Skateboarding With Western Express: The Life Of A Flat Bedder.

Topic 3080 | Page 1

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Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
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See also: Western Express Company Review

I don't know how often I will be able to update this blog but I will do my best for once a week minimum.

Sunday 3/16- I'm currently sitting in first class on a delta flight from CT- to Atlanta then on to Nashville. The first class ticket was cheaper then a bus ticket so who am I to complain....oh yeah I get reimbursed. I will be in Nashville around 4:45pm and head over to the hotel. Orientation starts in the morning. I realized I forgot my rain gear so amazon prime will be my friend this week. I think I may check out the Nashville music scene later this week, I'm also a foodie so "hot chicken" is on my list to try. I might give Old School a call later tonight once I get settled in, he has been awesome so far with my many questions. I think it's time for a glass of wine to help me relax.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Good luck in school. Have a nice flight!

Jim M.'s Comment
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Yes good luck to you Dale!

I look forward to an update, I have applied to Western Express for flatbed.

Aces-N-eights (Dale)'s Comment
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So I had typed out a long update only to have it not post so now a quick version.

Day 1 orientation- It was very much hurry up and wait, Drug test, physicals, reaction test, paperwork, computer paperwork. Very laid back kind of day.

Day 2 orientation- Today was the opposite of yesterday, very structured, very serious stuff including pictures that will give anyone nightmares. Long day started at 6am and finished after 6:30pm so I'm heading to bed, tomorrow starts load securement at 7am so its another long day. So far so good.

Jim M.'s Comment
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Hey Dale,

Look forward to another update. I spoke with a recruiter yesterday at Western Express, she was very informative, the website was not entirely "user-friendly" but I did manage to glean some good stuff from their. I'm a little fuzzy on their sliding pay scale, can you shed some light on it? I am looking at flatbed also.

Thanks and have a good Day 3!!

Old School's Comment
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Congratulations Dale, you'll learn a lot in load securement about how to calculate how many chains or straps you need to make a load secure and legal with the D.O.T. Pay attention to the printed information they hand out, especially the stuff on working load limits of chains, straps, binders, etc. There will be a test on that stuff on Thursday, you've got to pass the test to move on into a trainers truck. I saw two or three guys in my class get sent home that day simply because they didn't think they would really need to know that stuff. They gave them a second chance to re-study the material and take the test again, but they still failed it.

Hey Jim, I wouldn't worry about that sliding pay scale too much if you're thinking about flat-bed at Western. The short version of the way it works is that you get paid a higher rate per mile for the shorter runs - I don't have the break-down in front of me of how it's structured right now, but I can tell you that if you are a productive OTR flat-bed driver you will very seldom be doing any short runs that even fall into the category that will get the higher pay rates. I've been driving flat-bed for Western for almost a year now, and only twice have I ever had a run that was short enough to get the higher pay rates. I'm on a sixteen hundred mile trip right now, and you will generally be doing 500 plus mile runs in their flat-bed division.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Pay attention to the printed information they hand out, especially the stuff on working load limits of chains, straps, binders, etc

WHOA! Ok, what's it going to take to get my hands on that paperwork? I'd love to throw together a section in the High Road Training Program for flatbed securement!

And seriously, I already have the most priceless picture for the cover page of the flatbed section:

old bearded truck driver tarping a flatbed in the snow

That picture is just awesome!!

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.
Old School's Comment
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I'll see what I can do for ya.

Jim M.'s Comment
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Thanks for easing my mind with that info. Love the pictures by the way, and Brett is right; you (I assume) folding the tarp in the snow is pretty cool... literally.

TailGunner (Ken M)'s Comment
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Yeah, in the summer you can get a 24' tarp rolled up the size of a sleeping bag. Then in the winter you can get it about the size of a Mini Cooper.

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