LIFE ON THE ROAD

Viewing life from the other side of the window!

title

22 Years and Going Strong

Dave, is entering his 22th year as a professional Truck Driver including 8 years as a Professional Driver Finisher and 18 Months as an Owner Operator.

As a company driver with his previous owner Operator experience, Dave has brought a lot of that knowledge to this company during this Double Dip Recession.

 As the years have gone by the trucking industry has allowed us to freely move around the United States.  We have been able to visit family members and make changes to care for aging family members that need a little extra help.  We are now in North Carolina.  

As we embrace our new frontiers we encourage you and our friends to follow our adventures.  We thank all our family and friends for their support.

NO GLAMOR

There is no glamor to truck driving.  You mostly wear whatever feels comfortable yet at the same time professional....You are representing an established company. You work up to 14 hours a day for $0.34 a mile. Average, 50 miles an hour without complications equals to $17.00 an hour. Congestion, heavy traffic, break downs, chaining, snow, freezing rain could set you back 45 minutes to a full 24 hours or more especially when passes are shut down. Major breakdowns can set you back days to a week depending on any given problem. Make sure you have at least $ 20.00-$100.00 on you at all times.  A meal and or a cup of coffee can be helpful.

You work in rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain, wind, hail and sunshine. Ship and deliver from land, rail, sea and air. You will trudge through mud, ice and snow.

Out here on the east coast you do not chain.  You wait for the plows if conditions are really bad or you barefoot it.  On the west coast you get out and chain just to get down the road in freezing temperatures.  An average chain is 50 lbs. doubles are 100 lbs. It takes at least 30 to 40 min to do a complete set up and a take down and store 15 min. You run 15 to 25 miles per hour for 15 minutes get out recheck and if needed tighten chains (if not they can wrap around an axle and cause severe damage). Sometimes you hit drive pavement so to not tear up tires or chains you take the chains off only to put them right back on again to get  over the next hill. Winters can be really rough and tough.

You need to inspect the tires constantly for damage from your chains or chains lost on the road that you might have run over. Never throw your chains out as they can be repaired (When we were owner operators we would find discarded chains on the side of road and use then for spare parts).  Chains can cost a company $89.00 a set. Three sets are needed per truck and depending on DOT requirements in certain locations you will need four. It adds up quick when you have 100-200 trucks out there.

Many states on the west coast and central states require chains.  East coast states do not allow chains and you will need to adjust.  Please allow time in your scheduling for this, it can take many hours.

The east coast has low bridges.  You will want to watch your routing, maps and pay close attention to all signs.  Not all GPS equipment will steer you away from low bridges.  Not all GPS equipment are current on new roads or new information since prepared for purchasing many months to years ago.  Most GPS systems can be uploaded with new driving information. 

Keeping additive in our diesel tanks during extreme cold weather is a smart thing to do.  Each company will have information on when to add and how much.  This will keep your fuel lines open so the diesel fuel won't gel up and clog the filter like sludge during the winter. Sometimes, depending on the outside temp you can't shut down at all and you will need to idle. The engine also works to keep the air tanks full.  Not only that, but if any moisture or condensation gets in the air separator may get into the airlines and freeze and become a costly fix.

So, in extreme cold we have had to keep our rig running and as an owner operator it costs around $85.00 every 10 hours. Before you move after sitting a while in extreme cold or freeze  check your tires and lines they will need to be checked and re  calibrated.  Do this by pumping the brakes until you know they will work and properly.  Go out and thump tires,  do your pretrip inspection and thump your brakes after sitting in frozen weather for to long.  Doing this help the brakes release.

Pushing the air through the lines after sitting a while, doing tug tests and trailer tests with the "Johnson Bar" will save anyone and a company allot of money and headaches.

Most trucks  have POSI TRAC (it's like having 4 wheel drive but super style) this helps but it is sometimes just never enough. Occasionally you may need to chain up in the fall, winter and early spring to get out of the mud. At times the mud is ankle high and requires you to shovel gravel from the side of the road, brush debris or anything else to mix with the mud to give you more traction to combine with the chains. Sometimes nothing works and the only way out is a heavy haul wrecker. Try everything first.  A heavy wrecker will cost an Owner Operator or Company Driver at least $1000.00 plus. Saving money for everyone is a good idea all the way around.

PLANNING AHEAD

The first 1800 TO 2300 miles pretty much will give you a decent paycheck.  Planning ahead and preparing for the elements will keep you in the positive not only with you but with your company.

If your equipment is not running optimally you will lose which means your company looses as well. If your truck is throwing codes, acting sluggishly arrange to get it in  one of their shops. DO NOT WAIT. NOT YOU’RE PROBLEM YOU SAY? Actually, it is. Follow assigned fuel stops or new approved stops need to be sent. These are calculated for efficiency. Not only does it save our company money it allows your company to increase your miles. POSITIVE

Always stay in communication with your dispatcher. This is your greatest tool.

Say good morning, good evening or even a silly joke. They are dealing with allot on their end. A little kindness goes a long way!   A dispatcher can make you or brake you.  If you are dissatisfied with your dispatcher you can request mediation or ask to be assigned with another.

Remember, mountain ranges, summits as well as highways you will running through you will lose mpg going up long high grades. An example, Vail with a 40,000lb load you will most likely get from 1 to 3 mpg.  It is very important to factor in on those long grades and hills. If a tow truck is coming to your rescue do not be surprised when you get a call to your home terminal.

Keep maps, calculators, Blackberry or a Smart Phone for weather info for up to 10 days on all major cities you are going through.  Thoroughly go over your routing assignment through your DriveTech and finally your GPS system. After compiling all this information you will come up with a 98% accuracy on fuel, speed and weather related issues. Chaining or bare-footing.

To keep your boss happy as well as a paycheck, saving money for the company and yourself is a good way to do that.

If another driver is reading this....We hope this helps you!!!!!

MCGUYVER IT!!!!!

Allot of trip planning can save you and your company headaches and money.

Things happen, so keep with you at all times:

1) GREY TAPE

2) ELECTRICAL TAPE

4) ASSORTMENT OF FUSES

5) FUSE TESTER

6) SMALL BOTTLE BLEACH

7) PLASTIC WRAP

8) LARGE AND SMALL PLASTIC SODA BOTTLES

9) TOOL-MAN

10) SEAMSTRESS MEASURING TAPE

11) EXTRA BATTERIES

12) EXTRA LIGHT LAMPS FOR FLASHLIGHT AND TRAILER

13) FLASHLIGHT

14) TOWELS

15) ASSORTMENT OF TOOLS

16) CHAIN REPAIR PLIERS

17) EXTRA PIG TAIL

18) Bunge’ Cords...All different lengths

19) Salt

You will be surprised at how these items can limp you into a terminal saving you and the company you are working for allot of money and guess what? YOU JUST IMPRESSED YOUR BOSS AND THE MECHANICAL DEPARTMENT> WAY TO GO!

REQUESTED TIME OFF

TIME OFF!!! Plan your year!!!! Either by quarter or bi-yearly. Keeping a good line of communication open with your dispatcher you will have a great year. If you do not Christmas may need to be rescheduled. By thinking ahead miscommunications will be at a minimum as well as company rollover due to feeling snubbed.

DriveTech EVERYTHING!!!!!

Everything you enter into your DriveTech is printed and yes digitally stored. Anything to or from your dispatcher will be kept for up to 7 but no longer than 10 years. It is very important that you not only use this device to keep your good name clean but to make sure you are never asked to do anything illegal. If you question anything over the DriveTech from your dispatcher or not you repeat back through the DriveTech.

If you are called by your dispatcher or anyone with directions to work illegally you type back that direction to them by using the DriveTech. Trust is easily given and the hardest to win back. Unfortunately this falls very true with the trucking industry. No DriveTech? Call back ask for a supervisor and repeat what was said. Your license in on the line not theirs.

There are allot of you who at orientation chose a holiday> Most always it is Christmas. You do have pull with this, yes. Proactive responsibility is on you. If you know in September, the family Christmas is at grandmas this year by all means.....Tell them in September. Remind them in Early November, after Thanksgiving and re-remind them first week of December.

You are in Charge of this!!!! Driver Managers are over whelmed not only with logistics and planning but all the calls that come into their direct lines. Notes get lost and information forgotten.

APU UNITS

Very first thing that should be done before even using an APU is READ THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL. These units require a gentle touch as well as an aptitude for small engine mechanics.

APU units are the way to go. Plus, now you can install an inverter. There are many choices out there. Do your homework and choose one that fits your trucking lifestyle. Best part, now you can save money and cook, make coffee, reheat and watch TV all in your rig on a bizarrely day DOT has decided to shut down the roads. (Remember your fellow driver next to you on these days.)

These APU's need to be kept up with frequent inspections, oil checks and changes, belts and any other little gizmo or gadget in them that need to be greased.

They run anywhere from $4500.00 to $15,000.00 plus installation. Same price for a company as an Owner Operator. They cost pennies an hour to run and will provide heat and air plus electricity when needed. All on a gallon of fuel for 8-10 hours. There are grants available for APU Units for those that own their truck. Grants that are most likely available can be found through OOIDA.

They are however very costly to upkeep. Do your research before buying.

The mother board of an APU can be an upwards cost of $3900.00 to replace and a fan $800.00.

Company drivers. You notice problems get them into your companies shop right away. The savings are huge.

SEASONS

As the seasons change so do your needs. Do to the extreme weather conditions you will be traveling through like Baja, Idaho, Nebraska or Wyoming you need a range of clothes and jackets. Eventually allot of heavy wear and summer wear can be removed and stored until needed them again.

1) BLANKETS

2) THERMAL UNDER-WARE

3) WATER (at least 4 gallons)

4) HEAVY SOCKS/LIGHT SOCKS

5) HEAVY BOOTS/ LIGHT WEIGHT BOOTS

6) CANNED FOODS (GOOD PROTEIN COUNT)

7) HEAVY GLOVES/ TRUCKER GREASE GLOVES

8) HEAVY COATS/WIND BREAKERS

9) LONG SLEEVE SHIRTS/SHORT SLEEVE SHIRTS

10) JEAN'S/ SHORTS/ SWEATS

11) CARHEART'S

12) REFLECTION VEST

13) FLASHLIGHT/ HEAD GEAR FLASHLIGHT BETTER FOR HANDS FREE

14) HAT WITH DUCK BILL TO REFLECT RAIN OFF NECK OR WEAR 2, 1 EACH WAY

15) BEANIE

16) CANNED FOODS/CAN OPENER

Please sign our guest book. We would like to encourage you to tell us a little about yourself or yourselves and any special travel plans or travels.

So from one driver to another...

KEEP THE RUBBER SIDE DOWN AND THE SHINNY SIDE UP!!!! :)

Thank You

David and Jean Scism

HOW TO REACH US

EASTERN STANDARD TIME

10AM - 9PM 1-252-430-6168. Please ask for Jean or Dave. If call goes to voice mail. Please leave your name, number, company, reason for calling and we will call back as soon as possible. Please remember, we are very busy and it could take up to 24-48 hours to call back.

 

 

 

 

 

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