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On a Greyhound to Montana and our trucking future with Jim Palmer!

Topic 20459 | Page 1

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Burntstick's Comment
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Roughly a year ago my wife, Valerie, and I chose to make some big changes in our life. Our children were going to be graduating high school the following spring and that was to be the date we'd use to start executing our plan. Neither one of us were satisfied in our current jobs, her being a high school teacher, and me currently working as a welder in a small local shop. We wanted out of Illinois, a state in seemingly increasing financial distress, as well as just not holding interest for us anymore. Valerie was born and had spent her entire life there and I was in my ninth year of living there. It was time to find a new home. A new career. After some research we started looking into the commercial truck driving industry. It became very clear to us that this was exactly the path forward for us! It offered us everything we were looking for. Adventure, travel, financial stability, and the opportunity for us to work together. We absolutely knew this was the right decision for us, and our future. As with any decision of this magnitude there were many challenges and a ton of planning that needed to be done. One does not simply uproot an entire life and get into a truck. We'll, maybe there are those that could, but we wanted to do this smartly and without leaving anything to chance. We knew we wanted to leave Illinois for good at the same time we started our new career. That in itself presents many challenges. Where to go? Who were we going to work for? What do we do with all of our belongings? What about the boys(we have twin boys, now 18 years old)? What about our pets(two cats and our little dog, Cholo, a Chihuahua mix)? With so much to consider we knew we had to start planning early and to not rush any major decisions. We'd been renting the same house for over six years, which helped, since we didn't need to go through the process of selling a home. Our landlord was more than willing to let us stay right up to our move, which was a huge relief. It didn't quite work out that way, but it was close. More on that another time. Immediately we started researching trucking companies. Not sure if any of you noticed, but there are a ton of them! Big ones, little ones, good ones, bad ones. We knew we wanted to move out West so that's where we focused our energy. We would have to learn how to drive a big rig of course so we started narrowing it down to companies that offered paid training. Now the list is getting smaller and more manageable. It now was a matter of investigating the handful of companies that met our needs. I can't even begin to explain just how much help Trucking Truth was in not only this aspect, but so many different parts of this process. Absolutely indispensable! We found so many articles from so many different viewpoints that helped us in many of our decisions. Not to mention the CDL test preparation! It has been vital to our development. I cannot overstate that! Currently, Valerie and I, are on a Greyhound bus heading to Missoula, Montana to start our training class with Jim Palmer Trucking on Monday. We couldn't be happier! We've been studying like crazy for our permit exam and watching videos and of course reading TT articles. This has been a long time coming and we're ready. Nervous, anxious, excited, but confident. I look forward to sharing our experiences with the TT community and to learn more about this new life we've chosen. Thank you for stopping by! I promise to update and to share more of our story as the time goes on. Much love and safe travels! ~~~ Leonardo

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Burntstick's Comment
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Twenty-one miles outside of Sturgis, South Dakota. The bus trip is long, but Missoula is constantly getting closer. When I sit and try to imagine what the next week, the next month, year have in store for Valerie and I my head starts to swim a bit. Even though I’ve been studying and feel confident about the permit tests and I know I'll be ready for the CDL tests, I still haven't taken them yet. What if I fail? What if no matter how good the trainers are and the instruction is I just can't master double clutching , backing, incline starts? What if...what if… what if. I'm not one to let self-doubt settle in and I'm not about to let it now. Not now. Not after everything it took us to get to this point. No way, no how. We got this. One of the first and probably the biggest undertaking we tackled was downsizing our lives. We knew above all else that there was no way a move out west could include all of our current belongings. So much of it wasn't even ours, but our parents’,whom we had both lost several years back. So much was holdovers from lives past that just didn't fit in ours anymore and regardless of sentimental attachments we absolutely knew it had to be drastically whittled down. So the process began. Yard sales, auctions, eBay, donations...this went on for months. A basement chock full of someone else's life. Plate ware, knick knacks, bicycles, glassware. Glassware for days! An attic populated with furniture, clothes, books and dusty boxes upon moldy boxes of old pictures both in album form and loose. Hundreds of framed old photos of forgotten family and friends from forty years or more ago. It was agonizing to part with them, and my wife bore the heaviest burden because most were her mother's belongings. Valerie was an oak though and never wavered. Except for a few personally meaningful items she either found homes for or burned the rest. It was a daunting task and one that she took head on and won. There were tools from my father's garage including chainsaws, power washers, an air compressor, weed whip and more screwdrivers and hammers than I care to mention. Nails, rivets, bolts, floodlights.. the list could go on for ever it seemed. Somehow I got it all down to two medium sized tool boxes. We filled no less than 4 nine-yard dumpsters over a period of a year with junk. Junk we couldn't give away. Junk we couldn't burn. We still marvel at the sheer amount of it. It never seemed to end. And then it did. We had done it. We had downsized all of our belongings and currently it is all packed neatly in a 10x20 storage unit in Central Illinois. It could be a year or more before we lay eyes on it again. All this so we would be ready to hit the road when we got the call and had no reason to look back. Forward only. Straight out the cab of a semi-truck. We were determined to do this the right way for us. Tomorrow we arrive in Missoula and all of our planning and life changing efforts will start to pay off. I’ve just got to be able to recall leakage rates for single vehicle and combination vehicles. The right tire depth required on steer tires. What glad hands are for, what angle to attach them to each other at and a ton of other things. I’ve got this. We’ve got this. This is exactly what we've been working so hard for. Thank you if you actually made it this far. I know not everyone will, perhaps nobody, and that's ok. I realize this isn't a conventional diary here on TT, but I've been wanting to get all this out. I won't apologize for the length of it or the depth. I just wanted to share our story. It's not a story that's wildly incredible or strange. Just our story and if you decide to check back I'll be sharing more of it if the moderators allow. Please be careful out there and don't forget to keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down. ~~~ Leonardo

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

OtrEscapeArtist's Comment
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It will all come together. Its very good you are prepared. Don't sweat the permit test for Montana... You will hit the ground running in Missoula. Its great fun and the support systems are in place! I will be there on Monday, or tonight if I feel like pushin' it a bit.....Will make sure to introduce myself and we can have a chat about my very recent experience with the program.

Burntstick's Comment
member avatar

Thank you, we'd love to hear about your experience! I appreciate your willingness to talk. Safe travels, hope to meet you soon!

It will all come together. Its very good you are prepared. Don't sweat the permit test for Montana... You will hit the ground running in Missoula. Its great fun and the support systems are in place! I will be there on Monday, or tonight if I feel like pushin' it a bit.....Will make sure to introduce myself and we can have a chat about my very recent experience with the program.

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