RV Transporting

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Please note: I am no longer transporting RV's so if you need a unit moved please check elsewhere.

In December 2004 I decided it was time to try something new. Work was slow and I had a lot of high interest credit card debt that I wasn't making any progress on. I heard that decent money could be made transporting RV's so decided to give it a try. I had the truck so all that was needed was to get it fixed up and outfitted for the job. First it needed to be painted so I took it to a family friend who finished the body work and painted it. While that was being done I got all the required accessories ordered (gooseneck hitch, 5th wheel hitch, weight distribution hitch, brake controller, towing mirrors, mud flaps, tool box, etc.). Other modifications were also made such as air bags, exhaust brake, a bed and more. After getting the truck back from paint and installing all the hardware it was time to head out so on January 28, 2005 I took off for Elkhart, Indiana where company headquarters are located.

Once there I went through a two day orientation, which included getting signed on, picking up magnetic signs, transporter plate and legalization paperwork. I also had to go through logbook training, a driving test, drug screen, DOT physical and get my truck DOT inspected. Once all that was completed I was ready to check in with Classic dispatch in Middlebury, IN where the full time yard was located. I signed on for full time, which required I get a minimum of 5k loaded miles/month and travel all of the US and Canada. Thankfully they were not real strict with me on the mileage as I still had some obligations at home from time to time. The Middlebury yard moved only Jayco trailers and is located right next to Jayco headquarters and the main factory.

I didn't like this job much as it was stressful and miserable at times. I did have a good bed to sleep on, although it wasn't legal with the DOT as it didn't meet standard sleeper birth requirements for length. I wasn't about to get a motel every night as this would be cost prohibitive. In the winter I doubled up my sleeping bags and slept in my clothes to keep warm. I didn't idle the truck at night (with a few exceptions) as this is hard on the engine and uses a lot of fuel. Near the end of 2005 I finally purchased an auxiliary fuel tank, which held 115 gallons of fuel. This made life much easier as I wasn't stopping for fuel all the time. I used Flying J most of the time and had a frequent fueler card, which allowed me to get points for every gallon of fuel purchased. I used these points to get free showers (normally $6.50 at the time) and discount vouchers for the restaurant. At last count I have been too about 91 Flying J's in the US and Canada.

Since this was a commercial driving job I had to abide by most of the same rules the big trucks go by, which included the hours of service rules. I had to keep a logbook, which meant I couldn't drive more than 11 hours/day. I had a total of 14 hours/day of on duty time for driving, fueling, hooking up, pre/post trip inspections, etc. Once that was used up I had to get 10 consecutive hours of off duty time before starting over. I had to stay within 70 hours of total on duty time within an 8 day period. Once this time was used up I had to be off duty for 34 consecutive hours after which I started over with a fresh 70 hours. I also had to get permits in various states and stop at most scales and ports. I was subjected to only one random inspection (Fargo, ND scale) and passed with no problems.

I was able to pay off about 30k worth of my debt during the 2.5 years I was on the road so on June 29, 2007 I called it quits. Most of this money came from the driving job but a small portion came from other sources. I put 265k miles on the truck during this time for a total of 387k at the time I quit. I saw 40 states and 5 Canadian provinces. There was a lot of misery and stress along the way but I wouldn't trade it now as it was a great experience for me. There are things I miss about it now. It made life interesting to be in a different spot every night and as crazy as this sounds to me now, I sometimes get strong urges to hit the road. I used to say I would never be a driver and disliked road trips but this changed me somewhat.

Not everyone can make money at this but I was able to accomplish my debt reduction goal. Below are some of the things that reduced my expenses to help make this possible.

No house
No family
Truck payments ended in early 2006
One meal per day most of the time
Minimal motels
A simple and reliable truck
I did all my own repairs
No idling at night (except maybe 3 times)

I had only three break downs out on the road that required me to make repairs away from home. It started with a cracked metal fuel return line in Canada, which I had brazed and is still running today. Next was a broken power steering pump drive tag that caused a momentary bind and broke the vacuum pump housing, which led to a big oil leak. Lastly was my fuel shut off solenoid linkage came apart but I was able to drive all the way home from Indiana with a piece of wire holding the lever up. I was able to make it home for all other repairs including two blown head gaskets, both of which were my fault. The first one was due to accidental over boosting. The next one was due to not enough re-torques on the ARP head studs before giving it full boost. Both blew while on I-94 in ND and MT on trips to Calgary, AB. I delivered and drove 1150 miles home both times! These were both compression to water jacket leaks with no cross contamination so I was blessed!

Here are a few pictures from my time on the road.

Below is a list of trips I put together from my logbooks, mainly for my own reference. Later I decided to build this web page around it. The mileage figures are paid miles only (one way). Actual miles varied some depending on the routs I took. Classic didn't provide back hauls so I always dead headed back to Indiana. This didn't bother me too much as I got good mileage and it was a relief to drive unloaded for a while.
 

2005

 

February

Minneapolis, MN 543
Minneapolis, MN 543
West Boylston, MA 850 (Worcester)
Elma, NY 428 (Buffalo)
Reno, NV 2,024

March

Minong, WI 541
Grande Prairie, AB Canada 2,083
Lloydminster, SK Canada 1,647
Lodi, WI 295

April

 Jerome, ID 1,685 (Twin Falls)
Lloydminster, SK Canada 1,647

May

Bellevue, NE 582 (Omaha)
Quinnesec, MI 434
Great Bend, KS 888
Minneapolis, MN 543
Ottawa, ON Canada 688

June

Longmont, CO 1,111
Ellensburg, WA 2,085

July

Bakersfield, CA 2,144
Paynesville, MN 628
Tulsa, OK 782
Riverside, CA 2105

August

Sun City, CA 2114
Buda, TX 1,262 (Austin)
Rock Springs, WY 1,327

September

Fresno, CA 2,256
Sun City, CA 2,114

October

Pomona, CA 2,100
Sun City, CA 2,114
Mesa, AZ 1,923 (Phoenix)
Buda, TX 1,262 (Austin)

November

Acton, CA 2,174
Dover, FL 1,228 (Tampa)
Fresno, CA 2,256

December

Tulsa, OK 782
Sandy, UT 1,514 (Salt Lake)

2006

 

January

Lodi, WI 295
Wading River, NY 754 (Long Island)
Ashland, KY 352
Elma, NY 428 (Buffalo)
Prince George, BC Canada 2,303

February

Bloomer, WI 464
Clayton, NC 738
Calgary, AB Canada 1,763

March

Calgary, AB 1,763
Anderson, CA 2,296 (Redding)
Airdrie, AB Canada 1,771

April

Roca, NE 643 (Lincoln)
Minneapolis, MN 543
Mountville, PA 575
Davenport, IA 273
Ellensburg, WA 2,085

May (Off Duty)

June

Salem, OR 2,277

July

Bozeman, MT 1,523
Albuquerque, NM 1,446

August

Minneapolis, MN 543
Sun City, CA 2,114

September

Draper, UT 1,514 (Salt Lake)
Deer Park, WA (Cut short in Fargo, ND where a
semi backed into trailer. Returned to yard 1,538
Yakima, WA 2,122

October

Kent, WA 2,200 (Seattle)
Havre, MT 1,462
Pasco, WA 2,050

November 

Kent, WA 2,200 (Seattle)

December

Draper, UT - 1,514 (Salt Lake)
Fresno, CA - 2,325

 

2007

 

January

Leduc, AB Canada 1,861(Edmonton)
Idaho Falls, ID 1,679

February

Draper, UT 1,514 (Salt Lake)
Yakima, WA 2,122
Coburg, OR 2,346 (Eugene)

March

Casper, WY 1,246
Leduc, AB Canada 1,861 (Edmonton)
Riverside, CA 2,170

April (Off Duty)

May

Anderson, CA 2,227 (Redding)
Jerome, ID 1,685 (Twin Falls)
Idaho Falls, ID 1,679
Coburg, OR 2,346 (Eugene)

June

Clovis, NM to Ringgold, GA 1,188 (private)
Bellevue, NE 582 (Omaha)
Fresno, CA 2,256
Bakersfield, CA 2,144


Private paying trips in 2008 (RV)

Middlebury, IN to Ringgold, GA
Goshen, IN to Ringgold, GA
Savanna, GA to Ringgold, GA

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