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90

Posted by admin on Feb 14, 2009 in Where Am I?

I knew what the title of this post was going to be almost a week ago.  For those of you that have been playing the home game, in our lingo (at least Prime’s), the term 90 refers to your final destination or delivery stop.

That’s exactly what I just did, completed my last delivery stop.

Have you ever had a hobby, or did a sport for the first time, had an aboslute ball with it, loved pretty much every minute of it, but knew you weren’t going to be able to make a living doing it the rest of your life?

That’s what trucking has become for me, or at least working at Prime.  I’ve loved 99.9% of it.  Love the driving, the trip planning, the sights, the “adventure of it all” of going from point to point to point, never knowing where you will be routed to next until you got the load assignement.  I’ve even enjoyed the pseudo-recluse lifestyle and have laughed too many times at the stupid shit YOU people do in your cars around trucks and on the highways, and even to each other!

I’ve only ran into one receiver (remember Sysco?!?) and had the one “bad” experience from a route, I’ve enjoyed the training I’ve gotten from Charles and Knucklehead and thank them tremendously.  Without their help and guidance, I’d never have made it this far.

But as I’ve said and eluded to, I just delivered my last load for Prime and am currently heading to Pittston, PA to turn in my truck and go home.

It wasn’t an easy decision, and I think maybe someday I’ll return to this lifestyle, but for right now in my life, this just isn’t working and I have to call it quits.

I won’t go into all the details of why, mostly they are personal and involved being away from my family too much.  But they also revolve around the money and specifically Prime.  I won’t say Prime “lied” about things, but there are a growning number of things I’m finding out that were “omitted” from all the orientations and trainings I’ve gotten over the last five or six months.

Things you would expect, like having to scale each load after getting it.  Makes sense, but it’ll run you $9 each time, plus another $1 to re-weigh if you need to make adjustments to your tandems.  You DO get reimbursed from Prime, it’s still cash up front you have to come up with.  Having four or five loads a week, that’s upwards of $50 “invested”.

Then you have the stupid lumpers and thier fees.  Again, Prime is pretty decent in this in that they will “advance” you the lumper fee, put it on your ComData card so you can pay them, then repay you that “advance”.  MINUS the ComData fee of $1 per transaction.  So there’s another few dollars a week…

Then there’s the matter of tolls.  Prime is great in that they have an E-ZPass transponder that pays for tolls… in states that accept it.  I’ve gone through Ohio (I80) twice now this week and have had to shell (out of pocket), $25.50 each time for a total of $51.00

(In case you’re keeping count, we’re now up around $110 cash out of pocket)

Now add in any living expenses.  And whatever number you’ve come up with, double it.  EVERYTHING is more expensive at truck stops.  Why?  Because they can.  They’ve got you by the balls, they know it, you know, and there’s nothing you can about it if you want a soda or a coffee.  Example; I stopped in a truck stop earlier last week to get a Mtn Dew… with tax for a 24oz bottle?  $3.12!  Not all truck stops are like that, some are reasonable, but you get my point.  You can EASILY spent upwards of $50 in soda, coffee, and snacks… IF you eat off the truck.  If you choose to eat in the truck stops (and BTW… some of them ARE excellent for food!), you’ll easily spend $100 – $150 a week.

(For the home gamers:  $210 ish?)

Do you smoke?  Most places are ok for cigarette prices… NY is not one of them!  Over $8 a PACK.  Tennessee, South Carolina… those areas.. the best around $3.  On average you’re going to pay $4 – $6 a pack.  If you get them by the carton… $40 – $50

(So we’re now up to $260 or so a week)

Last week was a good week… I had one trip “left over” from the previous week because it delivered after the Tuesday 4pm cut-off time… I had 1,947 miles.  At $.030 a mile…$584 and change.  Not bad you say right?  Except you forgot about the “cash out of pocket expenses didn’t you?  Yeah, we’re now at $324.

For me personally, I have a child support payment to NH that comes directly out of my check (I prefer it that way, it’s easier).  But Prime charges $1.00 to process that transaction!

So that leaves me with about $250 “pay” for the week… oh yeah, I have a second ex-wife that wants to suck the life-blood out of me… take another $200…

Hmm… me-thinks there’s a problem with the ability to pay all the remaing bills on $50 a week “free and clear”!!  But wait… you forgot something didn’t you?  Can you say Uncle Sam finger fucking you for taxes, a.k.a. Stimulus Package?  Yeah… you might as well kiss the last of that goodbye (hope it stimulates SOMETHING!)…

You see where I’m going with this don’t you?

Now put ALL that in a bowl… add in the bullshit and Management idocity of forcing that Macro 27 and routing along secondary routes…

Sprinkle in the “threat” of being fired if you don’t keep your MPG up to at least 6.25 on those secondary (often stop and go traffic lights) roads.

And lastly, glaze your wonderful creation with a good dose of “Devil Truck” and all it’s… accentricities, and you have one bitter concoction to swallow each week my friend.

The job itself (driving etc);  I love it.

Prime and the associated bullshit; I can’t stand it

Being away from your family and friends because of the above; Intolerable

So, for now at least, I’m hanging up my keys, headed for home and will look for hopefully some kind of local driving job, or some kind of dedicated run, or hopefully ANY kind of job!  (Know of any? LOL)

Thank you for traveling with me.  It’s been fun, fascinating, fast-paced (at times!), and formidable.  Most of all, I’ve simply loved the journey and the opportunity I have had (and more importantly was “given” by the one I love) to take a chance, chase a dream, and live the life of a trucker.  Even if only for a little while!

Keep the shiney side up, the rubber side down.  This here’s Geektrucker, I’m hammer-down heading towards Bang-town, 10-4.

 
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Hissy Fits and Time Outs – 2214hrs

Posted by admin on Feb 13, 2009 in Where Am I?

I know… it’s been a while since I updated…

Still rolling… after I got done having my hissy fit, I got a load going to Chicago, IL… then a load from there going to Romulus, MI.

After I dropped THAT load, I headed BACK to Chicago for a load going to Wintersville, OH and Bedford, PA.  I’m currently sitting in Wintersville, PA getting part of the load taken off… the second half to be delivered tomorrow 150 or so miles away in Bedford, PA… should be a nice “easy’ day although they’re calling for 1″ – 2” of snow tonight after 3am… oh well.

More later…

 
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Out of my mind – 2224hrs

Posted by admin on Feb 8, 2009 in Where Am I?

In the space of four short hours I went from so loving this job, to “they can take it and stuff it up their ass sideways with a Freightliner attached”

Let me start with explaining what the “Macros” are all about:

On our QualComm, our “Macros” are basically pre-set forms, we call them up, fill in the blanks, and send it off.  Most of the Macros (Mac for short) are handled by “the system” automagically… things like Mac15 which gives us directions from point a to point b (we can put in ## to 90 which says; “GPS my location and give me routing from where I’m at to my delivery destination – the 90”).  We also have Mac27 which is give me the next available fuel stop based on me currently having X amount of fuel (you have to tell it how much you have, half a tank etc) and where I need to go.  It too gives you routing information.

Well, this past week an “edict” has come down that we can no longer deviate from Mac27, we must stop and fuel when it says and must follow that route to get there as company driver.  99% of the time, no big deal.

Tonight, however, my Mac15 told me to go from the 01 and take I88 to I90 into Illinois (headed to basically Chicago area).  HOWEVER, Mac27 says to take a bunch of back roads to go to Pittston and get fuel, then I80…a difference of 80+ miles from 01 to 90.  Okay.. call dispatch and explain what’s going on… get the “canned”… “Yeah, they’ve been cracking down on us dispatchers for allowing deviations, you need to follow your Macro 27”.

Um.. ok.  So I take off following the Mac27 directions… into HELL

Here are the directions (not that I think you’d wanna see it on a map…)
NY-10 S 24(miles)
NY-268 S 09
PA-370 S 06
PA-247 S 18
PA-296 S 05
US-6 W 19
I81 S 10

The only thing I can say is thank God the people through those little towns roll up their side-walks at night otherwise I’d be rolling down both sides.  It took me almost FOUR f’ing hours to go the 103 miles (should have taken me maybe 2) through some of the smallest god-damn country back rounds I’ve EVER been on in a vehicle!

There is no way in hell I should have been down the roads I was down tonight… all in the damn name of following stupid f’ing QualComm directions.  I am so going to be sitting down with my dispatcher and on the phone with Don Lacey (safety manager) raising such a f’ing stink about this.  I have NEVER been that scared in my damn life… I went over bridges tonight I KNOW I shouldn’t have been.  I had people in such a panic heading for the ditch because there wasn’t enough room for both of us…  I went through one town I swore I was going to rip all the wires down… to be honest… I never looked back.  I hit hills where I was LITERALLY, no joke, no BS in SECOND gear getting up and over… my damn mileage that WAS at 8.4 when I arrived at the 01 dead-head, is now at 1.2… I NEVER got it above 40 until I was ten miles out of the terminal

Oh and one more thing… the QualComm doesn’t mention that PA-268 f’ing ENDS a mile before PA-370 begins, no warning, no signs!… I had to roll (at about 5 miles an hour) down a SIDE RESIDENTIAL STREET for that mile to get to PA-191 which THEN allowed me to get on PA-370

And you wanna know the bottom line… it “saved” all of 47 f’ing miles than if I had gone all highway!!!

And just to add a little “sugar” to this shit dessert… the truck started acting up again about half way through the “adventure” tonight.

I should have been a good 200 miles further down the road tonight before I bed down… but I just don’t have it in me… so I’m gonna have to get up early… try to catch Rich and hope like hell I still have enough time to make this load.

Sitting in our Pittston, PA terminal… stewing  >:(

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