My Swift Academy Journey. Will it be a swifty one or not?

Discussion in 'Swift' started by Six9GS, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. D.Tibbitt

    D.Tibbitt Road Train Member

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    Apr 26, 2013
    Gettin' down westbound
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    If u want an easier way to use the qualcomm . get a usb keyboard and mouse. Plug usb into the side and u can now work qualcomm like a computer. Dont have to deal with the stupid keyboard that doesnt work half the time . for some reason mine puts numbers when im pressing letters . and then the screen wont work. Mouse and keyboard fix that problem . best money i ever spent for the truck
     
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  3. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    Burnsville, MN
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    I hope you verified your logs before you went off duty for home time.
    And that it actually was sent from the QC.

    The last time my QC was replaced the logs had not been sent. It showed me on the drive line for 2 days straight.
    I had to do a 34 at the Lathrop terminal as a result.

    Turns out it was not just the QC unit, but a bad data cable. So what I tried to send never got sent.
    That same day I got the same errors, and I suggested to the shop that they test the cable.

    But the 'new' QC also has problems, much the same as the last one.
    Nothing gets fixed, only recycled. I don't think anyone there has the knowledge to diagnose the actual problem.
    They are going on a script, like telemarketers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
  4. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Yuma, AZ
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    Thanks for the keyboard suggestion! Also, I did verify my logs before I left for home-time. All's good. Delivered a load to a Lumber Liquidator's in Corpus Christi TX earlier today. Got a load of cotton bails to pick up in the morning here in Corpus and deliver to Glendale. I'm down to needing only 8 hours of drive time to finish and I'll have that by the time we get back to AZ. So, looks like I'll be off my Mentor's truck soon and into my own. I'm excited, happy and scared. Lol.
    I'm originally from Port Lavaca TX, not too far from Corpus, but too out of the way to stop by and see family in the area. Perhaps on a future trip.
     
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  5. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    Burnsville, MN
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    Be happy and excited, not scared.
    Well, unless you are always needing help.

    The freedom of your own truck, planning your own loads, planning your own time so you can do things as you wish.

    And be aware...
    Usually, about 5-6 years in, drivers start making mistakes again.
    They get complacent and sloppy. Over confident.
     
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  6. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Yuma, AZ
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    Musings from 'the road':
    Our country is beautiful. Although I still have much of this country I haven't seen, my travels this last month have sent me through about 20 States. Everywhere I have been, the landscape has been beautiful. I think that is one of the most pleasant things I have experienced is being able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of our beautiful country and I wish more attention was made about how truely beautiful the grand country of ours is.
    The trucking industry and transportation infrastructure is incredible and hidden in plain sight. The various distribution centers I have delivered to and picked up from, the thousands of truck stops with more thousands of trucks parked during the night, all the little end point destinations of freight which have only a single or 2 docks. Our transportation industry is an incredible huge, dynamic and rich piece of our nation's infrastructure that most, I think, seem to be completed oblivious to. I sure wasn't aware of the eminsity of it all until this last month.
    Truck drivers truely are not valued, nor compensated nearly as much as they deserve. It is a difficult job which is much more a life than a mere job. While I think it is an easy occupation to get into, it is not an easy occupation to remain and excel in. So many companies, Swift included, make getting 'into' trucking rather easy. However, I do not know this, but I'd be willing to guess that most never make it past a year or two. I think one must have a strong vain of independence, at peace with isolation and an easy going flexible nature in order to be, and enjoy, the occupation of a professional driver. At least as far as being an OTR driver.
    Anyway, some musings of mine from this last month on the road with a mentor.
     
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  7. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Yuma, AZ
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    I haven't updated this in some time. Just wanted to let you folks know how things are going. In a nutshell, just fine. Been a few bumps along the way, as to be expected, but nothing of any great consequence. I'm now on my 3rd month of solo. I had a 2017 Freightliner for my first month and have had a 2019 Volvo since then. Volvos are a different breed of truck and I can understand why some do not like them. However, I LOVE my Volvo and hope to continue driving Volvos in the future. To each his own. On the bad side of things, I had 2 preventables in my first 2 weeks out solo. Both were minor truck parking lot fender benders. I put a 4" scratch on a guys fender and broke his chrome hubcap that was on his steer wheel. I was trying to do something similar to the offset back that we get tested on for our license. But, it was dark and obviously I was not careful enough. Second fender bender was pulling out of a tight parking space and not clearing the truck on my right. My trailer broke his driver's side headlight assembly and put some minor scratches on my trailer. Neither incident was good, but both could have been worse.
    I had a run in with black ice that scared me pretty good. (I've lived in AZ for over 20 years and what little winter road experience I have is over 30 years ago). I was traveling East on I70 between Limon Colorado and trying to get to Dodge City Kansas on the day after Thanksgiving. Also, it was dark. I started hitting black ice and there were sufficient wind gusts to knock me around. Naturally I slowed way way down, but after about 10 miles or so, I got so frazzled I stopped on the side of the highway. After sitting there for about 20 minutes, and realizing I couldn't simply sit there, I slowly (between about 15 to 30 MPH) proceeded to find a safe haven. I had to drive about another 30 miles to get to a safe haven (A Petro truck stop in Colby Kansas). By the time I got there, we had about 6 of us creeping along like that, so I didn't feel so bad, as I wasn't the only one. On my way, I passed about half a dozen trucks and numerous cars and pickups that had veered off the road. Anyway, I survived without wrecking anything, but it truely scared me and has effected me since then. I am extremely cautious and timid In winter weather conditions. Swift, to their credit, has not given me any kind of pushback whenever I've shut down because I was not cool with the road conditions. I have several conversations with my Driver Leader about all this and they know and seem to be accepting it without any guff. I had told them right off the bat that I didn't want to drive in winter conditions until next winter when I wasn't so green in a truck to begin with. On the plus side, I have no problems in traffic and will have no problems running in hot climates this summer.
    My most recent screw up is failing to scale a load and getting caught in Utah for being 800 lbs. overweight on my tandems. This just happened a few days ago, so not sure how much this is gonna cost me. I have no legitimate excuse. I should have scaled and adjusted my tandems when I started this run in Lathrop CA.
    That's all the bad. In good news, I've got an awesome Driver Leader and my original driver leader was promoted and she is awesome also. I've been getting, in my opinion, quite a few really good loads. While I've done several short loads of 200 miles or less, most of my loads have been at least a 1000 miles and have had a couple over 2000 miles.
    I'm liking all this so far, although it is not without sacrifices, nor is it ideal. Sometimes I really miss the kinds of things one sacrifices to be OTR. Being able to come home from work, grab a cup of coffee and sit on my comfy couch and watch my big TV and chill, putzing in my garage and tinkering with my jukeboxes (one of my hobbies), pets (I'm currently declining the idea of having a pet with me in the truck, I just, at present, don't think it is manageable enough), etc.. It has also shown to be more difficult on my kids and my SO to have me gone and out of pocket for such long periods of time (I average going out for about a month and coming back for 4 hometime days).
    So, it is definitely being the adventure I thought it would be and I am happy with it overall. My DL and her boss, my old DL, tell me I'm doing well and better than most newbies (unsure if that is sincere or patronizing to keep me happy, but I'll take it just the same). Also, I think it kind of cool waking up in different States every morning and experiencing the change of scenery and landscapes I get to travel through.
    At the moment I'm just East of Des Moines Iowa and sitting in a truck stop waiting for better weather. Current forecasts look like I'll be sitting here until Saturday. It is what it is. I'm a flexible and patient, so I'm pretty good with going with the flow.
    Thank You all who have given words of encouragement and wisdom. I feel lucky that through all of you, I had fairly reasonable expectations on what this adventure would be and would not be. Many I started with, had some fairly unrealistic expectations in my opinion and aren't so content finding out this isn't what they expected. Several of the other students who went through the Academy at the same time as I have already left. Some have gone to other companies and unsure what happened to several others. To me, Swift has so far earned my loyalty and I have no desire to leave. Swift, in my opinion, has about as decent a training program as anyone does and they seem to have a general culture that is tailored to newbies and the kinds of things inexperienced drivers go through. My DL was a trucker herself until a back injury several years ago forced her to get off the road. So, she has a wonderful capacity to empathize and provide neede guidance and encouragement. Although I think I got extremely lucky in having not just an awesome wonderful driver leader, but her boss, who was my original driver leader is now her boss and she is just as awesome and wonderful. Chances of having both your DL and her boss being great are pretty slim I think. But, they are. I consider myself lucky.
    Thanks All for everything!!!!
     
  8. Atlanta trucker

    Atlanta trucker Road Train Member

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    2% retention after 2 years is what the head of the training academy @ Swift told me. If 100 drivers make it out of training 98 of them will be gone by year 2. Sounds like a really amazing fantastic business model there. I won’t complain , I worked for Swift a couple times and I knew what they were and I knew what I wanted so it worked out. It’s just an opportunity , just something to try. Moderate your expectations and when your ready you can get out of there.
     
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  9. G13Tomcat

    G13Tomcat Road Train Member

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    Ohio
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    Hope things are still going stellar (or close enough!) for ya, man.

    Be safe;
    Tomcat
     
  10. Wasted Thyme

    Wasted Thyme Road Train Member

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    GOAT watching
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    I would like to say thank you for your posts. I am thinking of joining Swift myself, soon. Your detailing of your first year journey is very help for me. PLEASE keep telling us of your travels. What you've learned, where you've f'ed up....etc. This will be of great interest for me. Thanks.
     
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  11. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Yuma, AZ
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    Sitting here playing the equivalent of whack a mole trying to find an empty. I've been bobtailing a day and half so far and over 200 miles and still no empty. Came to this place in Massillon Ohio to get empty and seems to be a political no go. Big red sign that Swift drivers aren't allowed to bobtail in here and take an empty. Right now just waiting for further guidance from my driver leader. I have a friend who doesn't like live loads and unloads and prefers drop and hooks. But, after this debacle with getting an empty, suddenly I seem to prefer the live loading and unloading. I was supposed to pick up my load yesterday at 5PM in the Southwest corner of Ohio. Still almost 200 miles away and no idea when I'll get there. So far, they have not taken that load off me.
    I'm supposed to have home-time starting the 24th. I have an important doctor appointment on the 25th. I sure hope they get me home by then and wishing I was a bit closer to Arizona currently. But, we'll see what happens. If my home-time gets messed up, gonna be a major not good. This appointment is hard to get and if I miss it will probably take several months to get rescheduled. I have informed my driver leader of all this, so we'll see. I've taken several loads of Wisconsin cheese from there to points in the Southwest, so kinda figure that may be what they use to get me back in the Southwest and close to home. I've been out since Jabuary 1, so looking forward to some off time.
    In other news, I had a problem with my truck and ended up being in Kansas City in a hotel for Superbowl Sunday (It wasn't the normal hotel used by Swift, I treated myself and stayed at a fairly nice place away from Swift altogether). Pretty cool coincidence and I had a wonderful time. Hotel I stayed at had the game on in the lobby with snacks and such and about a dozen of us, workers and hotel patrons watched the game together. Definitely a memorable experience. I'm now a Chiefs fan. I think I kinda have to be under the circumstances.
    Only concern for today is that it looks like some yucky weather is gonna passthrough this are this evening and tonight. So, fully intend to do my best to be parked for the night by about 5PM and may not start out tomorrow until 10ish or so, depending on when the weather clears up.
    Looks like I have instructions on next steps. Laterzzz.
     
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