Profile For Grandpa Clark

Grandpa Clark's Info

  • Location:
    Lynchburg, VA

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 2 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:  2 months, 2 weeks 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:  2 months, 2 weeks 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:  2 months, 3 weeks 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:  2 months, 3 weeks 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:  2 months, 3 weeks 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:  2 months, 3 weeks 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:  2 months, 3 weeks 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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Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

Graduation! With my 2-day final evaluation behind me, I guess this will bring my training diary to an end. Our evaluations were completed at North Little Rock over Tue/Wed. Wed was a full=day and we completed all the tests, including the driving test. Wednesday was spent working through the last of the video content and we had a presentation from a Fleet Manager to explain the workflow process.

On Thu. morning we officially graduated and were given our silver Maverick keychain and the keys to our trucks. The instructors shook our hands, gave us our certificates. We were given our fleet manager's phone number and told to call them for information on the next step. And just like that, I became a company driver for Maverick Transportation.

I phoned Tina, my fleet manager, and she told me my truck was at the Laurinburg, NC terminal. I got a rental car and was getting ready to leave for the 13-hr drive back east, when another Maverick driver flagged me down. Chuck was headed to Charlotte, NC to recover an abandoned truck and had been advised to jump in with me for the ride east. At about 2 p.m, we departed the North Little Rock Campus and made our way east, arriving in Charlotte around 2 a.m. The truck had been left behind a shopping center. Chuck jumped in, examined the truck and found it in decent shape, started it up, and he was gone, headed back to Arkansas to turn in the truck. I continued on to Laurinburg, arriving at 4 am.

The shop manager directed me to Truck 208036 which is a 2020 Freightliner Cascadia with about 260K miles on her. She is an ex-trainer truck which is interesting. Maverick trucks have mid-roof sleepers, except for the trainer trucks which are condos. The truck was covered in a thick layer of dust, as the lot in Laurinburg is gravel and it had been parked for a while. I jumped in, turned the key and...it was dead. Not the greatest start to my career, but a quick jump-start, and she fired right up. I got inside, and saw that the interior was in very good condition and clean. I was so exhausted, I just laid down and had a quick 2-hr power nap.

When I awoke, I found my assigned trailer and found it did not have any equipment on it. The next couple of hours were spent getting my dunnage and tarps. After that I completed my inventory, I picked up a few remaining items and called my Fleet Manager for further instructions. She advised that I could deadhead home for the weekend, or, drive down to Charleston to Nucor Steel and take a load home with me for delivery on Tuesday morning. I told her I would take the load. (might as well jump right in!)

I left Laurinburg at about noon, and my expected ETA showed on my workflow as 3:30 p.m. My first stop was for fuel and truck wash. Unfortunately, the wash bays were very busy, but I was so disgusted with my filthy truck, I decided to wait it out. It took about an hour to get my wash, but after that, I was gleaming in the South Carolina sunshine, headed to Nucor Steel.

Ever notice that as soon as you wash your car, the rain clouds start to form? By the time I got to Charleston, the sky was threatening rain. I arrived in the midst of rush hour, worked my way through construction and found myself lost in the woods/neighborhoods just north of Charleston. Not a great way to start my first trip. I called Chris, who is another Maverick driver who has been on the Nucor account for 5-years. He lives about an hour from the plant and had told me to call him when I got close. Well, I was close, I just couldn't see how I get the 5 miles to plant with all the truck-restricted roads blocking my path. My navigation was primarily the Trucker Path App, and my tablet GPS, and both of them seemed to disagree on my next move. Thankfully, Chris was at home, getting ready to have dinner when I called. He laughed and said he got lost his first time too, and not to worry about it. He instructed me on the proper/legal way to get into the Nucor plant, and within about 20-mins, I was pulling onto the scale at Nucor for the first time.

I was assigned a load of steel beams and my work instructions from Maverick said "no tarp". I breathed a sigh of relief as it was just starting to rain. Unfortunately, when I got the shipper work instructions, it said the load had to be tarped. That seemed strange since Nucor has the steel beams sitting outside, exposed to the weather. I called Chris again to ask what I should do. He said, "sucks to be you", looks like your tarping beams. I got loaded by 7:30 p.m. and then began the adventure of tarping steel beams, in the midst of a downpour that seemed to go on forever. The load required both of my steel tarps and when it was done, I figure I added about 200 lbs to the load in bungees. The tarp job was exhausting and since the steel was wet, I was very slow and cautious when climbing on it. It was also very sharp on the edges. I finally finished the tarping at 11:00 p.m. Yes, it took me about 3-hrs to tarp the load.

Thanks to the rain, I didn't really need a shower, which is good, because there wasn't a shower available. Unfortunately, I also had no water on the truck and I was out of hours. I wondered how I was going to sleep when I was so thirsty, but my exhaustion made my thirst a non-issue. I slept until 5 am and headed for home, arriving at 1 pm. with my very first load. This concludes my training diary. Thanks for all your helpful advice and encouragement along the way! Sincerely, Steve

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Surprising Observation About Maverick Transportation

Maverick has a big presence and does a lot of recruiting in my area. Trucks always look real nice. I've certainly considered them but I want to start out either dry Van or reefer to start.

Nothing wrong with that plan. If you ever get the itch to try flatbed, feel free to hit me up with any questions you might have about Maverick. I'll be happy to share my experiences. All the best to you on your journey.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

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Amazed at how well the gash has healed!

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

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I want to share my rather painful and embarrassing experience, in hopes that it may help someone else who may be tempted to NOT wear those cheap-looking safety glasses that are part of our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). I'm so thankful I had my glasses on when I went through the following experience.

In my second week with my driver-trainer, we were assigned to pick up a steel coil, just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. My trainer is a stickler for following the PPE guidelines and at this shipper, we were required to wear a protective vest, long-sleeves, helmet, gloves, and safety glasses. After successfully getting our coil cradle built, receiving our coil, and securing it, we had just finished tarping it and were preparing to pull out of the loading bay. We needed to get our paperwork from an office that did NOT require PPE, so my trainer took off everything except his reflective vest. It was very hot and I normally would follow his lead. Since we were leaving the loading area and going into the office area, the danger was over right? For some reason (I credit Divine intervention), I kept all of my PPE on. I can't say why I did it, as it makes no sense, but looking back I'm so thankful I did! Before I explain the mechanics of this injury, I have to tell a bit of background.

About 4-months back I injured my left knee. I was doing something really stupid: running on a treadmill that was on an incline after months (OK, years) of not running at all. Two days into my brief running career, my left knee was so swollen I could hardly walk and I was in extreme pain. Since I avoid doctors at all cost, I prayed that my knee would heal on its own. After about 7-8 weeks, I was 90% healed, with pain only when the knee was twisted a certain way. As long as I avoided that one movement, I was fine. I didn't want to delay my trucking adventure, so I went into this training period with a left knee that was still tender and in recovery.

Back to Pittsburgh. My trainer and I (in full PPE) walked to the office and found we had forgotten our load assignment number. I told him I would run back to the truck to get it. I quickly returned to the truck, grabbed the notebook that showed the number, and stepped quickly down from the truck. As I landed on my left foot, something under my boot (a small rock?) twisted my knee in a way that caused a sharp stabbing pain. This caused me to fall to the side as my knee buckled. All 240 lbs of me were falling out of control to my left when my face struck a concrete pillar. The corner of the pillar made direct contact with the left lens of my safety glasses, driving the glasses into my face, causing extreme bruising and a deep gash over my eye. Blood was pouring out of the wound and a truck driver in the next bay quickly came over to assist me. I put pressure on the wound and the bleeding eventually stopped.

I examined the safety glasses and was shocked to see a huge scrape in the plastic lens, directly over where my left eye would be. The glasses were destroyed. Had I not had my safety glasses on, I very likely would have sustained a very serious eye injury. As it is, the picture above was taken 36-hrs later when I finally admitted to my wife that I had suffered an injury. I thank God for protecting me and I'll never again ridicule the cheap-looking safety glasses that we are required to wear as part of the PPE package.

My wound healed perfectly with no medical intervention (thank you Lord!) and I did not miss any work as a result of this injury. Nearly 3-weeks post-injury, the last of the blackness is almost gone and the cut looks like it was sown up by the world's greatest surgeon! You can bet I always am quick to grab my safety glasses every time I get out of the truck to load or unload.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

A Surprising Observation About Maverick Transportation

I'm currently at Maverick's HQ in North Little Rock, AR undergoing my final evaluation tests. If all goes well, my 9-week training adventure will result in my graduation tomorrow, when I will be officially given my keys! I attended my Orientation and Securement Training at Maverick's Madison, IL terminal, so this is my first visit to "the Big House". The grounds and facilities are very impressive and there certainly is no shortage of spotless maroon Freightliners around here!

I'm staying in the student dorms on campus, while some of the other students going through final evals are at the Galloway Inn, a hotel a short distance from the campus.

As I was leaving my dorm room the first day, I asked my roommate if he had the key. I was traveling with my laptop and some other valuables that I normally travel with. My roommate attended this location for his CDL training, and he stayed in the dorms for the duration of his 4-week previous training stint. He told me there are no keys for any of the rooms and they are all left unlocked. I went, "Huh?"

As a former police officer, I have a rather jaded view of humanity and here we are, staying with dozens of complete strangers from all over the country, and our rooms are left unlocked. My first thought was, "These people must be crazy!" It occurred to me that everything is unlocked around here. The new trucks that are sitting outside waiting to be assigned are all unlocked. The classrooms and offices in the training building are all unlocked, and despite my best efforts, I haven't found a locked door on the entire property! So, what's the deal?

I asked about this policy because I thought that certainly, with everything unlocked, theft must be rampant with all the traffic going in and out, and the dozens of students that are constantly coming and going. I was told no, theft is not a problem at all. The policy at Maverick is one where they trust each other and they expect people to behave decently towards one another, and this includes trusting that people will not steal from each other.

I wasn't sure what to make of this policy, but I must admit, that after 3-days here, it has been rather refreshing and has restored some of my faith in humanity. I'm here for just one more day, and I have really enjoyed my stay...and nobody has bothered any of my personal property, despite the fact that for many hours each day, my valuables sit unattended in an unlocked room that dozens of strangers have access to.

If you are interested in my journey with Maverick and how I ended up here as a 57-year-old rookie flatbedder, feel free to jump over to the CDL Training Diaries where my entire journey is listed under the "Old Man Leaves Six-Figure...Psychiatric Evaluation Pending" Diary.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

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From drivers who have YouTube channels, to this forum (and other forums), to truck stops, I have never heard much negativity about Maverick. I take that to mean the company takes care of its drivers. I am always happy when a fellow driver finds a good company for which to work.

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Based on my limited experience, I'm thankful I decided to come to Maverick. I was torn between TMC, Melton, and Maverick, but having gone through the entire recruiting process, the in-house orientation and securement training, and finally the 14-day in-truck training portion, I have zero complaints. Being at Maverick HQ for my final evaluation is a bit intimidating, but everything I've seen so far leads me to believe that Maverick is doing everything in their power to ensure our success as students. Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your support.

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Standing in the stadium, waiting for the grand finale' here, too! Super awesome, Grandpa Steve; Tom says you look too young to be a 'full' Gramps, haha! (Yeah, you do!)

I'm happy you've made the right choice for YOU, indeed! That's huge. Realizing you ARE busy, still just miss ya bouncing in the 'general' discussions every now & again; hopefully soon~!

Best to you, good sir;

~ Anne & Tom ~

Thanks, Anne and Tom. Trying to keep up with all these 20-something aspiring flatbedders has definitely been a challenge! The first few days of throwing chains, working binders/ratchets etc., definitely had me (and my wife) questioning my decision to start the flatbed game at 57! However, since I knew I wanted the challenge and was fascinated by the mechanics of the whole flatbed world, I was motivated to push through. I hope that as I become more proficient, I'll learn tricks and tips along the way to make things a bit easier. I'm sure that just like everything else, it's always going to be most difficult at the beginning. Sometimes I find the young guys glancing at me and I'm sure they're wondering, "What's up with the old guy? What's he doing here?" One thing I've always had in spades (Maverick pun intended) is enthusiasm and motivation. I've always told my boys to walk with purpose...don't shuffle! Look like you've got somewhere to go, even if you're not 100% sure what you'll do when you get there! Whenever an instructor needed a volunteer, I always jumped right up. Enthusiasm and a positive attitude have always served me very well, no matter what I've tackled. Policing, technical training, aviation, and now flatbedding. In my opinion, there's no use being tentative. Might as well jump into the deep end with both feet! I might just be dog-paddling at this point, but I'm thrilled to be in the pool! Thanks again for all your encouragement. I'll jump over into the general discussion forum to share a rather strange observation about Maverick. I'll check in later here to give you the update on my final evaluation that I just completed today.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

Great job Driver!

Thanks G-Town...I appreciate the encouragement!

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

From drivers who have YouTube channels, to this forum (and other forums), to truck stops, I have never heard much negativity about Maverick. I take that to mean the company takes care of its drivers. I am always happy when a fellow driver finds a good company for which to work.

Based on my limited experience, I'm thankful I decided to come to Maverick. I was torn between TMC, Melton, and Maverick, but having gone through the entire recruiting process, the in-house orientation and securement training, and finally the 14-day in-truck training portion, I have zero complaints. Being at Maverick HQ for my final evaluation is a bit intimidating, but everything I've seen so far leads me to believe that Maverick is doing everything in their power to ensure our success as students. Thanks for your comment and I appreciate your support.

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

Your training diary is really great. A lot of people are going to appreciate the effort you put into it. Congratulations on your accomplishment!

Welcome to the world of flatbed!

Thanks, Old School! I appreciate your encouragement and look forward to continuing the journey.

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

Great updates as always. You're going to be fine.

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Thanks, PackRat...I appreciate the encouragement!

Posted:  3 months ago

View Topic:

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

Finished Up With Driver Trainer, and On To Maverick HQ in North Little Rock for Final Evaluation

I am writing tonight from the student dorms at Maverick HQ in North Little Rock AR. I finished up my 14-working days with my driver trainer William on this past Wednesday morning. We were under a load and were redirected to the Maverick terminal at Laurinburg, NC as the truck was due for service. This provided a logical separation point and I obtained a rental car to get me from the terminal to my personal vehicle which was parked 6-hrs away at William's residence. The alternative was to ride out the week with my trainer and return to his house on Friday evening. Since I have only been home for 36-hrs in the past 3 weeks, it seemed logical that since my training period was complete, I would try to get home for a couple of days before departing for my final evaluation in Arkansas. It was bittersweet leaving William's truck. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer and I am so thankful for all the time and effort he expended on my behalf.

Maverick provided a rental vehicle and asked me to be in North Little Rock by Sunday evening and here I am. Tomorrow, everyone is off for Labor Day, so I'm not sure why we had to report on Sunday evening, but no matter, I'm glad to have the 13-hr drive behind me. I left Lynchburg, VA at 4:00 a.m. and arrived at Maverick HQ at about 4:30 p.m.

My final thoughts on the driver trainer portion of this process are as follows:

#1: 14-days seems about right to me. Of course, there is so much that I have yet to learn, I feel I could have stayed with William for 3-months and I'd still have questions. I understand that the purpose of the driver trainer portion of the process is to ensure the new driver operates the vehicle as safely as possible, and understands the basics of truck operations, loading, securing, unloading, time management, and trip planning. I stress that what we are looking for here is strictly the basics, in other words, the bare necessities required in order to safely get the truck and cargo from A to B without an incident. Maverick provides a 24-hr Securement Hotline that allows any driver to call for securement advice at any time. After 14-days, both William and I agreed that it was time to push me out of the nest and that I was ready to embark solo where the real learning will take place.

#2: Maverick has been 100% truthful and professional in their dealings with me, from the very first phone call, until this moment. There have been several times when they have done small things that seem unusual for a large corporate entity. For example, on my trip from Lynchburg, VA to Little Rock, AR, they told me to feel free to stop and get a hotel if I got tired. It is only a 13-hr drive, well within what I consider reasonable for a one-day trip, but they left it up to me to decide if I wanted to split it into 2-days or do it in one. They said they would reimburse up to $100/night for a hotel room. I thought that was generous.

#3: There is a sense of camaraderie that surprised me among the Maverick drivers. Several times, an experienced driver has come alongside and answered a question, or suggested an alternative way of doing something, not as a know-it-all, but rather just to be helpful. The mechanics, the other drivers, and the support staff at the terminals all have made me feel very welcome. There does not appear to be any sort of hazing culture that was very common in law enforcement when experienced officers were dealing with rookies. Perhaps the fact that I'm 57 years old has something to do with it, but most of the experienced drivers I have met have been most helpful and pleasant.

#4: It seems hard to believe that in just 9-weeks, I have gone from never having set foot in a tractor-trailer to operating one through the mountains of West Virginia, in the pouring rain and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Do I feel ready for solo operations? Well, let me put it this way. When I was working on my pilot's license, I noticed that the instructor made the decision as to when I was ready to solo the airplane. I promise you that when the instructor got out and told me to take off alone, every fiber of my being screamed that I wasn't ready. And yet, the experience of my instructor dictated otherwise, and he was right. The solo, while not pretty, went off without a hitch. Three rather hard and awkward (but safe) landings later, and I had newfound confidence that I could fly the airplane alone. Was I proficient? No! Was I skilled, smooth, and experienced? No! But I could safely take off and land without putting myself or anyone else in danger. I feel the same way tonight. Am I proficient as a flatbedder? No! Am I skilled, smooth, and experienced? No! But, I do believe I can safely operate the truck and secure freight without putting myself or others in danger, and I know where I can go for answers when I get stuck. Am I nervous? Absolutely, but in a good kind of way. I want to leverage that nervous energy to enhance my focus and concentration on the multitude of tasks that one day (hopefully) will become second nature to me.

The evaluation process will take place Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. If all goes well, I'll be assigned my truck and trailer on Thursday and head back East to join the team hauling steel from Nucor near Charleston, S.C. I'll check in with the results of my evaluation later this week.

Onward...

Posted:  3 months, 2 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

First 3-Days With Trainer- Summary Well, we just wrapped up our 3rd day hauling freight on Maverick's Atlantic Regional Account, where my trainer has worked for the past two years. He joined Maverick after working in the coal mines of Kentucky for 10+years and speaks very highly of his time with Maverick. He is 31-years old, a family man with two young children, and we have been getting along great. He is very calm, very understanding, and keeps apologizing for having to correct someone who is his elder. I just laugh and tell him to imagine I'm some 21-year-old, although, I admit that's a tough thing to imagine!

I started out Monday, leaving my home early, in heavy rain, for the 5-hour drive to his home, which is in the far southwest corner of Virginia. I arrived at his house at 8:00 a.m. and he was just returning from dropping his son off at school. We got the truck loaded and for the first time I had the opportunity to examine my home for the next 3-weeks. I'll admit, that top bunk reminded me of when I was a kid, and the bed looked about the same size. I piled my gear on my bunk and off we went to pick up our first load of lumber, just outside Knoxville, TN. I was able to observe the "magic" of the automatic tarping machine which did 90% of the work in tarping our 40K lbs of lumber. I was impressed! (I was also relieved that he didn't have to see my terrible tarping skills right of the bat.) I struggled with tarping at Maverick's securement training and I must say that it remains an enigma to me to this day. I hope as I progress in my learning, that I'll become more comfortable and proficient.

I spent the first night of my life in a truck stop at Fort Chiswell, VA, and after the very early start leaving my home in Lynchburg, I was exhausted by the time we shut down. I had simply been observing my trainer all day, so I hadn't even done any driving, but I slept soundly and was surprised at the insulation in the sleeper and how quiet it was, despite the army of trucks coming and going all night. We got up at 3:30 a.m. and proceeded to Camp Hill, PA where we dropped the lumber. On Tuesday I drove for 5 hrs. and it was primarily interstate driving with seemingly endless construction zones as we crossed PA on the way to Pittsburgh. We stopped at a PA Turnpike rest area for the night. Most of the restaurants in the rest areas of PA still appear to be closed, despite Covid being in our rear-view mirror. Not sure what's up with that, but perhaps they are having trouble with staffing? We got up at 3 am and headed for Pittsburgh to pick up our second load of the week, about 36K lbs of steel coils (3). We arrived at the shipper at 5 am this morning. By 7 am we were loaded, secured, tarped, and driving through a heavy rain southbound for Anderson, SC. I drove for about 2 hours and we ran out of time just south of Fancy Gap, VA. We are 3 hrs from our destination and plan to leave in about 4 am in hopes of making a 7-8 am delivery window in South Carolina.

Observations thus far: 1. This part of the country is woefully short of both truck parking and trucker services at the parking locations we do have. 2. Is the entire state of Pennsylvania under construction? 3. Sometimes it seems a truck governed at 65 mph is more of a hazard in 70 mph zones than if it were perhaps allowed to run at the posted speed limit. Thankfully, Maverick trucks are equipped with a "PassSmart" system that allows the drivers 1-hr of 70 mph travel in order to pass. Several times in the hills of West Virginia, our truck was crawling uphill at 40-45 mph, while four-wheelers whizzed by at 80 mph+. The disparity in speed is clearly hazardous. I know fuel economy is king to the mega carriers, but it would seem there could be a middle-of-the-road solution somewhere to help mitigate this hazard. 4. A good trainer is a company's best asset. My trainer, despite being young and only having two years of driving under his belt, is positive, patient, and encouraging. When he corrects, he does so with a sense of humor and in a way that does not demean or belittle the one being corrected. I feel very thankful that I will be able to learn from him for the next 3-weeks. Tomorrow by this time, we should have the coils delivered, and our last load onboard. We are on track to get back to his place sometime Friday and I hope to get home by Friday night to sleep in my own bed. No complaints about my bunk in the truck, but let's just say it is not quite the same experience as being at home.

Until my next update...onward!

Posted:  3 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

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

Maverick Pre-employment and Orientation Training Summary

It is official! Even though I haven't driven a truck since my DMV test in Roanoke, VA, on July 27, yesterday I passed my final securement practical exam and successfully transitioned to the next phase of my training. Today, we will formally participate in what Maverick calls, "Crossing the Bridge", which is a new driver's welcome to Maverick as well as the introduction to the in-truck, on-the-job portion of the training, where we will join a Driver-Trainer for 3-weeks in his/her truck. (Yes, Maverick does have female drivers who, by all accounts, rock the flatbed world!)

This past week was extremely hot and humid, which only exacerbated the elevated stress we were all feeling as we learned to secure flat steel, linear products, palletized freight, steel coils, slitted steel coils, lumber, shiny bar, and tiered freight. We had written tests on securing each type of freight and seemingly endless evaluations that included specific tests on safety regulations at some of Maverick's most important customers. After the classroom securement presentations, we would move to the training bays where our instructor would demonstrate securing the freight we had just been learning about in the classroom. We would then break down the securements, and start from scratch. Each student was required to successfully complete the securement for each variety of freight. As I mentioned earlier, this is a fascinating "art" that I never dreamed even existed. When you stand back and review your handiwork (hopefully it's correct!) and then proceed to tarp the load, there is a feeling of accomplishment that I have rarely experienced in my previous "pre-Maverick" life. Once we successfully demonstrated the correct securement and tarping techniques, it was back to the classroom to take a written test (actually, testing is completed on a Maverick-provided tablet) on that type of freight.

Our final exam included a written exam (on the tablet) and the securement final, which included the examination of six different stations where six types of freight were secured to the flatbed. Our challenge was to identify each of the mistakes in the securements at that station. The six stations were: sheet steel, slitted eye-to-the-front (shotgun) steel coil, coiled steel (slinkys), shiny bar, palletized freight, and linear steel without blocking (gray bar bundles). Each station would have three or four errors, except for one station that was secured correctly. It seems that each of us struggled the most with the perfect station. It happened to be the palletized freight and most of us spent the entire 6-minutes of the allotted time, trying desperately to figure out where the errors were. Of course, there were no errors at that particular station, so it was a relief that I didn't identify any errors at that location.

After successfully completing our final exam, the Maverick Training Dept. was advised that we had successfully completed this phase of our training. Today we will return home for the weekend, before joining our driver-trainer Sunday or Monday, depending on the trainer's schedule. My trainer called immediately after I completed my final exams and we had a very informative chat during which he introduced himself and gave me some tips for packing for next week. My trainer has been driving for Maverick for 2-years and it sounds like I'm his seventh or eighth trainee. He lives about 5 hrs drive west of my hometown, so the commute will be a bit more than the 2-hrs Maverick was hoping for, but it is only for 3-weeks, so it's no big deal.

Another step has been completed and I plan to continue periodic updates once I join William, my driver-trainer. Thanks again to each of you and to all the TruckingTruth moderators who have been such an encouragement to me on my journey. Onward....

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