A Month Of Trucking With Daniel B.

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C. S.'s Comment
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Just wanted to say thank you Daniel for all the awesome threads you post. I'm sure it takes a lot of time and effort to post the way you do, and it's much appreciated.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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12/3

Back to where we ended off of. What time did I depart?

I left at 0630.

There's a lot more traffic when the sun rises so I tried to beat traffic before the sun came up. But not only that, yesterday I actually called my delivery facility in Denver to ask them if they can take me early. They said not a problem, and to come when I can.

So I left at 0630 and arrived at 0730. There was no traffic until I hit the 270 merge.

Folks, always do whatever you can to get an advantage. Calling the customer is always a great idea, and in this case, got this load off of me early. As usual, I made my calls to the customer/security to inform them of my constant status change. That last phone call felt wonderful. I sent a message to my DM saying "My HV/FreightWatch load has been delivered on time, all app made on time with no problem. Ready for my next one." He responded back to me saying "awesome, great job! I got you available."

Here's something you may not know. The best time to prove yourself is with these outrageously tight/complicated loads. I've already proven myself to my DM (driver manager). But for a new driver, don't ever complain. Just do it! Work hard, be respectful and polite, be a safe and reliable driver and your DM will start coming to you when he's in a bind. Remember, you're only as good as your last load. If I had delivered this load late. Man, a rookie who has only been driving for three weeks will "outrank" me. If you keep making those appointments, they'll keep you very busy. However, as important as making appointments on time is, it does not triumph safety!

Getting to my delivery was slightly tricky. The exit that I had to use was a Downtown exit also, and that's nothing a good thing. If you made a wrong turn, you would drive straight into a 13' 3" bridge. I noticed that the way back on the interstate was different than the route I used to get into this place. S

The first thing I did after getting unloaded is get a trailer washout. Don't be a slacker, just because you're empty doesn't mean its break time. As soon as you get empty, you get ready for your next load.

Next Load:

Pickup Location: Fort Collins, CO App time 12/1 - 12/3

Delivery Location: Cody, WY App time 12/4 @ 0800

Total Miles: 485

Freight: Beer

Nothing special about this load. I am picking it up at the last day though so I'll need to hustle to ensure my delivery. Cody, WY does scare me though because its not an easy drive, lots of small highways and mountains.

I arrived at my pickup location at approximately 1030. I dropped my old trailer and picked up an old beat up trailer.

i want you to take a close look at this picture and how I secured it with the load locks. I used the bottom one to secure the center of the right pallet and the top of the left pallet. I used the top one to just secure the top of the right pallet. These pallets tip over from the top, so always brace that first.

loaded trucking trailer with load-locks

I finally left the shipper weighing in at 78500lb. If I wasn't in a LW truck, this load would have me overweight easily. But having said that, controlling 45,000 pounds of Beer isn't very easy. I must be careful.

My plan is to get to the delivery location today that way I can park on site and deliver without starting my hours. Notice a pattern here? Always try to deliver off the clock.

I was getting a bit close on my 14 hour clock. By this time, its digging into my drive time. What I mean by that is, I have less hours on my 14 hour clock than on my 11 hour drive time. Remember, you can drive 11 hours in a 14 hour period, assuming you have the hours on your 70. You're probably super confused, but its okay, you'll learn this when you get out here.

I drove my tail off, stopping just one time.

Ah... the open road. Nothing is more addicting!

picture of the open road

What I'm about to say will save your day out here. So please remember this. Always have a B and C strategy! As you drive down to your location, scope out possible places you can park. Those are your B and C.

As I drove, I noticed a K-Mart with a truck parked in it. On our local directions macro for this location it said that there's a dirt lot across the street that we can park in.

Plan A: Park at delivery facility.

Plan B: Dirt Lot

Plan C: K-Mart

I arrived at my delivery location, its pitch black outside! I couldn't find any space to park at the facility, it was a very small building. Nor could I see the dirt lot, but I blame that on the snow. I continue driving forward to make a U-Turn and get another look at the place. I pull into a large building thats closed but filled with tanker trucks. I pull in there and barely get out. I mean, that place was an ice arena. My truck skid nonstop there.

I finally manage to get out of that area and back towards my delivery location. I look closer and spot that dirt lot they were talking about. Except its covered in deep, deep snow. My gut tells me no, and as always, I listen.

I drive back the way I came and back to that K-Mart where I know I'll be alright. I back with that other truck and call it a night. I did 530 miles today in 8 hours. It was a 13 hour day.

truckers picture of snow-covered roads

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.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
David's Comment
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I finally manage to get out of that area and back towards my delivery location. I look closer and spot that dirt lot they were talking about. Except its covered in deep, deep snow. My gut tells me no, and as always, I listen.

I drive back the way I came and back to that K-Mart where I know I'll be alright. I back with that other truck and call it a night. I did 530 miles today in 8 hours. It was a 13 hour day.

IMG_0864_zps8eb80901.jpg

Daniel did one of the best things a driver could do. Listen to your gut. Had he went for the snow covered lot, there's a chance he couldn't get out meaning a call to DM and a tow out, costing company money and him time.

The 2nd thing I'd like to point out is having back ups... If your going to the max on your 11/14 It's wise to have 3-4 spots you can stop.

Daniel had 3 possible spots, 2 of which failed for him leaving him with just kmart. always Trip plan.

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.
Chiefmac's Comment
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Great stuff. Between all of your experiences and the High Road course, I am learning a lot.

Thank you all!

thank-you-2.gif

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Great stuff. Between all of your experiences and the High Road course, I am learning a lot.

Thank you all!

thank-you-2.gif

Glad you're enjoying it! Be sure to ask questions as you come up with them!

Daniel B.'s Comment
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12/4

I woke up the next morning in the K-Mart parking lot, K-Mart was closed when I woke up. I'm just going to say it, there was no restroom available. I made this thread to document the realities of trucking, and the reality is sometimes you park with no restroom and no running water. No place to take a leak. Last night I brushed my teeth using my 1 gallon jug of water. The water was ice cold too, and it was cold outside, it almost froze my mouth. I bet you never experienced that, well you will when you come to trucking. Sometimes we're tossed into these situations. I laugh at the people who think they can get a shower everyday. How do you wash your hands in a situation like this? Grab a ball of snow and wash your hands with that. Yes, your hands will freeze. But its water afterall.

Anyways, now that I exposed that dirty side of trucking to you. I woke up at 0700 and called my delivery location to let them know I'll be there in 15 minutes. That way they can get everything ready.

Before I departed I quickly cooked myself an egg sandwich.

trucker cooking with a skillet outside in the parking lot

I arrived at my delivery and quickly received a door. The forklift driver was nowhere to be seen. So I just stood there waiting for him. I didn't last long though, they had rap playing on the overhead speaker. Can't stand that garbage. I went back to my truck and if they want to speak to me they will have to come to me. I'm not going to get myself a headache this early in the day.

They cut my bolt seal and I opened my doors. I spent my entire time while being unloaded writing on this documentary. They didn't take long at all once they started.

I got unloaded and drove off to close my trailer doors. I walk back to my trailer and notice the air chute is partially missing. The last 6' of it is completely missing, torn from the roof. An air chute is used in refrigerated trailers, its mounted on the roof. When the reefer cools/heats the trailer, the air travels through the air chute down the trailer. It creates a circulation motion so that all areas of the trailer are even temperature.

I send a message over to Road Assist and as always they're completely useless. They said the only place to fix it is at a terminal. Whatever. I decide to roll with it and pray that my next pickup location doesn't mind. If they do, I'm screwed.

I drive back to K-Mart to do some shopping. While I was there my DM sends me a message asking me how the weather is. I reply "Perfect as can be, great day for fishing!". I know what he's thinking, its going to be a long drive to my next pickup. Unfortunately, I'm in the middle of nowhere in WY and this weather is extremely violent. He doesn't want to send me on small highways for hundreds of miles if theres a blizzard. Smart man he is.

I get my next load.

Pickup Location: Blackfoot, ID App time: 12/5 @ 1500

Delivery Location: Baton Rouge, LA App time: 12/9 @ 0600.

Total Miles: 2216

Freight: Potatoes

On the bottom of my QC message for my shipper it says that I can come in early, the product is ready. This load made my day!

Folks, this is exactly how it goes if you do it right. They give you a tough load, you don't complain and just do it and do it perfectly. They give you a shorter run, and as repayment they give you a sweet load like this one. This load wasn't given to me for no reason, I earned it. You work hard, have a great attitude, make all your appointments on time - and you'll be treated like gold.

After I celebrate receiving this load, I take off! Now, its 250 miles from here to my shipper, but since trucks aren't allowed to go through Yellowstone National Park I have to go around it. Which is a 430 mile trip then.

I drive off and its perfect weather for the first few hours. Couldn't be any better. Be I am in WY, and it can turn bad any second. Sure enough, it does. The road turns to crap in a heartbeat.

view from inside a truck driving through the snow on an incline

Did I mention that I'm empty! I have no traction, my steering wheel feels like an ice rink. One wrong move and I can easily jackknife.

This lasted for hours. It was brutal to say the least. And the worst part...

view from inside a truck driving through the snow on an incline

For those who can't read it, that says 6% downgrade for 17 miles. If I die, its going to be now.

My entire drive I had no service. I was completely disconnected from everyone. Just me, an empty trailer that goes sideways everytime I hit the brakes, and the iced up road. Heck, only way I knew it was the road was by the signs on the side of the road.

And let me answer your question, you will indeed be in this situation soon if you're starting trucking right now.

Why didn't I shut down? Well, first there's nowhere to shut down. Secondly, a storm in coming and if I stay then I might as well be stuck here for 5 days. As bad as these conditions are, its the best I can get out of this road.

I survive my drive. What came next is beautiful! I was driving down the highway and on my left there was about 5,000 Moose. I'm not kidding, there was literally so much Moose you couldn't even begin to count them.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving 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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

12/4 Continued....

Besides that bad area, this drive was awesome! I will post all the pictures I took at the end of this post.

I fueled up 17 miles from my shipper. Why? Because potatoe shippers weigh you before you go in. I don't want to come in with 1/4 tank and have them load me to 80,000lb with no room for more fuel.

After that, I had to decide where to park. Should I park here and just drive 17 miles tomorrow? Should I park at the shipper , it doesn't say they have overnight parking. Or should I find another place to park?

Let's break this down.

If I park at this truck stop 17 miles from my shipper then tomorrow I have to start my clock. Since technically my appointment time is 1500, I could arrive at 0700 and have to wait all day with my clock ticking. The QC says that I can come in early, the product is ready, but that QC has been wrong so many times I can't trust it. This strategy has too many "what if's" and can cost me dearly. I'll pass.

I could park at the shipper. That's always a great idea, I just don't know if they have parking or not. I could also park nearby but again, I don't know of any spots I can park there and my GPS isn't telling me theres a truck stop there.

So what do you do? Two words - Google Earth.

Here is an birds eye view of the shipper.

overhead view of a shipping facility

Honestly, doesn't look too bright. I see nothing but cars and no trucks. I'm going to go ahead and park here if I can't find anything else. This will be my Plan B. I'm still in search of Plan A though.

As I look around the area on Google Earth, I notice this at the exit.

Overhead view of a truckstop

Jackpot! I don't know what that is, but I see a bunch of trucks parked there. They must have overnight parking. So this is now my Plan A.

I drive there and sure enough, there's plenty of parking spots! I park here for the night because its 2000 and the shipper is closed. I'm .7 miles from my shipper so I can just drive there tomorrow without starting my clock. Its been a 13 hour day, and I only did 430 miles thanks to that storm. Another long day, better be a nice paycheck!

Man, you folks are so lucky to have content like this available to you! By the time I'm done with this thread, I will already have made you a real trucker! I realize some of this stuff may be confusing, I do try my very best to explain it. If you have any questions then please ask. If you do have questions but not asking, then you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Anyways, here's some pictures from my day.

trucking scenery picture of a calm laketruck driver about to go through a mountain tunneltrucker driving through  a mountain tunneltruck driver picture of a mountain pass and beautiful blue skytruck driver picture of a mountain pass and beautiful blue skytruck drivers pictures driving through a mountain pass

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.

Mikki 's Comment
member avatar

Amazing! Love it! No moose pics? So twice so far you've not started your clock being close to your destination. So you're creeping there at what speed and how many miles can you creep? Also, I am aware of (some)of the many many tricky things in trucking thanx to this site. Some say log what you do and do what you log, but I know there are many exceptions and I so appreciate this thread! Thnx D your the bomb!

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.

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.

Mikki 's Comment
member avatar

Amazing! Love it! No moose pics? So twice so far you've not started your clock being close to your destination. So you're creeping there at what speed and how many miles can you creep? Also, I am aware of (some)of the many many tricky things in trucking thanx to this site. Some say log what you do and do what you log, but I know there are many exceptions and I so appreciate this thread! Thnx D your the bomb!

Also, I see you are cooking on the asphalt where are you plugged in at? extension cord?

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.

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.

Brian M.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel I look forward to your posts educational and informative. Thanks so much. I only hope I can be as informative to others as you have been to me.

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