Thoughts After My First Week Solo

Topic 31664 | Page 2

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Andrey's Comment
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Congratulations! I knew you would like it :-)

Stevo Reno's Comment
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Yes Congrats Matt, it IS so much nicer having the truck all to yourself huh ! And the sleeping sitting still, rather than being tossed around on the bad roads out there, while trucks moving !

Pacific Pearl's Comment
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-I was surprised to learn I needed to plan my stop (at least every other night) around where I have shower credits. I hadn't thought of that. Maybe in time, I will accumulate a little surplus of credits and/or shower on my 30, when I don't have as tight of a load.

-There is so much to buy when you start out!!

These two problems have the same solution - loyalty points. Once you get to the top tier at Love's or Flying J (1500 gallons) you get UNLIMITED showers for the month and the following month. I used to alternate when I was OTR so I had free showers at both locations. Love's will also give you 4 points per gallon making it easier to get to the top tier the following month. The points add up to about $100/mo. you can spend on whatever you want. I bought my inverter, GPS and CB all with points! I recommend waiting until you get to Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon to make a major purchase though (no sales tax).

Obviously, you'll get more points at Love's but that comes at a cost. There's always a line at the pumps and there's usually a wait for a shower (at least on I-80 from Wamsutter to Minooka). After being a Love's loyalist for many years I had to switch to Flying J because I couldn't justify waiting 2 hours for a shower on my dedicated route.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

IDMtnGal 's Comment
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These two problems have the same solution - loyalty points. Once you get to the top tier at Love's or Flying J (1500 gallons) you get UNLIMITED showers for the month and the following month. I used to alternate when I was OTR so I had free showers at both locations. Love's will also give you 4 points per gallon making it easier to get to the top tier the following month.

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Flying J also gives four points after six fill ups at the start of the month. For me, I will be getting four points between the 6th and 7th of the month and I fill up between 120 to 140 gallons at a time...that is roughly 750 to 1000 gallons.

Showers can be earned after each fill of, I believe, 60 gallons. I don't pay attention, so don't know how many fills it takes to get unlimited showers, because I've had unlimited showers all the time it seems... even when coming off of extended home time.

Laura

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dennis L's Comment
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Congratulations Matt on your first solo week. Wilson broke you in good with that long tight trip to RI. Well done.

Like you, I’m very much looking forward to getting my own solo truck for the solitude. I’m about halfway through my Prime TNT miles after this third week. It is starting to wear on me and my trainer, from some comments that he made recently. I was on his truck for 17 days during my PSD training and now 3 weeks in TNT.

Fortunately We do get along, but sharing the small space and the pace of team driving wears on us.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

Wile E.'s Comment
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Congratulations, Matt! Very much appreciate your post. It is interesting, encouraging, and very helpful! Thanks!

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
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Very impressive first week!

Keep it up!

Pianoman's Comment
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Congrats on getting through training and then having a killer first week Matt! Great job trip planning that load so well and staying on top of it. I don’t know if you did this or not but if I had a really tight load like that I liked to keep my dispatcher updated via message on the eld as I got closer just in case a delay caused me to be late. I always felt it covered my butt a little better.

It’s kinda funny I can totally relate all over again to your comments about having the truck all yourself. I forgot how happy I was about that after I finished training until recently when I just trained my first student. She just got her own truck this week and it feels so good to have my own truck and space again and sleep without it moving just like you said haha

You’re doing awesome man!

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.
Mountain Matt's Comment
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Thanks, everyone--I truly do appreciate the kind words!

Good advice, Pianoman--I did send my dispatcher a message the day before to let him know what my PTA and time cushion were.

Dennis and Pianoman and Steve: Yes, having the truck to myself is pure gold! At the moment, I have my stuff spread everywhere, working on my taxes. And yes, so many roads are bad, which makes sleeping while someone else drives even worse. I also felt bad about every bump I hit while my trainer was trying to sleep.

Pacific Pearl and Laura: Great advice! I do use the free showers I get from fueling... that's why I'm chasing whatever location I have credits at. But good idea to save up points to buy some of the more expensive items I need (and do so in a state without sales tax!). I'll try to wait a bit. As a company driver, I need to go to the truck stop they recommend for fuel stops, so I don't have choice there. But I think I'll de facto still get enough points to get to higher tiers, save up points, etc., even following their listed fuel stops. Especially if I keep putting on the miles!

This 34 hour reset has been really nice. Time to wash up, clean the truck, get a nice meal at a restaurant not in a truck stop, do my taxes, and just relax. I didn't mind pushing the miles each day, but a strictly 10 hour break goes quickly by the time you eat, sleep, and get ready the next morning (I try to make my own coffee and some food).

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mountain Matt's Comment
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Also, Andrey, I always think of you when I'm in New England... like maybe I'll spot you somewhere!

I just wanted to note that, as my profile says now, I joined Trucking Truth 12 months ago this week. I had been thinking about trucking for a good while before that, but joining Trucking Truth marked a new turn in my seriousness about the matter, as well as supplied me with helpful information and perspective about training and the trucking life in general.

It is poignant to reflect on the changes over the last year. I will continue to face challenges, I know, but I'm also experiencing more of the things I wanted in life regardless: travel, challenge, adventure, less bureaucratic work, etc. These things will remain, I think, even through the ups and downs of trucking.

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