Profile For Jim W.

Jim W.'s Info

  • Location:
    Toms River, NJ

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 5 months ago

Jim W.'s Bio

Hi all!

I'm a middle aged guy from NJ setting off on a new path in life.

I spent the bulk of my career in an oil refinery and am formerly a volunteer firefighter / EMT. I have a bit of experience driving Class B between the FD and working for public works, but have always wanted to learn to drive the big rigs.

So my boys are grown and I'm separated, so I figured there's nothing holding me back and it's time to get on the road.

Jim W.'s Photo Gallery

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Posted:  3 years ago

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What Company Sponsored CDL School has a Truck Simulator to train on?

Used them for a couple of training scenarios at Roehl. They were a little glitchy and caused motion sickness in a couple students, me being one of them.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Best Trucking company to get your CDL

Unfortunately when you’re just starting out you don’t know enough to really make an informed decision. I looked at a bunch of companies and they each structure their training differently enough that it’s difficult to make hard comparisons. I actually made a spreadsheet to compare all the differences. I chose the one or two points that were most important to me, but in the end it was a gut decision. I went with Roehl and started my training in March. So far they have been living up to my expectations. I’ll see where I’m at when I hit my contract obligation of 120K miles. By that time I should have enough experience to decide if I want to go elsewhere, but I’ve talked to a few drivers who have been with the company for years and they’re still happy.

When it comes right down to it as a new driver, the choice is probably six of one, half dozen of the other. But as stated elsewhere on these forums, do your best to stick with the company for at least a year.

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Company driving school wants me to hitchhike to get to class

I went through the Roehl program in March. Company paid for the hotel. Breakfast was on the house in the hotel cafe and lunch was provided on weekdays. Transportation from home as well as between the hotel and the terminal for class was the student’s responsibility. I did not bring my car (I wish I had), but getting a ride from another student wasn’t a problem. There are some companies that are more liberal with what they provide, but I chose according to what company I thought was the best fit.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Getting ready to go Roehl

Seems I fell off the face of the earth for a bit there, but I'm still rolling along.

I had a great time with my trainer. Luckily we got along well and I learned a bunch from him. He is an O/O based out of the Atlanta area. Spent the bulk of our time in Georgia, the Carolinas and Florida. Two people who are strangers in this small space can definitely be stressful but we did pretty good. Since he liked to be home whenever possible I got many nights with the truck to myself. Got plenty of practice backing at truck stops and docks, and he was able to balance the real world training with the book training. All in all a great experience. I spent three weeks with him and tested out in Conley Ga. Unfortunately that was the week of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown so I was stuck in the terminal for an extra day and a half. Finally got home for a few days and then I headed to the Gary Indiana terminal to pick up my truck. Did one more check out ride and they set me loose.

First solo load was from the terminal to just north of Detroit. Ride up there went fine, dropped my trailer off, and lo and behold, no empties there. Not unheard of but of course on my first time out. Took three phone calls to convince weekend FM there was no trailer there. That's when they started trying to figure out what to do with me. I had looked at the parking situation, and any dedicated spots were quite a ways away. Couldn't overnight at the consignee. Watching my clock dwindle as I checked in every so often. With 45 minutes on my clock they told me to bobtail to a safe parking location for the night. Ran out of time still 20 miles from the rest stop I was trying to make. Ended up in a mall parking lot for the night and luckily no one hassled me. Chalked it up to a learning experience. The rest of the next couple weeks was fairly mundane, but still learned a lot on my own.

Until I went home the first time.

My son talked to the manager of a local flooring store and got a handshake agreement so I could park there for the weekend. Not an ongoing thing but I wanted to be close to the house so I could set the truck up and such. So my last load was a live unload about 20 minutes away and all was going well. While I was being unloaded, FM calls and says safety just got notification that my license has been suspended. Several calls back and forth to safety and no one has a solution to the fact that I can't move the truck so we now own the dock. Eventually gave up and oh so carefully moved the truck and parked on the street in front of the building. Luckily it was legal for me to park there.

Finally got an answer from DMV the next day. Turns out a truck I sold back in January wasn't re-registered and my insurance company told DMV I no longer had insurance on the vehicle (because why would I). Took nearly a week of round robin phone call tag with DMV to finally get it straightened out.

Got back on the road finally and it has been going good since. After a couple weeks on my own I went back to a terminal for my close quarters training and test. After that they transferred my to my permanent FM. All in all everything has been going well. Small glitches here and there but nothing that isn't typical or part of the learning process. Still dialing in clock management and parking, but again, as long as today I know a little more than yesterday, I'm fine.

So since I'm getting better a catching my breath I'm gonna be able to keep up on the forums a little better.

See you all on the road. Roehl truck 6301

Posted:  3 years ago

View Topic:

Roehl Transport GYCDL Training - Phase 1 start date: 2021-07-06

Don't forget to check out the zoo. It's only a few minutes walk from the hotel and its not bad. Also the Mexican restaurant out by the Menards is way better than the one near the hotel. Good luck!

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Getting ready to go Roehl

Hello from Ohio!

So I had my appointment at DMV set for 4/20. Got an email on the morning of the 19th that my appointment was canceled. Checked online and the local office was closed down due to Covid again. Luckily I was able to get an appointment later in the morning about an hour away. Drove down there and I was in and out in 20 minutes. Got home and uploaded my info.

The only trainer they had available was an owner operator in a manual, so not having the restriction is already working out. They put me in a plane from Atlantic City to Atlanta two days later where I met my trainer in the afternoon on Thursday. Friday morning at 3:30 we were on the road to Ohio. Dropped off the trailer, found an empty, then spent the night at Loves.

Left this morning for a live load 2 miles away. Appointment was 7am but the woman in the shack says it probably won’t be ready til at least 6 pm. So back to the Loves it is and here I sit, waiting.

Good time to practice trip planning.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Getting ready to go Roehl

Back in New Jersey finally. Got me a good night's sleep after a day and a half on the bus. Put my clothes in the wash, organized my paperwork, and headed out to the DMV. Turns out they changed the rules while I was in Wisconsin. Now you need an appointment for everything. So made an appointment for the 20th (first available), and put in a call to my FM. Still waiting for a callback.

The other students from my class are getting on their trainer's trucks towards the end of this week, but they also got home a couple of days ahead of me and I think they were all able to get walk-up appointments at the DMV.

Looking back it was a rough few weeks but I'm glad I went through the standard transmission training. The rumor is that by July the training program will be all automatic transmissions.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Getting ready to go Roehl

Well I got through the training and took my test this morning. After the driving portion, when we were back at the terminal, the tester asked how I felt the drive went. Told him I felt like it went like crap because I can do better. He said I shouldn’t beat myself up because I passed. We talked over the couple of issues I had (mainly cleaner shifts and consistent head checks) and he assured me it was nothing a bit of experience won’t cure. For as anxiety ridden as I was about testing, the examiner was great about putting my mind at ease.

So now I’m on the bus back to New Jersey to visit the DMV and wait for the OTR trainer’s call.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

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Getting ready to go Roehl

So here we are at the end of week two and things are coming together.

For the most part all of the classwork is done and we've been spending all day on the trucks. Pre-trips, coupling practice, brake checks, and backing take up our mornings and road practice takes up our afternoons. The planets aligned this week I had the truck to myself for a whole day. Feeling more confident each day and able to drive around town without any major corrections from the trainer. Passed my mock CDL exam yesterday (without the backing) so yay for me. I have been doing pretty good with the offset back, and we spent some time this afternoon practicing our 90s and that's getting dialed in as well.

We also spent some time with the atlas trying to get from Marshfield to San Antonio.

While I am amazed at how far my skills have progressed in just two weeks, I look forward to building my skills over the next weeks, months, and years.

Don't forget to breathe.

Posted:  3 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Local driving: new trends

That's great to hear Andrey. Positive vibes!

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