Trucktographer's Dad

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David L.'s Comment
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I realized this afternoon that I've been sliding along on Sean's thread. I suppose it's time to actually start my own thread!

I'm 62 and getting ready to "retire" again. I spent 20 great years in the USAF and then had to enter the civilian workforce. I almost started OTR in 93 but went to IT where I've worked for a couple of state agencies in TX and FL. I took a couple years "off" to manage for Luby's cafeterias. I loved the kitchen but went back to IT when I was just about ready to stuff an associate manager into the steamer! I currently do software support for a medical software company and while OK regarding pay and hours the last couple of years have been very painful. I've been given the go ahead to drive. I have no preconceived ideas about it being easy or that "experience" in my other careers has given me any advantage...except patience!

I had the military equivalent of a CDL B with c opulence years driving in a mobile squadron. We had a couple of "day cab" tractors and flatbeds but most us us didn't drive them. My rig was the standard deuce and 1/2 with tow. We pulled generators, 4-wheel mobilizer vans and water trailers (buffaloes). As a mobile unit we had our own motor pool, staff, and trainers. We attended two week school, much like most of the commercial and company schools. We backed learning offset, parallel, docks, etc. being at San Antonio, TX, our road training was in the Hill Country and on the base where we worked. It was a fairly empty bunker area with narrow, no shoulder, roads and we were indeed dinged for running over the grass! We also had to certify to drive on the flight line, back and load on aircraft, fuel from tankers, etc.

Side note: you learn to not bump the aircraft! Nothing like backing into a C-130, C-5, or C-141 with the loadmasters on the running board! Oh, and securing the trucks and trailers in the aircraft.

We convoyed often to scenic spots like FT. Bliss, TX, and from bases in NM, NC, etc. after off-loading the aircraft. I saw way more of south TX, before I-10 was completed, than I care to think about. Though Alpine, Del Rio, Pecos, and other towns were interesting in a 35 truck convoy!

We were responsible for our pre-trips, tire condition, etc. to this day I remember changing the inner dual on a deuce! No air wrenches! Breaker bars and huge lug wrenches were what we used. You learn to "jack" using a chock if you're lucky enough to only have a flat on the outer tire!

Fond memories, actually. Great trainers and coworkers busting your chops ALL the time! We were pros and, at least in my two years there, we were accident free.

I think this will HELP me but it was a long time ago. I love learning trade-craft. Oh, and I haven't forgotten how to back! It'll be different and challenging and at 62 I'm not ready to sit back and garden! I live the thought of teaming with my son. He'll be the senior driver and I'm fine with that. We raised some great sons!

Right now I focus on the permit and plan for school.

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.

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.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

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.
Trucktographer's Comment
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I already have an outline of a lesson plan ready for you.

December Hopeful's Comment
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Not a guy, not former military, no farm-equipment/trailer or boat history here with me. So all the jargon goes RIGHT OVER MY HEAD. But love your diary entries and look forward to seeing if you guys last six months or a year together over the road. Somebody yesterday at truck school asked me if my daughter would train to team with me. WE WOULD KILL EACH OTHER! was my immediate response. LOL!

Seriously, though. I do wish you both well in this endeavor. Just wondering how your wives and families are going to be with you two guys gone so much?

Over The Road:

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.

David L.'s Comment
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Not a guy, not former military, no farm-equipment/trailer or boat history here with me. So all the jargon goes RIGHT OVER MY HEAD. But love your diary entries and look forward to seeing if you guys last six months or a year together over the road. Somebody yesterday at truck school asked me if my daughter would train to team with me. WE WOULD KILL EACH OTHER! was my immediate response. LOL!

Seriously, though. I do wish you both well in this endeavor. Just wondering how your wives and families are going to be with you two guys gone so much?

Angi, Sean and I actually like each other. smile.gif

Sean is single so that's not currently an issue. My wife and I have been married 35 years and the first 14 were in the USAF. Granted, she's gotten used to me being around the last 21 without TDYs and moves overseas. But, I wouldn't try this without her support and encouragement.

While teaming with Swift for the experience we will be looking for local/regional opportunities that can meet our needs. At the least we get some money saved and debt reduced and I "retire" again to something local! As I said earlier I've been needing some challenges and driving is both mentally and physically challenging. We'll be looking for dedicated or special hauling opportunities. We have both had serious security background checks with clearances. TWIC is something we'll get and hauling for DOD, cars, special cargo would fit into our schema.

So, thanks for the good wishes.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Over The Road:

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.

David L.'s Comment
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Okay, called the Swift recruiter I had contacted several weeks ago. I'm tentatively scheduled to start at Swift Academy in Millington, TN, on January 5, 2015. I got my login credentials for the CBT courses that are required. I worked through a couple of sections this AM. It's required, so I'll do them, but High Road has been good to me the last few weeks. No surprises.

I will need to get the permit here in Florida and I'm actually thinking about testing the GK, combination, and air brake this week. I'll then do tanker, passenger, and double-triple on another day. I'll then focus on Hazmat , but can't actually submit my security application until after I finish at Ocala.

I'll qualify for the Veterans's scholarship and hoping that is the full ride. If not, a $1000 subsidy will be nice, too. Guess I'll be packing my long johns. This FL cracker is going to need the extra warmth for TN in the winter!

The plan calls for a couple of weeks at Millington and then back to Ocala for a week. I know Karl A. is sweating out a delay between Millington and Ocala due to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Good luck to him. I'm not expecting too much delay in January as the holidays will be behind me.

If things go well I may be able to hitch a ride with my son, Trucktographer (Sean), if he's home around Christmas. Maybe his DM can point him to Memphis on my Sunday night report in date. Otherwise, I'll be on the dawg.

I'll try and update this thread pretty often as I move through the acceptance process and then head to TN.

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

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.

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.
David L.'s Comment
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Stopped by DMV this morning before heading into work. I took and passed the General Knowledge, Air-brake, combination, passenger, tanker, and double-triple written exams. I'll take hazmat later since I couldn't take it at the location I used this morning and I'd like a little more study time. So, next month I'll get the DOT physical and start getting ready to go to Millington, TN, for a couple of weeks.

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

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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

David L.'s Comment
member avatar

Took my physical yesterday at a local express clinic. The staff there are nearly all listed in the FMCSA National Registry, so $90 and a little over an hour and I've goy my long form in my documents folder and the short firm in my wallet with the permit. I'll call my recruiter tomorrow to update him and inquire about a bus ticket.

I have some honey do's to complete over the next couple of weeks: rekeying some locks, installing a security system, change over the cable/phone/internet to make it easier on the wife, oil change for the Explorer, stuff like that.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.
David L.'s Comment
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The count-down is about to begin: 1. Permit w/endorsements - Check 2. DOT Physical from registry certified physician - Check 3. Computer Base Training from Swift completed - Check 4. Acceptance forms and acknowledgment of the student handbook - Check 5. Assorted paperwork: passport, birth certificate, DD214, etc. - Check

Still to do: 1. Sort and pack for layered clothing but minimal luggage 2. Confirm bus ticket (I 'm thinking I'll be leaving Saturday for a Sunday arrival in Memphis, January 4-5, 2015 3. Buy new white noise machine and alarm clock! 4. Weatherproof my boots 5. Pick up some new gloves and a flashlight (hopefully Santa is good to me!)

I understand that the Swift Academy in Tennessee is moving to the terminal area from its current location near Millington. Thanks for the heads-up from Errol V.

This 62 year old "retiree" is about as prepared as possible. Let's see how I do in a 4 man suite at the motel! It's been a long time since I slept in a dorm/barracks! I'm a pretty good cook so at least we'll eat well!

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.

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.

Trucktographer's Comment
member avatar

Have fun dad. I'm talking with Bel about timing my next home time to coincide with your finishing up at Ocala. That way we can have a few days off before starting your 200 hours in the truck.

David L.'s Comment
member avatar

Got my bus ticket confirmation today. Depart Saturday, 01/03/15, for Memphis. Class starts Monday, 01/05/15. I still have a few honey-do's to get finished before the weekend, but the primary things like security system, new exterior lighting, etc. have been completed. I have a new duffle bag ready to pack and as this Florida boy is going to Tennessee for training I picked up a couple pair of new long underwear from the army surplus store (light weight base garments for $7 a piece). Permit and DOT medical are done (short form in the wallet). I've been studying Pre-trip but realize it'll come together better when I'm actually looking at the truck. Anyway, I'm about as ready as I can be.

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.

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