Comments By Johnny 3

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Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Overtime continued: Well this is going to be my last daily journal entry for this diary.

I get to say this because I passed my final road test &have been officially issued my class A cdl!!!!!!! yay!!!

It's still a little embarrassing to admit that it took me several tries but that matters little now that I made it.

Today's test did not go completely smooth as I once again ran into a situation where I lost a gear. I was able to recover quickly enough to not get failed for it this time.

Yesterday I was given an opportunity to practice & the instructor who I practiced with made it a point to give me some instruction specifically on gear recovery since they knew this is what did me in on my last test. I believe this made the difference today.

Since this is my last post in here, I want to say that DMACC was wonderful & collectively did everything needed to make sure that I achieved what I signed up for.

I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a good non-company sponsored option in Iowa. :)

Posted:  4 years, 8 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Overtime, continued:

1/27/2017.

I finally passed my backing skills test today!!

It only took me 5 tries, how embarrassing. I went in this morning and practiced for a half a day to get the kinks worked out & that seemed to help a lot. I did well on it too. It only took me about 15 minutes on all 3 maneuvers & I broke no boundaries or cones whatsoever. I lost 4 points total on extra pull ups ( under 12 is passing).

$300 extra dollars (spent on 3rd party examiners so I could test in a timely manner) later this is done.

I did get my first crack at the road taste finally today. This is my last obstacle toward obtaining my class A CDL. Unfortunately this was not a success.

It seemed like today was going to be the day & the test had been going well. Unfortunately I had a situation toward the end of the exam where I lost a gear while trying to upshift going up a hill. This caused me to roll backward slightly & I had to come to a complete stop to recover. Since traffic was behind me, I impeded traffic, making the test an automatic fail.

The examiner gave me a nice encouraging short speech after the test was done. In short, she apologized that it was necessary to fail me today & that she thinks I will be a great driver & to keep at it & told me all the things I did well also.

Although today didn't go exactly how I wanted it to, I am happy to have overcome something that had been a major obstacle to me.

I was also able to call the d.o.t & get my next free appointment moved up to Feb.1 (Wednesday). It was originally Feb. 8th. They were able to move it up because I only have the road test to do now & don't need as much time set aside since I no longer have to take the skills test.

The head instructor at DMACC even set aside time to practice 1 on 1 with an instructor beforehand to sharpen up before my next test..

I would like to add that I am extremely impressed with how accommodating the school has been in taking extra effort to work toward me succeeding. I have not had to pay a dime extra for all the extra fuel & practice that they have needed to provide me after what should have been my graduation date & nor have I gotten any flack from any instructors for the amount of effort it has taken & continues to get me through this. I am glad I went this route!

More to come!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Thanks for writing again Tim,

I would take you up on that but if all goes according to plan, I will be at Melton corporate headquarters in Oklahoma at that time...Otherwise I would probably still be in Des Moines Iowa & extremely disappointed.

& good luck on your house & any other obstacles you may have!

I 'll buy the meal if you pass friday, you pay if you don"t! I'll be in MO. in March to get a house ready to sell! One of my issues holding me back! Give yourself a "OORAH" pep talk prior to the testing friday, give yourself alittle b**ch slap in the face as well !! YOU CAN DO IT!!!! Just don"t screw up the road test after !!!! LOL Have fun with it man !!!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Overtime:

1/25/2017.

Today I used a 3rd party examiner (still d.o.t certified to test). This was the alternative to making appointments which are 3 weeks out with the d.o.t for free.

3rd party tests are $100 per test. I registered for skills test & road test so I committed $200 with my credit card to take another shot today.

Once again, I was unsuccessful.

It is somewhat embarrassing to write this but I want to write an accurate portrayal of my experience & it is not complete until I successfully obtain my cdl.

Sadly, I discovered that I don't test well even on maneuvers that I do well on in practice. My nerves just get to me on test time. I was close today... no meltdown on the easy maneuvers ( straight-line & offset). However, I managed to get myself wedged into a bad position that was difficult to correct on the alley dock maneuver, it was correctable but not without a ton of pull_ups ( too many to pass d.o.t) I had just gotten myself straightened out when I was informed that I had accumulated too many points. I will not let this happen again. If I see myself about to get worked into a bad position... I will just reset and start over next time ( that is all you are allowed to do until part of the bumper crosses the plain). I was stubborn and made it to where a tiny portion of my bumper made it but that didn't give me much room to do the pull-ups that this allows you to do anyway....

I put another dent on my credit card this afternoon & am already signed up to test again on Friday.

More to come ( hopefully not too much more!)

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Hello Tim, I haven't really been sent home but I'm not staying at the school. It is a private school that I paid for that is close to my home. I am not attending full time anymore but they still give me opportunities to practice on the day before testing & will also provide a vehicle for me to test with whenever I need to test...As far as I'm concerned, they have been very supportive despite my failures. They don't just want to take your money..your success matters to them!

Johnny, sorry for your misfortunes! You are providing good info tho!! Are they providing cont. training for you or have you been sent home? More info on this would be appreciated! Best of luck!!

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Overtime: Well, I am done counting the days.

However...My quest to obtain a CDL has not ended unfortunately. I will continue writing until this happens. It will happen!

I did get another opportunity this morning. I got through the straight line backing just fine. Today my meltdown happened on the offset backing. This has normally not been difficult for me.

There were a number of factors that contributed to today's failure. 1. I should have done a better job adjusting the mirrors prior to testing. Hindsight advice: If thr mirrors arent adjusted properly. It is MUCH more difficult to make minor corrections as needed.

2. I had an extremely difficult examiner. This particular one deducted points if you were about to break a barrier even if you hadn't yet so I had much less room for error than I had with other examiners. She also expected the entire back end of the trailer to cross the plane before pull ups were allowed. Most examiners from what I've seen will allow you to break it with a corner... this also leaves much less room for error initially.

3.My nerves got the best of me again & I simply wasn't executing/ thinking things through as well as I had in practicing.

I have another free appointment with the d.o.t on February 8th. I will try to get an appointment with a 3rd party examiner at some point this week...This option costs $100 per test but I need to make this happen asap so hopefully that works out. This may end up being a costly detour. I have invested too much at this point to give up though. I will write more after my next test, more to come!

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Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Overtime: Well, I am done counting the days.

However...My quest to obtain a CDL has not ended unfortunately. I will continue writing until this happens. It will happen!

I did get another opportunity this morning. I got through the straight line backing just fine. Today my meltdown happened on the offset backing. This has normally not been difficult for me.

There were a number of factors that contributed to today's failure. 1. I should have done a better job adjusting the mirrors prior to testing. Hindsight advice: If thr mirrors arent adjusted properly. It is MUCH more difficult to make minor corrections as needed.

2. I had an extremely difficult examiner. This particular one deducted points if you were about to break a barrier even if you hadn't yet so I had much less room for error than I had with other examiners. She also expected the entire back end of the trailer to cross the plane before pull ups were allowed. Most examiners from what I've seen will allow you to break it with a corner... this also leaves much less room for error initially.

3.My nerves got the best of me again & I simply wasn't executing/ thinking things through as well as I had in practicing.

I have another free appointment with the d.o.t on February 8th. I will try to get an appointment with a 3rd party examiner at some point this week...This option costs $100 per test but I need to make this happen asap so hopefully that works out. This may end up being a costly detour. I have invested too much at this point to give up though. I will write more after my next test, more to come!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 28 (Day 30 according to DMACC):

Well today was it, graduation day. It was a bit anti-climatic for me. They took a picture of the class, gave us congratulations speeches, & provided certificates to those who had earned them. I was not one of those. They offered words of encouragement to the 2 of us that still have not passed everything..

After all this was over, the other student that hadn't passed left... I chose to stick around and ask an instructor permission to practice the backing maneuvers on the concourse, it was granted!

I got the concourse for a full day.. I started off pretty rough like I had been on the test but by the end of the day I was doing all 3 maneuvers in less than half the time allotted & not losing any points even!

Having a full day to practice by myself & figure out what I was doing wrong on my own with no pressure made a huge difference, I am excited to take my test tomorrow now. I am so grateful that they allowed me to do this, it was a bit beyond the scope of their program but it seems to have made a world of difference for me.

Hopefully I can make it count tomorrow now.

More to come!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Thanks again for writing G-town, This is definitely what happened. I think I would have still failed at the alley dock yesterday anyhow. I did get a ton of practice today though & I think tomorrow will be a success now. I figured out a couple of things today that will help me :)

Johnny, buddy,...NERVES, I think they got the best of you. Refocus and try to relax,...breath. You KNOW HOW TO DO THIS,...straight-line (just fine); set-up straight (no angles), take your time, don't rush, watch both your mirrors and do not over correct. Working from the bottom of the wheel, palms down, elbows close to your sides forces you to make smaller corrections. If you have the time to practice this, try it.

This is a minor setback. Many people do not pass the CDL tests on their first try. You'll be okay.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 27 (29 according to DMACC):

Well, today was judgement day, tomorrow is graduation.

It was my 2nd attempt at passing the backing maneuvers for the d.o.t & it was a disaster for me.

I had a complete meltdown on straight-line backing & lost most of my allotted points on the easiest maneuver which I have NEVER struggled with.

I got to the offset backing and wasn't doing too bad & I normally don't. The 1 extra pull-up I took however, was enough to fail me because of losing so many points right off the bat. I didn't even get another shot at the maneuver that got me yesterday...

It has been a while since I have been this frustrated.

The good news is, I was able to schedule a d.o.t exam Saturday morning & one of the instructors at DMACC was kind enough to volunteer his free off duty time to make arrangements to show up with the test vehicle and insurance information. I am very grateful for this! When I told them this was the only appointment I could get within a decent time frame the head instructor seemed doubtful that anyone would take it on & told me that Saturday appointments were outside of their agreed schedules. Fortunately, 1 of the instructors cared enough to do it anyway.

In total, 7 passed everything today and now have cdls. 1 other person besides me has still not gotten through their tests.

I know I am capable of getting through this because I've done it several times in practice. I just have to learn to relax and think things through when it counts.

If Saturday isn't a success, it will become much pricier as I will have to pay the extra amount to have d.o.t certified 3rd party examiners test me at $100 per test. This is the only way to make it happen within a timely manner. The road test shouldn't be a problem once I get through the backing maneuvers.

Hopefully I will get an opportunity to practice a little bit tomorrow after going through the brief ceremonies for our graduation...I am still expected to participate even though it feels like I haven't earned any sort of celebration.

I will continue to write in this until I obtain my cdl, more to come.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Guess Who Got Her Permit Today?

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Congrats, and all the endorsements too!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 26 (28 according to DMACC):

Well,

Today was a bit of a mixed bag.

The 9 that remain in our class were all supposed to test everything through the d.o.t today.

From what I was told, they usually send 2 d.o.t. examiners to work on a class of our size. We only got 1 today. This lead to a lot of waiting around.

If you don't pass a test, you don't get to take the subsequent tests until you've passed the 1st one. The test order was 1. pre-trip inspection 2. backing skills test 3. road test.

We drew numbers to determine order & I ended up with 7. I ended up taking my pre-trip test right before the d.o.t official's lunch break.

I passed, no more studying that for a while! That's the good news.

2 people in our class did not pass this portion & were disallowed to continue testing for the day.

Next up was the backing skills test. I was nervous that I wouldn't get an opportunity to take this today but I did close to the end of the day.

Unfortunately, I failed it.

I did the straight-line backing & the offset in a quick manner without losing any points. I just got eaten alive by the 90 degree today. My initial attempt at breaking the plain was off & I had to use a couple of pull-ups to fix that and a few more to try to straighten it out.

It seemed to me like I was going to finally squeeze it in though at a slight angle. I was stopped by the examiner just inches away from the marked bumper stop because the front part of my frame was just barely over the yellow line on the side. If my tractor was just 2 inches straighter, I would have been able to back up the additional 10 inches I needed to call it good & I would have passed. I would have done another pull-up if I could have but I knew where I was at on points & the extra pull up would have eliminated me as well.

Nobody got to take the road tests today because there simply wasn't time.

Of the 9 of us only 4 passed both of the 1st 2 tests on the 1st try and I wasn't one of them :/

Anybody that doesn't have all tests passed by the end of tomorrow will have to either make their own appointments to test with the d.o.t (typically appointments have to be 2-3 weeks in advance) or there is also an option to hire a d.o.t approved 3rd party tester for quicker appointments, this will cost $100 per test. I'm hoping I pass everything tomorrow or I will end up having to take that route in order to keep my employment plans intact.

I'm just hoping everybody gets at least 1 attempt at everything, this is iffy if they only send 1 examiner tomorrow with the amount of retakes already built in.

More to come tomorrow.....

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Exciting news for me, I have accepted a contingent job offer from my #1 choice!

Thank you to everyone who responded. It is exciting, I just need to get my cdl in a timely manner so that I don't have to push the date back. My nerves will calm down quite a bit about the whole situation once that happens. I'll write more about that in my training diary.

Never met an unhappy Melton driver, and I'm with Maverick. They go where we go so maybe I'll see around. I've also never seen an untapped Melton load lol but those tarps add up at the end of the week

Oddly enough, both of these factors played into my decision, I actually like that they tarp a lot just do to the amount they pay per tarp, even if it takes you a couple of hours to tarp something, that's still $20/ hr & will add up if you do it a lot & the majority of the people I've spoken with or even read online had positive things to say about them.

I did look at Maverick too. They were only eliminated from consideration because their rider policy isn't quite as flexible as it is at Melton ( I would have had to wait 3 years longer to take my sons out on the road) & this was important to me.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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Exciting news for me, I have accepted a contingent job offer from my #1 choice!

Well,

After countless hours of research & conversations with various recruiters..

I have accepted a contingent job offer from Melton Truck Lines.

As long as I get my cdl before Feb 13th, I am going to their orientation. I am extremely excited about this as I had the #1 on my list of companies that I would like to work for after doing my research.

Below are some of the reasons I chose to go with them:

1. After reading up, I knew I wanted to take on the challenges of flatbedding, this is all they do.
2. From what I've seen, most of the people who work for them are happy.
3. they offered the most cents per mile ( a couple other companies offered the same but nobody offered me more)
4. Their recruiter never acted like they were rushed or annoyed with how inquisitive I was when gathering info. (a couple had)
5. very affordable benefits
6. I qualify for va apprenticeship program that will allow me to make a supplemental veteran income for the 1st year
7. they also have tuition reimbursement
8. I will only have to wait a little over the year before I can take either of my twin boys on the road, good rider policy
9. I like blue trucks :)

I get tested for my cdl tomorrow, crossing my fingers that I will make it happen!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 25 (27 according to DMACC):

I recently came to the realization that my school does not make up dates for 1 day holidays. Instead, they schedule tasks in a manner which allows them to do what would normally be 30 days worth of schooling within 28 days, mainly by not giving us as much time to strictly practice for the D.O.T exams as other classes that don't run into the 1 day holidays would normally get.

As a result, we got 1 day of ungraded practice today and tomorrow is showtime.

I am still nervous on whether I will pass... I think I know enough about the pre-trip to make it through that test. I won't get 100% but I think I have enough of it memorized to get through. (More studying will happen tonight). There is still a small amount of doubt here.

If I pass that, round 2 will be the skills test 1. offset backing (shouldn't be a problem) 2. Straight_line ( no worries at all) & 3. 90 degree sightside (this is still somewhat iffy)... I have a shot but not quite 100% confident.....All 3 of these maneuvers have to be completed within 30 minutes.

If I get through round 2, my last obstacle would be the road test.

I would like to say I am completely confident here. I have some worry. I have been doing pretty good for the most part but did hit 1 curb today doing my only chance at a practice round. If this were to happen on the test, it will be an automatic fail so I better sharpen up & keep my head in it. My shifting is pretty good 90% of the time also but I occasionally have to recover a gear and have put myself in a situation today where I was in neutral by the time I got to a stoplight, the d.o.t could fail me for that too. I am hoping I was just rusty today from a 3 day weekend. On the brightside, I would have passed the d.o.t test if I drive the way I drove a couple of times last week.

The d.o.t will also be present on Thursday to retest those that don't pass tomorrow. After that, we must make appointments.

On my day off yesterday, I used my time to have one more conversation with the companies I had been considering who were willing to give me contingent job offers & made my final decision. I didn't burn any bridges & let other recruiters who I had spoken with know that I appreciated their time so I have fallbacks if something bizarre happens to cause this to fall through. I now know that I will be going with Melton Truck lines as long as I get my cdl before Feb 13th. This is the orientation date they had signed me up for & their offer is contingent on me having my cdl by then. I am so excited! I will write more about this in the general forum as well :)

I will write more tomorrow, should be either really pumped or a little bummed out by end of day tomorrow....

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 24:

Yesterday was our night drive. The first hour was spent on briefings & pre trip inspection.

After that, it was time to hit the road.

The rout was a big 240 plus mile route that was a big circle. We were never more than about 80 miles away from our starting point even though we drove the amount of miles we did.

The route was intentionally planned so that each student would run into a list of certain things that were graded. A few examples of this included: road bends, train crossings, 2 lane highways , 4 lane highways, abrupt changes in speed limits, turns that required a button hook maneuver to complete. There are probably more but these are the ones that come to mind right away.

Our group traveled in a mini convoy of 3 vehicles with 3 students & 1 instructor per vehicle.

Our group also had dinner at a truck stop for our lunch break. This stop happened during my driving portion of the trip as I was 2nd up to bat in my group. We ate at the Dennys/ kwik star truck stop right off of I-80 near Brooklyn, IA. I couldn't help but notice that we drew a lot of eyes when we walked into this joint. Our group was probably more eclectic looking than typical for this place.

As far as my drive, it seemed to go well and I passed. The only things I had gotten called out on were occasionally not double clutching on gear shifts &my button hook turn wasn't quite as wide as it should have been. The instructor said that I hit a curb. I could see in my mirror that I hadn't but I had learned already that you want to pick your battles when it comes to instructors and most battles aren't worth it. When it was time to switch to the next driver, this same instructor said "good job".

The last stretch ended up being somewhat interesting . This student had moments of inattentiveness that led to panic moves on curves in the road & stops. At one point I thought we were going to end up in a ditch & I couldn't help but tell him to slow down myself. The instructor backed me up & didn't seem annoyed that I beat him to the punch of saying something. A few seconds later the tactful & warranted criticism from the instructor ended up escalating into a shouting match between the instructor & the student. As a side note, this was the same student that I believe threw me under the bus a few weeks ago, causing me some brief animosity with a different instructor. Oddly enough, during this awkward argument that ensued between him & this instructor, he tried to get me to give my 2 cents on the situation. If I had, I would have done the opposite of what he was looking for. I chose to just say I was staying out of it though. I'm not sure what his grade ended up being at the end of the route but he may have something to be concerned about.

When we made it back around midnight, we still dropped our trailer & did the post trip DVIR. As soon as the instructors signed off on our log books, we were informed that we were done using them for the remainder of school.

The sole purpose of next week is to get our cdls. School is closed for Monday's holiday & we will have one additional day of practice Tuesday. Wednesday we will test for them. Thursday is only relevant for a second attempt for those that don't pass on the 1st try. Friday is graduation.

I will hopefully not have too much more to write in this journal.

More to come in a few days.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 23 was yesterday. I was worn out when I got home so I decided to relax & wait until this morning to write my journal since I could sleep in today. I still woke up around 6:30 on my own. I guess I have gotten too used to being up earlier to really sleep in. This is probably a good thing for the lifestyle I need to get accustomed to.

Yesterday was a little rougher than ideal. I passed my final school drive evaluation but just barely. The route seemed to go smooth enough but I lost a lot of points on little things that could add up on a d.o.t test according to my instructor (not doing enough commentary when shifting, not shifting down far enough in advance on turns, I rubbed a curb on a bendy road & 1 brief incident of improper lane usage when trying to merge on the interstate).

In the afternoon, I was struggling with the 90 degree maneuver again even though I seemed to have it down the day before. I only have 1 more day where I will have an opportunity to practice so hopefully I work out those kinks. I have no concern on the other 2 maneuvers.

I also need some sharpening on pre trip. I would probably pass it but I want to get myself to where I have the whole thing memorized just to be sure, I'm not quite there yet.

I don't have to report to class until 3 in the afternoon today. This is to prepare for our last graded assignment at the school, our night drive. I will report on this over the weekend.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 22:

The routine today was similar to yesterday's & most likely will be for the remainder of class ( except for night driving).

This is because at this point, the goal is to have everyone prepared for the testing that the d.o.t is going to conduct to get our licenses next week so the school is trying to make sure that we are all familiar enough with everything we are actually going to test on to do that.

I started with backing maneuvers today & tested out for the school on all maneuvers now :) Yay! I was able to complete all 3 maneuvers within 20 minutes (the d.o.t will give you 30). Had the d.o.t tested me I would have lost 2 points for nicking 1 cone & 3 more points for extra pull-ups, the d.o.t subtracts 1 point for each time you do a pull-up beyond what is allotted (1 time for straight line backing, 2 for offset & 2 for 90 degree). I would have had 5 deducted total. Anything under 12 is passing :). Certain things could disqualify you immediately (driving beyond the course boundary or not completing all 3 maneuvers within 30 minutes are the 2 that come to mind). I am still not perfect at this but I am feeling content knowing that I would have passed if the d.o.t were to have tested me today.

We had another recruiter come in today to give us free lunch. This company was a food service company named Gordon Foods that have their own private fleet. This seems like a really good opportunity. The drivers are not paid by the mile & have a $1000/ week starting salary with opportunities to earn incentive beyond. They also have a generous 100% match on 401k for up to 4% of your salary. This company is regional & also offers home time that is better than a lot of regional positions would as well.

If I wanted to start out doing regional reefer, I would probably go with them, it seems like a great opportunity.

I just have my heart set on the challenges of otr flatbed, but I was impressed by everything this recruiter had to say about what his company offered so I my consider them someday if I decide I need to shake my routine up down the road.

After lunch, it was another city route similar to what I had been doing only with a few extra tight turns thrown in just for the extra challenge. Today went well enough again, though I did catch 1 curb on a sharp right today. I have been doing well enough on avoiding this as of recent that the instructor didn't give me too much flack over it.

Tomorrow is my final school road evaluation before the night driving test on Friday.

Next week will be dedicated to trying to get our licenses. Man this is going fast!..

More to come...

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 21:

Everything is starting to feel routine.

This is a good thing!

Our class has an odd number now & as a result, 1 student ends up with 1 on 1 trainer attention during the road portion of the day.

Today, it was me & I got to drive the same route twice. My road drives went very well today. I did kill the engine once. This was due to me accidently bumping up the selector switch while I was accelerating in the lower gears. 2 Weeks ago, I would have been really flustered but this & needed an instructor's help to recover. Today, no big deal. I just started my engine again, popped it into 2nd & quickly recovered after instantly realizing what caused it. The instructor even praised me for how quickly I was able to recover even though it would have been ideal for that to not happen in the 1st place.

The rest of the route ( both times) went pretty smooth & the instructor I had today commented on the fact that I made his work minimal. He was able to just watch me drive & listen to my commentary & he was proud of me for making his job easy today.

The afternoon was filled with more concourse backing today. I do still need to sharpen up but I am to the point where I have a shot of passing the d.o.t backing test. I still need to get quicker & try to become smooth enough to do the 90 degree maneuver in a more timely manner with 1 or 2 pull ups as opposed to 3 or 4 that I seem to be doing right now. I am getting it in though & that is better than where a few of my peers are at. We still have almost a week's worth of practice before we have to test out on it. I feel like I will sharpen up enough by then.

This is all I have for now. I will write again tomorrow.

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

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DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 20:

Today was good!

I started off on the road right away after the pre-trip inspection. Today's route which I had to drive took me on the interstate, through downtown Des Moines & an industrial area on our way back to school using city streets.

Today wasn't completely free of mishaps. I waited too long to square off a tight turn & as a result, ended up needing to allow my instructor out to ground guide me back a few feet so that I could complete the turn without running into the center median. The top bunk of the training vehicle also fell down while I was driving & fell on top of the other student who was riding along (the bottom bunk was converted into passenger seats w/ seat belts). There were no injuries & it was due to faulty equipment & not something I did wrong so no accident report :). Besides these 2 mishaps, the rest of the drive went real smooth, I am getting very decent at shifting up & down with little grinding. I also did not stall the vehicle once today due to bad shifting & made it to the appropriate gear for all stops & turns.

The instructor told me that if I were to take the final road test today I would have passed :) but that's over a week away so hopefully I get a little better still.

After riding along for my partner's turn, it was time for lunch.

Today's lunch was brought in by Maverick transportation.... I had already researched them on my own because I am strongly interested in doing flatbed after I obtain my cdl. They really do seem like a solid option except for 1 thing that is a big deal to me. Their rider policy does not allow anyone to ride along until the age of 13. This means I would have to wait 4 years to take either of my twin sons along with me. The company I think I am most likely to end up working for (Melton Truck Lines) will allow this starting at 10, so I would only have to wait a year. Everything else is pretty equal on paper between these 2 companies based on my own research and conversations I had with both recruiters. The recruiter seemed to target me specifically due to conversations in class & I told him that if it weren't for this they would have a better shot of me strongly considering them.

After lunch, our class was informed that one of our classmates officially dropped out & would not be returning. This is the person I mentioned in my previous entry who had a rough day last week. It is pretty unfortunate, he seemed like he was taking the class seriously enough but 1 bad day just rattled him too much I guess. He was not forced out of the program, he just decided on his own he couldn't do it after the bad day.

In the afternoon it was time for more concourse practice for the 3 d.o.t backing maneuvers (straight line, blindside offset & sightside 90 degree). Today was not necessarily supposed to be graded, it was just practice. However, the concourse instructor did decide to go ahead & write down my efforts on straight line & offset backing as my final grades. This is good since these were passable :) . I still have some work to do on the 90 degree but I will get there. It's not that I can't get it in, I am just taking more time & using more pull ups than the d.o.t would give time for so I need to sharpen up on that one. I'm not quite there yet but I am getting close to where I need to be to pass the cdl tests. I feel confident that I will get there by the end of next week as long as I keep my mind focused on improving....I'm not at the finish line yet but I feel good..

There have been times during this class where things seemed very challenging & I have had my doubts but I hadn't given up & I won't & at this point I am confident that I will pull this off :)...I am closer to where I need to be than where I was a few weeks ago when I had no idea how to even begin to drive a semi.

I am excited for what the next few days have in store, more to come!

Posted:  4 years, 9 months ago

View Topic:

DMACC (Des Moines Area Community College) December 5 2016-January 20 2017

Day 19:

Today was designed to be fairly routine. The 1st half of the day was somewhat interesting....

Another student that had a challenging day yesterday (an instructor pulled the yellow knob on him while he was driving, apparently to keep him from hitting a pole) was a no call no show today... He had been doing pretty decent in the class up until that point....Hopefully he gets it together next week & is still able to catch up. This school does not take absenses lightly & they especially don't like it if you don't call in 1st. This point was driven home on day 1.

After the inspections, it was time for another city drive. My partner & I were assigned to a new instructor who only works on a part time fill-in basis& this was the first time I have ever seen him. He has a full time job as a driving instructor for a larger trucking company based nearby so we probably won't see much kore of him either.

This instructor was kind of difficult..He had a fraction of the patience that other road instructors I had been working with had & had a tendency to overreact if you didn't shift exactly when & how he wanted you to & was very handsy as far as trying to physically make you do what he felt was necessary. This approach made me feel extraordinarily nervous & caused me to fumble a lot more than I probably would have otherwise. I did have my poorest daily write up to date (not counted towards grades but notes on what is needed to work on). but I didn't let my frustration show &the instructor & I were still on good terms after the route. I was not the only students who had to ride with him today & I overheard other students express their concerns about this instructor's approach to other instructors later in the day...I was glad to know I wasn't the only one who had these issues & also that I wasn't the one with a personality conflict this time....

This afternoon, It was time to get some practice on the backing maneuvers that the d.o.t will test us on (90 degree sightside, offset & straightline). The instructor who was in charge of this was the one I had issues with prior to Christmas break & has just come back from vacation.

Since today was practice anyhow, I was actually kind of eager to work with him so I could gauge whether there was still any tension I should still be worried about.

Another student was asked to practice before I was so I ended up standing with him while watching this student... He engaged me in a friendly conversation & it seems that our issues from a couple weeks ago are completely irrelevant now & that he was making an active effort to get rid of any animosity there was.

When the time did come, I did well on the maneuvers I had an opportunity to practice on & this same instructor went out of his way to give me positive feedback & congratulate me on my improvement.

We had a group clean up task during the last hour of the day. This involved going through the trucks & looking for trash and sweeping up the shop. I didn't stop sweeping out corners of the shop until the staff wanted to go home. The concourse instructor was in charge of this as well & thanked me for my efforts.

This course is now 2/3 finished & this week though not perfect, was a good one....my skills have improved, I seem to be on good terms with ALL of the instructors & I am caught up with where I am supposed to be on my progress.

More to come next week.

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