Thank you very much.
See some of you out there, soon.
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Wow, I spent a week at refresher so far.
First day I didn't get to practice exercises, but got to listen to students on the radio complain about the truck, and that it was all the truck's fault..
So, Tuesday, I purposely got in that truck. I did some pull-ups and backed the truck straight back a few times to familiarize myslef with the truck--it's been 15 years since I was in a TT. I did the blindside parallel park--right in there, pretty as you please. I turned it around, did the driver's side parallel park--right in there, easy as you please. I then did another blindside--right in there. I told them over the radio "there's nothing wrong with the truck". I walked back to where the other students were and they said "nice work". To be honest, the truck takes some effort and luck to get it in gear, but once in gear, it maneuvered quite well compared to the whining I had heard about the truck.
CRST has 10 speed transmissions, so I was unfamiliar with the transmission in the truck when I went out for an initial evaluation by the instructor. I had some problems shifting, because I had only driven 9 speeds. I had no problems on my turns or general driving skills. So, I have to learn the shift patterns, and get used to the transmission. Cool!
So, Friday, I rode with the guys testing at the DMV in albany. I got to watch people try to get their CDL's. I got to drive back about 80 miles with a different instructor. I did much better with the transmission, and actually, I was making some smooth shifts. I still have some rough spots, But even the instructor said "It's coming back, isn't it". So, all in all, I have had a productive time of it. I am learning a new transmission. Didn't have any issues with my driving skills or traffic.
I was helping one student do his in-cab pre-trip. He works hard at it and it shows. I like seeing that. But, I asked him what the relevance was to the low pressure warning light / buzzer. He had no clue. I had to explain to him that if he was losing pressure, that his brakes might lock up, and if he is running 65mph, it might cause a wee little problem.
It helped him to understand the why of what he was doing. Schools teach how to get CDL's, but not necessarily what it means.
Had a student just get his CDL that was driving out of Albany. There was four or five of us in the truck. He ran through a red light. OMG were my nerves going bonkers. The instructor gave him a stern warning, but Jeez I hope this guy wakes up and learns quick! OMG, Just thinking about it again, has me nervous. Hope his trainer cools his jets and gets him to start thinking like a conscientious driver. I hope he THINKS about what he did and NEVER does that again!
So, I have to show that I can back up a truck and pass the road skills test this week. Easy Peasy.
All in all, I have enjoyed getting some time behind the wheel again, even for short periods. I have met some people and swapped stories and experiences. I see some people that I think will make good drivers, and I see some that have no clue about trucking at all. I see some that really work hard and try to learn---those are the ones that I can appreciate. Some think they know it all and have failed getting their CDL's multiple times and think they can teach others, lol. Sometimes I fell like a college grad amongst elementary students. Some blame everything on the truck. Some blame their nerves. I wish these people would just accept that when they fail an exercise, to learn from it and try to improve themselves. That's what it's about.
I hated seeing people fail getting their CDL's that I thought should have been ready. Getting out and looking before they blew their horns to indicate they were done would have gotten a few of them their CDL's.
When I got my CDL 22 years ago, I didn't go through a school. I spent months studying on my own. I had to go find drivers or mechanics anything I didn't understand---it required great effort on my part. I didn't have any practice fields to practice the maneuvers for weeks. I paid an O/O friend to use his truck for the DMV test. It was a one-shot deal for me, So I had to get it right. I didn't have the money to rent the truck again. I had never actually done the exercises before test day. You want to talk about nerves? Yep, had to do a blindside parallel cold turkey. The inspector told my O/O friend he had never seen anyone do a Blindside that good. I think I missed 3pts on whole maneuvers because I just went ahead and killed a cone to complete the alley dock. I guess my point is that the way I got my CDL required a lot of thought and effort on my part. I got to know drivers and mechanics, and they were usually very willing to help me learn it---all I had to do was be humble enough to ask. I would like to think most drivers are still the same in that respect.
To me, if these people won't take the time to get out and look, their careers are going to be short-lived. Playing with cones is ok, but if you think about each one of those cones as somebody''s brand new Pete, it becomes a whole new animal altogether. I consider myself fairly decent at backing trucks, but, I have gotten out so many times just to make sure it's not funny. People may have been annoyed with me for having to wait on me, but, I got better each time. It was a pride thing, I guess. To me, if they don't have a habit of looking when they do maneuvers, they aren't going to get out and look before they back into my truck while I am sleeping.
I apologize for the length of post. I may not get to post for weeks, so , please take that into account.
I failed my blood test- too much diesel
I went through orientation and came out the other side. I was in Iowa. Three people to a room for the 4 days. They go over normal orientation stuff, safety, maintenance, logs, hazmat tests, etc...
overall, it wasn't that bad, but you have people that will just be missing from orientation--apparrently a mishap with application or something else. While we were there, they had people getting qualified for lead status o/o's. They said the tractors don't have trolley valves, and one of these people asked "how do you slide the tandems, then?" The whole room giggled. Here was a guy that was going to be a lease operator or o/o that didn't know how to slide tandems. That facility is a nice place, but can be loud at times. Other than that, it went smooth for me. Had two guys leave after going through cdl school and 2 days at orientation because they missed their wives and thought they could get local jobs back in Ala. They left without telling anyone...
After all the talk of bad trainers, I actually had a really decent person. He was pretty knowledgeable and we got along well. Of course, since I had driven before, it made his job easier. He said I am the best backer hee has trained. My first back was one he said couldn't be done. Ha Ha.
We went to California three times. We did 6300 miles the first week, and he was amazed I could drive ten hours without stopping.
My trainer liked to drive fast (had a 75mph truck). We were in Baltimore on a Friday, with load not supposed to pick up till sat. I told him to call the shipper and see..He did. the lady told him it was his lucky day--they just finished loading that trailer. So, I tell the guy, I just bought you an extra day, lets run it slow since you arent in a hurry. So we did 60 mph all the way to ca. It saved him 3-400 dollars in fuel. He bought my dinner often. I taught him things he didnt know such as the fact that you can drop a MT trailer on asphalt, but never a loaded one...I did the math on a load and told him I wouldnt take it...Next load offered paid $200 more on 300 less miles..So, I did things like that to put money in his pocket and in return, he bought my dinner often...
Now he is going to run 60 mph on non time-sensitive loads.
Overall, I enjoyed it very much. He told me stories about traineess with their port-o-pottys and other stories. So, it isnt just bad trainers, there are some poor students as well. He had a trainee that didnt shower for 18 days...ugh.
Yeah, it wasnt all a bed of roses. we sat for a day or two in laredo, another day or two at fontana, but, it wasn't too bad. Actually, I got a good trainer. I guess part of it is luck of the draw and part of it is what you make of it. Now I'm at home waiting for my co-driver to get done with his training. I met him at orientation and we seem to get along, and both have prior experience. Hoping things work out there..
Just wanted to list my good experience in the light of most of the negative stuff.
So, I am sitting at home.
I am supposed to be teamed up with a guy when he completes his training (which should have been up yesterday). I get along with the guy and think I could team with him. He was in Salt Lake City yesterday. He doesn't have a phone, but will call me after company gets him to lebanon, Tenn. So, I decided to go test for my hazmat endorsement..
I go to the DMV and meet a team for another company. They give me a recommendation to their company, etc.. Seems like a good deal. Geez, I wish I would have met them before I went to refresher and having to be trained.
He said They would consider my experience if I could prove it. Have all my tax records showing my driving experience and who I have worked for. But, at the time, no one seemed interested in me due to no recent experience. Geez, I could be making 1200 a week or better...
But, I signed this contract through crst. I honor my commitments--unless it gets silly. So, .. I wait.
But, If things don't work out, I have a good company near the house with excellent insurance to look into.
While I was on truck with trainer, he let me see load rates he was getting. He let me see his contract for his lease. Sometimes he lost money on loads, followed with better loads. I think the dispatcher was a little irked, because I was doing the math (and giving my opinion of loads to my trainer as to accept or decline). I don't think she liked me opening the eyes of this guy.
His payment was 315 a week plus other things which was about 550 a week for 156 weeks. that's 49k. thats for a used truck.
then they take 12 cents a mile to a maint. account. He says his truck does 200k a year, so thats another 24k a year. the third year is I think only 10 cents per mile. So, that's 68k that goes to the maint account. The amount unused in the maintenance account is not refunded to the lease operator. thats 49k + 68k minus actual repairs. he didn't like me showing him he can get columbias for about 25k in the truck paper.
they also deduct 6cpm when he has a trainee. At the end of lease, he needs 5 k to buy the truck.
We used 5.5 mpg to decide if a load was profitable for him. I taught him to consider each load as being heavy and at 5.5 mpg in deciding to accept a load. If it looked alright at that, and he liked it, then accept it.
So, that is somewhere in the ballpark of his overhead. Dang. I can get a lease with small down payment with no balloon at the end.
I had considered this. I even thought about getting a truck and maybe going with malone or some other o/o company. Just an idea running through my head. Not in a hurry to do anything like that, but keeping my eyes and ears open for opportunities. I have read the forums about malone, but so far I haven't talked to any of those guys. I would love to have my own truck, but not if the numbers don't add up. Risk vs. rewards must be better than I see right now for that to happen. Now, if I had a shipper and a contract, my eyes might perk up...otherwise, I will save my money.
The lease contract doesn't make financial sense to me. I am sure that everyone that signs a lease contract has done their due diligence and considered the math before they sign, so everything I say is a moot point.
I have been to sites and looked up what is involved to own a truck, and it is an enormous amount and responsibility. My hat is off to anyone that is making o/o work for them. They deserve to be called Sir or M'am.
For now, my dream is on the backburner. So, I save my money and one day I may go that route, but for now, I must decline.
Hope the math figures are inline. They are what I could see from the contract, etc.. If they are wrong, feel free to correct me. Not meant to upset anyone, only that people consider what they sign.
going to crst after the 4 of July any one from NC going to orientation all ready have my cdl just hope to be teamed up with trainer and out in the 3.5 days looking for a non smoker for a partner or the 20days out and 10 days home need 2 more from the Charlotte NC
What a nightmare. The guy could drive ok, but had the personality of a peanut. I told him I had seven years prior driving experience. As a matter of fact, I told him about ten times or so. It didn't sink in with this guy.
So, I try to be nice, just doing the job. This guy calls me a rookie. He tells me his daddy taught him to drive. Yep, superdriver mentality. So I let him go on and on for three weeks about how great he was..How every one of his previous co-drivers were no good and all their faults, etc.....
We were in New Jersey. picked up a load going to Cali. Peanut didn't want to weigh to 44k load. He was looking at the drive air pressure gauge. later on, hundreds of miles away he finally gets the inkling to weigh the load. 1500 over on the drives and after sliding all the way up, still 1000 pounds over on drives. We reasoned we might be able to run the fuel out and cross the scales with a quarter tank of fuel. Peanut wakes me up to let me know we are sitting at the Mo. scales and over 900 pounds over on the drives. It's a high value load. Superdriver don't know what to do.
meanwhile, a couple other drivers come up to me on advice on how to get their weight right. They work for companies that require 1 yr. exp. One guy didn't have a logbook????
Anyways, I put message on Qualcomm the load was safe. FM wasn't happy. I told her that shipper would ok us getting in back of truck and shifting the weight if we could. She got the ok. See, dispatcher----don't make it out to be a catastrophe yet....anyways, we spent 4 hours in the front of the trailer moving the weight. It wasn't easy because we had to clear a way to even get to the nose. So, after 4 hours in the trailer sweating our butts off we get what we feel is close. we need to roll across scale because Peanut's logbook is running out. We make it across the scale like a hundred pounds under 34k on the drives. This means we still have to be careful on fuel, as the fuel's weight could put us over. So we (I) calculate how much fuel we need to get to next scale and maintain our ability to cross scales legally..Lots of stops for fuel in small increments..eating logbook..Anyways, we get to the desert. we are on empty because Peanut shut the valve off a little early--thinking this truck was getting better mpg than it was. We ran 60 miles on empty to barstow. Yeah, that would have been something to call in and try to explain why we were out of fuel---Peanut. Oh well, we got the load delivered finally.
Meanwhile, after three weeks of this guys attitude, I couldn't take it anymore. Every thing he said to pump up his ego, I started showing him where he wasn't the superdriver he thought he was. He didn't want to talk anymore.
He got out his book and calculated over the 18 weeks he had the truck, he had averaged 4k miles. I told him solo drivers do 4k miles a week. Then I pointed out companies I knew some of their drivers did so. I told him he wasn't doing his recap right and he had no right talking trash about past co-drivers about their logbooks when he couldn't even get his recap right. "look Peanut, it says how to do it". "you can read, can't you Peanut"? Anyways , Finally, I unloaded on him and let him know that he was the rookie. Geez, Peanut had no more little comments about how great he was..He didn't like me anymore..I ruined his ego trip.
He told me about how all his co-drivers grinded gears and he couldn't get any sleep. We had a new 2010 truck. he said that the truck went into carlisle for a pm and that it needed a PM. He said it was a gallon low before it went in. he checked it after they did the PM (1st one on new truck) and that it was still a gallon low after they supposedly did a pm. So, peanut's attitude was no need to put the gallon of oil in the truck. He finally did put the gallon of oil in the truck after about two weeks I was on the truck. All his talk about taking care of the truck and how great he was, and he wouldn't even put the oil in the truck.
The opti-idle does not work on the truck. We got stuck a few times without a load. He said that he had took it to Carlisle and that they couldn't fix it. He said that they sent it to freightliner there in Carlisle and they couldn't figure it out..Peanut said that CRST owned that dealership and didn;t want to fix the truck. Anyways, Supertrucker didn't do anything to get the truck fixed No sleep in a truck on hundred degree days is not good. The truck also has lights that are adjusted too high and Peanut did nothing to get that fixed either....
So, he put in for hometime for Aug. third. Here again, i went along with it, being nice. They disapproved of it. Peanut said he was going to be home on Aug. third.
So, yesterday, Peanut delivered the load we were on and took the truck to the Atlanta drop yard. After some time, Peanut goes in between some trailers for some time. I have a suspician what's coming.....Sure enough, there is a message on the Qualcomm for me to call the FM. Well, not the FM, but the FM covering for the regular FM while she is taking some time off..So I call the guy.
He tells me Peanut had called in and said that I was bad-mouthing CRST and such. I told this guy some of what was going on. Then he says Peanut is getting off the truck. Oh great, He gets off the truck and I get stuck with the truck that the opti-idle doesn't work on it. I tell this to the fill=in FM guy. He doesn't understand why the opti-idle not working is a problem. Then he says that if I can't find a co=driver by today, then I will lose the truck. He said he would send me a list to call.
He gave me the list. I told him I could go to the house, and he agreed since it was oly 40 miles (my wife came to pick me up). So, I went through the list---don't look like that's going to happen. Oh well. He said not to worry about Peanut.....
Peanut finally came back to the truck and started unloading his stuff. I asked him why he wasn't man enough just to tell me what was going sneaking off, calling the company and telling lies. I told him that was something a woman does (please don't be offended women-it was just between me and him). All the while he was unloading I let him know how low-down and underhanded he was. I guess his daddy taught him that too. Funny, how he didn't want to say one word to me . I said everything I had to say to to his face-----no underhandedness. He couldn't even look me in the eyes. Shame on him.
I guess he got off the problem truck he didn't want to get fixed. And I suppose he gets home for his birthday -- after CRST disapproved it. I guess his plan worked for him. But what Peanut doesn't understand is ...his ways will eventually catch up to him. He might have gotten over this time, but sooner or later .....
Peanut said he spent an hour or so talikng with the ops managers at OKC. He said they weren't concerned about the maintenance on the trucks. They were just going to sell them to lease drivers anyways. He said he wouldn't buy a truck from them. His attitude was that if they didn't want to change the oil in the brand new truck, then he shouldn't be concerned about putting a gallon of oil in the truck. What a joke.
My trainer called me tonight. I told him what happened. He didn't have to, but he did. That was nice of him to call and just check up on me. He said he is getting better paying loads lately. I am glad to hear that. See, my trainer really is a good-hearted guy. We stay in touch and talk about things when we can.
TemptinfatesEverett Thanks this.
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