Okay. That's what I thought but I just wanted to ask. I forgot to ask when I was talking with their recruiter the other day. Does anyone know what the Indianapolis center is like? Do you think they'd let me go just to look around? I'm trying to do as much research as possible before I make a definite decision for which company I want to work.
Day by day adventures of a new solo OTR driver
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You like the noise of a big diesel idling next to ya?
Personally, I try to avoid that at all costs.
The quieter the better...if it wasn't for the fact that it would just raise the cost of everything we buy, I would like to see diesel priced at $10 a gallon just so folks would stop needless idling.
I keep trying to get used to all that noise...but so far, it's been the hardest thing for me to get used in this job. I can't stand the noise at truck stops with all the idling and reefers.
My daily goal is to find a nice, quiet, peaceful, safe place to sleep each night. Its my biggest challenge in OTR truckin.
Well I guess I can give a little update. I'm down in Tampa, Florida now... just got out of dropping a Macy's load... thank God that's over with. It would have been a great run if I hadn't spent so much time getting loaded over 2 days with 3 live-load stops...
Anyway, if I remember correctly the last time I posted I updated about stopping through the OC to have some repairs done to my truck, and sat down and had a talk with them and mentioned the crappy miles that I had been getting.
To their credit, I have been getting some better miles. Not great, but definitely an improvement. I've been out of the Northeast for the past 2 weeks too which has been nicer than I could have ever imagined. I got a load that took me down to just outside of Dallas, Texas. I've never been to Texas before except for flying through a couple times. It was interesting to get to see it from the truckers perspective.
Ahhh... Texas. Lifted mega-cab Dodge 3500 with a utility bed rolling on 24" semi wheels and tires. Towing a tri-axle 5th wheel toy-hauler travel trailer with no less than 4 AC units on top, nearly dragging the rear of the trailer because its tilted back so much from the lifted truck. But we're not done yet. Trailer hitch on the rear of the toy hauler, dual axle utility trailer hitched to that. More quad bikes on the utility trailer. Yes, we must be in Texas.
Never before have I seen so many people drive straight off a 6 lane 70MPH freeway, straight through the drainage ditch to the service road on the other side. Exits? Nah, screw that son we'll just throw 'er in 4x4 and take the shortcut. I saw one in a minivan go flying up an embankment where a cloverleaf was. They simply DO NOT CARE. After about the 4th or 5th time of seeing this happen and seeing all of the "paths" through the grass where its obvious people have been doing this for years, I was laughing my rear off every time I saw this happen.
I was down there last week when the race took place, I drove right past the motor speedway. It was PACKED. Sure wish I could have gone... but unfortunately I had to drive right by then get straight back on the freeway the other direction because cops had my left turn blocked off due to traffic from the race...
A couple loads later I worked my way up through Arkansas and ended up dropping a relay at the West Memphis OC. Miles were decent, not great because of all the starting/stopping grossing 75k running the state roads with about 4 billion stoplights through these little towns... After working my way up there, I got on my Macy's load that I just dropped now.
I'll be out for another 10 days or so then need to get back by the end of the month hopefully so I can do my Canadian taxes from the time I spent working up there last year... hopefully I'll get back in time.
My old truck is hanging in there pretty good. I've decided I'm going to hang on to this one for as long as I can. I can deal with sleeping in the cold - get in the sleeping bag and bundle up. But hot... nope... I can't deal with trying to sleep while I'm all sweaty. This old truck will idle non-stop if its anywhere remotely near 70 degrees. After talking to many other drivers with newer trucks that say they can't idle unless its closer to 80-90* out... yeah... I'm not giving up this truck unless my career depends on it. Sure, it'd be nice to have one with in-tact cabinets and shevles, one with gears that haven't been all chewed up by the previous new drivers throughout its approaching 800,000 mile life... but, this truck has become "my" truck, when I'm driving it its like everything syncs up just right.
So... I guess that's a little more positive post than the past several have been. Still riding the "mileage rollercoaster" that I'm glad to hear many other Schneider drivers I've talked with experience as well... some days of great miles, then days of absolute crap. I'm wondering when it'll all smooth out.
I'm still interested in learning more about Schneiders lease-purchase program, maybe during my next time off I'll be able to make some phone calls and learn a little more.
Well... time to make a sandwich, hit the rest stop and then get ready for tomorrow. I started my day late today to make this early evening Macy's drop, and then I ended it early with about 5 hours left on the clock. I'm only regaining 5 hours tomorrow, so I figured I'd much rather roll over the extra 5 hours from today and have a 10 hour day tomorrow then have to drive late into the night, start late again, and then only have 5 hours for tomorrow. Hopefully a decent preassignment will show up and we'll see where I'm headed from here.
Until next time...
This morning I bobtailed to a yard pick up my empty, luckily got the last trailer which happened to be a real nice newer model. Since my tractor is old and beat up its kinda nice to have a shiny new trailer to offset that a little bit.
I headed out to my pickup location which was what appears to be an automotive parts recycler just north of Tampa. When I arrived I was disappointed to see that this location was clearly not designed for a tractor with a 53' trailer. I parked outside the gate and walked in, made sure I was actually in the right spot. Unfortunately, I was, so I was going to have to deal with this mess. I decided to walk around the area to see what I was going to have to deal with. Reluctantly I went back to my tractor, reversed and squeezed my way through the gate.
After I got in the yard I had to snake my way through parked cars and box vans, then got out and took another look at how the heck I was going to get up to this dock. I knew I was going to have to blindside back in but setting up for it was the tricky part - there was just no room. Other trailers and a guy working on installing a sprinkler system in the other building took away any chance of me being able to do any kind of a "normal" back into the dock.
I ended up reversing again and getting close to the side of the building, then pulling forward and squeezing my tractor towards a gate that gave me enough of an angle to get my trailer pointed down the alley between the two buildings. Then I backed down the alley and started to angle my trailer towards the dock, I stopped and got out a couple times and made sure that I was happy with the "swing" my trailer was starting to make, then I was able to pick up the lines for the dock lane in my mirror and finish it off. I was still a bit crooked so I was luckily able to wiggle myself back and fourth a little bit until I was on my "good" side and could get it all straightened out.
I've had to blindside in a snowy lot before to get my trailer set up to go into a drop spot, but this was my first time blindsiding into a dock. I know I had more room to work with here than some other places, but I was still pretty happy with how I did. I took it slow and got out and looked when I wasn't sure and at the end of the day I got in and out without issue.
After battling my way out of that warehouse parking lot and plowing through Tampa traffic, fueling, scaling, etc., etc., I managed to get on some open roads, hit the cruise control and on the tiny hills was slowing to 52mph... yeah... screw that, hammer time. Drove the entire rest of the day including a non-stop 7 hour stretch of my boot mashing the throttle to the floor. Much better, very little shifting. Screw the bonus. Just as I was approaching my planned rest area stop in SC tonight, I ran into some bad weather and then of course traffic... saw a Corvette that had slid off the road in the rain, then a tree got knocked down and a Volvo tractor smacked into it, tore up the drivers side of his truck real good from what I could see as I drove by. I finally got to the rest area and that's where I'm at for the night.
Here are a couple pictures, one of a nice Florida sunset at one of their (very nice) rest areas, and the rest from this dock today.
Great reading your blog. I started with Schneider in 2001 and ended up staying for four years. Your adventures really do bring back some great memories. Running out of Dallas I spent my first year in New England and loved every minute of it, the good, bad, and downright ugly. I wouldn't trade those first few years on the road for anything. Wouldn't really want to go back to the NE again but glad I got to see it. Too flippen cold for me.
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