My Prime Upgrade / First Month Solo Experience

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Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Kearsey!

05/22/22 - Day 10 Solo

At 04:25 I crawled to the fuel Island for reefer fuel.

Started driving at 04:44 and arrived at 90 customer at 05:07 CDT (15 miles in 22 mins).

Checked in with Security, docked at 05:32 CDT.

Started a split SB in Off Duty while waiting (a total of 4 hours accrued).

Unloading finished at 06:08 (green light). Moved to a staging area to wait on lumper billing.

Received lumber billing text at 07:33 for $177.85. Had it paid at 07:55 CDT.

Received BOLs at 09:50 CDT after a misunderstanding of the process to come get them rather than waiting to be called.

Completed my paperwork for this trip.

Received my next trip assignment to pickup in Ardmore today from 12:00-23:59 for a “live load” of tire rubber.

Drove to Love’s at I-35, Ext 32 which is ~ 0.7 mile from 01 customer. Swept out the trailer because my blower battery wasn’t charged (I thought it was).

Arrived at 01 at 12:29 CDT. My load product was not ready yet. Told to dock my trailer to be loaded later, then bobtail back to Loves’s to wait for a phone call.

I was docked at 13:17 CDT after a very challenging backing situation. This is a tight dock area. Glad I have a short nosed lightweight.

Back to Love’s. I started the required minimum 7 hours consecutive in SB at 13:28 CDT.

No phone call came from 01 customer. I finally got up at 00:45 CDT on 5/23/22!

Decided to drive back to 01 to find out what was going on. No one answered the phone number that I had.

Started my 14h clock at 01:07. Arrived at 01 at 01:09.

My load still wasn’t ready. Had been waiting on the product. Their entire load board for 5/22 was “pending, late”.

In mean time they had loaded my docked empty with a different shipment (internal miscommunication).

My load product was ready on the dock. With my urging to get moving, they chased down a person to authorize paperwork for them to load another Prime trailer for me.

So, this “live load” is now a D&H.

The Yard Dog brought a trailer to the dock at 01:50. Loading started at 02:00 and is still in progress at 04:00 as I write this.

Once I get the paperwork in hand and hook up, I’m headed to Prime1 terminal in Springfield for a fuel stop (358 miles; ~6.6h).

My 90 delivery is in Woodburn, IN on 5/24 from 05:00-13:00 CDT. About 931 miles. I’ll have 573 miles to go from Springfield.

The delivery appt time window will need to be extended once I can provide a safe ETA. This distance would normally take ~39-40 hours. However, I think I can reduce that with one 10-h break plus a split SB break. It will all depend on how far I get today.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

05/23/22 - Day 11 Solo

The trailer was finished loading shortly after 04:00 CDT. I was called to couple the trailer and pull it out from the dock to be sealed. I was handed my BOLs to sign at 04:36 CDT.

This load gets better and better. I jumped the king pin over the 5th wheel! Dang it! I had heard about the hammer under the back of the skid plate trick, but was not seeing it in my mind. I couldn’t get the skid plate to lift up by hand.

So, I got the Yard Dog and another guy to help. They used a pry bar to lift the back of the skid plate. I lowered the air suspension and was able to pull out from under it. The Yard Dog then lifted the trailer so we could easily lower the landing gear a bit. They wouldn’t crank with the weighted trailer load on them.

I was then able to couple normally.

I found the post today by Errol J about this king pin problem. It has a nice photo of his ball peen hammer in position. I saved it for future reference.

Then it took me a long time to work the trailer out of a tight docking area. Glad to have a short nosed truck!

Then I had to mess around back and forth trying to slide the tandems forward to 12th hole.

All in all it took almost and hour to get to the point of being ready to complete my paperwork and make the “live load” call to dispatch.

Just to summarize this job. Appt window was 12:00-23:59 on 5/22/22. I arrived at 12:29 on 5/22/22. I received my BOLs after loading at 04:36 on 5/23/22. Should be some detention pay later.

I started driving to Springfield at 06:00 and arrived at the Prime terminal at 13:58. Drove 395 miles in 7h 34m (52.2 mph). On duty time is 7h 59m.

The recommended fuel route implied the trip to be 358 miles. It may have been except for some confusing directions at Ada, OK that I think could have added a 35 mile out of route detour.

The inbound trailer inspection at Prime1 found some tire wear issues, so I was asked to drop the trailer for them to work on it during my 10h break.

I updated my “safe” ETA to 90 customer in Woodbury, IN tomorrow to be 21:00 EDT. No deliveries after 14:00, so new appointment is 06:00-14:00 on 5/25/22. This is same thing that happened to me going to Bayonne, NJ for the HAZMAT load.

The trip is 600 miles. I’ll work a similar schedule now to run 450 to 500 miles tomorrow, leaving a 2-3 hrs drive in on morning of 5/25 to arrive by 06:00 EDT.

I can still complete this trip to meet payroll cutoff for this week, but these delays are costing me miles and money.

Speaking of that HAZMAT load last week. I did find out today that there was a copy of the 2020 Emergency Response Guidebook in a zippered outside pocket of my Permits Book binder. I didn’t look there!

One lesson from this loading experience is to always have a phone number to call to check on load status that actually gets answered. If I had not decided to start my clock and drive back to the plant to check on it, who knows when they would have gotten around to it. The dock workers told me this happens a lot there.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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".

Anne A. (Momma Anne) & To's Comment
member avatar
Then I had to mess around back and forth trying to slide the tandems forward to 12th hole.

Just often read your diaries, with or to my seasoned driver husband...and he asked me.. (as I ask you..) why?

Thanks,

We all & always FOLLOW, good sir!

~ Anne & Tom ~

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".

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

At first the tandem locking pins didn’t want to retract. It took a couple attempts running back and forth from the cab to the tandem. Part of the problem was needing to build up trailer air tank pressure.

Some of the states I’m running through want the tandems on the 12th hole or less.

The tandems were all the way back for trailer loading.

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".

Anne A. (Momma Anne) & To's Comment
member avatar

At first the tandem locking pins didn’t want to retract. It took a couple attempts running back and forth from the cab to the tandem. Part of the problem was needing to build up trailer air tank pressure.

Some of the states I’m running through want the tandems on the 12th hole or less.

The tandems were all the way back for trailer loading.

Ah, gotcha! Seasoned driver right here, says..'bump a curb!' Hahaha! Thanks for explanation, it will help those, forward..I'm sure. Lose Tom's advice, though!!

Seriously, he says.. yep... all about the air pressure...and a bit'o PB Blaster does wonders.

Thanks as always, good sir.

Your diaries are the BEST.

~ Anne & Tom ~

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".

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Two tips for you:

1. Never back completely under the trailer until you do a GOAL to check the height. Every Single Time.

2. A 12" piece of a 4" X 4" is the perfect tool to hold the fifth wheel height perfectly level. Stows easily in the side box, or beside the passenger seat. It can also be used as a makeshift wheel chock.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Every Time!!!

To this day I still GOAL before getting under a trailer. Same thing holds true once coupled, check that the fifth wheel locks the kingpin and there are no gaps between the fifth wheel plate and upper coupler.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

1. Never back completely under the trailer until you do a GOAL to check the height. Every Single Time.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Excellent advice from Packrat and G-Town. I’m taking my 30 min DOT break now at a Home Depot near St Louis getting the wood block(s). I’m stuck with 6 blocks because only way to get it cut. No pre-cuts we’re available.

Now I have extras to give away to drivers who find themselves in the same pickle.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

05/24/22 - Day 12 Solo

I was up at 03:15CDT today after an extended break for some nice sleep. I notice that I’ve started dreaming again since going solo. Didn’t dream much during team training (that dang moving truck!).

Found my trailer and coupled carefully to it with a GOAL. Got a fuel fill up at outbound in Plaza building.

Started driving at 04:10 CDT and stopped at 08:04 for DOT break at Home Depot near St Louis to get a would block. Entire process took 48 minutes including finding an Associate to cut a 6’ piece of 4x4 into 6 pieces.

One of six blocks stowed on my small truck now ready if needed.

0180597001653427705.jpg

I ended the day at 14:58 CDT parked in a nice large rest area on I-69N at exit 249 headed towards Fort Wayne, IN. I’m only 74 miles to my 90 delivery in the morning in Woodburn on US24 just east of Fort Wayne. I can make that run in ~1.5 hrs, so will plan to leave at about 03:30 CDT to arrive at 05:00 CDT, when the customer opens for deliveries.

Today’s Summary Stats:

Miles driven = 532 Drive time = 9h 46m On Duty = 10h 4m Avg Speed = 54.5 mph Avail. 70 clock = 7h 23m Recap tonight = 9h 48m Total 70 avail. 5/25/22 = 17h 11m

Indiana is covered in bright yellow fields of mustard greens. Yum, Yum when cooked the southern way.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

5/25/22 - Day 13 Solo

Today started out very good, then took a down turn at the end.

I started driving as per plan at 03:30 CDT. Stopped for 10 mins at a Love’s for supplies. Arrived at my 90 receiver at 05:08 CDT (06:08 EDT).

Checked in with Security from 05:08-05:17, then sat waiting to be sent to dock area.

No trucks are taken from 04:30-05:30 CDT during shift change. Park in a line and wait your turn to go in as a prior truck exits.

I was sent to dock at 06:04 CDT. I was docked at 06:39 and unloaded at 07:15 CDT.

Sent my Depart Receiver Macro at 07:27 CDT.

My next trip assignment came in to drive empty about 250 miles to Reed Creek, MI to D&H for a loaded trailer going to Murfreesboro, TN. This trip has 834 dispatched miles. It is a D&H at the 90 receiver anytime up to 12:00 on 5/28/22. I’ve been to the 90 location before.

Arrived at 01 at 14:33 CDT. Checked in at 14:35 CDT.

Had the trailer washed out at onsite wash bay.

This is a D&H yard only for the shipper.

I dropped my empty and found my loaded trailer. Carefully coupled with two GOALS.

Depart shipper at 15:51 CDT.

I drove to nearby TS less than 1/2 mile to complete preparations. Not allowed to slide tandems at the yard.

Got tandem to 12th hole. Checked Right Weigh and the trailer axle is too high at 35.5k lbs.

I submit my required macros and make live dispatch call. There is a QC communication problem system wide, so nothing went through yet.

The closest CAT Scale is 32 miles. I’m running low on 14h clock time. I get to the scale with 34 mins remaining on my 14 clock.

The CAT confirms that the trailer axle is over limit at 35,040 lbs.

So, I will return to the shipper’s yard in the morning after my 10h break ends at 04:00 CDT to get the over weight corrected.

Steer axle = 12,140 lbs Drive axle = 30,520 lbs Trailer axle = 35,040 lbs Total gross = 77,700 lbs

This was first time that I used the “Weigh My Truck” App. It worked slick. $12.50 billed directly to Prime Inc.

I submitted the weights to dispatch via macro.

Summary Stats for today: Miles = 396 Driving = 7h 55m On Duty = 8h 37m Avg MPH = 50.0 70 Avail = 8h 35m Recap tonight = 9h 59m (18h 34m for 5/26)

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".

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

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”

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