The Ecphorizer

On Being a Mentor to a New Truck Driver
JJ Tiger

Issue 10 (July 2007)

Truckin' through ice and snow with our resident road warrior

The funny (odd) thing is that there is a requirement that the driver must have at least one full year as driver before he can become a Mentor. (aka Driver Trainer)

My ninth month anniversary is December 10th.

I happened to notice a crowd of

'Denver did not have 15 foot tall drifts of snow'

about thirty new academy graduates milling outdoors around the trainer assignment area, before I got drafted.
... The non-smokers usually stay indoors.

Maybe I will get my pick of the litter. What should I use as criteria?
Must be English speaking, definitely.
No short fat and bald. I can't afford the feed.
No females. I'm gonna avoid that sexual harassment lawsuit.
... Beyond that, it doesn't really matter.

Mentors are supposed to be issued a really big truck.
I don't want to break in a brand spanking new jumbo sized sleeper cab. I just got used to the '06 Volvo. The odometer shows 196,001.
... My '97 Jeep is showing 145,001.
... odd coincidence that both vehicles have numbers ending at 001.

Too much weirdness. I bought an extra lottery ticket. Quick Picks.

Winning the Lottery automatically negates any need for any job.
My only worry will be: Where to go fishing today.
... How about you and me goin' fishin' in Hawaii? Pago Pago? Jamaica? You pick.

I know. The Great Barrier Reef. Find us that certain Sting Ray to have stuffed and mounted on a wall.

January 2007:
We (my student and I) were in LA during the past week. We passed through Santa Fe Springs.

We picked up a load in Torrance, California, and we are hauling it to Tampa, with an intermediate stop here in Memphis.

We started this trip in Memphis on Dec 26, went through Missouri, then on to Richmond Virginia. Picked up a load at Norfolk to Pueblo, CO. Picked up a load of coat hangers at a Target Distribution Center at Pueblo and took it to Fullerton, CA. And now we have that load out of Torrance.

This intermediate stop delivers tomorrow morning, so we have an unscheduled day off, today.
Weather reporting:
Denver did not have 15 foot tall "drifts" of snow. The reporter for that TV station misapplied the word "drift" to the "pile" of snow that the plow pushed to the edge of a parking lot.
... of course the national feed picked up the story. Hence the entire USA Nation and the world believes that Denver is covered by 15 foot "drifts" of snow.

Everything that you have heard about the Ice Storm that is happening between Albuquerque and eastwards through Oklahoma City is true. We drove through it all.

We saw over a dozen big rig trucks and too-numerous-to-count four-wheelers, spun out and flipped over.

One big rig, a Watkins/FedEx truck pulling a pair of short trailers (pups), spun into the median. The truck was jack-knifed into the first trailer and those were flipped onto their sides. The second trailer broke free of the dolly that interconnects the trailers. The second trailer continued upright along the center of median until it came to a stop on its own accord. Both trailers were broken open. Cargo was strewn everywhere.
... your package is Positively and Absolutely not gonna make it overnight.

An Oklahoma City TV station news station reported one truck driver was killed in a wreck. I could not tell by the video as to which truck accident that we saw could have been the deadly accident. There were way too many wrecks. And Jim mentioned that the video footage could have been from the TV station's library of file footage.
I'm glad to be heading to Tampa. I have a tube of suntan oil.


Monday, I "T-Called" (Terminal Call) the loaded trailer at the Memphis Terminal. The first stop of two stops customer was closed for the MLK holiday. That means that another driver will pick up the loaded trailer from the terminal and take it to the customers. Tampa is not going to happen for me any time soon.

I'm taking my two days off: "home call" Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm supposed to get two days off after 12 days on the road. I was on the road for three weeks.

My DM (Desk Monkey/Driver Manager) can't tell time or use a calendar.

He tried to tell me that I had already been in Memphis for two nights. Yes I was in Memphis for two consecutive nights. His point was nights. I would not argue with him that every calendar day has two night time periods. He could not be that stupid, could he?

I truly believe that two days off means that I get to stay home for two full consecutive calendar periods, returning to work on the third calendar period. Night time does not equal a calendar day.

I worked a full day Saturday. I was Off-Duty Sunday waiting to deliver the load on Monday.

We tried to deliver the load on Monday. The customer was closed, and the truck drivers were not informed about that closure. So, I worked a part day Monday.

My DM melted down. He made no sense whatsoever. He may as well have been waving his arms over his head and been saying "ook-ook ahk-ahk" like Tarzan's chimpanzee.

Monday was my student's 41st of 42 days, it was decided that he needed to get on with his truck driving career.

Tuesday: I did not mind going to the Memphis Terminal to finish the student's training. It was just a couple of hours.

All that we did with the truck was start it up and let it come up to operating temperature. It was 26 degrees this morning. The driver's door handle is frozen, maybe it's broken. We did not move the truck. Training complete.

I turned in my student this morning.
... that didn't sound right. Sounds like returning a rental tool.

What would you call the procedure where you walk the student to the training coordinator for training completion?

Anyway, while I was with the training coordinators, I put in my requisition for another student.
... See that? Students are rental tools!

The new student will be available at 0600 Thursday. I might get the name via telephone, or the name will be on the truck's QualComm messaging computer. If not, then I will simply walk over to the Training Dept. and find out who and where he is at that time.

So, I really put in a partial day on my day off. At any other salaried job, I would be off-duty Wednesday and Thursday. But this is an Over-The-Road (OTR) truck driving job. I don't make a paycheck if the truck's wheels are not turning.

I go back to work on Thursday at 0600.

I don't even want to look at a truck tomorrow.

More from JJ next issue!

Our resident Professional Driver, JJ Tiger, came out of retirement to enjoy the life on the road driving company 18-wheelers.  We occasionally get his reports from truck stops with WiFi in the middle of Chicago.

More Articles by JJ Tiger

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