Yes, I am brand new to the trucking industry, so I have no reference with which to compare Roehl. This thread is simply for my observations, and yes it is still early, but my first impressions of them are very good. This thread is also a way for my family (and anyone else who is interested) to follow my first year with Roehl Transport. That being said..... I'll now continue.
This Thursday I completed Roehl Transports 3 1/2 day orientation and am now sitting at home waiting for a trainer. I am a student driver with a shiny new cdl dated July 16th.
I was one of only 2 of the drivers who ended up taking a bus to Marshfield, Wisconsin. (Roehl will fly you, rent you a car, or get you a bus ticket. It's your choice) I'm in Georgia, and couldn't find anyone to take me into Atlanta at 7 am to catch a flight, and the rental car company they use down here is at the same airport, so that left me catching a bus closer to home and spending the next 24 hours crammed into a very uncomfortable seat in a very full Greyhound bus. About half way through the trip it occurred to me that I could have taken a bus to the airport and saved my self alot of pain and suffering. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20, I guess.
In addition to the extreme discomfort, I also found that Airlines are not the only transportation companies that can and do lose your luggage. It shocked me that it was even possible, but Greyhound managed to remove my bag from the bus I was on and place it in a bus that I was not on. I did manage to get my bag back the next day, but I still had to take a cab to the Marshfield Wal-mart to buy clothes for the first day of Orientation as I had been wearing the clothes I was in for over 24 hours. But I made it there in one piece and had a couple of good stories to tell friends.
On Monday morning the entire class was almost late due to the restaurant not opening until nearly 7 am. I managed to shovel down 2 sausages, two pieces of toast, two scrambled eggs and a glass of milk in about 7 seconds flat, allowing me to make it out to the lobby on time. From that point on everything else went well.
The first day consisted primarily of the pre work screening and the road evaluation. For those of you who are not familiar with the pre work screening, it involves the taking of your blood pressure, your starting heart rate, and your heart rate after a series of tasks which represent activities you would be performing on the job. You fail the screening if any one of the following occur.
a. Your blood pressure is too high. (We lost two people as a result of this)
b. Your heart rate exceeds the maximum for your age at any point during the screening
c. you are unable to complete any of the tasks (We lost one as a result of this)
All in all the the pre work screening was not difficult at all. But because of my previously inactive lifestyle it did create some pretty sore muscles for me.
The driving evaluation was no different than the state driving test that I took in the Georgia. I had a bit of trouble with shifting gears smoothly and apparently broke a couple of inconspicuous laws, but since I was student and didn't do anything incredibly stupid or dangerous, they decided I was good enough to work with. They worked with me on the shifting later in the week and had it fixed in a matter of half an hour.
Day 2 and 3
These two days consisted primarily of going over Roehls rules and expectations. How they want you to log, Benefits, pay scale, govt. rules and regulations, etc. etc. ect. On the end of day two we also did our drug test.
When you make it to day 4 your pretty much hired, unless you manage to do something incredibly stupid. On day four we received our com data cards, security passes, driver id's, voice mailboxes and so on. We also sat through our first of many safety meetings.
As I mentioned before, the instructors decided I needed some work on my shifting, so they took care of that on Thursday. The instructor pretty much new what I was doing wrong and, with just a few sentences, he corrected the problem.
By the end of Thursday I still hadn't been assigned to a trainer, and neither did the other two guys from Georgia, So they rented us a car and shipped us home to await our trainers. That is where I am now. I have been assigned a trainer and will be meeting up with him this Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it.
My time with Roehl Transport.
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hey tarzan congratulations. i hope everything works out for you. i start school here in ocala fl on the 23rd of aug for 8 wks. what division are you going to work in. what pay are they starting you out at. looking forward to see how it all goes in your 1st yr. keep the updates coming, and be safe out there.
Van starts at 30 cpm
Reefer at 31 cpm
Flatbed at 32 cpm.
Extra training with Reefer and even more with flatbed. The reason I didn't do flatbed right away was because their flatbed orientation was full last week and I was itching to get started as soon as possible.RockyWI Thanks this.
I'm going to try and avoid doing a play by play of each days events in chronological order. I have read many post's which seem to follow that pattern, And while they provide a lot of information, they can be rather stale reading. I'll try and keep it interesting for my family members who are following me out here, as well as try and explain some of the new Jargon I'm learning out here on the road.
Now,Where did I leave off?
Oh Yes, That's right. I had just heard from my trainer. I was to meet "Jebediah" at the Ellenwood terminal at 10am local time.(Some names have been changed to protect the innocent ) He had a preplan going to PA and was leaving around 11:30. Mind you, my personal vehicle is a POS with over 300,000 miles on it, and quite a few problems with it. The least of which is a lack of an operating A/C system ( IN GEORGIA IN AUGUST), along with some pretty hefty safety issues. It didn't take much time for my wife to tell me that there was about as much chance of her and the kids driving me to Atlanta in that thing, as there was for me to shake hands with the Lucky Charms leprechaun (and I don't blame her). That left me with few options. We decided on renting a cheap car for the day to get me down there. Then she could tool around in Air Conditioned comfort for the rest of her errands for the day. Unfortunately for us, the next day we were greeted at the rental place with a requirement of a $250 deposit on a 40 dollar rental car . So that didn't happen. So there I was at 8 am, I had an 1 1/2 hour drive to make and only 2 hrs to do it in, and I still didn't have a vehicle to drive. "I hope my sisters home, and has nothing planned for the day." To shorten the story just a bit, we drive by my sisters house and she is there. If she did have plans for the day, she didn't say anything about it and rode with us down to Ellenwood in her car. I made it there at 10:10 am. Still late, but much better than it could have been. (THANK YOU SIS, I OWE YOU, AGAIN).
We pull into the Terminal and my wife points to a guy in a pick up truck and says "hey, isn't that Ferdinand? (again, changed name) Sure enough, one of the guys from my orientation class was launching that same day. It was good to see a familiar face here. I felt much more comfortable after that. After a quick "hi, how yah doin'" with Ferd, I met with Jeb and got all my gear loaded into his 06 Freightliner. This was finally happening.
As I mentioned, we had a load going to Pittston PA. coming from Winder GA. We had to be in Winder before 2 pm Marshfield time. (This time zone stuff is gonna take some getting used to.) So after a quick check of my log book (and about 1000 corrections) we pulled over to steal the empty trailer another driver was just unhooking. I did my first PAL (pin, airlines, landing gear, for those not familiar) and we were on our way.
The first day was mainly just getting to know each other. Jeb is easy to get along with and doesn't do any complaining. It's too bad I'll only be with him for a week. The evo's would go by really well with him. I hope the next trainer is as good.
We got into winder about 12:45 and I was a little surprised. I was expecting to see an enormous building with loading docks and 100's of trailers lined up in several rows. What I saw was an old trailer house with a few mailboxes in it for the carriers to pick up their paperwork, and about 60 trailers lined up in two lines, loaded down one lane, unloaded down the other. They were parked very close together, and Jeb felt this would be a very good opportunity for me to do my first backing maneuver between something that wasn't orange and only 18 inches tall (ie, not the construction cones I had been practicing with since first setting foot in a tractor/trailer). Now, I hadn't driven a tractor in over three weeks, except a couple hours in Marshfield, and apparently that is plenty of time for all of the muscles in my clutch leg to completely atrophy. I will tell everyone, that it is not very easy to back a 53' trailer into a very tight spot when your nervous and your left leg is shaking uncontrollably on the clutch. I had to stop and rest several times in that one maneuver. Luckily It didn't take me that long. A quick LAP with the empty, a PAL and pretrip with the loaded trailer and it was my turn to drive.
I Won't bore you with many driving details, but I was still struggling with my lower gears, I think I just need to get used to the shifting being so close together on the lower end. I don't seem to have any problems in the high range. Jeb gave me a few pointers and it seemed to help. The rest of the driving was Interstate so there wasn't much in the way of shifting. Just concentrating on the following distance of 7 seconds and checking mirrors constantly. And occasionally having to slow down on hills to avoid the beep on the qualcom indicating an "overspeed" violation. I had two of those. We pulled into a truckstop for a quick vehicle check, here is where I somehow managed to rev the engine to about million rpms, I'm not even sure how I did it, I heard the qualcom beep again, and Jeb informed me that they have a nice little place where they store all of your "over revs" too. Jeb took over to get us to where we were gonna take our break for the night. I drove 155 miles that day.
I was not sure what I should bring with me, as far as food was concerned, on this trip, so I didn't bring anything. Luckily, my sister was kind enough to give me a box of Cheezits and some chips before we left her house. (Once again, Thanks sis.) But as far as meals I had nothing. This truckstop had a Subway, but I didn't want to be spending 6 dollars for every meal out here, and they had nothing in the way of lunch meat. So i ended up with a Snickers bar for dinner. I will definitely be looking for lunch meat and bread at our next few stops.
We hit the road the next morning at 7:30 am in the pouring rain. Jeb took the wheel first. We hadn't been on the interstate more than 5 minutes when we start to see some red brake lights in the distance. We were driving up on an accident scene which had just occurred. Two guys on motorcycles drove into a downpour and lost it on the bridge. I had a very good look at the scene which was on the passenger side shoulder. Both cyclists were laying on the shoulder right next to the guardrail and a few other motorists standing beside them were helping out. "I hope they didn't hit that guardrail". This wasn't what I was expecting to see on my second day out here, but I'm guessing I can only expect see many more them in the future.
After a few stops for vehicle checks, quick breaks, and driver switches we get to Scranton and stay at the Pilot there. Got a shower in, and finally found some lunch meat to go with the bread I bought 2 stops back. We deliver in the morning at 8am for a live unload. I drove 290 miles.
We had gotten a pre plan that was gonna be pretty tight for the next day. Just to be safe, Jeb had me sleep in a little later in case we needed one more hour of drive time to get us to our stopping point for our 10 hour break. The preplan was for a drop and hook which picked up just a few miles from here, and was due to be in Salisbury, NC the next morning at 11 am local time. (10 am Central time, there's that time zone thing again). We only had about 3 extra hours to play with. We finish our live unload and move on to our drop and hook, but find out that we are now doing a live load because they had no empty Roehl trailers in the lot to load before we arrived. This is going to really eat up that 3 hours. It's a good thing I started an hour later. I ended up driving to within 45 minutes of my 14 to get to our stopping point, due to traffic backups in PA. That was close. We arrived at the consignee the following day with just 45 minutes to spare there too. We did our live unload in NC and moved on to our preplan which deadheaded us to Knoxville, TN to pick up a relay going to East Point, GA. I did the entire drive to Knoxville where we were to meet the relay driver at the T/A there. It was pouring rain, dark and I was going to do my first parking job in a crowded truckstop. I managed to get it parked with Jeb's help in a reasonable amount of time (I would just like to send a shout out at this time to the "dip wad" that unhooked his flatbed trailer in a parking spot and left it sticking out 10 to 12 feet too far) We stayed the night there to relay out the next morning. I drove 360 miles over the last two days.
We met up with the relay driver the next morning. He was going on hometime for a few days. (thus the relay) He is a trainer too. I kinda wonder if I'll be with him next week. Anyway. We hook to the new trailer, do our inspection and head off to East Point, GA for our drop. I did this 233 mile drive myself. We get into the consignee and make the drop, but as we are hooking up to the empty, we are stopped by the security guard who informs us they need all of the empty Roehl Trailers. We end up having to bobtail (driving without a trailer, for my family members) to Ellenwood in hopes of finding a trailer, and to await another load. No trailers there. So we sit and wait.
We get a preplan. I don't remember where we were picking up, but I do remember that it was suppose to drop in NC. My trainer was away at the time, so I went through the motions of deciding if we could make the delivery on time, and determined that we could. I had considered sending the preplan confirmation, but decided to wait. Good thing I did. I was right that we could have made the delivery, but I hadn't taken into account Jeb's 70 and the fact that his hometime was coming up not to mention the fact that we were sitting here without a trailer and would have to hunt one down before leaving. If I had accepted it. I would have unwittingly left us stuck somewhere between 2 and 6 hours (depending on how long it took to find a trailer) from Ellenwood and Jeb missing the first day of his hometime. Lesson Learned.
We got another load for this morning. This one was going to Cottonwood Alabama, and best of all we only had to bobtail 10 ft to pick up the loaded trailer next to us in the yard. It was delivering at 1200 the next day. We hooked on, pretripped, and went in to grab the paperwork. The paperwork said it weighed a wopping 5000 lbs and that the delivery time was midnight. We sent a QC message (QC = Qualcomm = computer in the truck that we use to communicate with dispatch) to find out exactly when this load was suppose to deliver. They assured us it was noon. You've probably already figured out where this is leading, but we get to the consignee (receiver) only to find out that it is indeed suppose to deliver at midnight. Now we have to drive to the closest rest stop just inside the florida border and take an 11 1/2 hour break. This time Jeb was taking no chances. He had me stay in the sleeper while he made the delivery.
I failed to mention that the loaded trailer we picked up was due for it's yearly dot required inspection in just 2 days. So there was no way we were going to be able to drop it somewhere for a drop and hook back to ellenwood. The trailer was also older than 10 years so that was going to eliminate the chance of getting a live load in Cottonton just a few miles away, because the shipper in Cottonton won't load freight into a trailer older than 10 years. Jeb figured we were going to have to deadhead (drive with an empty trailer) back to Ellenwood, but wasn't positive. To be safe he had me stay in that sleeper til 9 am the next morning, thus ensuring that we would get home for hometime. It was a double whammy for him. He had to start his day at 2300 but also had to stay on duty until we got back to ellenwood because Roehl won't team trainies. (that's a good thing, BTW). We got back to ellenwood at about 1545.
That morning I had sent a message to dispatch explaining that I would like to try and complete evo's 1 and 2 without taking hometime between (to avoid the fiasco of the Wednesday morning before). There were no available trainers in the area, but there was a rental car on the way down from Nasheville, in which they were going to send me and another trainie up to Gary to meet up with a couple of trainers, and a female trainie who was to be dropped off in Indiana. The other guy and I drove the entire way. (not only did this girl not offer to drive part of the way, but refused too.) So now the other guy and I have trainers waiting, and we'll get there with no sleep. I guess I won't be getting any drive time (in the truck) today. Oh well, I'm having a good time anyway.
I guess I failed. It ended up being a play by play after all.Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
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