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Roehl Transport: Get Your CDL Diary

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Eric H.'s Comment
member avatar

Although I don't have a set date yet to head to Appleton, WI, I thought I'd go ahead and start my diary (journal lol) now. Maybe the things I go through from the very beginning to getting on the road as a solo driver will help someone else.

So, let me start. I'm nearly 36 years old (March 10 to be exact, so don't forget my birthday party, lol). I've wanted to be a truck driver since I was around 11 or 12 years old. This is my dream that I'm going to make a reality, as well as make it my passion.

Back in 2012 I did go out to Utah to train for my CDL with C.R. England. Now, a real quick disclaimer, my experiences with England may not be what everyone experiences. And of course this is my account of what occurred while there. I'll also explain why I chose Roehl this time around.

So, of course I take the wonderous bus ride from here in Kentucky to beautiful Utah. And that's not sarcasm. If you've never been to Utah, all I can say is it's a beautiful state. So we go through the classes and everything. Then we get our trainer.

But to rewind real quickly, with my recruiter for England I was specifically told I could be a company driver. But we'll discuss that in more detail in a moment.

Anyway. We meet our trainer. There are 3 of us that day. Now mind you, we haven't done any backing exercises, shifting exercises, Nada. And also, none of us have ever driven a truck before.

So we get to this little side rode. The trainer then gets out of the drivers seat and asks who wants to go first. Ummmm.... Go first for what?!? So, this girl goes first. Before she could even sneeeze the wrong way, and had been directed to go out on the street, she was instantly being yelled at. Being yelled at for not getting the truck into gear, not double clutching , taking turns to wode., etc etc etc.

Now remember, none of us have ever driven before. And we were given no face to face instructions from this guy. Literally. It went like that for all three of us. For me, I didn't even make it back to the side rode. I pulled over on the side of the highway, out the brakes on and moved to the back. Some may see that as being asinine, but in my opinion if you're not going to actually train before putting anyone in the drivers seat and won't answer any questions, then you have no right to yell at people making the situation worse.

We get back to the school. He goes wherever he goes. We go into the classroom. Next here they come with these contracts stating that we have to drive for X amount of time for them.... And then, lease option contracts. I told the lady that I was supposed to be company and she said no one was company.

I didn't sign right off. I asked if I could take the papers back to my room and read over them. Once I did this and after the experience with the trainer, I decided it was time to leave. I was nice enough to let them know. Then I got all my stuff packed and took a cab down to the Bus station. And left.

I guess I could have handled it all a lot better but a lot of other things were going on with my life and this added to it. And at the time I was not prepared for all of that.

Anyway, let's fast forward to now. I decided to start looking into driving. Again. But a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

After doing my research I decided on Roehl. They fit everything that matched my criteria. Plus the review of the training from right here on TT didn't hurt them either. Sure they're CPM was lower than some but I was OK with that.

I did my DOT physical the other day. And like a complete bonehead I'd forgotten to take my Metformin AND I had drunk a Pepsi. So, my blood sugar level was at a 216. You have to be below 200.

So, now I am waiting to get my A1C documentation to take and get my medical cert for 1 year. On A1C you have to have your most recent below 10%. My last one I had, I was at 7%.

And to finish this first part up, of you're brand new and need some help with the CLP test or some knowledge you're gonna need later, sign up for the High Road Training. It's amazing. The repetition is getting the information engraved in my brain.

I'll update as much as I can on my status as well as how training goes. Once training hits I'll be trying to do a daily play by play at the end of the evening. Same as Phase II and if I have time Phase III. You never know I may go beyond that. But we'll see.

So, until next time.... Happy Trucking and have a good one!!!

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Double Clutching:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

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

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Eric H.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, it's been a few days but I was finally able.to get Part 1 of 2 started before heading up to Appleton.

In order to get my DOT Medical Card I had to get a copy of my A1C numbers. So, for others who may be diabetic here are a few things I learned:

1. Your blood sugar level needs to be below 200 during your physical. If it is above they may ask for your A1C numbers. So if you have those, take them with you to your physical. It will save you time and perhaps money if you have to drive out of your way.

2. Your A1C must be below 10%.

Next up for me will be the CLP test. But thanks to the High End Training from right here on T.T. I'm getting a bit more confide t that I can pass the test. So that'll be my next entry. Which will be Wednesday of next week.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Patrick R.'s Comment
member avatar

Grats on getting back into it! Roehl was one of the companies I looked into a lot but decided to go for another for personal reasons and the DOT/Permit first somehow made it seem more costly for me upfront. But I look forward to hearing more!

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dan W.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey Eric, I just completed the Get Your CDL Program through Rohel in Appleton. I really can't compare Rohel's program to any others, but I went from never setting foot in a truck to passing my CDL test last Wednesday. I thought for the most part the trainers through Rohel as well as the one's at Fox Valley Tech where we trained, were very professional, knowledgeable and helpful. Likewise, the accommodations they put us in were very nice and they provided lunch every day. If you have any questions specific to the program, let me know. The three pieces of advice I can offer are; if you are having any problems with anything specific you are learning, let your trainer know. We had three guys training in our truck. You might be having trouble with something and they may see it, but because they are watching for three or more drivers they may not understand directly what the issue you are having without you telling them. Likewise, if you have any personality conflicts or your trainers teaching methods do mesh with the way you learn, let the person who is in charge of your Rohel group know as soon as possible. I saw a number of people have a lot of issues during the program simply because they never spoke up about the personaility issues they had with their trainer they were having. Like I said above the Rohel employees and the trainers at the Tech School want to see everyone succeed but because it is a very fast paced course with condensed materiel, you need to ensure they know any issues you may encounter. Lastly, if you like to go out and drink and party, save it for after you get your CDL. I saw a number of people who goofed off and were trying to relive their time in the college dorms as opposed to putting 100% of their effort into learning their new craft. If you put in the work, you will pass, but there is a lot of information to learn in 3.5 weeks. Not only did this cost them on test day, some of them went home without a CDL or job.

Good luck to you and like I said, I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Also when you get up there tell Terry I said Hi...

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Eric H.'s Comment
member avatar

@Dan:

Thanks. Luckily as a diabetic, I don't drink at all. And since I'm almost 36, I did all my wild and crazy days in my 20s.

Right now just preparing for the CLP exam. Using the training here and about 2 other apps to give me different wordings. I think I'm almost prepared. But we'll see.

The only thing I dread is the Wisconsin cold. I'm from the south. So yeah, it can get cold here too, but up there it's a whole new story...

@Patrick

Congrats to you as well!! Luckily, the fees for the CLP and even when I come back to get my CDL after training are not high at all. About $35 for the CLP and $40 I believe for the actual CDL. I'm just ready to get going. Part of me wishes I'd crammed on Wednesday and went and took my test yesterday since they're only on Wed and Thurs here. But I'd rather know I'm prepared then go in and possibly fail because I tried to cram the day before.

Anyway. Now I'm rambling. But I'll try to post more. Sometimes it may even be just something random. But I'll try to start everything from the moment I arrive (maybe on the way there. I've rode enough Greyhounds to be able to tell some stories) . But I do plan on posting after every day. As detailed as I can anyway.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Dan W.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you'll be just fine. It's brutally cold there, but I got used to it. If you dress in layers you'll be fine. You'll be spending most of your time in the truck so it warms up. I have no idea what the weather is like year round, but after a while I didn't mind the cold but hated that it was overcast nearly every day.

Dan W.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you'll be just fine. It's brutally cold there, but I got used to it. If you dress in layers you'll be fine. You'll be spending most of your time in the truck so it warms up. I have no idea what the weather is like year round, but after a while I didn't mind the cold but hated that it was overcast nearly every day.

Eric H.'s Comment
member avatar

@Dan: I'm prepared for the cold. As long as I'm not standing outside in it for hours on end (*clears throat* like we had to for the other company I was at in 2012, in 10° weather for about 7 hours a day during backing.) then I'm good.

As far as my CLP. Well, I have to get the license #'s and Issue date on any other licenses I had. Granted it's not gonna cost but around $25 for all 3, but that's some more time added till I can get that done. Thanks Kentucky.

As of right now, when I'm not working I sit at a nearby truck stop while I study for the CLP. Weird? Perhaps. But it also gets me in the mindset and reminds me of what I'm working for.

As Brett and other's have said, this isn't a lifestyle for everyone. But for someone who a) loves to drive b)doesn't mind being away for weeks on end... it's a perfect combination. And I'm ready to get it goin'!! (Sorry, shameless Party Down South reference there).

So, that's where we are so far. Or, err, rather where I'm at. It may add another week to everything, but that just gives me more study time. I'm bound and determined to get 100% on the CLP tests.

Also, I've been reading a lot of posts on here. The fact that several people are bashing the companies that trained them is crazy. Sure, I had a bad experience at the one that was training me. I tried not to name them, which I don't think I did, but if so I was stating my experience. I've heard and seen good and bad from all companies.

Although I'm just getting started, I'm prepared for the many downs in my first year. It all goes with learning and making mistakes, etc.

Well anyway, I'm here at the 96 Truck Stop in Kentucky. Time to get back to studying.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Louie B.'s Comment
member avatar

Sounds like you'll be just fine. It's brutally cold there, but I got used to it. If you dress in layers you'll be fine. You'll be spending most of your time in the truck so it warms up. I have no idea what the weather is like year round, but after a while I didn't mind the cold but hated that it was overcast nearly every day.

So roehl doesn't have you standing outside all day for training?

Eric H.'s Comment
member avatar

Well, I thought I'd post a quick update. I easily passed my General Knowledge and Air Brakes in my Permit. Buuuuuut.... somehow Combos had me confused on several questions. Which in turn gave me a bad score. *Sigh* But it's okay. I'm hankering down on the High End training. I'm taking practice tests left and right and I'm sure that on Wednesday (2/22) I'll nail the test.

@LouieB... from what I understand and depending on where you are training, you'll either be getting some Simulator time or be in the truck. They're not gonna make you stand outside the truck the entire day. I mean this isn't the nameless company I was training for back in 2012.

At the moment, we're shooting for me to begin training on 2/27. Which will be just as well since they had only one spot left for 2/20 in Appleton.

And if anyone who reads this is also starting in Appleton on the 27th and you're driving yourself up. You're my new best friend!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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