Let's talk trucks

kellen

macrumors 68020
Aug 11, 2006
2,362
55
Seattle, WA
I have done the cross country trip 2 times from Seattle to Philadelphia. I found Idaho through montana to be the worst trip. The scenery is nice, but it gets old quickly and there are no cities to go through. Plus the deer are killer!
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
I have done the cross country trip 2 times from Seattle to Philadelphia. I found Idaho through montana to be the worst trip. The scenery is nice, but it gets old quickly and there are no cities to go through. Plus the deer are killer!
That is my favorite part of the country, I want to retire there. Different strokes :)
 

173080

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2003
409
1
Let's talk about performance figures.

Without a trailer attached, could you do a burnout?

0-60 time?

What is the top speed?

How often do you floor it? Do you really get to use all the power often?
 

zephead

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2006
1,573
3
in your pants
How do you like the gig so far? I still have days where I question my sanity for doing this, but I doubt I could go back to a 9-5.

Ddi you find that how you drive your car has changed?
I do like the whole thing in general, it's just that my trainer wasn't, shall we say, a very reasonable or logical person, but I'm done with him and I'm gonna get to go out on a truck with a guy I know from training, so I bet I'll enjoy that a lot more.

I don't think my overall car driving has changed, mostly because I was already a very cautious and courteous driver before I was a trucker. I don't know why most people don't think this way, but it's common sense to me not to swerve around and in front of a truck because it's way bigger than me and could squish my little car like a bug.

173080 said:
Without a trailer attached, could you do a burnout?
Probably not, there's way too much shifting to do to be able to just floor it and peel out.

0-60 time?
I haven't actually counted, but w/o a trailer it probably only takes slightly longer than a car. But with a decent sized load, it takes 1/2 mile or so.

What is the top speed?
The speedometer in the trucks I've been in (Freightliners) only goes up to 85, but the fastest I've gone is about 75 and that was only because it was downhill.

How often do you floor it? Do you really get to use all the power often?
If you're on a hill, you absolutely have to floor it to use as much power as possible to get you and your loaded trailer up the hill. There are a lot of times where the highest gear won't get you up the hill because you'll slow down to where you have to downshift, at which time you'll be using more power but at a lower constant speed. If you're on a particularly steep hill and you're going slower than 45mph, then you have to move to the far right lane and turn your flashers/hazard lights on to let other people and trucks know to go around you.

kellen said:
I have done the cross country trip 2 times from Seattle to Philadelphia. I found Idaho through montana to be the worst trip. The scenery is nice, but it gets old quickly and there are no cities to go through. Plus the deer are killer!
I've gone from Seattle (well, Kent) to York, PA, and Idaho/Montana definitely aren't my favorite states to drive through. That continental divide is a bitch, isn't it? I was pulling 42,000 lbs through there and I was going about 25mph uphill and downhill.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,132
4

GGGUUUYYY

macrumors regular
Jan 9, 2009
163
0
I've just started to learn how to drive a truck this summer. It's taking me a long time because are family business which delivers water.. isn't busy all the time.

Up here the Middle eastern people are taking all the jobs. Most of them get there licenses through loop holes and can barely drive. Is it like that in the states?
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
Also is that a Specialized Hardrock I see on the back of your truck.
Yes, it has disc brakes too! I think it is an '04 or '05. I'll be heading out on a ride through Salt Lake City in about 30 minutes.

GGGUUUYYY said:
Most of them get there licenses through loop holes and can barely drive. Is it like that in the states?
No, you pretty much have three options for getting a CDL in the states.

1) You can grow up around the equipment and just borrow a truck to take the test.

2) You can do what zephead is doing and get free training from a company. You typically have to sign a contract saying you will stay with that company for X amount of time, if you break that contract you owe the company $3-4k.

3) You can go to a driving school on your own dime. This normally costs between $3k-4k.

None of these options will make you a "good" driver right from the beginning. If if you go to the best school and have the greatest teachers ever you will still learn FAR more in your first 6-12 months on the road than you ever will in a school.
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
I LOVE this new truck. I just sent this message to the owner: "You'll have to club me over the head then cut the truck from around me to give this thing up."
Well, here I am quoting myself again. From my blog post awhile back:

I was coming down Cabbage Hill today with "Touch, Feel and Lose" by Ryan Adams playing on the radio and I had the urge to write, something I apparently haven't done since early October. Wow has a lot changed since then.

In late october I flew up to Seattle for Allie's birthday and got to visit with quite a few friends. After seeing Allie I knew I had move back and started to make plans before I even flew back to Colorado. I decided the best thing would be to continue to run on the Dollar Tree account until it closed up shop in January or February then move and try to find another dedicated account to run out of the Seattle area. A couple good friends of mine were moving while I was visiting and needed another person for their house and I had already lived with them before so I knew it would be a great fit. I struck a deal with them and locked it up by paying rent before even moving.

Then things with Alan took a turn for the worst, in early December when I (once again) woke up to find that I hadn't been paid when I should have been. Then, pissed off, I started my day and it just got worse, some events unfolded that nearly ended my career. Hours later I informed my boss and Alan that I was quitting and that they needed to get me home. That afternoon I picked up my last Swift trailer and headed from Salt Lake to home.

This came as a pretty big surprise to my boss because I hadn't let her know about Alan's payroll issues so that she wouldn't have yet another thing to deal with. Once I explained everything she understood my situation and even did me a huge favor. I had asked if she knew what company was running the Dollar Tree account in the Seattle area and not only did she give me the number to call but she even called them and told them that they needed to hire me. I can't thank her enough for that. As I told her the last time I saw her, she is one of the few people at that company that seems to actually give a ***** about her employees.

The only problem with moving was that I was about as broke as I had been in years. I didn't have the money for a moving truck and no longer had a car in Colorado since my pickup had been stolen from the Swift terminal last summer. I had to do something I was hoping I would never have to do, I called my dad and asked for help. He paid for the rental truck and overnighted a check for fuel. With some help from Meladee and David, on Saturday I was packed up and and heading down(up?) the road.

Like many of my adventures this one would turn out to have it's own challenges. After my first fuelup in Casper, Wyoming I learned that I wouldn't have enough money for fuel if I continued at 60mph so I slowed down to 52-53mph to try and get better fuel mileage. At my next fuelup I re-ran the numbers and I would be ok if I just kept it to the low 50's, I also discovered that I had lost the key to the padlock that was on the back of the truck. In Rocker, MT(Billings) I stopped for my only few hours of sleep on this trip. By the time I got to the passes in Washington they were requiring trucks to have chains on, and my rental truck was just big enough to require chains too, but they were locked up in the back of the truck, with no key. I found a little mom and pop hotel and with some finagling I got a discount on a room, and a glass of wine. The next morning the chains laws were lifted and I made it the last couple hours home, I made it with less than $20 left.

Over the next week I finalized the paperwork then headed to Portland for my next job at Schnieder National(SNI). I Drove for SNI on their western 11 fleet for about a month before they put me on the Dollar Tree account. Now a few months into the job and I'm finding I like the company. It isn't perfect, but the individual people seem to care, and that makes all the difference. The Dollar Tree account seem to almost operate as a separate company and my two bosses have actually done the work. They know what this account requires of their drivers and also seem to love having me on the account. My pay has been pretty steady and they haven't missed a check.

Speaking of that, I will never again let an employer go more than 14 days late on a check. One thing this whole mess with Alan taught me is to set a firm deadline and stick to it. If I walk then it is THEIR loss, not mine. Had I walked away from Alan when he first had his payroll issues almost a year ago I would still have nearly $10k in the bank instead of being broke for the last six months. People like him, who are more than willing to screw over their employees, deserve every ounce of bad "luck" that comes their way.

And, to end this on a lighter note. This biggest benefit to working for SNI on this account is that I am home nearly every weekend. In fact, last weekend was the first weekend that I haven't been home since January. Being able to play with Allie and spend time with my parents and great friends is pretty awesome. I am really looking forward to this year, I think it will be great for me on many levels.
 

zephead

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2006
1,573
3
in your pants
How long ago did you start working for Schneider? I started working for them at the end of April. Solo driving is AWESOME! I got the western region job even though I applied for the semi-local Walmart account, because Walmart was being unusually picky and not hiring drivers who had too many pull-ups on the pre-employ backing test. But I'm liking the solo western region job :D
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
I started the week of Christmas and got on the Dollar Tree account the last week of January. One of my former students at Swift just joined us at the DT account a couple months ago too, small world

I was talking to one of the higher ups a while ago and she was saying that they can't get enough drivers right now. That was VERY good to hear :)

I usually roll through the Portland OC every Saturday morning to get fuel and scan my paperwork, then I'm off to eastern Idaho. Wen you are there for the night head out the gate on foot, go through the concrete barriers that are stacked up, cross the RR tracs and Hwy-30 then hang a right. Follow the road for a block and go into the Wooden Chicken. There are good burgers and a cold one waiting for you. I think I'll be there tomorrow ;)


Driving solo is probably the nicest treat you can get after spending time in the cab with another driver. You run the ship that way YOU want to and no one can say a thing about it. :D

Western 11 is nice too. Even at swift I preferred the run the west because it is so much nicer. Once you get east of I-35 there is just simply too much traffic for it to be enjoyable. If you can handle the west in the winter(especially WY) you can handle anything.
 

applegeek13

macrumors regular
Sep 7, 2009
113
0
Sorry for the thread resuscitation. I really like your discussion here, it's pretty cool. I kinda want to be a truck driver now, if the whole rally driver dream doesn't work out. How do you like the Schneider truck?

P.S. I build truck models, so any picture you have of the truck specifically would be much appreciated. :)
 

JoeG4

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2002
2,663
167
Bay Area, Ca.
Awesome read :D For some reason the not being able to park in a football field thing made me laugh, reminded me of this recent wal-mart trip where I watched the poor guy trying to back his semi into the loading docks (it's a mall store, used to be Macy's), and he had to go forward and back about 10 times before he finally got it.

Getting a CDL and driving a truck is one of those things I've got to do some day if only for a short time, always wondered.. don't think it'd be my kinda thing though XD
 

R94N

macrumors 68020
May 30, 2010
2,097
1
UK
The biggest truck we have in Britain is probably the Renault Magnum. Scania used to make a long-nose style truck (the sort of design that's commonly seen in the US) for sale here but that seems to have been discontinued. I can't remember what it was called.
 
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LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
Well, I just re-read this whole tread. It's very interesting to see what I wrote before, and laugh at it. I'm still running the Dollar tree account at SNI and love it. I haven't updated my blog in a long time due to a lack of interest in writing. Below is what I posted today on a couple other sites I visit:

On Tuesday evening I was headed went on I-90 just west of Superior, MT when the below truck passed me then a smallish car. When I went around the first 45mph curve in this section of road I saw a cloud of dust then the small car stopping with it's 4-ways on, then the flatbed laying on its side.

I immediacy turned on my CB and started telling westbound traffic to stop as I brought my truck to a halt and turned on the 4-ways. Luckily I only had 8500lbs of vitamins so I was able to stop fairly quickly. As soon as I was stopped I yanked the yellow brake then hit the ground running. The people in the other car didn't think to get out and help until they saw me running up to the front of the rolled truck.

Once at the front of the truck I yelled to the driver "Are you ok?" He said he was so I went around to the bottom of the truck to climb up to help him out. It was then that I realized one thing and remembered another. #1, it is damn near impossible to climb up the underside of a big truck without burning the **** out of yourself. #2, I remembered something from a safety class I took when I worked for a commercial electrical contractor, 60% of the people who are killed in work/industrial accidents are the ones doing the rescuing. Just as I was grabbing the tie rod and put my foot on the leafspring the guy opened up the passenger door. He climbed out on his own and actually had no injuries at all, not even a scratch. He was wearing his seatbelt.

The next step was contacting emergency crews, no one had cell reception. I wound up climbing down the embankment to the eastbound lanes, flagged down a car and told them to call 911. It took about 20 minutes for the first emergency crews to show up.

I talked to the driver of the truck for some time, he said he didn't like the way the load was loaded when he picked it up. As a driver we have the right to refuse any load we deem unsafe, he choose poorly here. That combined with his *****ty job securing it on the 2nd trailer and taking the turn WAY too fast is what caused this. The people in the small car were just about to pass him when they saw the load shift and backed off. The 2nd trailer rolled and took the whole truck with it.

It took about two hours before something big enough to push the trailer out of the way showed up. Once the trailer was out of the way the sheriff let us through, the road had already be re-routed at the previous exit. Watching the wrecker turn around was fun.

While waiting, I spent some time talking with a chick form Missoula. I'm no Scotty, so only time will tell what happens with that.

My truck is the orange one at the front of the lone in pic #2







 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
I got an email from a friend that reminded me to update this thread. She recently went for a ride in a big truck, something I think everyone should do, and this is what she said abaout it:

"yes, riding in the big rig was a real eye-opener for me and I have honest respect for what you do. And, it's been months now since I've had a driver hang out his window, shaking his first at me and generally looking like he wanted to pulverize me, so I think I'm improving. Why one of you drivers hasn't gone postal and blown away a whole herd of ****** 4-wheelers is beyond me. Holy cow - like driving the titantic."

So again, I urge anyone, if you have the opportunity to ride in a big truck, DO IT!

On to other bits:

• I'd like to point out post #33 where I mentioned Macklemore as someone worth listening to. :D

• When re-reading this thread I couldn't help but laugh at post #90!

• Alan, the guy I drove for before coming to Schneider still owes me $7k in pay, ouch!

• I'm still running the same Dollar Tree account at Schneider and love it. I've been doing it for a bit over 3 years now and I run the same loop every week. I've made friends in Montana who I will probably know the rest of my life, even though I live in the Seattle area.

A bit over a year ago the company handed me the keys to a 2012 Freightliner Cascadia with 24 miles on the ticker. In the first year I put 115k miles on it, running to Billings and back like clockwork, regardless of weather. I unload my own trailers box-by-box, anywhere from 35,000-49,000lbs of freight.

Last November I moved out of my rental home and into he truck full-time so I could stop paying rent. I've fallen in love with photography and my plan is to live in the truck for 3-years and save up as much cash as possible in that time so I can make an honest run at building my own photography business when I move back into a traditional home. I figure that with the money I save, I should be able to go a two full years without needing to worry about income. As it is, I'm already debt-free.

In my sig you'll find a link to my blog where I regularly post pictures and updates about living in the truck and my financial progress. The purpose behind the financial posts is to help keep me on track by making myself accountable to "The Internet" and hopefully getting people to kick my butt if I stray too far from my goals.
 

LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
1,039
130
Denton, TX
I had a reason to lookup post 90 of this thread and was surprised at how old this thread is, nearly 10 years!

Since my last post I met a girl on the Dollar Tree loading dock. Got a bulging disk that crippled me for six months. The girl got her CDL and we dove together for six months. Then we both quit trucking and moved to Virginia. She got a surveying gig, and I got back into entertainment. After two years of dating, the girl and I broke up. My entertainment gig turned into touring with the LPGA.

These days I build jumbotrons exclusively for professional golf tournaments. I primarily work on the LPGA, and do PGA gigs when I have the time. In addition I manage the LPGA tour for my company and drive the truck. I'm glad to only be driving trucks about 10,000 miles a year. The rest of my time is split between beautiful golf courses and home. My company leaves me alone and lets me work, but gives me all the support I could possibly ask for when I need it. I didn't know it before taking this job, but it's my dream job!
 
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A.Goldberg

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Jan 31, 2015
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@LumbermanSVO

How soon do you think it will be before autonomous trucking? Do you think truck drivers will soon be obsolete or do you see situations where self driving technology cannot replace human control.

I'm thinking autonomous trucking could be a very good investment. That said, it would be sad to see so many people lose their jobs to new technology.
 
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adib

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2010
182
72
Singapore
Does the thought of self-driving trucks scares you?

What are your contingency plans if this one day becomes true and took out (say) a third of truckers' positions?

Big trucks! Np I don't mean big pickups, I mean semi's. I'm a truck driver and in the last 9 weeks I've driven over 30,000 miles. The average person only drives around 12,000 a year.

So I thought we could have a thread where anyone could ask me, and any other professional drivers that may be on the board, any truck related question you might have.

Now folk let's keep this friendly. If you want to just complain about trucks or drivers then please start another thread. That's not what this one is for.
 
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old mac

Suspended
May 16, 2011
140
172
@LumbermanSVO

How soon do you think it will be before autonomous trucking? Do you think truck drivers will soon be obsolete or do you see situations where self driving technology cannot replace human control.

I'm thinking autonomous trucking could be a very good investment. That said, it would be sad to see so many people lose their jobs to new technology.
I think it will be a long time before the driver is eliminated. There are things like adjusting the tandems, releasing the king pin, hooking up air lines, etc, that a computer can not do. Besides all of that, have you ever heard of a perfect computer, one that doesn't freeze up or can't be hacked? Also GPS isn't anywhere close to being good enough.
 
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LumbermanSVO

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 15, 2007
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Denton, TX
Just get a truck sideways on ice at 50mph and suddenly you'll understand that no computer can recover from that. Computers just can't read winter roads the way experienced drivers can. In my last winter I had a night where I was driving on ice in 75mph winds, because Wyoming.

That said, the autonomous trucks can't come soon enough! I'm in a unique position in that my CDL and experience is important to my job, but it is a VERY small part of what I do now. While I was away from home 227 days last year, only about 30 were behind the wheel of a truck. If I could eliminate the 30 driving days and turn them into 20 flying days, I'd do it in a heartbeat!
[doublepost=1488950983][/doublepost]
Thanks for the update. Always loved this thread! Been following from the start.
Dude! You were the first reply to this thread!