Raider Express - Ft. Worth, Texas (Training Blog)

Discussion in 'Motor Carrier Questions - The Inside Scoop' started by TexasMike, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
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    Well we ended up taking two full days off as Tom needed a bit more time taking care of things with his mom than he thought.

    But I stayed on top of dispatch and we picked up a load of beer Thursday morning that had been T-Called on the yard and took it up to Oklahoma City, OK. Was a pretty quick run and we got that done in just under six hours. If you've ever done it you know that the run up I35 from DFW to OKC is a quick one and the receiver was a fast unload, they had us in and out of there in thirty minutes.

    Once we got clear and sent in our MT call we got a quick response and dead headed up to Junction City, KS for a pickup. It was a hot load that was already ready for pickup that was already running late, and it was fourteen hours overdue for pickup once we got there. However, they didn't really seem to care *shrug*.

    We got it picked up and scaled out then made a run for the KTA (Kansas Turnpike Authority) rest/truck stop at mile marker 53 just outside of Andover, KS. We got there about 2am and packed it in for a bit of sleep. Since the sausage we picked up was already late, us taking our time wasn't going to make a difference, and it was going back to Ft. Worth so we hoped that once we got there we could get a long load out of there, but as you will tell soon, that wasn't going to happen.

    I woke up around 7am and got us going again heading for Ft. Worth. The drive down was very nice till we hit Oklahoma. Man that state sucks and I mean big time. The roads are just plain horrible, I35 is like riding a roller coaster the whole way, just plain rough as hell.

    We got into Ft. Worth and drooped the load at the receiver around 6pm and then bob-tailed over to our yard about ten miles away to pickup an empty trailer for our next load.

    We got the load information in route and groaned, another pickup at Quaker in Grand Prairie going to Denver. Denver has been hell lately and getting back out has been a pain as I told you about on my previous adventure up there.

    Once we got the trailer and headed over to Quaker for the pickup we found out the load wasn't due for delivery till 11pm CDT on Sunday. UGH! It was only Friday night.

    So once we got to Quaker and they started to load we hatched a plan. Since I live in Irving just five miles from the Quaker distribution center we decided to spend the night at my house and start off sometime on Saturday as we had over 50 hours till delivery.

    Once we loaded up we headed to Irving and parked at the Wal-Mart and called my wife. She and my son came and picked us up and we all went out to eat at Outback Steakhouse just a mile away then headed to my house. When we arrived Tom said he was going to sleep in the truck instead of our guest room cause he didn't want to leave the loaded trailer alone.

    So he took a shower cleaned up and I took him back to the truck, and then went back home myself. I got up around 8am and had my wife drop me back off at the truck, I let Tom sleep and took off.

    Once thing I can say about the run to Denver, it is quite easy. US287 is a nice road most of the way (except the hour you spend in Oklahoma) and is a very easy drive. We swapped out in Springfield, CO and Tom drove us on to Limon, CO where he packed it in at the Flying J truck stop.

    Since we were so close we both slept late, I didn't even get up till about 9am went in a took a shower and got us going around 11am. Since we had plenty of time, I decided to go to Church at Our Lady Mother of the Church Catholic Parish in Commerce City, CO not far from the TA Truck stop. It is a pretty nice parish, but they seem a bit to progressive for me, but overall it was a nice place to visit for Mass.

    The fuel mileage was still bugging me so I stopped off at the TA after Church to have the fuel filters looked at again, the shop manager wanted to argue with me because I wanted them to re-service the truck under warranty since we just had it done like ten days ago. Finally he relented and they took the truck in.

    Sure enough, looks like we got a bad filter. The enclosed primary filter was black where it had been completely white when they originally installed it. Hopefully now we'll get back up to over 7.0 mpg.

    After the service stop, we headed on up to Longmont, CO for the drop off of our Gatorade. We decided since we hadn't eaten all day we were going to stop on the way. We ended up stopping at Texas Roadhouse in Thornton, CO for dinner. I'll say this about the place, they bill it as Texas food, and it may look like it, but it isn't. The dinner was good, but definitely not "Texas Style" like they billed.

    So, now we are sitting at a truck stop just down the road from the receiver and our delivery isn't till 11pm, however they said we could go ahead and check in at 9:30pm when I called earlier and will try and unload us early (no promises of course!).
     
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  3. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

    322
    134
    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    0
    Thanks, I'm doing my best :)

    I decided to go reefer for a few reasons, one was folks always have to eat :) and you can haul dry in a reefer as well so the load availability is higher than just pulling straight dry van.

    Raider runs all 48 states and Canada. However, Canada is an extreme rarity. The primary lanes we run are meat plants in Texas and Colorado throughout the southern mid-west. We do have some east coast stuff, but just about all of it runs up to New York and New Jersey.
     
  4. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

    322
    134
    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    0
    Well, we got up and arrived early at the shipper with the hopes that we would be able to get loaded and get out early and sure enough they were kind to us and we got out about an hour ahead of schedule.

    Since the load needed to be in La Porte, Texas at 8:00am Thursday we were anxious to get going so we could be on time. 1087 miles is do able in two days, but with pretty constant driving and little time for breaks. The 14 hour work rule really screws up driving schedules, every driver hope they get rid of it or modify it at the hearings this summer.

    We finally got underway at noon central time and floored it for Texas, well as much as we can floor it since we are restricted to 61 mph. US287 is a good highway to drive and is a straight shot from Denver, Colorado to Ft. Worth, Texas. The only thing bad about it is about every 10-20 miles you have to slow down to 30 mph because of some podunk town, otherwise the highway is 65/70 all the way.

    One thing I have noticed is we move a lot of freight on US287. On average you see a Raider truck going the other way about every hour, and it doesn't matter if you are going North or South on it. Seems like half the fleet (about 100 trucks) is on US287 going one way or the other every day. So it seems pretty natural for it to be called Raider Highway, at least that is the nickname we've given it.

    Well, I decided to do a hard push and shoot for getting to Amarillo, Texas before calling it quits for the day. It took nearly eleven hours of solid driving, with only pit stops every two hours for about five to ten minutes to use the restroom and check the reefer status.

    After arriving at 11pm central time I stopped at the Loves Truck Stop to fuel up and take a shower. While I was inside Tom finally woke up and stated he wanted to drive for a few hours, so I was game. We had talked earlier about pushing to try and get to Ft. Worth by noon on Wednesday so we could see if we could either pawn off the La Porte load on someone else or at least take a short evening break at the house and drive all night to get to Houston for the delivery at 8am on Thursday.

    He drove till about 4:30am and stopped in Vernon, Texas to camp out till my rest time was over. I really didn't notice other than to move from the bottom bunk to the top bunk once we parked.

    I got up at 9am, pre-triped the truck and took off, getting us into the Ft. Worth yard just before 1pm which was pretty good time.

    While we were in the yard they took the load off our hands and gave it to another driver because they wanted us to do an Odessa, Texas multi-stop run for AWG (Alberton's) so I could get experience doing that before they hopefully cut me loose in my own truck next week.

    Another reason being is we were both randomly selected for drug testing, figure the odds on that one will ya :)

    Since we had to do that, it was a good time to put the truck in the shop and have the engine looked at while we were gone. Frankly, there has been something wrong with the truck since I started driving it after it went through it's quarterly PM before I joined Tom.

    The truck has just about no power in it when climbing hills, we have had to literally triple down-shift just to make it up 2% grade hills at 30 mph, and the fuel economy has been in the toilet. We've barely been getting 6.1 mpg where we should be getting 7.5 or more.

    After our drug screens we checked on the truck when we got back and found that two of the fuel pumps were going bad and they were going to replace them, we've been assured that the repairs should fix the problems we've been having, we'll see ...

    So now I sit at the AWG distribution center waiting for our load, which won't even be available till close to midnight, then it's an all night drive to Odessa, Texas to start our deliveries by 8am.
     
  5. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

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    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
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    Well, we finally got loaded out a bit early and left for Midland, Texas around 9pm on Wednesday night. This was by far the easiest load I've had yet as far as driving is concerned.

    I20 is a great interstate with the exception of the 10 mile single lane construction zones, those can be a pain. I swear they put those k-rails to close together to piss off truckers ;)

    Once we got out to Midland around 3:30 am we started our deliveries and got both stores done by 7:00 am, then we took a brief nap till dispatch told us what we were doing next. Lucky for us we just pulled a back haul from the store we last delivered to.

    Once we loaded up all their return merchandise, pallets and cardboard trash we floored it back to Ft. Worth, Texas.

    In route I figured out that I was about to run out of hours so we talked about it and I'm going to take a 34 hour reset and he is going to go solo for another AWG load tonight and then take Friday night off to see his mom.

    We'll head out again on Saturday morning ... supposedly I'm supposed to be getting into my own truck next Friday when Tom pulls in for a three day break. We'll see, I'm hopeful myself ... he's been telling them since the end of my first week I was ready to go solo.
     
  6. Big Duker

    Big Duker "Don Cheto"

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Weatherford, TX
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    Hey Mike you do much hand unloading like in W TX? What is it mainly pallet jack loads on those. Sounds like you are progressing well. Hope they cut you loose soon so you can get that Big Money.:biggrin_2559:
     
  7. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

    322
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    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    0
    No, we do not do any hand loading. We have the option if we want instead of paying for lumpers, but I'd rather pay the lumpers and sleep than hand unload 30 palets of meat for $25.00. :)
     
  8. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

    322
    134
    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    0
    Tom and I met at 8:00am on Saturday at the truck and got things rolling. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I was ready for some serious wheel time after being off nearly two days.

    We took off from the yard and hit the AmeriCold warehouse and headed north to North Platte, Nebraska. Unfortunately the route took us through Oklahoma but at least it was during the daytime.

    The drive itself was pretty uneventful, just long. We swapped out in Phillipsburg, Kansas and Tom drove us on to North Platte, Nebraska and parked us at the Flying J for the rest of the night around 2:00am.

    I got up at 8:00am and hit the showers at the Flying J and got us on the road to our receiver. However, here is where we caught a glitch. We both knew that we were delivering to the Wal-Mart DC up there however the address we got from dispatch was to an actual store. Talk about a mess, we got to the store and of course they didn't know what to do with us. Finally we got ahold of the receiving manager and he gave us the correct address and directions to the DC.

    After pissing around for an hour we finally got to the DC which was about 10 miles away and got ourselves unloaded.

    Luckily for us, as soon as we sent our MT call we got another load assignment. This one was going to be a good long one.

    We dead-headed 222 miles to Schuyler, Nebraska to the ConAgra meat packing facility and found out that our loaded trailer was waiting for us. So we dropped our empty and picked up the new one and took off, back to Texas :)

    I've always said all roads at Raider lead to Ft. Worth and this one is no different. It was a multi-stop load, but we've already been informed they were going to give us another load once we got to the Ft. Worth yard and someone else would make the multi-stop deliveries.

    Woke up on Monday at the Yard in Ft. Worth after sleeping like a brick to find that our load had been taken off of us and we had been assigned a 3:00am Tuesday delivery in Amarillo.

    However, before we could take off for that they gave me my own truck, very temporarily, so I could help Tom shuttle reefers around town to shippers. So for two hours we moved trailers and got bored.

    Finally, once we were done we found out that we had a live load and only eight hours to get to Amarillo for our appointment time ... ####.

    We got over to the Nestle DC and luckily for us they already have the load processed and ready to put on the truck, so we only waited about an hour before we could take off.

    So at 8pm I pulled us out of the Nestle lot ready for a long haul non-stop run to Amarillo.

    Now, I really hate Oklahoma roads, but US287 which we call the Raider Highway is so much under construction and there are so many little towns that you have to drop from 70 to
    20 in less than a mile that traveling on it can be a ##### when your in a hurry, especially in Witchita Falls, Texas that it is beyond frustrating.

    However, even though I stopped in Quannah, Texas for half an hour to use the restroom and stretch I made it at exactly 3:00am at the gate to the receiver.

    As soon as I got in and pulled into my door I checked in and hit the bed.

    They woke us up about three hours later and said we were ready to go, and Tom took over and drove us up to Cactus, Texas to get ready for our next load.

    However, due to some backlog they can't explain we won't be getting out of here till at least Wednesday morning. So Tom and I each got a room at the Dumas Inn in Dumas, Texas just a few miles down the road. Least tonight I'll be able to take several hot showers and watch decent TV, or God forbid actually play World of Warcraft for a bit on my laptop :)
     
  9. Big Duker

    Big Duker "Don Cheto"

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Weatherford, TX
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    Does Raider pay for your rooms or are you just splurging? To bad you weren't laid over in Dalhart. There is one really good restaurant/steakhouse there. Can't remember the name of road, but it is a major road East off 287 a few blocks before you cross railroad tracks. Plenty of parking. Salad bar was about like Steak & Ale's. Used to stop there every time I was through there during business hours. Darn , now I'm hungry for some of those grilled pork chops or steaks. :biggrin_2552: Sounds like you hooked up with a good outfit. Nice to hear something but the Swift, CRE, Werner horror stories.:yes2557:
     
  10. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

    322
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    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    0
    Raider does pay for hotel rooms when the truck is not available to sleep in, such as being in the shop while your on the road.

    So in this case, yea I'm splurging on myself.
     
  11. TexasMike

    TexasMike "Big Tex"

    322
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    Jan 28, 2008
    Dallas/Ft. Worth
    0
    Well, things didn't work out as well for us today as we wanted. We hung out in our hotel rooms till check-out time at noon because dispatch didn't have anything for us yet.

    We kept calling every two hours and nothing. However, at 4pm they finally made a decision, we were both getting separate loads, and I was getting my own truck!

    Little background information here, back on March 28th they fired a driver while he was in Cactus, Texas while waiting for a load. I'm not sure on the whole story why, but apparently he'd been sitting a while waiting and smarted off to someone in management and they'd had enough of his crap so to speak. So he had to clean out his truck and leave it up there at one of our truck wash contract locations.

    On the Saturday after that Tom and I drove by and saw the truck sitting there and told our driver manager that when we returned from Denver we'd be happy to bring the truck back, either bob-tail or pulling a load to Ft. Worth. Tom had assured them then that I was ready to go out on my own, and they were all for it at the time but they decided to just let it sit.

    When we came up on Monday and saw that it was still there after ten days we told them since we were in Cactus we'd pull two loads to get it back. Seems this time they took the hint and gave me the truck as my own. Well at least till I could get it back to Ft. Worth.

    They are still turning me loose once I get back to Ft. Worth on my own, Tom is going his own way. Probably to Denver they haven't told him yet.

    So as of tonight when I pickup my load in Cactus, I'm free! Free at last!

    So, I guess this is the end of my training blog, but never fear! I'll still be here on the forums, and if you want to keep up with my new driver stories you can check out my blog {PM me if you want the URL, not sure I can post it in a forum post} and of course I'll be starting a semi-active thread on my new solo experiences with the company.

    Thanks to everyone who has been reading my posts.:biggrin_25514:
     
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