Posts from the ‘Driving with trainer’ Category

Almost Done and Stuck in Michigan

Monday the fifth is my last training day and I need to be back in Lancaster to wrap this up but instead I am sitting in a truck stop in Battle Creek, MI. We have run a lot of miles this week and brought a load of Almond Delight from Salt Lake City to Grand Rapids. Then on Saturday we were supposed to take cereal from Post in Battle Creek to Nashville. It should have been ready yesterday at 1:00 PM. It is still not ready. Clearly I will not be in Lancaster Monday and my trainer is probably not going to get home in time for his 50th birthday.

This is one of the downsides of this job. Anytime you need to be somewhere at a specific time you don’t make it.

Stuff

Going from Columbus, OH to Salt Lake City. Night time rolls around and guess whose turn it is to drive? I took over in West Branch, IA and needed to drive about 550 miles. We were 250 miles from Omaha so I asked what is 300 miles further on. Even with map in hand he wasn’t sure. I saw York on the map and asked how far from Omaha was it. He wasn’t sure but was sure it was too far. I knew I recognized York but it didn’t click until I got to Omaha. York is were we turned off of US-81 and on to I-80 when going from Texas to Lincoln and is only 90 miles from Omaha. I drove all the way to Ogalalla before it was time to switch. The interesting thing about York is that we were instructed to fuel at the Petro station there. A station I have fueled my personal vehicle at several times.

Another weigh station story. Multiple confusing signs talking about “weigh in route” and then telling pre-pass vehicles to watch the in cab signal and another about watching for instructions. I got the green light in the cab but then two signs on the side of the road lit up telling me to pull in, so I did. Rolled up on the scale and got waved through. Then my mentor wakes up and asks what happened? I explained and he said go by what pre-pass tells me. I figured better to err on the side of caution when unsure.

After we drop this load we grab another and head back to Grand Rapids, MI by the morning of the third. After that we should coast back to Texas.

Highway Design

Who the hell is in charge of highway design? What moron decided that not once, not twice, but at least three times I-70 east in Kansas City, Kansas (KCK) has to narrow to a single lane and slow to 35 MPH? Pretty sure this happens to IH-35 north as well.

Then there is getting from I-55 south to I-44 west in St. Louis. Two lanes form the ramp but nothing suggests you need to slow as you make the transition, that is until you are half way through and suddenly a 20 MPH sign shows up. Fortunately I had slowed from 65 to 50 and only had to bring 70,000 lbs. of vehicle down an additional 30 MPH without locking up the tires or flipping over.

The Rest of the Story

So the powers that be decided we should indeed take the paper products to Missouri instead of Oklahoma. As it was a very heavy load we went to a scale to make sure we were legal. Not even close. We did the maximum adjustment of the trailer tandems we could and were still 1,500 lbs. to heavy on the back. Back to the shipper we go. Naturally they were not happy to see us. Once we opened the trailer the problem was obvious. Eighteen pallets of copier paper were loaded at the back while all the napkins and paper towels were at the front. I am sure someone got a stern talking to.

Finally about 12:00 noon we got out of there and by 12:30 were done re-scaling. At this point it was good there were two drivers or the load would not have been delivered on time because of the rules about how many hours you can drive at a time. (The Hours of Service or HOS rules)

We got it delivered to Sam’s and now have a load of goods from Keebler that are ultimately destined for New Jersey but we only have to take them to Ohio.

Paperwork

We got to Georgia-Pacific on time and found our load. After we hooked up I was preparing the message to let HQ know we were heading out when I realized the address on the documents didn’t match were we had been told to take it. I seriously think my mentor was willing to say “screw it” and head out but finally decided it was a good idea to call and check. We are currently waiting instructions. Pretty sure we will be told to take the load to the new destination. I think the root cause of the problem was a typo. Two numbers in the store number were transposed probably pulling the wrong address from a database.

When we did send in the message that we were loaded the computer through up a warning as well telling us to call in so there is definitely a problem.

Sitting Again

So it is the weekend and here we sit. We went from Texas to Chicago, back to Texas and back to Chicago in three days but when they wanted to send us to Maryland the mentor said no and that was it. Tomorrow morning we pick up something from Georgia-Pacific and take it to a Sam’s Club in Oklahoma. After that I bet we go back to Texas.

He and I have very different views on driving as a team. He believes we should both be ready to go all the time but I think we should split the day in half and each be ready for our shift. Of course since we seem to get random loads it us harder to use my plan. Hopeflully when Liz and I are driving it will work out better.

Almost done. On the fifth I should be back in Dallas for my road test and then get a truck.

Ran Out Of Energy

Headed from Dallas to Chicago for the second time in three days. I was supposed to drive 625 miles but ran out of energy way before that. I got us just over half way (464 miles) and my mentor is legal to start driving now. Hopefully he got some sleep. I MUST sleep for several hours.

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