A Month Of Trucking With Daniel B.

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Daniel B.'s Comment
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Hey folks! You're looking at yet another legendary thread by me. In this thread, I will document my days for an entire month for everyone to read. You will learn a ton, and also gain a good understanding of how life really is like on the road. This is going to be the same concept as my Adventures of Daniel B. thread. I will make it as detailed as I can possibly make it and answer any questions you folks have. Please understand though that I'm working 10+ hour days and sometimes I simply cannot respond immediately. But rest assured, I'll get to you when I can.

Remember, attitude is #1. Lets see how I do in December!

Daniel B.'s Comment
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12/1

I just came from hometime, and as always, the first day is the toughest. I hate to admit it, but the first day is usually a bit emotional. Its not easy to say goodbye to the wife knowing that the next time you see her will be in 4.5 weeks. A lot of people underestimate this aspect of trucking or think that it'll be easy. Its not easy, it never is and never will become easy.

I slept in a little this morning. I woke up at 0930. Considering my typical day starts before the sun rises and ends after the sun sets, I consider 0930 late. I knew in the back of my mind that this will be the last time I'll be sleeping on my own bed for a long time, but I was very lazy getting out of bed.

I received my load shortly after. I was hoping for a load that picks up somewhere nearby and that runs through Sacramento headed East so that I can stop by the house for the evening at least. But that wasn't the case.

Load Info:

Pickup: Reno, NV App time: 12/1 @ 1300

First Delivery: Salt Lake City, UT App time: 12/2 @ 0900

Final Delivery: Denver, CO App time: 12/3 @ 0900

Total Miles: 1300

Total Weight: 864lb

Freight: High Value Medicine

To anyone who doesn't know, a HV load is worth a minimum of 250,000$. Think about it, that little weight is worth that much! Every drop/pill of this stuff is worth thousands! Its also a FreightWatch load. Meaning, my trailer is being tracked by the customer via a GPS. I must follow their predetermined routing. Should I abandon the routing, or take a wrong turn, then all hell will break loose. This load demands 110% - that's why I got it! I am also to keep in contact with my company, to tell them of any suspicious activity and tell them when I'll be stopping, why, and for how long. Beside that, I'm also to call the customer and tell them all of this information too while they spy on me on their computer monitor. Normally, I'm left alone but this load is something else. Unfortunately, its not my first rodeo with these.

But don't worry, as a rookie driver you won't get these kind of loads. These loads are typically reserved for teams or if they have enough time on them they give it to a solo driver. When you start, you start at the bottom and work your way up. So don't let my loads stress you!

Anyways, I arrived at my shipper just in time and this place was high security through and through. He knew my name before I even introduced myself and had all my information. I backed up to my dock door and waited patiently for the loader to come out and have me open my doors. I waited about 45 minutes. Meanwhile I heated up a sandwich that I made two days ago at home on my electronic frying pan. I also got a bunch of food prepared for the road. You cannot stop within 200 miles of your pickup facility with a HV load.

I got loaded and got my paper work. The security guard forgot to give me my drivers license, luckily I'm not an old man like OS and I remembered to ask for it back before I drove off.

I examined my Bill of Lading for both stops to verify the information. I triple checked the seal #'s, temperature, trailer number, BoL number. Remember, when you sign that BoL it becomes your responsibility! Don't screw up, and if you will, don't do it on a HV load like this!

I drove 7 hours without stopping once. My bladder control is at the Master Level unfortunately. Driving for those kinds of hours is very unhealthy so I made a promise to go walking on my 30 minute break after I call both my company and the security to tell them that I'm stopping.

I continued driving, my goal was to get to our Salt Lake City, UT terminal. The parking is secure, the restrooms are there, and best of all - its only 3 miles from my delivery location. Obviously, before doing this I had a conversation with the security to tell them that I was going to go out of route a bit to go to our terminal. The request was approved and I went straight to our terminal.

I got fuel there and parked. Walked like a zombie to the restrooms and brushed my teeth. It is currently 12/2 @ 0100. Meaning I get my hours back at 1100. But hold up! I won't have any hours when it comes time for my delivery!

That's right! I drove as hard as I could and managed to get to Salt Lake City at 0100, but my appointment is at 0900.

Folks, that's why I decided to park at our terminal. Because of this decision I can deliver on time. Will I have hours? No. But that won't matter because its only 3 miles away and I can drive that without starting my clock. See, if I parked 20 miles away I would have been late. I would have 20 miles to go and get my hours back at roughly 1030. Its these small details that can make or break you. I did 650 miles today. It was a 14 hour work day with almost 11 being driving.

More to come tomorrow!

Prime truck parked in front of high value trailer parking sign at night

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.

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

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.

James925's Comment
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I agree, the first day back after home time was the hardest. The first day always seemed to go slower than usual and driving past local landmarks knowing you won't see them for a few weeks was just depressing. But after the first day it got better and after the first week everything was routine.

Let us know how the rest of the month goes for you and stay safe out there.

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

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I love these epic threads you put together!

Oh, and remember most people don't know the abbreviations yet:

HV - high value load OS - "Old School" - he's one of our Moderators and pulls a flatbed BOL - bill of lading - the paperwork that goes with the load

Sean S.'s Comment
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Speaking of acronyms, I'm thinking they should've used them at the terminal. Nothing like advertising high value loads, right here! Lol! I know it's at a safe terminal and all but you never know.

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.

Jopa's Comment
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I got loaded and got my paper work. The security guard forgot to give me my drivers license, luckily I'm not an old man like OS and I remembered to ask for it back before I drove off.

That's the problem with these "kids" today . . . no respect for us old farts!!

Jopa

smile.gif

David's Comment
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I 3rd the leaving home part....hardest part of the job I think.

I think most of us seasoned drivers should do something like this.. everyone has different experiences.it would give the rookies and soon to be rookies an idea what days are like.. hmm might put something together myself..

Daniel B.'s Comment
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James, you need to show yourself here more often!

Brett, I'm glad you enjoy them!

Sean, the terminal is fenced with only one entrance. You can't get through without going through the guardshack/security. The designated HV load parking is actually directly in front of the guardshack in line with all the cameras. That way they can keep an eye on it 24/7.

David, feel free to do your own. But remember, its not easy to sit down and type for half an hour after a 14 hour/600 mile day. So make sure you're committed before starting.

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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

12/2

Well, today wasn't a bad day at all. My appointment time was at 0900 and I woke up at 0745. I didn't get enough sleep, only about 6 hours, but I'm used to it. First thing I did was walk inside the terminal , through the drivers lounge to use the restroom and brush my teeth. I walk through the door and who do I bump into?!

There Ray F. from TruckingTruth sits. Of course he recognizes me, but we didn't chat for long because I need to head out.

I was back in the truck at 0810 and ready to go by 0815. Remember I told you I'll have no Hours of Service when my appointment time comes around, as a result I didn't log a pre-trip inspection. I'll do that when I start to roll for sure.

I call the customer/security and tell them I'll be departing headed to my first delivery in Salt Lake City. I arrive at 0830 and once again call the customer/security to inform them of my arrival. Starting to get annoying... Again, 5 minutes later I had to call the customer/security that my seal was broken and the load accepted.

This facility is pretty small. Meant for puppy trailers and box trucks. I parked on the street and walked in simply because there was not enough room to just hang out within their gates. They give me a dock door and the backing begins. This place was pretty darn tight and it was also a partial blindside backing. A whole lot of fence-kissing.

trucker waiting in truck outside delivery facility

I finally got her in there after a few corrections. It doesn't matter how long it takes, so long as you don't hit anything. Did it take over one try? Yes, but who cares.

Here is how I looked when I was backed into the door.

tractor trailer parked very close to a fedex truck

Pretty damn close wouldn't you agree? There was absolutely no room to spare.

I get unloaded in about 15 minutes. That's the benefit of a small business - you're in and out super fast usually!

Wait for it... And then I call them yet again to let them know that I have delivered the freight to my delivery in Salt Lake City without any problems. Then I had to ask if I can go out of route back to the terminal to finish my 10 hour break. They didn't give me any trouble. But man, I hate asking someone if I can go take a ****. These High Value loads just put you in a barbaric state, you become lesser than boxes it seems.

I get back to the terminal and chat with Ray F. for about 30 minutes. It was a pleasant conversation this time because he finally checked in on TT and I didn't have to keep bothering him to. Just kidding, but in all seriousness, it is nice to see a friendly face once in a while. Truth be told, we go weeks without seeing anyone that we know. Every person is a total stranger.

I got my hours back at 1100 and I spent the day driving through Wyoming with 400lb in my trailer. I was praying for no bad winds, a 45mph gust can easily blow my basically empty trailer over. As always, and without a doubt, God always protects me and there was not a single gust the entire drive. Wyoming is notorious for dangerously high winds, but today was very peaceful.

trucking picture of the open road and sky at dusk

I drove for about 6.5 hours nonstop and then took a 30 minute break. Like always, I had to call the customer/security before I stopped for my break and when I was going to get back on the road. I hate these kind of loads..

I made a gameplan while I drove. I need to consider the Denver traffic! I could park at Johnsons Corner Truck Stop (Now Petro) between Fort Collins, CO and Denver, CO or I could park at the TA in Commerce City, CO (4 miles from my delivery).

Plan A: Drive to Commerce City, CO in the evening traffic.

Plan B: Park at Johnsons Corner Truck Stop and leave slightly earlier tomorrow morning to try to beat the morning traffic.

I chose Plan B. Its always better to try to balance your hours so that you won't run out at the end of the week. And I think I have a better chance of making it there without having to travel at 30 mph the entire time.

So I parked it at Johnson Corner Truck Stop, a total of 450 miles today. Because of my delivery, it was a 12 hour day, almost 8 hours of driving.

Tomorrow I get my hours back at 0600, my appointment time is at 0900. I'm 45 miles from my final delivery in Denver. But how early should I leave? I obviously want to conserve my 14 hour clock because I'll have a pickup to do after my load tomorrow, but at the same time I need to make room for traffic and not risk the load being late. Find out what time I leave in my next update!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

David, feel free to do your own. But remember, its not easy to sit down and type for half an hour after a 14 hour/600 mile day. So make sure you're committed before starting.

I dunno, I can type pretty fast... At least on my PC I can. All those yrs of being a pc tech has taught me the fine art in keyboarding.. :)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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