One last thing about training...
I have a lot of time to think while I'm driving and I actually run scenarios in my head thinking about things that come up pretty often that I think should be taught to new drivers. There are so many basic things that I think were skipped over and should have been repeated when I was a student trainee.
Something I think any new trainer should do is take the month prior to the trainer orientation class to jot down some of the common things that we do that we forget to tell trainees. Things that are important but easily glossed over. Dealing with shippers. Moving tandems. Paperwork. Macros. Scaling. Parking. Trucking etiquette. Backing tricks. Using the kiosk. Parking options and how that changes regionally. How to see disaster and how to avoid it or at least mitigate it. Its a lot for a trainee to take in but with repetition and habit it will at least not be as foreign when the student goes out on their own. Just some things to cover with a trainee. Give them some confidence for when they go out on their own - confident not ####y. I think a good sit down at the initial meeting between trainer and trainee to establish objectives and outline expectations, rules and what is planned to be accomplished would help. Just an outline would help a lot.
Swift - Starting the New Year training with Swift 1/7/13 - A long read...
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I headed east out of Gary Sunday morning... was already nasty.
Indianapolis was about the worst I've seen.
Like you said, snow banks on the interstate lanes with just one lane barely drivable.
And cars smashed everywhere.
Some dummy flew past me in one clearish area, watched him spin out up ahead.
A little later, same dummy fluking past.
A few miles up the road, same dummy, but this time he smashes the median ha!
Was hairy, but guess I really missed the worst of it from your story.
I almost shut down 3 times.
Checked the radar.... 20 miles east it changed to rain..... YES!
Glad you made it through the holidays and all the crazy weather this week. My hubby go a new driver leader after he managed to talk to the right people. He went off on some poor person. He was home for Christmas and then got lucky enough to have a load come by the house this past weekend and he needed to do a 34 so lucky him was home part of Saturday and Sunday. His hometime is scheduled for the 18 th. he just left Indiana last Friday.
Currently at the Tucamcari, NM Pilot. Got a load that picked up from Bother, TX (north of Amarillo) heading to just south of Phoenix. I can't tell ya how excited I am that I'm on dry roads, its sunny and nearly tropical compared to that weather I had thru Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.
I made it to my destination after that last run but late as can be due to that storm. Because I had no heat that prior night Swift couldn't get me to a repair shop the following day so they put me in a Days Inn in Missouri and will reimburse me. The place was nasty let me tell you but it was cheap - $50. A night with tax. I almost felt itchy there but I've seen worse. Honestly I would have rather been in my truck but didn't want to risk no heat again. Temp was below -10 when I parked plus wind chill. Somehow, the next morning my heat was working fine in the truck. The only thing I can think of is that the thermostat is sticking or starting to break. Not sure. The rest of the way down was pretty uneventful other than some slick spots here and there. By the time I hit Oklahoma I was on easy street...
Sitting here in the beautiful, sunny and warm weather of Eloy, AZ, about half way between Tucson and Phoenix near the junction of I-8 and I-10. You can't beat this weather. I have both windows rolled down, short sleeve shirt on and I'm debating digging out my shorts and exposing my pasty legs to anyone that dares to look.
I picked up fertilized of some type from north of Amarillo, TX delivering this morning nearby in Casa Grande, AZ.
Guys unloading me weren't too happy that I was almost a day late but such is life. The shipper was 48 miles from the nearest scale. I knew load was heavy and there was a discrepancy between the weight they stated they loaded and the weight reflected on their scale. The math wasn't adding up. I went by what they said and drove to the Pilot in Amarillo to scale the load. 80,500. So drove the 48 miles back to the shipper and went through the whole process again - drive up to little phone and call to get into gate. Drive in and park on their scale. Get out, go to the booth and call them. Send paperwork through tube shoot thing back to them. Drive up, unlock trailer, back into mobile dock thing and get extra weight removed. I had 2 pallets removed, closed the trailer and did the process in reverse. Drove the 48 miles back to the Pilot. Scaled, moved 5th wheel and tandems, and reweighed. Got the weights good to go and my day was nearly over.
I was cutting a path west on I-40 then heading south-southwest down Highway 54 down and across New Mexico. In looking at my route I decided it was best to shut down in Tucumcari, NM before continuing further down 54.
The next day was wonderful driving through the heart of New Mexico from the near northeast end down to the near southwest end of the state.
Highway 54 took me from basically Tucumcari, NM down to Alamogordo and then on 70 over to Las Cruces, then west on I-10 into Arizona.
Towns like Vaughn and Carrizozo had remnants of old 1950's Americana everywhere - old motels with names like The Starlite or The Desert Palms were everywhere, old hamburger and milkshake places like The Freeze all now shuttered and closed, just an empty skeleton wearing the clothes of yesterday. Downtown shops, alternately shuttered closed or struggling to survive while the new "shops" on the outskirts, those nasty chains, thrived and sucked the life blood from those mom and pop shops forming the old heart of these towns. It's something I have noticed whenever I get the chance to get off the interstates and take these smaller state highways. I want to stop, park the truck and take pictures before it is too late and they are gone.
It's always the same. These places replaced by the local gas station/mini market/convenience store chain. We are at fault because this is where we shop. I am at fault. In the larger towns you always come up to that stretch of convenient and cheaper chain restaurants and stores. They are the same everywhere, indistinctive, faceless models of corporate goodness and clever marketing down to the positioning and coloring beckoning us in and forcing us to ignore those places that once had a face and character. Its something I notice constantly. I read a book years ago called (I think) The Geography of Nowhere that covers this phenomenon more in depth. It helped me notice this unfortunate reality even more than I care to.
Regardless, I do love cutting through the old towns and getting a brief glimpse into a different life.Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
At the termination of Highway 54 where I began to catch Highway 70 in Alamogordo I started to run into the area of the White Sands National Monument. Very cool. Like a sandy beach in the middle of the desert.
It was odd to see. Just another one of those places that makes this country outstanding.
The dunes cover about 275 miles and are made up of gypsum. Unlike beach sand which is quartz based and can be unbearable to walk on in the summer with bare feet, this sand stays cool to the touch regardless of how hot it gets. That's a little bit of Cliff Claven info, free of charge found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sands_National_Monument.
I wish I could have driven my truck down the Dunes Road into the interior of the monument, took my boots and socks off and felt that sand run between my toes.
It shares the same area with the White Sands Missile Range. I couldn't see anything really other than some low cattle, barbed wire fencing with signs warning not to trespass. Some info. here .... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Sands_National_Monument
At one point along this trip my fuel got low. Real low. Lower than I have ever driven the truck. I've been down to where my fuel light comes on just below 1/8 tank and then fueled sometime later before I hit the "E" mark. This time, due to a fueling location not taking Comdata, I pushed on almost to my detriment. My fuel was down to the "E" mark this time as I crossed over San Augustin Pass, 5719 ft. elevation, just east of Las Cruces. As I chugged up the mountain I was talking quietly to my Prostar "please just get me over the pass and down to the Love's and I won't ever run you this low on food again. I promise. Please..."
Somehow, I'm not sure how, I made it to my fuel stop. I was opened up for 99 gallons and that was good enough. That put me a little below the 1/2 way mark on my fuel guage and I was happy. Crisis diverted. My mistake though and it wont happen again.
Somewhere near the Arizona border or somewhere after I crossed it I hit one of those immigration checkpoints.
"Are you a U.S. citizen?"
"Anyone inside your trailer?"
"Are there any people inside your trailer?"
"Um, no, not today"
I'm trying to figure out all the cameras and other electronic wizardry you pass in front of before you actual speak to a human. I would swear one of them took my picture as I thought I had seen a flash as I crossed in front of them. Some of it looks like videocameras and some of it I think might be some type of x-ray machine to scan the inside of the trailers. Some of it may be brain scanning and mind reading equipment or possibly a remotely-activated laser ray gun to destroy those opposed to the current health plan format. Ok, maybe not. Where's my tinfoil hat? It looks like quite the setup. I managed to take a quick cellphone pic, surreptitiously as my cell is mounted to my dash and taking a pic off to the front and right only requires me to push a button. I haven't seen any black helicopters following me since I took that pic but I'm still looking. I am curious what all this equipment out on the side of the road is tho.
I made it that day, yesterday, all the way to the Walmart in Benson, AZ just east of Tucson. I wouldn't suggest parking here though as it took some sweet talk and compliments to one of the Walmart managers and then some face to face confirmation once I got there to be allowed to park. It was a quiet night and I started my pretrip just after 0300.Last edited: Jan 11, 2014
Still at the Eloy Pilot. I finally got a load that I accepted picking up tomorrow nearby and tcalling over in Calexico, CA. Only 275 miles loaded. I gotta get something with miles after this next load since by the time I drop off tomorrow I'll have 325 miles in the last 5 days. This is ridiculous.
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