Comments By TruckerSpeir

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Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Middle-aged Husband & Wife Becoming Team Drivers at Prime

Congratulations to both of you! Training can be hard, but stick with it and don't allow the negative emotional moments to affect you and it will be over before you know it. I'm sitting right now across the street at the Econolodge, waiting on my truck to be ready, and it seems like just yesterday I was right where you were. I'm looking forward to reading your adventures! :-)

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

I love the diary, Paul! I just finished going through my training with a school to get my CDL and I'm now deciding who I want to drive for. Your diary makes me feel at ease and what I could expect when I finally go out driving with a trainer.

Hey Bob, I'm glad to hear you're digging the diary. Training is almost at an end and so this diary will be closing down soon too.

So this diary has made you feel at ease? Man, I'm glad! I was worried I was too negative about the whole process. It's not easy, but worth it. I'd recommend Prime for sure. They have great pay and seem to be a fairly good company. I'd just advise to be very selective with who you choose to train you. Remember that when a trainer interviews you, it is a double interview. You interview him/her as well, and be very prepared in advance as to what you'll ask. I was not, and suffered. Ask what they expect from you, what their goals are, what they intend to teach you in each phase. What are their personal practices when they drive solo? Are they by-the-book, or do they tend to skirt the line? What is their temperament? I don't know...are they germaphobic? I know it seems silly, but my trainer IS and let me tell you, the truck is too small to be concerned about catching germs from the person you're sharing it with. That is hell on earth.

In general, picture yourself in a closet-sized box with a stranger. You are going through an incredibly stressful transition in your life. You've left your friends, family, loved ones, for who knows how long. You're struggling to learn something that you imagine will be pretty simple but turns out to be incredibly hard. Your emotions are swinging and your mind is reeling--and you're having to share a box with a stranger, who is also going through an awful lot by giving up a significant portion of their living space to a stranger and putting their life in your hands as you try to learn how to drive an 80,000 pound vehicle. In short, it's crazy stressful in so many ways that the best of people will butt heads. When you plan your interview with your trainer, think of questions to ask with these things in mind.

Lastly, I don't care what they tell you in orientation, if your trainer is brand new, pass on them unless they have a crazy amount of experience and a high level of maturity. Mine is 22 and has been driving less than 2 years. The guy has no business being a trainer, in my opinion. In short, a new trainer may have head knowledge about what training is like, but very little practical knowledge. He or she will be going through this as green as you are, only on a different level, and that's a thing you just don't really want to deal with. SOMEBODY has to be his first student. It doesn't have to be you.

Just a few thoughts. :-)

To update, I'm sitting somewhere in Ohio, about 130 miles from my 90. Back on nights...no idea how that happened, really. I know that a couple of nights ago I worked 12 hours and asked my trainer when I'd be up next. He said 1AM, so I scheduled my sleep appropriately. I was exhausted, but stayed up watching Stranger Things on Netflix (digging that show!), then crashed with 8 hours to go until 1AM.

At 11:30 he woke me up, said he was done driving and we were now behind schedule, so I best get to the 02 ASAP and don't stop along the way unless absolutely necessary. I sucked it up and made the six hour driver with 25 minutes to spare. Got docked, unloaded, and by then his ten hours were up. I hoped he would take over, but after writing the comcheck for the lumper he went back to bed, told me to get another two hours down the road. So I did, and now 13 hours after getting my day started I was done. He had about 400 miles to drive to the 90. I stayed up a couple of hours, then slept for 8 and woke up with him 130 miles away from the 90, parked at a flying J. He decided to let me drive the rest of the way to unload in the morning.

On the upside, I'm getting laundry done and enjoying some quiet time in the driver's lounge. I was clear with him that I would not be off duty for 5 hours then go on duty and be on for my full drive shift. I am doing a max of 12 hours from the time I woke up. He agreed. We'll see. Five days left. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Well, last week was pretty fantastic. Pretty soon after the last load I wrote about we grabbed a high value heading to Miami. It worked out to where my trainer could take the first shift, which was pretty great. To not get too personal, I have trouble holding nature at bay for more than two hours sometimes, and with a HighVal you have to drive 200 miles before stopping. Four hours may have been impossible for me, and it made me nervous. But all worked out just fine, and Miami was beautiful. We dropped that one and grabbed a flower delivery heading to Denver. The shipper and receiver took absolutely forever, but on the upside we didn't have to load or unload, which I hear is usually the case with flower loads.

I took the shift heading out of Florida and was on cloud 9 because we were 30 hours ahead of schedule and dispatch couldn't get the delivery time pushed up, so we routed ourselves through Oklahoma City and spent fourteen hours at home. My wife didn't tell the girls I was coming home. Instead said she had to pick up one of the regular customers she held onto after quitting the taxi gig. When they saw me coming then jumped out of the van and, screaming and crying, ran to give me a hug. I needed that. Just that morning I woke up with a hazy idea that Prime should really hire some old ladies to sit on stools next to the doors at terminals wearing shirts saying "Free Hugs." Call me unmanly, but hugs used to fuel my life, and now I go weeks without them. I'd ask my trainer for a hug, but he'd probably leave me on the side of the road. :-D

So that trip secured my day shift once again and I have been extremely happy ever since. I love daytime driving.

After leaving Denver I had a super close call. My trainer was in the passenger seat and suddenly he told me to take a left. The GPS told me to take the next left, so I was off guard and didn't have time to plan properly. In retrospect I should have been in the right lane to make it, but it was a two lane road packed with cars and there was no way for me to move right. When I was halfway through the turn I saw that my trailer was a foot or so from hitting a One Way sign. Going back wasn't an option, so I did all I could think to do -- went forward, up a curb and onto a sidewalk, completing the turn with an inch to spare on the rear and an inch away from a sign up front. Whew! That was rough. I should have told him no and followed my GPS, but on the other hand I was watching my wagon, so I didn't hit anything. I decided to look at that incident as an example on what not to do followed up with a solution that, while far from ideal, solved the problem. Another hard lesson learned very well.

The only thing I could think was, "I'm 2 weeks away!" If I hit anything now I'd likely have miles added on and oh man I don't want that! As of now I'm seven days away from being done with this thing. On the 30th I'll go home, spend the week with my family and celebrate my 7-year-old's eighth birthday. Then I'll head back to Springfield for my upgrade!

All in all this has been a great week and today was a great day. I started my day around Lewisburg, PA, and drove through it to drop off the load I was hauling. What a beautiful town! Man I want to move there. The Susquehanna River was absolutely gorgeous, and the drive down through Amish country was so incredible. I gradually made my way down to 81 and headed south toward North Carolina, going through the Shenandoah Valley, which was something else, let me tell you. I love history and read a library's worth of Civil War books when I was a kid, so this was special to me.

One more quick note: I was concerned about my backing skills, but after today I feel pretty darn confident. Today's was a drop and hook, which is always nice, but the shipper was super tight. I had to drive down a narrow road up a hill, where there was a lot with three empty spaces and absolutely no room to turn around. The only way to get in the space was to blindside it, and after a moment of unease I decided to just go for it. And I got it on the first try without even having to GOAL once. I would have, but I just didn't need to. It clicked. Then, I had to go back down the hill and pick up my trailer, which was, of course, facing the wrong way. I had to go BACK up the hill and blindside this trailer back into another spot so I could turn around. And, again, no problem.

In short, I think I'm ready for my own truck. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

The night before last I was finishing up my pre-trip rituals when my trainer walked up and handed me a pretty nice over-glasses pair of night glasses. Something like sunglasses but geared for night driving. That night it helped immensely. I had no drowsiness and in fact was full of energy at the end of my shift.

Last night I didn't have a chance to use them. When I was to begin my shift we were at the shipper, 16 hours early. They promised to get us into a dock within four hours, and as there was no truck stop close by I ordered a pizza and settled in for a long night. I watched movies and music videos and so on until I dropped off to sleep for a while in the front seat. Finally, ten hours almost to the minute after we arrived, I got assigned a dock. There was a broken down yard jockey in my way, so I had to wait for it to be moved. Then another truck decided to not wait for me to back into the dock and took off, only to realize he was missing some load locks, so he blocked my way for a good ten minutes.

Finally I got backed in and they had us loaded within an hour. When I picked up the bills he said we were very lucky--the power went out the moment they had us loaded. I pulled out, locked up and tried to figure out the seal. It was a wire that you feed into a little lock. It wouldn't go in the lock, so I asked one of the yard jockeys how to work it. He took it and said, "I think this is how..." and locked it. Not on the truck, of course. So I had to go back in and have the bills re-printed with a new seal assigned, the really look like a rookie when the guy told me, "You know the guard seals it, right?"

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Live and learn.

I have to tell you, that chicken plant was extremely nasty. I walked up to the front to the guard shack to pick up the pizza and a truck was leaving, trailing rivers of chicken blood, which seriously pooled in the dirt road and flowed freely. Almost makes a guy want to join PETA. Almost...well, not even close, really, but seriously that has to be a health hazard. When I dropped the load off this morning I happened to step into a mud hole that was made by this same blood. I was lazily wearing my old, trusty sandals, and the smell was so bad I had to trash them. Another lesson learned.

I was wide awake and as my hours hadn't even started yet--I was in off duty the whole night...per my trainer. Was this right?--and my trainer's girlfriend is in the process of having his child--he refuses to go home, says he can't afford it--I offered to take the day shift and allow him to rest the whole day and monitor the delivery. I thought this an answer to prayers. Really would love to drive days again. But, alas, it was a no go.

Which really screwed up my sleep schedule. I woke up today and drove 320 miles to my receiver, dropped and hooked all by myself, thank you very much, and drove another 200 miles back the way I came. We have 40 more miles to go to our new 01, but we're not due to pick it up until 4 this morning, so I parked us at a TA with 20 minutes to spare on my clock. That last 200 miles was brutal. The glasses didn't help, but to be fair I don't think there was much help to be had. I had wanted to go to a closer truck stop to the 90 we just dropped at, knowing we were so close to our 01 and had so much time, but request denied by the trainer. So I pressed on and barely made it.

I am looking forward to running my own truck. So much I would do differently. But, on the up side, I have time for laundry!

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Now, G-Town my head is already far too large. But, thanks. 😄

There is one aspect to this adventure I possibly have not written enough about: leaving my family. My father was in the military and was stationed in far off places for lengthy periods of time. I always wondered how he did it...why would a man leave his family? For service to the country, okay I get that. But when he left the military the lifestyle continued in the public sector and I never understood how money could be a large enough motivator to leave a family.

This has been good for me in that regard, to understand motivations and so on. But it has been very hard. So many times I've wanted to pack it all up and go home. Money is nice but man late at night when I'm tired I'd rather flip burgers and see my wife and kids every day.

My reasons for continuing are personal and valid. But I would absolutely caution those with a family to do some serious soul searching before starting out in this life. It is so very, very hard at times, and you will find the allure of money fades very quickly.

Posted:  2 years, 9 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Greg, I'd take G-Town training me over this guy in a heartbeat. I'd take him over just about anybody...save Old School, probably, but Old School is flatbed if I remember correctly. Would likely switch to flatbed if I had the chance to have him train me. :-) Anyway, yeah I'm too nice and too non-confrontational. Lots I would do differently, but I've taken control of my training. Right before the break last week I laid out what I was missing and we made a plan to work on it following the break. So far all is well in that regard.

Well, I passed (or failed) my sleep study, so I am the proud owner of a DreamStation CPAP device. ;-/ It's annoying, but in truth I sleep pretty darn good with it. I can't say I feel better or worse yet. One thing I was hoping it would fix is my intense drowsiness while driving nights, but if anything that has gotten worse. I can drive all day long and be fine, but get me behind the wheel for about five hours at night and I get tunnel vision and my thoughts try to sweep me away. I've dimmed interior lights, made sure to not look at oncoming headlights, etc., but the only thing that works is to pull over and take a power nap.

It's frustrating, because the last day of my break last week my trainer wasn't communicating our schedule. I had assumed (yeah, bad idea) that I was still driving nights as for him to take the night shift would have meant he would have to stay up all night and sleep all day. I didn't think he'd do that, so I texted him and told him to let me know the plan, and I made plans to stay up all night. I had driven back to OKC with my family and we grabbed a babysitter and went out to make some extra money--we have a blind couple who love my wife and I and take taxis everywhere. My taxi is now out of service, but my wife has made herself available for them regardless. They love haunted houses, so we spent the evening taking them to haunted houses all over the city. And then, wouldn't you know it, in the midst of that my trainer texts and tells me to get some sleep because I'm taking first shift. This, late at night. wtf.gif

So I thanked him for trying to get me into driving the day shift but told him I couldn't do it, that I had assumed we were keeping the schedule as it was when we went on break and, as he hadn't communicated otherwise, I had no way to get anything more than two hours of sleep. So I missed out on getting my day shift back. In the end, I should have communicated with him, not expected him to communicate with me. I know better.

So I'm on nights. We got a load from Springfield to Fort Worth, then Cactus, Texas, to Riverside, Ca -- then a tiny one from Riverside to Bakersfield. Finally we got a load from Salinas, CA to Maryland--3,000 miles total! I'll be up to 18,500 by the time this one is delivered tomorrow morning. :-)

A huge blessing was my paycheck today. I expected to lose out on the four days I took off and not be reimbursed for the 3 days' hotel costs, but I got a full check and full reimbursement, and finally got reimbursed the cost of bus fare--as I provided my own transportation to Prime for orientation, they promised to reimburse me...I gave up on it. So all in all, a great check, finances are in good standing, and all is well.

One good thing about driving at night is getting to see beautiful sunrises. Check out this one I took at the edge of the Mojave Desert. :-)

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Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Greg, thanks for reading...even most of it. I often think back to what I've written and cringe, realizing I really wrote way more than necessary. Then I'll go on and do it again the next time I write something. So skipping over some of it...don't blame you in the least! :-)

Yes, he is a dweeb...but then again, I do understand the core reasons behind his attitude problem, and once I understand somebody I find it hard to dislike them. I realize the red flags that people such as G-Town saw were not necessarily the attitude issues but rather the lack of training issues. I narrowed it down to a few issues and discussed them with him, and we have come to an agreement on how to proceed. We have settled into a routine that really has begun to be decent. I'm at 12,300 miles, so a little more than a third of the way there...the rough times are easier to overlook now that a bit of a light has begun to show at the end of the tunnel.

I DO think that there should be a training for the trainers--well, there is, but it's cursory at best--but that won't happen, so we do the best with what we have. Today I was talking to somebody who was in my class and he told me his trainer has had two accidents since they went on the road together--tore a door off a trailer while docking and somehow hit a fuel island concrete barrier. He said he's scared. That helps me...mine may be a dweeb...a thug is more accurate, actually...but he's a safe driver. That's something.

No, I don't smoke. I quit seven years ago, actually. I knew my trainer smoked when I accepted him, mainly because he promised to smoke as little as possible and eventually buy a vape. He smokes a lot and never did get that vape. But in the TNT phase his smoking is primarily while I'm sleeping or on the rare occasion he gets up in the middle of his sleep shift.

I realize that my training fiasco may put some people off. At first I thought this negative, but you know if you can't take a bad training experience then I think this job may not be for you anyway. I'm realizing more and more every day that being capable of handling anything that comes your way and overcoming every time is central to success.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

That's a good one, I'll definitely use it. I have to "trick" myself into retaining information all of the time, so this fits in nicely with what I'm already doing.

You're not kidding about driving a car! It is so odd...my wife keeps saying "You don't drive like a cab driver anymore!" Man is she right. I catch myself going 30 in a 45 and taking curves as if my dodge caravan is going to off track. 😄

All in all a good thing, probably. My driving habits were borderline illegal as a cab driver. 😁

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Today is a good day, and I've learned to really enjoy good days, to never take them for granted. We didn't get a load going toward Springfield immediately. We got dispatched on a load going to Idaho first, then began working our way back. The day before yesterday I started my shift in Idaho and drove through Utah and most of Wyoming. When I ended my day it was 31 degrees outside, so when I woke up I blearily went into the Flying J, showered, and dressed appropriately--thick, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, etc., Came out and realized it's 80 degrees outside! Going through multiple climates in one day is odd to say the least. :-)

I made a quick delivery to Bartlett, Illinois, and after a very close call--I made a left turn way too sharp and came within an inch of hitting a pickup truck...shook me, strengthened my resolve to be more vigilant--headed to a Petro for breakfast while waiting on a new load. Our hope was to get dispatched to pick up close by heading through Springfield, and sure enough that's exactly what happened.

We arrived around 1 in the morning and as the Campus Inn was fully booked they put me up at the swanky Oasis Hotel. Man it's nice, but it took me forever to fall asleep and I could only sleep about five hours. The bed wasn't rocking me gently to sleep, and when I woke up I was bracing myself for the bumps and curves and stops that never came. I feel like a sailor who has been at sea for months and can't quite seem to get his bearings. But the hotel is nice, and my wife and kids will be here within the hour. Prime paid for the first night, and I'll pay for the next two...not even asking, even though I am here by their request--to do the sleep study. As my family's here it doesn't feel right to ask them to cover the room. I don't even care. I have today through Friday with my family. :-)

I'm estimating that I'm at around 12,000 miles to date. This week is throwing us off, but I still think I'll be done with TNT by my eldest daughter's 8th birthday, November 4th. If so, I'm taking a week off and spending it with her before heading out in my own truck.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

This past week has been a blur. We have been back and forth between the mid-west and the east coast. We were in Chicago one moment, Atlanta the next (Chicago traffic beat LA, but Atlanta took the cake), then down in Florida. I blinked my eyes and we were in Schenectedy--a name my kids had no end of fun with when I told them on the phone--and now I just drove through Des Moine. Some time or other a few days ago, or longer...man, how do you keep time out here?...we made it to the Pittston terminal and I thought of you, G-Town. It's a nice terminal, much nicer than Salt Lake, but of course nothing like Springfield.

My trainer and I are getting along better, primarily because I stay out of his hair and he stays out of what little hair I have. I have realized his communication skills are lacking and when he tries to communicate it is in the manner he would communicate to one of his friends--I was the same when I was 22 years old. Rude, crude, crass, offensive. I never meant offense, and I realize he doesn't either. I also realize I lost all respect for him some time ago and my reactions to my misinterpretation of his intent while communicating are based off of this disrespect.

So I'm working on it. And things really are improving. His biggest issues were my logs and macros...I keep forgetting. But I'm improving in leaps there. I put in 580 miles last night and only woke him up once when the construction zone merged into a rumble strip. He actually complimented me this morning.

We're stretching our hours pretty dramatically. The hope is to get to Salt Lake City, drop off our load at the terminal, and have just enough hours to squeeze a load in going toward Sprimo for my sleep study on Thursday. My wife and kids are coming up and we're renting a room. If we get in on the 4th, which is the current plan, I'll have that evening, most of the next day, and then some of Friday with them. I'll take it.

Home sickness is incredibly hard in this phase, and there are times when I wonder why on earth I'm out here away from my family. I have frequent dreams where I'm driving a city bus and am so happy. Now, there's no way I'd ever be happy driving a city bus, so that was more of a nightmare. But, still--yeah, it's hard.

I am smart enough to understand that home sickness will be worse during this phase due to all of the emotional/physical stresses that comes with it. Training is hard...hard's not adequate. It's brutally hard. It's torture sometimes. Yesterday due to the load schedules I stayed up all night after working a full shift then slept all day so I could drive all night. I was seriously exhausted, but two coffees and two red bulls later, I got through. I pulled over every fifteen minutes to answer the call of nature, but I made it. When you get tired and stressed emotions rage. The temptation is to think the storm will last forever, and if you believe that you will make a decision to exit the storm. But the reality is, it will pass. It always does.

And, if you're wondering, I never was so tired that I was out of control. I know enough to pull it over. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Prime Inc - My new career

Awesome! You can do this, Ed! I know what helped me pass all three skills tests was to be super calm the day of the test, not allow anybody to tell me anything good or bad, no advice, no instruction--just be laser-focused on being calm and collected. For me. May be different for you, but I know just watching people out there testing I saw it over and over again, nerves getting the better of them. They do great and then get nervous and begin overthinking and miss something simple. Once I got the nerves mastered it was the easiest thing in the world.

I also wrote down the backing maneuvers the night before. I don't know how you learned, but we had points of reference--i.e., turn hard left, reverse, look for landing gear, countersteer...etc. I wrote them down over and over until I knew them by heart.

Anyway, I'm sure you've got this covered. Man, good luck out there. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Thanks, G-town and Ed for the advice. I have been so tired over the past few days after my shift that I haven't been up for much more than sleep. I'm getting used to the long drives, though!

I had something of a come to Jesus talk with my trainer on Tuesday and things did improve quite a bit afterward. Still no trip planning--will get to that in a moment--but he's doing things by the book finally. It hasn't been flowers and candy canes, unfortunately. Today during my shift I had to drive what he said was 480 miles to get to the receiver, and when 525 miles later my clock ran out and we were still 80 miles away he asked me sarcastically what we should tell the FM when we're late. I told him that he could tell him whatever he chooses...doesn't matter to me. But I'd suggest that you start with your poor trip planning skills.

It didn't go over well. And it didn't help that today when stopping for my thirty the Petro didn't have a sign directing me to the proper entrance, so I had to go miles outside of my way and eventually into a farmer's field to turn around...the farmer was cool with it, but my trainer woke up and oh man all hell broke loose. He ended up cussing me out, and I ended up yelling at him, and he quickly apologized. I never yell, ask my wife...I just don't ever get angry. This guy, though...

So, shoot, yeah it's easy to say get another trainer, but I'm just west of Chicago. Yesterday I was in New Jersey, the day before in Tennessee. I don't understand the logistics of switching so far from the terminal, and in truth I don't know what I'd tell the FM my reason was that didn't sound childish. "He yells at me. He didn't keep his word. We don't get along." In truth, I have moments where I like the guy, and the reality is I have zero desire to use the things that are more serious as reasons to trade trainers because I do not wish to get him in trouble.

But, hey, I hate that this diary has taken such a negative turn. The reality is, hardships have two possible outcomes: They tear us down or build us up. My trainer doesn't determine those outcomes, I do, and I'm using this to learn patience, kindness, forgiveness, self control, and so on. I think if somebody who is considering getting into this industry is reading this, I hope that's what they'll take out of it -- sure, my training experience has seriously been rocky, but man I've been killing it out here. I navigated the New Jersey Turnpike by myself yesterday, saw NYC in the distance, drove through the outskirts of Chicago today...and just a few weeks ago I knew absolutely nothing about driving a truck! Training is brief and fleeting, though it certainly doesn't feel like it in the moment. Soon things look up.

And I have a sleep study scheduled on October 5th in Springfield. If I can find a way, I may try to peacefully part ways for the remainder of my TNT phase.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Geez Paul, this is getting messy. Two questions:

- why isn't your trainer teaching you and allowing you to practice basic trip planning?

- why isn't your trainer teaching you Qualcomm communication?

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To answer these questions, as for trip planning--he doesn't trip plan. It appears that he gets a load, accepts it, puts the address in his GPS and then begins driving. I've watched him and can't figure any qualification for the acceptance of the loads and I can't see any other planning involved in the trip. As you can imagine, this leads to problems. Our first trip was impossible for us to complete, so we had to repower and switch off with a different driver, which took us west--a lot of miles for very little money (yes, he's a lease operator), a fact he complained about often. The trip out west was fraught with difficulties, a reason they typically do not send PSD students out west (or so I'm told), but as that first load was going to be extremely late the dispatcher did the best he could. Now, that first load should not have been offered to us, but if he had properly planned the trip he would have realized that it was impossible immediately, rather than ten hours after we picked it up.

This load we're on now is another example. If I were on it I would not have stopped at home so soon after having hometime simply because I was a day ahead of schedule. Understand, I loved the extra time and appreciate it, but it is indicative of larger operating issues in my eyes. Yesterday afternoon the dispatch sent a message saying they would speak with the receiver to get our appt pushed up. This morning the dispatcher sent a message saying, "Well, I guess you didn't want to deliver early after all." I would have pushed hard, gotten there early while negotiating an early delivery and continued on down the road.

So, double standards, which goes to the Qualcomm issue. I don't know why he doesn't want me learning the GPS, but he does show me the macros and insists I enter my own logs--but just enter them they way he wants them done, which is often against policy. He bends the rules on the logbooks, among many other things, in an effort to make more money, but doesn't plan ahead to really maximize his potential revenue. I don't get it at all.

And I feel guilty talking about this dude behind his back, so possibly I'm in the wrong by mentioning this stuff. But advice is always good. I appreciate it very much.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

I know it may seem that I've complained a lot about my trainer, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Most sounds petty when said aloud so I leave it alone. Training is hard for everyone involved, I get that.

GTown I always appreciate your wisdom. This helps narrow down what I should speak to him about. In truth I hate confrontations, drama, etc., would far prefer to not rock the boat. But the boat is about to capsize, so now it's time to begin righting it.

In my view I have three options: 1., talk to him about the big three issues (trip planning, doing everything by the book, and reassessing boundaries and expectations) in hopes of coming to an understanding. 2., talk to my fm and transfer to a new trainer. Or 3., study what I am missing on my own time and let him do things as he pleases.

1 might lead to 2, but 2 can't be done without 1, and 3 will only lead to more frustration, an inadequate training and future students who are poorly trained.

So I guess I have my answer.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Home time was wonderful, but I absolutely understand the policy to not allow students to go home at this phase. The desire to quit was the strongest it had been to this point. Getting on that truck with my three girls crying and begging me to stay was tough, but I did it.

We left the truck stop in Oklahoma City at 9:00pm and I immediately started my ten hour break and slept. My trainer delivered, waited for the unload, then headed toward Cactus, Texas to pick up our new load.

I expected that drive to be a max of five hours, so we should have arrived at 7:30. But he stopped a few times, and every time I woke up and was up for a while before sleep hit me again.

He finally woke me at 6:30 and told me he couldn't drive anymore, so I shook out the bleariness and got going. Even with the stops I expected to be there no later than 8:30, but it was a guess. The Rand McNally gps was not working and so I was using the Qualcomm gps...not that it would have made a difference. I have been told to not worry about trip planning and to not play with the gps, so with no instructions and no ability to figure it out myself I have no idea how to work the things.

So I drove. Made one stop--the trainer stuck his head out and admonished me to be very quick--and kept driving. About 10:00 we finally arrived. It was a drop and hook and I had to slide my tandems. I really did not want to wake my trainer up...for my sake, not his...so I googled it and performed a successful tandem slide. He woke up anyway and took over.

I had put myself into on duty, despite his prior instructions to go off duty every time I am out of the truck without exception. When he woke up I was halfway through the drop and hook and he chided me for not being in off duty, changed it, then corrected the logs. So my 30 minute break was spent working. Then he proceeded to finish the coupling and slid the tandems forward.

He then set the Gps and told me to follow it before heading to sleep again. I spent the next five hours driving a two lane highway. Occasionally he would emerge to sarcastically comment on something or tell me to make as few stops as possible. I told him if I needed to stop I would stop, and he would grumble then disappear again. But I couldn't stop, the back roads of Texas do not have shoulders to pull over on nor are there trucker friendly gas stations. So I pressed on.

He came up to smoke a cigarette and told Me again how much we needed to hurry, so I questioned him on our trip. Apparently he was under the impression that we had to deliver on the 19th (it being the 18th). I told him our delivery date was the 20th, so he looked and said "Oh!" And relaxed. Then he looked at the gps and said, "why is this thing taking us the long way? We should have been on 40 a long time ago!"

I have dreams of getting a big map book and plotting my drive for the day and beyond. Gosh I'm looking forward to that!

I had no idea where I was, a constant state of affairs it seems, so when I emerged on i40 forty miles from Oklahoma City I was surprised. I stopped at a flying J on the outskirts of the city, as instructed, and asked what our plan was. He said to be quick so we could get on the road. I had two hours left and was beat, so I planned on grabbing and Red Bull and pushing the rest of my clock.

But a heartbeat later he said to take a couple of hours and have dinner with my family. Right then my wife called and it so happens she was in the car on her way to something. She canceled that and detoured to get me. Before she got there my trainer called and said to take the night and be back by seven. He would take the first shift.

I'm grateful for the extra home time and frustrated as well. Trip planning would have eliminated so many problems yesterday and given us even more time At home, which could have been pre arranged. And on top of that I drive all day while he slept, and yet because he wants to sleep all night I have to stay awake all night--eating into my ability to enjoy my extra home time(kind of a zombie)--so I can sleep while he takes the shift that was to be mine.

I know I'm venting. I question if this is an appropriate entry into this diary. But a real view of what training is like is good I suppose. As others have pointed out countless times, training is very hard. I have wanted to quit every single evening. When I'm tired it's by far the worst. I have to stop, rest, and regroup...and every time I find the desire to press on. Life will improve dramatically when I upgrade.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Journey

Congratulations!!! Glad to hear you did well today. 😀

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Thank you! I sure was hoping to have more time to talk to you, but I got swept up in the moment. Hopefully we will meet up again in the future. Keep up your diary--I enjoy reading it.

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Training sucks! Keep your eye on the prize!

Very, very true. Great post!

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

*question is

And, yes, the devil I know is far better! 😈I'm sticking with him. Thank you for the congratulations and the advice. It is very much appreciated. ☺

Posted:  2 years, 10 months ago

View Topic:

Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

G-town, you are very right. I often contradict myself, mainly due to contradictory emotions. I think that part of the human condition. Mine, at the very least. I apologized to my trainer earlier for not waking him. I should have. I think these stressful times can often put me in a less than friendly mood if I'm not careful.

Earlier my trainer told me dispatch would not allow us to go home, but he found a way. I went about the process of completing my new hire/CDL work, and halfway through it he blew up my phone, insisting if I didn't come right then he would leave without me. I couldn't leave my work unfinished, but I took a break to call him. He got angry and hung up on me, then texted me and told me nevermind, we weren't going home, were going on another load. So I went to the FM and we hashed it out, then worked with my trainer to find a compromise. We are now on our way with a load to our home town. We will be there two days, which is perfectly fine.

So in the end it worked out. You know, I think our faults and imperfections just get magnified when under such stress. The quest is, can you man up and look towards the big picture, understanding that this is temporary? If so, it all works out.

Not sure if that made sense. 😀 It has been a day.

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