A Month Of Trucking With Daniel B.

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Daniel B.'s Comment
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12/18

All I can say is, some days are just not worth waking up for. Before I begin, I want you to know that bad days in trucking are never easy. A bad day in trucking pushes you to your limit always and today was no different.

The thing is, we work at a performance based job. Unfortunately, we depend on a lot of other people just so we can do our job.

I woke up at 0300. Dang, I slept so good last night. I can't tell you how great my bed feels after being on the road for many weeks.

My wife had to work until 2130 last night so she got home late. We didn't get to go on a date like we had hoped. I needed to wake up at 0300 and hit the road. I hated the idea of having my wife wake up to drive me so I asked my best friend and he didn't have a problem with it. Very thankful for that!

Before I head out to San Francisco, I went to the ATM to take out money for tolls. 25$ for the damn Bay Bridge toll! I got in my truck and left almost immediately. I arrived at my delivery at 0600, two hours early. Why did I get there so early? I left extra early to make time for traffic. This customer charges the carrier if you're late. Imagine being late and having to call your DM to ask for a PO to pay the late fee. Makes you look terrible, makes him look terrible - there's no better way to get on his "garbage driver" list. Never risk it with customers that charge a late fee!

On my drive there was an almost an accident. I was in the long line to pay my toll and this car literally drifted into my lane cutting me off hard. Except they didn't make it and forced a series of cars behind her to slam on their brakes - they also forced me to slam on mine. I have no respect for people like this. Not only did they almost create an accident, they also cut off about 20 cars behind me. Wait your turn, ass. It was still dark, so I let them know it was okay to cut in front of me by flashing my high beams directly into her eyes for 10 seconds. I'm not a jerk driver, but this person deserved it.

This place was tight to get into. Not my worst delivery but definitely in the top 10 list. When you're going to a customer that's in a bad area for trucks you need to take even greater caution. What am I looking out for?

Since its a heavy residential area, I'm looking out for pedestrians.

Its right by downtown SF so I'm keeping an eye out for low bridges.

This area isn't made for trucks so I'm making sure I follow the truck route.

I don't know this road, so before I make a turn I set up extra wide. Example: If I am to make a right turn I line my truck and trailer on top of the line to my left and I approach the turn extra slow.

Luckily the drive went well. The facility is a small one so I parked on the street and walked to have a look at it. If I miss a turn I can't guarantee I'm able to make a U-Turn ahead. Better safe than sorry.

I walk in a find the place and head to the office. They take my paperwork but tell me to come at exactly my appointment time.

So I sit in my truck for 2 hours waiting as usual. At 0750 I start walking to the office again and she gives me a dock door. She instructs me to break the seal myself.

Man, this backing was tough! You couldn't enter the facility and back up to your dock. Its too small. So you need to line up on this busy street and back into the facility from the street blocking both lanes of traffic. Getting into the dock was even tougher. And of course, they gave me arguably the most difficult dock door to get into. I had 4 of those concrete barriers directly in front of my truck, right under my mirror so I couldn't see them. It wasn't easy but eventually I squeezed in.

I then went inside to give them my paperwork. They give you this stupid badge that opens the doors, except mine was apparently defective. I wrestled with that door for a good 5 minutes before I gave in and walked inside the office to tell them it wasn't letting me open the door. The light would flash green for a second and then turn red instead of staying green.

So I walk inside to give them my paperwork and they tell me this "go to your truck and go take a nap, its going to be awhile." Wow! That's exactly what I want to hear. And right after that, they said the fee to unload my trailer will be 240$! Jeez.

So I go in my truck and do whatever I need to do to burn time. 8 hours later they hand me my paperwork. What the flip.

That's not all, there's also a claim on the load. Apparently there's 12 cases short of a product. So I had to call our Claims Department and talk to them. Is the shortage on me? No, I picked this load up from a different driver so I wasn't there to count the product. The BoL says it was Shipper Load & Count which means it was up to them to make sure they sent what was ordered.

I get my next load:

Pickup: Oakland, CA App Time: 12/18 @ 1500.

Delivery: Salt Lake City, UT App Time: 12/21

Total Miles: 750

Awesome! I'll pick this load up today and then go home for the night and leave tomorrow! I call my wife and she gets a coworker to take her shift so we can spend tomorrow together.

It takes me almost 1.5 hours to drive only 25 miles. I'm 2 miles from my exit and everything goes south real quick.

They took the load away from me and gave me a different load. Oh man, was I furious!

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.

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.
Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

12/18 Continued.....

My new next load:

Pickup: Oakland, CA (different customer) App Time: No appointment time has been made.

Delivery: Clearfield, UT. App Time: 12/22 but no specific time has been made.

Miles: 775

Oh man, can you say what the -bleep-!

Totally screwed me over!

My DM calls me to tell me the load picks up tomorrow.

So I'm in the same city right now so what the heck does it pick up tomorrow? I head to the shipper anyways to beg them to load me early. I've been to this place before. Its awful here! You think my delivery was bad? This place is twice worse. Absolute nightmare.

Of course, they won't load me early.

So I got screwed out of a nice load and given this piece of trash load that will force me to sit all day? Yep.

There's no where to park in this dump, so I drive to Tracy, CA because there's a small truck stop there. There's so much traffic and 35 miles took over an hour. I get there and there's no parking! By this time my eye is twitching!

So I get back on the road to the traffic and drive 30 more miles to Lathrop, CA. I have a secret spot over there. Its truck parking at a hotel that most folks don't know about so there's always parking available. I get there after another hour of crawling in traffic. In the traffic, I called Old School to vent about my day. Thanks for the ear Old School!

So I drove almost 240 miles today. Guess what? I drove 65 miles out of route just to find a parking spot - those miles are unpaid. So I will get paid for less than 200 miles today and will drive back 65 miles tomorrow that I won't get paid for either.

I drove at 0330 and ended my day at 1830. A 15 hour day.

Let's over-calculate and say that I drove 200 miles paid today. I made 89$.

So I made 89$ in a 15 hour day. If I was to be getting paid by the hour, I would have made less than 6$ an hour. At a performance based job like this, sometimes you get screwed hard.

I park for the day and consider just driving home. I'm only an hour from the house. Knowing how terrible Prime's Sales Team is, my gut tells me that its going to be a late appointment and I should just go home. But I went against it and stayed here to risk not getting in trouble for driving so much out of route. Let's see if it pays off. What an awful day. The best thing you can do is just forget about it!

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

David's Comment
member avatar

Just so everyone knows, I'll be starting one up after the holidays.. currently have my 13yr old on board with me and trying to get some time with her after driving all day.. I'll probably start after xmass weekend when i come back out.

Daniel, gotta love those messed up loads... I feel ya..

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

12/19 & 12/20

I woke up on the 19th and got the Qualcomm messages about my appointment times. My delivery has been made to 12/22 @ 1030 and my pickup had been made for today at 1600.

Well, as I expected, they give me a terrible appointment time. I mean, come on, 1600! I'll have to drive back there for 60 miles unpaid which will take like 1.5 hours and then deal with even heavier traffic on my way out. I should have listened to my gut yesterday and just went home. So now I have to sit here until 1400 doing nothing.

I walk to a nearby donut shop that I really like and get some donuts for myself and some glazed donut balls for the wife. Always nice to surprise her with something out of nowhere. And after that I proceeded to wait all morning and afternoon.

I sat there for a total of 24 hours, I want to thank whoever changed that load on me because they personally screwed me. I don't think it was my DM , I think it was sales.

I depart at 1400 and arrive at 1520. I back up to my insanely tight dock door and then watch them load me.

Two hours later I'm good to go. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that I'm overweight on my trailer tandems. CA only allows the tandems to go back to the 6th hole (cant go 7th or beyond). So the tandems are always to the front taking much of the weight.

There's no CAT scale nearby so I drove and stopped on the flattest road I can find to look at my Right Weight gauges. Prime has one of these gauges on the truck and trailer. The truck was reading 28,000 and the trailer tandems were reading 34500. I know its calibrated so this is accurate.

Through all of this BS, now I'm overweight. You've got to be kidding me!

Don't do this ever! Please.

I hate to admit it, but I put it in the 7th hole and drove it. Its dark out and I don't think anyone will notice 2". Also, knowing CA, I can bet money that the scales are closed so I can drive all the way to NV without seeing the DOT.

I drove and the first scale was closed. The scale in Sacramento was closed as well. I just got away!

It really paid off!

Since this load has all the time in the world, I will spend 12/20 at home all day to take a 34 hour reset. My hours are completely wacko right now and I need to refresh everything and get back on the saddle. I'm low on miles for the week. By the way, I took home 1258$ this week after a 2,950 mile week. So there's another check over a grand.

I applied to a trucking company that I'm really excited about. It sounds like a better offer than Flyers and I qualify for it a lot more than I do for Flyers. I think I stand a great chance at getting it.

By the way, as a treat for you guys. I recorded the front view of me backing up to my dock door in Oakland. Yep, this place is wicked tight.

I uploaded a video of it so you can see out of my dash cam. If you're wondering, yes, those are houses.

Video: Backing into a tight spot

This video shows me backing into a spot in Oakland.

And the end result! Take a look at how close those trailer doors are to eachother. There you have it folks.

two tractor trailers parked very close together

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".

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.

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.

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”

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

PanamaExpat's Comment
member avatar

Watched your video... Man what a bombed out depressing looking place you were in. I thought only third world areas looked that bad. Looks like every day scenery here in Central America.

Nice job on the tight squeeze though. Sorry to hear they are messing your schedule about. Maybe you will smooth out after the holidays.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Great video my friend, very impressive to say the least! I understand how frustrating life can be sometimes but the strong move forward. At least you"ll have time with the misses. Oh by the way how did the jerky turn out?

Sean's Comment
member avatar

Yeah! Did you get to make jerky?

Also can you explain why you didn't have them fix the way they loaded your trailer? Was it just because backing into the dock was that much of a nightmare? When I do ever get into a truck I'll take you're advice and not risk the ticket.

And if I was to go back to the shipper and tell them they need to reload the trailer to make it legal I can't imagine they would be very happy about it. So how does that work? Do you just have to put your foot down and politely explain you are not taking no for an answer? If they do reload the trailer do you have to pay the lumpers again?

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.

David's Comment
member avatar

Yeah! Did you get to make jerky?

Also can you explain why you didn't have them fix the way they loaded your trailer? Was it just because backing into the dock was that much of a nightmare? When I do ever get into a truck I'll take you're advice and not risk the ticket.

And if I was to go back to the shipper and tell them they need to reload the trailer to make it legal I can't imagine they would be very happy about it. So how does that work? Do you just have to put your foot down and politely explain you are not taking no for an answer? If they do reload the trailer do you have to pay the lumpers again?

You'll learn to pick and choose your battles when it comes to getting a trailer re-worked.. sometimes it's easy and other times, they make you wait untill they feel it's time to do it. Could take hrs or a few min. If I know Daniel, he chose not because A) the load was/is ****ing him off and B) no one ever wants to drive back into Oakland/SF area as it takes what feels like years to get out. .. Just my guess.

If you have to go back, there shouldn't be any fees to rework the load, it's their fault. Like I said, it could be an easy fix and take a few min of time or it could take hours.. most places will require you to have a CAT scale ticket showing your overweight. Possibly another reason Daniel didn't go back as the closest scale is 20+ Mike's from oak. There's one in San Fran but it's a b**** to get in and out

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.

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”

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.

Sun King's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Yeah! Did you get to make jerky?

If you have to go back, there shouldn't be any fees to rework the load, it's their fault. Like I said, it could be an easy fix and take a few min of time or it could take hours.. most places will require you to have a CAT scale ticket showing your overweight. Possibly another reason Daniel didn't go back as the closest scale is 20+ Mike's from oak. There's one in San Fran but it's a b**** to get in and out

This sounds a lot like working girls getting thrown in jail while the house gets off Scot Free. My opinion obviously means squat, but the shipper who is putting you in jeopardy should get fined.

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.

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”

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

David's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

Yeah! Did you get to make jerky?

If you have to go back, there shouldn't be any fees to rework the load, it's their fault. Like I said, it could be an easy fix and take a few min of time or it could take hours.. most places will require you to have a CAT scale ticket showing your overweight. Possibly another reason Daniel didn't go back as the closest scale is 20+ Mike's from oak. There's one in San Fran but it's a b**** to get in and out

double-quotes-end.png

This sounds a lot like working girls getting thrown in jail while the house gets off Scot Free. My opinion obviously means squat, but the shipper who is putting you in jeopardy should get fined.

double-quotes-end.png

It's the drivers responsibility to ensure the tractor trailer is legal. This means weights too. If your over weight then it's on you to get it sorted out with the shipper. The best thing to do is be professional. As you are the professional.

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.

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”

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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