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RE: truck.
When you visit online friends, do you show up in the truck? Do you drive them around in the truck?
RE: truck.
(05-03-2016, 03:03 AM)btp Wrote: »How did learning how to drive a truck compare to learning to drive a car?
It was much, much harder. There's just so much more stuff to do and learn; so many more buttons.
I failed the cdl driving test twice before I finally passed it - once because I failed the pre-trip inspection part because I ran out of time (you're supposed to do a thorough inspection of the truck and trailer, inside and out at the start of every day; before you do the driving test, they want you to take them through what you would do and explain what you'd check for) and once on the driving portion because I got too many points.

I also had never learned manual/stick shifting, so I had to get that from scratch. On top of that, you're supposed to do something called "double clutching" when shifting: you clutch, put it into neutral, then rev, clutch again, and put it into the gear you want to go to. That took a while to get right because I've got poor hand-eye coordination for things I have to think about doing (but I'm excellent once it becomes muscle memory, which takes a long long time for me). So I was not very good at driving and stalled out a few times at first.

Another thing that takes getting used to is backing up with a trailer. You have to back up in the opposite direction you'd go in a normal vehicle to get a trailer going the direction you want it to, since the trailer pivots on a fulcrum. It also takes a while for your trailer to respond to the movements your tractor is making, so you have to recognize when to turn back to straighten out or you'll overshoot it.

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But I had enough practice doing that that I didn't have a problem with it (while I didn't have enough practice driving, since my driving school didn't have enough road trucks).

(05-02-2016, 12:22 PM)earthexe Wrote: »This is far more interesting than I could have ever expected it to be

Thanks! I hoped people would find it interesting to learn about
(05-03-2016, 05:05 AM)Lieutenant Fish Wrote: »When you visit online friends, do you show up in the truck? Do you drive them around in the truck?

I don't drive them in the truck; I'd have to clean out some stuff to fit a passenger since it's a moving junksty right now. But they can look in if they want. it's nothing impressive

I usually park somewhere nearby and walk/bike/scooter to wherever we're meeting place, or have them pick me up, because most places don't have parking that fits trucks or don't allow it.
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RE: truck.
btp asked for texas panhandle dustland stuff, hopefully this is close enough.

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Oh here's three billboards between lubbock and dumas. Dozens or hundreds of miles apart, but all similar.

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I also have video of 2 and a half minutes of a line of geese flying across the winter sky in dumas, but I don't have the internet to upload videos right now.

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it's basically that for 2:30. it went on well before and after recording too
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RE: truck.
Today I'll just quote a thing from the Big Mountain Trucking Crabs forumgame
(07-23-2015, 09:21 AM)Wheat Wrote: »One key thing to remember with trucks hauling freight is that HILLS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND:

Going up a hill, your engine loses hauling power the longer it goes pulling heavy stuff behind you. The heavier the load, the slower you'll go (think 20-35 mph with a heavy load). If you aren't in the right gear and you don't shift to a lower gear in time, your engine can stall! It's not fun to have to try to restart your truck on a hill, and you may end up unable to climb the hill and have to roll back down if you screw up badly enough! Also, if you try to take it too fast and go up in too high a gear so that you're pulling with all your might for too long, you might overheat!

Going down a hill is worse - long downward grades, if you're not properly prepared, can kill you. If you are going too fast and constantly applying brakes, the brakes can wear down and overheat, making them less effective at braking. Too much brake heating can result in a runaway truck! Ahh! Some descents have runaway truck escapes installed here and there, where runaway trucks can stop via a long strip of gravel/sand. You'll have to get towed out but it's better than flipping over from a curve at the bottom of a hill. Before a descent, a sign will show what percent of downhill grade is ahead, to help you prepare - 5% for 2 miles is manageable, 7% for 8 miles is a major hazard. You can prepare by going down the hill at a low gear + low speed, and by using and engine retarder.

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RE: truck.
The Interstate system

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click for fullview

Here is a map of highways, as of the 2015 Deluxe Large Print Rand McNalley Commercial Vehicles Atlas. I've spent quite a bit of time looking at that atlas, trying to figure out if there's a faster route and which roads actually allow trucks on them.
(There's also a key in the front of the atlas that goes state-by-state with which routes are restricted, where Weigh Stations are, and where low-clearance locations are.)

About the Interstate Highways:
  • Even numbered ones will always be designated as east/west highways
  • Odd numbered highways are designated North/South.
  • This is why earlier in talking about i90/94 going through Chicago north/southwards, it's still designated as either east or west. i90 and i94 both run a very long way across the country east-west-ways.
  • Major highways are usually ones that end in 0 or 5.
  • Spurs add usually a 1 or other odd number to the highway it spurs off
  • Loops or bypasses add an even number to the front. For example, 280 in ohio connects I80 to I75.
  • Auxiliary interstates sometimes break from this in states where there are lots of auxiliary highways and not a lot of primary highways like California. For instance, in the Bay Area there's an i238 even though there's no i38 anywhere??? They ran out of i80 extension numbers and the state route i238 became was originally state route 238 so why not
  • Interstates often run concurrent with other interstates, because why build two roads next to each other when you can just merge onto one single one?
  • Also interstates run concurrent with state and US highways.
  • The thing that makes an interstate an interstate is that it has to meet specific criteria
  • Some older routes that don't meet that criteria got grandfathered in
  • Some concurrencies, like I 81 and I 77 are "Wrong Way Concurrencies"; that is, they meet up from their separate routes and then go together for a few miles so that the I77 S is concurrent with I81 N, and vice versa. This happens mostly when, for example, two roads that run mostly southward but one runs southwest and the other runs southeast and they meet up with each other at some point.
  • roads

An example of a wrong way concurrency:
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And here's an additional highway map of only the interstates. Interstate 2 is missing from it; I-22 has been completed.
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click for full

Ask more questions about highways!!! I will geek out about them
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RE: truck.
What do you call the road to get onto the highway?

In Houston (and the Great Lakes Area, I've heard) they're referred to as "feeders", but apparently that is only a regional term.

Are there not GPS routing services for trucks?

Side question: Do you only get paid for the time you're transporting cargo? as opposed to the time it takes to get to the pick up location?
RE: truck.
i think wheat said something along the lines of "we SHOULD be getting paid for loading the stuff up but we're not" so. i guess they're only paid for the time to takes to get from A --> B
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RE: truck.
It differs from company to company. The drive to get to a shipper while your trailer is empty is called "deadhead". Some pay less for deadhead miles, some pay the same, some pay not at all. Currently I get paid fully for deadhead miles.

There are GPS systems for trucks but they cost like 200 bucks so I just use a regular car GPS and check it with the atlas.

The side roads that go onto highways that you're talking about are frontage roads, however most states don't have them. Texas for some reason has frontage roads everywhere and I was like "why is it like this" the first time I entered Texas. It makes everything so spread apart!
Other states/places with frontage roads (though not as common) are North and South Carolina, Chicago, some cities in Michigan, in New York City, and in Quebec.
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RE: truck.
Lovely Houston, land of petrochemicals (taken from a bridge over Buffalo Bayou on i-610).

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This is east-southeast of Houston, between it and Baytown, nestled right up near Galveston bay where it's close to port traffic. It's where most of the refining and production goes on; there's just plant after plant.

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An interchange; I think it's SR 255 and i610.
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RE: truck.

I had forgotten how flat Texas is
RE: truck.
Does your sleep schedule get fucked from constantly changing time zone?
RE: truck.
(05-22-2016, 05:25 PM)SleepingOrange Wrote: »God

I had forgotten how flat Texas is

It depends on which part of Texas you're at!

Costal areas and those in the panhandle/great plains areas: Super flat, almost Kansas flat.

But Austin/Dallas/Fortworth (basically the midsection of the state) tend to have more hills and texture to the terrain, with the areas just north and west of where Wheat was taking his pictures are essentially miles and miles of pine trees.

Of course if you're comparing texas (or any of the great plains states to somewhere like the Rockies or Appalachians then yes. very flat.

The refineries that Wheat has images of are clustered all on one end of the Houston area, mainly the east/south side that he mentioned. The actual population center of Houston is about an hour away from there


Houston is notorious for poor zoning and community planning, hence the current wagon-wheel layout of the interstate system there.

Wheat do you have any pictures of the refineries at night?

As a kid, if we happened to drive towards galveston (the grossest beach in the world) we'd pass a lot of those refineries. Despite being massive petrochemical factories and environmental nightmares, they are still intricately complex marvels of engineering and they have a sort of mystique about them. As a kid sitting in the back seat of a car and staring out the window at night, you'd look and wonder "who lives there?" They have all the lights of a bustling city but in a way that looks like something from a fantasy novel (or a tron movie). I think my sister called them "fairy cities" at one point.

Daytime refineries are repulsive eyesores, but at night they manage a unique allure.

Oh hey, while looking for refinery images I found a fairly detailed document about suggestions and transportation plans for Texas, it talks a lot about Truck physics and law - Maybe you might find something interesting scanning through it.

Also, I have a friend who works as an engineer for a road-design company (I regularly fail describing her job properly) Anyway, if you have any pressing road-related questions I could ask her next time we hang out.
RE: truck.
It does indeed

I grew up in the Hill Country near San Antonio
RE: truck.
I don't have a sleep schedule, so an hour from time zones wouldn't do much to me. It's not like I have a regular "you must be up at this time, shower, eat and go to work" to adhere to.

Those refineries are actually very close to Houston, but only because I found out last night looking at a map of the city limits that the city is sprawling and has a weird jigsaw shape that you can travel for a half hour or 45 minutes and still be in city limits (though you might leave and reenter a few times). I did that the other day, as well as travel a half hour from near the city center to where those refineries were.

I don't have any photos of houston refineries at night, but I do have some pics/video of some other refineries, as well as windfarms at night! I'll upload them next chance I get.

There's one refinery in Wyoming along i80 that you can see pretty clearly for 20 miles after the point where you top a ridge near the continental divide. You can see it clearly because there's nothing else around.

Thanks for the link! Some of the diagrams come in handy, especially the one for which states allow which extra-length double/triple trailers.

And I can't really think of many questions, other than "What's the thought process behind one state's DOT deciding to implement one feature so much (like for instance, Texas with level ramps and feeder roads, or Michigan Left u-turns in michigan)? Is it up to as much as chance of individuals having read about a cool new idea and deciding to explore and later implement that?
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RE: truck.
I'm also from Not-Texas and I can vouch for being completely baffled by how bad frontage roads are.

When I was in Texas there was a point where we wanted to stop at this one restaurant or something, but the building was on the entrance ramp for the highway heading in the opposite direction of where we wanted to go. So we had to get on a mile long exit ramp for the highway that we were already on, and then immediately turn around and circle back to get to the restaurant. After we finished eating, we then had to get back on the highway heading east until we finally reached another pair of terrible mile long exit ramps before we could start heading back in the direction that we actually wanted to go.

This added something like an extra 10 minutes to the trip, and for the life of me I can't figure out why Texas decided to build two completely unnecessary one-way roads right next to the main highway for apparently no purpose other than to waste everybody's time and gas money. The best part was that this wasn't even downtown or someplace where it might possibly make sense to have one way roads, it was like, the far flung suburbs of San Antonio.

Texans, please explain why this happened.
RE: truck.
Texas has much to answer for.
RE: truck.
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Wheat isn't the only eagle-time user to drive a truck, evidently
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RE: truck.
Whoa the passenger's giving you the stinkeye. i'd watch out
Though it comes as no surprise; g0m used to have a rotating picture sig and one of the pictures said Truck! Truck! yeah, truck! with a picture of a truck.

By the way, semi trucks are only allowed to use expressways when going to and from long island, and it's very hard for them to navigate in NYC. (The one time I picked up from there the owner had to gather up everyone who had a car parked nearby to move the car so I could fit into a very tight space, while going over the curb a few times.) That's why smaller trucks that aren't combination vehicles are used. They're called straight trucks, or "city trucks" for the reason that they're better for city use.

(05-23-2016, 01:29 AM)Wheat Wrote: »There's one refinery in Wyoming along i80 that you can see pretty clearly for 20 miles after the point where you top a ridge near the continental divide. You can see it clearly because there's nothing else around.
Here's this by the way
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RE: truck.
This is a cool topic.

Wheat, that's interesting that you don't do the CB thing. My impression was that that was an important source of important information for truckin'.
But I guess it doesn't actually surprise me very much that it is actually a source of not-so-important trollery.
Still, do you think you've ever missed out on anything that you might've found valuable and worthwhile?
RE: truck.
houston doesn't have bad zoning. it has no zoning at all. literally zero
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RE: truck.
also yeah people in houston refer to frontage roads pretty much exclusively as feeder roads
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RE: truck.
Because these roads honestly were not built for trucks with 53 foot trailers in mind

Once upon a time, there were semi trucks with trailers. The limit of a semi trailer/tractor combination (did I explain that yet) was 75 feet (23m) long, so the standard trailer length was 48 feet (14.5m). Then in the early 80s one of the first industries to be massively deregulated by the reagan administration was the trucking industry, and that length limit disappeared. Trailers started increasing in length as length individual states allowed longer trailer lengths. The federally accepted minimum standard for the "national network" (interstate routes, major us routes, and major state roads up to federal standards) is now 53' feet, which is commonly used by most carriers. I'll talk about other lengths some other time

However, many roads were built before these long trailers were commonly used, so trucks may not able to navigate on them safely! For instance, some routes in the mountains of california have way too many hairpin turns or steep hills for trucks to use, so signs restricting the use of trucks beyond a certain length are posted well in advance. There are also other isolated points just in the middle of towns like tight turns or bad inclines that come up on you unless you know in the atlas beforehand and signage may be easy to miss and what i guess i'm working towards is today I got my truck stuck on railroad tracks lol.

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this is a sign at some railroad crossings. this sign wasn't at this railroad crossing. there was a small 'no trucks' sign which I missed but that's it look I had just woken up.

How do you even get stuck on railroad tracks, you might ask? Well many railroad crossings occur in a little mound in the road. Instead of the railroad dipping up and down with every little change in elevation, whoever built it made an artificial hill but didn't make it very long. So this happens when a road crossing it is used by a long vehicle with bad underclearance.

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The landing gear is a retractable set of legs that you lower when you want to switch trailers out and leave a trailer just sitting there.
The drive axles/tires are the only axles on the truck that actually provide pushing power. The others just roll along. The usual points of contact with the ground are the 3 sets of axles: steer axles, drive axles, and trailer axles.

What happens often with trucks at some railroad crossings, like this one that the cops said someone gets stuck on probably once every other week, is that the landing gear gets stuck on the highest part of the mound. My landing gear was actually on the train tracks themselves. This makes the three points of contact with the ground the steer axles, the landing gear, and the trailer axles. Since the hill was on a turn, too, one side of my drive axles was actually off the ground; the other side could not get enough traction to get over.

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not mine; this is an example of a truck being stuck on a hill turn where drive tires leave the pavement

Only the first ten minutes where I thought I might get hit by a train were tense; luckily right away a guy from the train company happened to be driving by in a pickup and called in to stop any approaching trains. If that guy hadn't've been there, I would have had to find the crossing location information on the crossbuck to call in to the police. I called 911 anyway just to make sure and they were like "yeah, it already got called in to stop a train." Then some local people tried helping me get out while we waited for a wrecker but none of it worked. Then the wrecker, or the Heavy Duty Tow Truck For Semis, came and used a winch to pull on the trailer and help me go back down the hill. I got a police ticket which is fine, I didn't get hurt and deserved a ticket for not using my judgment to see that hill as trouble. There was also some other nonsense after that but that's getting off the topic.

Another way to get stuck is if youre on some sort of surface like packed snow/ice that doesn't let you get traction. Especially if the ice is on top of soft gravel. Without forward traction, your drive tires will burn down the ice into the gravel, and into the wet mud below the gravel, giving your tires a nice cozy notch to be stuck inside. You eventually get so deep that the drive train itself on the bottom of the truck (the lowest part on the tractor) presses up against the ground, so that the drive tires no longer have contact with the ground.

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again not mine. truck stuck in mud

Once I was trying to go up a hill in winter, but untreated road conditions caused me to not have enough momentum to get up the hill. I started slipping back down, my truck started nodding perpendicular toward a ditch and away from the road, and I ended up truckstuck and needing to be winched out. The wrecker company had me park in an icy gravel parking lot while I waited for the bill to be handled by my company; the next morning, it turned out I was truckstuck again, because the thing that I described above with muddy ice happened! That place sucked. don't be in rural arkansas

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a car, but you get the point

Some mountainous roads, especially in the west, require truck drivers to carry tire chains in the winter. Tire chains are chains that can be put around tires in seriously bad weather to allow for traction and prevent the kind of problem going up hills like I experienced above.

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tire chainz

Another time I parked on gravel to allow someone else the last spot on the pavement. In the morning, it turned out the gravel lot I was on was new and still unsettled, so my truck got stuck in mud. Eventually, someone came by and offered a shovel. They had to go to work so they said I could keep it. I dug out all under the drive train and some space behind and afront the tires, allowing the tires to finally get traction again so I could rock back and forth out of the self-made ditch. I left the shovel there with a note and a smiley face saying it worked thanks.

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Oh yeah you may notice there's a problem with having to find random places to park. that's... a whole other thing

(06-10-2016, 01:31 AM)SeaWyrm Wrote: »This is a cool topic.
Still, do you think you've ever missed out on anything that you might've found valuable and worthwhile?

I miss out on useful information on things like closures or traffic up ahead. The other thing I miss out on is some customers tell you to tune in to a certain channel for truck info or directions; you have to call them instead.
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RE: truck.
just keep tire chainz all year long. you will be the chain-y one. all will attach their friendship chains to you. mostly around your neck. and some others will connect the other side of the chain to their cars. and start driving

you get the point and the point is that TIRE CHAINZ R 2 KOOL 4 SKOOL
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RE: truck.
Are you allowed to paint your truck
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RE: truck.
(07-14-2016, 09:07 AM)Papers Wrote: »Are you allowed to paint your truck
No. it's not my truck, I just drive it.

companies do not want you to alter a truck in any way that might void a warranty or alter the resale value in any way. it is their capital, which they have factored into various calculations for profitability, and you're just the wage laborer working their capital. They don't want you to contribute to capital depreciation any more than necessary through normal operation of the truck. They also set maintenance schedules depending on whatever their calculations are.

The company I work for now sells trucks after a certain amount of miles, because at that point, truck breakdowns are more regular, which could disturb delivery promptness. First company I worked for was a more discount service, and worked trucks until they broke with little-to-no preventative maintenance. The first truck I had had 800,000 miles and had a faulty engine that leaked fumes. When it died, they tried to pawn a million mile truck off on me but I said no and got a 300,000 mile one, which still had myriad problems and I quit because of it.
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