On Board With Knight Transportation, Squire School Started 03/22/21

Topic 29854 | Page 6

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Davy A.'s Comment
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Day 1 of training. Met my trainer, we get along great. He says a lot of things like Old School and the gang here, we talked a while about life in the truck, expectations, etc. Anyway, truck had a bad tail light, turns out the pins went and the wiring sub harness for that light has to be replaced. I met his DM and the guys in the shop, asked if there was any way we could temporarily patch in a universal replacement (never hurts to ask), also me and the trainer volunteered to go grab the part out of will call in our personal vehicle or borrow the van from the terminal. Im a pretty good wrench and its plug and play, so I asked if I could replace it myself (again, never hurts to ask) but they already had it out for delivery. So longish story short, Trainer and I talked for about an hour and I went home. Back to the terminal tomorrow and on the road after it gets fixed.

He couldn't find an empty in Cheyenne, so he bobtailed back down to Denver to grab one and pick me up. We need to be back in Cheyenne, drop the empty, Pick up our load and head to Billings. Were now down a day from this, so I think were going to run hard to see if we can make some of that up. Interesting start of training. Plenty to be learned even when not driving.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Dm:

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
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Training day 2.

At the terminal at 0900, forgot employee badge at home, called trainer, he laughed, plenty of time, part was next day aired, so plenty of time. Returned home, got pass back to terminal to wait some more. Met one of my fellow top gun class mates there. She was having a horrible time with her trainer. Only has 6 days left to do, says she will make it. She called her DDM and DM , also, our top gun facilitator. As her trainer was pulling my class mate sent me a text, her trainer was driving and on facebook live at the same time. I said document it, she did.

My trainer is awesome. old school guy, been driving for 30 years. He says the same things Old School and Gtown and PackRat and Bret and Eroll and all the others here do. We get along well. I have a ton of questions that get answers. I try to be as helpful on the truck as possible, Find solutions and treat him and his living working space with respect.

Had a brake recall as well as the tail light cluster fixed. We got out of the terminal at 5:30 PM. Went to Lowes DC at Cheyenne, Dropped empty, picked up our load. 28k. Not too bad. Headed for Lowes in Billings MT. Load had been canceled or given to someone else because of our downtime. We took the load anyway since we had the trailer and sent in a macro that we have it. The office can sort it out in the AM. Stopped at the sinclair in Wheatland WY. He drove today as it was technically my first day out. From now on I do all the driving, but he will finish the day out after my hours, Makes sense to me. Learned trip planning a lot today, he had me figure out how many hours we need to get to receiver, when to stop, when to start etc. We have Billings MT at 4pm tomorrow, (we call it 3 pm though) and have to be in SoCal at 8:00am Monday morning.

Really liking this, Learned a ton today, Trainer says I have a good attitude and will do just fine at this. Really grateful that I got a great trainer, and was patient enough to wait to get him. Especially after hearing my classmates issues with hers. She is a tough self motivated individual and will make it through her training. Something my instructor at top gun said on our last day was that one in five of us in the class (of five people) would fail from lack of or improper training. I dont plan on being that one. Its our training, our license and our career.

I have a ton to learn but looking forward to the opportunities.

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.

Dm:

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
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Quick update, drove up to Billings, Apparently someone got our 3 oclock dock and we now have their 8 oclock dock. Trainer was peeved but gently yet firmly urged dispatch to notify us of changes other than messaging as we cant access messages while the vehicle is being driven. So, no shower tonight, and it puts a bit of a squeeze on us as we have to pick up our socal load at 10:00, its 44k so well be heavy, we will definitely be heading to the cat scale as were going to be in CA so the tandems have to be at 40'.

Other than that, driving went great today, had a good time, easy run, and good one learn on, baby hills and a few decent grades so I learned using the Jake to modulate speed and distance. Really pleasant drive.

Backed into a couple easy spots but I was like a hyper 5 year old on mountain dew. Once I settled down it was fine. Did some sight side circles in the Lowes lot so we could park while waiting. They went well, but the trainers nerves were a bit on edge. He was very patient and helpful notwithstanding, so major props there. Overall things are great, I get standard newbie nervousness but it quickly dissipates and I trust when the trainer says Im getting the hang of things, I may not see it, but he does.

I know very little, I just try and keep the same positive can-do attitude especially towards safety and profitability that I had in school and top gun. I also try to be helpful and respectful of my trainers time. Ive had very positive experiences with all the shippers and receiver's that Ive met thus far. I figure that my job right now is to learn all that I can, not just give the okey dokey and brush off valuable lessons.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Tandems:

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".

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".

CAT Scale:

A network of over 1,500 certified truck scales across the U.S. and Canada found primarily at truck stops. CAT scales are by far the most trustworthy scales out there.

In fact, CAT Scale offers an unconditional Guarantee:

“If you get an overweight fine from the state after our scale showed your legal, we will immediately check our scale. If our scale is wrong, we will reimburse you for the fine. If our scale is correct, a representative of CAT Scale Company will appear in court with the driver as a witness”

Davy A.'s Comment
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Oh yeah, forgot, Got pulled into the port of entry in MT on 90. Was easy, in and out fast. Had permit book ready open before they asked for it. They simply asked if we had our red IFTA stickers on both sides. Said Yes Sir, and we were off.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

I. LOVE. your. diary~!!

The verisimilitude is phenomenal.

Thanks, Davy.

ps: Future members/readers will glean SO much from your diary, I'm sure.

~ Anne ~

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

I. LOVE. your. diary~!!

The verisimilitude is phenomenal.

Thanks, Davy.

ps: Future members/readers will glean SO much from your diary, I'm sure.

~ Anne ~

Thank you, I had to look that up for the definition. Hopefully someone stumbles across it and helps cement decisions for them. I cant thank everyone here enough for the help.

Training Day 4 but it may actually be day 3.

Well last night we had to really hustle since we got the 9:00pm dock, The shipping and receiving people at Lowes in Billings were fantastic to work with. They hustled as much as possible, Let me use their restroom back there, were really understanding of our situation. We had to get across town and pick up load from Grain West. Another bunch of great people, very professional and easy to deal with. We had to unhook our load, hook up the empty, unhook it and rehook our load, put in the dock and then take the empty to Grain West. This was going to be my first docking which would have been great experience, but due to the issues from lack of communication and the DM being very unprofessional and snotty with my Trainer about it, we didn't have time. I did the outside work, coupling and uncoupling, etc. Doc (my trainer) did the backing and pulling. As it was I didnt have enough hours left to anyway.

I thoroughly swept out the trailer, got all the debris out of it and we tossed them out. (separate rant here). Sweeping and cleaning is a good break for a minute, keeps you active and kind of resets your mind. No one is above it. I volunteered immediately and made sure to do a damn good job. We knew we would be late, and wanted to make sure not to **** off the guys at Grain West. It was a live load. They really appreciated it. So a little bit of thinking ahead and a little bit of common courtesy goes a long way. Also, nothing ****ess me off more than someone who thinks they are too good for a broom. In general, I hustle, I volunteer to clean the windows when we fuel, I move the chocks, I clean up the cab. Im a guest in the cab and my trainer is giving me something that is hard to put a price tag on. knowledge and experience. Ok, rant done.

I plan on being diplomatic and going through channels as needed if I have issues like this with my DM when Im solo. Could just be that he was having a bad day, my trainer said he has never seen this type of thing from him. In any case, if there is a problem, I have a DDM, the Terminal Manager, and several other managers i could escalate it too if needed. As it was, we got our duties done without complaint and on to the next.

We fueled and scaled out at the Pilot, headed out for a bit and called it a night. I started out this morning outside of billings, Drove 534 miles, with an hour left on my clock. I drove 119 down through Yellowstone. Loved it, beautiful scenery, some technical driving, lots of curves, hills, and on a two lane road. Really enjoyed the Jake brake, reminds me of how we use engine braking on the race track, stayed off the brakes aside from a couple of situations. Really cool drive. Road construction and traffic was a pain in the rear end through Odgen and SLC. on the 15. We stopped at the Flying at the south end of SLC, Doc drove the last hour or so down to the new J at 50 and 15s. Were done for the night. I killed half the run or so. Our appointment time is 0800 Monday AM. We will be in our Fontana yard well ahead of time tomorrow, so we got some of our buffer back. From there we will head out early monday to drop our load, then go from there to TX.

Im getting a handle on trip planning, We get a fuel solution and trip plan from the office on Zonar and our mobile app, but Id like to route the whole thing out using the Rand McNally paper atlas and then manually input the waypoints and stops into a GPS. I dont trust any GPS as far as i can throw them and I grew up using Thomas guides and Atlas for directions. Also, Im learning how budget my clock in planning. I really enjoy the logistics and planning, its like playing chess. Im feeling very comfortable driving the truck and Doc seems very confident in my abilities, same with backing. He summed it up today, He said, yeah, you have the skills, no doubt. Quit second guessing yourself. If your gut told ya to put it in, have faith that you can do it. Otherwise you keep thinking yourself into trouble.

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.

Dm:

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.
Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Totally forgot, I drove right through old downtown Boseman MT today. Little kids were staring at the truck waving for me to honk, I didnt think it was appropriate to light up the air horn lol. Was fun as fun can be, felt like being in a parade. street was packed with people as it was Sat morning.

Old School's Comment
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Im learning how budget my clock in planning. I really enjoy the logistics and planning, its like playing chess.

I love that statement. It tells me that you are really getting it! Keep it up. It sounds like you are having a great training experience. That is wonderful.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Im learning how budget my clock in planning. I really enjoy the logistics and planning, its like playing chess.

double-quotes-end.png

I love that statement. It tells me that you are really getting it! Keep it up. It sounds like you are having a great training experience. That is wonderful.

Thank you very much. I still have such a long way to go, but a little bit more falls in to place each day.

Training day 4.

Ran down from Idaho falls to our Fontana yard. I got a lot of experience on hills, and keeping a sweet spot between, the RPMs, the Jake level and the speed. We burned an hour of my clock at the big huge truck stop getting white castle burgers just outside of Lost Wages NV. Traffic was pretty much solid from there to Cajon pass a lot of the way south. The pass was screwed. most of the way down. I drove 392 miles today, with an two long breaks and left 2.5 hours on my clock.

Each day, ive been keeping 2 to 2.5 hours unused. The load were on is Billings to LA, Drop Tomorrow at 11:00 AM, We stopped yesterday knowing we had approximately 11 to 13 hours it would take to get to the reciever. Our company policy is that we cant park in the LA area except at our yards. I knew that I wouldnt have enough time to make it to our Fontana yard, but also want to be at the reciever with a fresh clock. If I had been by myself I would have parked just outside the greater LA area as there is some leeway with the policy. I would need enough time to get to my drop, grab an empty and go pick up my next load in Perris CA going out to TX at 14:30. I would see if I could get both the drop and the pick up done early but I cant count on that. If I start my day too soon, needing too much time to get to the drop Id run out of hours. If I started too late, Theres a chance Id miss my appointment at the drop, which I find unacceptable. Right now, my trainer drove the last 130 miles to our Fontana yard, its a nice luxury, but Im not going to have that luxury in two weeks, So Im planning and learning for when im solo. Right now were 45 minutes or so from our drop.

I really want to go over the route to my drop and to my pick up and to TX right now, but Im tired and need some sleep. Ill do it in the AM. Also, backing went better today again, not so abrupt, although my trainer did guide me in, the guidance I recieved was what I was planning on doing, when I was planning on doing it, so it served to confirm that my thoughts were in the right place. I asked him if he thought I would have it in suitable condition for going solo in a few weeks, he said yes. I do too, I will probably be slow, but I know I can get it where it needs to go without hitting anything.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
my trainer drove the last 130 miles to our Fontana yard, its a nice luxury, but Im not going to have that luxury in two weeks... I asked him if he thought I would have it in suitable condition for going solo in a few weeks, he said yes. I do too, I will probably be slow, but I know I can get it where it needs to go without hitting anything.

I like the way you keep thinking about how different it is going to be for you when solo. Most of us are not really prepared to go solo when we first get the go ahead. That's okay. It's like having the training wheels taken off of our bike when we are kids. We figure it out pretty quickly. A few little minor mishaps and we learn how to keep ourselves out of danger.

You seem to be doing great Davy. I'm enjoying your diary and glad to see you progressing so well. Always remember the highest priority at first will be safety. Don't rush yourself or let yourself feel pressured into doing something rash. Being on time and safe are major priorities at first, but always put safety over punctuality. Knight will understand if you have to tell them you are going to be late a couple of times. They will not so easily understand why you tore something up.

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