Profile For SkyGuy

SkyGuy's Info

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    Rookie Solo Driver

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    9 years, 11 months ago

SkyGuy's Bio

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Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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From The Corporate Environment To Trucking

Hey Brett-

Great article topic! I may fit the bill for your request. My story...

Was a TV producer for 15 years and just needed a break in 2015. I loved driving and always wanted to see the country- did extensive research on Trucking Truth for a few months and quit my comfy TV studio and enrolled at my local truck driving school much to the dismay of family and friends.

(Shameless plug to dig up my training diaries on TT).

Was at Prime for 9 months and had to leave due to a parent getting sick and needing to be home to take care of them. I went to back to freelance TV producing but missed the open road so rejoined Western Express for 4 months doing NE regional in 2017.

During that Time, A freelance client offered a full time Producer position was negotiated with an almost six-figure salary that was too good to turn down so I came off the road again.

I still stalk the TT forums weekly and like to keep up with industry news and just this month renewed my medical card to keep my CDL updated.

Learned so much from driving that extended to life that you read often on the site. For me...

1) Time management / planning. From trip planning to HOS being proactive and anticipatory will give you an edge in any industry.

2) A positive attitude gets you farther. Smiling and making a joke with folks at a guard shack or shipping clerk makes a difference in getting you in/out faster. Same goes for the office- you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

3) “you get what you put into any job”. If you do the bare minimum your FM will give you the ‘junky’ low mile loads. If you push yourself and strive to max out your hours / miles and help your FM out to prove yourself, you be rewarded. Same for my gig now- more I put into a show, the better the outcome.

Biggest accomplishment : 3600 mile week!

Regrets- I regret coming off the road before my year was up and learned a lot about my self from the solitude. Would love to do local weekend work to get back on the road and think about it often. In the end it was a bigger pay check that lured me off the road, but do see myself going back OTR sometime in the future so no regrets at all for making the leap to trucking.

Good luck on the article, feel feee to ping me and thanks for all you do on TT!

I know a lot of you got started in trucking after spending many years in the corporate environment. It's something I get asked about a lot and I'd like to write an article about it. I'd love some insights from those of you who came from the corporate environment and have been driving for a little while now. Even a few months in trucking is enough experience to share your insights, and I'd really appreciate hearing what you have to say.

Imagine someone came up to you and said, "I'm thinking about leaving my 20 career in the corporate world to become a truck driver. I'm sick of the cubicle, the politics, and the pressure. I feel like I want something different in my life and trucking seems like it might be a cool job."

What would you say? What experiences would you share?

How would you help someone decide if making the jump from the corporate world to trucking might be a good idea?

What was your experience? Your biggest challenges? The best and the worst parts of the change?

Most importantly, was it the right move for you or not, and why?

Posted:  9 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

change of status

Hey TT -

Truck is in the shop and finally have the time and the internet on my laptop to quit stalking the forum, actually post something, and most importantly change my status to Rookie Solo Driver and could not be happier!

TNT was a challenge to say the least - My 1st trainer was AMAZING but alas he left the company so after 3 weeks, had to move on to trainer #2 where I was basically a giant dollar sign for him... Everything was negative for him and everything was 'BS' and all he cared about was how I was helping his paycheck, but I did my best to use what I had learned from my 1st trainer to get thru the non training I was receiving from my 2nd.... Most of all kept it positive and have TT to thank to be able to survive 2 very long months with Mr. Negative Nancy...

Long story short have been solo with Prime for exactly 2 months now and could not be happier - I learn something new every day and appreciate the adventure and challenges that each day in trucking brings. I learned from Mr. Negative Nancy the kind of trucker I don't want to be which has been a valuable take away during my solo time.

It has been said before in various postings and I too have drank the TT Kool-Aid but for those starting out or stalking the forum, keep it positive- it will make this crazy world of trucking that much more enjoyable, even on the tough days because it helps you learn on those hard days and makes you appreciate the good days that much more!

And now back to my regularly scheduled program of stalking of the forum...

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

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Hound Bound to... PRIME in PA!

Officially hound bound to Orientation with Prime at Pittston PA! I now understand why previous posters have called this the 'hellhound'. Going to stay 'positive' and call the other folks on here... um... unique! Thanks to Brett and all the TT members who have helped me on this journey so far and looking forward to keeping everyone posted during training... let the real learning begin!

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

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Private NJ CDL School

Well I am still beaming about getting my CDL and wanted to make a few notes about the experience -

The so far unnamed school is....drum roll.... Smith & Solomon!

Overall I personally had a positive experience with them and would recommend them to any folks in the Jersey area looking to get your CDL. My best advise to anyone going is patience and LISTEN. You will only get out of this place what you put into it... nobody is going to hold your hand every moment of the day as you have to apply yourself. The yard is busy and yes there is waiting time before your turn in the truck but you can still learn a lot by watching others and listening to tips the instructor is giving even if you are not in the driver seat. Make the best use of your time that you can - if you find yourself waiting, grab another student and practice your pre trip. Strike up a conversation with another student or trainer to get tips - something that you may be having trouble with, another person could have a way of showing you something new. Also beware of the slackers... don't be the student texting and goofing off all day... Don't be the student who shows up for 30 min and leaves and then complains about why they pass the DMV test... you are at school to learn keep that in mind daily. I was one of the fortunate few folks to get my CDL in 4 weeks because I didn't want to make a career out of staying in school so made sure to push and challenge myself everyday - don't be on the 6 - 9 month plan!

I can't speak from experience with other private schools in NJ but can say that there are a few 'CDL mills' out there... the driving school truck student in front of me that almost hit a pedestrian during my road test I came to find out makes you pay every time you fail your test - fee at Smith and Solomon covers you until you pass your test even if it takes you 2 or 3 times to the DMV. Also the number of hours is important -- you don't graduate until you hit a minimum of 160 hours. A lot of other schools are a lot more money and only cover 10 hours...

Also they have lifetime placement services and are recognized by a majority of the major companies that hire recent grads - many of the CDL mill schools will get you a CDL, but if a major company doesn't recognize it, it will be a big ol waste of money and time... I did it on my own in terms of pre-hires but did take advantage of the school's knowledge to help me narrow them down to my top 3.

If you have not yet fallen asleep reading these posts and have any questions or thoughts make sure to post a comment - I spent a few months stalking trucking truth and have gotten invaluable advise form the guys and gals on here and hope that my experience can aid someone stalking this site...

Best of luck to new and current students and above all, enjoy the journey!!

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

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CDL in hand... Prime / Pittston PA as TNT?

Hey TT-

Got me official CDL-A in hand this past weekend woot woot!

Out of all my pre-hires 95% sure I am going to Prime - In speaking with their drivers have heard nothing but good reviews and I appreciate the fact that the training period is longer than other companies that I have been speaking with. Yes I want to go on my own, but the more training I get the better I figure!

A few questions for ya Prime-ers out there: 1) Anyone based out of the Pittston PA terminal - any thoughts vs. Springfield MO? 2) Know I will be going in as a 'C-seat' (with my sub 'prime' non prime education) which is fine with me but curious about the advancement as well as if I will be taught the correct way to full pre-trip (in NJ we didn't have to open the hood) and want to make sure I learn / know the right way - (yes thank you Daniel B for your recent pre-trip post - my new reading material...) 3) Any other words of wisdom / advise?

Very optimistic and have high spirits about this next adventure and appreciate any insight!

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

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Continue with Road Test in another State

Just did the NJ CDL -- being the odd state we are... If you pass the pre-trip (air brake test) and fail the yard, you can come back in 2 weeks and only do yard and road -- if you pass pre-trip and yard, and fail road - you just have to do road in 2 weeks... go garden state! Not an expert by any means but doubt another state would accept it - assume you would need a new permit from your new state.

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

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Pleased to announce...... Exam today........TRIFECTA!!!

6 weeks ago I started exploring the idea of trucking, and found TT. On April 28th I called Prime and started the process. On May 12 I arrived in Springfield for orientation. On May 19 I started my CDL training phase. Today I took the CDL exam and passed all 3 parts for a TRIFECTA!!! Oh what a relief it is!!! I am thrilled to have this part done.

Thanks to Brett and TT friends for all of the help and advice in getting to this point on my journey. Next up, meet my trainer for the next phase and head out for my 30000 miles and learning the OTR aspect of this.....and earning a paycheck!!!

Be blessed and be safe!

Huge congrats!!! Just passed my CDL today as well!!!!!!!!!!!

Private NJ CDL Training

Wish you nothing but the best and appreciate you updating us on your journey with Prime!

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Private NJ CDL School


Road portion was a bit of a blur for me... made sure to not hit curbs on my turns, used my signals, checked mirrors often and followed every direction... made it onto a very busy highway, shifted from 7th to what I thought was 8th but cutched out and it was in 10th...ugh! Calmly downshifted to 9th... Was told to take the jug handle and the light changed so had to stop a bit short to not run the light -- told agent sorry for the quick stop but I didn't want to run the light... he told me good...

Now here is what I remember very vividly... back on the highway and 2 cars coming from a small side street had a yield sign - both cars blew thru the yield sign and barreled towards my trailer on the shoulder... I slow down to let them get in front of me... one does.. the other is oblivious to my trailer next to him... the shoulder was ending so I had to stab brake to avoid the 2nd car crashing into my trailer... Let DMV agent know I was not able to get into my left lane due to a truck next to me and he said I did the right thing... phew! Stopped at a stop light on a hill on way back to DMV, light turns green and instructor told me let's go what are you waiting for - i told him I am waiting for the ambulance that was flying down the intersection lights on, no siren- he said good call... Didn't roll back and had a smooth start. One more turn to get to the DMV street... Another truck from a different driving school was a block in front of me almost hits a pedestrian... I stop and say, I promise you I won't hit that pedestrian... and the agent smiles and says "yeah that's prob a good thing". I pass by the other school truck who clearly had failed right there. Make it into the driveway of the DMV and think 'I got this' and then hear a thud and look to see a small curb against my tire... UGHHHH! (Think to myself well a curb is an automatic failure... ya didn't hit a pedestrian, avoided an accident, didn't roll and let an ambulance pass by and blew it on the damned DMV curb) I quickly ask "so where do you want me to pull up to" to try to distract the agent from the curb and he points to where I had done my pre-trip... air brakes on, key out and I nervously look at him...

And his 1st words are: "Don't worry about that curb... you did a good job with those cars merging into you - they were in the wrong because they had the yield and you did the right thing. You recovered very well from a mis-shift into 10th, and didn't blindly follow my directions when I told you to go - you checked the road conditions and saw an emergency vehicle and everything else was very smooth and I really appreciate you not hitting that pedestrian.

I said - "thanks... so...."


Me - THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Just out of curiosity how many points did I get in the yard - he told me 3 on Alley, 2 on straight line and 2 on right turn.. I said I would take it!

Told him thanks again and to have a great weekend!

3 point contact my way out of the truck and jumped higher than I had ever before to the applause of my instructor and the awaiting students!

For anyone keeping tabs, next student passed, the last 2 failed (both on pre-trip) so tally for that day was 3 pass / 3 fail... very happy to be one of the passing ones...

Still on cloud 9 and beyond proud of this accomplishment... Will revisit this post in the coming days to reveal the school and a few tips / notes about the experience and a few notes about the other schools (most of the students failed with them) but for now, I know i will sleep soundly as an official Class A CDL member!!



Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Private NJ CDL School

TEST DAY 6/7/14! - PT 1

Woke up & did my pre-trip in the shower, and again a few times on the drive to the DMV. Arrived an hour early and saw 4 other NJ school trucks there and then my school truck showed up... we had the nicest truck there which made me smile. My calm instructor took us out into the DMV yard, showed us a few 'tricks' and reference points for each part of the test to help us out - 3 parts: Pre trip, Yard portion of the test you can't get more than 12 points and then road portion... Instructor tested each of us on on our pre-trip I did excellent - others not so much...

6 students from our school - one just had road (already passed pre-trip and yard) so he went 1st - watched him hit the curb on the way out of the DMV and I assumed it was curtains for him but he came back with a smile... he made it. Student 2 - passed pre-trip, had a 3 pull ups on alley dock (3pts) , 1 pull ups on straight line (1 pt) , got to the right turn and nails the cone (6pts)... makes the bad mistake of backing up (1 pt) then nails the right turn cone a 2nd time (6pts)...16 points = FAIL. Instructor gets summoned to go out and get the truck... Now my turn... nerves shaking, I watch DMV agent walk past me into the building... I ask what is going on? It's break time!! Great... another 30 min. of my nerves building up...

After what may have been the longest 30 min. of my life the stone faced DMV agent tells me 'lets go'... I get in the truck and give him a friendly - good morning! ... he proceeded to sneeze and I said bless you... I got a thank you from him so that's a plus right? My air brake test was flawless - during my exterior pre-trip inspection i see him gazing off down the yard, I speak a bit louder so he can better hear me saying every part of my truck and what I am checking... see him get distracted by a shiny object and pick up a washer off the ground...So I keep going... Get mid way to my trailer he turns around and starts texting on his phone... Think to myself F*^% I failed this guy could care less what I am saying it must be not what he wants to hear... Start to talk about my trailer tires and DMV agent looks up and says okay that's good enough lets do the yard... WOOT WOOT PASSED 1 OF 3!

Drive my way to the yard, stopping extra long at every little stop sign they had propped up to the alley dock - 1st attempt way to close to the inner cone,and pull up... think to myself 1 point... 2nd attempt way to close to the outer cone, pull up #2 - think to myself point #2... 3rd attempt I nailed it right in the box - We were not allowed to get out and look (go figure) but looked like my ICC bar of my trailer was in the box but gave myself an extra point in my head just in case it wasn't... 3 points. Agent gets in the truck with me -- says - eh I'm tired I am going to ride with you to the straight line ( less than a 50 ft walk mind you but I was in no place to judge!) - Got to the straight line and put my front bumper in the box he jumps out and gives me an "okay" hand signal - zero points -- start my straight line and see I am about to hit the line on the right side - pull up - another points (4 in my head now) -- keep backing up and agent tells me to pull up again - crap that is atleast 5 points i think... My trailer kept drifting right and I swore I was on the line and was going to fail -- DMV agent waves and I figured it was to my school instructor to get the truck... But points at me and gestures to pull out of the straight line!! Now for the right turn... Followed the tricks I got from my school instructor and from my mirror it looked as if I was pretty close to the cone... see the DMV agent walk to the back of the trailer... never a good sign.. but to my surprise he tells me it's time for the road. PASSED 2 OF 3!!

Posted:  9 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Private NJ CDL School

Week 4 -

Day 1 All this studying and way too many questions for instructors brings me to the fourth week of CDL school... Did my pre-trip, straight line practice and was graduated from the "kindergarten" alley dock side of the yard to the big boy "ivy league school" side of the yard -- basically is a more realistic to the yard portion of the CDL test using the skills you have learned thus far... Start with a right turn - get as close as you can to the cone with out hitting it, 90 degree alley dock in the back, pull out and loop around to another alley dock station with a 45 dock and needing to set your self up for both.... told the instructor it was my 1st time on this side and he said he would help me... my turn was up - Jump into a hooptie yard truck and the instructor was chit chatting away with the owner. On my own then! I had watched other folks on this side of the yard over the weeks and had the general concept so here goes nothing! -- made the right turn a bit the 90 dock after 2 pull ups, and get to the 45... flashback to week one - cone massacre... cone stuck in my trailer tandems = red faced Skyguy... Kindergarten alley docking had never looked so appealing... Pulled the cone out of my tandems and pushed the tail between my legs but for a 1st time tried to look on the bright side that I kept the truck in the yard! 2nd, 3rd and 4th time got better each time -- not perfect but not getting worse. Afternoon was trailer time on the road!!!!!! New instructor - very serious military type- no nonsense type of guy. 1st up was someone who was testing in a day or so and he was seamless, 2nd up was friend and it was like a bed shaking at a cheap motel... now my turn... My shifting was very smooth, I downshifted like a pro - as I start to smile inside with a little confidence from my morning cone massacre, drill Sargent instructor barks -- WHERE IS YOUR TRAILER?!?! - I look at my driver side mirror and it was still attached... Look at my right side mirror and see my trailer tandems on the curb... I softly told drill sargent it was on the curb.. he yells "THEY SURE ARE.. DON'T DO THAT!!!!!!!" After that I was mirror happy and very aware of why he had told us to always be checking your mirrors and trailer... Thought about writing that nice side street curb an apology note but decided against it as on my 2nd time around the block I saw there were many other trailer tires on the grass not mine...

Day 2- Pre-trip, Straight line, big boy side of the yard and back on the road with the trailer -- no curbs or cones were harmed by me on this date in history... bonus!

Day 3 - same as the above -- stayed for the day class and the night class as I wanted as much time as possible before test day fast approaching on the weekend -- got out on the trailer twice during the day, night time were unfamiliar students and my drill sargent instructor saw me climb into the truck made a comment that I was doing a good job and it was noticed by a lot of the instructors that I was going above and beyond and even made a joke!! Anytime he was yelling, you were messing up, quiet you were doing a good job... if he made a joke you were doing a GREAT job!! I got four jokes from him that evening... I boldly went 1st and he was all smiles and jokes... student 2 & 3 he wasn't so funny with...back to yelling... Student 4 seemed sheepish and quiet when asked if he has been bob tailing before and let out a quiet yes.... gets in, stalls in the middle of the road...stalls 2 feet from his last stall...stalls a 3rd time...Drill sargent gives the student a lecture not to lie about things and tells him to get out of the driver seat -- barks for me to get back in and take us back... a nice extra 30 min in the driver seat with yes even more jokes!

Day 4- nailing my alley docks, right turns and straight lines - find myself helping other students with their pre trips while still good practice for me

Day 5 - Bonus day! Students testing on Saturday could come in the morning and practice with the road trucks (no hooptie yard truck!!) Alley docking was much smoother with the road trucks, straight line was a bit more difficult as the trailer had a tendency to drift to the right but had the skills now to recognize it and correct it immediately (sans cone massacre!) - my day 1 week 1 pre-trip instructor quizzed me and I passed with flying colors!

Next day was CDL Test day.... yikes can't believe it has been 4 weeks already!!!!!

Insert sleepless night of jitters and worries here....

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