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Big Scott's Comment
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4-24-17 Day 1: First off there are three people in my class and I am the only one from CFI. The other two are on their own dimes. We all have our permits, so we won't be spending class time going over that. We started out filling out paperwork and watching a video on sexual harrassment. Then the other two had to go do drug tests and physicals. When they came back it was time for lunch. When you go to training through CFI you get $15.00 per day for meals. It's not much, but it can be streatched. The only place to eat near the school is the truck stop across the street. They have a restaurant and convenience store. After lunch there was a video which covered CDL/CMV basics. Much of the stuff you need to know for your permit. The next video was on log books. After each video was an easy quiz, based on the video and discussion. The quiz could be answered while watching the video. The last section was trip planning. We used the Rand McNally road atlas for that. We have to finish that up in the morning. Then it's out to the range. They have late model KWs with 10 speed transmissions. He said we'll start with backing and may go on the road in the afternoon. We will get the opportunity to work with all of the instructors. They want us to learn quickly and they will help us as much as we may need. Also, they gave us a copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. As far as pre trip goes, they will give us a sheet to study and it's up to us to learn it. They will help us as much as we need. We just have to ask. That's all for day one. Day 2 starts at 07:00. I'll get picked up at around 06:45.

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.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Big Scott's Comment
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4-25-17 Day 2: We started today with a trip planning exercise and discussion. Then it was out to the range. We started with straight line backing. We did that the rest of the morning and each of us got 3 or 4 turns. After lunch we went on to offset backing. We do sight and blind side for that. That takes more time since we are all learning. Tomorrow we should do more of that and move on to something else. They are working hard to prepare us for the test. They said if we're ready we can test out after three weeks. I'll see how it goes for me. The first day was fun but tiring. It was hot and windy. We ate a lot of dust today. I'm having fun. There is much to learn. Now I'm back at the hotel doing laundry. That's all for now.

Big Scott's Comment
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4-26-17 Day 3: Today was pouring rain after thunderstorms all night. Plus it was about 40 degrees colder today than yesterday. After we got to the school, me and one of my classmates were told to go check the oil, tires and lights on one of the trucks and start it up. We did that and waited in the truck. Eventually two instructors jumped in and we jumped in the back. The instructor drove us to an industrial park with long straight roads that are not heavily traveled. Apparently everyone uses this area for training. We saw one of our other trucks, trucks from another school and a Prime truck all doing the same thing. Ok let me back track a bit. When we got there he pulled over and explained the shift pattern and double clutching. How to upshift and downshift. The other student went first. They had him drive up and down a few roads and around a couple of cul de sacs. Eventually they had him pull over and we switched. It was now my turn. I have officially joined the ranks of people who have trouble learning to double clutch. I did much of the same routes. Popping and grinding along the way. I even hit some shifts on the first time. We switched off again. This time they had him pull into a small truck stop. We parked in a fuel island. Don't worry the pumps were out of service. After a quick pit stop, it was my turn again. I pulled out, a wide turn to head for the exit. Wait for traffic to clear and just about the worst start known to man. With a little coaching we got moving. After a nice long straightaway and some more turns, je says turn right here. I think "YOU WANT ME TO GO WHERE!". That's right interstate here I come. Did I mention it was raining? Thankfully I made the shifts pretty good. The speed limit was 70, we stayed at 60. The highway driving was easy. I did not know that I was driving the 20 plus miles back to the school. We made it back in one piece. No scratches and now wheels went over curbs. Yes, we do not bob tail. We pull standard 53' trailers. After lumch we went back for more. I was doing a little better in the afternoon. I hope we go out again tomorrow for more practice. The trainers tell us we are doing good and progressing well. I think that is all for now.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
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"YOU WANT ME TO GO WHERE!". That's right interstate here I come.

That comment made me smile. It reminded me of driver's ed in high school. We all knew we'd have to do it, we were all excited to do it, but we were also all nervous as hell about doing it. Well done and keep the updates coming; we're reading along.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Big Scott's Comment
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4-27-17 Day 4 part 1: This morning it was a cold, breezy 44 degrees. We started out doing some pre trip practice. Then it was offsets again. Boy am I doing crappy. I'm starting to get it little by little. The instructors are very helpful. We are learning how to correct our mistakes. I am my own worst critic. I am not getting it as easily as I thought I would. The other guy they have me paired with never drove a manual transmission and never towed anything. He seems to be getting it a little quicker than me. We're at lunch now. Later I'll post the rest of the day.

Big Scott's Comment
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4-27-17 Day 4 part 2: After lunch, we went out to do some more backing, but as I got started, I was told to stop and get in another truck to go out on the road. My classmate drove first. Today we went on busier roads. After a bit we stopped at the same truck stop as yesterday. After a brief rest stop, it was my turn. I was doing better on my shifting. I have to practice shifting slower and thinking about it before I do it. I have a little more confidence today. I did get to drive on I 44 again. If you're familiar with Springfield MO, we practice off of exit 84 or 85 and the school is at exit 61. So, it's a good bit of interstate driving. At the end of the day a CFI truck pulled in. It was a team and both guys graduated from that school. They had one of the brand new KW T-680s. It has an automatic, but they kind of like it. They said they are enjoying the fuel bonuses. That truck is what I have to look forward to. CFI is working hard to switch their fleet to those trucks. That's all for now. I hope people are enjoying this diary and getting something from it. I will be happy to answer any questions I can.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
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I'm enjoying your fact of the matter reporting. Be safe.

Big Scott's Comment
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Thanks.

Deke's Comment
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Another that is following your progress. Thanks for the updates and Keep 'em coming please!!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott's Comment
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Thanks. I will be working hard to update daily.

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