Profile For Richard G.

Richard G.'s Info

  • Location:
    Gadsden, AL

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 5 months ago

Richard G.'s Bio

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Posted:  1 year, 12 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Well its been a year, so i thought it might be time for an update.

After the debacle that was my driving school, I went to work for Roehl, driving flatbed. My goal was to drive flatbed for 6 months and then move to van.

Well, I'm no longer with Roehl. Oh i did put in a year with them and i did stay with flatbed for the entire year. Guess i wasn't too old after all,

Right now, I'm taking two weeks off before starting with a smaller flatbed company, in my state.

I didn't leave Roehl because they are a bad company, in fact they are a great company to drive for...especially if you are just starting out. I left Roehl because they just weren't a good fit for me, right now in my life.

This is something i wasn't aware of just starting out, that a company has to fit you as well as you fit them. I will always be grateful for them. I drove A LOT of miles for them and in return, they paid me really good money. Its just time for me to be with a company closer to home.

But i will say, at first...starting out in flatbed was TOUGH, but once you build up your "flatbed muscles" it gets a lot easier. Now, i can't picture myself doing anything else. Plus, i really dig the 48 ft trailer lol.

I know that i have only been driving for a year, but there is a piece of advice i can give to those just starting out. Put in a year at that first company. Tough it out, there just isn't a perfect company out there. You put in that first year and your options are just that greater.

Posted:  3 years ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

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I will start school in Gadsden, Al for Caledon on the 26th of this month. I will do a daily post about it here, in case anyone is interested in it.

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Hello I have My Alabama CDL Permit already with HazMat,Tanker and Doubles/Triples I just need My Passport and TWIC Card? Will That help me any already having them?

To be honest, i don't know. I had all that before I started, but I had to retake all the tests anyway. They required it.

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

Congratulations!!!!

Posted:  3 years, 1 month ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Well, to put it short... I'm not with Celadon\Osborn. After all the crap I mentioned earlier, I never heard back from my recruiter or anyone from the company again. I waited for two weeks, even tried contacting them myself, but never heard back. So, I started putting on applications. I began hearing back from so many, that I decided to do something unorthodox. I went down to the local truck stop and I talked to drivers and got their opinion on the companies I was interested in. Keep in mind that they are human and can be very biased, but if you have common sense, you can get an idea of the landscape.

After doing that, I decided to go with Roehl. I went to their orientation, rode with a trainer, and now I have my own truck and have been happy ever since. I ended up going with the flatbed division, which I will do for six months then I will switch to van. I'm not a young man after all lol.

For those that are thinking about going to a Celadon school, please keep this in mind. You will have to sign a contract that states that you will drive for them for 120,000 miles at 27 cents a mile. That is not good at all. There are plenty of reputable companies out there that will pay you better. Don't go by what the recruiter tells you, expect to be lied to. Get out there and talk to actual drivers. At a truck stop, you will find drivers for many, many companies and most are happy to help. They are a valuable resource.

There is a fit out there for everyone, so don't rush.

As a side note, before I started putting in applications elsewhere, an instructor at the Celadon school told me that they aren't going after the students that leave for other companies, to pay back the tuition. Just some food for thought.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

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

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Pre trip at Celedon

I don't know how things are in Indy, but down here we didn't get instruction on anything that has to do with pretrip or backing. We got a black and white handout for the pretrip and we had to teach ourselves the backing. There are some students that will help you, but the instructors just sit in their personal vehicles.

Posted:  3 years, 2 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Well, I finally graduated and received my CDL on this past Wednsday. I started way back in Jan. and what was supposed to be a 4 week school turned into almost 12 weeks.

I must say, I can't recommend this school to anyone. I'm not sure how the other 7 Celadon school are run, but this one in Gadsden wasn't a great experience. This is probably one of the most unorganized institutions I have even attended. Having driven a truck before in the Navy, even though it was almost 2 decades ago, I was prepared. The range instructors felt that I was ready to test by my second week, pretty much because it took a week for me to get the feel for a truck again. But I wasn't able to test, because everyone in the classes before me kept failing their tests and for some reason, they wouldn't move me up....they kept pushing my test date back. Just to give you an example of this, I tested and passed on my first try on April 1st. On the day after, they were 18 people testing in the two days after me, that have been there since October of 2014. Most are on their 4th or 5th attempts.

That doesn't count the fights between students that had to be broken up, which there was several. One boy was so severally beaten that he couldn't walk. So, he was sent home after a brief visit to a "doc in the box", the same day. The school wouldn't even buy him crutches. Throughout my tenure at this school, there was several class meetings about the behavior of the students. Which included, breaking into vending machines at the motels, smoking in the rooms which wasn't permitted, burns on the carpets and beds of the rooms, noise complaints from parties, students disappearing for days at a time, students getting into shouting matches with instructors, etc.

I know for a fact that there were students who were failling their tests on purpose, because they were bragging about it. They were on a paid vacation.

For the entire time I was at the school, you had a choice when you graduated. You can choose to drive for Celadon or drive for Osborn, which is headquartered here in Gadsden. If you decided to go with Celadon, you had to choice of being sent to Indy a few days after graduation or being sent home for a week, before being shipped out. If you chose to drive for Osborn, all the orientation and training will be out of the headquaters here in Gadsden. Well, while I was testing on the 1st, they anounced a new policy. All students who pass and graduate will be put on a bus the next day for Indy. All orientation and training will be down out of there, regardless of who you drive for. Because I was testing at a site 2 hours away from the school and I didn't get back until almost 6 pm, I didn't find out about this policy change until the next day. The same day I was supossed to ship out. I was supposed to go to the DMV an hour away, get my CDL, drive back, straight to the bus station and leave for 2 months. Because I didn't find out until the next day, when I arrived at the school, I had nothing packed...lol. Now, I was not very happy about this because I spent 12 weeks with the understanding that I would be driving for Osborn and everything will be done out of here. Half a day isn't enough time to prepare oneself for a two month trip. Not to mention that I have a wife and family that I have to prepare for me being gone. My oldest has MS and my wife has diabetes, so there is quite a bit for me to do before I'm able to be shipped out. When I explained this, I was basically told, tough...you have to go. So, while at the DMV, I called my recruiter and she told me that I didn't have to leave that day...that I could choose the day I wanted to leave.

Now, this were things get crazy....lol. I am set to leave this upcoming week. I get told yesterday that my recruiter was chewed out by the director and that I have to leave that day. I email my recruiter, apologizing to her that she got her butt chewed and I asked her for a copy of my contract. She replies, telling me that she wasn't chewed out by anyone for anything and I'm still leaving this coming week. So, my wife and I go to the school to get a copy of my contract and is met in the parking lot by the lead range instructor. He tells us that the "school headmistress" is in Atlanta picking up the person who is taking over the orientation for the graduates going with Oborne, upstairs. He was pointing the upper floor of the Osborn headquarters. Even we were told we have to go to Indy for that. So, I don't know whats going on.

All that being said, I'm thrilled that I have my CDL!!!

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Day 7

Back to pre-trip...and I was able to get through most of it without much problem. I got the bright idea on my first go around on the truck to take pictures, so that I can work on my pre-trip at home. We will be using the same truck on our actual testing, so groovy.

Tomorrow, it's back to straight line backing...practice makes perfect. I think I was have my instructor check me on my straight line backing on Friday, so I can move on to something else. Also, if I feel comfortable, I will have him check me on my pre-trip on Thursday...but that is not set in stone. I want to be sure I have it first.

All in all, I'm very happy with my experiences here. They really allow you to move at your own pace and want you to feel confident before you move on to something else. Jay, the classroom instructor, tried to teach us about the CSA and the violations....all I can say is WTF! Big Brother at it again...lol.

Well, I'm going to go over my pre-trip tonight...sleep well y'all.

Until tomorrow.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Celadon School

Hey...I'm at the Celadon school here in Gadsden, Alabama. The best thing you can do is just stay calm. Things are going to seem rushed and you will feel out of control. But if you keep your head on straight, you will do just fine. The Celadon schools are really good and they want you to graduate, just listen to them and you will be on the road before you know. it.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Day 6

Spent the half of the day in the classroom going over the paper logs, CSA points, and the violations that give them to you. After lunch, we went to the range and I started on my straight line backing.

I'm going to tell you something. When the instructor gives you those keys, you climb in that truck for the first time, and start it up...you just want to start man grunting. tim allen grunt gif

Had all the power I needed.

Anywho, the first time I attempted was a complete train wreck...it was then that I realized that if you want the trailer to go left, you have to turn the wheel right....duh. The second time, I only hit one cone. After that, I nailed it each time. There something about backing that trailer up successfully that first time...a major sense of accomplishment that I have never felt before. Maybe it has to do with the truck, I don't know, but it was an awesome feeling.

Tomorrow, I will be going to back to Pre-Trip, which I'm very glad about...I really need more practice.

Until tomorrow.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

I'm sure we will and I will buy you dinner lol.

Careful! I might take you up on that! :P

Be safe and do well in class.

Today, I have chores to do before I sit down and get to studying the CDL book. Then I will be making notes and doing my very best, like I know you are doing.

Pepper

It would be my pleasure.

The best advice I can give you is just remain calm. Everything might seem overwhelming, but if you just stay calm and keep your wits about you, you will do great.

If you need anything, I'm right here.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Thanks for keeping us informed. I will be starting in Laredo on February 16th, so hopefully, we will see each other down the road. Pepper

I'm sure we will and I will buy you dinner lol.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Start Date February 16th, 2015 With Celadon! I got into the training program!

Congratulations!!!!!

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Day 5

Went to the range this morning....ummm...it was awfully cold. Started learning the Pre-trip inspection. That is fairly straight forward and is mostly memorization. After a half a day of that, we went back to the classroom and started learning about using paper logs. I got the idea to use my phone and take pictures of the truck we use for the pre-trip inspection, I can practice it in my free time. I will see how that goes.

I believe on Monday, I move the straight line backing range. I watched them on that range briefly today, because the class size is so small, each student gets a couple of hours to practice it, which is pretty cool.

All in all, it was a pretty productive day.

See ya Monday.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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CDL Training- Celadon (Hopefully) February 2015 (Hopefully on that, too!)

Good luck.... I'm at the Celadon school in Alabama right now and I'm loving it. Maybe you will get in and enjoy it also.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Got home early today, I passed all 5 tests and got my permit today. We had one person who couldn't take the tests because of an unpaid ticket, she will got home today to pay it and be back on Monday (the company is paying for the bus tickets). The other six students have to go back tomorrow to try again. Most of them, just failed one and will have an easy time. There is one that failed all 5 and he is very worried.

I start on the range tomorrow and I can't wait!

For anyone that cares, the company does in fact pay all your testing fees. Our driver was there with a company credit card and it was smoking by the end of the day.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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McElroy Truck Lines

I have heard nothing but good things about them. Being based in Alabama, I spoke to them recently, thinking about future options a year from now. I must say, I was really impressed.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Instructor Mad as A Wet Hen

Good luck Mikky!

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Day 2

It was a very long day going over everything we need to know for the permit tests. We lost 2 more students, so we are done to 8 for our class. We started the day at 8 am and went to 5 pm going over the General Knowledge portion of the CDL Manual. I must say, there is A LOT of information there.

Jake, the instructor is fantastic. He throws in enough humor and personal stories from being on the road to really make the class interesting. With all that information, it can really get tedious and he is great at avoiding that. He is also pretty liberal with the breaks, so we can get the blood flowing so we don't get drowsy just sitting there all day.

Day 3

We finished up the General Knowledge, finished with Air Brakes, Combinations, Double and Triples, and Tankers today. He gave us practice tests for all 5 and we all passed them. We go for our permit testing tomorrow and we are all pretty confident. Jake seems to genuinely care about how well we do. Even though he is strictly the class room instuctor, he is kept appraised of how the students have done with the driving portions of the CDL testing. As he gets notified of them passing, he can see him getting happier and happier. As they return, they all stop by and thank him personally, which is pretty freaking awesome.

Found out today that he is and will be the only classroom instuctor, that is why they keep the classes small and only start new classes every two weeks. I was able to confirm that there are four driver-instructors for the range, so with 8 people in our class, that is 2 students for each instructor.

For the permit test tomorrow, if we fail any of the tests, we can retake them on the same day. In fact, we can retake them twice a day for 7 days, so that is 14 attempts for each test.

On our way out the door, he gave us more practice test, with different questions on them, for us to use as study guides. I think that between the practice tests, Jake's instructions, and The High Road Online CDL Training Program, I will do just fine tomorrow.

Until then.

Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Attending Caledon School in Gadsden, Al

Just finished the first day at the Caledon school in Gadsden. Pretty easy first day. Got all the packets, filled out some forms, went over all the information, then went for our physical...passed with flying colors. The class size is very small, we started out with 11 and ended the day with 9. Nobody popped positive on the whiz quiz, one person thought he was, so he was told that he needed to have a "family emergency". The other got sent home for failing the vision part of the physical. He will be able to come back in a week, after he gets his glasses.

I will say this, it's a very relaxed atmosphere, the classroom instructor is really good and quite funny. The rooms that they put students in are REALLY nice. They put you up in the Fairfield Inn, which is owned by Marriot and they are NICE. Unfortunately, I live here in town, so I get to miss out on that....lol. When Caledon tells you they will pay for everything, they mean it. You don't pay any of the fees for the permit or the cdl testing. At the beginning of each week, they give you an $80 prepaid credit card, even if you live in town, which is pretty cool.

All in all, I believe that I made a great choice to go with Caledon. The school appears to be a little unorganized, but it has only been up and running for six months, so it's to be expected. We were told that we would have 4 driver-trainers for the time we spend on the driving range. We were given quite a bit of homework tonight, but I was expecting that.

To those that are worried about the whole sleep apnea fiasco.....apparently in Alabama, you don't have to worry about it. I was never weighed and my neck was never measured. They asked me my weight and I just guesstimated (I have weighed myself in years...lol) They just have you **** in a cup, check your blood pressure, and a quick exam by the doctor and I was given a two year card.

I will check back tomorrow after day two.

I corrected my spelling errors...need to proof read next time.

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