I posted on Facebook earlier this evening that I received an email from my old Fleet Manager letting me know that I was approved by Safety to move to John Deere starting in June. But what does that mean exactly? If you were to ask Angie, she would tell you that it means I will be home less. That is partially true and I will go in to that more later.
What it really means is I will be moving to the Specialized Division, which handles the John Deere account. Now, while safety approved me, my old fleet manager is getting clarification on what I can pull as they never stated that. They pull regular 48′ flat beds, 53′ step decks, and removable goose neck trailers (RGNs). The picture above is an RGN with a Pinnacle on it. What the hell’s a Pinnacle? It’s a Cotton Picker. The RGNs are for the combines, sprayers, pinnacles, and whatever else we haul. Those are the main ones I have seen though. The steps and flats mainly haul implements or parts and pieces for the above mentioned equipment.
With this move also comes a different truck. I’ll still get a long hood like I’m in now, but it’s “specialized”. The truck pictured above has Specialized Division decals at the front of the sleeper, 3/4 fenders over the drive wheels, ramps on the frame for hooking up to the RGNs, a telescoping light bar on the headache rack, and brackets under the side mirrors for extended spot mirrors. I’m not sure if they are geared differently or not, but that’s about it for the differences. I will however have to carry more gear. Heavier gauge chains and the matching binders, more edge protection, 3″ ratchet straps, and more red flags.
Now some of you may be thinking I have lost my mind, although those of you that really know me know I lost that YEARS ago. Seriously though, many of you may be wondering why I would want to do this. It’s a very simple answer: I want a challenge, and I want to be the best at what I do. Those of you that know me are reading this and shaking your heads thinking, “yup, that’s Ty.”
The challenges I am going to face are huge. I’m nervous, but I’m excited as hell and I am confident in my abilities. The biggest challenge for me is not going to be securing the different loads, it’s going to be making sure I am following my permits on the OVERSIZE loads and reading my provisions. See, every state has their own requirements when it comes to OVERSIZE loads. You have permits that you have to follow to the letter and if you don’t, it will cost you. Case in point, we had a driver just this week that was in PA and got pulled over in Pittsburgh. Come to find out he didn’t read his provisions. While he was permitted to be on the road he was on, he wasn’t permitted to be on the road at the time he was. No biggie right? Wrong! The permits were yanked, and he got a $5,000 fine. Folks, that’s not a typo. 5 GRAND for being on a road he was allowed to be on legally, just not at that time. So, there will be lots of reading, rereading, and reading some more to make sure I stay legal.
I told you earlier that Angie’s answer to what this meant was that I would be home less. That is true, but with a caveat. First let me just say that I have the most amazing wife and I honestly couldn’t be more fortunate to have her. We talked about this decision and there was no way I was going to do it without her blessing. Even though she doesn’t like it, she supports me 100% and loves seeing me get excited about something. Ok, so home time. It basically amounts to a weekend home a month. However, it’s very different from line haul (what I’m on now). Currently, If I am out 3 weeks I may get 2 full days home if I’m lucky. Sometimes I may just get a 10 hour break depending on where I have to unload. With Specialized, I am out three weeks and get 3 days home. So, I could get home Friday, have Sat-Mon off and reload Tues. That’s the other beauty. The day you get home doesn’t count as one of your days. Now, I will have to run line haul freight every now and then as that is going to be the only way to get me home. Biloxi is so far South, it’s kinda rough getting through there. We are due to move in a year though, and with the choices Angie is looking at, (while I don’t like 99% of them, I support her 100%) the chances and ease to get home are greater.
Well, that’s pretty much it. My apologies if this seemed choppy and haphazard, but I’m not gonna lie. I’m tired and my mind is mush. Sitting at a shipper for 6 hours, then having to fight rush hour Houston traffic is mentally exhausting.
Here are a few photos I found of some of the stuff we haul. If you have a keen eye you will notice most of these photos are of short hoods and the trucks aren’t specialized. The sole reason for the specialized truck if to pull the RGN. Most loads on steps and flats can be pulled by any line haul driver if it’s there and there is no Specialized Division driver to take it. I just noticed that the second to last picture is a short hood specialized truck. We do have a few of those, but they are getting “de specialized” and going back to line haul over time.