Profile For MB007

MB007's Info

  • Location:
    IL

  • Driving Status:
    In CDL School

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 8 months ago

MB007's Bio

Glad to be in good health and alive.

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Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Week 3, Day 1.

Fired. Was let go amicably due to my lack of improvement with downshifting, backing and pre-trip (essentially ALL of driving). I wholeheartedly agreed. I tried my best in this entire endeavor. The CDL program is intense. Some who fail it—like me—go to private CDL school—and come back to work for Roehl. If I had the money and time I would seriously consider a private longer-course school. Although I believe my outcome would have been slightly better under a different trainer, I seem to be the type that requires more time in the seat than a four-week Get Your CDL program offers. Regardless, I hope my journal is helpful. Not sure if I'll be checking in anymore as I'm a bit jaded by the industry right now. Regardless, I will always think of truck drivers as some of the smartest and talented people in the world.

Drive safe y'all.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Week 2, Day 6

Failed the pre-trip and the air brake tests. Had a very stressful and negative morning and was pretty much cursed for the day. My mistakes were simple and rather embarrassing (such as not turning the key to the ON position after the governor cut-out test in preparation for the first 3-point air brake test and transposing steering tread tire depth with drive/trailer tread depth). Drove around the airport road and was tense. But it ended well when a different instructor let me try disconnecting and recoupling a trailer with success. He also gave me some great advice regarding downshifting and when doubling down and starting out in 4th, 5th or 6th gear. Although I would like to be a super-fast downshifter, it just doesn't seem feasible when you have zero previous experience with manual transmission and only have 4 weeks to test for your CDL. Grasping the fundamentals with some shortcuts seems appropriate.

This is an incredibly trying experience in many, many ways. I feel like a fighter in the ring and the coach (classmates and family) are pushing me back in after I stumble into the ropes after not dodging or blocking some powerful blows. Saturday mornings seem to be reserved for book stuff and presentations. Today we learned about Roehl operations and suggestions for living in truck and maintaining family. From what I have observed and experienced so far, I believe Roehl is a well-organized and well-run organization. They also seem to reward hard work and try to give drivers the support they need to get the job done right.

I am half-way through with the program. I am now back at home for a day and half to wash clothes and eat some home-cooked food. Will probably have a new roommate when I return to the hotel on Sunday.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Week 2 Day 3

Got to drive around the yard and drop a trailer properly today. But most of day was focused on cramming for Pre-Trip Inspection—the entire ten page process (including tug tests and governor cut-out test) must be recited precisely. Our group of 3 were told we had to get at least 85% correct by Friday (day after tomorrow) morning or we would be fired. We are not doing as well as management hoped (they have no argument from me). I am glad to have such a deadline and opportunity to focus as I feel I'm doing too many things and not able to do anything well. So I can't stay long to write and I'm going to skip the Day 4 entry. I'll let you all know what happened. I look forward to this challenge.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Week 2 Day 2

Skipped a day of reporting. Monday was rough. Seemed our instructor was having a bad day and we didn't help his mood with with poor straight and offset backing. Not only that, but none of us studied our pre-trip recitation over the weekend, so we were all rusty. One of us did backing flawlessly. I played around with a toy tractor-trailer this morning and figured out that I was identifying the wrong mistakes while backing. A good tip that helped me do it perfectly before was "turn toward the mistake." For some reason I was not identifying the disappearing trailer as the mistake. Had a little misunderstanding on some other issues and things got worse. I left feeling rather defeated.

Under some rather unfortunate—and bizarre—circumstances, I had a new roommate that left (to get his own room). So now I have this spot to myself (no complaint!). Maybe some of you all will experience something like this. If you do, remain calm. Be understanding. Try to be friendly. But don't put your life/sanity on the line. Remove yourself from the situation with the bare necessities and contact your trainer ASAP. I ducked out quietly and went home for the night. I didn't think about it, but I probably could have borrowed a bunk room at the terminal.

Today was a better day. We sat in on a presentation of the Roehl Way and learned about safety principles. But the best part was that we got on a 2 lane highway and more streets. I am really starting to get a feel for this beast known as a tractor-trailer. I still grind alot of gears and ran over a curb. But I feel more confident. Practice makes perfect.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Mister B, don't forget to make sure everything is properly mounted and secure!! And no leaks....

I'm glad things are going good for you down there is Gary. I almost went to Gary but told them to just send up here to Appleton instead. Hope you have a great rest of your Sunday. And good luck on Week 2. I'm sure you're looking forward to it as much as I am.

And the way you all do Pre-Trip is a great idea. We've hardly went over it at all. Which has me worried. But I'm gonna take what you all do and see if my group wants to give it a shot. Sounds like a great way to get it down.

Yes sir! Not cracked. Not broken. No illegal welds!

See if they have a "Roehl" format Pre-Trip form. You definitely NEED to be on Pre-Trip. My 2 partners and I were discussing that if we memorize enough, we think we can talk our trainer in to giving us more road time.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Week 1 Day 6 Saturday class was short. Covered "book" stuff: Using the Truck PC system, understanding hazmat and federal safety rules and organization. Glad to know that "lumpers" costs will be reimbursed. Roehl makes it easy to work for them. If you can shift gears, back a trailer and follow rules, you can make it. The instructor was very helpful and informative. Free lunch voucher.

I drove home for the weekend to recuperate. Making sure everything is not bent. Not cracked. Not broken.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Week 1 Day #5 At lunch break. I recited the Driver Fuel Area and Back of Cab and Tractor sections almost 100%. We each have our part and will switch soon so we can know the entire trip. On the range, we focused on straight backing. The instructor said we did very well are ahead of he expected. After lunch, we're going to do offset backing. If we do well on it and have time, maybe we'll do parallel parking.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Day #4 Focused pre-trip inspection sessions on our training truck. The Roehl pre-trip is not as long as I expected. But the trainers expect us to memorize it. Our trainer assigned me Driver's Side Fuel Area and Rear of Cabin. My partners have the other parts. After tomorrow, we will rotate out of our sections and do the next one. Need to finish memorizing tonight. Although he only wants us to be at least 30% correct, I'm shooting for 100%. There will be no margin for error with the Air Brake Test, so I want to get this Pre-trip stuff out of the way in my mind so I can focus on that Air Brake Test.

We spent the rest of the day driving around a slightly hilly industrial park in Portage, Indiana. All three of us were sweating and nervous. This was our first day on a public road with traffic. My daily practice of "pretend shifting" started to pay off. Seems I get spooked out with grinding the gears and stalling. So I decided it was going to happen and I'll get through it. I stalled once because I simply forgot to click the high gear switch when I was stopped at an intersection and tried to move out in three (but it was actuall gear eight). All three of us turned with our trailer well. No curb run-overs. Had to enter today and previous days in our logbooks.

I never felt more confident about driving this giant steel machine. But I am humbled as well. It can destroy anyone or anything in a split second. Although not as heavy as a locomotive, the need for safety is nothing to scoff at. I consider myself lucky in that I have partners with whom I have alot in common. I'm the oldest one there--older than the trainer. When I graduated high school he was in third grade. He calls me his "undercover boss" and tells his co-workers to "be careful" what they say around me so I don't write him up. rofl-3.gif

One student in the class before us was fired today. Not sure exactly why, but we often saw her in the simulator room. I broke my high score on pinball in the cafeteria during lunch. Called home to tell my wife: A drove a real truck on a real road today. She was very happy. I consider myself very fortunate to be training at Roehl. $500/week salary to be trained and get a CDL for free is still somewhat unbelievable. Yet, I am here. I'm not taking it for granted.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

More Day #3. Forgot to mention that was yesterday. TODAY, I hooked up a trailer and drove it across the lot. Made turns. Sweated alot. Stalled twice. On lunch break now. But gotta go back out and practice pretrip inspections and more driving. More shifting, turning. Got to get better.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Day #3 Drove the bobtail around the course. Rough muddy path. No lanes. Stalled a couple times. Lots of driving, frustrations, joy. This job requires intense practice and self-discipline. Keeping my head clear and not beating myself up seems to be my biggest impediment. So much pressure on myself to perform is not good.

This is my first week. It feels like three weeks. Don't apply for this job if you cannot study. You really can't do this intense Get Your CDL program "part time." You'll be tired at the end of the day. Eat, study, sleep. I've been sticking to my exercise routine thanks to the Best Western's exercise room. Eating well has been a challenge. But it is not impossible. Roehl put us in a good hotel, just 10 minutes away from the terminal. My 2 classmates are incredibly good at this and friendly. We have much in common. Our trainer is easygoing and straightforward. He also has a great sense of humor and pushes us when we need it. He's a former Marine and not a whiner.

I am beginning to understand when veteran truckers say "you get what you put in" for this.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Awesome. I'm up here at Appleton training. I'm like you, this company is top notch. Hope everything goes well with ya!!

Thank you sir! We drove a bobtail around the course all day. I feel like I climbed a mountain. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Very difficult.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Day#2 I'm on lunch break. Spent the morning learning and practicing right and left turns on the simulator. Instructor snuck some smoking brakes, engine blow out and intoxication hazards on me. My first corner turned was on the curb. Told me "imagine a baby sitting there" and never do that again. Problem fixed. Next we will spend "class" outside on the truck coupling and uncoupling. Then we might get to drive around the lot with bobtail. Proof that this company cares about new hires: Last night they called our room to see if we needed anything from the local Walmart and shuttle would pick us up. Although it doesn't mean much, as someone that grew up in the Atari age, I am impressed that they keep arcade games in the cafeteria. I've already blown a few dollars on quarters playing The Walking Dead pinball game. Back to studying and practicing double clutch shifting in the air.

Tip: Bring a backpack with notepad. Be organized. Have all your handouts and be caught studying. Also bring all the supplies they recommend--and more. Have your steel toe boots, gloves (I bought 2 different kinds). I also brought a flashlight. Be ready for sever weather changes (especially if you're in Gary like us). Don't be late. Be early for everything. Keep your space clean and organized. Push in your chair. Think of it like a military. They like order and neatness along with safe behavior.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Exciting!!!! I'll definitely be following your journey, as for the saving money on food, I highly recommend a trip up to the local big box store and picking up something like a cheap George foreman or an electric kettle, itll let cook a few more things than the microwave and they can go in the truck when youre done with the hotel.

Great advice.

Posted:  2 years, 7 months ago

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My Roehl (Gary) Experience Early 2017

Day#1 Got to keep it short. But suffice it to say, me and my two classmates were thoroughly impressed with the professionalism of our trainer and the Gary terminal. The simulator was excellent and we learned all about the company's ethics and their emphasis on safety. I have a roommate at the hotel and was lucky to have one with many things in common with me. The Best Western room has a refrigerator and microwave. I am able to save alot of money by bringing my own food and preparing. I also am a bit lucky in that I have a car. The breakfast is free. The lunch at the terminal is free.

That terminal has a decent variety of food. Not as healthy as I prefer, but for most people that is fine. They have rooms to sleep, free laundry and relaxing chairs. Their facilities are state of the art and relatively new and clean. We are employees in training. We are being paid about $500 weekly and no obligation to pay back if we stay on for 15 months. This is an excellent deal.

We did well on the simulators and will get to drive a truck tomorrow. Took many notes and have been practicing shifting quite a bit. Stalled alot, but we need more practice. Gotta finish studying the textbook and get to sleep.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Any drivers occasionally camping out in tent in isolated area, campgrounds?

I look forward to the adventures on and off the road. Thanks everyone for all the insight.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Any drivers occasionally camping out in tent in isolated area, campgrounds?

Mister B is wondering:

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What about allowing those without a trailer? Bobtailing, maybe?

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Lessee.... self propelled (not a trailer). Got a bed in the back. Hey! You're driving an RV!!

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Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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New Podcast From "The Road Home" - Why Is CDL Training Done In Such A Rush?

Thanks for the perspective Brett and G-Town. I'm almost 1 week away from starting my training at Roehl and was feeling a bit of regret about signing that pre-hire letter!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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New Podcast From "The Road Home" - Why Is CDL Training Done In Such A Rush?

Mister B wrote:

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I'm not comfortable with the logbook issue, however.

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Can you explain your concern? Most of the large carriers use elogs...

This might give you a different perspective:

Learn The Logbook Rules (HOS)

Thanks. Specifically the issues of fudging or not fudging. From what I read, it seems there are many who drive beyond the hours of service. So if I'm 2 hours from arriving at the customer, but my hours run out, I can keep going or stop. If I keep going, get the miles are paid and customer gets delivery. However, that can lead to problems because it is against the DOT rules. It's quite a conundrum.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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New Podcast From "The Road Home" - Why Is CDL Training Done In Such A Rush?

Just finished the book, Brett. Quite an eye-opener. The experiences with those different companies really taught me alot. I'm not comfortable with the logbook issue, however. Regardless, I'll keep my mind open to discovering the nuances of the process. Roehl uses elogs, so I'm not sure if that changes the dynamic you described. Hoping I can balance that with keeping living expenses low, taking whatever they give me, being amicable with shippers, dispatchers and keeping up with empty trailer locations.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Any drivers occasionally camping out in tent in isolated area, campgrounds?

La Paz county park in Parker AZ is semi truck and trailer friendly. I just stayed there a few weeks ago. It's on the Colorado River just south of Lake Havasu AZ.

Beautiful desert scenery and sunsets that rival just about anywhere.

JJ

OK, that's one to put on my list. Thank you.

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