Profile For Vykarius

Vykarius's Info

  • Location:
    STOCKTON, CA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 7 months ago

Vykarius's Bio

43 year old U.S. Army Gulf War era Veteran who recently passed the cdl test after completing CDL school at Western Pacific in Stockton, CA. campus.

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Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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40 Hour Refresher Course

C.R. England and Swift will take you and send you to a 10 day refresher at their school. Not sure any commitment.

Posted:  7 years, 9 months ago

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OTR Choices

Hey gang been awhile since I've posted. After 2 months and a week driving an automatic doing aggregate bottom dumping (July-Oct 2014) then a 2 month unemployment stint, I think I'm ready to try my hand at getting some OTR experience for the skills and resume. C.R. England is offering $5,000 sign on bonus but I hear horror stories about screwing you on bonuses and forcing lease purchase plans. Applied at DOT foods and have pre-hire letters from Covenant, CRST, Swift as well as Western Express. Licensed since June 11th and hoping my lack of seat time lately doesn't put me in refresher territory? Looking for input on above options or any other company recommendations/stories you might have for me? Thank you kindly. ~ Michael E. King

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Rookie company driver in training

Thanks to all!

Congratulations Vykarius!

The same kind of tenacious attitude that you showed in sticking with this when you had some troubles at the start will see you through as you move forward in this job. There will be a few days/weeks when you are certain that you've made the wrong career choice, but hang in there and it will all begin to come together over time. Trust me, it just takes a little while to get the hang of this job. You are going to make some silly mistakes, but always try and learn from the things that happen. Take it slow and careful, the main objective of that first three or four months is that you don't hit anything.

The second objective is that you concentrate on the main objective - don't hit anything.

That's the best advice I can give to ya. good-luck.gif

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Rookie company driver in training

I was officially hired as a new rookie company driver in training for Poppy State Express, Inc. yesterday. They are a division of Northern Refrigerated Transportation, Inc. headquartered in Turlock, California with a service are of California, Nevada and Arizona but infrequent loads to Oregon and on rare occasions Washington and Idaho. It is a reefer fleet of Peterbilts usually no older than 2009-ish. Everything seems to be moving like a whirlwind lately for me after failing the skills portion of my CDL exam 3 times before re-permitting and finally passing the CDL test on June 11th to now being hired with a company as of June 25th! I appreciate all of the words of encouragement and solid advice I have received here...very grateful for Trucking Truth! Question...this company doesn't pay cents per mile but rather 20-25% Gross value of the load and is LTL. They claim low end annual earning potential is 37K with median being about 49K and high end earners getting up to 70K...we'll see. It claims to be dispatched for 2-3 days home 1-2 times per week and most weekends off. We'll see about that lol.

~Michael E. King, Rookie Company Driver (in training) Poppy State Express, Inc.

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Got my CDL today!

Thanks to all for kind words and well wishes. Interview with Northern Refrigerated Transportation went well. I have a drive test on Monday morning. If that goes well then I believe I am an employed rookie driver-in-training in a reefer fleet. Glad I didn't give up on trucking before I even got started. A weird and odd ride thus far lol.

Posted:  8 years, 3 months ago

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Got my CDL today!

After unsuccessfully taking my Class A examination 3 other times since graduating from CDL School on 3-21-2014, today I finally passed it on my fourth attempt. I guess perseverance finally paid off?!!? I have a job interview this coming Friday with Northern refrigerated out of Turlock, California. Wish me luck guys and girls. Thanks again for all the support.

Posted:  8 years, 5 months ago

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Be afraid.... Be very, very afraid!!!!

Well, it is official! Round up the kids and head into the bunker. They gave me keys to a 2014 Freightliner Cascadia today. My status will officially change from training to solo rookie. Have no doubt, I am still in training. There is some much to learn. Hope to see you guys and gals on the road soon!

Congrats Wine Taster!

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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Woot!!! Passed CDL test today!

Congrats!

After finishing school on 3-15, I was scheduled to take the CDL test today, 3-20 at 1000. I left in plenty of time to get to the site and it's a good thing. When I was about 10 miles from the testing site at 0820 I received a call from an instructor at my CDL school informing me that the test truck had a major air leak and they had to cancel my scheduled appointment. I told him I was 10 miles from the test site and told him of the hardships this would cause me if I didn't test this week ( i.e. I am scheduled to attend orientation on Monday 3-24). He called me back and said they cancelled someone else and gave me his 1400 appointment. Being so close to the site I decided to just go there. When I entered at 0835 the DDS lady asked me "Are you the 10 o'clock" to which I replied yes. She let me go ahead and check in. Then at 0910 the mechanic from my school informed everyone that the test truck was fixed. So it turns out my school had tried to postpone my test to an indefinite time next week (or later) because of a 1 hr downtime with the test truck.

The student who had the 0800 appt. got started about 0930 and ended up failing air brakes test. So I actually started my test around 1030 (on a 1000 appt). I missed checking the steering wheel play on in-cab PTI, touched a line on straight line backing of all things, and missed a downshift when entering a left turn which I quickly recovered. Considering how upset on top of nervous I was, I'm surprised I was able to get the key in the ignition. All in all, after being cancelled then rescheduled to 1400 I was holding my brand new Class A CDL at 1230.

I attended the cheapest school in Georgia and every single day I found out that you get what you pay for. In retrospect, I would have forked over the extra 500 bucks. But that part of the journey is now over and I'm so excited to be moving on to orientation and getting with my trainer. I will be going to Paschall Truck Lines, PTL, in Murray, KY on. Taking the dog on Sunday, 3-23.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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DMV Skills test failure

Thanks Brett will do! Trying to stay positive as is the theme here. Appreciate all the advice.

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I am thinking of watching some you tube videos to learn different techniques and styles. Any suggestions?

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Listen...don't over-think it. You know how to do what you need to do to pass the test no problem. You'll get it next time. The DMV knows you failed the first time and it's pretty rare for anyone to be failed twice. I think the second time is going to be more of a formality than anything. Don't change what you're doing. Don't think you have to come up with new techniques or ideas. Just relax, try to put it out of your mind for now, get a little practice in between now and then if you get the chance, and stay confident. You'll get through it no problem. On April 29th you'll be celebrating your new CDL with a big ole steak dinner. Nothin to it.

smile.gif

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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DMV Skills test failure

Thanks Bill.

All you can do is pick yourself back up again and give it another crack in April. Just one more month... hang in there! The time waiting is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of time you can have driving that big rig.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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DMV Skills test failure

I don't have to do the pre-trip inspection or the in-cab inspection, but I do have to do the brake test then drive to the skills test area to do a straight line back then a 90 degree alley dock followed by either an offset or a parallel parking then a road test back to DMV. I will try to go back to my cdl school a few times each week for skills training before the 29th of April when I test. I am thinking of watching some you tube videos to learn different techniques and styles. Any suggestions? Thanks for the kind words and supportive feedback. I hope my pre-hires remain in effect.

Vyk, do you only have to retake the skills part or the whole test? I don't know if you have more chance to practice but if you do I have one piece of advice. PRACTICE STRAIGHT LINE. At my school the straight line truck was always open and ready while people were waiting in line to do alley docks, parallels, and offsets. When you practice straight line, set-up in such a way where you cant just hold the wheel straight and go thru. If you get into the cones with your trailer twisted and cab to one side or the other you will gain skill. It's about controlling the trailer, not just doing a manuever in the exact same place the exact same way every time. I became one of the best in my class on the range by doing about 100 straight lines in a row while the rest waited in line to do other maneuvers.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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DMV Skills test failure

Hey gang...bad news...I took my DMV test for my CDL on 3-19-2014 and passed the pre-trip, the in cab inspection and the brake test too. My drive test went well but I screwed up on my skills tests and failed the overall because of it. I don't re-test until 4-29-2014. Been bummed for days.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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First year drivers

Why would they need a refresher course if they have local driving experience? I'm not trying to argue I think I'm just confused. Thanks.

One thing to be careful of going straight to local right out of school is if they ever elimanate that position and you cant find another local job you will have to take a refresher course to get back to driving.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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Anyone use the WIA grant program to help pay for CDL school?

I am currently in a CDL school in which W.I.A. is paying for. My experience in Northern California has been much like RedGator's posted. It saves like $5,000 and some companies like Covenant Transport will give tuition reimbursement EVEN IF WIA PAYS FOR IT! That's an extra $125 in your pocket each month you stay with Covenant even if you never paid CDL school tuition yourself!Mine took nearly 2 months to obtain but saving $5,000 and avoiding being locked into a contract with a starter company is a huge bonus in my opinion. Best of luck with your WIA funding search should you choose it.

It took about a month to a month and half start to finish before I was awarded the grant money. I had to take 3 seminars, provide 5 weeks of work search (which can be back dated), and take a 3 part test and score so much on each section before they move you along to your case worker. Then you have to fill out tons of paperwork. They provide you with a list of schools and you pick which you would like. WIA pays for you CDL, all your endorsement including your hazmat and background check plus they pay for any related items needed for training up to $6000 in total. You have to do a year follow up with them soley by email afterwards.

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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Finished my training and assigned a truck

Congrats on flying solo now brother! I begin week 6 of 7 in my CDL school at Western Pacific in Stockton, CA. Nervous as hell about the skills tests for DMV on 3-19-14! Then I'll need everyone's advice narrowing down my starting company choice....so far it's May Trucking vs. Northern Refrigerated and if teams between CRST and Covenant. Good luck!

It's been a while since I posted here, so I wanted to post another update.

I finished my training at Werner, and tested out yesterday, and I was assigned my first truck. it's a 2011 international prostar eagle... it has 533k miles on the odometer, and I am waiting to go back to the hotel and get my stuff, and get my stuff in the truck and get going on the road.....

stay safe out there.....

Chris

Posted:  8 years, 6 months ago

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CDL Student pre-hire questions

Week 5 of cdl class now and received pre-hire letters from Covenant, CRST, Swift. Schneider, Prime and U.S. Xpress still interested but unknown if a pre-hire is coming from either of the last 3. Also May Trucking Company and Northern Refrigerated expressed interest post graduation. Any feedback on any of these companies would be welcomed. Thanks in advance.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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CDL Student pre-hire questions

Thanks so much for feedback Starcar.

Hey Vyk....you need to get LOTS of prehire offers...If you haven't put in many applcations...you need to....The first year is your most crucial. So you need to choose wisely...and to do that, you need ALOT of offers you can compare....so keep putting in apps.....you can never have to many offers....here's a link to apply at a bunch all at once...Truck Driving Jobs

But read this one, also Apply For Truck Driving Jobs

I hope you have been doing the High Road Training study here High Road Training Program if not, you may want to start....it will make everything easier.... And more than anything ....WELCOME TO TT !!!!! we're glad you dropped in...feel free to post, ask questions, study all the stuff, and immerse yourself in all things trucking !!!!

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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CDL Student pre-hire questions

Thanks for the feedback. U.S. Xpress and CRST also gave me pre-hires. I have a record from 2003 and a DUI from 1992 which have minimized my prehire options unfortunately. Any feedback on US Xprees and CRST vs. Covenant? Again thanks a bunch!

Hey Vykarius. Covenant isn't a bad company but they don't really have a lot of the opportunities that their dry van competitors do like US Xpress, Swift Transportation, or Schneider National. Their pay is a little lower than many competitors also.

I drove for US Xpress for about 6 years and Covenant is owned by relatives of the owner of US Xpress and it was pretty common knowledge that they simply didn't have a lot of the perks and opportunities that we had.

You can certainly get your career off to a great start with Covenant but I would take a hard look at other Trucking Companies Hiring Inexperienced Drivers and apply for more pre-hires.

You can Apply For Truck Driving Jobs with just one application here at TruckingTruth. We'll send it out to as many companies as you choose on the form. Just make sure you start calling companies like crazy about a day or two after applying. Get a recruiter on the phone and make sure they're processing your application, otherwise it might sit on the pile collecting dust.

Posted:  8 years, 7 months ago

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CDL Student pre-hire questions

Hey guys, I'm in week 4 of 7 week CDL class at Western Pacific Truck School in Stockton, CA. I have a pre-hire offer from Covenant Transport and was hoping for feedback from the veteran truckers about Covenant Transport. Any information is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

~Michael

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