Just Finished Training At Swift Academy, Lewiston, ID

Topic 20605 | Page 2

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Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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G-Town, of course you're right. Looking back on the conversation, even though he didn't seem like the sour grapes type at the time... what else could that comment have been about.

Honestly, it's a full time job for me right to just not overthink everything.

I worked as a technician, then as a machine designer for almost 20 years, and I believe trucking will be the most challenging yet rewarding thing I've done.

For now, my only job is to keep my head on straight, stay positive, remember my work ethic, and to ***keep it all in perspective***. ☺

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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So I just read the transcript of the "terminal rats" podcast. Sadly, those rats exist in every corner of society and in every industry. Life's too short to let them drain my energy. :)

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Well it sounds like of the eight we had in our class at the end of week one, 6 of us got our CDL's.

Congratulations everyone!

I know one is in Phoenix for flatbed training; he's a wonderful guy and I think he'll make an excellent flatbedder. I believe one of the 6 is planning to get into wildfire support driving, but I'm not 100% sure on that one.

One of my classmates and I have discussed trying to get a team heavy haul run. We don't have any idea what our chances are, right out of the gate, but the next week and orientation will answer a lot of questions.

I've been reading a lot on these forums, trying to be as prepared as possible. TT has such a wealth of information. So far I've been focusing a lot on threads tagged as helpful for noobs such as myself. I'm very grateful for all the information!

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.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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I jump the grey dog for orientation in 8 hours. I'm eager for the next steps. I've been reading a lot on these forums about what to pack, what to expect, different trainer personality types and training styles etc. It's very helpful, and I'm again grateful for this site and all of the more experienced drivers that are so generous sharing their experiences.

One of my classmates from CDL school really wants to try to get a team heavy haul run. I think he's so gung ho about that due to what he's been told are the advantages: more home time, a few cents a mile more. I was convinced it could be a good idea, but after reading up on team driving, it sounds to me like an excellent way to sabotage a fledgeling career. I sent him a link to a thread discussing the additional challenges, but he's unfazed. I really don't think he read it.

I've been living in a 22' camper for 4 years, the last 2 years, with my new wife. I cannot imagine living in a truck with another person and not going bat**** crazy, no matter who the other person or how big the sleeper. I'm keeping an open mind, if you'd call it that, but as you can probably see, the advantages of team driving would have to be more like a few extra dollars per mile, for me to think it would be worth it. (And yes, I know what I just wrote, and I'm aware of the implications.)

The smoke from the fire in Glacier Nat'l Park (25 miles from where I sit) is so heavy I can't see the Swan Mtn range, less than 4 miles away. Glacier Park will never be the same. What in incredible loss. Incredible, the word, used to mean "not believable", and what's happening in the Park right now is unbelievable. Sperry Chalet is gone, destroyed by the fire. This fire is destroying a unique national treasure that's been near my heart my whole life. As a teen, I used to picnic up there often, and we hiked into Avalanche Lake as a grade school field trip.

I checked out a couple of the other trucking forums, and it will take days to rid myself of all that negativity. (What the heck is wrong with people?)

Anyhow, on to orientation, and then, I hope, assuming I do get hired on, mentoring. Woo hoo!

Thanks again for this site, Brett, especially for all the hard work and dedication, but thanks to each and every contributor. You don't have to help. But you do help. Thanks.

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.
Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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Adding: I know I'll be sharing a tractor and sleeper during mentoring/road training, but that's necessary and relatively short term.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
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I just shared a link for this thread with my family and then realized... I probably won't be able to update much after this week for a while. I don't have a jetpack right now that's usable. I'm planning to get hooked up with Millenicom, but that's a couple of paychecks in the future.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
member avatar

OK, so I learned a couple of things last night. First, long haul busses are not made for sleeping and Second, neither are bus terminal benches.

First bus was a little puddle jumper, maybe 20 seats or so for about 2-1/2 hours to Missoula. There, we had a 2-1/2 hour layover, then a Greyhound to Spokane and a 5-1/2 hour layover. I got maybe a half hour sleep on the bus and maybe 2 or so hours sleep on a bench in the Spokane terminal. Then another 3 hours or so on another big bus to Lewiston.

I got into Lewiston around 8:30 or so. The cab ride to the motel was $6, the low end of what I'd been told to expect. I wasn't really supposed to show up at the motel until 3pm or so, but the staff at Comfort Inn are really nice, and they let me stash my duffle and sleeping bag.

During CDL school, my phone started going haywire. It turns out the battery is shot. We ordered a new one ($7) last week and added expedited delivery ($16), but, alas, Murphy got involved, and my battery is lost in transit.

So, today I walked about 5 miles shopping on USB charge packs. I got lucky at Shopko; they had an 8k mAH pack for $20. It's more than I can really afford until paydays start happening, but it's a must have.

The lady at the motel kept calling Swift for room vouchers every time I came back to the motel lobby to access my gear. I don't want to known as the complainer before I even have a job, and I told her that, and that I was OK with waiting, but she called every time she saw me, so I started hiding out back. They found me around 2:30 and told me I could get my room, so I got a much needed nap.

My roommate hasn't shown up yet. From the name that was mentioned, I believe he was a couple classes ahead of me, but I'm not sure.

It's crazy smoky from the forest fires, all the way from Kalispell to Missoula to Spokane to Lewiston. My eyes and throat are burning, I hope we get rain soon.

I feel eager to get on with orientation and mentor training. I have already decided that unless issues arise with my mentor that are catastrophic, I'll do everything that I can to take it in stride. I want to get through training, get my own rig, and start getting a lot of safe miles behind me. I feel ready.

And again, thanks to Brett, all the moderators, and all the contributors here on TT. What a great resource! :)

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.

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.

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Forgot to mention: I had even *more* paperwork today! Mostly filling in a small gap in my home address history, then a couple more "sign here to allow us to inquire about your character and work habits from every other person that you've ever been within 50 miles of." Something like that. My eyes weren't working so great from that whole sleep deprivation experiment, so who knows what I signed?

Oh! And another thing I found out today, and I can NOT believe I failed to mention it before, because never pass up an opportunity to blow your own horn, am I right? I just found out that my GPA through CDL school was a 4.0. Now, I realize that's not nearly the earth shattering accomplishment that I'm making it out to be, but I'll take it where I can find it.

Man. I sure hope Swift hires me tomorrow. We can't afford very much more of this "but honey, it's all going to be tax deductible, IF I get hired!" stuff.

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.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Once you are issued a driver number and a Commdata card, you are hired.

Good luck!

Blue Zombie Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Thanks G-Town!

First day of orientation went really well. It was just me and one other applicant.

The more I learn about Swift, the more I believe I am doing the right thing, and with the right company.

The day started with a UA, and, embarrassingly, I couldn't fill the cup. I'm pretty sure I was dehydrated from the bus ride, and then walking all around town yesterday. But anyhow, after 4 cups of water and another hour, no problem. How embarrassing!

We filled out a few forms, watched a few training videos, had a very good Q&A session, which I'm sure was really part of the character profiling.

Swift bought lunch for us today. It was barbeque from a little local place that's been here for something like 14 years. It was delicious!

Our orientation instructor is really nice, and very knowledgeable.

Because Lewiston is a pretty small terminal , there's a good chance I'll have to take the bus Saturday to meet my mentor, but that's fine with me.

It's very exciting. I'm eager for each new step.

dancing-dog.gif

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.

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