Archive for June, 2008

a “trip” as a trucker. PART 1- the setup

Well, a LOT of ppl always ask me, how is trucking as a job…what do i do when im on the road, the things i see, go through, the process i went through to become a trucker or just general questions so… i thought id share. Here we begin what i like to call…

– the setup –

As an owner operator (my truck below)

I get “the call”…dispatch calls me up on the bat-phone and tells me i have a load (or loads) going to xyz. If i like the details as far as distance (further usually means more money) and the weight of it all combined ( the heavier it is the more fuel youll spend/ the less money u make ) etc…then i accept.

From there i get told to either pick up the trailer WITH the load at the yard OR pick up the trailer at the yard but have to travel to abc to get loaded, For the sake of my tale lol, lets say im getting loaded at the yard. There are a few things one must do BEFORE you leave for the trip. Mainly, you have to check the paperwork.

Lets assume all the paperwork (for the load im going to carry ” BILLS” ) is good, i HOOK the trailer and perform whats famously called…the PRE-TRIP INSPECTION which consists of you mainly chekcing the inner and outer workings of your truck BEFORE EVERY trip to make sure youre going to make it in one piece and on time from point A to B. BY this i mean, TIRES, FRAME, BODY, LIGHTS STEERING, OIL, WATER ETC…

Once the checks are all ok, you go get WEIGHED, yes…weighed. There are rules/limits as to how many pounds once can carry on the trailer plus a limit as to how many pounds one can carry on certain parts of the trailer. So for example, a 53′ trailer, cannot surpass a weight limit of 80,000 pounds. Out of those 80,000, the weight has to be distributed evenly inside the trailer. Many of you im sure have driven out of state. When your almost out of your state/in the middle/ or entering a new state, youve probably seen one of these

…well thats pointing to the dreaded Weigh station and they check EVERYTHING., the FIRST thing u do when pulling in is that your passing OVER scales built onto the ground so to the police watching, the first sign of a problem they¬† notice is the weight.

If your weight is off by even a SMALL fraction, you get told to pull into the impound lot, and from there, all HELL breaks loose lol. Lets just say that some of those tickets are big enough to put your trip on even or negative..this means that whatever you WOULDVE made on that trip will probably be taken out to pay that ticket. Now if your weight is good, you pretty much get the green light/arrow UNLESS your truck looks like SHIT..then u get told to pull in lol. other than that…

lets assume you went to a nearby scale, weighed yourself and passed. Then its time to do

” THE BOOK” (pic below)

The book is where you keep all your records, receipts etc…but most importantly, your drivers LOG. There are a BUNCH of rules that you must follow in order to properly drive without being stopped or rather, if and when you ARE stopped, that when DOT or police check your log, that they dont find anything wrong. The can and WILL fine you for having a messed up book.

In general, there are limits to how many legal hrs you have to drive, to eat, to take a brake, bathroom, on duty time, etc…the LOG paper has hr stamps on it and as the day goes by, you have to mark it (the sloppy lines i drew on there lol ). If wrong by even a small percent..depending on the officer, BAM! another bunch of tickets…THE BAD THING about this is that depending how bad your book is, you get put “OUT OF SERVICE”…. out of service means you CANNOT move from that spot until the police officer says u can go, and yes, this can be from a couple of hrs to days. you have to add EVERYTHING in there from the names of the driver(s) to places to pick up/drop etc…EVERYTHING in order. Where you ate, where you took a break to use the rest room…EVERYTHING. they need to know where youve been from the time u left to the time they got you. if your book is in order then thats it…your off on

“the trip”

( check for it on my next post )

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a “trip” as a trucker. PART 2

So now that everything is in order, next stop ISssssss

THE TRIP.

You look at the paperwork for the address to where your going and plot the course on a MAP lol. Now me, i just use a newly released / not in stores yet truckers GPS. Like any GPS before it, add the starting/ending address and thats it. Now a truckers GPS ( picture below)

is the same thing as a regular 150$ GPS except it costs about a 1000$ bucks, its BIGGER…and has features for tuckers including ‘truck ROUTES’ for the trip. BIG trucks cant go every where a car can so if you follow a regular GPS….your SCREWED. you will either HIT something, crash…get stuck under a low bridge if your not careful or SOMETHING…So with this GPS unit, it tells me nearby TRUCK STOPS, TRUCK ONLY ROUTES, etc… all the goodies. Anyways once done plotting course then thats when the “trip” REALLY begins.

This is where it gets interesting…ill let the pics do the talking.

Now, after a couple of hrs of driving, youll go through many of these…

ME going through TEXAS (below)

this one is through NEW MEXICO….ALBUQUERQUE if im not mistaken…or somewhere around there (below)

These are going through ST LUIS i think…. (below)

These ones are in CALIFORNIA (below), now CALI was GORGEOUS but i couldnt take too many pics…it was like NYC…BUSY and as u can see, i got stormed by a bunch of bikers…almost SQUASHED on while trying to take a pic….

These are in LAS VEGAS ( no pics )…………YYEEAAAHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

i SWEAR to god i was trying to take some pics of VEGAS when i was passing by and i almost dropped my iphone, attempting to pick it up, i swerved like 3 lanes……..i was LUCKKYYYYY!!!!! the highway wasnt TOO packed but still….i got so scared that i put the iphone down….

SO…

Now after a few hrs of driving, either for fuel / food or rest, i pull in to the truckers sanctuary… THE TRUCKS STOP lol. I pull in, fuel up if i need to, then when done, find a spot and just CHILL.

After my break / nap or food intake…i continue on. Once my LEGAL drive time is over, i pull into another truckstop, find another spot and onto washing up………. YES….WASH UP!!!!! There is NO reason for some of those drivers to be as FILTHY as they are!!! absolutely NONE….

anyways, so when im parked, i go inside and tell the clerks that im interested in taking a shower,

this is the process…

i hand them my CARD for what ever truck stop im in ( i have a few )…..for now lets say im in a flying J truck stop, i give em my flying J card which has coupon points for free showers on it ( they get added for free when you fuel up X amount of gallongs in diesel… ) and then they hand u a paid receipt and a shower receipt… you take the shower receipt and walk to the truckers waiting area (has tv, radio etc) and theres a little tv above the hall where the showers are located. Now if you look at the receipt, it has 2 sets of numbers, ( pic below )

the first set of numbers ( 325 ) is the # u look for on the tv screen, when u see that number on the screen, therell be another number on the right hand side of it, thatll be your shower door number, in this case shower number 5…. From there, you go to the appropiate door, and use the second set of numbers on the receipt…thats the keypad code u need to open the door (pic below)

Now once inside, this is what it generally looks like …. P.S, this IS generally a flying J bathroom…clean and nice…ive been to some places that id rather stay dirty than to use em…..anyways moving on lol, (pics below)

Now once your clean, then you go to sleep…….when your time is up and its time to move, you re-do a PRE TRIP INSPECTION again to make sure youre still good, get some food etc…UPDATE the LOG BOOK and thats it…back on the road with mother nature.

Now lets assume youre now done driving and youve reached your destination. You pull in and go to speak to dispatch or whomever u can find, give em you paperwork and thats it, Theyll now give you a LOADING door, you back in, dock the truck, and wait until your unloaded. In that time you can rest / sleep, watch tv or in my case…ANIME lol…..or gaming, either or…but thats it. These are some of the places i end up in…( pics below )

These one is in EDINBURG TEXAS..one of the more unusual places ive been for a pick up order…i swear it looked like i was in a plantation…i had to take these on the LOW cause they didnt allow cameras lol…

This one was in um….Kansas next to a military base / airport

oh and HEY! dont mind the belly…its the food!!!

And thats it my fellow friends…once the drop has been done and confirmed, then u UPDATE the log book, call YOUR dispatch and see what cargo they have coming back form where ever you are in the nation back home, for example, if i had a trip from NEW JERSEY to um…..texas, then when done, i ask my boss to find me cargo from texas to NJ etc…. once i have the necessary information, i go to the pick up LOC, dock again, redo the Log Book, and wait…when done, i repeat ALL this stuff ive mentioned above lol.

hope yall had fun and um…..until next time!!!

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