Solo Reefer Beginning

Topic 29818 | Page 1

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Uncle Rake's Comment
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When I am driving, a lot of interesting things take place as I travel. But even a few days later when I try to remember how things happened and where, I have trouble getting the details correct. So I started trying to record the events of my days so that I could read back through it and remember how things occurred. From the beginning, I considered the possibility of sharing my notes with this website but I was unsure how long I would continue and did not want to embarrass myself with a very short account. So I have waited a few weeks before sharing it.

My hope is that it will give some insight to those who are going through training. I hope it will possibly teach a thing or two. I also hope that some of the more experienced drivers will explain (nicely) areas where I could have done things better so that we can all learn from my mistakes.

I will try to edit my notes for each week and then post the information weekly. Weeks at Prime end Wednesdays at 1600. To keep me from editing too much, I will leave in some names of people you will not know. The length of the material may necessitate multiple posts for some weeks. The log picks up in the middle of my fifth week as a solo driver.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Ten Lists 107

Yesterday I got to Stratford, TX about 6 PM after spending time with Rebecca, James and Katrina in Amarillo. We ate lunch at the Big Texan and then went to Walmart where I got the coffee pot with metal carafe and then I went back to James’s house and took a shower. I left there about 1615. This was the time when the transmission in the truck had trouble engaging. I drove about 30 feet out of my parking place behind the Big Texan and it stalled. I finally got it to work and made it to the Pilot a few miles down the road where it stalled again as I was pulling up to a pump. Later that evening as I was driving into Stratford, the transmission disengaged and I coasted to a side street. Eventually I managed to get it going again and got parked at the Pilot.

This morning I left the Pilot at 0600. I got to another Pilot in Lyman Colorado when I stopped to go to the bathroom. When I came back to the truck more than half the air in the tanks was gone. I charged the tanks up to around 100 and noted that when the truck was idling normally it was losing more air than it was gaining. I walked around the trailer and found that the line going into the scale was leaking very badly. I contacted road assist and they told me to take it to TA to have it repaired.

I am supposed to be able to get into the TA around 1600. If so, that should enable me to make this delivery today which is still 130 miles away. The 90 is in Loveland Colorado. I picked up this load at Kraft in Fort Worth.

For my first pot of coffee in the new coffee pot maker this morning, I tried making 8 cups of coffee and it equaled about 2 1/2 of my cups. I think tomorrow I will try about 6 1/2 and see how that comes out.

Waited six hours in total today for the repairs and so I did not get to the Walmart distribution Center until about 1830. Kept waiting to see if they would send me another load. When I decided they were not going to send one, I left there about 2100. Going to try sleeping on a city street for the first time tonight. We will see how it goes. Right now I have a big nice salad but I also have some hamburger meat and vegetables which will be ready any minute now.

Monday, February 22, TTL 108

Alarm was set for 0530 but I woke up around five for the final time. I think my brake valve popped out about four and woke me up. I may still have more air leaking than should be.

I ate some plain yogurt and walnuts for breakfast. I filled the coffee pot to what looked like 6 1/2 cups and it is still slightly more than what I need. Tomorrow I will fill it to the top of the six and see how I come out. My fleet manager contacted me about 0600, just 30 minutes before I finished my break. He asked if I was out of the shop. I figured he would’ve seen the messages I sent yesterday, especially the ones about leaving the 90 after I had delivered. I really wish I knew better what to communicate with him. I don’t want to bug him but I certainly want to keep him informed.

I am parked on Saint Cloud Drive just north west of Wendy’s in Loveland, CO, just south of Stallion Drive. I am thankful no law-enforcement person has asked me to move yet. I hope I get a load before that happens. I parked here because it was almost 2100 when I finished at the DC and I didn’t want to go truck stop hopping looking for a place to park.

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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Uncle Rake's Comment
member avatar

Tuesday, Feb 23, TTL 109

I got a load yesterday morning about 0930. I picked it up in Fort Morgan Colorado and it had to be in Nebraska city Nebraska by 1100 today. I drove to the fuel stop which is in Henderson Nebraska at exit 342 on I 80. I had decided that if the place had parking I would park tonight and fuel in the morning and if it did not have parking I would fuel there and drive to the first rest area or TA that had available parking. When I got to there the name of it was Fuel Stop but in the QUALCOMM it was listed as Fuel Mart. When I got there no other trucks were parked and so it was easy for me to stay there overnight. I woke up this morning about 0400. I made coffee and read my lists and had some RBC. I decided to leave there in time to get to the 90 by 1000. The 90 was very easy to work with since they only had two dock doors. While I was there I called Ralph Smith and had a good but brief visit with him. He said they had been spared from the Covid illness.

I got a pre-plan to pick up in Lincoln Nebraska and haul to Denton Texas. The 01 and the 90 are both scheduled for 1900. Since neither involves dropping the trailer I went to the closest trailer wash which is in the edge of Iowa. I got the trailer washed out and thought about taking a nap but I’ve been lying here now for an hour and a half without sleep so I decided to update this. My plan is to leave here at 1630 so that I can get to the 01 by 1800 which is an hour earlier than I am scheduled to arrive. I used personal conveyance to move over to the truck wash today to try to conserve the hours in relation to my split so that I can have more options after I am loaded this evening. I have a box with chicken and Brussels sprouts in the freezer which I intend to put in the hot logic cooker just after I wake up today if I get some sleep or around 1600 so that hopefully it will be ready while I am at the 01. Part of my thinking today is related to how I should maximize my time in relation to picking up at 1900, getting my 10 hour break at some point, and delivering in Denton tomorrow at 1900 which is about 550 miles away. I will obviously be looking for a place to sleep later at night than I prefer. This is just another skill which I need to develop.

According to the GPS, pick up location was only an hour away but I wanted to get here at least an hour early and I ended up leaving a little after 1600. Got here to the location in Lincoln and got checked in and into a door by 17:45. Maybe I can get out of here early and get an early start on the trip to Denton.

I don't know that getting here early helped too much. I guess it helped to back into a door during daylight but now it is 18:45 and I don't think they have begun to load the truck. Perhaps 1900 start time is as good as it gets. At 1858 the truck started shaking so now I'm getting loaded.

Wednesday, February 24, TTL 110

Yesterday was a good example of using the split sleeper berth. My delivery was at 1100 so I wanted to be there by 1000. I was about 110 miles away so I started driving at 0800. After delivery I had a pre-plan for my next load which was to be picked up at 1900. The next load included 54 miles of driving empty and then 600 miles loaded. It was to be a live load so I wanted to get the trailer washed out. I drove to the nearest washout facility and went off duty. After two hours that froze my 14 hour clock. I only ended up driving until about 2330 but I could’ve driven until about 0200 this morning before nearing the end of my 14 hours because of the pause in the split sleeper berth provision. The extra hours I drove last night will help me have enough time today to get to the 90 by 1900 with time left on my clock to find a place to park. I will begin driving today needing 420 miles to reach the 90.

Well, I reached the 90 by 1630 but they did not get me unloaded until 530 Thursday morning.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.


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.
Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for sharing.

As far as communication with your FM , my communication has evolved since I went solo.

At first I would send a lot of updates but I realized that my FM gets messages when I get close to a delivery. Plus, he has learned that I generally get there early. If my PTA in the app is soon after I expect to deliver, I really don't need to send a message of my ETA.

I keep a consistent schedule, which my FM knows.

That being said, if anything unusual arises, I let him know. A consistent pattern, IMO is the best communication.


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.
Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Congrats & KUDOS, Raif !!

Excellent update/rundown . . . thanks for sharing !

~ Anne ~

thank-you-2.gif good-luck.gif thank-you-2.gif

Daniel C.'s Comment
member avatar

I used personal conveyance to move over to the truck wash today to try to conserve the hours in relation to my split so that I can have more options after I am loaded this evening.

I would be careful using personal conveyance that way. You could be in trouble if you get caught.

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