Gone to the dogs

Recently seen in Kansas:


Wash hand before leaving

Or: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

You might think this sign was posted at a hospital that does a lot of hand amputations, but no, this is the honest-to-goodness sign inside a large food conglomerate’s driver restroom. One wag had written “Which one?” at some point, though I notice that was removed.

I ran south yesterday, ending up in Oklahoma City where I fueled this morning. The balance of the day’s drive south to New Caney, Texas was boring and I won’t mention any details.

I had asked HQ for a preplan or at least a direction to go after I got unloaded, as I had a few hours left to run that could have got me into position for my next load. No go, nothing planned for me, so I’m spending the night at a nearby Flying J.

North, then south

I phoned dispatch on Saturday to see if I had a load planned for Monday. There wasn’t, but while I was on the line I was given one from nearby Carthage, Missouri to Council Bluffs that picked up Monday at 1100. No problemo, I’m on it like flies on brown stinky stuff.

The pickup was a bit slow but I still had enough time to get to and through Kansas City before the rush hour got into full swing. A steak meal at the Black Iron Grill in Rock Port, Missouri followed, and I finished up the load in Council Bluffs around 2000.

On the way up north I was given a preplan to take from the same facility to a WalMart DC near Houston, Texas for Wednesday. It was supposed to be ready by 2000 tonight but it wasn’t even being loaded when I got there. No big deal, I have time so I’ll take my 10-hour break and get at it in the morning.

Updated Financials, Version 3

I have, yet again, updated the spreadsheets used to display my financial data.

Version 3 adds a new Fiscal YTD row on the Settlements page to show the current numbers for this fiscal year (June to June) as opposed to the calendar YTD present before (which is still there, but now labeled “2010 YTD”).

There is a new Overview page as well that shows a small number of data points for each quarter thus far. There will be more added shortly.

The Trip list present in past versions of my financials will reappear as well when I find the time to get them up to date and rearranged a bit.


Own your own truck

The following was posted in the most recent company newsletter:

Submitted by Abbie Reed
For those of you who are interested or might be interested in becoming an O/Operator, we have
an opportunity for you to get into a truck with low weekly payments and no balloon payment. We
are offering our red Kenworth T-600’s (yes, our company trucks) with no balloon payment!!!
Complete the lease term and you own the truck!!!

* Trucks with 250,000 to 300,000 miles- purchase price is $39,500, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payment= $412.15
* Trucks with 301,000 to 350,000 miles- purchase price is $37,500, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payment= $391.38
* Trucks with 351,000 to 400,000 miles- purchase price is $35,000, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payment= $365.31.
* Trucks with 401,000 to 450,000 miles- purchase price is $32,500, lease term= 24 months/2
years, weekly payments= $339.23
* Trucks with 451,000 to 500,000 miles- purchase price is $30,000, lease term= 18 months/1
½ years, weekly payments= $409.38
* Trucks with 501,000 or more miles- purchase price is $30,000, lease term= 18 months/1 ½
years, weekly payments= $375.23

For more details please stop in the Omaha office and see Abbie or call 800-258-4455 x233.

These trucks are ’06 KW T600’s with CAT engines (I believe) and 13 speed transmissions. I drove one for the first few months at HB and they are a basic spec fleet truck, no frills. The one I had didn’t have an inverter, though that is an easy thing to add to a truck, and I can’t recall if it had a bunk heater or not — it did not have a built-in fridge or APU.

KW’s aren’t my particular cup o’ tea but if you area looking for a cheap way to owning your own truck in two years or less you might want to consider this route. I think there are a couple dozen of these trucks to choose from, but call the number above for availability (and tell Abbie where you heard about it, too! No, I don’t get a percentage 😦 )

I was also told last time I was at HQ that they have filled the team runs I mentioned a month or two back, but they are still adding more teams for general OTR work. Solos are being hired as well.

UPDATE: According to the folks at HQ, a few of the T-600’s have the TriPac APU installed on them already (heating, cooling, battery management and it is integrated with the engine coolant to keep the engine warm when it is below freezing). These will have 1,800 watt inverters as well. The rest of the units don’t have APUs, bunk heaters or inverters to the best of my knowledge.

If you were interested in this deal already and could back into a TriPac on top of everything else (a $7,500 option) I would say it would make a good deal even better.

The scary Gainey cat lady

In the past few days I finished my load out to Phoenix, Arizona then picked up a new one heading to Dallas. Apparently, it is economical to send a trailer full of empty pallets about 1,050 miles to someplace that needs them.

Getting them in the trailer was a bit of a bitch. The shipper wants you to park your truck on the street in front of their property then back in from the street after you have the paperwork signed off on, then they will load you up with pallets. This is a smashing idea, especially when you’re told about it after you’ve already pulled on to their property.

Anyway, yesterday I got loaded and drove to the New Mexico / Texas border where I stopped at a Pilot to take on 50 gallons of fuel. I noticed a Gainey truck on my driver’s side had a lady sitting in the passenger seat but didn’t pay any mind as I puttered around the pump. Finally, she pointed at my cat and asked “Can I have her?”

Uh, no.

“I have four cats here with me.”

Oh lordy. I was done with my fueling so I excused myself and drove off to the parking area.

Traffic in El Paso is fairly bad, considering it isn’t that big of a city, so I got up as early as I could this morning to avoid the rush. This worked and I was cruising towards the range of hills to the east as the sun rose.

By the time I reached my cheap fuel stop in Midland, Texas the tanks were pretty low so I filled up. I grudgingly decided today was my annual “I’ll eat at Mickey Dees” day and tried one of their new Third Pounder burgers. The burger itself was unremarkable and not up to the standard set by the Hardee’s / Carl’s Junior Six Dollar burger, except the pickles and onions were very nicely done. The fries that came along with the combo meal were the typical crappy, stringy and wayyyyy too greasy McDonald’s fries that five year-old’s the world over seem to love.

Tomorrow I get these pallets off the truck and either a load to the house, or a load somewhere else with a second load to the house. Hopefully.

Year Two, Third Quarter Results (December 2009 to March 2010)

As in previous quarters this year, the numbers for this quarter are in bold and followed by the corresponding figure from the same quarter a year ago in parentheses as a reference.

In this quarter I racked up 29,677 (31,402) paid miles, drove 31,820 (34,280) total miles, resulting in 7.22% (9.17%) OOR miles. This is my second best showing for OOR percentage thus far and the lowest number of paid miles by a slim margin. I spent long periods at home after the new year and before the Superbowl and I was stuck in the shop for five days with the engine problem so all-in-all I did okay.

My fuel purchases amounted to 12,133.43 (9,928) and my FSC reimbursement 7,831.86 (5,549), leaving an Adjusted Fuel Expense of 4,301.57 (4,379). Divided by miles run shows 13.51 CPM (12.77) for fuel, a horrid result.

My average weekly miles dropped to 2,282 (2,416), due mostly to the downtime I remarked on above.

With the relatively bad showing above you might be expecting a poor result in the Net Pay department for this quarter, and you would be wrong. Total Net Pay was 16,590.68 (12,296), the best this year by a whisker, and average weekly net was 1,276.20 (946). Note that in this quarter last year I was also setting aside an average of 500 dollars per week towards my savings escrow.

My net CPM this quarter was 55.90, the second-best I’ve recorded… beaten only by this quarter last year at 59.88 CPM.

The result? Despite high adjusted fuel costs (please oh please make the price of diesel rise!) and relatively modest miles my net pay for this quarter is the third-highest I’ve yet encountered. This despite the time off (voluntary and involuntary) and repair expense that was double that of last quarter. I did have one week with zero net pay and another with a paltry 167.54, but those were more than made up for by the other weeks in this period.

Net Pay By Week:

27: 1,327.26
28: 1,178.19
29: 0.00
30: 1,468.52
31: 1,721.86
32: 586.31
33: 1,496.86
34: 833.42
35: 1,359.53
36: 167.54
37: 1,711.20
38: 3,517.88
39: 1,222.11

Goals for the Fourth Quarter:

At the pace I’m currently on I should finish this year with approximately 63,500 in net pay, about 4,000 less than last year. This, despite the vast difference in FSC. My first goal is to finish strong and try to beat that mark.

My second goal is a continuation of my determination to remain efficient. No unnecessary idling, as little OOR as possible and cruising at 60 MPH. This is reflected dramatically in my net CPM, so I want to see if I can beat this quarter’s 55.90.

My next quarterly report will be at the halfway mark to the completion of my lease. I will have two years of solid data to use to predict the outcome and give myself benchmarks to try to beat heading town the other side of this hill I’m climbing. See you in 13 weeks.