Swift - Starting the New Year training with Swift 1/7/13 - A long read...

Discussion in 'Swift' started by DocWatson, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. Wolfyinc

    Wolfyinc Road Train Member

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    totally agree, I would get clutch leg all the time in the internationals I drove which had some very heavy clutches. I LOVE my cascadia for the easy clutch and I deal with a lot of traffic at times delivering in the LA area all the time.
     
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  3. TeamingW/BF

    TeamingW/BF Bobtail Member

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    I wonder if team drivers get the 1500+ mile loads more often than the solo drivers do???
     
  4. Lepton1

    Lepton1 Road Train Member

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    Absolutely yes they do. Pay for the total miles is split between the drivers.

    I've delivered over 160 loads since going solo at the end of June. Of that I estimate about 20 might have been over 1500 miles, with the longest couple about 2000 miles. Since I'm based out of Mira Loma and the normal routine for getting you an empty trailer is you have to make a local delivery live unload, then I have quite a number of loads less than 50 miles. Average load length for me has been about 375 miles.

    Getting multiday loads as a solo driver is pure joy. Then you have days where you aren't dealing with dispatch or waiting for a load, and just drive and plan your day for where and when you want to start and stop.
     
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  5. MysticHZ

    MysticHZ Road Train Member

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    It's not length of a load, it's velocity ... A 1500 mile load is useless to a team if there is more than 36 hours on it for delivery. You always want to keep your truck running, whether you're solo or team.
     
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  6. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    Hope everyone is safe out there with this crazy weather.

    I'm in Rolla, Missouri at a Days Inn right off of I-44. If anyone ever needs a last minute place to crash there is a decent sized truck parking lot next door to the Days Inn.

    Swift is putting me up after my heater quit on me in the truck last night while I was stuck on I-70 in Illinois for over 14 hours!
    Not sure exactly what happened up ahead of me as I slowly creeped through that storm last night but after cruising at 17 mph for a long time traffic came to a stop and didn't pick up again until the morning. That's the first time I've ever taken my 10 while parked on the interstate.

    For the first few hours I wasn't worrying as my heater was working, I had food and my tv. But after a few hours I noticed it starting to get colder and colder inside the truck. I looked at my water temp gauge and it was as low as it could be - 140 degrees. My oil temp was also almost all the way down although the oil pressure was ok. I tried upping the revs for a while to see if I could get the engine water temp up but it didn't work. As the temperature plunged below 0 the temp in my truck also plunged. It was dropping about 10 degrees every 1.5 hours. I sent a breakdown macro. I got back the message stating that the wait was 180 minutes. I called and waited an hour for someone to pick up. On Road was absolutely swamped with calls due to the weather. I was told to call 911 if the temp dropped to a dangerous level that night but most likely the cops were tied up with all the other accidents and mishaps. So, I crawled under my covers, kept the truck running and watched a movie until I fell asleep.
    I woke up the next morning to a pounding on my door. It was almost violent. I jumped up and there was an Illinois trooper standing there. I also noticed that the trucks that were in front of me were now gone. The truck next to me to my right was still parked and the trucker behind me was getting woke up next. I don't envy that troopers job. I got myself together quickly, threw my boots on and started to head down the interstate. It was mostly deserted.

    I counted at least 40 different trucks and passenger vehicles that had spun out into the snow in the median, jackknifed, spun off into the snow on the shoulder or trucks that flipped over. Twice I came upon a scene that was almost apocalyptic. There were 5-6 vehicles, campers, semis, cars, all jumbled together in a bunch in the snowy median. I passed 3-4 Swift trucks that had left the road and were disabled. It was a crazy scene slowly creeping down this major interstate on a patch of thick ice and packed snow seeing this. At times there were snow banks that had formed in the middle of the interstate. That's not counting the number of trucks pulled over to the side of the road or just sitting in the middle of the interstate with mechanical problems. It was insane.

    The previous night, before the major backup, I witnessed a semi cruise by me only to be jack knifed on the right shoulder a few miles up. A small Chevy passed me slowly and then about 1/4 mile up ahead of me he lost it and it spun around facing my truck in the opposite lane of mine.

    I remember when we hit the bottleneck and stopped on the freeway and a couple of times we had moved up a few feet before completely stopping for the night. When I pulled up I was going so slow that my GPS didn't register my speed, it said "0", yet when I tried to stop I slid to stop. I couldn't feel more fortunate to have 42,000 lbs in my truck because if I had a light load or an empty trailer I would have been doomed. I would have shut down back in Indianapolis.

    That morning I had stayed at a WAlmart east of INdy. The previous night I went into Walmart to get some supplies and the shelves were empty in places. The nightcrew was stocking as usual but there was a different vibe in the air. Upon not being able to locate my 2% milk or any rolls I started talking to one of the stockers. I asked if they were doing a reset or something and he told me about the impending storm coming. That night! I was under the impression when I drove down from west of Chicago earlier in the day (which was sketchy in and of itself all the way down past Gary) that the storm was a couple of days off. I checked the weather on my phone and sure enough, it was coming. NOthing I could do but shut down where I was at Walmart as my hours were up. I woke that morning, yesterday morning, to a fresh snowfall and the Walmart lot was already a mess. I debated just staying there in Walmart but I figured I would be stuck there for many days and it was better to just get going and try to get west towards Texas, my destination. I surveyed the best way out of the lot considering the poor traction and my heavy load and gunned it out and hit the road.

    I just barely made it even though I hit the storm head all the way out to Illinois. I heard today on the radio that Indy was completely closed to traffic other than emergency vehicles. It's best that I left when I did although sitting on the interstate for 14+ hours wasn't exactly fun.

    Slow and steady wins the race. I had a low average speed today but I didn't wreck. I didn't jackknife or hit another car. Crazy day and I look forward to getting down to Texas. Load was due tonight but I'm still over 800 miles away. It will get there but it's gonna be late.
     
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  7. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    What is the 36 hours? Is that a Swift standard for most deliveries?
     
  8. TeamingW/BF

    TeamingW/BF Bobtail Member

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    Good point MysticHZ. Doc said that he enjoyed the long miles between loads; so, I figured I'd get to enjoy the long miles between the loads teaming.

    Wouldn't mind finding out what everyone thinks about teaming. I was supposed to be starting Swift school today in Corsicana, TX, but my teammate didn't pass the DOT physical due to his high blood pressure. Hopefully this gets straightened out in the next week and a half. Think you would ever entertain teaming with the right person Doc? How about ever entertaining the thought of driver trainer?
     
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  9. MysticHZ

    MysticHZ Road Train Member

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    36 hours is about 8 hours more than a good team needs to run 1500 miles ... there's a point when running team, that if you have too much time on the loads, you are essentially running solo but trying to make 2 paychecks.

    A long run when you're solo gives you some flexibility in how you spend your time. A little more relaxing than loading/unloading every day.

    But as team, there's no such thing. Teaming means the truck always runs. If not, you don't make the money you should.
     
  10. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    I don't think I could team but I would possibly consider training later down the road. Not now tho. Sounds contradictory since after the first week or so of training you basically run as a team anyway. But I guess maybe with training it would be different because you would change partners every 4 to 6 weeks. I'm not sure. For now I love being solo. I like my personal space and doing what I want to do. I can be as anal as I want all by myself and keep my space the way I want it. Not sure if I could handle accommodating someone else in the truck with me as a trainer. And as a trainer you have to be somewhat reasonably accommodating. I had 4 trainers and they ran the gamut of being very loose and accommodating (yet he was my worse trainer) all the way to the other end of the spectrum (trainer was completely and unreasonably anal and not accommodating yet knew his stuff). So for now I'm not ready for it. Enjoying what I got right now.
     
  11. DocWatson

    DocWatson Road Train Member

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    I see. It would seem 36 hours would be more than enough time to run 1500 miles but I guess depending on location and weather that could vary. I figure on a good day that runs smoothly you can knock out 600-650 miles.

    One of the things I love about those longer trips is just looking ahead and planning out when and approximately where I'm going to stop and when I'm going to start the next shift. There's something about those long runs where you have 3 or 4 days ahead of you that I love. I get excited.

    No shippers to deal with. Get the scaling out of the way. You dont have to have contact with the terminal. All the nonsense is gone and you can just drive. Send your macros everyday, do your pretrips and be safe. The rest is just fun. Its those times when I don't feel like I'm working as much and I feel like I'm getting paid to travel and to just enjoy driving a truck. Its always the non driving stuff that is tough at times.

    I can't remember the last 2000 mile run I've had. I've probably only had about 2 total. I remember one was from Bremerton WA Pocking up raw wood to bring to the Gibson Guitar factory in Memphis. Fun run with all those miles ahead of me. I guess it is rare for solo drivers to get the high mile runs when you got teams that can do it quicker and more efficiently. I can understand that.
     
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