Comments By TruckerSpeir

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Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Yesterday was a LONG day. We spent most of the day backing, tightening up the basics--straight, offset, parallel--and then started the alley dock. "The easiest backing maneuver," my trainer told me when I asked him over and over again to teach it to me. "It's three steps! You'll see, we'll get that one last."

Six hours later I was about 60% sure I knew how to do it. Completely bummed out, absolutely discouraged, and yet still scheduled to take the test today, I went to bed early. My trainer insisted we get up at 4am and practice some more before the 6:30 roll call to test. I told him it was a bad idea, that being rested was far more important, but he insisted. Before falling asleep I realized how important it is to give the stress to God and simply focus on the job at hand. I resolved I would do that.

4 AM came quickly and my trainer was MIA. I texted him twice and was going to call, but I was angry. At 6AM, right when I'm about to step on the shuttle to go to the meeting, he calls and says his alarm didn't go off. iPhones do not do that. At 6:40, with the meeting underway, he busts in the room and gives a lame excuse. His eyes are bloodshot. I'm pretty unhappy.

But I gave the stress to God and decided to calm down. We backed a few times on the pad in practice and every time he tried to tell me something I quieted him, told him I wouldn't have his help on the test so don't help me now.

Long story short, after meeting Cato real quick--she has a diary on here; check it out--I tested. I missed nothing on the pre-trip, got 2 points on the backing (no alley dock!)--and 18 points on the driving test. So I passed! Trifecta! Which means I get a bonus from Prime and my trainer and get to go home for the weekend! Which is the real reason I pushed so hard to trifecta.

And now my trainer is saying he'll give me the bonus later. And we may not be able to go home. I pushed and he relented, but tried to shorten the time home from 2 days to less than one. I pushed again and he relented again, but now is pressuring me to hurry through the DMV and new hire process, which I have no control over.

I'm frustrated with this guy, to say the least. I may consider going home and coming back on my own to a new trainer for the TNT potion. He has a ton of positives, don't get me wrong. I like the guy. But the negatives are hard to work through.

Anyway, it was a good day regardless!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

I am writing this from the comfort of my home away from home, the Campus Inn in Springfield. We started off yesterday morning in Ogden, Utah, picking up a pre-loaded reefer full of vegetables, and made our way back to the terminal here. We pushed hard, forgetting the usual 58 MPH my trainer likes to drive (completely understandable; I'll be driving that speed too) in favor of 65 MPH. We made it with exactly 3 minutes on our clock!

So now I'm comfortable and relaxed, ready to start training hard tomorrow in preparation for the test on Friday. I'm ready, I think. More importantly, my trainer thinks I'm ready. We drove around 4,600 miles in nine days. I drove through mountains, down and up 6% grades, through cities at rush hour, and so on...definitely got my fill of practice. I'm ready to take this test and move on to the next phase.

One thing about cell phones: Boost Mobile is absolutely awful for truckers. I had no service for nearly all of the trip yesterday and today--absolutely nothing throughout Wyoming and Nebraska. My trainer has Verizon and had no problems. Definitely going to switch soon.

Last note: I got to see Cheyenne, Wyoming, finally! I was born there right before my father, who was in the Air Force, was moved to another base. I've had to list it as my birthplace frequently over the past thirty-six years, but knew it only as a point on a map. So, personally, it was really cool. Wyoming is a beautiful state.

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Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Pre trip inspection

I'm about to test and my rule of thumb is to study til I know every bit of it. The entire pre trip on the entire truck, no shortcuts. I have a bad memory, but I did it. You can too.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

I've lost track of days! The wait at Wal-Mart was excessive--took three hours and four phone calls with Live Health Online to finally get my prescription faxed in. The whole time I had to wait in the pharmacy, because the half mile walk was as the crow flies. It was more like a mile and I was not feeling like walking back and forth. Would I recommend Live Health? Well, if there's no other option, then sure--but make sure you have the right pharmacy (I did) and that you have a good contact number for the doctor just in case. I called the 1888 number and that was a slow process.

The next day we picked up a load headed to Ogden, Utah, and delivered that last night. We parked at a Flying J in Ogden and I tried out Flying J's wifi for the first time. We were parked in the very back, but I got a good enough signal to Skype with my family. Impressive!

We grabbed an empty trailer when we dropped off in Ogden and took it the next morning to Prime's Salt Lake City terminal, then picked up a load going 30 miles away (trainer was pretty mad about it), and three hours later we were unloaded. We headed back to the terminal and put in some time backing on the pad.

How is my training progressing? According to my trainer, my city driving is more than passable. In truth, I'm comfortable with city driving, so I agree. My pre-trip is about 95% perfect--I'm ready there. I have the parallel, offset and straight backing down almost perfectly and the alley dock we have not had an opportunity to practice, but my trainer assures me it's two steps and he has no doubt I'll pick it up the next time we get on the practice pad. We ran out of time today.

Tomorrow we head back to Ogden and grab a load going to TN. We will divert to Springfield and drop it at the terminal. Hopefully we'll be there by late Wednesday. Thursday we'll practice all day and Friday I'll Trifecta. I'm looking at some big incentives for passing the first time. Prime's $250 of course, but the trainer is going to pay for my CDL, give me a $200 bonus AND take me home for the weekend.

Two days ago I started getting homesick. I haven't been yet, so it hit me hard. I'm looking forward to seeing my family, so I will pass the first time.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Prime Inc - My new career

Awesome! Good luck, Ed, I know you'll do great out there. Enjoy your adventure. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Headed to Prime CDL training!

Hey Firehog, I'm glad you're doing good. I'm curious about the sleep apnea issue. I started orientation two weeks ago today and have been on the road with my trainer for one week. We are in Salt Lake City now, about to head back to Springfield for me to test for CDL. I got slated for the sleep test as well, but I was written a short term med card and was able to get my permit first. I take my sleep test after I earn my CDL, and they will deduct the amount out of my settlements in payments. Was this not an option for you? I find it odd that you weren't given a med card and have to pay up front.

Either way, it sounds like you have it all under control. I'm happy for you! Good luck out there.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

The life of a trucker is hitting me today. I don't mind but it is exhausting. We woke at 4 am and made our way to our 90, then got dispatched to pick up in Santa Maria heading back east. We got there and loaded with an hour left on our 14, so I dealt with an issue.

My side has been hurting for a week now and I attributed it to a pulled muscle. Until this morning when the worst symptoms of a UTI reared their ugly heads. So while getting loaded I used the live help online mobile app and face timed a doc who wrote me a script for an antibiotic and sent it to a Walmart half a mile away. And here I am. They can't find the prescription and live help is trying to track it down. Meanwhile it's seven pm and my ten hour is dwindling and I'm beat. But, it will be okay. ☺

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Mentor Problems

My trainer listens to gangster rap, smokes (I'm an ex smoker), cusses like a sailor and often gets belligerent at insignificant things. He talks on his phone. A lot. He's on it right now. And he hates sitting in the passenger seat, so he finds reasons to drive. He's driving right now. But, he is teaching me and I am learning quickly. He's a good driver and a good teacher. I've found that sometimes you just overlook the small stuff in view of the bigger picture. None of that stuff will matter when I'm team driving with him, and it surely won't matter when I'm solo.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Last night we stopped at a Wal-Mart somewhere in Colorado and I had no WifI or service on my phone (so no tethering, as I am now)--and I was too tired to care about writing anything anyway. It was a beast of a day. I drove the rest of the way through Nebraska then to Denver, wondering what on earth was wrong with Colorado. I always envisioned mountains everywhere, and up to Denver there was nothing. And then...boom, there they are! I drove about an hour down steep grades and back up and then back down again, learning how to use the jake brake and handle speeds. I did really well, but my trainer (and I, let's be honest) was on edge the whole time. Finally he took over and drove the rest of the day, and I was happy for it. I was worn out, absolutely exhausted, and I enjoyed sitting back and taking in the view. Colorado is a beautiful state!

This morning we woke up, grabbed some supplies at Wally World and headed out. He drove for about an hour and then I took over and drove the rest of the way through Colorado and then through most of Utah. The mountains in Colorado were beautiful, but Utah's mountains were stunning. We pulled over at a scenic spot and climbed up a hill and took pictures. I'd post some, but my phone is on 3g service and I'll be happy if it lets me post this.

Which brings up a point: Boost Mobile is seriously underperforming. I'm going to have to go with something better soon.

We switched off driving the rest of the day, running our clock down, making it through Arizona (I did not realize we'd be going through Arizona) and then finally into Las Vegas, stopping about 30 miles outside of Sin City. I never cared to see Vegas, so I wasn't oohing and ahhing over seeing the Bellagio and all those other places that are sucking people dry. Still, I can say I've been there--so that's cool.

So we're at Whiskey Pete's casino, parked for the night. When we got here we went over pre trip for about an hour, then settled in. It's 8:15 and we have about 8 hours left on our ten hour break. So we'll be up at 4am and out of here at 4:30. It should take us between 4 and 5 hours to get to our 90, which will give us about an hour window to deliver.

It is hard to live in a box with somebody! We have butted heads quite a bit. Small things become big when you're tired, and the reaction can sometimes be unfair and toxic. We had one instance earlier where he asked me to fuel, so I asked what order to do it all. He became snarky and kind of made fun of the fact that I didn't know, so I got angry and told him that if he thought I was having a hard time remembering things then he wasn't fit to be a trainer--he is going to get all sorts of students and best find a way to teach every one. (I am his first student and he is young.) Well, it escalated quickly, but it cooled down just as quickly. He realized almost immediately that he crossed a line and was wrong, and he apologized profusely then bought dinner. I apologized as well--this is a two-way street--and we agreed that we were both being pretty foolish.

Moral of the story? This is not easy. I am driving his home, his source of income, and trying to learn so very much in the process--and he is trying to deal with the stress of it all while teaching me so very much. On top of that we have our differences in music, politics, religion, etc.--and you may think that you just shouldn't talk about such things or listen to music, but sitting in silence for ten hours a day, or talking solely about trucking, is just not possible. Short story: Friction happens, and it happens often and frequently. But the problem isn't the friction, it's how we deal with the friction. In the case of my trainer and I, we have actually become friends because of it.

As far as the music goes...I try to find the positives in gangster rap, and he listens to TwentyOne Pilots with me. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Last night we stopped at a Wal-Mart somewhere in Colorado and I had no WifI or service on my phone (so no tethering, as I am now)--and I was too tired to care about writing anything anyway. It was a beast of a day. I drove the rest of the way through Nebraska then to Denver, wondering what on earth was wrong with Colorado. I always envisioned mountains everywhere, and up to Denver there was nothing. And then...boom, there they are! I drove about an hour down steep grades and back up and then back down again, learning how to use the jake brake and handle speeds. I did really well, but my trainer (and I, let's be honest) was on edge the whole time. Finally he took over and drove the rest of the day, and I was happy for it. I was worn out, absolutely exhausted, and I enjoyed sitting back and taking in the view. Colorado is a beautiful state!

This morning we woke up, grabbed some supplies at Wally World and headed out. He drove for about an hour and then I took over and drove the rest of the way through Colorado and then through most of Utah. The mountains in Colorado were beautiful, but Utah's mountains were stunning. We pulled over at a scenic spot and climbed up a hill and took pictures. I'd post some, but my phone is on 3g service and I'll be happy if it lets me post this.

Which brings up a point: Boost Mobile is seriously underperforming. I'm going to have to go with something better soon.

We switched off driving the rest of the day, running our clock down, making it through Arizona (I did not realize we'd be going through Arizona) and then finally into Las Vegas, stopping about 30 miles outside of Sin City. I never cared to see Vegas, so I wasn't oohing and ahhing over seeing the Bellagio and all those other places that are sucking people dry. Still, I can say I've been there--so that's cool.

So we're at Whiskey Pete's casino, parked for the night. When we got here we went over pre trip for about an hour, then settled in. It's 8:15 and we have about 8 hours left on our ten hour break. So we'll be up at 4am and out of here at 4:30. It should take us between 4 and 5 hours to get to our 90, which will give us about an hour window to deliver.

It is hard to live in a box with somebody! We have butted heads quite a bit. Small things become big when you're tired, and the reaction can sometimes be unfair and toxic. We had one instance earlier where he asked me to fuel, so I asked what order to do it all. He became snarky and kind of made fun of the fact that I didn't know, so I got angry and told him that if he thought I was having a hard time remembering things then he wasn't fit to be a trainer--he is going to get all sorts of students and best find a way to teach every one. (I am his first student and he is young.) Well, it escalated quickly, but it cooled down just as quickly. He realized almost immediately that he crossed a line and was wrong, and he apologized profusely then bought dinner. I apologized as well--this is a two-way street--and we agreed that we were both being pretty foolish.

Moral of the story? This is not easy. I am driving his home, his source of income, and trying to learn so very much in the process--and he is trying to deal with the stress of it all while teaching me so very much. On top of that we have our differences in music, politics, religion, etc.--and you may think that you just shouldn't talk about such things or listen to music, but sitting in silence for ten hours a day, or talking solely about trucking, is just not possible. Short story: Friction happens, and it happens often and frequently. But the problem isn't the friction, it's how we deal with the friction. In the case of my trainer and I, we have actually become friends because of it.

As far as the music goes...I try to find the positives in gangster rap, and he listens to TwentyOne Pilots with me. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Prime Inc - My new career

You undoubtedly made the right choice. I have butted heads with my trainer a bit and have found just how difficult it can be to live in a closet with somebody. It has taken a couple of days but we're getting along really well, but we started with common respect and honesty. Start with dishonesty and it surely would not work. I hope you find a good one soon.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

Prime Inc - My new career

Ed, thanks for the update! I am so glad to hear you got past the blood pressure test. I hadn't seen you around before I headed out yesterday so I feared the worst. Good luck out there!

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Yesterday morning my trainer and I left off on a voyage across Missouri, then we thought we'd be heading to Pennsylvania. That trip was replaced with one to Wyoming, but by the end of the day it became clear that there was no way we'd make the 6:45AM delivery time on the 6th. We picked it up around 7pm on the 4th with most of our clock already out. By 11PM we realized that after our ten hour break, then 11 hour drive time, there would be no way we'd make the 850 miles we had left to travel. 

My trainer worked on it with dispatch all day today while I drove, and by Lincoln, Nebraska we had another Prime driver waiting for us about an hour down the highway. We switched loads with him and now we are on our way to Southern California. It's Tuesday and this one is due Friday, sixty hours from right now, so we should have plenty of time to drive the 1500 miles through Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and finally Cali. 

This is turning into the adventure I wanted, and it's exciting. It hasn't been all chocolates and roses, though. My trainer and I have butted heads a bit. I'm by-the-book and he is decidedly not, opting to break some rules here and there, and it bugs me. I want to learn to plan trips and he doesn't really do that (hence the Wyoming fiasco). But, all in all, he's a good guy and I can overlook little things. We actually do get along pretty well. In truth, I know how to plan trips and the negative things are simply examples of what not to do. I can handle that.

I'm eligible to test out next Wednesday, and I'm advancing very quickly, so there's talk of heading back by then. We shall see. 

An update on the bed: It was either very comfortable or I was very tired. I slept like a baby. It doesn't hurt that the idling of the truck is like a miniature massage while I sleep. I'm enjoying it. 

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

I went to bed last night at 10, dressed and ready for the phone call that could come any minute telling me to head out on my first load, and woke up at 5 refreshed and feeling good, and still unattached to a load. So I loafed around for a while then headed to the Millennium building for breakfast. I hung out there for a couple of hours, enjoying the peace, quiet and good wifi.

My trainer caught up with me and said we had a load, a small one going to a Wal-Mart distribution center 130 miles away, but a load nonetheless. He said it'd snowball from there, and he wasn't lying. The load was due for pickup in two hours, so I went back to my room and relaxed and prepared. When we finally went to pick up our load we had a preload dispatched to us going to Wyoming—my birth place, actually, a place I haven't been to since I was six months old. I'm excited!

My trainer drove the first load to show me a few things, and here I sit in the distribution center, waiting for them to unload us. From here I drive, heading 158 miles to pick up our next one, then 800 miles to Wyoming. My first big test, and I'm nervous and excited. I'm confident I won't hit anybody, but that's about where my confidence ends. It's good enough!

A note on the beds, as I'm sitting on one for the first time. It's not extremely comfortable. Not sure how I'll sleep, but I shall soon see.

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Today was an odd day. Relaxed and yet exhausting and...well, it may not even be over yet. On the other hand, it may be. My trainer's APU is still not fixed and he's fed up with it and ready to go out on a load without it. I told him I'm game, and he put in for the next available load, but it's 9PM and still nothing. So we shall see.

I spent the first bit of the day video calling my wife and kids. The roommate was asleep and the parking lot sounded like a truck stop, so as I had a key to the trainer's truck I climbed up in it and spent some time with my family. It was a pleasant start to the day.

After that I took the shuttle to the Millennium for breakfast--man I'm eating too good here! I need to get on the road!--then back to Campus Inn for some pre-trip practice. I had a couple of students from last week who have not even passed permits yet come follow along as I did it. Made me realize that I am getting it down pretty well, which is always a nice feeling.

After I was cracked, bent and broken I walked to Wal-Mart to pick up some gloves, envelopes and stamps, and walked out the door tired and really not wanting to walk back to the motel, and wouldn't you know it but here comes the shuttle! So I took it to the Millennium for lunch, then shuttled "home" and took a nice long nap.

I'm glad I remembered the envelopes and stamps. I want to pick up post cards on the road and send them to the kids, and I thought writing nice old-school (;-) letters to my wife would make her happy. So I got on that tonight, will put it in the mail tomorrow...or Tuesday.

After the nap, I jumped in the trainer's truck and we bob tailed it to the practice pad. I backed right into the trailer and coupled it like a pro on the first time, then took it over and practiced straight backing three times...all I needed. That was easy. Offset was easy as well, though it took more times for me to nail every reference point while backing. But I did nail it, and I feel confident on that one. By the time we got to parallel we only were able to practice a few times, and I am about 75% there. My trainer keeps raving about me, so I guess I'm doing it okay. I didn't hit anything, so I can see his point.

He put me on notice after that, told me to rest and he would call me if a load came in. Might leave tonight, might not...welcome to the trucking world, right? Hurry up and wait. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

View Topic:

My Prime Journey

Good luck! A positive attitude is the way to go. I have had such an incredibly positive experience with Prime so far, and if I came into it with your experience in my belt it undoubtedly would have been even better. You'll fly through most of it and in the end be a better driver for having gone through the process. I may be on the road when you get here...but I may not. Hope I catch up with you! :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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What did you do before becoming a truck driver?

Well, not technically a trucker yet, but will be very soon, so I'll comment. I've kind of pursued anything I was passionate about, so I have a bit of an eclectic resume. Bag boy at 14 making $4.25 an hour, and man I was glad to have it. Newspaper salesman in San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Houston at 16. Edited and published a mildly successful fiction magazine when I was 17. All the kid type work to make money--convenience stores, pizza delivery, etc. Played in a few bands in south Texas...don't know if that counts. Not a whole lot of money in that. Then started a publishing company in '07 and still publish off and on to this day. Volunteered at a sobriety house and thrift store ministry, ended up seeing huge growth and became director, then owner. Pastored a church for a couple of years. And, finally, drove a taxi in San Antonio and Oklahoma City--still own a cab in OKC. Now, hopefully leaving on my first load with a trainer tomorrow. Plan on sticking with this one. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Thanks, Susan and Old School! I didn't mean to sound like I was pandering for votes of confidence, but it IS good to know that people read this. :-)

By the way, I had the BEST gumbo today. I came out of my room and found a trucker with a Coleman propane camp stove on a foldup TV dinner table, cooking gumbo with shrimp and pork and...well, not quite sure what all was in it, but he saw my Servants Church, said, "Come on over here, man of God!" and filled me up a bowl. Man, that guy knows how to cook!

This really has been an incredible experience. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Just Another Trucker Training Diary?

Today has been a much needed reprieve. I woke up at 5am after a blissful seven hours of sleep, tried to go back to sleep but it just wasn't going to happen. I had planned to head out with a friend to the Millennium Building to grab breakfast at six, then head over to use some of my $200.00 advance to buy supplies for my oncoming adventure. At 6:45 he finally called and apologized; he'd overslept. So we finally made it to breakfast, then grabbed all I needed at Wally World, then went back to the Millennium to go to the campus store. He bought something then went off to smoke, so I checked out the movie theater, then made my way to his pickup truck. I waited a while and finally he texted and said he'd met up with his trainer. By then it was eleven o'clock and I had to be back to Campus Inn at noon to meet up with MY trainer, so I jumped on the shuttle and told him I'd meet up with him later.

I said that to show how important it is to manage your time, especially when unexpected events happen. You can't always control what happens to you, but you do what it takes to make sure you keep your appointments and leave the things you can't control--such as my supplies in his vehicle--to God. I'll get my stuff, but being late is never good.

Went out with the trainer and bobtailed for quite a while before driving it over to the practice pad to hook up to a trailer. We went over the coupling process, then he took it out to a Flying J, where I took over and drove back to the practice pad. I spent time practicing backing--a 90 then an alley dock, then a straight back--and then bobtailed it back to the Campus Inn.

Now I'm free. Tomorrow his APU gets fixed, then we'll likely be on a load going who knows where. Pretty cool!

Not sure if anybody reads these--I know they're long and definitely not for everybody--but I'm writing the sort of thing *I* would like to read while researching this career. Hope it helps somebody sometime. :-)

Posted:  2 years, 8 months ago

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Prime September 5th

Just finished my orientation week. Word of advice: absolutely everything I stressed about, from agility to physical to permit, to sim lab tests was no problem what's over...my stressing made it harder than it should have been. So be calm, relax and come with a whole lot of patience. It is a lot of fun when done with a positive attitude.

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