31/21 Started out with my normal Sunday night load of coil to Middletown. I got loaded really late in Middletown because I spent most of Sunday afternoon fighting to get my Snow Dog Snow Plow mounted to my pickup. (Minute mount my A$$ - yah if you are on a paved level surface in the middle of summer - (as per their installation video!) Not sunk in unlevel frozen grass)! Arrived in Middletown around 2:00 A.M. Monday morning The other driver who delivers to Middletown arrive just after me so I let him unload before so he could get back on the road and get home before he ran out of hours. (He lives near Binghamton NY and he parks out at his house. More to follow....

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