Wednesday, September 07, 2005
The links below will guide you in reading about my experiences as an OTR (Over The Road) truck driver. I've kept a semi-daily journal about my experiences for just over 1-year. Many individuals considering a career (or career-change) in the trucking industry (as well as current drivers) have benefited from my postings on the trucking industry. So, grab a beverage and a snack and click the links below.
Truck driver training
On the road with my first trucking company employer
On the road with my second trucking company employer (I'm still currently driving for them)
P.S. I presently won't be adding new postings (in case you're wondering). I've gotten busy with another web site / blog project regarding mega trends in the marketplace. That won't be ready to be unveiled for a while. Stay tuned....
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Tuesday, September 06, 2005
After getting up shortly after midnight, I picked up a trailer at the warehouse and swapped it for an empty trailer at a delivery location in the Milwaukee, WI area.
Then I headed back for the warehouse and swapped that trailer for another one bound for 3-stops in the greater Chicago, IL area.
Everything went well. I met another new driver starting with the company today and he came from the trucking firm I used to be employed with. It was good catching up a bit with him as well as his one-day trainer, Mr. D. (The guy who also trained me when I started with this company) Mr. D. commented on the fact that we both still had good things to say about the other company. After eating a couple of homemade cookies baked by Ms. L in the office, I headed home and was there by early afternoon.
Tomorrow I'll be heading for the Minneapolis, MN area in the morning and arriving back at home (if all goes well) in the early evening hours.
miles driven = 324
miles driven last Friday = 404
miles driven last week = 2,632
average miles driven over the last 5-consecutive weeks = 2,479
PostScript: Well, it is evident that the company won't be able to give me an average of 2,600 - 2,800 miles-per-week for the remainder of the year in order to make up shortfall of miles they promised me (2,300 - 2,500 miles-per-week with most weekends off). Admittedly, they will come close. I am now averaging (over the last 5-weeks) under 2,600 miles-per-week but I'm working 6-days-per-week.
So, if I compare the first 23-weeks of my employment with this company, I averaged 400-miles-per-day (2,000 miles/week) over a 5-day work week (I did have a few 6-day work weeks). In the last 5-weeks, I've averaged 413 miles-per-day (2,480 miles/week) working 6-days-per-week. So, in the end, although I am seeing a better paycheck each week, I won't make the 2,300 - 2,500 average weekly miles for the 1st year that the company promised me. And I'm working 6-days-a-week. Hmm...looks like it's time to have a friendly chat with the boss.
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Thursday, September 01, 2005
This morning I arrived at my destination in the Chicago, IL right on time. During the course of the unload, I learned that I could have delivered the load 3-hours earlier if I had wanted to. They sure wish I had since they had requested a few days ago. Oh well...when communication, when it works, is great!
Back at the warehouse, I picked up a load heading for Minneapolis, MN. Due to a mix-up, I almost decided to get up very early tomorrow morning and make the 3-deliveries. However, things got straightened out and I left towards Minneapolis this afternoon. I'm glad I waited. If I hadn't, I would have arrived back in Milwaukee, WI on Saturday instead of tomorrow (Friday).
The ride up was beautiful. The day started out cloudy but then turned totally sunny without a cloud in the sky.
I ended up arriving at a truck stop right when my 11-hours of driving expired as well as my 14-hour clock expired since I started the day. Talk about cutting it close!
Katrina's aftermath continues to be deadly. People are dying because they can't get out of areas in the coastal gulf region--especially hospitals and nursing homes. May God continue to give energy to all the copter pilots, boat navigators, and everyone who continues the rescue and relief efforts.
The kids started their first day back at school today. My daughter had a great day at school. My son's day was, in his words, boring (I think he had fun as well).
Oh yeah, I saw the red fox again at the warehouse this morning. I couldn't believe it--he was slinking around at 6:00 AM in the morning. I turned my head for a moment to look at something else and when I turned my head back again, I couldn't find him. He just seemed to blend into the asphalt jungle.
Well, the Packers are losing against the Tennessee Titans in the last pre-season game (currently it's 17 to 14). At least the score isn't as bad as it has been in previous losses! Who knows, maybe the 2nd/3rd string could pull a win out!
Tomorrow, I should be home for a late supper.
miles driven = 611
PostScript: Packers win! Packers win! I can't wait for the regular season to start!
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Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Gulf Coast Reeling
This morning I found out that the trailer whose 2-deliveries I had was late in getting out of the gate at the warehouse yesterday. It was supposed to be finished by 10:00 AM and instead I hooked onto it at 3:00 PM. Consequently, it's not our company's fault (nor any driver's fault) if an appointment is missed due to the trailer not being loaded in time.
My second stop wasn't too appreciative of the late appointment in spite of the fact it wasn't my fault for being late. In fact, I barely beat another truck to the dock--otherwise I would have waited for him to be finished unloading before I could back in.
Aside from all that, it was a great day for driving--sunny and warm.
Katrina's damage is just beginning to be assessed. Hundreds are feared dead (if not thousands). I will watch the news tonight...and be awestruck at what I see.
God grant the truckers, emergency personnel, and everyone else going in the damaged areas safe passage.
miles driven = 370
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
In picking up my paperwork for my Chicago, IL run this morning, I found out that the appointment was for 12:00 noon instead of 8:30 AM. I had mistakenly read the information wrong yesterday when I accepted the load and assumed that today's date was the appointment time for today. Sigh. So here I sit for a few hours in Chicago waiting until the receiver is ready enough to take me.
Later, they do take me early (cool!) and then I'm on my way back to the warehouse in Milwaukee, WI. There, I wait for almost an hour before hooking unto a trailer bound for Mankato, MN.
I saw the start of a beautiful sunset as I approached the La Crosse, WI area and beyond. Sunset and dusk occurred as I passed through Rochester, MN.
Katrina will be recorded as the worst storm ever. May rescuers be quick to find survivors before it's too late. May authorities be given wisdom on how to begin the ongoing clean-up operation.
When I started with another trucking company one year ago, one of the places I delivered to was in Gulf Port, MS. I delivered to a warehouse right on the ocean front. Needless to say, although I haven't see pictures of that area yet, there isn't anything remaining of that warehouse. That's sobering.
miles driven = 585
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Monday, August 29, 2005
Today's drive through Upper Michigan and Wisconsin was enjoyable--plenty of sunshine.
Mississippi and Louisiana, on the other hand....Katrina has really hit those coastal areas as well as inland very hard. My company informed all drivers over the QualCOMM to fuel up today instead of tomorrow due to an expected overnight jump in fuel prices. Call me naive, but if fuel prices jump--say .10 to .20--that is price gouging gone wild. There is no way that one hurricane is going to slow the flow of fuel throughout the country. The experts say that it will disrupt coastal refineries down where Katrina hit. OK--is all America's fuel refined in those areas? Heck no. Something, in my humble opinion, smells fishy if fuel prices spike over the next few days. We'll see.
I either saw a wolf or a dog that looked like a wolf cross the road about 75-yards in front of the truck this morning. The way it ran and slinked across the road told me that it could have been a wolf. However, I thought wolves stayed as far away from people and civilization as possible.
Tomorrow morning I'll be headed toward Chicago, IL and then, presumably, back up to the UP.
miles driven = 366
PostSript: 8-10% of the refineries in the gulf region are damaged/disabled. Consequently, the price of fuel--in theory--shouldn't jump more than 8-10% of what it was a 1-week ago. So, I guess a .20-.30 rise in the cost of fuel is about right.
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Sunday, August 28, 2005
Another great drive up to the UP--just a beautiful day.
It's somewhat unbelievable that Hurricane Katrina became a Category-4 hurricane as quickly as it did. After soaking southern Florida, it will wreak havoc on the coast near New Orleans, LA. So, as the sun is setting in picture perfect weather in Marquette, MI, New Orleans and other cities along the coast are bracing for the 100-MPH winds that will precede the main event of winds around 175-MPH. Yikes.
I watching a few seagulls in the parking lot. They are walking in front of the truck about 50-yards away. I think they think I will leave them some food. They are mistaken. Another 50-yards on the side of the truck, a deer grazes in a field as the cricket or two chirps loudly. And the fruit fly makes another fly-by in the truck cab. I have no idea how a fruit fly made it into the truck. I don't carry any fruit in the truck! And it better not have flew off the McDonald's salad I ate either! At any rate, Mr. Fruit Fly will be no more...soon.
Tomorrow I make 3-stops in Michigan and one in Wisconsin before heading home.
miles driven = 296
PostScript: Katrina actually became a Category5- hurricane before quieting down to a Cat-4.
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