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Penny's Greenville Tech Diary

Topic 16870 | Page 2

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Penny's Comment
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Thanks, Dan, I'll get that scheduled before too long. I appreciate the information!

Penny's Comment
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Okay. I've finished two weeks of classes and I've started on the third week. In the classroom, I have a 100% average and the guys in class have been teasing me about getting my permit with all the endorsements on the first try. Good natured fun, they seem to be pretty good fellows.

Everyone is there for a slightly different reason, as you might imagine and each of us want different things.

Last night's class was about Hours of Service from the green FMCSR book. Then the ever present quiz. We also saw a film about the Smith System and reviewed that a little bit.

We have had a couple of recruiters come to talk to us. One was from Senn Trucking, a flatbedding company out of Newberry, SC. The pay there was starting at 39 cpm and they seemed to have pretty good benefits. They have about 100 trucks. I'm not really interested in flatbed, but some of the fellows in class seemed pretty interested.

The recruiter last night was from Tidewater Transit. They do mostly dry bulk and fairly local/regional (not gone more than 4 days, typically). You go out full and return empty. The pay is by percentage. The recruiter did say that they do some liquid haz mat, but not out of the Cowpens terminal , which is the closest terminal to Greenville.

Tonight's class I believe we will be observing our teacher doing a pre-trip on the truck.

I have been reading over the ten page document they told us we would have to recite for our pre-trip at the DMV. I need to practice A LOT more. And find a time to do it out loud more.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

Penny's Comment
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We were able to observe the teacher doing a pre trip twice and now we are on our own with a written paper to guide us that has the verbiage that the DMV here wants to hear. It's like ten pages long. So...let's put this ole gal's memory to the test!

I missed one question on one test so my test average is now 99.85. A little disappointed by that, but I'll live.

We got in the trucks last night. Only 12 of us. Our class has 14, I hope the other two fellows make it tonight, but we will see.

I am not yet very good at driving, but I have confidence in the instructors. They are giving good advice, I'm not yet used to doing the 27 things at once to shift gears and watch my trailer and everything. But I will get there.

Obstacle course test after two more days of practice. So I'm hoping I see improvement in myself tonight.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Auntie Am's Comment
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Found your diary and sad to see it hasn't been updated after a few days. I hope everything is going well for you!

Penny's Comment
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Auntie Am, thank you. It's good to be missed!

I did okay on the obstacle course. I did hit a cone a few times and had to go round and round, but I still ended up with an 88 overall on the course. I wished it had been better, but it is what it is and I didn't do too badly I guess.

Tonight part of the class will be on the backing range with the other part on public roads.

It's getting very, very real. A little scary but also exciting.

I'm going to master these beasts, I am!

Dan67's Comment
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You did fine if you only hit a cone or 2.. some classes, all they do is kill cones. That course teaches you to get a first hand feel for the size of the truck. Just what ever you do.. NEVER dump the clutch.. Never hit a light pole.. And all is good on the range. Perimeter Road is not bad, you will run it after rush hour. First time getting out of the yard can be a bit tough. Idle shifting from 1-2-3, and getting straight onto the road without running off the pavement and getting up the first small hill and gaining speed. Good thing is the max speed is 35mph. You will get it quickly and then the real fun begins. Keep at it.. You got this..

Penny's Comment
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Yeah, Dan, I mostly just grazed the cone...THE SAME DARN CONE EVERY DANG TIME!! Yes, it made me angry, but I finally beat that obstacle!

I did dump the clutch one night in Mr. Wilson's truck. And was reminded not to. I have been EXTREMELY careful since and I certainly hope not to repeat that mistake again. I got nervous and did it, but they seem to be pretty cool as long as you make an effort to correct the error of your ways!

Lord help me if I hit a light pole. I sure don't want to do THAT!! I'll do my best to avoid any of that. I'm pretty good about taking instruction and doing my best, so I'll hope that all will be well there!

Not sure whether I'll be in the group on the range tonight or in the group on Perimeter Road.

This is probably the biggest challenge I've had since raising four teenagers at one time. If I can do that, I can do this. Just a completely different skillset! And a lot more coordination. Mr. Smith told me that changing gears was a lot like dancing. I grinned and told him I tended to step on feet! The instructors all seem tough but fair. I know I'm in good hands.

I've been going over my Railroad Hazmat dialogue during work breaks today. If I don't get completely frazzled, I think I've got it.

Where are you working now, Dan? I think you may have mentioned it, but I can't remember!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Penny's Comment
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So another week has passed. I'm trying to keep up, but work and school are biting me in the rear end! I'm pretty exhausted a lot of the time.

I was quite discouraged last week. It took a lot out of me to be able to be so very bad at something. I am used to things coming to me fairly easily and the book knowledge wasn't too bad for me. This stuff that requires coordination and muscle memory...well, I told my instructor last week that I seriously was not learning disabled. I fear he thought I might be as many times as he told me the exact same thing and I kept making the exact same mistakes he had just corrected me on. It was a hard week. I made some improvements though and I hope tonight I will be making even more improvements whether or not I'm driving or on the range. I'm not sure where I will be tonight, but I'll try to make the most of it.

Backing. Well. It is a might challenging, but one of the instructors gave me some hints on straight line backing that helped me a lot and I have a better feel for that. Offset backing is a completely different beast. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to wrap my head around it, but I'm hoping at some point, it will click. I am comfortable with only a small bit of it so far.

Changing gears for this girl who never drove a manual in her life has been challenging. One very important fact that I had no clue about is that neutral is not a spot. On my automatic car, neutral has one place. Apparently on a manual, it has a slot and not a place. No one ever told me that. I'm hoping that knowledge makes life a tiny bit easier.

Downshifting is a booger, but I will learn this very strange dance...eventually...maybe one day I'll even be good at it!

Tim E.'s Comment
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Changing gears for this girl who never drove a manual in her life has been challenging. One very important fact that I had no clue about is that neutral is not a spot. On my automatic car, neutral has one place. Apparently on a manual, it has a slot and not a place. No one ever told me that. I'm hoping that knowledge makes life a tiny bit easier.

Funny how most take for granted that others wouldn't know! Best of luck!!

Barry L.'s Comment
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Sounds like you're doing great. Don't get discouraged...you've got this!

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