Profile For Mountain Matt

Mountain Matt's Info

  • Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:
    Mountain Matt On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    10 months ago

Mountain Matt's Bio

I've had my Class B CDL for about 12 years now. I was a librarian for 16 years, driving a bookmobile and supervising 4 other bookmobile drivers and operations. In December 2021, I left that job and moved to South Dakota (where there are no state taxes!). I plan to live in the truck full-time after finishing company-sponsored training, which I'm scheduled to start 12/13/21. Looking forward to my next adventure, and appreciative of the great community and advice here on Trucking Truth!

matt2020@hey.com

Mountain Matt's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  3 days, 4 hours ago

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Tip for Surviving the Training Miles

Yeah, it's interesting, because our relationship is not combative either, and if this experience had just lasted a couple of weeks, I would've considered it pretty positive too. It's just the little things that add up the longer we're out here. I could ignore all this when it felt like we were getting the miles in, as I'm out here to do a job. But these days, we're not running many miles, so the frustration adds up. My trainer just turned down a 3,000 mile load for an 1,100 mile load with 5 days on it. We talk, but we don't have long, enjoyable discussions.

Posted:  5 days, 19 hours ago

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Tip for Surviving the Training Miles

That's encouraging to hear, Andrey! Like I said, the driving part is fine and actually quite enjoyable. It's the constant shared space. Like you, I break it down into chunks: Every 300 miles is 1% of my needed total!

Posted:  5 days, 19 hours ago

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Hello all! Newbie from New Jersey :)

Sorry for your losses, Terry, and welcome to the TT community! You've got a great attitude and are doing your research, so I'm sure you'll find the right path at the right time.

Posted:  5 days, 20 hours ago

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Tip for Surviving the Training Miles

I like that approach, Bruce... I think you're on to something! A jail cell with a great view...

Think of it in terms of being sentenced to 8 weeks of jail time., that would be like a breeze Just do it and soon it will be in your rear view window

Posted:  5 days, 23 hours ago

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Tip for Surviving the Training Miles

All good points and articles. Like I mentioned, I'm staying humble and open, learning what I can and being a good guest (I'm a very nice guy, haha!). I certainly pull my weight in terms if cleaning up, paying for things, etc.

In many ways, I feel I would be better suited to a 2 week training program like Davy had or a 3 week program like it sounds like G-Town had. I've been with my trainer for 4 weeks already (2 before I got my CDL and 2 weeks since). At our current pace, we'll need another 6-7 weeks to get my miles done.

As Kearsey said in her article, I often emotionally distance myself from the trainer and situation...this is what I meant by creating my own mental space with music and audiobooks. At bottom, I'm deeply comfortable with myself and prefer solitude, so 8-9 weeks with anyone would be a challenge, even aside from needing to learn trucking. I find the learning and the job of driving to be the most enjoyable and easiest aspect of all this (not that it's easy!).

Per Kevin's comments, we discuss society and politics, but I'm pretty open-minded and not dogmatic, so I don't let any of our differences of opinion be an issue. I'm here to learn and qualify for a job, not change anyone's mind about politics.

Anyway, I think this is an important discussion, especially with some of the big companies requiring these long trainings.

Posted:  6 days, 18 hours ago

View Topic:

Tip for Surviving the Training Miles

Hi everyone,

I'm about 7,000 miles done with my 30,000 miles in the training program here at Wilson Logistics. While I'm learning all I can (and taking the much-needed backing opportunities when I can get them), I've found that the most challenging aspect--by far--is the living and working in such close quarters with someone who until recently was a complete stranger... and the fact that is goes on for 7 or 8 weeks! I guess I'm a pretty solitary person, so living in closer quarters all the time than I've ever lived with anyone before--including any of my spouses, haha!--is pretty trying and a grind. And my trainer is a pretty decent dude, so I know it could be much, much worse.

To that end, I thought it might be helpful to start a thread where we pool tips on getting through this phase of things. It would be interesting to hear from other trainees and those who have gone through it already.

I'll start with a few things I'm learning:

1) It's helpful to cultivate my own "mental space." Whenever I can, I listen to music of my choosing, audiobooks, etc., just in order to create a space that feels like "me" (cuz the truck is clearly my trainer's!). I've also found it helpful to make a real effort to keep in touch with friends and family back home, more than I have ever done before.

2) I'm trying to get a routine going during the team driving. Wake up, eat something, listen to an audiobook or something, fiddle around on my phone, before starting my driving shift. I love my driving shifts, but after I finish sleeping, I feel a bit trapped in the sleeper berth, so I'm seeking to counteract that with routine.

3) Lastly, I seek to stay humble and open. I set aside the fact that I ran the show at my old job... now I'm the guest, the rookie, the trainee. I listen to what I'm told, seek to learn even a nuance even if it's something he's told me before, and I seek to show consideration and respect (cleaning up, taking out the trash, etc.).

What are your experiences and tips?

Posted:  6 days, 18 hours ago

View Topic:

Wilson Logistics training for a new driver

Cool to see the efforts you're putting into cooking in the truck! Once I'm on my own and have the space, I hope to do the same.

And thanks for the "trainer hand-off"! Now I get to live in your shadow, haha!

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

I meant to add that, even though the appointment times can be weird, I'm enjoying driving reefer. There's some extra work involved (fueling that reefer too when it's cold is not always welcome), but I find it oddly satisfying to be delivering food. So far, we've delivered onions, meat, pre-packaged dinners, orange juice, etc. In the future I may want to change it up, but I'm digging this now.

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

For some reason, I can't upload photos now, so I'll try later...

Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Thanks, Bill and Anne! I appreciate the encouragement.

Well, I'm grinding it out... We've got a load of orange juice from Florida to Utah. After this load, I'll have about 7,000 of my 30,000 required training miles done. We're mostly team driving, which means I take the evening/night shift. I'm loving the job and the lifestyle...the most challenging part is living in a closet with someone else and not being in charge of my own life and schedule to any degree. Still, I'm learning all I can and treating the other aspects as time to learn on my own. I feel like I'll learn a lot once I'm on my own, but I'm trying to get as much as I can out of this phase. My trainer doesn't really give me a lot of space to "figure it out" when he's awake, so I'm just learning from his system and actions, good and bad.

We stayed in Orlando for a few days so he could golf, so I took the opportunity to Uber to a nearby nature preserve. I hiked 6 miles through a cypress swamp and even saw a river otter! No alligators, sadly. But hiking in different places is one of my passions, so I was thrilled! I'll post a pic or two below.

Posted:  1 week, 3 days ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Congrats on finishing your miles, and good luck with solo week!

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Well, I haven't updated this in a while because things have been *busy*! After getting my CDL and having a few days to pick that up in South Dakota and do some hiking, we hit the road last Saturday (1/8/22). We got a load from Missouri up to Washington state, and then another to just outside Atlanta. I've been putting in the miles and getting experience dealing with various situations. Sleeping in a moving truck while the other person drives takes some getting used to, but experience and exhaustion help with that, lol. Another reason why I wouldn't want to do team driving in the future.

But I'm loving the experience and the travel. I've been to 20 states so far and came across four time zones in 2 days. Wyoming is definitely "exciting" in winter.

Now that I have my CDL and am officially a Wilson employee, I just got my first paycheck. Feels good (and necessary!) to be bringing in income again. They also reimbursed me for my gas in driving to training and then when I drove back up to South Dakota and back to Missouri (I drove my own car).

From here, we keep rolling until I've gotten in 30,000 miles. We're up to 4,200 already. We took a day off here near Atlanta. My trainer went golfing while I got a shower, did some laundry, paid bills, and generally just relaxed.

If people have questions about Wilson's program, please let me know. Otherwise, I'll just drop a little update in this diary from time-to-time.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Yes, exactly: stopping to enjoy things along the way. This is as much about the lifestyle as anything for me. I'm grateful to be out seeing things instead of just staring at my same computer screen every day.

Thanks, TwoSides and Anne! I plan on doing some hiking tomorrow (it'll be a balmy 35 degrees!), so I'll look for Brett ;-). Anne, I'm happy to give you my magical binder if ever I see you... or I could mail it.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Thanks, everyone. I successfully picked up my CDL in South Dakota and bugged out before the really cold weather hit. Then I found out the truck would be in the shop an extra day (oil change, new tires, etc.), so I popped down to Branson for the evening. The Ozarks are gorgeous in the winter sunset with a dusting of snow!

Posted:  3 weeks, 2 days ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

So... I passed my CDL test today!!

We were routed back to Springfield on Sunday (Jan. 2). I spent Monday at Wilson practicing out on the pad. And then I had my test this morning at 10am. I needed to go through the entire pre-trip inspection (in-cab, engine, drivers door/fuel area, coupling, trailer, light test) and had the straight back, drivers side offset, and drivers side parallel for my maneuvers (I was kind of glad not to draw the 90 degree back!). The examiner said I did well, and I so pleased to be through this hurdle!

I'm on my way up to South Dakota to go to the DMV to get my CDL. I'm currently stopped for the night in Omaha. The plan is for me to be back by Thursday night so that my trainer and I can get on the road Friday morning and start working on those 30,000 miles.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Hey Anne and Kandyman,

Things are going well! We had a load from Michigan to NY, and now a quick load from CT to near Buffalo, NY. So, busy, busy! Then they'll route us back to Springfield, and I'm scheduled to test for my CDL on Tuesday, Jan 4.

Today was one of those days...long, I had a headache, and food opportunities didn't seem to happen well. Just one of those days where you keep pushing on... I'm hoping to see some sun soon too, as it's been so dreary!

But I'm glad to be progressing and glad I'll stay with this trainer for my 30k miles, as that gives me more time to learn from him, and we work well together, I think.

One interesting aside: Wilson has you call your fleet manager once a week just to check in and make sure everything is going well. I appreciate the support, and it's nice to begin developing rapport with the person who will be my fleet manager once I'm solo.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Thanks, Anne and TwoSides...that's all really good advice.

I've driven over 2,000 miles so far, in rain, dark, and over hills. I'm taking it a day at a time. I haven't been a "beginner" at something in a while, so it's a good experience to be learning so much.

I got word today that my CDL test should be a week from today. Part of me is actually looking forward to it! Lots to review between now and then, though...

Posted:  1 month ago

View Topic:

Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Anne (and Tom) and TwoSides,

Thank you both for your words and input! I just wondered how quickly he expected me to learn stuff. If it's an instruction ("turn off the fuel at the pump, not the handle"), I implement it right away. But backing being a skill means that it takes me a while to get the "feel" for it. I do need to experiment and learn to correct my errors. I'm glad that he's patient and tries to coach me thru things... It makes me want to get it all the sooner.

But yes, so glad to have a good trainer! I'm soaking it all up, jumping in and taking the initiative to learn all I can. I've seen my driving improve a lot, to where he seems to trust me enough to just be on his phone, lol, which is good with me. And I'm pretty sure I could couple, uncouple, and slide the tandems on my own at this point. Every day I learn more, and I love the adventure of not knowing where we're going next!

Posted:  1 month ago

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Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

Well, I've driven about 1,800 miles through 8 states so far. I'm enjoying the driving and learning a lot! My trainer has been patient and helpful, which makes this "living in a closet with a stranger" thing easier. We managed to get a good Christmas dinner at a truck stop, so that was a bonus. We're in Michigan now but have a run down to Atlanta next.

I struggle with the backing maneuvers--even when I'm bobtailing and getting under a new trailer. It takes me a few times to get in the right spot left to right and lined up ar the correct angle. My trainer has been patient, but I'm wondering if I'm progressing fast enough? I guess it has only been a week out here, but sometimes I feel frustrated with myself.

Posted:  1 month ago

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GYCDL With Roehl Starts Monday

Best of luck, and sorry for your loss! I have found training to be exciting and challenging...just stick to your commitment, and you'll do great!

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