Comments By Just 'G'

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  • Just 'G'
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Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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No loads for you….

I wasn't complaining or saying that was improper. I'm sure they know what they're doing personell-wise.

It was just a farily stark realization for me of exactly where the bar is and what expectations I'll need to meet to fit into the system. They've already pointed out the timeliness/recordkeeping/myriad other benefits of the electronic communications.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Week 2, Day 5, CDL test penciled in for end of next week

Today wound up being all range time. There was a big snowstorm bearing down and people decided we needed a chance to work on the alley dock. So we basically spent today alternating between learning alley docks and offset backing practice.

It was still fairly tricky because we had leftover snow, on a gravel lot, at about freezing, and getting repeatedly ground on by semis. There were some definite slick spots by the time we were done. They even went and found us a loaded trailer to practice the alley dock with, so we could have enough weight for decent traction.

I've got the offset pretty much down. At the worst I'm doing 1 GOAL and 1 pullup and I'm allowed 2 of each. The alley dock is still tricky, but it's coming along. Learning to back around corners for the offset is has been really helpful.

At this point I think I can pass the pretrip. I'm confident I'll have backing sorted out by test day. The road test still has me worried though.

The weather's supposed to be in the 40s next week. Hopefully some of the snow melts off and we don't have to worry about any more.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Thanks, Anne for the continued good vibes.

My problem isn't understanding the "button hook" per se. It's knowing exactly where to put it on each corner. Some you have to really put it out there, and some you don't have to put it out much at all. Some corners even have nice wide aprons to pull the trailer through so you don't even need it (and if you cross the centerline on those, that's points off), but if you're making a left through that corner you do need to button hook through the apron to keep the trailer on your side. Plus, I'm trying to learn all this with the edges of the road covered in snow so you can't even see what's there and where it is.

Bottom line: Trucks and cities do not mix well.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Week 2 Day 4

Since we are now down to 3 students, the logisics just got a little easier. One of the trainers has whatever official certification he needs to take 3 students in a truck, so he's taking us on drives around town in the morning and we're heading back to the range for backing/pretrips in the afternoon. That's all in between dodging snowstorms. I think it's supposed to be in the 40s next week. Of course, next Thursday/Friday is when we're supposed to test.

Today's road course went OK, but that is officially the part of the CDL test I'm most worried about. Trying to figure out how to handle each corner is nuts, and most of these corners I've been around half a dozen times already. I'm already terrifed of what it'll be like when I've got to do it by myself the first time.

Today we had mock tests. I missed a couple things on the pretrip, but I was OK overall. Definitely something to practice over the weekend. We still haven't tried the alley dock yet, just seen it once. So for backing we just did straight line and offset. Everybody pretty much sailed through the straight line. The offset was a little more entertaining.

The way we've been practicing the offset is to start completely behind the "box", then pull forward and right into the next lane and drive forward to the end of the range to set up. From there we do the actual offset back to the left into the "box" then continue straight back to the starting point.

The first guy pulled forward into the setup lane, stopped at the end of the cones, and honked his horn. We all got a good chuckle out of that. Then he actually pulled forward and did the backing part.

I was next. I was lucky enough to have the instructor tell me to "honk my bumper" when I got in position. I figured there was nothing I could do at that point to make it any more of a farce and relaxed. I came in a little wide on my initial setup, but stayed off the cones and was able to pull up and fishtail it in. I only used 1 GOAL. I'll call it a win for now.

The last guy was running up against sundown and I think that got to him a bit. He got pretty out of sorts, but got through it eventually. I think he took some points on the way though.

We're supposed to get more snow tomorrow, but hopefully it holds off long enought for us to get started on the alley dock.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Addendum to Day 3

We had our first elimination yesterday afternoon. Since he was my roommate and was still staying the night, I felt it was indelicate to post about while he was still here.

He had been struggling for most of the class. He's an immigrant and English is not his first language. I think that certainly contributed to his struggles. Without wanting to speak ill of anyone, I do think he could have done better if he had concentrated more on learning the curriculum as presented.

Bottom line, Veriha has their curriculum and they've had success with it. If you come here you need to be prepared to follow it and keep up. If you don't, you will go home.

I'd also like to mention that they usually try to drop people early in the day, so they can go back to the hotel pack their stuff and leave without an awkward overnight stay. In this case they guy had flown up from Georgia and had been getting around by hitching rides with other students. That's not how this normally works.

Marinette is a small town in Wisconsin. There is no public transportation. Nothing is in walking distance. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere and it's 2 miles from the school. You need your own car. Bring it.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Week 2, Day 3

A little bit of pretrip review in the morning, and then we got on the road for more driving around town. However, since today we got it in in the morning there was less traffic. Each student got 90 minutes behind the wheel, although if they had the 8-10 students they planned on that would probably be less. I will say that an hour and a half of city driving in a semi is a lot. I did feel a lot better about today's drive than yesterday's, but that may just have been the instructor.

We have 2 driving instructors that we've been alternating with. The one I was with today and last week is more laid back and mostly lets you get on with operating the truck, unless he needs to say something. The one I had yesterday is much chattier, which does sprinkle in some good nuggets of wisdom that might not come up otherwise, but it does mean you have to split your concentration between him and the road, which is tough for a rookie. That said, it's probably valuable prep for the real deal.

After lunch we rebuilt the range after the last snow/plow cycle, and tried some more backing. Straight line went smoothly, but then I at least, made a complete hash of an offset. Just before sundown (~1600) they demonstrated the alley back, but we didn't get to try it ourselves.

Tomorrow we get to try mock CDL tests, at least for the pretrip and possibly straight and offset backing.

Posted:  6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Week 2, Day 2

Another curvball from the weather. Today started out unbearably frigid and warmed up to unconfortably cold (1 F to 17 F if you want numbers). So we wound up staying inside most of the day. In the morning we discussed the specific requirements for the CDL test and did a little more classroom work.

After lunch we went out on the road again, this time with traffic and signs and lights and other complications. That was pretty intense. It's the first time in this whole process I've felt overwhelmed and wondered if I was actually up to this, but I didn't hit anything and we got through it. I do kinda wish I could have had a few runs on a "forwarding range" in addition to the "backing range".

Posted:  6 months, 4 weeks ago

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No loads for you….

On the "dispatchers are busy" idea, it came up in class today that dispatchers at Veriha are each handling ~40 drivers. If you do the math, that means I'd get at best 10 minutes a day of their time, and 5 would proabably be better. If I take up any more than that without a damn good reason, then I'm the selfish whiny *******.

Posted:  6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Week 2, Day 1

We had quite a bit of snow come through Sunday, so today wound up being a classroom day while they plowed and reset the range.

Mostly it covered a lot of the basics we had to study for the CLP test. Good driving techniques, how to handle adverse conditions, different trailer/load types, load securement, etc. They've also got an online learning site that has a lot of the same lessons available for review at any time, and apparently a series of YouTube videos called "The Veriha Vault of Knowledge". Even though a lot of this was review from the CLP it was still nice to have a chance to discuss and ask questions of someone who knows what they're talking about.

The biggest thing they stressed today was saftey. Whatever situation you find yourself in err on the side of safety. The best general rules for that are "Eyes up." and "Slow down." If you stay alert to what's going on around, and particularly ahead of you, and keep your speed sensible, you'll be in good shape to handle 99% of what you encounter.

Hoping to finally get to the alley back tomorrow.

Posted:  6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

G;

I adore your diary, as will future Veriha prospects. TT needs this, and I thank you, on behalf OF !! :)

Regarding the color of y'all's trucks . . . here's a tidbit: As a former 'Multimedia Major' .. that is GOLDENROD ...............it's not YELLOW, darn ya!

Best always,

~ Anne ~

You are all most certainly welcome. I have found TT to be an invaluable resource so far and figured this was the best way to say, "Thanks," for all the insights and good advice I've found here.

As for color terminology, I'm going to stand on my God given right as the posessor of a Y-chromosome to name all colors using one of the words: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, white, gray. Additional descriptors may be added to get things like "sky blue", "haze gray", "brick red", etc., but anything that doesn't include one of those 10 words is not a real color.

Posted:  6 months, 4 weeks ago

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Trailer hook is stolen

I think that's a just like everywhere thing.

There are a depressing number of people in the world who will not only take anything that's not bolted down, but who are not above carrying wrenches and undoing the bolts to get something.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Since I've got a little time on the weekend, I thought I'd give a little overview of Veriha itself and my class specifially.

Veriha seems to be a smaller company, they've got ~200 trucks and a few more drivers than that. I think they're pretty exclusively dry-van and while technically nationwide, seem to mostly stay north of the Ohio valley and east of I-35 with occasional forays into Georgia and Texas based on thier recruiting map. They've got OTR, regional and home daily options, but their highlight fleet is the Entertainment division, where you haul around sets and equipment for rock concerts. It doesn't really appeal to me, I think I'd rather be home more than that.

They seem to take safety pretty seriously. They run dash cams with a driver facing camera and have some sort of safe driving score that they get from that. It hasn't really come up for me yet. They also seem to be on the picky side for new drivers. They us hair testing for pre-employment screening. I think they're on the strict side on background checks and driving records, but I'm not really sure since mine were squeaky clean. They do make you finish all of that before you come to Marinette, so if anything does trip you up you'll know before you've committed to anything.

They also seem to have a pretty comprehensive approach to driver training. Their new driver training isn't just 3 weeks on the range and 4 with a trainer. It takes a full 2 years for them to consider me a "fully trained" driver. I think I'm even going to have some sort of "training supervisor", separate from my dispatcher, until the 2 years are up. I've already got hundreds of online training lessons covering everthing from pretrips, to trip-planning, to using the sat-com, to requesting maintnance, to accessing the company intranet, and I think there's even a couple on diet and exercise.

Training class

The current class is just 4 students. They had scheduled 10, but apparently a couple called off early and then 4 more backed out over Thanksgiving weekend. I didn't even consider it because I'd already given notice and made that Wednesday my last day.

They've had some people out and had to scramble a bit to cover all the bases, but the smaller class has kept that from impacting the schedule too much. It's also kept the range cycling quickly.

I'm not sure I'd recommend doing this in December (or other winter months), but since I've alread been through Navy boot camp, also in December, also on the shore of Lake Michigan, I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment. At least I had pretty good idea how to pack for this.

The training has been pretty intense, but thorough. Once we start getting on top of one thing they hand us the next, but it still hasn't felt rushed. They handed us the pretrip checklist and went over it once on Monday and are planning to have mock-tests next Wednesday, but I feel prepared and reasonably confident. They're also going to start being strict on the backing maneuvers, but I feel prepared for that too. I think they're striking a pretty good balance between not just throwing students to the wolves and "we've got places to go, here's the path, devil take the hindmost."

All in all, so far it seems like they've got a pretty good handle on how to run a training program. I am pretty pleased with how this is working out and where it looks like it's going. So far, Veriha seems like a good fit, even if I do still think the trucks are very yellow. Oh well, my 2012 Mazda 3 has helped me embrace the idea, "When I'm driving it, I don't have to look at it."

Posted:  7 months ago

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New driver. Incident on first load. Now fired.

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I went to all this trouble to point these things out for the newbies and wannabes in here. You can make mistakes in trucking and survive them, but you can't ignore what was taught you in training. You are the one at the wheel. When you run over a tree it is your fault. It is always best to admit your fault and show what you learned from it. If all you can produce as what you learned is that the company's training is lousy and insufficient, you will soon be looking for a job.

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As someone who has just been starting on all this I've been trawling the archives here a lot and I know I saw a thread about a rookie who completely rolled his truck 2 months in (it was litterally upsidedown in a ditch, there's pics) and managed to keep his job. I think he was even back on the road in under a week.

He did it by following Old School's script. He owned the mistake and took responsibility. I think the story ended with him emailing the safety director to ask if he could have a picture of the wreck to keep on his visor as a reminder.

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This is of EPIC proportions.

Persian Conversion

It will ALWAYS resonate with me. My friend, Marc Lee, had a similar event at his company ... and never did post the 'stuff' .. and it's not my place to do so.

Someday, I'll share my other half's story....gotta find the disks and data.

Best to y'all~ MAD respect. . . . straight up.

~ Anne ~

That's exactly the one I was thinking of. Thank you Anne for having the link handy.

Posted:  7 months ago

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New driver. Incident on first load. Now fired.

I went to all this trouble to point these things out for the newbies and wannabes in here. You can make mistakes in trucking and survive them, but you can't ignore what was taught you in training. You are the one at the wheel. When you run over a tree it is your fault. It is always best to admit your fault and show what you learned from it. If all you can produce as what you learned is that the company's training is lousy and insufficient, you will soon be looking for a job.

As someone who has just been starting on all this I've been trawling the archives here a lot and I know I saw a thread about a rookie who completely rolled his truck 2 months in (it was litterally upsidedown in a ditch, there's pics) and managed to keep his job. I think he was even back on the road in under a week.

He did it by following Old School's script. He owned the mistake and took responsibility. I think the story ended with him emailing the safety director to ask if he could have a picture of the wreck to keep on his visor as a reminder.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Day 5, end of Week 1, CDL test in 2 weeks

The morning was more pretrip and offset backing practice. Pretrip is getting pretty dialed in. I've also started to get a feel for backing around the corner to get in the box on the offset.

After lunch they were going to introduce the alley dock, but instead we went out a little industrial park and got some on road practice. Having the rear tires do their own thing takes some getting used to.

Overall things are going pretty well. Looking forward to week 2.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Weird noob question

There could be many it seems that way, but let's put this in perspective. Wisconsin has more than 60,000 trucking companies registered in the state with a population 5.8 million, Utah has more than 21,000 with a population of 3.2 million, and California with a population of 39.5 million has more than 135,000. New York State as more than 37000 trucking companies registered with a population of 19.5 million. Of the estimated 1.2 million trucking companies in the United States, 97% of them run less than 20 trucks.

Even by your numbers Chris, we get for trucking companies per 100k residents:
Wisconsin ~1000
Utah ~700
California ~350
New York ~200

Trucking companies seem to show a clear preference for Wisconsin. Since I don't know of any major shipping hubs in Wisconsin, I doubt it's about where the freight is. There must be something else.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Weird noob question

Why are so many trucking companies headquartered in WI?

Signed Someone doing their CDL training in Marinette in December

Posted:  7 months ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Cool, I have apparently been released from moderator purgatory. Yay!

And P.S. to the previous post: I've also updated my avatar to show one of our training trucks, if anyone wants to know what a Veriha truck looks like. From the front there's a big "V" over the cab.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Day 4

The temps made it up to the 40s today, so instead of snow and ice we had slush and mud. The backing course was getting well worn by the end of the day.

Today they introduced us to their simulator about mid morning. They used it to show us proper mirror set ups and give us a long clear straight-line backing run. We also got confirmation that the brakes will be much less twitchy when we're loaded. After that it was back to the range for offset backing practice.

I made a hash of the first couple I did, but the last one went clean. I'm not going to claim any style points, but I didn't need any pull-ups. I figure if I can do it once I'll be able to do it again ... eventually.

They say they want to get us started on alley backs tomorrow, and out on the road early next week with some practice tests starting next Wed.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Veriha rookie training Dec 2021

Day 3

Light snow flurries 1st thing in the morning THAT WERE NOT IN THE FORCAST. I DEMAND TO SPEAK TO WHOEVER'S IN CHARGE OF THIS BS!

...

Anyway, alternating pretrip and straight backing in the morning. I think I've gotten that about 90% dialed in. I'm still getting a little off now and then, but I usually catch it early enough for an easy pull up to fix it.

The real fun started after lunch, when we got introduced to the offset back. I bravely/foolishly/recklessly volunteered to go first. I made the first cut fine, but then wasn't aggressive enough coming back around and got the trailer tandems in the lane, but off kilter. So then I tried to cut hard like I should have in the first place and technically overcorrected the trailer, but set myself up for an easy pull-up. From there it was just straight back like I'd been doing.

That was also my introduction to the beauty of GOAL. I like GOAL. GOAL is my friend.

Tomorrow is suposed to be more of the same. I think the plan is to start doing alley backs on Friday.

They're keeping it coming.

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