C1 Driving Academy - Indianapolis, IN... Adventures With Swift

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∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Star Date: 09-08-2017

Greetings and Salutations.

I will be leaving for my training with Swift Transportation tomorrow. I will update as often as possible. For now, I will leave you with this...

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch

“Live the Life of Your Dreams When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way. But with hard work, perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what you can achieve.” ― Roy T. Bennett

These are just two of the many quotes that have helped me on this journey.

Stay Safe

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Waiting at the bus station. It was weird being "interviewed" by the US Customs and Border Patrol. I guess that there have been a string of illegals making their way here from Canada. I jokingly asked one officer why a Canadian would want to illegally come here. His response: "this happens at the beginning of every NFL season." He was so deadpan you would almost think he was serious. But his his partner burst out laughing.

I am feeling my first pangs of bring anxious, because for the last 3 years we have not been apart more than a day. It will definitely be an adjustment. She is from a trucking family, and her first husband was a driver, so she knows what to expect, and is very supportive. She is a big reason for me doing this.

Big Scott's Comment
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Good luck. I guess you live way up there. You know how to reach me if I can help in any way.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Good luck. I guess you live way up there. You know how to reach me if I can help in any way.

Thanks Big Scott

I had a great conversation with Cortney about my final decision. She is awesome.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Today, I officially change my status to In CDL School.

Can't wait to get today, and the rest of my career started!

Stay safe

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.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Star Date 09/11/2017

The first day of classes is finished. I did not appreciate, until now, how the day dragged. There were 10 of us Swift students, and about 30 PAM students. The Swift students were able to finish first, and it went rather efficiently, with only a few clerical hiccups. And then we waited for the PAM students to finish. I chose to use that time studying Daniel B. 's pre trip guide. I shared it with a couple other students who asked what I was looking through. Of course, one person though I meant TR. The conversation that followed might bring several new members soon. Yet again, I didn't fully appreciate the wealth of knowledge I gained, from this site, until today.

Once all the students were finished with the paperwork, and medical portion, we met the school director, and watched a brief video. After that some questions were answered about various school procedures. Swift students, attendance policy, we are allowed to miss 1 hour. Tardiness is NOT accepted. This is to prepare us for those times when we feel under the weather, but still get the load delivered.

At this time, I can't think of anything else to add. I am finally chasing my dream.

The Brett Moment

My hotel room over looks the highway, and I found myself watching all the trucks go by, and couldn't help but get super excited, thinking soon that will be me!

Stay safe

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Star date: 09/12/2017

"I live my life a 1/4 mile at a time." - Vin Diesel (Fast and Furious)

A quote that will stick with me from now until forever. It was explained to us today, that our field of vision should be looking about 1/4 mile ahead of us, as we drive. Anything within that distance, we need to avoid, or be the accident. Don't be the accident. Looking that far ahead can literally be the difference between life, and a tragic end, for us, or another person. Then the instructor mentioned that quote. It hit me right between the ears.

The morning was spent going over the permit test for the Ohio, c and Indiana students, who didn't have their permit yet. I am glad for that time, because it cemented a lot of the information, for me. After lunch, we were handed out our pre trip packets. The instructor then went on to say, that he didn't care how we pre studied, or started memorizing a different method. If we didn't do it EXACTLY like it was written in that handout, we fail. It is the C1 way of doing things, not anyone elses. This threw me off, because I had been studying Daniel's method, and had shown it to a couple other students. They were saved having to relearn a lot of the verbiage. I am not so lucky. But hey, I enjoy a challenge. My study buddy and I were the only 2 of the entire class to stay after, and start going through it. So far we have gotten through the front of the vehicle, the passenger side engine compartment, and up until the brakes on the driver side. I am determined to pass the pre trip the first chance we are able to start testing on it.

It is somewhat disheartening to see the majority of the other students not take advantage of every opportunity to learn the trucks, inside and out. I mentioned that to my new friend, and he put it like this. We found our motivation, and what is driving us, they just need to find theirs. We started this journey on the same bus, in Buffalo, and we will be out of the same Terminal. I do not think that is a coincidence.

Stay safe

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.

∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Star date: 09/15/2017

I missed the last couple days, due to studying my bum off for the pre trip, and incab test on Monday, but I will catch this up to date best as possible.

Wednesday 9-13

We mainly focused on trip planning, and then into'into logs. I really enjoyed going through the Atlas. I have decided that I will trip plan without a GPS, for at least my first 6 months on the road. Like our instructor said, it is not a matter of IF the GPS or Qualcomm breaks, but WHEN, it breaks, what will we do? One student said they would just call breakdown. So the instructor put her in the middle of the dessert, with no cell service, and told her to trip plan, and log her way to the nearest terminal. Which for PAM, was a very Long drive. Everyone laughed, but it drove the point home.

Thursday 9-14

Logbooks was the name of the game. And now we log everything we do, for the remainder of school. Now this could easily change, but right now, I think logging is my new Guilty Pleasure. Something about the graph, the math, and filling in the details, intrigues me, and I just "get it." other than that, I spent a good portion of the day, running through my pre trip, and watching other studentsdo that parallel, and offset backing, and listening to the instructions as they did it.

Friday 9-15

Straight line backing day!!!

All I can say, is, finally being able to get behind the wheel of that beautiful, beat up, 1994 Freightliner, with duct tape holding a pillow to the seat, was AMAZING! I didn't care if I made it 50 feet or 5 feet, and sent 20 cones to cone heaven, I FINALLY got to start driving a truck! We each did 3 backs, and 3 pull ups. I am happy to report that no cones were harmed, during my ateempts. Watching the mirrors, candy adjusting for the drift, I was thanking the many people on this site for the instruction given, to me, and many others. I got confused a few times, and turned the wrong way, but I was relaxed, and was able to recover, while I wiggled my way back between the cones.

I am on the board to do my pre trip test on Monday. The quicker I get it done, the sooner I can get back into the truck, and the more time I can spend learning how to operate it safely, and efficiently. I will be spending Saturday, and Sunday at the school, with a few other students, polishing things up.

I didn't really notice until today, that we lost about 1/4 of our class. It amazes me, the attitude some people approach this with. How can they not realize, that all the instructors here, are trying to teach them safety first, and genuinely want everyone to succeed?

We have a good group of 5 people, and we are really digging in, and giving it 1000% 2 of us are Swift students and 3 PAM students. The best part is 3 of us are in the same range group.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Star date: 09/18/2017

Over the weekend, several of us, gathered at the school, to practice our pre trips. The extra practice paid off, for all of us. Those of us who practiced, and took the test today, all passed! When I took my test, I successfully named all the necessary parts, and what to look for, but neglected to say that the alternator, air compressor, and brake chamber, were "properly mounted and secure." when I got to the in cab portion, I completely forgot to mention the "dummy lights," and the number of safety triangles. During practices, I almost always forgot to mention the drain rail, header board, and mud flaps, but FINALLY remembered them for the test. So now I know what to brush up on, when I go to the State test.

As I was helping a few other students run through their pre trips, one of the instructors came and grabbed me. When I asked which backing I was going to do first, he just laughed, and said "none of em, I'm taking you on the road." for the first time since I started training, I experienced genuine fear. By the time I got to the truck, I was more relaxed, and the fear turned into cautious excitement. I was warned that this particular truck, had a Mercedes-Benz engine, and that the shifting was tighter than the other trucks. Starting in 3rd gear, I was able to do that rather smoothly, but from 4th to 5th, I experienced the "trampoline effect." let's just say, that the instructor asked me not to put him through the roof! He laughed, and then showed me the proper way to avoid that "effect." I became well acquainted with gear recovery, since I had a habit of missing 7th gear and shifting into 9th. My biggest issue with that, was too much pedal, and missing my rpm sweet spots. By the time I was heading back to the school, I was a lot more confident, and my shifting was smoother. The truck was quick to keep me humble, and we jumped on the trampoline, one last time, turning into the parking range. It still amazes me, that I am doing this, and as i was driving that truck, everything just felt right, that I am finally chasing my dream, and catching up with it.

We have a great group of Swift students. All of us have really applied ourselves, c and encourage and help each other to succeed. I am fortunate to be here with these guys and gals, and watch them succeed, too.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
∆_Danielsahn_∆'s Comment
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Star date : 09/19/2017

Today went really well. I will give a more detailed update tomorrow. The only thing that is going through my mind right now, is, miss my wife.

Stay safe

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