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Truck Driver Furries' LiveJournal:
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|Friday, February 24th, 2012|
|Wednesday, January 11th, 2012|
Sign that I might be fucked looking for a trucking job (for God knows why)
Last Friday, I sent an application to Schneider, who has some of the lowest hiring standards of any legitimate trucking company out there. Tonight, I got an e-mail from them, officially REJECTING my application. I just hope this doesn't mean that W.W. Transport will reject me too, I gave them my application in person yesterday and I haven't heard from them since!
On the bright side, at least they didn't try to send me to an orientation I can't afford. Current Mood: broke as fuck!
|Tuesday, January 10th, 2012|
Today I went to the office of W.W. Transport in West Burlington, IA inquiring on a job with them from suggestion of my dad and a friend of his. Even with my last 5 years of driving experience being carnival loads, they sounded very eager to hire me! This job would mean hauling reefers OTR for 38-45 cents per mile, depending on the trailer weight as it would be bulk potatoes. I'm glad this is no-touch freight too! I am once again on the optimistic side of things and hey, if they turn me down, I have much less to lose as they're based locally! Also today I went and got my D.O.T. physical renewed so there's another base covered!
|Thursday, January 5th, 2012|
4 Days Wasted!
Since Monday, I had been in Cedar Rapids for orientation with West Side Transport. This morning, they told me that my driving experience (the last 5 years being carnival rigs) wasn't consistent enough for them to hire me and sent me home! Did I mention that I only left the carnival in November? Why did they even send me up there in the 1st place then? I want my 4 days back! Now it'll take me at least a week to try to get another trucking job set up! I can't afford to keep wasting time and money like that without a job! What good is having a class A CDL, 6 years experience, and no accidents or moving violations on your CSA if you still can't get a trucking job?
|Friday, April 22nd, 2011|
In case anyone else is watching this group, got a question. Another trucker friend of mine said she could have sworn she saw someone in another rig driving at night wearing a canine fursuit. I highly doubt it, but stranger things have happened. She couldn't get a good look at him, but said he had the red map light on and was a white suit/head, and was possibly in a reddish truck. She couldn't get the name of the company or anything, but was in Oklahoma a few days ago, just inside the line on 44, coming out of MO.
I don't think anything like this goes on, but I figured I'd ask around anyway to see if anyone knew of someone doing this. Current Mood: curious
|Friday, January 28th, 2011|
Who else here has a smartphone (Android, Blackberry, iPhone, etc)? I'm curious what apps everyone uses related to trucking. I have an LG Optimus S Android phone and these are what I have, listing the actual app name: Current Mood: geeky
Screen Filter: Uses an "overlay" to simulate backlight dimming down to zero. Works great and useful at night if your backlight's dimmest option is still too bright and causes a glare.
Alarm Clock Extreme: Unlike my built in alarm, it has a HUGE snooze button and tiny dismiss button so you don't accidentally turn it off. Has various other ways to prevent accidental dismissal such as requiring you to complete a math problem. You can select the difficulty, so you can make sure you're really awake.
Google Navigation: Not truck specific, but if you know where you're going and just wanting stuff like eta and distances, it's cool. Really shines by showing you a street level pic of the address you're going to so you know what to look for when you arrive. Wish it would show said pic BEFORE you get right on top of it though.
Scanner Radio: Police scanner app that connects to online scanner feeds from around the world and can show scanners near you via gps tracking or search by state/county. Can give immediate info should something happen along your route. That, and the Chicago station seems to be pretty entertaining. Probably why it's the most popular. Also fun during a snow storm as you hear about all the people putting themselves into the ditches.
Weather Channel widget (not just the bookmark): Pretty obvious here. Instant current location weather display too with gps tracking. Also can give you severe weather alerts.
I also have bookmarks to CAT Scale's mobile site http://www.catscale.mobi
My Fuel Gauges http://www.mygauges.com/ with a mobile version too and allows you to track your fuel milage free, tank to tank, and to put in notes so you can see how different conditions affect your milage. Can track current and previous week, month, year, maintance, and other trucks in the system that you can compare against. You can also search other trucks based on specs like year, make, model, engine, tires, and gearing to see how you stack up to them. Just having all that info there at hand has me changing my driving habits without even noticing, like challenging myself to see how high I can get.
All of these are free in the Android market, but some have paid versions too if you don't want ads. I've also seen a couple of truckstop locators but I don't have much use for something like that on my dedicated run. And a bit off topic, I've seen a couple of furry related apps too.
[/feeble attempt at stirring up conversations]
|Sunday, January 9th, 2011|
C.R. England - The First Six Months
First I'd like to say this is just my experience with this company. I have heard from people who started with them more recently that some things have changed. And as my former driving trainer liked to point out, things change weekly; if not daily.( TrainingCollapse )( Phase 1Collapse )( Phase 2Collapse )( ”Lease”Collapse )TL;DR
Had 17 pointless days of refresher training since I already had my CDL. Then had 2.5 months of time with company“trainers” over-the-road. Then I leased.
Two months into my lease I’m making it, but barely. At least I’m not in the hole. It’s winter and everyone I’ve talked to says that’s a slow time of year. So I dunno if it’s because I’m solo or because of the season. In Nov I was getting 2500-3000 miles/wk. Since Dec I’ve been getting 2000-2300 a week.
My 6mo Demo-lease is up at the end of April. Have to give them 30 days notice if I want out of my lease. I will endevor to endure. And see if things pick up in the next few months. It's working for me since I don't have rent or family to support. And I like being solo because I'm able to make my truck my own. And to bring extras like my guitar and fursuit along for if I visit people or furry cons.
I haven’t encountered any stories with this company shorting miles for those wanting to buy their truck at the end of the lease. But if I last the whole 20 months then I guess I’ll see. I do want to buy my truck, or a new one when this lease is up. Been putting away 1 cent per mile towards the down payment. If I stay with the company and stay accident-free I can get a waiver on a credit check and/or up to $6000 off the down payment or the total cost of the loan. Purchasing the truck you’ve been leasing cuts the cost in half. For this 2010 Century the loan would be $40,000. If it’s still in good condition I’m sure that’d be at least $20,000 off the list price of a used one. But I’ll decide when the time comes and I have all the information. Things can change in 18 months….A note about C.R. England.
They push being a trainer pretty hard. You make more money because they pay trainees very little. Phase 1 gets $64/day. Phase 2 students gets 12 cents a mile, which is about the same as Phase 1 if you devide by 500mi/day. That means the trainer is making the extra off them. Which is about 18-20 cents per mile that the student runs, and then the whole 28-30 cents (after expenses) that the trainer runs. Lease/Op teams get first priority for loads. Lease/Op solos get second priority. Then it goes Company teams, then the 36 or so company solo drivers. So yeah, teams get more miles and more pay. Which is something I'd like to do, but only with someone I'd like to share not just the truck with, but my life with as well. Who knows if I'll ever find that! ... Current Mood: bored
|Friday, December 24th, 2010|
Merry Christmas from the FMSCA
For those that may not have been following, the FMCSA has been working on a new hours of service proposal. They released the proposed changes finally and as one news report called it, gave truckers 3 lumps of coal for Christmas. You can find the new changes at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos-proposed/hos-proposed.aspx
Keep in mind, this isn't in the books yet. Starting on the 29th of this month, they will open the proposal to public comment for 60 days and then (hopefully) revise it so it isn't so complicated and restrictive. At least I hope so. Once it opens for comments, all of us should write in and voice our opinions on this proposal.
The two changes affecting me most are the 7 hours "consecutive" rule and the 34 hour reset change. I'm on a dedicated account where we do several drops within our route, delivering to grocery stores that take 15-20 min each on average. So this would cause us to take extra time somewhere along the route, which considering how we are, could really result in a significant milage cut. The other being the 34hrs reset requiring two midnight to 6am periods. We run a lot of overnight stuff. So during a 34, we often shut down early in the day. Instead of being able to run the following night, we would have to wait until the morning after. But since the dc doesn't even start sending loads out until 6, we'd then have to wait longer until our run is assigned and ready. That can take us into early afternoon, turning a 34 hrs rest into a 48+hrs shut down. The 7 day at a time limit wouldn't affect us too much, but I see it being able to hurt the long haul guys.
Are they trying to turn trucking and freight shipping into a 9-5 job? I don't know, but as is usual, leave it to government to make a change "for the better" that ends up not only hurting the driver, but creating a need for more drivers to take up the slack for the extra down time and more of us needing to be parked at any given time when there aren't enough parking places as it is.
That's just my views on the thing. I'm not blindly ranting like I'm sure some truckers have been. I've got pretty legit reasons on how this will impact my particular run. Your milage may vary. Like it or not, let the FMCSA know your stance. Just please be respectful and don't go on a blind rant in your comments, as that will make them less likely to listen to you. Current Mood: annoyed
|Sunday, November 28th, 2010|
New to this group
Hay my name is SpiritWolfe and I am driving for Prime Inc. I have been driving for about 1.5 years now. I am still learning how to navigate through this website. Till next time keep it safe and keep the wheels rolling.
|Thursday, November 18th, 2010|
TruckStop Meet & Greet
Just as a note for those who read this before/at the convention (and I'll also be posting this on the Bulletin Board/, wherever they're keeping that this year) I figure we can hold our little meet/greet at the O'h restaurant on the lobby (3rd floor, on your right if you're facing the front desk area) Saturday morning at 9AM, right after the Greymuzzle Breakfast. Hopefully this will allow us to enjoy coffee w/o having to pay by the cup! Or eat breakfast, if anyone feels inclined to do so. This should not interfere with anyone's schedule, since almost nothing goes on during this hour.
Hope to see at least some of you there!
|Sunday, September 26th, 2010|
Great, another one on the high and mighty war path
I just heard about this yesterday, but seems someone in the south east, mainly around the Nashville area has taken it upon himself to mount a dash cam in his car to go follow trucks until they do something he deams "dangerous". According to his youtube channel, he reports these drivers to their companies, and he goes so far as to get clear shots of unit and DOT numbers and such. I don't know if it's true about his claims of being a driver with a small fleet, but he does seem to know enough about the industry to be dangerous. Both in reporting these so called issues, and in his own poor driving. He complains about the trucks he's following, yet in the few vids I saw, he's narrating (so obviously more focused on a truck than his own driving), adjusting and working the camera with panning and zooming, and following in the truck's blind spot while obviously pacing him which contributes to the issue at hand at the least. Oh, and I'm thinking he's been called out one too many times because comments and page shout outs have all been disabled on his channel and vids.
If you want to see the videos he's putting up, his channel is http://www.youtube.com/user/watchmytruck
I don't get in to that region of the country, but if you do, you may want to keep an eye out for this. I know if I saw someone video taping me like this, I'd be on the phone with the cops. Who's to say it's not someone casing me because they want what's in the box, ya know? Current Mood: frustrated
|Saturday, September 18th, 2010|
Not sure if anyone else has been keeping tabs, but I have since I run a ton in MN and OOIDA's lawsuit against the MN state patrol kicked off last week and is expected to end next week over the fatigued driver evaluation checklist. About a week before the trial, word came out that MN ended the program until officers could be "retrained" and then still needed a supervisor approval to shut a trucker down. The news report didn't clarify when enforcement could be expected to resume if MN won the case.
Long story short, according to MN state patrol, simply having a made bed, over flowing trash can, a pet, money problems, home stress, dental issues, a tv or computer,etc could mean you're tired and were shutting down people who were legal with HOS rules and had been driving as little as a few hours. So OOIDA filed suit because there was no scientific backing on the validity of the list to determine fatigue, and there was no way for a driver to know how to meet their requirements. On a related note, OOIDA also found out MN hadn't passed enabling legislation to enforce federal CMV regulations until recently, so they filed another suit to try having about 6 years worth of citations/inspections thrown out. That one is pending apeal after initially being denied.
There have been a number of interesting points to the fatigued driver case. One in particular came out in day three of the trial. I hope no one has ever been confused for looking like Saddam Hussein, because it seems according to MN, you're too tired to drive. LOL. Seriously though, they used a pic of him in one of their training presentations for the program. You can see a day by day reporting of the case over at OOIDA's http://www.landlinemag.com/
including the part about Saddam.
You can see one of the checklists used in the fatigue survey at http://www.mntruck.org/pdf/fatigueflier.pdf Current Mood: happy
|Tuesday, September 7th, 2010|
Re: MFF Meet & Greet
Ok, so I got some info, and.. I'm starting to think that perhaps a meet & greet would work better if we were to all meet for coffee somewhere nearby instead. At least for now. Apparently with what I had in mind we'd either have to go without coffee, which is an option! Or, I supply coffee, at around $6 an 8oz cup. I don't even buy twice that size in fancy coffee for that much :P
I'm thinking meeting for coffee or whatever would probably work best, honestly. Let it go on for as long as it does, without having to worry about time constraints, and buy coffee for a lot cheaper! :D From what I've been told, there's a coffee shop on the main floor, and assuming we don't completely flood the area, plenty of areas to hang out, including the Con Suite! An informal, relaxed atmosphere might not be a bad way to start what I hope to be an annual thing for us! See how it goes, and then make plans from there.
What do you guys and gals think? What days/times would be best for you? Granted, I can't really come out with a solid timeframe for this until the convention schedule comes out in November, but I would like to get a feel for the best timeframe for this.
|Sunday, September 5th, 2010|
MFF Meet & Greet?
If I were to host a meet & greet panel at Midwest Fur Fest, would anyone going tp the con be interested in this? Wouldn't be anything fancy; just a chance for us to meet and talk about our experiences, offer advice to greenhorns, & possibly educate the curious 4-wheelers on what not to do around big rigs :P
If I do this I will definitely have coffee available, with milk and sugar. Any donations to help offset the cost would be appreciated, but certainly not required. Any amount over would be donated to this year's charity group. I'm thinking of also setting up a jar for donations directly to the charity, which would be turned over immediately after the panel ended.
Anyways, would like to know who's interested so I can make sure there's enough coffee for everyone, and see if it's even worth doing. Makes no sense if only one or two people show up :P
EDIT: Being the silly firelizard that I am, I didn't realize that any food/drinks used during MFF functions have to be provided by the hotel. Still very willing to provide the liquid lifeline of most truckers, and should still be tasty coffee! :D
|Saturday, July 10th, 2010|
Looking for some online resources for trucking. Fourms and such. The only decent one I've been able to find via google is truckersforum.net. Anything else/better? Or are most truckers just very non-internet savvy? Current Mood: contemplative
|Thursday, July 8th, 2010|
So third day in class at the C.R. England school here in SoCal. While the newbies were over at the DMV trying to get their permits the rest of us who already had them or have our CDL's went over to the yard to see the trucks and get some experience doing maneuvers. I didn't need to since I already know how, so I mostly just hung out until the very last group when I _had_ to show the instructor my stuff. Got sunburned while waiting. :/
But then we went back to the class room and they announced who they had chosen for the special program they're running called FLEX. Where students go out with real drivers locally and drive those trucks with those drivers running real orders/cargo. And there's a $500 bonus on the first pay check after the 17 day training course time-period.
As a little background there have been 2 tests with 3 parts each. General Knowledge (50 questions), Air Brakes (20 questions), Combination Vehicles (15 questions). On the first test I missed 1 on the General and 1 on the Air Brakes. On the second test I missed 1 on General and 1 on the combo test. They were supposed to take the total of both tests into account. Which according to the instructor yesterday put me in second by only missing a total of 4 questions as someone had only missed 3 questions total.
So I thought I was a shoe-in for the FLEX program. Well today at the end of class the guy who handles the program came in and announced 10 names. I wasn't on the list.
A couple of the people who WERE on the list included someone who failed one of the portions of the test, and only got his permit today. A chick who never got a 100% on any of her tests, missing 6 in the General Knowledge test, and only got her permit last week. Today at the yard she was unable to do a straight-line backing. And another person I can think of also got horrible scores, barely passing all of his test questions, and barely speaks english, has trouble reading the legalese of the regulations, and doesn't grasp simple concepts like 70 hours on duty in 8 days.
On a side-note if you're thinking of getting your license thru C.R. England's school, it's 17 days long, you're off only Sundays. It's $50 up front, and $2950 for the class, which is taken out of your pay check $55/wk at a time which is matched by the company to help pay it off even faster. If you pay all up front and don't finance it thru Freedom Capitol then they'll knock $1000 off the total. If you work for them for 3 years they'll pay you back $1000. For me since I already have a CDL, but didn't go to an "approved driving school" I'm required to take the Student Refresher Course. It's $100 up front, and $500 financed at the same payment rate, $55/wk which is NOT matched by the company. It's a pretty fucked up way of doing things, but in this economy I'm willing to do a lot to get a job since I've had my CDL for almost 2 years now and not been able to find anything.
If you come to the school in SoCal expect to be treated like 10 year olds in a college class. The instructors explain things very fast and expect people to grasp things as quickly as they explain them. Then when you ask questions they talk down to you. (For instance someone didn't understand something in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations pocketbook, and the instructor responded to the question with 'Can't you read english?!' Having been sitting 2 chairs away from this person I knew for a fact that he could read and speak english well. So it was just the instructor being condescending and rude.) The instructor we get tomorrow is an ex-marine drill sargent. The few times he's come in to say something he's been short, blunt, and not at all forgiving of questions. I think I'm going to loath my time spent with him the next few days.EDIT:
Got a new instructor today for the internal policies portion of the class. He confessed that the most likely reason the people who were picked for the FLEX program were picked because they have their own cars here and could easily get to the yard any time of day without the use of the shuttle vans. So now I just think it's a bit fucked up to put hope into people's minds, making them study hard, just to not even consider them like that. Current Mood: aggravated
|Wednesday, June 30th, 2010|
*keeping fingers crossed*
Got a call today from the recruiter at CR England. They said my 10 year DMV report confirms I've had a license for 14 years, so they said I can report for their 2 week refresher course come the 6th of July. Just waiting to hear back from the recruiter about a Greyhound ticket down to San Bernadino.
She said they have a list of what I should take, but I'm still trying to think ahead. Debating on upgrading to a 3G iphone my friend has extra since his iPhone 4 from my 2G one. And possibly getting a cheap netbook to update LJ and such with my travels.
Been reading some reviews on CR England online... there's some shady stuff being reported, but they're mostly from a few years ago. I'm thinking of getting a journal to write down stuff said that doesn't ring right, if anything.
Gonna need a new icon soon, I hope...
Got the confirmation number for the Greyhound ticket. I start training 6am July 6th! =)
I find it odd they want $100 for medical check/meals/class supplies. *shrug* Current Mood: cheerful
|Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010|
Keep your fingers crossed...
Who works for CR England? What's your guys' opinion on them? I know cal_foxx
said they'll try to push a lease on me, but I'm smart enough and old enough to know when that might be good for me.
I find out tomorrow if my DMV report clears their insurance company. The recruiter seems to think it will since I've had a CA license for 14 years and my old Oklahoma license hasn't been suspended since Oct 2008. Last year another recruiter said it didn't matter. So who knows.
Oddly enough it's the same way with normal auto insurance companies. Geico, Farmers, AAA, Progressive, TheGeneral all said since one license was suspended, it didn't matter that I've had a Calif on for so many years. Yet State Farm said they only looked at California since that's where I live.
"Training' is 2 weeks in Mira Loma, then it's 3 weeks out on the road before coming back. Tho I'm not sure where "back" will be and the recruiter couldn't tell me either. So if I drive down there myself my car will be stuck there at the training facility while I'm out on the road. And if those 3 days off after 3 weeks isn't in Mira Loma, my car will be stuck there even longer.
Think it would be safe there? Will I even have time to go anywhere in the evenings after 'training'? Should I just fly down there since it's cheap between the bay area and the L.A. area? Should I try to get a friend to drive me down there, or drive my car or a rental back? Is those 3 days off after 3 weeks usually back at the origin location, or can it be arranged to be at a specific location?
If I get the job I'll have a trainer with me for 90 days, so not sure if it'll be up to him or up to me, or just up to the company... Current Mood: hopeful
|Monday, June 21st, 2010|
Planning on getting into trucking...
I've been racking my brain for about 2-3 months considering going into truck driving as a career. I've been working mostly call centers for nearly 10 years now and I'm desperate to get out of this type of work and into something with a little more freedom to it. Ultimately, truck driving sounds like a good idea to me or at least something I can try for 1-3 years.
It would be nice to see a little more of the country and figure out where I eventually want to call home. I'm in Utah right now and I've felt trapped here for at least a year now because of the bad economy and my own growing debt.
When I set my mind to something, I read and research allot. I picked up a CDL manual but, I know it's only going to get me so far. Practice behind the wheel is needed. So ultimately I'll have to go to school. The cost of tuition is ultimately a concern for me (because I'd rather not get any deeper into debt then I already am). I'm trying to find a company that will pay tuition for me upfront and let me work for them for a year or two.
Roadmaster seems to be a school with a good reputation and they'll help you with job placement. I finally got around to calling and they answered allot of my questions and put a few of my concerns at ease. The tuition though, is $4.5k and the only way that gets any less (or even free) is if you're unemployed and have dependents. Neither of those apply to me.
The only such company I've been able to find that will let me pay tuition off in 1-2 years is CR England, their tuition is about $3k. They seem like a good company but I have heard mixed reviews. The training is 16 days long and then they put you into another phase of training (paying at this point) which is pretty much riding along (or possibly 2nd seat driver) with an experienced England driver. I prefer to get as much hands-on training as possible so I don't end up in s situation where I'm alone and I have no freaking clue what to do.
There is one thing about CR England that confuses me though. After you're done with training they give you the option to lease a vehicle or ride as a second seat driver. Now, I'd prefer to work alone but second-seat driver doesn't sound so bad to me. Leasing however, scares me. As I said before, I don't want to get into anymore debt that I'm already in. I need to make as much as I can to bring that debt down.
Does anyone know anything about CR England or know anything about other companies that don't require tuition upfront for CDL training?
There are some other general questions I have as well:
- How often are you able to get online while on the road?
- Do modern truckers use GPS guiding devices?
- How easy is it to arrange time off? (I try to go to cons)
- Aside from being away from home, is there anything you don't like about truck driving in general?
Thanks and stay safe on the roads.
|Thursday, June 3rd, 2010|