Yes, it's that time of the year again... Trapper's birthday! And it was two years ago tonight that we had our first "date." That time has flown by!
Trapper's in Michigan tonight with the cold and the rain. I'm at home doing homework. I survived my first week of class and now I am embarking on week two! Strange being back in class after 100 years of being out of school. We're both trying to figure out how we're going to manage this in the truck. I don't really know, but I'm sure it will be fine.
Keep your fingers crossed!
Yes, it's that time of the year again... Trapper's birthday! And it was two years ago tonight that we had our first "date." That time has flown by!
Happy Thanksgiving to all the men and women that keep this country moving... and a special Happy Thanksgiving to my trucker!
As I sit at home, Trapper is in OK tonight picking up at 2:00 a.m. and taking a load to Amarillo, TX. We were in TX last year at Thanksgiving, but ventured across to Mexico. I'll stay in the states... thank you.
Be safe in your travels!
I am officially a college freshman. I started classes on Monday and I just now finished my second day of homework. Trapper is in TX (headed to OK) laughing at me and wondering how I am going to do this on the road?
I don't know exactly because I'm still trying to make sure I "attend" class, participate in classroom discussions, and do my assisgnment while sitting in the comfort of our home. I guess I will figure out how to handle this on the road. I will update as we go.
Happy "almost" Thanksgiving to everyone! Be safe!
Trapper is making it just fine without me... I think... you see, we have our own routine when we're in the truck together. Normally, because he is the driver, he turns in early at night... me, because I am the rider... I stay up late at night. Works out good for us, most of the time, because if we're running early morning hours I can continue to stay up with him while he drives. I am quite the night owl.
Well... a couple of nights ago, after running a week's worth of getting up at 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. (while it was dark mind you) he calls me at 4:00 p.m. and says goodnight. He had to pick up at 2:00 a.m. that next morning.
He called me at 7:30 p.m. (which surprised me because he was up) and I could tell the truck was moving because I could hear the roar.
As it turned out... he fell asleep... woke up and looked at his watch which was showing 6:30. He said he jumped up, (probably said a choice word or two) threw his pants on and started driving. By now it's around 7:00 and he kept wondering why it wasn't getting daylight. (He thought it was a.m.) He called headquarters and asked them if they could push the pick-up time back, he had overslept. They said it was no problem and pushed the pick-up time back.
Long story short... it took him turning the radio on (Bill O'Reily was on FoxNews) and looking at his cell phone which said 7:30 P.M. to realize he had only slept a couple of hours!
He called me and confessed. I couldn't help but laugh. I would have thought he had lost his mind if I had been sitting in the front seat, playing on the computer, when he jumped up from a dead sleep thinking we were late!!!!!! Even our dispatch didn't catch it.
He needs me!
The truck driving industry has always been one of high turnover. Drivers would leave one company for another for any reason from .01 a mile to an additional .50 on an added drop. I was sitting here internet surfing and noticed a lot of companies are now boasting "low driver turnover." That's good, huh? Everyone wants to work for a stable company, right?
My next stop was etrucker.com... they always have the latest news and this is what I found...
*From etrucker.com, Avery Vise, 11-20-09* Payroll employment among for-hire trucking companies in October dropped 0.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from September levels – slightly more than the decline the month before. Employment is down 9.3 percent from October 2008, according to preliminary figures released Friday, Nov. 6, by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With the estimated 7,500 jobs lost in October, the trucking industry has lost more than 91,000 jobs since the end of 2008 – a decline of 6.8 percent. Job cuts since July 2008 – just before the current decline – total 141,400. The BLS numbers reflect all payroll employment in for-hire trucking, but they don’t include trucking-related jobs in other industries, such as a truck driver for a private fleet.
Within 16 months the trucking industry has lost 141, 400 jobs. No wonder driver turnover is at an all-time low. The industry, on average, has a lost approximately 300 jobs per DAY (including Sunday) for 16 months.
The trucking industry was one of the last stricken industries when the economy fell last year. People still have to have certain essentials for basic survival which means we have to get it to you. Merchandise must move from point A to B. Rice grown in Arkansas must get to California and oranges from Florida must get to Maine.
However; trucking companies are having to get very creative in these down times because the demand market is determining the rates shippers are willing to pay to move freight. There is less freight to move, people aren't buying as much, and this drives freight hauling charges down. Trucking companies are going on a more regional basis or hiring more teams. The companies can move a higher volume of cheap freight in a tight radius (regional runs) and they can move more expensive freight cross country twice as fast with a team truck.
Neither of us relish the thought of running a regional route, but a job is a job and only the strong proactive trucking companies will survive and only the drivers that are willing to adjust will survive.
I miss everything when I stay home... blowout's, flat tires, and tonight Trapper gets hit! (The truck got hit!)
Trapper said he was in the back lying down and just all of a sudden WHAM! And then, to beat that, the guy pulls forward really quick and there you have it, our home away from home is damaged. The next two hours he spent calling the company, getting names and numbers of the vehicle at fault, and taking pictures…
I wonder if this driver’s (driver) side mirror has G.O.A.L. on it? You know... it stands for... Get Out And Look!
Good thing I wasn’t there… I would have probably been sitting in the passenger working on the computer... and as soon as I saw we were going to be hit... I would have been ON that air horn. The other drivers would have thought the tornado sirens were blasting.
As the truck driving world turns....
The company we run for has been toying with the idea of going more towards regional runs (for their solo's) vs. long haul. The long haul will be more for the teams to run.
The last update we heard said the drivers would be given the choice; however, if you look at the map of where Trapper has been the past 4 days... do you see a pattern? A southeast pattern maybe?
We are not complaining, but I wish they would hurry up and make it official. This way the drivers that are being experimented on could at least enjoy the regional runs and start coming home more often. That's part of the benefit of running regional, right?
The only thing better than running long haul would be a dedicated run. Long haul works for us. We enjoy it and since we are a "glorified team"... meaning he drives and I do all that other stuff... then we can usually make pretty good time. I guess we will get used to running the southeast too!
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I stayed home this time for a couple of weeks to get ready for the holiday's and get ready to start school. School... I'm excited to get this started!
I decided to try a new slideshow service and I put together some pictures from across the states. I have a collection of 3,000+ pictures at this point, but don't worry... I only did this sample of 20!
Ok, I've been in the closet for awhile...
I started writing various articles for AssociatedContent.com just to try my hand at "real" writing. I'm going to post some of those articles, the ones that relate to truck driving, on the blog occasionally.
To read the entire article just click on the heading or click on the "read more". You'll be redirected to the article.
Let me know what you think!
Long Haul Truck Driver: What to Do when Boredom Strikes!
All professional drivers experience driver boredom. Here are a few tried and true suggestions to combat driver boredom when it creeps in the driver seat with you.
I know it's been a few days. We decided to come home last week and we were greeted with the remnats of some hurricane (don't remember the name) which of course, caused the basement to flood. Hooray! Oh well, at least we were home this time and could combat it. Luckily, the 6-8" of rain we got here in the upstate of SC didn't do too much damage.
I-95 in Connecticut. I wouldn't want to go under this in a truck and if the car drivers had any sense... they would stay extremely far back when they see a truck approaching this bridge....CT has plans to correct this in... 2012!
Last night finally ended this morning around 4:00 a.m. A person can only take so much aggravation. It's still my belief that dispatchers, sales people, and anyone else that is in the chain of moving merchandise should have to ride in a truck for a month before assuming their position!
We left West Memphis, AR this morning and headed to Birmingham, AL and then northeast to Atlanta, GA for the night. We traveled Hwy 78 between Memphis, TN and Birmingham.
As we entered Birmingham I couldn't help but remember spending months here when I worked with BellSouth. I couldn't help but take a picture of the place several of us called home back then.
I would have never thought way back then (15 years ago) that one day I be back in the city but rolling through in an 18-wheeler.
Funny how things change.
You never know what you're going to run into when you stop at a truck stop.
Today, as we stopped to clean the windshield (that looked like a bug masacre had occurred) and I could hear Christmas music playing. It was so pretty.... it didn't sound like it was coming over the intercom... but it took me a minute to find it. Trapper got back into the truck and asked him where it was coming from. He pointed out the door back towards the fuel pumps.
At first we both thought the guy was playing for tips... but it turns out he was a driver for JB Hunt. He was walking around the fuel pumps playing this horn while he was fueling. Awesome.
He was starting to get quite a crowd gathered around... but then he was gone. He fnished fueling and was off to entertain someone else.
Our day ended in Tyler, GA, about 60 miles south west of Atlanta.
Looks like we'll be in Greenville, SC tomorrow night and hopefully home by Monday afternoon!
Our delivery was 8:00 a.m. and we arrived in Memphis, TN around 7:00 a.m. We were unloaded and dispatched to our terminal in West Memphis, AR around 10:30 a.m. Arriving in West Memphis, AR we were assigned a load to pick up at 10:00 p.m. in Memphis, TN and deliver this to Charlotte, NC on Monday at 10:00 pm.
After killing our 10 hour break we were off to Memphis, TN ready to start our trip to Charlotte, NC.
As fate would have it, our load was actually bound for New Columbia, PA not Charlotte! What the heck? Who dropped the ball this time? Oh that's right, it's called double booking in the trucking business... not ball dropping.... a thing that happens that no one takes responsibility for.
Trapper called dispatch and he was then asked to "walk back in and get the person's name that told you the load was bound for PA not NC. A phone call would have been too hard? I should get off my soapbox here.
As he was walking back in to the terminal every single light goes out. All the inside lights, the outside terminal lights... everything. It was pitch black! As we were arriving at the terminal earlier, we saw numerous blue lights and heard sirens off in the distance. By the time the power was shut off, the news helicopters were buzzing around and you could see the glow of flames (in the near distance).
We left Texas around 2:30 a.m. I knew I might as well stay awake until we made it through the border crossing check about 30 miles into Texas. The last time we left Texas in the middle of the morning, the border crossing agent made Trapper wake me up just to ask me "are you an american citizen?" I probably looked more like a martian as I stuck my head out of the back.
I finally gave in around 4:30 a.m. and had to find my comfortable place in the sleeper! Sleeping on I-35 is easy... it was a very smooth ride with our 35k lbs of rope in the trailer.
We've been out 5 weeks and seems as though most of that time we've been in some part of Texas. Our trip today came right up Interstate 35 through San Antonio, Waco, and Austin. It also takes us right through the area of Fort Hood. What a sad day there today.
With our 11 hours of driving time being up, we stopped in Gurdon, Arkansas, took a nap, grabbed dinner, and Trapper is currently resting while I play on the computer. His day will start again at 3:00 a.m. with our delivery being at 8:00 a.m. in Memphis, TN.
Who knows where we will go from Memphis!
We were number 22 when we arrived in Laredo today. We have now been assigned a load back to West Memphis, AR... like I said doing the terminal runs. We're not complaining though. Easier work for me... we know the way well!
So, we'll deliver in West Memphis, AR on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. I must go was dishes now that I know we're leaving in a little bit.
We've been in this "terminal" mode it seems... we're back in Laredo! I think we were just here a week ago.
Our load was ready yesterday morning and we headed out of MS and made it all the way to northern TX last night. We arrived in Laredo around 10:00 a.m.
Not much going on today... but a word to the wise... if you are going to drive in TX.... be sure and wear your seat belt!!!
Just when you think you have this trucking thing down pat...
We arrived in West Memphis on Sunday around 7:00 a.m. Trying to figure out how to log the day light savings time was a trick. We gained an hour, as did all the other drivers logging this day, but couldn't really decide the right way to log the gained hour... a quick call to the log department resulted in not too much of an answer either. My recommendation was to write Daylight Savings Time across the top and someone else could figure why we were only showing a 9 hr break.
Sunday was without incident and actually another nice break. Laundry, Wal-Mart, clean the truck, and showers were on the agenda. We were given 2 pre-plans so this took up a few minutes doing the trip planning.
Monday our first load picked up at 3:00 in Memphis, TN and we delivered this in Richland, MS. When you're in 3 states in a couple of hours (AR,TN, and MS) for some reason I thought we were already in TX. Too many loads at once. LOL
We left Richland, MS and headed toward Taylorsville, MS. According to my map and the GPS it was 59.8 miles but for some reason the dispatch said 9 miles. Ok... we don't have to be there until 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, so we have time to figure this out....
A call to dispatch didn't help much. They were looking at the same info we had. A second call to dispatch (just to ensure we were actually going to the right place) and we were able to figure out that there are 2 Taylorsville's in MS. One was 9 miles from where we were and the other was 59 miles from where we were.
We all decided we were headed the correct way and that the computer picked up the first Taylorsville, MS that is located in Hinds County.
After driving another 30 miles, following our directions and maps, we get turned on the street where the shipper is located. The name of the company, according to our directions, was Ducksworth. Ok... it's pitch dark on this little tiny unmarked country road in the middle of Mississippi. I am looking for a 214 (the building number) or a Ducksworth. Neither are happening.
Finally I spot a 214 above the door on a building and we stop. We kinda of looked at each other like... where are the docks? Again, it's pitch black outside. I notice what looks like a gravel drive around the side of the building and we decide to drive up to that driveway. For everyone that doesn't drive... it's much easier keeping this 70' of truck going forward vs. getting jammed up trying to get turned around or going down what looks like a neighborhood street vs. road of any kind.
Luckily there were docks behind the building and a couple of empty trailers. We sent in "arrived at customer". The only problem is the name of the business is Remy. We see no Duckworth's anywhere.
A few minutes pass and we get a message asking if we are at the customers? I'm thinking "What!" I sent a message back to them explaining we are at the location of the directions, however; and then I added all the crazy things with the address, dispatch, and company name and then my last sentence was "am I at the customer?"
It's been a couple of hours now and no one has responded. I guess we'll find out in the morning.
Moral to the story is check your dispatch miles. Our dispatch from here to Laredo will be wrong, as well, due to being dispatched from the wrong city. Wrong miles add's up as in lost income for the driver.
And they call this "unskilled labor!"