Trip-plan My Load For Me

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Daniel B.'s Comment
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Here's another installment of my trip planning educational threads - and this ones a good one!

What I'm about to give you is a real world load that I just did. It's a tough one and any error in trip planning would cause a late delivery and service failure. But the good thing is, it's just practice... For now.

So get your practice in right now! if you have any questions about the trip planning or the load always ask. Above all, I want participation - let's solve it together. It's okay if your struggling with this, that's the entire reason for my making this post. But give it a shot! I promise you'll learn a thing or two on trip planning if you participate.

Load Info:

Pickup: Santa Maria, CA Appointment time: 3/23 0800-2100.

Destination: Corinne, UT Appointment time: 3/25 @ 0530

Your current location is Sacramento, Ca. Which leaves you with a 325 mile deadhead to get to the shipper and 900 loaded miles. You get your hours back at 3/23 @ 0400.

I'm telling you actual locations because terrain and location have a whole lot of gameplay in our trip plan for this load. Also, the shipper does not have a contact number so let's throw that out of the equation.

I want to know:

1. What route should I take to the shipper?

2. From the shipper, what route should I take to get to the destination?

3. Can I make this load on time? Yes or No and why?

Once someone gets it right, I'm going to introduce a twist to the day.

Good luck! Comments or advice allowed from experienced drivers, just don't give the answer.


To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.


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.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Lastly, don't worry about if we have enough hours to complete this load. We're at a full 70 hour clock. We have plenty of hours, but that doesn't mean we can still make the delivery, or does it?


Mr. Smith's Comment
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1. What route should I take to the shipper? Sacramento to Santa Monica its Monday morning at 4am… so Id take the 5 South. Id be right at about 8 hours driving by the time I got there if I left on a full tank from Sacramento… So lets just say id get to Sacramento no later than 2:00 PM Monday Afternoon. That’s 10 hours on duty. Am I dropping the trailer and picking up a new one or do I gotta wait for them to load? If I gotta wait for them to load I hope they get it in before 4 p.m. so I can get 2 more hours of driving in. 2. From the shipper , what route should I take to get to the destination? If I leave the shipper at 4pm Monday with 2 hours of driving allowed because ill hit 14 hours at 6 id actually ask if I can kick back at the dock for 8 hours in my sleeper. Then take off at 12 midnight with 2 hours of driving allowed. Then around 1:15 am id take a 2 hour break to reset my 11/14 clock. Id leave Santa Monica at Midnight and end up taking my 2 hour break at the walmart in Rancho Cucumunga after taking the 10 to the 60 to the 10 to the 15. It should be about 1:15am Tuesday the 24th when I take my 2 hour break. Then I would head uphill from there Id take the 15 straight up toward Corrine. 3:30-7:30am pacific on the 24th. driving to vegas lol mostly uphill wouldn’t really hit the rush hour traffic if I let the truck take its time lol. 4 hours on duty ima take a quick break and get a donut. Then head out till about 1pm pacific on the 24th. Hopefully somewhere by Cedar City Utah and Ill take 8 in the sleeper. That resets my 11/14 again and ill take off about 9pm pacific on the 24th. If it all goes as planned and no break downs I should be to Corrine by about 5:30 pacific time on the 25th. 3. Can I make this load on time? Yes or No and why? You should be able to make it depending on how heavy your load is… it’s a lot of uphill but if my dispatcher told me 0530 my time my time is my time… and my time is 0530 arrival at the dock. 0630 their time lol. I could probably drive a little faster if I wasn’t a rookie and didn’t hit the wrong gear climbing up toward Victorville from rancho… but I did and that slowed me down… lol. But really I estimated slower than what I see the trucks going up the hill so I should be there before my excepted time of 0530 on the 25th hopefully 0430. But the answer is yes Ill take the load. lol


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.


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.
Mr. Smith's Comment
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Am i getting paid for the run to santa monica from sacramento? am I an owner operator? i might be able to argue that I wasnt driving for money in that part lol and then be able to get to corrine a little earlier lol. can I have a tow truck haul me down to santa monica and have a taxi drive me? im not watching after my truck at all therefore im literally off the clock and relieved of all duties and can start my clock in santa monica haaaa ha aha im a a thinker! its probably cost me more money having it towed to santa monica than i would make the whole month but the question was can I make it. in theory lol... im just kidding dont beet me up.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Mr Smith, the load is in Santa Maria, near Lompoc.

Erase your board, start over. You won't be going near Cucamonga.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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You start driving at 0400 and arrive at the shipper at 1030. All is well, and it's a strawberry load just under 30k.

You spent exactly 6 hours of driving, and 30 minutes On-Duty.

You walk up to the shipping office to check in and this is what you get:

I'm sorry sir, your load won't be ready until 1430. We'll load you then, I'll give you a call.

Well, back to the drawing board because we just hit a HUGE road block.

I get my hours back at 2030, but will I have to night drive? I really don't want to, but do I have to?

If I avoid night driving and start driving at 3/24 @ 0400, I'll do 625 miles in a 12 hour period. I'll end my day at 1600 and get my hours back at 0200 on the delivery date. So that leaves me with 3.5 hours (0200-0530) to do 275 miles. Not going to happen.

So it looks like I'll have to night drive, but let's figure out a way that maybe I won't have to. Also, let's dig a little deeper into this routing. We can't afford to hit traffic in LA and spend hours going across it.


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.

Rick S.'s Comment
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101 North out of Santa Maria -> CA-166 E->CA-58E>I-15 N - gets you around the L.A. part of the equation. Plus it's 20 miles shorter than the southern route to I-15 - but you do have to add in the slower surface roads to the equation. Still - it's probably better than sitting in L.A. Traffic.

With an "open-ended appointment window" at the shipper - you're pretty much at THIER MERCY, so plan for THE WORST - that would be, not hitting a dock until 2100. Strawberries? They're probably loading up right as they come out of the field.

Looks like there's no way to avoid some "night shift" driving - and you'd probably make much better time due to the lack of TRAFFIC.

I'd grab a nap until I get my hours back @ 20:30. Drive 10 and stop at 0400 on the 24th. That leaves the balance of your 275 miles to cover on the 24th. I'd start driving when I get my hours back at 1400 on the 24th - get a stones throw from the shipper (around 1800) and go back on Line 2. You get your full 10 back at 0200 on the 25th - stones throw from the receiver, you make your appointment time with ease.

Or any combination thereof. There's probably no way to avoid some night driving - and it will probably make you much better time through Vegas area at night anyways.



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.

Mr. Smith's Comment
member avatar

Mr Smith, the load is in Santa Maria, near Lompoc.

Erase your board, start over. You won't be going near Cucamonga.


im already in Santa Monica waiting to get loaded. dangit... I hate Lompoc area I dont want the route lol. you got anything for me in Santa Monica lol. I already called my wife and told her to meet me at the walmart in rancho lol.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Alrght, not bad. Good job guys!

It is 1030 when we parked at the shipper. We spent 6.5 hours working today with 6 hours of that being driving.

So here's how our HoS looks:

5/11 remaining (11 hour drive clock)

7.5/14 remaining (14 hour clock)

We have been sitting for hours so our 8 hour break has clearly been fulfilled. Also, we don't need to worry about our 70 hour clock on this trip.

This is a perfect setting for a Split Sleeper Berth. So what is a Split Sleeper Berth?

Instead of doing a 10 hour break, we can spend 8 hours consecutively on Sleeper Berth. We'll get the hours back that we had when we just hit Sleeper Berth.

So if we parked at the shipper at 1030, 8 hours later will be 1830.

At 1830, we'll have what we had when we just arrived at the shipper:

So we'll have 5 hours of drive time, and 7.5 on our 14 hour clock.

So here's the plan:

I will drive at 1830 for 5 hours and arrive at Barstow, CA at 2330. That's a 270 mile trip and doable at with 5 hours to work with.

What route will I take to get to Barstow?

Since I'll start driving at 1830, it'll be about 2030 before I hit LA so I won't encounter any traffic. So I'll go ahead and take 101S to 210 then up I15. I'll choose this route over the one Rick mentioned because this route will allow me to drive at full speed and I won't have 6% grades and sharp curves to worry about. It's slightly more miles, but at least I won't be doing it at 30 mph and it'll save me a lot on my fuel economy.

I parked at 2330 so I'll have my hours back at 0930 with 630 miles to go. That's a lot of miles but easily doable with a full clock.

I will arrive at the destination about 7 hours early and will sleep until my delivery time. I will only do a minimal amount of night driving on the first day and hardly any on the second day.

The rest of the routing will simply be I15 N. I'll get to Las Vegas at about 1300 on the 24th so there shouldn't be any traffic.

There's more than one way to do this as Rick has proven. But there is an easier way. The Split Sleeper Berth provision is a fantastic tool at your disposal that the majority of truckers don't know about or understand.

Great job everyone! Questions or comments welcome!


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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


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.

Errol V.'s Comment
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OK, Daniel, you do 8 hours in SB. Your working hours are "frozen" until 8 hours of SB are done. (Double checking here) and your 14 hours is frozen too?

But I understand the "split" had to happen to close the deal. Which means doing pretty much anything but driving for 2 hours after the 8 SB hours. Is that in another "uninterrupted" block?

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