Profile For Grandpa Clark

Grandpa Clark's Info

  • Location:
    Lynchburg, VA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    9 years, 9 months ago

Grandpa Clark's Bio

According to this website, I have been lurking on here for nearly 8 years! Where does the time go? I remember when I was a young man of 19-years-of-age, sitting with my wife and a couple of friends after dinner. My friend was an owner-operator and offered to take me under his wing and teach me to be a professional truck driver. We had just had our first (of what would eventually be seven) babies, and despite every fiber of my being wanting to jump at the opportunity, I knew it would not be a good fit for what we hoped would be a large family with lots of kids. I said no. I have been fascinated with heavy equipment, tractors, trucks, and everything in-between since I was a kid growing up on a dairy farm in Ontario. I couldn't care less about livestock, but I loved the smell of diesel. I have been driving tractors and various farm implements since I was 8-years-old. It is only natural that I would gravitate towards tractor-trailers. I have driven dump trucks part-time in Canada, hauling agricultural products on my days off from my real job. I loved every minute of it. But, those tractor-trailers keep calling my name.

I eventually joined the police department in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and embarked on a law enforcement career. After 9-years of duty in Southern Ontario, my family relocated to Central Virginia, where my wife's family was located. I worked for the next 15-years in law enforcement in Virginia. After nearly 25-years total in the law enforcement arena, I made a drastic change and became a Technical Trainer for a large communication company, serving police, fire, and military customers with our digital communication system. That has been my job for the past 10-years. Not a day has gone by, that I haven't wondered what would have happened all those years ago if I had taken up my friend on his offer to drive trucks.

Well, that's all ancient history. Here we are in June 2022 and I'm 57-years old. My sweetheart and I are celebrating our 38th anniversary today and we have raised five of our seven boys. The last two boys are 16 and 18. Everyone, including our soon-to-be eighteen grandchildren, are healthy and happy...and life is good.

Except for one little issue. I still can't get the truck driving out of my mind. I'm just a sentimental old fool I guess. Who would consider hiring an old guy with zero experience? Is there any interest out there? We shall soon see as I quit my very well-paying job yesterday. I can't really explain how all of this transpired, but it probably has something to do with my best friend dropping dead unexpectedly a couple of months ago at the age of 59. When we last met for breakfast he talked of all of his dreams for retirement. He was a very successful businessman, a multi-millionaire who hated what his life had become. He had raised his children and had dreams and plans for a long and happy retirement after slaving away for nearly 40-years building his business which he had grown to despise.

Life has a way of changing your perspective on things. I had planned to ride out my remaining years in a very stressful, low-level management position making good money and being absolutely miserable. But, the money was good. My blood pressure was high, my spirits were low, and I do not like the person that I've become. Yesterday, I did something I've wanted to do every day for the past 14-months. I gave my 2-week notice and signed up at the local Community College to get my CDL! My classes start on June 17. In thanks for all of the fantastic information that I have gleaned from others, I'll start my diary here and we'll see what happens.

It's time to stop lurking on the sidelines. I feel more excited than I have in years...and of course, that could just be the beginning stages of dementia. Let the adventure begin!

My personal thanks to Brett and all of the administrators of this website, who have stoked the dream for all of these years. I have watched (and read) from the sidelines for nearly 8-years now, so I guess it's finally time to step up and see where this adventure will lead...if anywhere.

Update- I received my CDL in July of 2022. I completed my training through Ancora Corporate Training, at Central Virginia Community College. On July 27, 2022, I accepted an offer from Maverick Transportation to train as a flatbed driver at their Madison, IL facility, with the intent to join the dedicated account at Nucor Steel in Huger, SC. My training start date is July, 31, 2022.

Grandpa Clark's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  6 months ago

View Topic:

I need help with getting my CDL A

Hello all, its my first time posting here. First off I want to state that I fully respect what you fellows do out there on the road for the every day working man. Secondly I am in a tough spot, and I was curious if any of you would have any pointers. (this will be a little long).

Back in early 2022 I had done pretty good for myself as a Semi Truck Technician, but shortly after I had gotten myself into a rut that I did not think I could get out of. But December comes around and I was able to crawl tooth and nail to get myself out of it, I was forced to break my lease for my apartment and pay quite a few large fines for doing so. But it got me out of the burning building, so that's all that matters. January (2023) rolls by and I am trying to decided what to do with my life. I apply myself in the "Kansas Truck Driving School" in Wichita. Things are going really well at this point, I am doing quite well on the pre trip. And my instructor was quite happy with how well I could shift a 10 speed. (bare in mind that the trailers are empty for the school). I get to the point that I only miss 1 thing during the pre trips, scoring a 98% every time. My instructor went by the grading sheet that the actual state examiners use. I take the test, and fail. The state examiners refused to tell me why, my instructor had me do the pre trip in front of him again (exterior, in cab, and brake test). I pass with flying colors with him. So we schedule another time to take the test again. Again I fail, the examiners did not even seem to be paying attention to me when I did take it. My instructor quizzes me again, and I pass again. This time not missing anything.

Its at this point that I have to pay over $200 out of pocket to rent the schools truck, to test again. I do so, and I fail again. At this point, I am wanting to throw up. My instructor does not know what I am doing wrong, and they refuse to tell me. What really irritates me, is that these are kids. Younger than me that are testing me, (I am 25, 24 at the time). I know that shouldn't matter, but when I talked with the examiners. They even told me that they never even touched a truck. And yet they are failing me. Anyhow, it was at this point I had a choice, pay another $200+ or quit. I chose to quit, and it saved me honestly. I had $15 left to my name the month after. Fast forward to January of 2024, I have bounced way back! I am doing quite well for myself. But I am not happy with myself. I busted my butt way to dang hard to fail at this. Problem being though, is that I no longer have my GI Bill to pay for it any longer. Its all used up. And I am not comfortable with earning $7.25 an hour, which is what most trucking companies will pay you until you/if graduate. Besides Joining the Army again I cannot see a way to get my CDL A. I currently have a CDL B.

I know I typed a lot, and I'm sorry to those who have sore eyes after reading it. I am just kind of at a loss right now. Trucking is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Since I got out of the Army. But I am married now, and I am not selfish enough to thro w everything at it again, only to maybe fail. And ruin everything we have gained if that was the case. I don't know what I am expecting in this forum, I guess that I am just looking for advice.

I appreciate anybody who has any.

Thank you, Greg

Greg, It sounds as though you have had a very difficult journey! I started in this at age 56 with nothing by my normal driver's license. I was tempted to go to one of the mega-carriers' schools and I'm not saying that's not an option for you. There are tons of people on here who have gone that route and succeeded. I was offered a spot in TMC's school, Schneider's and Maverick's school. I talked through the options with an experienced driver and he told me about the option of the local community college. I checked it out and here is what I found. The course was priced at $4500. With all the available grants/subsidies in Virginia, the price came down to $750. That was my total out-of-pocket. When I obtained my CDL, I received a payment from Virginia's Workforce program in the amount of $1000. So, I was essentially paid $250 to get my CDL!

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with going to school at one of the large carriers' schools. However, when I went with my first employer, although I intended to stay at least one year, I left after 4 months, when my local dream-job came calling. If I had gone to Maverick's school and then left after 4 months, I would have been on-the-hook for about $6K in repayments for my schooling. For me, the local community college was a fantastic option. Don't give up! Where there's a will, there's a way (my Dad always said that). All the best to you!

Posted:  6 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

You still out there, driver?

Overdue for an Update...but here it is!

Let's just start off by saying that trucking offers endless opportunities to expand your horizons. When I last checked in I was operating a propane delivery truck, serving business and residential customers in Central VA. While I enjoyed the challenges of this assignment and interacting with our customers, the money was just not sufficient to justify the time I was devoting to this job. I loved the people I was working with and had an excellent daily schedule (6:45 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.) but the pay was low when compared to the risks inherent in this job. I had lots of opportunities for overtime, especially in the winter, but after nearly a year in the propane delivery position, I requested a transfer to the tractor-trailer division where I would haul gasoline, diesel, or propane. My supervisor was very understanding, but the HR department was less than enthused with my desire to move up to the transport (tractor-trailer) division. Despite having a spotless safety record and excellent evaluations, months went by with no response to my request. I finally upped the ante and advised that unless there was a move towards a transfer, I would be forced to leave to pursue more profitable opportunities.

After four months I finally accepted that they had no interest in moving me to my desired assignment. Regrettably, in Nov. 23, I resigned from my position as a propane delivery driver. At my exit interview, they asked if I would consider staying on their emergency call-out list for drivers used by the Mission Critical Division. These drivers are called as needed when the company is required to transport fuel (typically dyed fuel oil for generators, gasoline for fuel utility workers' cars/trucks, or on-the-road diesel fuel for transports/bucket trucks) to support areas hit by natural disasters such as hurricanes or other widespread storms. During my tenure at this company, I worked for 6-weeks on these types of assignments, and the compensation when a driver is activated is VERY lucrative. In 2023 I worked for the Mission Critical Team for a total of 7 weeks, responding to a tornado in North Carolina, a severe wind storm in Shreveport, LA, and a power outage in Northern VA. In that amount of time, I exceeded the total compensation I received during the other 45 weeks of normal driving! Suffice it to say, when they asked if I would stay on the Mission Critical call-out list, I quickly said yes.

Currently, I'm not driving full-time, but have been called out about once per month to assist with Mission Critical assignments. I miss the day-to-day interaction with customers and the other drivers, but I don't miss pulling a heavy hose through rain, ice, and sometimes snow!

I'm sorry this update is so long in coming. There are segments of the trucking industry where pay is exceptional! I'm thankful to have found one of these segments. With the opportunity to drive part-time in this capacity, I'm far exceeding the full-time money I received for the very challenging (and dangerous) role of a propane delivery driver.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me and I'll do my best to answer your questions. If you reside in Central VA and would like to apply as a Mission Critical Driver, please contact me and I'll give you all the information you need to move in that direction.

Thanks again to all the Trucking Truth members who have been so encouraging as I have progressed on my journey.

Posted:  1 year, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

You still out there, driver?

Greetings George! Definitely time for a quick update! I believe I stated somewhere in my long-term goals, that I hoped to get a job driving a fuel tanker for a local company, and be home every night. I had applied at my "target" company and was told I needed 1-year OTR experience, as well as Hazmat and TWIC before I could be considered. That led to me joining Maverick, hauling steel out of Charleston, SC.

I guess the 1-year rule is rather flexible, as I was recently contacted by my chosen company and asked if I would consider joining their propane fuel division. I advised Maverick that I was taking a day off to attend a job interview with another company. I must say that Maverick treated me very well and I did feel some guilt pangs as I had only been with them for 4 months. However, this opportunity was my goal from the beginning, so I went to the job interview and the next day was offered the position.

I joined the company at the beginning of Nov. and have just recently finished my training. I have been on my own for a whole two weeks and I really have enjoyed learning this area of trucking. I'm starting in the "Bobtail" delivering to local homes and businesses in Central VA. I have the option of moving up to the tractor-trailer division if I want, but for now, I'm fine learning in the smaller trucks with smaller tanks.

Let me close this update by saying that Maverick was 100% class the entire way. They were honest from the recruitment, through the hiring and training process, and they didn't give me any grief when I said I was leaving for another opportunity. They said I would be welcome to come back anytime and I appreciate them giving me that option.

Merry Christmas to you George, and to all the excellent people here on TT! I really appreciated all the help and encouragement! Sincerely, Steve

Posted:  1 year, 9 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

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I don’t know how you really old guys do it.

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Can't BELIEVE you went there, BK !!! He's a 'young' old guy, compared to US! Steve,

That 2 hours will be cut in half, and then half again, before long. Sounds like you're doing awesome ~!!!

If and when you get time; share a tarp load or two; both here AND in the flatbed pix thread; be nice to see, and get some feedback from the "old" guys, haha!!

Keep on, good sir.

~ Anne ~

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Ha! For us "really old guys" it might take a bit longer, but we have learned to enjoy the journey and savor the experiences.

Anne, I hope I'll get quicker as I get more experienced, but until then, we will continue to plug along at a "really old guy" pace.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

Steve, first of all, congratulations on going solo. And sorry about your slip and fall. That was a close one.

Your description of the weather conditions instantly brought up the image Old School has for his profile photo. Makes me so glad I drive a reefer van, lol. I don’t know how you really old guys do it.

Thanks BK! Today was load #2...steel beams...again. And, for two loads in a row, the customer insists that they be tarped. Now, forgive me for being naive, (and a rookie), but these beams have been sitting exposed to the weather for weeks/months already. The first load that I had that the customer insisted be tarped, was immediately unloaded and placed in an unprotected area, exposed to the weather. Do you (or anyone else) have any idea why customers would insist on loads of beams being tarped, when they have been stored outside, and once delivered, will also be stored outside?

Today's tarp job took me about 2 hrs, in the hot SC sun. At least it was a bit quicker than the first load (2.5 hrs in pouring rain/electrical storm). So, I'm getting a bit quicker...and I think this load looks a bit better too. It was definitely a good workout! Exactly what I need after decades of sitting at a desk looking at a computer screen.

I appreciate all your support! Sincerely, Steve

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

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My First Load (please excuse the tarp job...my first attempt at steel beams!

(Photos in above posts)

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Looks AWESOME, to me ! Then again, what do I know?

So happy for you, man. What a journey; you knocked it out, like a champ. It's not easy these days. Loved following you.

Congrats from us also, Steve !!! Super nice looking truck, too .. that COLOR is so You! Just kidding, but I sure DO love the burgundy. Even in fine wines. (How IS the facial healing going, by the way? That's what I eluded to, haha!)

Hope you'll do a continuum here for awhile, or like some of the others; a 'first month or three' solo follow up. It sure pays homage to the intentions of this site, as your diary certainly has; albeit, you're awesome!

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Best forward, (and reverse as needed!)

~ Anne & Tom ~

Thanks Anne and Tom, for all the great tips, links, and suggestions along the way. The eye injury is pretty much completely healed, with just the last bit of bruising still there. I like the maroon color on the truck, but not so much on my eye. I'm leaving early tomorrow morning to deliver my first load which has sat on the trailer over the weekend. I plan to check in periodically and let everyone know how I'm doing and what I'm learning. It has been a very interesting journey thus far, and it's hard to believe that it was only about 10 weeks ago that I took the first step on this journey. So much has transpired over those weeks, and yet, when I look back it seems like it all went by very quickly. I'm thankful for this site and I hope this small diary will be helpful to others who need some encouragement and information as they progress on their journey.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

Congrats! Way to go man! dancing.gif

Thanks, George! I appreciate all your encouragement and advice.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

Congratulations!

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Now the real fun (learning) begins. Hang in there!

Thanks, Old School! I appreciate all the advice and encouragement along the way. There is definitely a steep learning curve in this industry.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

Congratulations!

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Thanks PackRat! I've appreciated your comments and advice throughout this journey. All the best to you.

Posted:  1 year, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Old Man Leaves Six-Figure Salary to Begin Training as a Trucker- Psychiatric Evaluation Pending

My First Load (please excuse the tarp job...my first attempt at steel beams)

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