Hopefully they get your truck fixed soon for you. $100.00 a day free and clear is ok but if your like me, not moving is a killer. I was broke down 5 days in Modesto just to barely make it to sfs to be broke down for over a week. It was so boring. Thank god for the drivers that were there most of the time or i would have gone crazy...lol
Watkins & Shepard - The Adventure Begins October 8th
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Tuesday morning. I called the shop for an update and they told me that Volvo had sent the wrong parts, so now they're waiting on the right parts to be sent. Truck still in the shop. I have to check out of the hotel in about an hour. I'm going to put my clean laundry back in the truck and probably spend another day camped out in the truck stop's cafe.
So I got a phonecall from the Dalton terminal letting me know they had a load out for me and wanting to know if I'd be there Tuesday night or Wednesday sometime. He had pretty much expected me to be in Dalton by Monday night (my delivery was originally scheduled for Monday morning). WS had put my truck number on a list of available trucks in the area and had neglected to mention that I was in the area, but broken down in Kentucky. I told him I'd call him and give them an ETA after I was up and running.
Tuesday afternoon, they asked me to pull the trailer (just down to the next exit and back, so about seven miles) to test it out and make sure everything was okay. Everything seemed fine. I broke down a little before 5pm on Saturday, so the truck being ready around 2pm on Tuesday means I'm three hours shy of getting paid for three days of breakdown. Which stinks. When I was getting in the truck to do the test drive, I noticed that the fuel primer pump (which I'd gotten from the mechanic at Taylor and for which the truck had already seen two mechanics before the breakdown) was still in its box. I asked why they hadn't fixed it and they said that Watkins-Shepard specifically told them not to. So my truck was going to have to go to the Dalton shop before I could get another load. Great. I don't understand why WS did that. The shop I was broken down at was the shop that does all the repair for our Richmond, Kentucky terminal anyway. If the truck only spends part of a day in the shop, I don't get paid anything. So almost three days in the shop in Kentucky (two days of breakdown pay) and three partial days (Conover, Taylor and Dalton) for which I don't get paid anything. That's a lot of wasted time. My time.
I sent QualComm messages to dispatch letting them know that the repair was done. I called the broker and asked whether they preferred for me to deliver it late Tuesday night or early Wednesday. They opted for Wednesday. I let Dalton know I'd be there sometime Wednesday afternoon. I drove until I was a little over an hour for the delivery and pulled over at a rest stop. It was getting late enough in the day that I was afraid if I tried to get closer to the delivery, I wouldn't be able to find anywhere to park. Even knowing I was going to be dealing with Atlanta traffic in the morning.
I ended up taking some small state highways in order to avoid some backups on the interstate. I hate driving in Atlanta. The backups aren't even usually caused by a wreck, but just by the interchanges being really poorly designed for the volume of traffic. Delivered and received my next trip info over the QualComm. I reminded the dispatcher that I was going to Dalton for them to finish the repair on the truck and that I wouldn't confirm my next trip until the truck was ready.
When they send the load and fuel routing for your next trip before you've finished the one you're on, the fuel stops are wrong. I didn't have any fuel stops for my trip out of Dalton, despite the fact that I was almost out of fuel. In orientation, we were told to call and get a fuel stop from the guy in the main office in charge of fuel so that we wouldn't get in trouble for out-of-route fuel stops. I was doing that every time for the first two months, only to find out that it doesn't matter whether you call and talk to him and have him tell you where to fuel. It still goes on your file/record as an out-of-route fuel stop. ###### if you do, ###### if you don't. It makes no sense.
At the end of the trip, when you send the "empty and available" QualComm message, it asks you how much fuel you have from 0 to 8. So basically, how many eighths of a tank. You can't put any less than three, because it messes the computer up somehow (as the fuel guy explained in orientation), so even if you have less than that, you have to put at least three. I have about a sixteenth of a tank, so I'm going to have to put fuel in the truck before I head up to Dalton.
It took Dalton a few hours to fix the truck. They loaned me the terminal car in the meantime and I went to Walmart and stocked up on food and water.
My load wasn't going to be ready until almost midnight, so I tried to get some sleep. It's pretty much impossible to shift your sleep schedule that much in one day (I'm used to starting my day at 5 or 6am), so I got hardly any. I was supposed to take a load from Dalton and drop/hook in Kentucky (some dirt lot just off an interstate) and essentially switch loads with another driver. I had no idea what QualComm messages to send for that, so I just kept sending qc61 and explaining where I was in the process. I had been told (by the other driver) that after I switched loads, I'd need a new trip number, but multiple messages to dispatch asking for it got no response. I didn't get the trip number, fuel routing or load routing until I had already finished the trip the next day around noon.
Whenever I have a question, I end up having to ask about eight different people before I get an answer. Dispatch will ignore direct questions for hours or days, but if I don't respond immediately to a message from them (usually because I'm driving), I get harassed with multiple phonecalls and QualComm messages unless/until I respond. And if it were something that needed an immediate answer, that would make sense. Usually it's something that wasn't time-sensitive at all and absolutely could have waited until the next time I pulled over.
When I mess something up, I have eight people calling me or QualComming me to tell me about it. I feel like that guy in Office Space who forgot to put the cover on his TPS report and has eight different bosses stopping by his cubicle to tell him he screwed up.
The trailer I picked up was a load to Atlanta. I hate driving in Atlanta. The delivery was pretty open, which was nice. I got really tired about half-way through Tennessee, so I pulled over and took an hour-long nap. It helped. Because of traffic, I got to the delivery around 10am. It took them about two hours to unload me and I had an hour left on my 14-hour clock, which was just enough time to get to a truck stop. Took a hot shower and then very happily crawled into my bunk. Dispatch told me that my next load wouldn't be ready until tomorrow, so I wasn't going to have to get up in ten hours. I slept hard.
I'm still at the truck stop waiting for my next load. If it's out of Dalton, which it probably will be, it won't be ready until late tonight. I took another shower this morning and now I'm sitting in McDonald's having coffee and free wifi. Kinda glad I wasn't on the road last night. Rain and sub-freezing temperatures (coupled with Atlanta's general lack of snowplows and salt trucks) meant there was black ice everywhere and tons of wrecks and traffic backups. I happily slept through all of that.
I was looking at pay stubs from some of my earlier trips and noticed that I wasn't getting paid $20 for each of the LTL furniture stops. They just put "load/unload $30" once for the whole trip. I'm going to have to go though all of my pay stubs (which I should have been doing anyway) to make sure that this was just a mistake on one trip and that they haven't been doing it on all of them. And before you ask, I know I entered the stops correctly on my trip envelope for that trip because I called payroll to ask whether one of them counted as a driver unload since I had to get in and move the freight to end of the truck, but then they took it off with a forklift. It didn't, in case you were wondering. All the other stops on that trip should have been $20 each though.Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
When doing your trip envelopes make sure you check the box that you did it by hand (so you get your $20) and also to put put that you docked that trailer at one of are yards (if that were you finished your trip) and not dropped in the yard, so you get paid the $5 dock pay.
So after I'd waited at that truck stop for 24 hours, I drove to Dalton. I have been told by many people (including two dispatchers) that if I'm empty and waiting on a load, and if I'm within an hour of a terminal, that I should drive to the terminal because the vast majority of the time, that's where my load will originate. So I did.
And that was apparently the wrong thing to do. In the last fifteen minutes of the drive to Dalton, I received the three qualcomm messages about my new load, a message asking me why I was driving to Dalton, a voicemail and then multiple qualcomm messages telling me I'd been taken off the load and it had been given to another driver.
I have been dispatched for several hundred miles of deadhead before, so driving 40 miles to a terminal wasn't so farfetched. The dispatcher told me that she'd try to find me another load, but that I might be sitting at Dalton until Sunday night (it was mid-day on Friday at this point). She did find me a brokered load that picked up in Chattanooga at 9pm and delivered in North Carolina the next day. I called a head to the dispatcher at the Conover terminal and asked if he had any loads out of North Carolina for Saturday. He told me to call him back in an hour and he'd try to find something. He did. I'd have a load waiting for me at Conover.
The delivery point of my load from Chattanooga was hard to find. My phone gps wasn't working in the mountains/hilly western part of North Carolina, so I'd asked the broker for directions. They hadn't given me a number for the delivery facility, so I couldn't just call and ask the people who were waiting for me. The broker had me driving in the wrong direction off the interstate, through a small town and on roads that I'm pretty sure weren't weighted for a truck. I spent an hour driving around that small town until I finally just went back to the interstate and took the crossroad off to the west. I made it exactly at my scheduled time, so I wasn't late. It took them less than half an hour to unload me and then I headed to Conover.
The lot at Conover was as full as I'd ever seen it. There was almost no place to drop an empty trailer. I dropped off my trip envelopes, found my new trailer and hooked to it, did a pre-trip and got out my maps and did some trip planning. It was Saturday afternoon and I couldn't make my first stop until 9am on Monday in southern Indiana. I had lots of time. I drove to the middle of Kentucky and then pulled into a truck stop for the night. The next day, I drove to a Love's about 45 minutes from my first stop (there weren't any truck stops of rest areas closer than that because it was a small town about 30 miles off the interstate).
I got up early and was at my first stop about 10 minutes before they opened. It was only one piece of freight, so it didn't take long and I was on my way. My second stop was the Indianapolis terminal. I called ahead, so they'd be expecting me and was able to unload there right away. My third stop was on the north side of Indianapolis. I got there right after they began their hour lunch break, so I had to wait. Due to the layout of their docking area, I had to wait for a driver who was there before me to finish unloading before I could pull into a bay to be unloaded. This was my biggest stop, as far as how much freight was being taken off the truck.
My next two stops were in Kokomo, Indiana. They were scheduled for Tuesday, but since I'd made good time, I'd be able to make it to both before they closed. I called ahead and asked if they'd receive it that day (Monday). I've never finished a trip an entire day ahead of schedule before. I sent a message to the dispatcher letting her know that I"d be empty and available that afternoon.
My next load didn't pick up until 6pm on Wednesday, west of Indianapolis. I drove down there and parked at a rest stop a few miles away. It was the same facility I tried to pick up at on New Year's Eve, but had to wait two days (because of the holiday) for them to take freight off because my gvw was over 80k. I tried to call ahead to see if my load was ready early (it was supposed to be a drop and hook), but no one could give me an answer. I got there a little before 6pm and was told that they'd be doing a live load. I moved my tandems and pulled into the assigned door. It took them over an hour to load me. I went to the scale and I was about 150 pounds under 80k, but I couldn't get the weight distributed legally. I pulled back into my door and they had to take pallets off until they could remove a 500 lb one that was in the middle of the trailer. It took about eight weighs, but I did eventually get legal, but only after sliding my fifth wheel as far back as it would go to take weight off my steer tires. I was at the shipper for almost four hours. Another WS driver had arrived after me, was in a bay a few lanes over and got out of there pretty efficiently. Luck of the draw, I suppose. I'm not looking forward to the next time I have to pick up from there.
The load went to a distribution center in southern Mississippi, same as last time. Same route. I liked the familiarity of it. Knowing the procedure of the delivery, no trouble finding the place, not getting lost, etc. I hope more loads get to be comfortable like that for me.
I sent a qualcomm message to let dispatch know that I'd be empty and available late Wednesday night, but after I'd delivered, I still hadn't heard anything from them (other than being told I'd be dispatched by someone at Myrtle), so I pulled into a rest area about 10 miles north of the town where I'd delivered. This morning, I was told to drive to the Myrtle, Mississippi terminal. I got there, but loads out weren't ready (and wouldn't be until the next day), so I dropped my empty and bobtailed to a truck stop to do some much-needed laundry. They said that a load out for me would be ready sometime on Friday.
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