Drum Roll, Please!

Topic 4617 | Page 1

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Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
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It has been a very exhausting 3 weeks out with the trainer. He showed me many things. We put over 9300 miles on that new truck of his. We went from OK to CT to IN to CO to CA to ID to CA to TX and back to OK again. What a haul! I learned a lot. Time management was a big area that I was able to grasp. I found out that you really have to manage lines 3 and 4 down to the minute if you want to optimize your money making. As far as load securement and tarping, there were some times I didn't think I was going to make it. This flat bedding is kicking my butt! It's very fast paced and this old man is not in the shape I thought I was. But it is getting a little easier each week.

So I get dropped off at the terminal in Tulsa and the longer story made short, instead of a bus ticket, they handed me the keys to my own assigned truck! Whoopee!!!! I got the truck yesterday and did all the inventorying and inspections, etc. Today, I go on the board and will be getting my first load as a solo rookie driver. I have so many mixed emotions it isn't funny! One of them is that I am scared to death. I just don't want to make a mistake and I know the odds are that I will eventually. I just hope that I will be able to show the abilities that I have learned before anything negative happens and that the mistakes remain minor ones.

We shall see. Thanks to all on the site for your advice and encouragement. You all have helped in more ways than you know. I will be happy when I complete my first load and I look forward to seeing you out there sometime.

Woot!

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.

Jolie R.'s Comment
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Congratulations Steve! I can only imagine everything running through your mind as I wonder some of the same things every day and I haven't even started school yet. You will be great I am sure. I look forward to hearing how your first solo months progress! dancing-dog.gif

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
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Take your time and don't hit sh$t. Make sure the load is secured and over secured. And no matter what never in a hurry due to the time you may or may not have available to run. Just remember if they wanted it on a certain date and for whatever reason you have delivery it the next day they will really want it then but you can't deliver it is your in a ditch somewhere.

Old School's Comment
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dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif Congratulations Steven! dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

What a journey this has been for you - From starting your research overseas, then getting over here from Germany, and now you're in your very own shiny American Big Rig! What a story - and you're a flat-bedder too!

Hey Steven, this may seem kind of odd to you, but I actually can not remember my first solo load. It was such a surreal experience for me that it has vanished from my memory bank. I still remember my first load with my trainer, but I just can't recall that first solo run. The reason I'm telling you this is because I understand the mixed emotions raging in your mind right now. When you get that first set of keys and take off in that truck that is "yours", you feel like you really aren't ready for the big time, and the truth is, you aren't. Oh, but you are about to be. That's what gets you ready, my first three months running solo was brutal - trust me you are going to make some mistakes - you are gonna get confused - you're gonna pull into the wrong gate at a shipper or receiver and get yourself all tangled up on how to get back out of there, you're gonna mess up a few qualcomm messages, and who knows what else. The good part of all this is that those people over there in the offices at Melton understand that you are a rookie, they may even enjoy a few laughs at your antics for the first few weeks, but as long as you are staying safe and not damaging any thing they are gonna keep working with you until you are acting like a real truck driver. You'll be sweating bullets some days, and it won't just be because of the heat, but slowly and surely you are going to develop into a professional driver. Just remember that one golden rule that Guyjax already referenced: Don't Hit Anything! That will keep you in good standing, even if they do get a few laughs over there at the office at your rookie boo-boos.

Take it slow and easy no matter what you are doing with that truck. Concentrate on what you are doing, and be in hyper alert mode. Best of luck to ya, and keep us posted - we've been following along with you for so long, you can't just abandon us yet until we know you've made it to that critical first year anniversary.

Again my sincerest Congratulations, and... good-luck.gif

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

no chin's Comment
member avatar

Congrats!! would say i would be joining u soon but i got my prehire from TMC and will be going with them over melton but ill see ya on the roads lol

Prehire:

What Exactly Is A Pre-Hire Letter?

Pre-hire letters are acceptance letters from trucking companies to students, or even potential students, to verify placement. The trucking companies are saying in writing that the student, or potential student, appears to meet the company's minimum hiring requirements and is welcome to attend their orientation at the company’s expense once he or she graduates from truck driving school and has their CDL in hand.

We have an excellent article that will help you Understand The Pre-Hire Process.

A Pre-Hire Letter Is Not A Guarantee Of Employment

The people that receive a pre-hire letter are people who meet the company's minimum hiring requirements, but it is not an employment contract. It is an invitation to orientation, and the orientation itself is a prerequisite to employment.

During the orientation you will get a physical, drug screen, and background check done. These and other qualifications must be met before someone in orientation is officially hired.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

Congrats on the new ride. Where are the pics. Take pics of your loads if you think of it.

BugSmasherOne (Paul K.)'s Comment
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Congratulatns Steven! You have definitely come a long way, literally, to get here.

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
member avatar

Well I am at a receiver with a little time on my hands. They are across the street and I can't unload until tomorrow morning. So I thought I would share just a little about my training time. The new truck we drove had 23 miles on it when we started. When I was dropped off at the terminal at the end of the 3 weeks, there was over 9300 miles that we put on that truck.

Here are the loads that we hauled:

1. Oklahoma to Connecticut - Fencing material.

2. Connecticut to Indiana - Slinky coils.

3. Indiana to Colorado - Aluminum "eye to the sky" coils.

4. Colorado to California - Rebar slinky coils.

Melton flatbed loaded with rebar coils

5. California to Idaho - Scrap copper.

6. Idaho to California - Scrap aluminum.

7. California to Texas - Roofing rolls.

8. Texas to Iowa - Cable spools.

The last load I did not make to the shipper as I was dropped off at the Tulsa terminal en-route to either get a set of keys or a Greyhound bus ticket. You already know I got the keys. smile.gif

So now I have my new ride!

blue Melton flatbed truck and trailernew blue Melton trucknew blue Melton truck

Woohoo!

So now comes the real learning. All on my own and the steep learning curve of being quick on your feet and an effective problem solver.

My very first load was a disaster! shocked.pngembarrassed.gif Thank God it was nothing major. It was all little things. Instead of running through the entire story, I'll just list them as bullets.

- After I found my trailer and hooked up to it, I drove 3/4 ways through the terminal before another driver ran over and stopped me to let me know my tarp box was open. embarrassed.gif

- All I had was a map (atlas). The navigation was not yet turned on in the truck.

- I thought I would be slick and write the directions on the windshield with a dry erase marker. My eyes read I40 and my hand wrote down I44. Needless to say, I "got lost" and was about 45 minutes out of route. It took me awhile to finds an adequate place to pull over and figure things out. Once I was stopped, I used my smart phone to give me a clue on how to get to the shipper from my present location. I didn't look like it was that far away, but an hour later, I was close. I went over the directions they supplied and I was going down gravel roads before I finally found this place!

- I get to the shipper and discovered that the load was already on a trailer! I thought that was nice until she said that once I got it secured and tarped, she wanted my empty trailer in the bay after I take the loaded one out. I cheerfully said, "I can do that!"

- Then there was a problem with the securement and I had to consult with the Melton Safety Dept. Once that was all sorted out, I was able to secure it and tarp it.

- It was raining and it seemed every time I had to do something outside, it involved a mud puddle.

- I dropped my sweat rag in a mud puddle.

- When I was doing all the hooking and unhooking shuffling the trailers around, I backed too far and the kingpin went over the fifth wheel. embarrassed.gif

- When I was ready to roll, there was a message on the Qualcom to just bring the load back to the terminal.

That was my first time out and it seemed like it would never end. But it did and I was able to get another shower at the terminal. The next day, I received my second load. I went to Norman, OK to pick up some air conditioner units to haul them to our terminal in TX. I thought this would be much better than the first load. I found the place pretty easy and got it all secure. They wanted a "smoke tarp" for the front condenser unit to keep the bugs and anything else from getting in the 'radiator' looking thingy.

Melton flatbed loaded with air conditioning units

This one had a successful ending! smile.gif

My current load is going very well. My navigation got turned on so I am a little more comfortable now. I am hauling pipe from our TX terminal to Arkansas.

Here it is all secured ready for the tarp. Melton loaded and strapped flatbed trailer

Here it is all wrapped up like a Christmas present. Melton loaded tarped and strapped flatbed trailer

So that is about as up to date as I can get. It's a whole different world being on your own. There is no one there to say, "Watch your trailer." "Check your mirrors." "Don't forget the 'Load' tab on your status." But even in all of these little things that have happened, I must say that I am having fun!

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.

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.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the pics, Steven! This makes me want to be a flatbedder...I know, I know, I'm a little crazy maybe...

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Great post Steven!

Hang in there! I warned you about some of this, but we've all got to experience it for ourselves to make a start at this. You are doing just fine, mistakes are going to be made, just make sure they are not the kind that damage other people's property. You're looking like a developing flat-bedder, glad to have you in the fold!

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