Hank's Truck Forum

Trucks and Driving => Gummi's Trucking Blog => Topic started by: Gummiente on September 06, 2015, 06:06:49 PM

Title: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 06, 2015, 06:06:49 PM
Soooooo.... long time since my blog has been updated. There is much to relate about what has happened over the past few years, but first I need to get something out there in the open right off the bat. Thanks to a recent course, I am now qualified ABCDEFGMZ on my Ontario driver's licence, which basically means if it has wheels I can drive it. Thing is, I'm not motoring about in a tractor trailer now. I'm not in a straight truck, either. And I'm no longer working in a motorcycle shop.

I am now.....












... a 72 passenger school bus driver. First day of work starts this coming Tuesday when school opens for another season.

(http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff233/gummiente1/Bus%20Blog/IMG_20150825_102646_edit_zpsig7lcqs9.jpg)

More to follow soon.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: charlie on September 06, 2015, 06:45:21 PM
OMG  :o :o..........good luck to you sir. Think I'd rather fight off a gang of bikers in the MC shop than ride herd on a bunch of school kids. ::) Good to see you after a couple of years & lookin' forward to your blog. 8)
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: TWP on September 06, 2015, 07:08:18 PM
OMG X2..I;m thinking a headband and a well chewed White Owl (cigar)
is in order.
 unlit of course...
That would be wrong,, ;D

Maybe a Walkman or earplugs too..


Have fun with it.

-Ted
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 06, 2015, 10:15:56 PM
Oh I can just see Little Johnny in therapy 40 years from now: "My school bus driver was scary ex-military biker. He terrorized us on a daily basis!"  ;D

Glad to have you back! BTW, I went to a driving school where the those who couldn't drive an 18-wheeler were encouraged to try out a school bus. I always thought it weird that tractor trailer work is seen as where the "professional drivers and the big dogs play," and school buses are for "women and lesser drivers." Let's take a second here to figure out which is more important: transporting widgets and Chinese crap, vs. transporting, oh, CHILDREN!

Glad you've taken up the challenge.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 07, 2015, 05:53:31 AM
Thanks for the words of support, boys. Oso, re your statement about school buses being for "women and lesser drivers", the overwhelming majority of drivers in the company I now work for are female, but I think it's more the job structure that attracts them rather than the perceived driving skill level. There's lots of Mommy's who bus their children to school with the rest of the herd and then pick them up at the end of the day and they love that they can do that. As for the few male drivers, most of us seem to be cut from the same cloth; retired and reluctant to work at Home Hardware in order to supplement a modest pension income.

As for the supposed lesser skill requirements I found that, likely due to my big rig experience, it wasn't very hard at all to pilot a bus. I was told I got the hang of it way faster than the other rookies and the instructor always commented on how my pre-trip inspections and paperwork were flawless. I'm not saying they're as easy to drive as a car, but without a 53' box hanging off the back bumper they are much easier to deal with in all traffic situations. As a bonus, I have the ability to stop traffic both ways with the push of a button on the steering wheel.  8) The training (at least with my company) is very thorough and complete and one has to have a spotless background check in order to be trusted with the care and transport of LCB's. The one thing that I'm finding difficult is the memorisation of the route and the 47 different stops (morning and afternoon total) I have to make on a daily basis. I have a handy set of printed directions and have plotted the routes on my GPS, so hopefully this will cut down on the wrong turns and miffed kids who stand there in the rain as their bus roars past without stopping.

All said, this is still going to be a challenge but, as other school bus drivers have assured me, it is well worth it. How many other jobs are there where you work 2-3hr in the morning, come home for a nap, putter about till mid-afternoon, then work for a another 2-3hr before clocking out? AND you get every single weekend off, plus school holidays, plus the entire summer?!
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 07, 2015, 07:36:46 AM
As for the supposed lesser skill requirements I found that, likely due to my big rig experience, it wasn't very hard at all to pilot a bus.

I've done a little straight truck work myself - and after jumping out of a big rig it seemed a lot easier. The thing is, there's a nasty little trick that buses and straight trucks do: tail swing. And it can get you into trouble - fast.

The one important lesson that I took from straight-truck driving was that while you must watch your right hand-mirror on a right hand turn in a big rig, in a straight truck you must watch your left! Or, preferably both right and left at the same time! Don't ask me how I learned that.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: TWP on September 07, 2015, 07:50:07 AM
Question...Since it has been a very long time since I've seen the inside of a
school bus I was wondering if anyone figured out the installation of seat belts yet?

This is some thing I've pondered for a long time but am just asking now.

This goes for all buses really.

And. if not, what is the reasoning behind not having them.

Thanks.

-Ted
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Mister TyZo on September 07, 2015, 11:04:59 AM
Question...Since it has been a very long time since I've seen the inside of a
school bus I was wondering if anyone figured out the installation of seat belts yet?

This is some thing I've pondered for a long time but am just asking now.

This goes for all buses really.

And. if not, what is the reasoning behind not having them.

Thanks.
-Ted

They'll Argue to the Moon and Back a Gazillion Times, Why Should Seatbelts Be Installed in School Buses for the Passengers ... Whether it be  (A) School Bus (B) Public Transit.. Believe it or not all the stats even though it's a pile of howky and the numbers dictate Buses are a Safer Mode of Transportation..

Now Hypothetically Seatbelt's are Mandated.. To Retrofit a Bus or Even add the Option to a New Build your Talking just shy of $10,000 (Cdn)per Bus.. The Cost Facture is the Killer cause the Cost will be Handed down to all that Pay School Taxes.. Beauty..  8)

Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 07, 2015, 11:34:02 AM
Tyzo's response pretty much echoes what I've been told. I've noticed on the newer buses (2008-up) that all the seats have built in recessed anchors where a seatbelt would normally be positioned, I'm not sure what the purpose is, though. I'll try to remember to ask that next time I'm at the terminal.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Rob Archer on September 07, 2015, 11:34:15 AM
Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's I recall that one of the school bus drivers was the guy who ran the local B/A gas station. He apparently enjoyed the steady extra bucks being put in his bank account.
Mike, weren't you a Sergeant in the Forces?
You should know how to get them to line up and march on and off your bus.

Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: TWP on September 07, 2015, 11:39:25 AM
There has to be a better reason than $10K additional sales cost,

The transportation industry pays more than that everytime some
one in California has a wet sneeze!

-Ted

My intent is not to de-rail so I will pose the question again in the
" Nuts and Bolts" thread.

Thanks.

-
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 07, 2015, 11:42:15 AM
True, Rob, I am a retired Sgt. However, these days what with the total lack of respect, accountability and decency absent from the school age generation I bet that my best parade square voice would be met with 72 smartphones recording my outburst and being immediately uploaded to social media sites, followed by a termination of employment and several lawsuits.

Hey, every job has its downside, right?  :)
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 07, 2015, 11:43:41 AM
TWP, all questions about school buses are welcome in my blog. If I can't answer it, there is likely someone else who can.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: TWP on September 07, 2015, 11:52:47 AM
TWP, all questions about school buses are welcome in my blog. If I can't answer it, there is likely someone else who can.

Thank you,
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Rob Archer on September 07, 2015, 12:34:56 PM
True, Rob, I am a retired Sgt. However, these days what with the total lack of respect, accountability and decency absent from the school age generation I bet that my best parade square voice would be met with 72 smartphones recording my outburst and being immediately uploaded to social media sites, followed by a termination of employment and several lawsuits.

Hey, every job has its downside, right?  :)

When I was in Grade 8 (1966-67)I attended a private school in Oakville for a year.
Gymnastics was an important part of the curriculum and the man they hired was a retired Sergeant Major. He wasn't a big burly man at all but he was tough in the finest sense of the word.
He was also a kind man but allowed no one to cross him. Some of the older boys, being in their mid teens and feeling their oats, tried.
They all failed.
It's too bad that we have come so far in a little over a generation.
There would be no bullying if the miscreants were promptly dealt with.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 07, 2015, 01:06:59 PM
A brief synopsis of events over the past few years since my last blog entry is required in order to bring y'all up to date. In my previous ramblings I had mentioned that I was going to “ride the gravy train” (aka living with a wife who made a crapload of money) for as long as I could while enjoying the benefits of my dream job at a motorcycle shop. Well, the gravy train made an abrupt and unscheduled stop last March when my wife suddenly announced I was being kicked to the curb after 13yrs together. This was, of course, quite  unexpected and came at a most inopportune time, since we had already sold our house in Durham and were about to make an offer on a new one in Orangeville where we would both be closer to work. Then two weeks later my Father suddenly passed away and while scrambling to find a new place to live in Orangeville I was also making frequent trips to and from Kingston to help Mom with the settling of the estate, funeral, finding her new accommodations and so on. Oh, and all of this was happening in the time frame that we were moving the motorcycle shop from the location in Hillsburgh to the new, larger digs in the town of Acton. The first half of 2014 was intense, complicated and very emotional to say the least.

But, onwards and upwards. I secured the rental of half a house with a huge yard and ample parking in Orangeville and got all my stuff moved there in time. The shop move went off fairly well, largely due to the volunteer efforts of some of our best customers, and we were back in business in a matter of days. Family came from all over the globe to help sort out Dad's estate and Mom's new life and by September things had pretty much settled down and both Mom and I were adapting to our new lives. However, Mom is about to turn 80 and it was apparent that I would need to move closer to Kingston within a few years. I had initially set summer 2016 as the time to move, but certain events and complications arose early this year that prompted me to ramp up the move to this past June.

So, my weekends from Feb to May were spent in the Kingston area looking for new accommodations and employment. A house was found near Seeley's Bay that suited me perfectly and I bought it, then got busy with all the administrative matters of the move. The employment search, though, was not as easy. First of all, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do for a living, which made it difficult to figure out what jobs to search for. What I did know was that I did not want to work for any of the local bike shops (nor would they likely hire me, as I do not have my Motorcycle Mechanic ticket) and I did not want to go back to Millwrighting. There isn't much left in the way of industry anyway in the Brockville to Trenton corridor these days and my body has had enough of working in extreme conditions and environments. My AZ licence was still current, but I was reluctant to get back into that lifestyle for several reasons, not the least of them being that trucking was the trigger for my Type 2 Diabetes as well as a hindrance to having any sort of a regular social life. I briefly considered the world of a courier driver, but the physical demands were not agreeable to my already damaged body and I the shift hours were no different than that of a daycab driver. Which I had also investigated, but most of the available spots in this region are with the food service industry and my tired old body is not built for hand bombing endless loads of frozen pizzas and other foodstuffs.

Then I found out that Kriska had a time share plan. 7 days on/7 days off sounded like a good idea to me; two drivers taking one week turns behind the wheel allowed for a truck to be constantly in motion, which was good for the company and allowed plentiful and scheduled hometime plus a decent wage for the drivers (60% of regular highway solo driver pay). I contacted Kriska and was happy to hear that not only did they remember me, but because I had left on good terms and they would be happy to have me back. Because my FAST card had expired, though, I had to get it reinstated before they could formally offer me employment once again. And that's where the plan fell apart; a few weeks after sending in the FAST Card app I received a letter informing me that it was denied because of a violation of border regulations, something to do with a “knife seizure” incident at Port Huron.

Let me back up a few years here. I had a replica German Army bayonet/survival knife that I had started carrying with me shortly after I started working for Hyndman. It was usually kept in my duffel bag or on one of the shelves in the sleeper cab. One day, though, it was used for an emergency vehicle wiring repair and placed in the pocket of the driver's side door. For several weeks after, I made many successful border crossings at all the usual ports of entry without any problems. This included several random X-Ray checks without any repercussions. I had actually forgotten about the knife until one day when crossing at Port Huron I was waved into the lineup for the mobile X-Ray. I strolled over to the driver's sheltered lounge (you know, that rusted out, airless, cramped booth in the middle of the lot) to wait while the Border Agents did their thing. Well, out comes one of them with my knife gingerly held between thumb and forefinger and the show was on. Off to Secondary Inspection I went, where I was grilled by two agents and a State Trooper while the trailer was torn apart by a manic depressive forklift driver whose rig had no brakes and only an on/off switch for the gas pedal. Or at least that's what it sounded like while standing next to it getting raked over the coals. Long story short, they eventually determined I had no hostile intent with the knife and had made an honest mistake that would never be repeated again. The knife was “seized”, no charges were laid, no documents were signed and I was sent on my way with a stern verbal warning. And for the next five months I made countless more border crossings with no problems whatsoever. When I took the job at the motorcycle shop and handed in the keys to my Peterbilt, I left the yard under the impression that the cross border trucking industry would welcome me back any time. So imagine my surprise and disgust when I find out three years later that I was no longer eligible for a FAST Card because of this incident. Funny how it wasn't big enough of an issue to cancel my FAST Card outright at the time said incident occurred, eh?

I briefly tossed about the idea of filing a grievance, but it the end I just said to hell with it. By now it was time for the move and the month of June was taken up with getting settled in. Thanks to a very good friend who also happened to work for Kingston City Transit, I was made aware of a job posting for part time city bus drivers. This sounded like something I could do, so my application went in and I was eventually contacted and an interview was set up. In the mean time, one of my new neighbours had found out I was seeking employment and persuaded me to come for an interview at the school bus transport company she worked for. I set up an interview the day after the one with City Transit was scheduled.

I attended the City Transit interview and the first thing that was revealed to me was that they were hiring for the 2016 fiscal year.

What. The. *#%@!!!

No way would my savings last that long, I needed employment a lot sooner than that. So I went to the school bus driver interview and within minutes was offered an opportunity. I accepted, and, well, now y'all are up to date.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Mister TyZo on September 07, 2015, 06:30:55 PM
 ;) Well Gummiente.... All The Best Tomorrow , start of another School Year... I Retired Dec / 07 after 33 yrs Driving OCTranspo.. In my early years I was working Relief with OC and did a School Bus run with Richmond Bus Lines (Travelways) during the day.. Oh I have my own Sergeant Major story I preformed on a group of High School students, and it was a Classic..lol..
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 08, 2015, 05:37:29 AM
This seemed to be (almost) appropriate:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AobZe6iT9kY
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 12, 2015, 05:47:40 AM
This is my bus. It's a 2006 International 72 passenger behemoth with well over 216,000km on the clock and it's powered by a grunty Cummins coupled to a 5-sp Eaton auto. It just had the annual inspection and safety check done last week and it drives like a dream...

(http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff233/gummiente1/Bus%20Blog/IMG_20150911_072948_edit_zpsdwlold9y.jpg)
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 12, 2015, 07:58:53 AM
It just had the annual inspection and safety check done last week and it drives like a dream...

Do the wheels go round and round, round and round? (Sorry - couldn't resist.)
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 12, 2015, 08:40:09 AM

Do the wheels go round and round, round and round? (Sorry - couldn't resist.)

Indeed, they do. Also, the horn goes beep, beep, beep and the wipers go swish, swish, swish.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 13, 2015, 10:19:08 AM
All last week this tasty looking Kenworth was parked at a closed restaurant beside the highway, close to where I live. I don't know why, but it really, really, catches my eye every time I drive past...

(http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff233/gummiente1/Bus%20Blog/IMG_20150913_115310_zpsmysiwuce.jpg)
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 13, 2015, 04:16:54 PM
All last week this tasty looking Kenworth was parked at a closed restaurant beside the highway, close to where I live. I don't know why, but it really, really, catches my eye every time I drive past...

Don't do it! We all know this is how it starts.

Seriously Mike, think of the children.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 13, 2015, 04:42:22 PM
Rest assured, I will not abandon the children. It's just a passing fancy that hits me every once in a while when I see a particularly nice looking big truck. I could never go back to trucking and besides, with my FAST Card app being denied no OTR company would ever hire me anyway.



But sometimes, way deep down inside in places I don't talk about at cocktail parties, sometimes I do miss the beauty of a Georgia sunset in August. Or the smell of an Indiana corn field in July. Or the hot, hazy, mirage infested plains of the Kansas landscape. Or the beauty of the Tennessee cotton fields in full bloom. The gentle rain of a Spring morning in the Virginia mountains. The rolling hills and picturesque small towns of Wisconsin. The imposing, massive tobacco farms of North Carolina. And so on.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 13, 2015, 05:24:02 PM
Yeah, every local guy I've ever talked to has said something similar. But if you ever wanted to get back into trucking, I bet that an LTL firm like TST would hire you on in a nanosecond - especially if you worked through an agency. (You'd make about as much as you did OTR, but with the added bonus of sleeping in your own bed every night.)

But never mind that. Think of the children.
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: TWP on September 13, 2015, 09:38:25 PM
Sorry to inform you, there is no cure for this trucking thing...rest assured though..
There is a large support group. ;D

-Ted
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Gummiente on September 17, 2015, 02:15:40 AM
I'm well into the second week as a school bus driver now and things are beginning to gel as I get used to the routine. I no longer need the GPS for the route, I barely need to look at the printed directions, either and I'm getting familiar with the exact location and approach sequence of every stop. The kids are, for the most part, fairly well behaved although the public school crowd is usually pretty rowdy on the afternoon run back home. There's still a few that insist on zipping down the aisle while the bus is moving, trying to time it when they think I'm not looking. If it's safe, I'll look in the mirror and say "stay in your seat when the bus is moving, please" in a loud, but not Drill Sgt voice. It usually works for the 20min that the majority of the rowdies are with me, but sometimes there are repeat offenders. I came up with a way to deal with that; at the front of the bus a sheet listing all the bus rules is posted in plain sight, with the no running around rule in number 2 spot. As they disembark, I stop each guilty party and point to the rule sheet then ask them to read out #2 in a loud voice while the rest of the lineup has to wait. It seemed to have the desired effect of reducing the number of infractions, but I didn't realise how well it worked until yesterday afternoon. At one point along the way while my focus was taken up by navigating a tight rural intersection I hear a Grade 3 horrified stage whisper behind me say "Sit down, or he's gonna make you READ!"
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Oso2 on September 17, 2015, 09:19:08 AM
Excellent!!!   ;D ;D ;D 
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Mister TyZo on September 17, 2015, 02:13:28 PM
Excellent!!!   ;D ;D ;D

 ;) ;) X 2... Gummiente ... Yep, Don't Yah just love it when a Plan comes together...lol...  Your a Natural...   ;)
Title: Re: Life After Working In A Bike Shop After Trucking
Post by: Hanky on January 04, 2016, 05:57:49 PM
School Bus driving is a blast  ;D retired 5 years ago after 32 years loved every day. There are a lot of kids out there that are happy in the morning to see you and do not complain about every thing.  I also drove a 72 pass Bluebird what other job is there where you can make 40 to 50 mothers happy every morning by being on time.  Our activy bus seat belts but regular run buses do not.