Flat-bedding With My Daughter

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Old School's Comment
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Some of you who have been around a while will remember when I documented my travels with my oldest daughter. This week my middle daughter took some time off from her job to ride with me and I thought I would repeat that little exercise for the sake of any new lurkers and regulars that may be interested in what life on the road is really like.

I came through the house with a load of plastic pipe welding equipment that I picked up in Gallatin Tennessee that was headed to Katy TX. The receiver had such a tight spot I had to turn around in to get backed into a bay that was really only designed for something like a one ton truck, that I had to jack-knife the truck hard enough so that I could get the trailer to move forward with the tractor moving in reverse. Here's a photo of the load I had on the truck when I picked up my daughter at the house.

flatbed trailer loaded with a generator

My daughter Sarah and I delivered that first load and then promptly got another load to pick up in Vidor Tx that was headed for Abbeville South Carolina. I surprised Sarah with a pink hard hat that I had ordered for her in anticipation of this event. Here she is decked out in her PPE (Pink Protective Equipment)

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I just had to include that photo just for Redgators sake!

Well, it was interesting that we start out our journey together in exactly the same place at Vidor TX. Do you remember the place that had the sign warning us about the alligators? That's where I started my travels with my oldest daughter, and this is where Sarah and I started also.

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Just as soon as we got loaded up with these slinky coils we got rolling on into Louisiana where we spent the night at Breaux Bridge.

flatbed trailer loaded with metal slinky coils in Breaux Bridge Louisiana

I try to make these trips with my daughters special for them so we managed to view some of the local artwork...

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And sample some local cuisine,,,

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All at the same place!

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Well, we rolled 615 miles the next day to get to Madison Georgia, where we set ourselves up for a 34 hour reset because my hours are running low on my 70 hour clock. We cooked a jambalaya in the crock-pot while we were rolling down the road and enjoyed the smell on the road and the flavor at the truck stop when we finally stopped for the night.

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It's spring time in the south and we've been enjoying scenes like this down here where the wild flowers are in full bloom.

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It sure beats looking out your window at scenes like this - these kind of views got a little bit old during the long winter.

truck driver's view of a snow-covered windshield in the winter

I'll keep this thing posted as we move along, I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride!

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.
BugSmasherOne (Paul K.)'s Comment
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And sample some local cuisine,,,

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My adventures are finding good places to eat while driving and you found one of my favorite, local places. I live in Ville Platte, about 50 miles north.

Directions for those interested: Louisiana, I-10, exit 109, Breaux Bridge. Park at the Pilot, walk one block south past Walmart, and cross the street. Open from 1100 to 2100. If your going west, it's the exit before the DOT scale.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Starcar's Comment
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This is a great post !!!!! And I'm sure Redgator is gonna be jealous of that hard hat....hahahaha

Schism's Comment
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Nice touch on the hard hat ! Sometimes its the little things like that which makes us heroes to the kids .

Looks like a great trip ....the Cajun food looked yummy !

~S~

Wine Taster's Comment
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Wow! That looks like a great place to eat. Hope you have a great trip with your daughter.

Charlie H.'s Comment
member avatar

Old School,

Love that place, been there several times. Breaux Bridge is a cool area and wife and I love to visit South La. and love that Cajun cooking. If you are back through there, check out Poche's meat marktet and restaraunt for some great cooking. just a mile or so out of town and signs everywhere. They have a lunch on Sundays where you line up in the hallway at the kitchen to get your food, very cool! They also have frozen food you can buy and take with you, and they have huge parking lot that truckers can get in and out of.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

We enjoyed our 34 hour reset at Madison, Georgia by taking walks, enjoying some meals at local restaurants, and we even went to a local church for Easter Morning Worship. When Sarah woke up Monday morning I already had us moving on down the road about an hour away from Madison, and the delicious smell of sausages sizzling and frizzling in the pan was filling up the cab of the truck so that it was making it hard to sleep much more. We enjoyed a rolling breakfast together as we kept our freight moving toward it's destination. We arrived at our receiver and had no problems getting our "slinky coils" unloaded quickly.

forklift loading metal slinky coils on flatbed trailer

We sent in our "empty call" on the Qualcomm and waited for about fifteen minutes for our next load which is a load of lumber to be picked up at a Georgia Pacific mill in McCormick SC and will deliver to Rocky Mount VA. Here's what it looked like after we were loaded.

Lumber loaded on flatbed at Georgia Pacific mill in McCormick SC

Then I worked on making the tarps look like a professional who put a little pride in his work had done the work, and we set off. We kind of had some of our time get burned up at this plant because of another driver taking his sweet time (he was a rookie, so I'm not going to lay into him) but there were a considerable number of us being held up by him having to do his tarps over a couple of times. This particular mill has a tarping station that you have to work in when doing your tarps, and it is only made for one truck at a time. If he had known what he was doing, he could have gotten his tarps stretched out and secured with just 6 or 8 bungees and then pulled on up out of the way and let the next truck in, but he'll know better next time. Here's our tarped load ready to roll.

properly tarped and secured load on a flatbed trailer

We got ourselves up to Blacksburg South Carolina where we stopped for fuel and checked our qualcomm messages which had a pre-planned load on it of a steel load to pick up in Roanoke Virginia tomorrow that will go to upstate New York. I had originally planned on getting started early tomorrow, but after seeing the appointment times on the pre-plan it will be better for us to start around eight in the morning with this current load or else we will end up sitting for a while waiting for our pick-up appointment. I'm sure my DM went ahead and sent me that information knowing I would need it to plan my day tomorrow - he does a great job at knowing how I think and operate. Now that we know what the plan is for tomorrow we decided to go ahead and shut down here at the Flying J in Blacksburg for our evenings rest. We'd been smelling the wonderful smells of "smothered" pork chops coming from the crock-pot in our truck for several hours now, and it was nice to stop, rest, and enjoy the fruit of our labors together sitting in the truck eating a nice "truck cooked" meal. The smothered pork chops with baby bella mushrooms and shallots in a rich brown gravy sure tasted good after a nice days work! I love to cook.

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We will begin our day tomorrow with some good hot truck stop showers and a nice breakfast at Denny's. Today we delivered one load and picked up another, and tomorrow we will do the same thing again. That can add up to a lot of work for a flat-bedder and not always a lot of miles, but it's only Monday and I've already got fifteen hundred miles for this week in the bag - it's all good! Looks like it's gonna be a great spring - the rush is on!

Qualcomm:

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PorkChop's Comment
member avatar

Nicely done! (Or are you just being extra-neat because your daughter's there with you?)

properly tarped and secured load on a flatbed trailer

You ARE, a true professional! smile.gif

Old School's Comment
member avatar
You ARE, a true professional! smile.gif

Thanks Little Joe, I always try to make it look good, some days it works out better than others though. Having raised three daughters, and not having any boys to bring their influence to bear on my family, I learned early on that my girls thought that the way the wrapping paper on a present looked was more important than the present itself. Women - I love em, but I'll never understand em! But I had to make those tarps really look good while Sarah was riding with me or else she'd be out there adjusting them later on. confused.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I've dropped Sarah off at the house now, and I want you to know that we were so busy having such a nice time together, that I didn't take the time to keep this thread updated. Shame on me!

Let me take a stab at catching y'all up.

After spending the night at Blacksburg, SC we delivered our load of lumber the following morning in Rocky Mount VA. I want to tell you about this day because it is a good example of how you have to be willing and able to adjust your plans and schedule on a daily basis in this career if you are going to be able to stay sane and still keep making a decent paycheck each week. It's not usually the problems of moving a big rig down the highway that cause people to throw in the towel in this business, but rather it's succumbing to the frustrations and not knowing how to deal with the unexpected curve-balls that are constantly challenging your ability to cope with ever changing goals and targets. Here's how things went for us and what we did to deal with it.

We gave ourselves a three hour cushion in our plans for the day so that we could make our 2:00 loading appointment at Steel Dynamics in Roanoke. Well, the folks who were unloading us in the morning let us sit and sit for a little more than three and a half hours before they managed to get us unloaded. Very frustrating because now it makes us late for our pick-up schedule, so I had to call and get it rescheduled. The next available time was about three hours later than my original appointment so I took it and we rolled on in about an hour ahead of our appointment time and waited. About six hours after our rescheduled appointment we were finally loaded and ready to roll. I would have only had two hours of legal driving time at that point, and I had studied all this while we were waiting, running out different scenarios in my head trying to figure out how to still make my scheduled appointment even though they loaded me much later than originally planned. If I went a head and drove for that two hours and then took a ten hour break as required by the regulations I would be late and probably have to reschedule for the next day. Can you say "Not Happening"? Here's what we did to "beat the system" and keep outsmarting the folks driving themselves nuts struggling every week trying to figure out how to make this frustrating career work for them. After being at this shipper for about twenty minutes I went ahead and got myself on the sleeper berth line. Now if you are following all this, and keeping up with the math, you'll quickly realize that after I was loaded and ready to go I only needed about four more hours on the sleeper berth before I could turn those wheels again. Now I've got to get to a place to sleep for a little while without starting my electronic logs - that's a challenge because there is no truck stop nearby. Of course the driver who is constantly trying to stay on his game pays attention to all this as he's rolling in to his shipper, and because of that I had already spotted a grocery store nearby with a large parking lot. We pulled in as they were closing the store and slept until 1:00 am and then started rolling again. I let Sarah sleep as I drove those early morning hours since she isn't accustomed to my erratic sleeping patterns. But there you have it - one way you can keep those wheels turning even if your shippers and receivers do everything in their power to mess you up. We were still on schedule and we didn't take a hit on our paycheck. Most important though is that we didn't cuss and scream and send nasty messages to our DM griping and complaining about the way we're being treated and saying that we're too tired to get this load delivered now. Personally as far as I'm concerned they can keep all that miserable layover pay in the company bank account - I want to get paid for delivering my load and start heading to the next load, and that's how you do it.

Once the sun came up, we enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenes along the way on our journey - it's beginning to be a very beautiful spring.

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Sarah got a kick out of this water tower we saw which was designed to look like a large peach.

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Electronic Logs:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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