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Randy's Truck Driving School - Days 20 And 21

by rbradyjohnsen

trucking4.jpg

Going through CDL training out on the road can be very stressful at times, but can also feel like a vacation when things are going well.

I've been thinking again that I am just a little jealous because, as more of Randy's adventure is about to begin, I'm stuck here in boring-boring-land taking care of all the stressful details of our life. Blah. But, unlike him, I could just sit here watching movies and painting my toenails and eating ice cream all day...but I'm not.

And I was thinking how happy I am for Randy. I grew up in a family with some money and I already had a chance to do lots of traveling. Randy did not. He was SO excited the last time I talked to him because after a change of plans, he and his trainer are now going to Mira Loma, CA first. And they get to drive past Las Vegas at night, which sounds really cool! He knows he's going to be working really hard and be busy learning new things, but there is a "vacation" element to this, for him.

- Randy met his trainer and his trainer's wife today. Wow, he and his wife met at the CRE school! And then he was her trainer, but it doesn't sound like she drives much now. Randy said more people are telling him what a great trainer he got and have asked him how he got so lucky...wow, I hope that's true. However, it does seem as though the "push to lease" is on.

- Randy and one of his roommates were discussing possibly teaming when their training is over. I hope he will be picky and not choose someone who is fun to be around but a "spazzy" driver. I don't get how that works...or if you really have a choice?

- More guys are being "kicked out" (what else is new?), and many more are returning after their first days with their trainers. It sounds like many of them are choosing to sleep in the trucks in the parking lot, because they're sick of the school. That makes me think I wish I could jump on a plane and book a hotel to spend one of these weekends with Randy. But that's too impulsive, I have to remain sensible...I can't be dragging myself through airports, spending a bunch of money, and distracting him during his training. But that doesn't mean I can't want to. ;) Maybe common sense does suck the fun out of life sometimes.

One more thing...I wanted to be irritated last night when he cut our conversation short to go watch "Smokey and the Bandit" for like the trillionth time. But I was grinning instead, because that's just like something he would do at home and I'm so glad he's having a little relaxation before more craziness begins again.

Trucking School Day 21

I spoke to Randy very briefly (twice), early in the afternoon when he was at his trainer's house getting ready to go (they got started late). The chihuahua's are actually dachshunds, they cleaned up the chains and Randy learned how to use them, and the trainer's wife was trying to get on TruckingTruth but was having trouble with her mouse. Mrs. Trainer (sorry, I can't spell your last name and I don't know your first name), if you see this, please tell your husband to be careful with mine...I would like him back alive please, in one piece and in functional condition, if possible. Thank you!

He said he'd call me right back, but I know how this goes. Then, all day and all night...nothing. Which is what I figured would happen, so I just kept busy. They didn't go to California after all, because somebody screwed something up and sent a load to Tennessee that was supposed to go to CA or something?

He finally did call me at around 1:30 am when they stopped at Cheyenne, Wyoming (btw - I love it there, my family's been there a lot). Randy had just driven 500 miles, including up and down some mountains. He said he missed a couple of gears, but mostly did great and his trainer said so too. But he said he was a nervous wreck (which his trainer told him was normal), he sounded exhausted and we only talked for maybe a minute. I am foreseeing a new problem...he is not going to want to talk without privacy, and that's going to be hard to come by. We'll see what happens.

Things are going to be different yet again. I have a whole new set of concerns and things to worry about, but I'm not wasting much energy on that...I'm back to being able to "go with the flow". And I'm now "On-Call" 24/7 for encouragement and support. That's o.k., I wasn't sleeping much anyway. ;) I wanted to call him today because I had a bunch of exciting stuff to tell him, but I promised that I would answer his calls no matter what and that I will only call him in an emergency. Big sigh...this is kind of like being divorced or widowed or something. ;)

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.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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.

by Brett Aquila

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Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 2

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Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 3

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Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 5

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Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 6

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