Canuck CDL Journal: Balls To The Wall

Topic 21914 | Page 1

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mikemotorbike's Comment
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So i'm not sure if i am allowed to share my driver training story here, i'm just canadian, and this is an American site. maybe Brent won't notice. Sorry if I am breaking the rules. :-)

just joshing ya! I am not that much of an blushing flower--- a shy and sweet Canadian: I am a Truck-Canuck with my Balls to the Wall!

Me: Where do I begin the story?

You: How about – at the beginning!

The beginning is when I felt I made a commitment:

not when a ferries mechanic biker buddy sized me up as a trucker six months ago, which really gave me the idea and started this whole thing not when I got bored of moping around like a sad sack of potatoes after a breakup not when I ceremoniously left drama queens and kings and my old ways not when I exercised and got fitter not when I researched ways to enhance attention, memory, focus and mood not when I passed my medical, after watching my diet not when I passed the beginners written test not when on my way to a trucking interview, I picked up a hitchhiking trucker (I must have a sixth sense), who invited me to the funeral of a bus driver, where I felt I met my new family, serendipitously meeting the rep of Waste Management, whom coincidentally I had interviewed yesterday, after chatting with their driver with whom I got along famously, meeting him filling up at the card lock where I get my 0% ethanol midgrade, which I went to following the advice of a trucker friend. Do you see a pattern here? not when I paid the trucking course deposit not when I got new winter tires, to go over the Coquihalla Mountain not when I practiced self-dicipline, self-defence, self-respect, consistent habits, to-do lists, effective social skills and tied up loose ends

not even when I got lucky...

In the end, it was the challenge to find a cheap motel which cracked me.

I was having difficulty deciding which one. Ultimately, I was putting off confronting that I will be living in a new home, in a new life, and a different, more better attitude. I will be attending a month long course in another town, and working in a new State..of mind.

My beginning happened when I rented a bachelor, and my old self died. I made the commitment when my money talked and my bull**** walked.

Now, I feel different; vaporous–yet secure, like I am finally almost there. As I move toward my goal, I can offer my honest testimony as a student. There are steps I would like to share; practical tips, insights. I start school in 15 days.

I have to prepare a box of stuff for the journey across the mountain. As I listen in the predawn light of a new spring to the trucks roarrrrring by as they shake my cottage on the highway as they have always done, for 18 years. But now, there is a different, living, urgent sound to them calling me to run with them, a call to fun, and a future. Or am I that dense that it took me this long to finally hear them calling my name?


Upcoming: making a decision: what kind of trucking job?


Operating While Intoxicated


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.

mikemotorbike's Comment
member avatar

Thurs Feb 22, 2018

So when does a story begin? It begins with feeling, and intent. Life lessons come from all sides. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

“As the crow flies”

Google maps says it’s 4 hrs from Vancouver to Trucking School. The scenic route along the Fraser Canyon is 5 hrs. Great! (For a crow!)

Having the luxury of a few days planning, I was able to intuit the best day for traveling. Sunny, warm(BC Coast in feb), clear. So I came down from the land of bears and cougars and stayed over in Vancouver with a friend, and after a Truckers breakfast at Bonns off Braodway ($2.95), headed out at noon. Fueled at Hope. Enjoyed the scenery on clear roads.

I’m from the “Wet Coast’, and my experience with driving consists of 20 km between Gibsons (Beachcombers - ‘Mollys Reach”) and Sechelt.

As the beautiful sunset fell, I sailed along ancient lands with the crows flying in the sky, The Cache Creek turnoff to Kamloops passed by, as I was transfixed flowing on the hypnotic flashing yellow lights of a municipal vehicle.…going in the wrong direction!

WTF? It’s 6:00 PM,….I shouldn’t I be there now? Call my new landlord, hold dinner, google maps says I’ll be an hour later, and I’m already 2 hours late! Under a deceivingly bright sky, oblivious to the looming threat, I returned to the turnoff. The sky suddenly dims to eternal blackness as the sun disappears behind the mountains. As the snow begins to writhe like serpents under the headlights, the lines and the un-barriered cliff edges become indistinguishable. A unique effect!

“Does anyone know, where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours? The Sailors all say she’d have made Whitefish Bay, if she’d put 15 more miles, behind her!”- Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, by Gordon Lightfoot

Hair-raising. After 7 hours of driving, it is dangerously hypnotic. To keep my brain awake, I discovered I could wag my head back and forth to maintain focus. Eventually, I just gave up following the other cars. I mean, really, 110km at night in whiteout conditions, on a curving road along a cliff, with invisible lines? I’m glad I didn’t take my dog; I wouldn’t risk his life!

So I pulled over, had a stretch, a breath of cold air and ****ed like a racehorse, and felt alive again. It is touch and go for a wet coast dude not used to snow. I grew up in The East Coast, but I’m rusty.

And not as foolhardy at 54 as I was at 24. I would take off at night in a snowstorm driving my RX7 wearing nothing but a T shirt and my summer rubbers, to go to a nightclub in Moncton. Land in ditches and get out out somehow. Foolish, or savvy? Safe RX! :-p. Balls to the wall.: wear winter rubbers.

I arrived, frazzled but safe, 8 hours later, ready for a beer.

Lessons for traveling: -leave earlier but well rested, and take your time. Don’t drive at night in the snow if you can help it

Study the map before, write out the directions

keep them handy on the passenger seat if you don’t have a sexy navigator. Use google street view to see your turnoffs, exits etc.

Don’t get hypnotized by flashing lights. Give your head a shake!

Don’t wear summer rubbers on a winter date

Don’t even get me started on google maps

Next: Drop your ****s and pull up your Socks, a bunkhouse expression


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Operating While Intoxicated

mikemotorbike's Comment
member avatar

Fri Feb 23, 2018

Drop your Sexy Navigator and pull up your Socks

a few more snow lessons from yesterday: -you cant stop safely on the highway, there's no shoulder anyway -and if you did, leave plenty of space for others to pass safety. Remember, they can’t stop either ! Here but for the grace of God and Angel Truckers. Thank you Sirs! I owe you more than one! I pledge to pay it forward.

After driving blind in Canadian Winter Conditions, I arrived finally at my ‘safe house’. It was lonely being silent and I just wanted to be driving, anything but be in a safe, quiet, clean, newly renovated and furnished, warm suburban suite. Paradoxical reaction.

The next morning, in the midst of selling my first-born son to pay for the course, when my Instructor called! My training begins on Monday. He invited me to witness a pre-trip inspection done by other students. I had 45 minutes to get to the lot, 10 minutes away.

An hour and a half later, after arguing with conflicting maps, I roll in like The Hero. The Teachers were outside, Warriors before battle braving the blustery squalls– and class was cancelled.

I finally get to meet one of my instructors. He suggested joining another pre-trip in progress, giving me directions going in a circle in the industrial area to enter the rear of the compound. I amuse myself with the thought that this may be a test for a newbie, similar to, “get blinker fluid”, to assess my map-reading preparedness or observational comprehension. I suppose determining from my expression I had not committed the map to heart, he blessedly offered to escort me. But the students were not there either. Another lesson: show up 15 minutes early, do not keep instructors or others waiting. I didn’t look at the clock or call. I also didn’t anticipate my arrival time taking in the conditions.

I decide to make use of the storm to battle my nemesis, winter driving. Confident drivers on the Trans Canada overtake me on the compacted slippery snow, confident through necessity, skill or perhaps impatience. Am I upsetting the traffic flow? demanded with my slower driving.

On arriving at the safe house, my Snow Plow Operator Landlord offers the suggestion that vehicles may improve traction by rolling to a stop on the compacted snow on either side of the black road surface tracks. Signs regulate separate speed limits for trucks: 80 KPH; and regular vehicular traffic: 100KPH. I’m comfortable at trucking speeds.

There are unexpected new challenges for a coastal bear out of his comfy lair: unknown streets, conflicting and GPS maps, learning to read highway signs, fancy road building technology, visual impairment due to blowing snow, navigating cliffs, invisible ice, different cultural personality style, and you don’t know anybody or where anything is.

I didn’t know where North was. In older cities, the streets align N,E,S,W. Here in the Rockies, the road follows topographical features. You have to study the land to reveal the direction. Trans Canada East may actually seem seem to be north going slightly east. I understand why truckers prefer paper maps.

Calling St. Christopher, Angel of Travelers. But there may be no assistance rendered: because the project of learning Trucking is about taking the reigns, um… steering wheel, of life. Can you do it on your own… Can you be trusted with the responsibility of a truck and a valuable load with nothing but the wide open sky and whats left of your wits? Figure it out on your own. Can you do a somersault, landing on your feet. Bull**** walks and money talks, with your balls to the wall in the glory hole which is occasionally life.

I have read other students’ first day accounts. For me it’s true that my first day is humiliating. I make every mistake in the book, some things even a gentleman doesn’t admit. Some sort of cosmic humility at work balancing my character. Something inside me is provoking my arrogance to acknowldge itself out loud and proud to be confronted. Dry sense of humour, ok; a positive attitude, good; humility, priceless.

This is not about my ego. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege. We are tasked with the responsibility of protecting ourselves, others, and to keep the vehicles and cargo safe. (It’s in the BC Commercial Driving Guide.)

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Operating While Intoxicated

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