Profile For Ithel

Ithel's Info

  • Location:
    Lexington, KY

  • Driving Status:
    In CDL School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 6 months ago

Ithel's Bio

Former teacher. Former business owner. Husband and dad.

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Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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TMC CDL Program

Just now got my trainer's name and I'm on the bus to pick up a rental car. Quite a journey. It feels like a lot longer than three weeks have passed. I've picked up some skills to build on, a few new friends, and the opportunity to do work that pays. I'm looking forward to the training I'll get over these next five weeks, and I'll do everything I can to take advantage of these -- literally--training wheels.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Maybe it's skim milk? j/k

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

I just wanted to add that the two fellas who had to redo the driver test both passed today. The 5th guy failed again and is being sent home. Out of an original class of 8, 4 of us will be going out with trainers for my weeks.

As Rob said, here comes the real training.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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CFI CDL Training

I hope it goes well for you, Jmart.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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TMC CDL Program

One thing I forgot to mention. The skills test was by far the part I was most anxious about, particularly the 45° back. (I even had a bad dream about it last night in which my house burned down--- yes, that anxious!) But I didn't lose any points at all on the skills test.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Thank you!

Since you already passed the skills test, I wouldn't think you'd have to retake that part.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Of the five of us left in the class, two passed, two made small mental errors on the driving portion they'll correct on their second shot tomorrow, and one goofed up the pre-trip.

Somehow, despite serious anxiety, I managed to get my CDL A today. My joy could only be greater if we'd all got through, but I'll be pulling for them tomorrow. Friday I'll go home in a rental car to get my actual license from KY, and next week or possibly the following I'll begin the five weeks with my trainer, who lives 65 miles from me. From him I'll get more driving practice, more load securement practice, and an education on the art and skill of tarping.

Huge. Load. Lifted.

To the many encouraging yet honest voices on this forum, you have my sincere gratitude.

To the couple guys in my class who read this thread, you've got this. Get a good night's sleep and tomorrow morning you'll get that load of your mind.

I'll continue this thread until I am assigned my own truck, because I consider that as much a part of the training here as everything else has been.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Jan 2: I had backing practice in the morning that went very well. In the afternoon I drove about four hours. Then as a group we had backing practice in the evening. We got back to the hotel at 9pm.

Today, Jan. 3, is test day. I'm just trying to stay calm. My next post will say how it went, one way or another. I'm just thinking about my girls and the many good things that depend on my success today. Then its turn to this point, turn to that point, tight and secured, signal on, signal off. However it turns on, a big thank you to the many good people who make this site what it is.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Starting CDL Training With KC Transportation

Congratulations. My test is the day after tomorrow. I'm about as ready as I can be, but I've still got some anxiety. Glad it all worked out for you.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

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Thank you!

Will you have opportunity to do more practice before then?

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Dec 30: Today was entirely backing practice. Because it snowed overnight and the plows had cleared the blacktop we had to reset the cones for both backing courses. Unfortunately a thin layer of compacted snow made it difficult to find the markers, so much was guesswork. But after we got things set, three of us shared one course and two shared the other. I was in the group of three. We got into a great rhythm, and each of us got in about 6 or 7 of each backing exercise, I think-- I lost count. Hopefully the courses weren't too far off.

The half-day originally planned for tomorrow has been canceled, so we have the next two days to revitalize, talk to family on the phone, and study pre-trip.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Local food service as a rookie

Good luck with the cold today, Rob.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Oh, you also asked about the driving route. I've picked out the first bits of it from comments the trainers have made, but ultimately I do not know the exact DoT road-test route.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Thanks for the kind words, Rob. We'll be testing right here on the same TMC course we're practicing on. I'm not certain how the arrangement works, but I believe it will be TMC employees who are DoT certified who will be conducting the tests (completely separate from the trainers).

The trainers have told us different numbers from those you mentioned, and I can't really account for that. I'll try to confirm # of pull-ups and GOALS for each procedure. They very clearly told us today, though, that hitting a cone was a 4 point deduction and an extra pull-up only a 1 point deduction. It is possible they were referring to an internal TMC scoring system, not sure, but that was not my understanding.

On our DoT test, we will do a straight-line back, an offset back to the right, and a 45 degree back. After passing the CDL I believe they teach an additional backing procedure called the TMC 45. No dock backing, no parallel.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Almost Embarrassed to Post Picture

I love this crazy thread.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Dec. 29: Today was much better. I spent the morning with a different trainer working on backing, and I've gained some confidence. Before every back, I thought of my girls and how much is riding on this. That cone there is a threat to our families dreams. This cone here wants to derail us. That encroachment is the enemy. Basically just taking a deep breath, reminding myself of the big picture, then focusing on this one piece, then the next, then the next. I didn't have any mishaps except on resetonthe 45 degree back. I had apparently set up a few feet to the right of the correct spot. Well I made sure not to repeat that. The other student with me hit 9 cones today. Sad to say, but I learned quite a lot just from watching him.

We'll spend the entire day tomorrow on backing (brrr........ high of zero expected) and half the day Sunday. Monday we have off. We take the CDL test Wednesday. My plan is to really hone my pretrip Monday. I have it memorized, but a couple parts don't flow well. Sometimes little tricks can help. I told one trainer I kept forgetting what the thing on the slack adjuster is called .....he pushed my shoulder, and now I'll never forget what a push rod is. A patient teacher like that can do wonders.

The afternoon I spent on the road just as the snow rolled in. The first bit I was on narrow, crowded streets in downtown Des Moines, learning button-hook turns. The roads were pretty slick when we finally got back to the training yard. Today's and yesterday's trainers both told me I was ready for the test. I sincerely hope they're right. I am glad some poor trainer was willing to come stand in the cold all day tomorrow on a holiday weekend so we can practice backing, because I can see that is where I need the most practice.

And just to reiterate, future readers, take all I've said with a grain of salt. This is a stressful experience, I am a quiet, golden-rule kind of person, and I am more likely to smile than scowl. The fellows with me have made comments along lines I've mentioned in this thread, but I don't think it's hit them quite as hard. If you come from a military background you'll probably feel at home here. One guy told me today this was a lot like bootcamp. So your mileage may vary depending on your background. For me, the tough part hasn't been the driving or the tests or the long hours or the cold or the physical labor--I've done well on all that, backing excepted (for now)--it's been the atmosphere. And being honest in this thread about it has helped me deal even with that. If I manage to get through this successfully, I think my wife and daughter will have something to be proud of in addition to money in the bank.

Anyway, lots of words from a wet-behind-the-ears 47 yr. old beginner. Let the reader beware.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Dec. 28-- Very rough day. All 7 of us are struggling with aspects of backing, to the extent that two fellows were sent home. I spent about 6 hours outside either backing or waiting my turn. The morning backing train or is impatient and demeaning.. I really thought I would be dismissed today, too. The evening trainors, though, were very patient and approachable, and I made considerable improvement. I did myoffset without a pull-up and my 45 with just one. I hope tomorrow to get some perfect ones in. Lots of people in foul mood because of snow. My bus left the hotel at 6 this morning and we got back to it at 9pm tonight.

I also drove 4.5 hours with an older trainorwho also was very encouraging. I did two backs at truck stops with him without a problem. I sent a pic of the first one to my girls.

Hopefully can keep this up a while. Very very tired. I feel real bad fo the two guys sent home. Real decent men, both of them.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

Dec. 27th: Hi Rob, yes we were outside for backing exercises this morning, bitter cold. At our first break at 9am, the instructor showed us where to find winter coveralls--and I took him up on it. They did a Walmart run tonight and I bought some fleece underclothes and face hood for tomorrow. We're somewhat under pressure because of the double holiday weekend. My CDL class has only 3 days of road practice (Thrs, Fri, and next Tues) before the DOT test next Wednesday.

So about today-- much progress. I spent the first hour indoors doing pre-trip. We will do this every morning now. I've been working hard on this so each morning is a great review. TMC has a pre trip video specific to their Peterbilt 579's that everyone must memorize for the test. The gentleman teaching this made the video. I don't believe it is publically accessible unfortunately.

After this, half the class went out on the road (all one-on-one) and half had the initial backing lesson. The instruction was so good and the technique so well explained that I did all three backs successfully the first time with only one pull-up. I was very slow however so much room for improvement.

After lunch, the groups switched and it was my turn on the road for about 3 and a half hours. I had a different instructor today and she really helped me with my shifting. I've been pushing the clutch too far. She had me pull my seat back a bit to force me to use my toes instead of the balls of my feet. She also had me identify my gears as I shifted. These two things alone vastly improved my shifting and down-shifting. Hopefully I continue to progress.

Sorry for no wise advice for anyone. My brain is full of tight and secured not cracked broken or leaking.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

TMC CDL Program

I'm going to have to defer to your experienced assessment on this. All I know is, purposeful or not, I am determined to see this thing through. I can't express how much this site and your perspective are helping me stay on my feet right now. So.... thank you very much, yet again.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months ago

View Topic:

The true meaning of Christmas.

As I'm riding back to my second week of training, your post and story are the right medicine. Thank you for taking a few minutes to share your experience. You seem plenty eloquent to me, my friend.

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