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  #11  
Old 02-10-2017, 02:15 AM
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Its been a loooooong month!

Finally home for a few days. Carlisle was rough but we made it, out of 30 some of us, 21 survived the Academy. The class prior only had 5 survive. They are extremely serious about safety, they don't care if during the driving test you get out 100 times while backing in, just get it in there without hitting anything! Everything except the driving portion is open book tests, obviously you can't use a book for driving, you either got it or don't. We got out of there a week ago, in fact last night was my first official run on my own. Ended up missing the delivery window on my last stop by 44 minutes, first 2 stops screwed me over. Did my part by calling in both times and informing my dispatch what was going on! First stop tipped a pallet over in the trailer, cost me an extra 30 minutes. 2nd stop sent the unloaders on lunch so an older guy who was getting ready to clock out, unloaded all 11 pallets by himself and it wasn't his job! Cost me an extra 30 minutes because they also couldn't find the manager with the key to unlock the door. Ended up running out of hours at my last stop and spent the night in a truck with a busted bunk heater and curtains that are non existent. Hoping they have it fixed by Saturday night when I go out again. Spent this morning butt clenching my way home due to the high winds and an empty 53 footer crossing the 301 bridge! Wasn't a bright move but I made it and learned I won't be attempting that ever again if winds are sustained at 15 mph. I hit it with winds at minimum 20 but gusts at 40. They closed it to empties a few minutes after I crossed.
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  #12  
Old 02-10-2017, 07:35 PM
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And yes, I heard about the truck coming off the Eastern Shore, scary and sad. He was loaded with 30K and the wind possibly blew him off yet the bridge authority said the winds were within tolerance for him to safely cross...........bet some changes are made quickly! They had only closed it for empties at that time. I was just on that bridge 2 days before and remarked that it must be ugly when it's windy. Several of our trucks were stuck over there waiting for the wind to die off so they could come back home with their empties.
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  #13  
Old 02-15-2017, 08:46 PM
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best of luck on your new job MrFord
if you ever come down past Charlotte,NC and have a few minutes,let me know and we`ll grab a cup if possible
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  #14  
Old 02-16-2017, 01:55 AM
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Thanks for the offer Tommy! Never know, we do run down into NC some and sometimes they send a couple of drivers in a convoy to much father locations to simply move equipment. 2 weeks ago they sent 5 drivers down to Florida to make a drop and hook delivery so we could get 5 of our trailers back up here.

Liking it thus far, this is gravy work. Just stand there and pull off stickers from the pallets as they come off, so difficult! The most work I do is hooking up or dropping trailers and driving. Sometimes I have to lift a 15 pound bulkhead out of the way and or open the back door. If a box falls or the pallet tips over, I just stand and watch, not allowed to touch the freight due to claims policies.

People make fun of us slow poke SNI trucks, but gosh dang do we get paid right! I got paid $30 last night to drive 10 miles between 3 stores. $15 per store still in the same zip code as your first stop! Guys have left thinking they can do better........they end up back here within a month to a year citing the same thing, the pay here is just too fair. I get an extra .04 a mile for runs under 200 miles one way, most of our runs are under 200 miles. Then you toss in your bonus money for fuel optimizer and such!
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  #15  
Old 02-23-2017, 09:26 AM
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Tommy, thought I was going to hit you up Tuesday. I was in NC, but not quite your area. I got routed from my last stop in South Hill, VA to Louisburg NC for a backhaul that didn't load out until after my 10 would be over. Nice little area it was once I got to see it in the daylight.

So back to my original post on some questions I had, the kingpin lock IS NOT required unless your regional or OTR. None of the trainer engineers as they call them had fridges on their trucks, they have coolers they fill with ice. So any meds, plan on putting them in sealed sandwich bags to put in the cooler.

They supply you a logbook to start, you will be training at an OC, walk up to the fuel desk and ask for another one as a spare. You do not need pencils. A highlighter is needed for all of about 30 seconds, in your 3rd week of training. You will be given a Motor Carrier Atlas and told to highlight the timezone lines.

Do go and laminate your pre-trip sheet, air brake sheet and coupling/uncoupling sheet as soon as you get done with your first day. You will thank me later! Find a FedEx Copy store or Staples. Walmart also carries these, go get a plastic notebook binder thingy. It's in the school section. I got the one with a calculator on top, you can store all your paperwork in there. They also have the all metal ones, but they don't have a calculator and calculators are very handy the 3rd week.

You don't necessarily need a notebook unless you want to take notes, I used about 4 pages of mine.........a laptop computer isn't really needed either. The computer training you do, you can access their site but most systems are non-compatible with their site, so forget trying to get ahead! At least at Carlisle, if you drive each day, your more than welcome to stay late and go into their "Fish Bowl" to work on the computer training and get ahead.

If you do drive, listen VERY CAREFULLY to your recruiter, they may give you wrong info on gas reimbursement. We had a handful of pissed off drivers. You MUST top off your tank BEFORE leaving home. When you get to the city where your staying in the hotel for training, go fill up and KEEP THAT RECEIPT to turn in. It MUST not be a cash prepay and it MUST have the name and address of the gas station on the receipt and the address must read the same town as the hotel. Some recruiters are giving out bad info or unclear info on this.

These guys are tough at the academies, it's a serious business! But, in the end, they WANT you to pass and move on. Your given every chance in the world to pass. The final SQT is open book and you get 3 chances to pass it. They hate failing anyone, to them it means something might be wrong with their training practices. Read and log every height sign in your head, some SQT testers will ask you what that height sign said while doing the road test. And KISS, keep it simple stupid, don't hit anything, get out and look as many times as you need. Ask questions before you start on what your allowed or not allowed to do, or what the tester is looking for.

SNI invests heavily in you to be successful, they do not want to be laughed at like Swift is on a daily basis. They will put you in a simulator and put you in some bad spots, it's not a big deal, just do your best on them. They don't expect you to be successful on each sim, just be serious and give it your best shot. They will put you on a slow maneuvers course several times, a trainer is watching you and guiding you and will stop you before you hit anything, well normally! Sometimes they mess up guiding you and you nudge something, those oopsies are on them and usually kept quiet! But, it's a tough course, you will not get out of 1st gear and some of the backs are extreme. 1 is a blind side, another is a combo of blind side and sight side, the other if setup properly is a straight back to slightly sight side.

As I said, it's a serious deal, serious business, but have some fun! Most of the academy trainers in Carlisle are neat guys and will tell jokes. The boot nazi is OK, Mike is his name. He can come off as being a jerk but he's ok. Colin is new to the training, he just stopped driving recently for SNI. He's a neat guy too. If you get Mo, he's Canadian so pardon him at times if he tells you a speed limit in kilometers! He's funny at times! Robert is OK, he's outta Memphis, very easy going guy. He and Mo aren't always there, they do 2 weeks at a time then go home for a few weeks. Chris is ok, tall chubbier guy with a mountain man beard and glasses, he will take you into downtown Carlisle and put you in some very stressful and tight spots. They will all give you pointers and advice. LISTEN to them and do as they say! There is another guy who I can't remember his name, he will go over logbooking 101 with you, ask him about the time his clock had 30 seconds left on it! Or the time a flashlight cop gave him a warning for parking! He's a chubby shorter guy with a beard and very happy, full of spunk! He loves telling jokes with a dry humor during his Logbooking 101 time. Paul is your main 3rd week instructor, former IT guy, dry wit at times! He does the trip planning and teaching you the QC stuff. He is the head safety guy too. The 3rd week can be very confusing. When he says ok, new load, forget all you just talked about on your previous load and time schedule. Your starting the new load as if you have a fresh 70 hours! Your final test with him on trip planning is very easy IMO. There is no single right answer, as long as you stay within the parameters he has set out for you, you will pass it with ease, 100%. My roomie and I both got 100, but arrived at different times within the specified appointment time.

The physical the first day isn't bad, we had guys I was certain would fail but passed. Guys who just sitting in a chair sounded like they had run a marathon..........they passed.
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  #16  
Old 03-02-2017, 06:17 AM
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Still digging this, I don't even call it work! Spent a few nights out of the road this past week. We typically burn up our 14 everyday. Just depends on the routes your given. I usually run 2 routes a night which if I'm lucky I make it back to the yard in time, just depends on the stores and how slow they want to be letting me inside or unloading me. Walmart is very strict about who has a key to open the backdoor and dock door, so it can take 20 minutes or more......I run around front and just walk straight into the back to save time, sucks! Even calling ahead does no good!

Some of the routing blows but it's not us, it's how Walmart decided to load the trailer. I had a run where I had to backtrack about 60 miles........I found a middle of the night shortcut that I would not recommend taking during the day! Saved me at least an hour, but you need the whole road in some spots! Yes, it was truck legal! Even our dispatchers looked at the routing and went WTF? I hate the yanking of loads lately, I accepted and an hour later it's yanked and replaced with a load that is a JIT due to my lack of hours available. They can see our hours available..........I made one 2 nights in a row where I had 15 minutes left on my clock, too close for comfort!

Hating the QC, too much of a hassle when your thrown a load that becomes a JIT due to your hours available or delivery time deadlines. Slows me down! It is something that SNI does not discuss or work with new drivers on in training near enough. Updating your NAT is problematic at times when you are not told to change your ETA first then it allows you to change your NAT. Or you change your NAT, go to bed for your 10 hour, wake up to messages telling you to fix it again........look and it's magically changed to a time you did not set it too. You will have to learn on the fly and get your ear tweaked by a dispatcher or DBL to better understand it, as I said, you do not learn all the ins and outs in training. I have found a very small time saver on my Workflow, as I'm slowly pulling out of the dock, I hit my next stop and hit Tasks and leave it there so it's ready as soon as I pull in to my next stop. If your going like 2-3 mph, 1st/2nd gear you can still mess with the QC. I'm also quickly hitting Navigation and my next stop. No sitting for me screwing with it as long as I know I'm pulling out of a dock with no obstacles to hit!

Speaking of Navigation, Jill is on crack most of the time! I use it to get me in the ballpark or just to show my miles left to go. She did almost get me lost in VA Beach, luckily I immediately came to an intersection, it was the road I needed to be on had I taken the next exit. So instead of a right, I took a left and viola there's my stop! Or her trying to send me 40 miles OOR to avoid a tunnel listed as 13-6 while we are 13-4.........and the true height of the tunnel is 13-8, yet sending me thru another tunnel listed as 13-6.........weird!
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  #17  
Old 03-29-2017, 12:50 AM
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Good luck out there, and happy trails!
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  #18  
Old 03-30-2017, 08:21 AM
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Rolling the dough Hog! Got paid $15 the other night to drive 7 miles......... Heck, 1 night in Roanoke, got $45 for 3 stops, all 3 were within the same zip code. Due to the mileage being 0, you get $15 per stop then, so I drove a total of 13 miles and got paid $45 for that, almost $3.50 a mile!
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  #19  
Old 03-30-2017, 12:32 PM
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That is sweet! ...speaking of sweet, give crackhead Jill lots of candy, and I bet you can put 30 lbs. on her, in one year.
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  #20  
Old 03-31-2017, 05:43 AM
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HAHA! She and I are on the outs most nights.........she tries to tell me the road I'm on doesn't exist, I flip her the bird and hit mute. I just use her for a distance to go number so I have an idea of how much longer my drive is.
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