Profile For Pepper

Pepper's Info

  • Location:
    DFW, TX

  • Driving Status:
    In CDL School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    4 years, 10 months ago

Pepper's Bio

I have traveled all my life. My first moves began when I was less than a year old. My mother must have been a rolling stone, because we never had moss grow under our feet.

I have been on trucks with family since before I was in school. I just have never driven a truck until now.

I will try to diligently keep my log of my process updated.

I am going to be starting training with Celadon Trucking in February of 2015, so I am excited, nervous and a little apprehensive.

Thanks for coming over here to read my page and learn a little about me.

May the Creator of our universe richly bless you and yours.

Pepper

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Posted:  4 years, 3 months ago

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I Graduated Today! Final Test! Celadon Training February 2015, Final Road Test Today!

Well, it has been a while since I have posted on here because I have been busy getting my miles on the road. I have 15,000 miles on me right now, and I took my final test in Laredo, Texas. I PASSED!

Now, I have my CDL, and I have passed my Celadon final test. We are going to be routed to Indiana so that I can complete all of the paperwork that is needed as well as make a decision about what I want to do with myself once I get there. There are a lot of different choices that I can make, and they will go over all of them with me when I am there. The support that I have gotten on this site has been amazing, and there were times that the only thing that was getting me to go to class another day was the warm support and encouragement that I got here.

For all of the people that are thinking about going into training, make sure that you are prepared to do what it takes to remain motivated. The biggest reason that I see people failing is lack of confidence and lack of preparation.

Thanks to all of you,

Kindest Regards,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

I passed!

On Monday, I had the worst ever case of "the nerves". I was trembling and shaking as we were in the classroom. Even though I was orientation and I was happy to be there, all I could think about was that alley dock, which we also call a "See-side" here. I watched videos, talked to drivers on the yard, and I did everything that I could do in order to become more comfortable with it before the test. There was a chance that I would end up taking the test on Monday, which I was not mentally ready for.

I was expecting to take the test in the afternoon on Tuesday, as that is typically when other drivers in the Orientation had been taking the exam. That was not to be. In the morning, the examiner came and got me. I gave the best pre-trip inspection that has ever been done. Seriously, I was even covering things that were not on the test. The examiner laughed and said "I could say don't be nervous, but right now, that would be like telling you not to breathe!" We both laughed and I went in the cab and conducted the air brake test. We went on the raod, I scratched gears a couple of times, and then we pulled into the yard. He said "Ready to do the see-side?" I said yes, excited now that I was being allowed to do it, because that meant that I had passed everything up until then. As I was performing the maneuver, several trucks started going past my trailer. My examiner got out and talked to them, explaining that they saw me backing up, so please be courteous!

I made it into the slot, and I was so happy when I did. I just sat there in the seat, trembling. All I could think about was "Well, girl, you gave it your best. No matter what the report says, you can honestly say that you gave it your best effort. "

We walked upstairs, not a word being said between us. I was so nervous. There was no one that I knew out on the yard right then, which I was grateful for. He handed over the paperwork to the lady in the office and she called me in. "You'll need to sign here, please." She said, holding out the longed for blue and white card. There it was. I was done. I was literally drenched in my own sweat, which I realized then.

There are not enough thank you's that I can issue for all of the kindness and support that I have gotten from this site.

At this point, I have now completed the orientation videos and I am waiting for my status to be changed to "hired". For some people, that has happened very quickly, for others, it has taken several days. I now have my fuel card with my photo and my blue and white card. I am excited and delighted. I will continue to update this until I complete my office work, and then I will create a new diary for my OTR training.

So many thanks, hugs and prayers of blessing to you all!!!!

Kindest Regards,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Pepper

Before you do your road test, close your eyes and visualize the test in your head and guide your hands and feet through the course while sitting in a chair. Act like your are on the course. Slow your breathing down and just do the test. Don't think to much about it. Just guide yourself through it. Stay calm and you will succeed!

Thanks! I will try this for sure.

Hugs,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Wow! What a week!

The bad weather and rainstorms that have been in the area have really affected this week. I have not had the time on the range that I would have liked, the week is over though, so what I got is what I got. On Friday, I had a meltdown on the range. I just burst into tears with the frustration that I have been feeling. I was embarrassed afterwards, but, I was really frustrated about not being able to do the backing maneuver.

Monday, I am supposed to go to orientation. On Tuesday, I will take my Celadon driving exam. The only way that I am going to pass this test is if God puts his hand on the wheel and gets me through it. I am really praying that will happen. Otherwise, on Tuesday, I will be done unless they decide to give me 2 extra days on the range to attempt to get the backing down. (Not straight backing, but the backing between two trailers. Here at Celadon, it is called a see-side)

I cannot thank you all enough for your kind words of support. Seriously, when I have had low days, I have come back here to read the words of encouragement to myself and others and that has been a huge lifter of my mood.

Today, I went with one of my classmates to Mexico, where I got one of my favorites, Mango ice cream. It was so good, and only a dollar! From there, we went to do a little shopping for souvenirs for her to take home to her family. Of course, there are so many fun things to do over there, but it was also very hot and we were only over there for a few hours.

I am going to use the remaining time tomorrow after church to look at some videos on YouTube to see if that will help me.

For the person that asked about the rental truck, I think that all of the places are the same deal, just find the one that offers the best price and location for your needs.

Everyone, have a blessed and prosperous week. I will let you all know how I do this week on my test, but it may not be Tuesday when I update.

Many Hugs,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

In Laredo right now. The bus ride was a lot of fun because a former classmate was on the bus with me! So passing the time together sharing food and stories was a lot of fun. Today I got to go to Mass, I got to get my grocery shopping done and I got to be rested. In the plaza downtown, I met this wonderful lady named Esmeralda. For all of you that are the praying sort, pray for her. She is at rock bottom financially, but she was a source of kindness and strength to me. We talked, her in broken English and I in broken Spanish about today being Mother's day in Mexico and the United States. She told me sweet anecdotes about her daughter. We talked a little about this and that. A friend came and gave her some change, then they came with a sandwich and a drink for her. How wonderful is what happened next-she offered to share her sandwich with me. The kindness of strangers. I hope that I get to see her again and that she is doing well.

I got to listen to beautiful music today, enjoy beautiful weather and see everything outside and it was a perfect day. I am looking forward to being in school tomorrow.

My son surprised me with a call for Mother's Day. It was a balm to my soul. I got a St. Jude's Medallion today. Pretty awesome. The church gave all of the mothers a little pin today for Mother's Day. That was awesome, too! There were beautiful mangoes in the store, I got some, and some beautiful brown eggs to make my breakfast with. Life is a blessing and I am happy to have some of the wonder that is my life! I made a fruit salad a little while ago, and now I am off to have a bath. What a wonder this day was!

Keep me in your prayers because I am not done with school just yet.

So many hugs and blessings to you all. I would write more but I am very tired.

Hugs,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Congratulations Pepper for hanging in there! If you set your mind to do something that you want to achieve, then you can achieve it. Let me know if you need any help in Laredo. I have a lot of fire fighter friends in Laredo that would reach out to assist you if you need it. All I have to do is make a phone call.

Good luck. I'll be getting my training in soon and looking toward Schneider.

Dearest Joe,

Thanks for the kind offer of support, I may take you up on it!

Many Hugs,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Thank you for your warm and thoughtful replies! I am now in the process of getting everything packed to take down with me. I will be leaving Saturday afternoon and arriving Sunday in the wee hours of the morning, per my request so that I do not fall and stumble about on Monday. I will be having a nice and quiet Mother's Day. (That is what I am telling myself, not that I will be alone and sad, but instead, that it is a nice and quiet Mother's Day by which I can have some time to prepare better to be the best student that there is for the refresher course that I am going to be taking. )

I have been enrolled in the 5 day refresher course, and after that, I will have a lovely weekend, and finally, a 2 day orientation course. It is my understanding that it is a lot of paperwork and watching videos that you are quizzed on. I have been advised by students ahead of me to take notes during this video watching, especially during the Haz-Mat section.

Sometime during the orientation process, I will be tested via a road test by an evaluator from Celadon to make sure that I am road ready. I pray that I will do well with them. Once I pass that, I will complete my orientation and then be released to wait for a trainer. They ask you all sorts of questions about what you would like in a trainer in order to attempt and get you the best match since you will be on the road for a month. I do not care the gender of the trainer. I only care that they don't smoke cigarettes. If they smoke e-cigs, I am fine with that, since I use them as well, but with asthma, I cannot be around a regular smoker, it tears me up and I suffer greatly. If a trainer cannot be brought down to me in a reasonable amount of time, then I will be sent to either Waxahachie, which is south of Dallas, or I will be sent to Indianapolis. I pray very earnestly that I will be able to meet with my trainer in Texas. Another bus ride would really be unpleasant, especially one from Laredo, Texas to Indianapolis.

When I am with my trainer, I will get my 10,000 miles in, then we will team until they can get us to where I will pick up my truck. That is very exciting for me. Celadon has recently changed their mind about pets, so I will be able to have my dear little dog on the truck with me.

Thank you all, so many of you for being lamps of encouragement to me. I appreciate it more than you can know. You have been the balm that soothed my soul at times and I am completely grateful.

Peace, Hugs and Thanks,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 5 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

I have been going through a lot, and I have wanted to go here and update my Celadon training, but I did not know where to start at. It was all so complicated.

One week before my test, one of the trainers took me aside and told me that if I did not pass the driving test in a week, I would be sent home, even though at that point, I had two re-takes left. Those words were like an acid to my heart and soul. They sat there, fermenting and ruminating in my thoughts at all times. I became so discouraged that I was not a model driver, student, friend, or Christian. I was angry at myself, but I could not shake it.

I had been debating leaving to go home and have a break, but I did not want to just quit. I talked with the head of the program and I asked her "If I went home to take the test, paying for it out of my own pocket, would I still be welcomed back at Celadon?" She told me that if I passed the test, I would still be welcomed/allowed back. The weekend before my test, something inside me "snapped". I was genuinely broken. I had not seen friends or family from home in over two months, I was completely weary of the Mexican food for every meal except breakfast and I just could find no happiness or joy in my heart right then. I walked into my room and told my new roommate that I was going to pack and go home. Many good people that were my fellow students begged me to stay, but I was resolute and happy about the mere thought of going home. I was getting ready to call Greyhound and get a ticket home when there was a knock on the door. It was one of my classmates, coming to tell me goodbye. He asked how I was getting home and I told him that I was going to be taking the greyhound. His wife was there, and she offered to give me a ride home with her in the car. I was completely grateful about that, and I accepted. Less than 2 hours later, I was in her car, headed home! 8 hours later, I was in my room, grateful and blessed to be sitting there, counting the blessings of the day. I was asleep in less than 15 minutes, where I slept for 19 hours, not even waking one single time.

On Sunday night, I dutifully called and let the trainers and the school know via voice mail where I was and what happened. I promised that as soon as I passed, I would call them and schedule a date to come back. They all called me back. They seemed really disappointed, but I promised and promised that I would be back. I could hear the skepticism in their tone, but they were kind.

I called and scheduled a truck and a driver. The soonest that they had was May 1st. I took it. I went the night before and we practiced the route. On May 1st, I was one of the last people to take the test with the truck company that I rented from, which was good so that I could get a much needed nap. I was very prayer-filled the whole week before my test, the night before when we were driving and the day of the test. During my nap, I slept really well, woke up feeling refreshed, and I walked over to where my fellow testers were waiting. Finally, it was my turn. I got in the truck, did the drive and PASSED with a 93! I was over the moon happy. I then called some of the people at Celadon to tell them. I was told to call my recruiter and tell her the good news and get scheduled to come back down to Laredo or up to Indianapolis. I really don't want to go to Indianapolis, but instead want to go to Laredo as I have heard some scary stories about the Indianapolis location. When I called, I was told that my recruiter was already gone for the day, and that I would have to call back on Monday. I made it! I passed!

Thank all of you for your kind words and support. I have not updated on here because I did not know what to say and to be honest, I was very embarrassed about the self imposed mental block that I placed on myself.

Of course, all of the praise and thanks goes to God, he and all of the angels and the saints are what brought me through this! My family is very happy, my friends in real life and all of you online are also owed a huge debt of thanks!

Many Hugs,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Sounds like you are having a good time, keep it up!

Thanks, Richard. I have my good days and bad days. My CDL test was on Tuesday. I failed, but I am rescheduled. Keeping my chin up and doing the best I can.

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Celadon Laredo Texas 2015, What to bring and not to bring with you. Training Notes.

When I told some of my classmates that I was blogging on here, I was told that they have some friends and family who are thinking of coming, so could I do a run down of the basics.

Here are the basic facts about the program right now, and the basic facts about the hotel.

Hotel. You will most likely be staying at the Family Garden Inn in Laredo. Complementary breakfast is included 7 days a week. Breakfast is cold cereals, toast, waffles, coffee juice. Breakfast during the week is 6-8AM. Breakfast on the weekends is 8am-10am. You might get tired of it, but remember that it is free.

The rooms are clean. The heat and A/C run great. You will have a roommate. Even if you don't have one at first, you will end up with a roommate. Keep the room clean and your stuff on your side of the room. Maid service for the room is once a week. Towel replacement and trash bag replacement is once a day. All Celadon employees have to be in their room at 10pm. No loitering out after that because we tend to get loud and that disrupts the other guests from having good rest.

Shuttle service from the hotel. There are 3 shuttles that leave in the morning. You will have to sign up for the one you want in the morning the week before on Saturday when you go to get your meal tray. (I will explain that in a minute) Don't be late for the shuttle. The shuttle arrives in the afternoon and you board on a first come/first serve method.

Training. First day of training, you will do paperwork, go to the Dr. and get your DOT physical and come back to go over your contract. If you are on any medicine, whether prescription or over the counter, bring it with you. If you are on any medicine for ADD/ADHD, you may want to get a note from your doctor saying it will not affect your ability to drive. If you have high blood pressure, make sure that the medicine that you are taking is working well. If you are too high, you will be sent home. No exceptions. If you are on drugs, have diabetes and certain other conditions, you will be sent home. Don't come down if you can't pass the physical.

Permit Tests. Study here. Study in your CDL manual. You will have to pass all 5 permit tests before you are allowed to get on the range. Don't pass and you will go home.

Range days. The first few days after you pass, you will be on the driving range. There, you will learn stops and starts. You will learn the basic workings of the truck and all sorts of things like that.

Road and Range. On day 2 or 3, you will begin to split your days and spend half your days on the road, and half your days on the range. They are both good, for different reasons. Learn everything that you can in both. Don't worry about messing up. It happens.

Meals. In school, you will eat lunch there, and it is free. If you don't like Mexican food, they also offer hamburgers. Salad is given at lunch for those who want it. Drink choices are sodas and water.

You also get meals to take to the hotel with you for dinner. You will order them at the lunch counter. Weekend meals are ordered in the classroom and delivered to the hotel lobby at noon and 5pm. You will pick them up there. If you are not going to be there at that time, they will hold the meals until 11pm, and then they discard them.

What to bring with you.

Laundry supplies.

Quarters for the washer and dryer.

At least 5 changes of clothes you can layer up and down.

Toiletries.

Pens.

Asprin/Aleve/Tylenol (Some days, you will need it!)

Medications.

At least 2 pairs of shoes.

There is no coffee maker in the rooms, but the office has free coffee 24 hours a day.

If you have any questions, ask and I will answer them as best I can! :)

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 6 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Glad to see things are looking up for you Pepper. My fiance and I just got accepted to the school in Laredo and will be attending starting April 13th. I do have question though, for you or anyone:

Do you go OTR for CDL training, or is it all on site? Just curious to know how much cash to bring on hand to the school. I know we have the 10km company training wit a trainer and then we will be able to team together.

If you are a new student, you will be in classroom for the first week while you get your permits test completed. Then, you will go on the range for the first few days. After that, you will split your days between range and road. Current time from start to stop (if you pass all of the permit tests on the first go) is about a month.

After that, you go through orientation, which is about a week or so. After that, you will be matched with a trainer. I absolutely would bring money. Although meals are provided at school and at the hotel, you will quickly grow weary of Mexican food. Additionally, you will need money for laundry ($2.00 to wash, $1.00 to dry for each 30 minutes)

You will need money for detergent, toiletries, snacks, cigarettes if you smoke, etc.

If you are driving down, bring a coffee maker. The hotel does not have them. Bring coffee for said coffee maker. Coffee cups as well.

Here are some things I have purchased down here that I wish I would have brought from home:

Bandannas. The sun down here is pretty intense, but more importantly, the dust on the range will have you coughing and wheezing.

Sunblock. Don't think you will need it? Enjoy the sunburn. You will be standing outside on the range between your turn driving for 4 hours of the day.

Gloves. You will be messing around on stuff on the truck, and you will need them.

Boots. I brought one pair, but I wish that I had brought another as well for the ability to rotate between them every other day.

Long shorts. You can wear shorts, so long as they are not Daisy Dukes. Anything that ends around knee length is acceptable.

There is a Wal-Mart and a dollar store within a 5 minute walk from here. An H-E-B grocery store is a short shuttle ride away. You have a mini refrigerator in your room.

A lot of people have been purchasing vitamins and aspirin at the store. If you take those or any other medications, bring enough to get you through about 2 months of taking them.

There is a beautiful swimming pool, 2 hot tubs and 2 cold tubs. Bring your swimming stuff because it is really awesome!

Most everyone here is really nice and friendly. There are exceptions, of course, but we are a very nice and good group of people, the instructors are really nice as well, and I am really lucky to be here. I know that you and your fiance will do well as long as you study your CDL manual now, take the tests on this website now and learn the pre-trip and the 4 step now. That will make everything a lot easier!

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Pre trip at Celedon

Here in Laredo, we get a pre-trip handout.

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

TGIF!

What a week! We lost another instructor on Friday, but we got a new one as well earlier in the week. I have not worked with our new instructor, yet, but we are all sort of shell shocked at losing another instructor. The week has been really just "wow". Our driving time has been cut, has gone up and gone down, but I am still pushing through.

I am still having issues with my shifting, but I am convinced that if I were to have a truck alone for a couple of hours, I would get it. We can't always get what we want, so I will keep on shuffling on.

I was sick in class on Wednesday, so I didn't get to drive, but I did get to observe and it was AWESOME to see some of the people in action, doing their thing and getting it all together to get their CDL.

One of my favorite people took their CDL test this week and they did not pass, which was really sad. She was really discouraged, but now she seems to be pulling herself up by her bootstraps and doing what it takes to get ready for her test, which is scheduled for the middle of April. My test is on the 7th. I went to the dollar store, got a calendar and counted off the days until my test. Each day, I will write in the calendar what I mastered and what I need to work on so that I have a goal and success place I can look at and make sure that I am meeting those goals. I think that will help me a good deal.

Thank each and every one of you for your support, guidance, friendship and everything. I could not have made it this far without the site, the encouragement and everything else. I know that I will get it, it is just taking me a little longer than most. That's okay.

On the campus today, a lady crossed over to us and spoke to the ladies that were waiting to go to the range. She said "Look. I know it is hard. I know that it is tedious some days. Don't give up on yourself. You are doing this for you. You are doing this for your life, your future and your ability to bring home a good paycheck. If you can be patient, you can be successful." That made me feel so good, although at first, I was sort of just listening to her. The message is sinking in. The words of encouragement are getting into my brain. I will not give up!

All my best hugs!

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Tuesday.

Well, today was a hard day, we did city driving. Well, I was super happy yesterday, but today I got the gears worked out of me. I did not give up, I did not quit, but I sure worked for it. At the beginning, driving in the rain, in the city was really frustrating, but I just kept at it. I am sure envious of the people who are just getting it. Everyone keeps telling me to relax, that I am "too nervous", but that only makes me more nervous. That's okay. I know that they are trying to be helpful. I will keep plugging away until I get it nailed! :)

Last week and this week, the people who I have made good friends with are taking their road tests and getting things progressing towards their careers. I am really happy for them and I wish them the best. I am saying goodbye to my friends, but only after we exchange telephone numbers.

One of my classmates who was my first "neighbor" when I got here took his CDL yesterday and he did not pass the test. He was really devastated and today he asked the instructors if he could take today off. I hope that he does get the rest he needs, and I also hope that he does not give up.

Another lady, who I only got to know for a short while was sent home yesterday because she cannot pass her physical. She was a really sweet, down to earth lady and I am sure that she will do well in whatever she chooses to do. There was a driver a few weeks ago who was sent home because of his high blood pressure. He came back this week and he passed his physical today, so I was super happy for him and I look forward to having time in class with him. Others have been coming in with huge smiling faces and I am so happy and excited for them all.

Tomorrow would have been the day that I was to take my CDL test, but as I saw today, I am not ready for it yet. Hopefully, the time that I am still here will allow me to get the skills that I need to nail the CDL and then the Celadon road test.

All the best,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Good for you Pepper sounds like things are really starting to click.

Thanks, Brian, I think that they finally are, too! :)

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

What a wow week last week was. Really busy!

I was struggling with my gears, and this past week was really hard. On Friday, I told my trainer when he suggested I switch driving early with someone, "I am not getting up from here. I don't care if I grind it 'til I find it, I don't care if I bawl like a calf looking for her mother, I am going to nail this thing if it kills me." He said "Okay. Let's see how that works out for you. Let's get this thing nailed."

I said "awesome." (Even though I didn't feel awesome.) Then I did it. I fought it out with that darn shifter. All the way from 1st to 8th, I scratched. He didn't say anything. Then I smoothed out. Then I scratched between 8th down to 1st until I started floating gears. Nailed it good enough for as hard as I was trying. I was all "tears going down my face", but I did not give up. Hell, no. I have worked too hard to get to that point, and I knew it was on the edge of "clicking" for me. My time ran out, and we had to switch. This weekend, I had a great weekend.

Today, the beginning of my 5th week, I got to go out on the road. Got in the drivers' seat, adjusted everything, made a couple of jokes about hoping that my gearing was getting better. Then I drove. I drove on the little service road that we drive on. Then, my instructor saw me dropping gears in place and he said "Go ahead and get on the highway up there on the ramp." My heart was in my throat, but I put on my turn signal and merged with traffic. Shuffling gears, not scratching a single one on the up. I felt so good. My teacher said "Damn, girl! Where have you BEEN?" I was smiling from ear to ear so hard my cheeks still are sore. He said to not go past the speed limit. I laughed (yep, I laughed!) because with the governor, there was no way that we were going to come anywhere close to the speed limit of 75, and we even chatted. Yes. I was talking and driving and looking at stuff and taking it all in. It was AWESOME!!!!!! I was on the highway, y'all! (I-35-it's on maps and has exits and everything!)

I DID scratch once. Downshifting, I was coming from 9th to 8th, and I scratched. I gave it some fuel and guided her right into gear.

My teacher looked at me and said "Excellent work!" I have worked so hard towards this day!!!!! My instructor was SO NICE. When I got done with my turn driving, I smiled so big and I said "So. How'd I do?" He said "You did great! That is a huge improvement from what it was like the last time we were in the truck together." I was just beaming.

We came back to the yard with someone else driving, and I got off that truck walking on a cloud. I was SO happy! Now, I hope I can keep up the momentum!

Hugs and Hugs!

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Week Four, Celadon. Laredo, Texas March, 2015

Sorry that I have not been on here, I have been super busy.

Anyway, last week was really busy. Two of our four road and range instructors are no longer with us as of Friday. So, now, everything is a bit cramped and pushed as we all have to share the time between the two remaining instructors and the classroom instructor.

I got my progress evaluation, and my CDL date has been moved back from the 18th, which is next Wednesday, to the 7th, which is (unfortunately) the next test date that was available with the Laredo test center. I was a lot sad and grumpy about that, but I am okay with it now.

I am doing a lot better with my gears in terms of shifting, but I am not anywhere near flawless. The tip from y'all of not dropping the clutch to the floor has been really helpful.

New people are coming and going, and a lot of refreshers who are here for a short time come and go. It is exciting to see them, because I know that one day, I will be up and down the road like they are!

The weather here continues to be fickle, but that is okay. There is a Goodwill across the highway that is walking distance, and I have made good use of them for my "fashion needs!" (LOL)

Anyway, I have to go for now, I have 10 minutes to go and get breakfast and then get ready for school.

Hugs!

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Week Three With Celadon, Laredo, Texas, March 2015

Errol,

Thanks for the warm words of encouragement!

What a week this has been down here. I would have updated this entry, but I simply did not have time. By the time that we would get home in the evenings, get dinner, have a shower, it was time to go to bed! I am sticking by my statement here to people that it is better to get 8 hours of sleep for yourself rather than try to cram information in. It won't stick as well.

We have had unseasonably cold weather for down here. Today, it was one of the nicest days that we have had weather-wise, and everyone was really grateful for the break from the dreary cold that we have been experiencing.

It was a long week. The weather is really serving to affect our spirits, and then the week ended just in time.

I don't know what the coming week will bring, but I know that I am finally learning shifting/gearing patterns, and that is a huge blessing for me. I was getting worried about it. I am now officially less than 2 weeks away from my DPS test, and I will find out on Monday if the instructors feel that I am ready. (I expressed doubts and concern because if I am not ready, then I don't want to go out and take a test if I am going to fail it.) Parallel parking is still proving to be a huge challenge to me, but I am convinced that I will get it licked with proper training and time to perform the maneuver on the range.

The range is nice, it is where empties are stored for Celadon and their Mexico division, Jaguar. Because of that, as we are practicing our shifting up and down, we have to work around trailers, just like we would have to do in real life if we were hunting a trailer. A couple of us in my class have decided to give one another challenges, like assigning trailer numbers to find as we are grinding and finding gears. Hunting down a trailer can be a challenge, I have discovered.

The range is caliche, which is a mixture of rocks, gravel, sand and dirt. I was on "the track" as we call part of the range, happily bouncing around in 6th gear when one of the "backers" pulled out into my space. I was doing 15 miles per hour, and I had to do some really rapid downshifting while I was in a bobtail. I was so happy that I remembered how to downshift, I was grateful that it was only 15 mph, and I was thrilled that although I was scared when it was happening, no one except me knew that it happened! I know that 15 MPH seems slow, but on that bobtail right then, it seemed like 10,000,000 mph! But, now I know how to do that, I know now from personal experience how hard it is to stop a bobtail, and I know that my clutch IS my friend! I really feel good about this happening, to be honest, because now the steps are permanently engraved on some brain cells!

I wish I had more to report, but that is all I have for now.

Hugs,

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Week Three With Celadon, Laredo, Texas, March 2015

Day One

I went to the range this morning to go over my backing and my parallel parking. Straight backing, I thought I was doing pretty well until the trainer got up in the truck with me. I could not remember how to do anything! I hate that I got her and myself so frustrated. It was pretty miserable weather outside, and we were pretty miserable inside the cab, too.

After I did straight backing alone for a half hour, I went over to the parallel part of the range. You would have thought that I had Alzheimer's disease. I could not remember how to set the truck up from Friday. My instructor was really, really frustrated with me. I was pretty frustrated with me as well. I felt pretty stupid and I killed several innocent traffic cones. The same trainer was there and she said she was very, very frustrated with my progress. I was and am, too.

We got released from the trucks and had lunch----Finally. I felt like it was a gift from the gods. It didn't even matter what was served, I was glad to be out of the wet, the cold and the misery that I was feeling.

After lunch, we went out on the road. There were two drivers I was paired with, along with a different instructor that were all in the truck with me. The other two drivers are former CDL holders, and the first guy, his driving was beautiful to watch. The gears went beautifully up and down, and I really enjoyed being with him. The second driver was not feeling too well, and it was reflected in his driving. Then, there was me. Queen Graceless. I could not find a gear. I could not remember the shifting pattern. I could not get the clutch right. I could not remember to accelerate properly to gear down. It was really, really frustrating. We passed an 18 wheeler going the other way on the 2 lane road we were on and I scooted the truck and trailer as far over to the right as I could while staying on the road so that we didn't "swap paint". Success, finally, for me! I felt triumphant over such a little thing, but at that moment, I would have accepted the successful use of an ink pen as a source of encouragement!

I managed to get up to 50MPH on the access road in misting rain. (Speed limit 55). I felt really good about it, but I asked the instructor for my score when I got down from the truck today. Out of a possible 5, with 5 being the best, I made a 1. That's about my rating for the whole day, too. I thought that I would be getting better with time, but that does not seem to be the case. My test is on the 18th. I better somehow pick up the pace and get to learning or else I am going to fail my CDL exam. What I wouldn't give for a hug and a chance to get all of this knowledge knocked into my brain right now.

More later.

Pepper

Posted:  4 years, 7 months ago

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Week Two With Celadon, Laredo Texas February 2015

Tap the clutch twice and don't use the full travel unless stopping. If you push the clutch in too far you start to engage the clutch brake and will grind gears. Just takes practice.

Thanks! I will keep that in mind!

Hugs,

Pepper

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