Bad Communication Means Lots of Waiting

Here’s one of those typical stories that needs to be told about trucking and the industry I work in.

I delivered my latest load on the evening of April 25th. It was a typical delivery and things went very well. I checked-in on time at the security gate, parked my truck and checked-in at the office with my paperwork. They asked me to wait in my truck and they would call me when they have a door ready for me to back into. It did not take long! They unloaded the trailer and I had my signed manifest in a matter of about an hour. It was great!

The delivery was in the evening, so I knew that my dispatcher would not be able to find my next load until the next morning. So, I drove to a place I knew I could stay at for a while and parked over night.

The next morning, my dispatcher found a load for me about 2 hours north of me, near Albany, NY. The only problem with the load is that it would not load until 9:30pm that night. I really didn’t mind too much because sometimes you don’t get enough of a break to get some decent rest. I thought I would take advantage of the extra time and rest.

Later that same afternoon, I was told that the shipper was having problems getting the loads out and would have to push the pickup to the next day. Again, more “sitting” time. Well, it was getting close to my 34 hours, so, again, I took advantage of the situation and got my full 34 hour reset in and that gave me a new 70 hours to work.

Here comes the problem with the industry. After arriving at the shipper’s destination, I checked-in and they said to park and they’d call me when they were ready. I counted 8 trucks already waiting. I was told by the broker who setup this load that the shipper wanted to get the loads out by noon. Well, I sat another 8 hours before getting my load and heading out. Over a 48 hour period, I worked only 2 hours. Why, because nobody would tell the appropriate people how many trucks would be waiting or how long the preparing of the product would actually take. They just guessed at how long things might take. With all of that said, this industry compounds the problem by not having good communications procedures. Too many people to communicate with and so it takes too long for the information to get down to the drivers level or back up the chain to the people who need to know, so we (the drivers) wait!

I think the worst part of this problem is that there is no way for the truck driver to correct or improve the situation. We just have to live with it.

Video Entertainment on the Road

There are so many choices for entertainment on the road now a days that I really won’t go into them. I will say that I have been a subscriber of Hulu Live for a little while and found it to be very, very good! So good that we got rid of our satellite TV and are just streaming via Hulu Live at home.

On Monday, I am expecting Apple to announce a program that will be similar in nature to Hulu and Netflix and some others and I will be listening intently on what Apple has to say about it. I am fully in the Apple Ecosystem, so this will matter to me.

Shows I Watch

I have a few shows that I really enjoy watching and those are…

  • NCIS
  • Last Man Standing, and
  • Survivor

I also enjoy watching the Texas Rangers play baseball, but that is harder to get streaming due to the high costs of video for MLB At Bat and since I am on the road so much, there are many, many times when the games are blacked out. So I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like to.

I also watch several movies that are available on Hulu and Netflix. I’ve purchased just over 100 movies from Apple iTunes, so that about covers my video entertainment on the road.

Just a Thought – Survivor

I have been watching Survivor since I accidentally caught the last episode of Season 1. For a while it was the same old show, just with different players. But, about two or three seasons ago, the show started taking some really drastic twists to the norm. It really started to get better. It was no longer the same old Survivor with different players. This season is no different, in that there are some new twists, however, the twists are nothing like the previous seasons.

I am finding the watching and observing of the players in this new game a lot more entertaining. The twists that are being taken have never before been dreamt of by the players and they absolutely excite me! Players are finding themselves among the people who stabbed them in the back and are now having to work with them against all others. It is one very exciting and entertaining show.

Thank you Mark Burnett and Jeff Probst! You and all that work with you have created one heck of a game that really digs down into the depths of humankind in a small group and it is very enlightening!

New iPads from Apple

iPad Air

Apple closed the Apple store web site and when it reopened Apple had added two new iPads. A 10.5” iPad Air with bumped up specs. It is what used to be called an iPad Pro 10.5”.

iPad Mini

The other iPad is an iPad Mini with bumped up specs, and, like the new iPad Air, it has Apple Pencil support. So, I guess that means that an iPad Pro is no longer the only iPad with Apple Pencil support. That is fantastic! I have always loved the Apple Pencil support and bought the first iPad Pro in 2017 just for the Pencil support!

I’d love to get my wife the new iPad Mini. She has an iPad Mini 4 now and it just takes too long to do things (IMHO).

Trucking

As for truck drivers, the new iPad Mini would be a great GPS/Entertainment device.

I have used CoPilot GPS software since 2008 and it has done me very well with driving my 18 wheeler all over the country. I have always had a 9.7” or 10.5” iPad as my GPS in my truck and I would love to see just how well the 7.9” iPad Mini would work for me in the truck.

The Stupidity of Some People’s Driving Habits

I was driving west on I-40 near Wheatley, AR and a driver was driving in the passing lane. A lot of drivers believe (falsely) that it is also a travel lane (it is NOT). So, I’m doing about 72 MPH in the travel lane (right lane) and I’m approaching this car on the right. I see a vehicle in my left mirror coming up fast, so I slow down a little to allow the moron driver to move over into the travel lane and allow the fast car in the passing lane to pass.

Well, as the other car catches up to the slower car (still in the passing lane), I see that it’s an AR State Trooper and he was in a bit of a hurry. He didn’t have his lights on, but as he got closer to the moron slow poke, he flashed his high beams. The moron just stayed there in the passing lane not moving over or anything else. The officer flashed his lights again and nothing. He turned on his red and blues and the moron stepped on the brakes a little, but did NOT move over! At that point, the officer just changed lanes and went around the moron!

I can not believe the stupidity of some people. This moron was as lucky as you can get! I truly hope that this moron gets what is due him (or her).

For those of you who think the left lane is for cars, it is for PASSING other cars. Move over to the travel lane and stay there until you have to pass someone. Pass them and move back over. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is dangerous and it puts your life in danger and those of the other cars. If it’s an 18 wheeler, that vehicle could cause even more problems.

Why I Hate Holidays

Paul Turner, 3 July 2018

Years ago, I loved the holidays. Now, I hate them.

I love spending time with my family. Holidays allow all of us to have that extra time with them. I’m not sure my family really knows how much I love spending time with them during the holidays, but I really do. I always enjoy hanging out with my wife of 40 plus years. She is an angel on Earth! She takes care of me and allows me to rest and recuperate when I am home and gets me ready to head back out on the road. I don’t get enough time with her. We get to talk on the phone, but that’s not the same.

Holidays are when families get to spend their time together. I don’t. I am only “guaranteed” Christmas at home. When I say that, I want you to know that my company means exactly that. Two years in a row, I was in Buffalo, NY for a regular run we had and when Christmas came up, the company put me on an airplane and flew me home for Christmas. No charge to me. After Christmas, they flew me back to Buffalo to continue the run. That’s awesome for a company to do that!

The other holidays however, well, they are not guaranteed and I am normally working. On the road to or from somewhere and never at home. I see so many people traveling on the holidays and that makes for hard driving for me (with all the traffic and the problems associated with more people on the road). I don’t get the rest that others get because of the hard driving and I don’t get the free time to do things with friends and family.

Tomorrow is Independence Day (July the 4th). People will be home, cooking outside and enjoying some leisure time. They’ll take their family to see fireworks shows around the area and have a great time. I will be on the road.

If you are wondering if I am jealous of these people, I have to say that I am. I don’t like admitting that, but it is the truth. Obviously, you would say, well just get another job that allows you the time off. That is a major life decision and can not be taken as lightly as it is suggested. I am not only jealous of people, but I’m envious of them. That is hard for me to deal with. It brings my life’s happiness level down drastically! When I was growing up, envy was not a trait that I wanted. It felt bad to envy anyone or anything. Envy is a brick wall that keeps me from the good of life. Yet, holidays make me feel envious of everyone who gets to enjoy them.

I hear about the plans of my family and love that they have plans to spend time with each other on the holidays, but it hurts that I can’t be there. So I just hate the holidays!

My feelings aside and I truly mean this… I hope that each of you, who get the time off to spend with friends and family, will have a wonderful holiday! Enjoy the day and make the most of it.

Headed to Salt Lake City

North Western New Mexico

I'm traveling to Salt Lake City and I decided to take a little different route. Instead of going north at Albuquerque and traveling along US-550, I decided to go to Gallup and head north on US-491.

The roads on US-491 are not in as good a shape as US-550, so I'm pretty sure that I won't be taking that route anymore, but I got a photo that I'd like to show you. This was taken half way between Gallup and Shiprock, NM.

 

Trucking Records

How do you keep up with the information you have to turn in for a trip???

As a long haul truck driver, I have a lot of information that I have to keep up with for each trip I make. Some of the info is the number of miles I travel in each state, the route that I travel in each state and the number of gallons of fuel for the truck purchased in each state. I realize that a lot of trucking companies have gone to the electronic on board recorders (EOBR). These devices are equipped with GPS and are connected to your trucks computer to know what the mileage is when you enter a state and tracks the route you are on in that state.

My company does not use the EOBR’s now. On a personal note; I am very thankful for that, and that’s a whole new article!

Now, I have a lot of little pieces of information to keep up with. Before I became a truck driver, the place I worked at taught me a very valuable lesson about covering your ass (CYA)! Since then, I have tried very hard to not only get the information the company needs, but any other information that I may need to justify my actions during the trip.

As a truck driver, when we pick up a load, we become responsible to our company for that load. Everything that happens has to be done with the policies and procedures of that company. And, like my last company, you have to be able to PROVE that your actions were right and correct, or you will be subject to disciplinary actions and/or fines. Here’s a simple example; when you pick up a load, the driver has to make sure that the gross weight of the truck is less than 80,000 pounds and that the weight on the axles are not over the maximum allowed weight. It’s a simple procedure of going to a truck stop scale and getting the vehicle weighed and checking those numbers. However, if you don’t do this and you are stopped at a weigh station, you can get an over weight ticket. Some companies will tell you to go ahead and take the load and will assume responsibility for any weight tickets. But, if you are not keeping up with this, you could be out a lot of money for someone loading too much product on your trailer.

So, how does a trucker keep up with so much information? Do you write everything down in a notebook? Or do you do like me and have a spreadsheet on your computer?  I’d like to find out.  Let me know what you think.

Travel

Travel

I come from a small town in north Texas. The population of Dodd City is just over 300 people. Such a small town that when I graduated in 1977, I graduated with 5 girls. I am not real sure about how long they have been there since we graduated, but I believe that they have lived and stayed there since then. Now, this is not a statement to say anything against the girls. I actually wish at this point in my life that I could be home. Why? I’m an over the road truck driver. A driver who drives and lives in a 18 wheeler.

I have been a truck driver for almost 11 years now. For a few of those years, my driving was just in Texas and Oklahoma, but now I drive the lower 48 states.

Continue reading “Travel”

Another day… Another dollar…

I made it to Springville, UT today. I left Moriarty, NM this morning. I could have gone a little further, but I couldn’t get to where I hoped to be. I was really trying to get to Ogden, UT, but that’s still over 1.5 hours away. I didn’t have that much time available.

It doesn’t matter though. By the time I drive my full day tomorrow, I’ll only have about 4 hours of driving to do on Wednesday morning, which would put me arriving about 4 hours ahead of schedule, so I’m taking it easy here tonight and will leave at a good time tomorrow. Things will be just fine. I wish people understood that truck driving is not just sitting in this truck holding on to the steering wheel all day. I don’t think the average person has any idea just what the truck driver has to know and the skills he possess to get the job done and done safely and on time!

Keep the shiny side up!

Time Off… It’s Just Not Enough

Well, I got home last night early.  I’ve been home all day and yet I still don’t have everything done before heading out tomorrow.  I did get some rest today, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair that I don’t have a chance to do the things I want to do (like everyone else) because I’m not home enough.

I know that I’m whining!  I’m sorry about that.  Sometimes life sucks.  Today seems to be one of those days.  Now, tomorrow, I’ll probably be over it and life will be grand again.

One thing about tomorrow is that I’ll be on a run that will allow me to get some miles and make some money.  The past few weeks have been short runs that didn’t allow the miles to add up enough.  But that is trucking.  Sometimes you’re home when a long run comes in or a short run.  You get what the cards are dealt to you.  I’m happy that I got the Ace/King run.