Phew! Made It As A Truck Driver.

Topic 8796 | Page 2

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JJ's Comment
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Thanks for sharing Jenny !I have been wondering about how the first few weeks solo could go and what kind of things a learning curve effects. I should have my license after tomorrow and hopefully starting somewhere soon, May is towards the top of my list. Hows your weekly milage with May ? did you go with the 48 states or 11 western? people say to go 48 but i thought 11 western would get me familiar with the west faster.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
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Hahaha!! Loved reading these entries. Not only informatve, but hilariously true. I'm up in Fort Collins looking at a school in Denver. They supposedly train us to drive Colfax and the surrounding mountain areas and while part of me is excited, I'm dreading it. Not just because of learning how to drive on these roads, but because it'll probably take me 2.5 hrs just to get down to school. Ugh. I lived in Capital Hill for a couple years and out in Lakewood and now when I go visit my friends I have to prepare myself for the hell that has become Denver. And it's ALL THE TIME. Rush hour seems like it lasts 4 hours on each end of the day and we have a HORRIBLE cell phone usage problem out here. And this is coming from a girl breed and born to drive D.C. traffic. I thought when I left the east coast I was getting away from the insanity! Boulder is NO better and now the mess is creeping up to NoCo. We have two seasons out here: winter and construction. Add a trailer to that and I can't even imagine....mind blown. Good luck out there and keep the entries coming!

Jenny's Comment
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This is my 3rd and final try.

JJ, you are one of Jimmy's kids aren't you!? Oh the stories I should share! I loved my time at that school.

So, I get almost 10k miles, went with the 48 because I was bored with the I-5 corridor before I began driving for a carreer. You will realize soon, that this immense country really isn't all that big when you are living in a truck. I will check back, I hope you passed!!!!!

Sunshine, if it is something you want to do, GO FOR IT!!! I don't like driving in Denver, but if you are learning in traffic, you will do great out here.

K, shorter than my first attempts, but I will check back. Sleep is eminent at this juncture. G'night all.

Lawrence H.'s Comment
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I joined, and used the quizzes. I asked one silly question, and I was off to do this thing!

I started school back on January 12, took six weeks to get out of there! I couldn't parallel park that rig for nothin' unless no one was watching lol.

I researched every company that would let me have my dog, and grilled all the recruiters as they came through the school. All of them I caught in a lie, except for the May Trucking recruiter. So, I signed right up! The way I saw it, there were going to be really crappy days out here as it was, I didn't want to be working for liars as well, because then crappy just gets crappier in my opinion. There are things I don't like, but they told be before I signed on, so I can't *****. But I will complain a little. All these companies are governed, but we are one of the tightest. 61 on cruise, 58 on the pedal. Gets a bit hairy at times going that slow. But what do you do?

So, I got in, and got put with a trainer finally, as a woman, they wanted a woman trainer for me. I also smoke, so they tried to get me with a smoker female, and well, I got a female. She did let me smoke, but not when the truck was parked. I was very grateful. She was great. I learned at MY pace, she didn't freak out, she explained all my "whys" and we got along wonderfully. Something I know I am blessed about, I've heard horror stories!

3.5 weeks and I was solo! What!?! Ok, so I panicked a little. I didn't feel ready, but I passed the road test, pretrip, and skills with the safety dude. (it wasn't at my yard so I can't remember his name) so, I guess I was ready. April 2, was relieved that safety dude was busy for the 1st, cause I didn't need to be an official April fool soloing out.

1st day alone was HELL!!!! I got lost. Twice. I had to have road construction guys move some barrels. I had to make traffic back up at a light because I couldn't turn tight enough, and honestly, they were encroaching in the intersection so I didn't feel too bad about that. One gal didn't see what was going on because she was too busy yapping on the phone. I still laugh...I hit the air horn to get her attention, and the phone went flying! At that moment, I knew this was the job for me. I was going to stick this horrible day...er, week out, just so I could do that again some day lol

S..L..O..W..L..Y.. it has gotten easier, I have learned how to check my gps against my routing, and directions. I don't get lost very often, nor very badly anymore. I realize, I only have myself to depend on, and that is just flat odd to me. I still struggle with energy to do laundry, and even shower sometimes, but I do it. Sometimes, getting somewhere for those things is a struggle, but I'm getting better. Some of the dumbest things get to ya out here. For example, I get free showers at FJ/Pilot because that's where we fuel. So, I am always looking for a stop at one of them. Sometimes its impossible. So, if I get stuck at Petro/T.A. I at least take advantage of the laundry facilities if I need to do laundry. For a while, I din't stop there at all, because I figured no shower, I'd rather be at a rest area, they are quieter, and usually prettier. And the dog can play more :) So, getting over the don't stop at Petro/T.A. was biting me regularly, because, when I did hit the shower stops, I was so friggin tiredWell dont most times, laundry waited anyway. See, I told you, DUMBEST sort of things....

So, here at almost 2 months solo, I found time to share. Only because, I got stuck on a 34hr reset. In Nashville. At a Pilot. Showers yes. Laundry no. Go figure. Yet, I have never been happier.

I also run my CB, and some of the things I hear about us women drivers! I don't get on them and fight, I just laugh, and think...No wonder your a OTR guy, society won't have you with that sort of attitude. You know, I'm happy, and I'm sorry you aren't.

Gonna run, I hope to stay in touch better!!! Thanks for such a great place to learn and be encouraged!!! May Trucking questions, ask away. Just remember, I'm pretty partial to my honest company.

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.

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.
Lawrence H.'s Comment
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Well after having my own trucks I drove for a company out of san bernardino. For 3 years I left sb went to irwindale dropped an empty and picked up a loaded trailer for fresno. Six loads a day, sdix days a week go to fresno with the dasycab petes set at 54.6 mph. That's it. Trailers are preloaded with ast least 52,800 pounds of coors light. So the reason I liked being the owner came into play, I don't like working weekends, unless its working on my own eqipment. When that new pete broke down I would get a rental. The difference between 54.6 and setting the cruise at 62 mph was 30 minutes one way to fresno, That's not setting the cruise until I got to the bottom of the grapevine.

Scott O.'s Comment
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OMG I laughed so much on this one lol.... I saw a meme on facebook called the Shewee it's a funnel for females to pee standing up lol...

Jenny's Comment
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Great Answer!

Apparently, how us ladies pee while on the road is an interesting topic! I find it annoying having to make special arrangements since I was not blessed with the handy, dandy, pee-pee stick that all you boys got! But, I digress, I broke my Peter today....

Ok, so I didn't really break it today, I just happen to have it in the shop today, which allows me some time to hop on here and share this last weeks lovely adventure!

As most of you know, California sucks. I am blaming California for many of my problems as well. DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) is the product of California, without their "need" for this awful idea, I would have had a great week! Ok, a better week than I had.

I got a load from Idaho down to Denver (remember, last time I was in Denver, I wanted to quit!) I'm feeling pretty good about this, I know exactly where I am going, I get to see country I haven't seen yet, and I know where the yard is, so I don't have to pay for parking. YAY! Milk, 33*F. No biggie, 2 days and they will have their moo juice. Off I go feeling confident that I can handle the traffic now, and a little rain never hurt nobody, I've got my trip all planned out with plenty of time to get there. Plan A, B, and C for overnight parking in case I can't make the yard. Awesome! The delivery is 3.2 miles from the yard. YAY!, easy morning, don't deliver until 8:00 even! Happy dance! I get to sleep in!

As an extra bonus, I had enough time to go through the Layton yard and have the guys there fix some minor leaks on my truck before they became major leaks, and change out some shoddy tires. Extra, extra bonus, it was the week that CSA was doing their thing so that meant I got to check my permits at a yard (2 were expired!) and have a quick look over since I was the new kid. So I spent a night there, and hit the road for Denver, happy as could be. I'm legal to the hilt! Pull me in suckas! They didn't. I was ready!! and nope, nothing. I had to show some paperwork and tell Wyoming that I wasn't delivering in their state today and off I went. Pshh..what a waist of time.

I make it to Elk Mountain Rest area. My dash is lit up like a bomb is ticking down with a message that DEF is bad! Get new DEF or risk engine death!!! Alright, that isn't exactly what it said, but that was how important it looked. Pulled in and called my DM , I wasn't suffering from engine derate, so we decided Denver was close, and I'd roll it in, deliver THEN deal with the horrible OTRS guys. Well, the derate showed up on the next hill. So, anyone who followed that May truck down I-25 doing 45 no matter what, well, that was me. I didn't have my CB on because I had nothing nice to share back over the airway.

Ok, keep rolling, get there, it will be fine. Just friggin' get to the Denver yard! Yes, I kept saying that out loud until my dog was ignoring the fact that I was speaking. Dad, calling on a Saturday? Weird, but what the heck, I'm needing something to do besides curse to myself. So we chat until a lighting bolt blasts the signal, and I've only got a couple more miles to go.

I get pulled in, and parked for the night. Next morning, I turn the engine over and STOP!!! Do not pass go!!! The stop engine light is now on. So, I do what it says, and start in with OTRS. Who, proceeds to ask me ME, if I put diesel in the DEF "by accident" Dude, how would that even work? The nozzles are different, and WOW, just WOW...I may be a truck driver!, and I may be a girl!, but I am NOT a booger eating moron!!! I decided to erase that on the Qualcom and send a simple "No". So, they are going to tow it. Um, Hello, I have a load on, of MILK! Lord help us all. So my DM calls, "go see Dude in safety" "oh no! What did I do wrong? Calm down Jenn, you didn't do anything wrong. Oh god, I must of done something wrong", boy, that was a LONG walk. I see Dude leaving, catch him and he says, "go watch a film and pee in a cup I will be back to talk to you after the film". Wait? What? What did I do wrong???? (All inside my head, I was too scared to speak) Come to find out, what I did "wrong" was be employed for 90 days. Sweet! Hit me with another shot of coffee so I can study for that whiz quiz!

All done with that, and I need to move my truck, because the found someone to deliver the milk. He asked why he was taking it the 3.5 miles for me and I told him about the DEF. He askes "They made you do a UA for THAT?" haha

So, finally they get a tech out to work on my truck. It is still under warranty, and Peterbilt has to do the work, so it is around 1 when he rolls in. Rolls right by me standing near the truck waiving at him. Turned out, he wasn't "one of those" that saw girl and figured "naw" next truck, he had been told I was in the corner. OMG!! He was HOT! I got to watch him climb around my truck all afternoon! We had a few laughs, and some comment of dinner was made while on the phone with my OTRS guys, and then it is time for him to go, my truck is fixed. What do I do? Sigh, "Hey man, thank you SOOO much!!! And no offense, but I hope to never see you again." Wait, what? Did that seriously fall out? I would have totally loved dinner, heck, lol, maybe he was good at body work too!! But really, I am not out here for that, so I did the right thing. I hope.

Truck fixed. Robert LA here I come! Texas panhandle, I finally get to see you!! Amarillo for fuel, cool. I can't stop singing "Amarillo by mornin', Amarillo's where I'll be" (even if that is wrong, it wouldn't go away) continued.......

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.

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

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.
Jenny's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

So, I am done fueling, and run as fast as I can with my legs crossed to go to the bathroom. Somehow though, I remembered, for the first time ever, to go log myself as off duty before I ran off. I went potty, browsed the store, and finally wandered back to my truck. Shoot, I only have 12 minutes and my 30 break will be complete. Better get off the fuel islands though. So I pull around next to the scales and wait. A/C feeling good again, and then my dash starts flickering, my CB is going crazy and here comes a black man running at my truck yelling fire! It takes a minute, but I realize it's all directed at me. I shut off the engine, and jump out. The fender light (both a marker and a blinker I think) is on fire! So I climb in to get the extinguisher and by the time I'm ready to pull the pin the fire goes out. Phew!

So, I get a hold of OTRS again, and send pics, bla bla bla, and then I hear nothing. I wake at 6 and send another message. They want me to roll with it! Dude, F.I.R.E. ANYWHERE on the truck is not safe. Not to mention, I can't use my lights. I am not SAFE nor LEGAL...Big words our company uses all of the time. "Can't I just go buy some tape, or electical caps and stop them from crossing?" So, they send me to T.A. who won't touch it because it is under warranty, and I let OTRS know. I also inform them that Peterbilt is 2 blocks away, and opens in 20 minutes. And I wait. And wait. And then do what I am not supposed to do, and went to Peterbilt without permission. they stripped the wires, taped them and sent me on my way. (Duh!)

Delivery went without incident, other than being a day late. Empty call sent, and my marching orders for repairs come in. Baton Rouge. Nice, 30 minutes drive, a couple hours to run a new wiring harness and I should be on my way. Not. 11:30 yesterday I checked in with them, and they tell me that they don't have the part and it will be Wednesday before they can get me going. I tell OTRS, they say "overnight the part, we'll pay the freight". So I tell the shop, and they just chuckle. They can look at my truck the next morning, THEN order the part overnight, and I'll still be out of here Wednesday. So, I slept in my truck (of course) and about 10 minutes before the guy comes and gets me it is down pouring! Great, what am I going to do with the dog now? So, into the showroom she goes! Tries to bite 2 guys, and makes friends with half a dozen more. Then, it hit.

I mean, literally hit! I had just started pushing the door to go smoke, and BAM! The loudest crack I have ever heard, the building shook, and every hair that wasn't standing up straight was ingrown. Lightning hit one of the trucks in the yard! WOW, found my blessing! At least I wasn't driving in it!!! By the time they told me that I would have to get a room, another truck in the yard was struck. Yep, I will GLADLY take a room!

So, here I sit, feeling like I am in some huge apartment with a real bed. Not to shabby these Quality Suites, especially after living in a truck for the last 90 days, sweet 90 days. It has gone by so fast....

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.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
member avatar

Mercy, sister...I don't know whether to be excited or scared to death! You always have me laughing though :) Thanks for making my day!

Jenny's Comment
member avatar

Mercy, sister...I don't know whether to be excited or scared to death! You always have me laughing though :) Thanks for making my day!

Someone said, that the boring days are the perfect days out here, and I have to agree, if everything goes right, there isn't much to talk about. Sure, there are neat sights, and places you haven't been, and that will make you happy and love this job, but the bad days, there is always something extremely stupid about them. Not like other jobs where something goes wrong, you grab a manager (or even fix it yourself) and ten minutes later everyone has forgotten about it. Those jobs, something goes wrong ALL of the time no one bats an eye, and on with the day ya go. Trucking though, you're on your own, waiting for someone who has never been here, to tell you where to go, (in the mean time you know where you want to tell them to go!) but you don't, and then you hope beyond all hope that there is no more hiccups, but there usually are. However, those days don't happen OFTEN, they just seem to be an all day event. Then life is absolutely wonderful for weeks on end.

Don't be afraid of it girl, just expect that Murphy will be sitting next to you, and since he wrote all those laws, he likes to practice them from time to time. It really is a great lifestyle if you are prepared for it!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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