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Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Wed Mar 7. 2018

A beautiful stranger in distress appears to the boy-now-a-man across the hill. He makes a calculated gambit. He has to have confidence in himself that he has correctly assessed his own character and delivered the appropriate lessons to his charge. He swallows his own fears of inadequacy and boldly trusts the younger man to his own devices, as he once again gives of his life to help meet the needs of a stranger in greater peril.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

I discovered the subtlety between confidence and arrogance. It is the difference between believing in oneself, arrogance is acting like I know it. I know nothing.


I was taking a sh*tload of weight training supplements to improve my memory and decision making abilities when I wrote the first pages of my diary. I am watching that now. It made me impossible. I thought the supplements would do the work, for me I guess. Now I realize it is my commitment and hard work that does it.


Tonights chat with a trucker friend of 25 years:

Me: I just went out for a smoke and cried.  Its been a sressfull three days, week, and the last threee nights have been without sleep.  I am going to lay down for a nap. be safe.

Trucker:Try melatonin. You'll be fine. It's a new adventure for you!

Me: its like army basic training. They push you till you crack, and then they pick up the good pieces worth salvaging and make a truck driver

Me: so I had a nap, and a smoke, and laughed.  Now, let’s turn this truck around!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

So now that I am known as a character at skool, I must move on to phase two of my plan: rescuing victory from defeat.

I have softened the hearts of my opponents(the teachers) with repeated blows to their preconceived assessments by presenting myself in the guise of of a mentally challenged, but eager student. The meet me and think, “Hey here’s a great guy”, but after while think, “what a jerk.’


My instructor asked, “Why do you want to be a trucker?

I answered,” to improve my driving, to learn to grab the wheel of life, to be real, blah blah blah“ and later.

“To teach Instructors.”

He Laughed. So, that was the right answer.


Now I must shape their perception in an all or nothing gambit to resuscitate their goodwill toward the miscreant student. To accomplish this will require ruthlessness, cunning, patience, and sweetness. For I am not really a trucking student , although I am one; I am an agent from a three letter agency on a secret mission to Instruct the Instructors. I could never be a trucker.

Who in their right mind would want to be a trucker? Getting laid at truck stops with always different partners, eating foreign food, random adventures, risking your soul to save lives... I think what will save me is that I don’t want to be a trucker; It’s a job. However, Trucking has chosen me.

...I will begin by getting a perfect score on my air brake knowledge tests, to win back their goodwill, by demonstrating to them I am eager and capable.


I stayed up all night for two nights, further exacerbating my already precarious mental state through sleep deprivation, but managed the pull off the elegant maneuver of killing two birds with one stone by solidifying my reputation as a Character, and achieving perfect scores on two exams.

Two, too much!

Now the hard part.

I have to learn to drive.

I’m on the highway now, with a trailer, or ‘van’.

Learn to read traffic: ahead, behind and around, and far ahead, looking at mirrors and gauges every 8 seconds. Shifting, shifting, shifting.

See cars arriving perpendicular to distant intersections. Determine the timing of lights to select gears to slow down or stop. Many lights are pressure activated.

Read highway signs. and there's the wise thing the instructor said which I can't remember, darn it.

I stalled at an intersection, to back up at an intersection, and got a disapproving feel from an overtaking trucker when I was going 50 in a 90, which the instructor had just said was bad, and he was right. I tightened up after that so it's not all bad. I'm getting better at gearing, learning to use the splitter, and shifting in the upper ranges, which requires a larger progressive shifting spread.

I’ll be attracting girls from A&W in no time.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Mon march 5 2018

It’s hard to grow up and be a man. No pun intended.

It's hard to lose a dad. But others needing come along, and a dad’s love goes to one who needs it the most. So a boy has to grow up.

Alone for the first time, he feels abandoned. What did he do wrong to be kicked from the treehouse? Why does no one love me? a person may show up who obviously needs more help than he does. While he is busy nursing his hurt feelings, he is occupied by the task of helping his new friend. As time goes on, the sharp pain of abandonment turns to a dull ache. He grows stronger.

One day he realizes, this Friend is his love. The love was in him all along, and the helpless one needed it. And so without thinking, and totally unselfconscously, he gave it.

And so he is now the dad.

Funny how that works.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

There is subtle truth to your point; "I am Mike who drives a truck."

It takes a while to achieve true trucker status, bringing the gap between successful student and successful professional. Time. Recognizing this fact is half the battle, you've won that part of it.

If I may, a suggestion that not only will help you now, but also once on the payroll of a trucking company; step away from it all when you have breaks. I think a lot of new drivers quickly burn-out because trucking has an all-consuming way of getting in your head and staying there.

When you are not Mike who drives a Truck, try to relax, get away from it, freeing your brain from the shackles of the learning curve. Just a thought...

Like you, the Air Brakes Instructor at TRU, (who also teaches the driving) advised us to "have fun." There's an attitude of relaxed anticipation which goes with living and learning. When I was cramming outside the ICBC air brakes office today before my test, I was getting a little panicky, I remembered his wise suggestion, and I noticed all the sudden my memory came back.

Thank you, that's a great advice to be aware of. I've touched on this in my diary entry today, about 'not being' a truck driver. ('not being' is a transcendental state.)

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Sun mar 4, 2018, 4:00am


ok ok I am not a Trucker Mike yet, i am a trucking student.

Tomorrow, ahem, today, I take the Air Brakes test. I must study well, with a disturbed sleep cycle. If I can restrain myself from trying to teach the Instructor, I may just pass.

I asked my ever reliable friend and ex biz partner to check in on my grieving Mum, and also my house. He relieved my worries for her safety when he called back. Later, she returned my repeated, unanswered calls. She was napping.

Now, they are conspiring for me to drive locally, to look after Mum for a couple of years. He has set up an opportunity to drive a local gravel truck with a small outfit with a neat name. But I am left wondering about what it would be like earning CDN$70k driving a wood chip truck in MacKenzie, living in a camp with 300 other guys. Do they have trucker friendly A&W babes like here?

I am worried about the house. The key is missing. I spoke with the ship Engineer/biker pal who offered the observation that I looked like a trucker, which inspired me. He will check it out the key issue. I wonder if homeless people have moved in. I hope they enjoy my bachelor decor. My bikes safe.

The Biker helped me by suggesting visualizing driving maneuvers in my head. I tried it, and realized, by confronting my performance anxiety, I can resolve any cognitive blocks. He said it's caused by too much change too fast. The unusual stress is derailing my ability to focus and remember. Part of trucking is learning to deal with stress and anxiety. He has just started a big new position up North, and drives 3,500 km in a month to get to work and back. He has 600 pages to study.

Can we go back? He and his wife may move there when junior leaves. My friends are moving forward. Another good buddy has just got his Rope Access Technician Level Two (RAT2.) He is a high rise window cleaner, and now can do emergency helicopter rescue. He was first mate on a sailing ship before. He is a very fit dude who gets me doing outdoor winter activities a lot.

As we all move forward, life takes its turns, and we perform a double somersault to land on our feet, like the sailboat cats, meow.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Sat March 4, 2018. It is 2 am on Sunday morning.

"Heavy Metal Shop"

The guys are younger, blue collar, scruff type like me. They look like me, but that's where the similarity ends. Well, they are spectacularly comfortable in their blue collar selves. I am 30/40 years behind them. I am the tenenager in ‘shop class’ here. They have collected wives, lives (trucks/farms/primary businesses), brothers, and buddies. They have a creative, colourful, corn-pone way of shortening sentences, i.e.: “I air it up”, meaning bring the compressed air to full pressure. Just like the Maritimes where I am from. It's rejuvenated me. I am relaxed for the first time in their presence. I am not an outsider. I am something they trust and can relate to.

I have been over the top to be with this week. I can’t stop talking, am a bit of an *******, my nerves are shattered, I am pushed to the limits of mental endurance like a TV reality show contestant. Weebles wobbble, see how they fall. I can't concentrate on the task, unable to focus, having difficulty remebering. (Although getting slowly better at shifting.)

My mind races at night, my imagation having puppies, threatening to derail my sanity. I am on the verge of collapse. It's like army basic training.

And so late in that dark sleepless night, I conceded– I am not a trucker. I felt much better. Finally at ease, sleep found me at 2 AM am Sat morning.

I then awoke at 3:30 in the morning screaming the whole house awake!

There was a monster attacking me and a pretty lady from A&W I was protecting. He had smashed the windows, and then he came in the house to terrorize us. That's when I got mad! I yelled at it to "back off! Go Away! get lost! begone!" Each time I spoke, the monster retreated, and in diminishing in size, disappeared.

I am not my IMAGE of a trucker. I cannot be something I am not. And that self-acceptance, willingness to own myself and be responsible all costs, even giving up on my trucker fantasy, is the right stuff.

For I am not a trucker–

I am Mike, who drives a truck,

Trucker Mike.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Sat march 4, 2018

Friday Night Girls

I took a break from writing yesterday. It was the end of the work/school week, Friday. I was a bit loopy and distracted. We took the 48" loaded trailer on the highway. The instructor had planned to have me drive through the city, but relented when he didn't think I was ready. I watched him closely as he drove the trailer to TRU, the university. He showed me where Air Brakes class would be tomorrow (sat).

On the way back, I asked to go to A&W. I bought us coffee and treated myself to a burger. He declined as he eats healthy. I pried the keys from his cold clenched hands and drove the trailer along a short stretch in the industrial park from A&W to the yard (showing off for the A&W girls?)

We sat and talked about bees and wax and balls of string, then I remembered to ask him to help me bleed my car's clutch. I heard the others say that they were ready to close the gate. We could have easily driven outside the yard and bled them on the street. Had I considered them, and planned my actions, I wouldn't have kept them all waiting for me, on Friday, at close. Doh! I think sometimes the instructor lets me makes mistakes like this, in order to learn from my mistakes.

I drove home and in my addlepated state, and...missed my turnoff again. In an attempt challenge myself to gain directional competence, I had decided ti turn off google maps voice direction. I spent half an hour lost trying to find my way out of the industrial park at school. There are three streets with Kokanee in them. I might as well have been drinking Kokanee beer, because of my directional incomptenece.

Back up

There's that theme again-backing up - but you can't look back, or back up in life...or can you? If we learn from lessons, can we change history?

Without any actual real directions, I went through a dimensional portal and ended up at my favourite gas station outside of town. The young staff are so friendly, and the dudes look alike. I bought every paper map of Kamloops I could find. Then I drove the route to the class so I wouldn't get lost tomorrow. I did get lost an the way back home from TRU, but I had I tried a different route back.

Back at home, with a serious but light heart, I studied every day of my google timeline to see where the hell I went so terribly wrong, as it records every where I go (required as part of my probation. Just kidding!). I learned you have to study the map closely and in detail to plan a route. You have to zoom in to see the lanes for the exits, arrows pointing the directions.

You have to plan your actions in life.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Friday March 1, 11:23

Teacher Says: Every day you drive a truck you save someone’s life, by solving their mistakes.

Buddy says: I am the Biggest ***hole in the World. You can’t be, because I am the Champ!

Yesterday I promoted the idea we own the road. Today the Instructor refreshed my memory that ‘the right of way’ is always given. Even if I have the right of way, If someone is in my way, I offer the right of way. Sounds simple, but it requires constant presence of mind.

Today I backed up, coupled to a trailer, drove it around the park, and then uncoupled, with the associated prep. I learned about airbags, landing gear, couplers, traction control, and more. This is a major milestone for me, the result of months of application of effort in study and preparation.

Yesterday, while safely looking ahead for drivers as I made a turn, I experienced the otherworldly feeling of being wholly in two places at once, while I momentarily imagined how I’d appear to them.

Yet today, I neglected to do an important safety step in a maneuver I was told to do. I contemplate and gain insights into myself from this experience neglecting to consider my actions. It seems my best lessons will be learned as I adjust my attitude toward recognizing the seriousness of the endeavour we are entrusted with, and the schools commitment.

Instructors consider everything they say, their words are as accurate, as the diesel shifter. One must listen attentively to their words, and think calmly before doing.

Air brake course on the weekend. Study, prepare, tie up loose ends, socialize, prioritize. Get groceries, call Mum, drink water, write the diary, bleed my clutch.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Evening Wed Feb 28, 2018

Did you know the iCloud is in Kamloops? Safest location in wartime.

I got a new instructor. He is a genial lifelong trucker, who built his own Harleys and fishes and hunts. He started driving when he was 17 in prime resources (off highway.). He raised a son who is now a plumber.

We focused on shifting today. We hit the highway again. I felt like I was turning inside out at one point. It was when I was observing very far ahead on the road. It has the side effect of setting the wheels in the perfect position in the lane. Its can also set the correct offtrack for negotiating turns.

Like my first “stepDad”, he is deceptively at ease. I have to learn to slow down. Apparently I am hard on the accelerator. My first two lessons marked me at marginal competence, 1 on a scale of three. I quipped that I didn’t realize I was premature ejaculator. Being confident, going slower, focusing on one detail– mastering the gear-changing procedure.

I learned to shift without using the clutch. It is our sworn enemy. The gears are very different on a diesel. It is ‘true’, it feels accurate. Upshifting and downshifting: 1-2 @1,100rpm, 2-3@1,100rpm, 3-4@1,300rpm, 4-5@ 14-1,500 rpm. Using the ‘clutch-brake’(allows gear to mesh at stop) Stop is the only time you fully depress clutch. Bring throttle up slowly. We think of speed in relation to gears not to throttle. The tranny has a very narrow range of usable rpm, the velocitator* is only for letting the tranny find the gear. Today, my competence evaluation increased to 1.5 on some metrics.

I am told this is going to destroy the way I drive a car, so that I will want to throw it out.

I tend to panic when cars are around. I have to learn to hold the space, set the flow, Roads are made for truckers, cars are lucky to drive with us. If you care to have food on your plate when you get home, you’ll wait.

Now I study the drivers guide, and google a schematic of the diesel transmission to figure out the clutch. After three days of 12-4pm classes, I am starting at 8-12pm tomorrow. I have to go to bed and be up really early. No time even for tears, if I had any.

*throttle. The Simpsons. Mr Burns: "I'm sure the manual will indicate which lever is the velocitator and which the deceleratrix."

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

The course is strange, in the way it pushes you to limit without you realizing it. There’s an undercurrent of urgency amidst the peaceful, well organized setting. The laid back, chill attitude prevailing with the students and Instructors. It's a surreal kind of uber-stress. It's like a test to handle stress. Learning to write is like learning to drive. When I post without reviewing completely, it's like I didn’t check my approach, and now I am stuck, I can’t edit it out(journal enties are uneditable.) I may cause a traffic jam or an accident, or maybe bruised feelings. I may not be able to back up!

Yesterday alone was worth the price of admission to the course! I got to drive a truck-tractor on the highway…. like a dream, only for real. I did balk on dropping the gears and had to stop in Neutral. This is bad because the failure to consider the tach, speed, stopping distance, and the traffic around me going down a hill enough to downshift is what causes a runaway. The lesson here is to be calm, go slow, plan ahead. This is big character attribute necessary for effective mental functioning.

I was permitted to back up the truck to a trailer….and I got it after a few tries. It’s a nice feeling. Like being on a dude ranch. When I do things right, I feel it in my gut and chest. A good feeling. I just know. When I aim from my gut. Impossible for the conscious brain, but easy for the all knowing subconscious.

I realize that in our conservation, there is very little small talk on his part. He is completely focused on driving. I mistake that for an invitation for conversation. He smiles politely at my attempts at humour. I need to pay better attention to my driving! He’s always one step ahead of me. The instructor has a lifetime of driving experience, raising sons, so he knows. You can trust him to steer you right.

We should come from a position of humility and strength. I see him in my minds eye flexing his bicep, in a short sleeved shirt like a proud father. He is either inviting me to arm wrestle, or saying…”be strong like me. You will get there”

I will always make mistakes. I will admit them and apologize for them. Sometimes you can’t backup or edit (journal posts can’t be edited). You have to be savvy, disciplined and friendly and humble, learn your lesson and move on.

I realize, I need to review the manual more everyday…homework. Nobody tells you what to do. You are assumed to be an adult. I am going to school now. My new instructor says I arrive early I can watch a pre-trip. Otherwise, I’ll study. I will study in any case tonight, as I am this morning. I gotta go.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Tuesday Feb 27, 2018

It was an exhausting day. By acting meek and mild, I have been patiently supporting my instructors self image as a ‘teacher’, whist surreptitiously instructing him in the correct way to drive. It’s very tiring having to feed back everything he tells me to a way he can understand. Sometime brute force is required, emergency stops, popping the clutch, even screaming back waht he said and forcing gears while looking directly in his eyes, anything to fix him of his fixed delusions. Time will tell if this strategy succeeds.

He is telling me “You do what the trucks wants, it doesn’t do what you want”. Oh jeez, what do have here, a cowboy Yoda? Wax on wax off? Metaphysical mumbo jumbo. I am the head cowboy, get used to it!

I’ve had to trick* my ‘trainer’ into thinking I am a ready driver, to let me on the highway. I’m bored of this kid stuff in the back lot. Finally, he figured out I’m ‘ready’! LOL Fresh air and the open road! It was a blast, and another great day. I am in love with the road and a truck. My 'experienced' instructor** has realized my natural born talent. Life is good.

TIL (Today I Learned):

How to drive on the highway! Just like the big boys!

-the girls love truckers at A&W

-Observe everything around you at all times - its vital to know the road signs and where ll vehicles, people and objects are around you, and where you are positioned on road - the clutch is your enemy, depress fully only when stopped. Use lightly when shifting, and better not to use it at all. Use the tach to determine progressive shifting points

-Be smooth. Clutching, braking, accelerating evenly and with full control , no jerking

-go slow - road signs are meant for you. Big load, long stop, hot brakes, hot babes, safety #1

-enter lots slowly -then drive in first gear. slow is safe is professional. Be humble

-Approach a stop prepared by already being downshifted to 4th.

-Roll away from stop in 2nd (bobtail) upshift in turn at apex of turn, while steering wheel remains still

-keep two hands on the wheel at all times, except to shift and roll cigs

-don’t let starring wheel slip between your fingers, don’t hand over hand.(ICBC test)

-turn wide -be in right side of lane as you turn turn left, and vice versa

-plan your moves - so you don’t have to correct them.

-No backing up - There are always cars behind you at a stop sign.

-look ahead on highway, not in front of cab- the wheels will naturally follow the correct position in the road

-don’t determine clearance by sideswiping garbage cans, the neighbours are watching

-You represent the industry and you employer, restrain fisticuffs to caturday night

-Consider others

‘Cheat Sheet’ available at arious prices. act now!

**The first three paragraphs are a humour piece. MY INSTRUCTOR IS ACTUALLY AWESOME!

The TIL is my sincere attempt at recollection of todays lesson. There is so much more. I will start taking notes.

PS The aforementioned student who failed his first test (left his Jake Brake on) passed his Class 1 retest today! Now, he is a Man. We congratulated him, and I could tell our instructor especially is proud of him– he shook my hand in the excitement!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall


TIL (Today I Learned):

We hopped in the cab, my first time in a big rig since hitch-hiking! I showed him my drivers license and beginners. We did a quick pre-trip on the bobtail. Easy first day stuff. I teased him to try to make it harder, to give me a challenge, make me recite protocol. I expected a hazing, he warmly advised me it comes later.

We drove around the industrial area for a few mins as he demonstrated shifting. He makes it seem effortless! Watch your tach for when to upshift at 1,400-1,700 rpm ; two light pops on the clutch; first to pause at neutral, then to higher gear. There are 18 gears: 4 low, 4 higher, reverse and low. There is also an overdrive, which you can use in any gear apparently, and a finger paddle to shift between ranges. It’s actually simpler than it sounds. 4-8 is overlaid on 1-4: Remember, I know very little, and a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I enrolled in the longer course to get better. Maybe take what I say with a grain of salt. I may have made mistakes, there no time to write things down when you’re going around a corner.

Going around a Corner:

See stop sign. Signal. Slow down, brake to 1,000 rpm, flip paddle, blip clutch, neutral, blip clutch- maybe throttle blip, drop to 4. Brake to stop, keeping to left of lane if turning right and vice versa, while applying clutch fully, Shift to 2, keeping stop sign viewable in windshield. Breathe. Check traffic. Look in direction of travel. Release brake and clutch (swiftly but easy tiger), roll forward without touching treadle then accelerate to 1,400-1,700rpm,, keep both hands on steering wheel, no overhanding or wheel slipping, as turn progresses and steering wheel stops turning for the duration of the apex of the turn, remove one hand, load the shifter(?), blip clutch neutral smaller blip pull 3rd and replace hand on wheel, turn wide, floor it and burn rubber outta that dump!

Start in 2 when bobtailing. 4 is roughly 20-25km/h. Use the lower gears to get rolling, above 4 to accelerate.

Change to higher gears going uphill at hgher tach, downhill to higher gears at lower tach. Change to lower gears going uphill at lower tach, downhill to lower gears at lower tach. This is the tough part, Brakes are hot, with 70,000 lb+ monkey on your back, Going downhill and slowing the tach is near impossible, RUNAWAY! Thats when my Commanding Officer revealed himself. I wrecked the truck and killed bunch of people including me. Give me 40 in the slush right now soldier! That’s nothing meow, my late Step-Dad was a Lieutenant in the British Army.

Its all a feel, observation, tach, speedometer and making mental notes.

Your operating range of torque to horsepower is roughly between 1,000 and 17,000 rpm. Don’t go over 2,000 rpm or the she will explode. Well, the engine gets mad. Same thing.

It is a fun and exciting day. Like driving a big ride-on-lawn-mower that is allowed on the street. It’s sorta bucky and stoppy, with a patient Dad beside you, although he’s ready to lay down the law. I expressed concearn I whenI his face blanched, but he survived. I already lost one Dad last year, I need this one. He said I improved during the lesson.

I feel I could have paid more attention to my driving, and less on being “entertaining.” There is a quality of assertiveness composed of equal parts focus and guts which makes a trucker great. I am concerned I may have dinsappointed him a little that I didn’t demonstrate a Natural Born Talent at the task. I was too busy talking. I will have to rely on technique, and gain confidence. I have a sore back, as he warned I might. That clutch is a stiff long leg reach at the lower ranges. I need to learn to relax, take it easy and keep it simple, stupid. Adjusting to a whole new lifestyle means keeping good habits like drinking water so I get rid of this headache.

After class, I met a young dude who is taking his test tomorrow. I shook his hand and wished him luck, and encouraged him to just trust in his teachers instruction. Then I took a long drive in my SUV, which now felt like an electric go cart. I didn’t want to stop moving! I had a coffee at a gas station, and noticed the young tradesmen with caps and trucks with diesel tanks in pickup. I realize, we look alike, as I enter a new chapter in my life, full of promise and dreams of world domination.

And so our productive first day ended. We will be back tomorrow, and the Ol’ Man says I will get better after sleeping on it. Can’t wait !!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Monday Feb 26 2018

TL;DR: (too long; didn’t read)

My first day at trucking school. Step-by-turning proceedure. How to fool the Instructor by cheating.

Rubber hits the Road, Pedal to the Metal, Money Talks and BS walks , Balls…

My experience is nothing like the sponsored training offered in the US. I wasn’t sure how to share my experience. Generally we have a gentler ride up North. We come to school with our beginners in hand. We have demonstrated motivation as we often pay for school and lodging out of our own pockets, so we effectively pre-select ourselves. Although, there are employment programs which pay CDN$7,000 - 1,000 +/- and expenses. I admire the US students because the culture expects them to pull themselves up by their socks, without any support, and no one listens if someones feeling sorry for themselves. Altho the skool is free, its rugged! From the 30 hr bus ride, to the hostel sharing bunks with total unknowns, to no pay for expenses. Easier if you have a military background. The Americans extol great rewards for personal responsibility.

I am going to TRU, Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., Canada. I am taking the “Class 1 Greenhorn Driver” course: 4 wks, 4 hrs/day, 1-on-1 with instructor. 104 hours of in cab instruction,.Lots of extracurricular pre-trip inspection practice. You are expected to arrive with your beginners licence in hand. They will teach me air brakes in this course and set up the tests. There are other trucking courses of less duration and cost. I chose the greenhorn to assure employers of my competence, and to feel confident. They have a mentorship program with partner companies for grads. TRU trucking is respected by employers.

I wake up in the predawn light in the apartment I rented. I put on my winter long johns for the winter outside, eat breakfast, review the Drivers Guide, and gather the tools I brought for the pre-trip inspection. My car wasn’t dead in the cold, but I have a portable battery just in case. I got roadside assistance through ICBC, and have full insurance.

I left an hour and a half early to give myself time to find the place again. This time, I dint ask google to direct me. As I anticipated, I got lost. The road signs don’t agree with the google maps. Maybe I will try Apple maps. Or buy the damn paper map!

I got there 20 mins early to see the action is taking place in the truck yard. Introduced my self to an Instructor, who knew my name, and pointed out my teacher for the next two days. He was just finishing up with his morning student, and asked me to wait. I met a new student, female. There are lots of women in trucking. They are smoooooth operators apparently. I am jealous. I like to push a thing to its limits (and beyond) get a feel for it’s abilities and limitations. Sort of like the Instructor teaching a student.

But we adapt to the truck, the Instructor says, not the other way around, and every truck is different. I laid my hand on the dash and performed a ceremony. Assuring her that although she is 550 hp, and 18,500 ft/lbs of torque, that I appreciate it not how big she is, but her heart that matters. In silent communion, I assure her that although I am young(at heart) and inexperienced, and may inadvertently be rough and fumble with her at times, appreciate her temperance with meow, and ask for her forgiveness and patience. I appreciate her as a gift from God, and thank her for sharing with me her inner ways. ...contd

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

"Yann Martel" is learning how-to drive a are quite the story-teller.

A few questions:

Where are you going to school? How long is the course? How far along are you in the process?

That will help everyone reading your diary.

Yann Martel wrote the Life of PI, google says. I was raised in PEI by creative, immigrants from England and India, who 'came from away'... Toronto. East Coasters are big story tellers. It wasn't just windy, rather, "It was so windy, the good Nuns were flying in their habits and they had to tie the houses down to keep the cows from being hit." I was going to get into it later, challenges, one step at a time. You jumped the treadle on me! I was going to reveal the school at the end. The inner journey is my real teacher. OK, enuf of metaphors, I start REAL TRUCKING SCHOOL in two hours. However, I am also enrolled in the school of life. The lessons are free, and sometimes hard, but the rewards are priceless. Hope you join me in my cab to share the journey, I could use some good company. Thanks for dropping in. Grab a coffee.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

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Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Mon Feb 26, 2018

Please send thoughts and prayers to the injured and their families.

Coquihalla Highway reopens after serious multi-vehicle crash

A serious six-vehicle crash closed the Coquihalla Highway in both directions north of Hope, B.C. for several hours on Sunday night and sent dozens of people to hospital.

As of 8:25 a.m. Monday, the road has now reopened.

OPEN – #BCHwy5 between #Merritt and #HopeBC. The road is now clear of the earlier vehicle incident.

— Drive BC (@DriveBC) February 26, 2018

The crash, which occurred near the Othello exit around 8 p.m. Sunday, involved a Greyhound bus, another passenger bus, two semi-trailers and two vehicles.

READ MORE: Coquihalla Highway reopens after fatal multi-vehicle crash on Family Day long weekend

Seven ambulances were initially dispatched — but eventually 36 units were involved, including two helicopters. Heavy snow in the area presented a challenge for first responders.

BC Emergency Health Services said 26 people were taken to hospital in conditions ranging from stable to critical. At least seven were said to be in serious condition.... (50% quote rule, more at links)

This is indicative of the challenge drivers face on our mountainous winter roads– and this on a state-of-the-art highway. My scenic route was along the Trans Canada through the Fraser Valley, and I had beautiful weather. Even then, I had moments which tingled my short-and-curlies. Not everyone is so lucky to have control over traveling schedule; think: commercial drivers.

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Fri Feb 23, 2018

Drop your Sexy Navigator and pull up your Socks

a few more snow lessons from yesterday: -you cant stop safely on the highway, there's no shoulder anyway -and if you did, leave plenty of space for others to pass safety. Remember, they can’t stop either ! Here but for the grace of God and Angel Truckers. Thank you Sirs! I owe you more than one! I pledge to pay it forward.

After driving blind in Canadian Winter Conditions, I arrived finally at my ‘safe house’. It was lonely being silent and I just wanted to be driving, anything but be in a safe, quiet, clean, newly renovated and furnished, warm suburban suite. Paradoxical reaction.

The next morning, in the midst of selling my first-born son to pay for the course, when my Instructor called! My training begins on Monday. He invited me to witness a pre-trip inspection done by other students. I had 45 minutes to get to the lot, 10 minutes away.

An hour and a half later, after arguing with conflicting maps, I roll in like The Hero. The Teachers were outside, Warriors before battle braving the blustery squalls– and class was cancelled.

I finally get to meet one of my instructors. He suggested joining another pre-trip in progress, giving me directions going in a circle in the industrial area to enter the rear of the compound. I amuse myself with the thought that this may be a test for a newbie, similar to, “get blinker fluid”, to assess my map-reading preparedness or observational comprehension. I suppose determining from my expression I had not committed the map to heart, he blessedly offered to escort me. But the students were not there either. Another lesson: show up 15 minutes early, do not keep instructors or others waiting. I didn’t look at the clock or call. I also didn’t anticipate my arrival time taking in the conditions.

I decide to make use of the storm to battle my nemesis, winter driving. Confident drivers on the Trans Canada overtake me on the compacted slippery snow, confident through necessity, skill or perhaps impatience. Am I upsetting the traffic flow? demanded with my slower driving.

On arriving at the safe house, my Snow Plow Operator Landlord offers the suggestion that vehicles may improve traction by rolling to a stop on the compacted snow on either side of the black road surface tracks. Signs regulate separate speed limits for trucks: 80 KPH; and regular vehicular traffic: 100KPH. I’m comfortable at trucking speeds.

There are unexpected new challenges for a coastal bear out of his comfy lair: unknown streets, conflicting and GPS maps, learning to read highway signs, fancy road building technology, visual impairment due to blowing snow, navigating cliffs, invisible ice, different cultural personality style, and you don’t know anybody or where anything is.

I didn’t know where North was. In older cities, the streets align N,E,S,W. Here in the Rockies, the road follows topographical features. You have to study the land to reveal the direction. Trans Canada East may actually seem seem to be north going slightly east. I understand why truckers prefer paper maps.

Calling St. Christopher, Angel of Travelers. But there may be no assistance rendered: because the project of learning Trucking is about taking the reigns, um… steering wheel, of life. Can you do it on your own… Can you be trusted with the responsibility of a truck and a valuable load with nothing but the wide open sky and whats left of your wits? Figure it out on your own. Can you do a somersault, landing on your feet. Bull**** walks and money talks, with your balls to the wall in the glory hole which is occasionally life.

I have read other students’ first day accounts. For me it’s true that my first day is humiliating. I make every mistake in the book, some things even a gentleman doesn’t admit. Some sort of cosmic humility at work balancing my character. Something inside me is provoking my arrogance to acknowldge itself out loud and proud to be confronted. Dry sense of humour, ok; a positive attitude, good; humility, priceless.

This is not about my ego. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege. We are tasked with the responsibility of protecting ourselves, others, and to keep the vehicles and cargo safe. (It’s in the BC Commercial Driving Guide.)

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Canuck CDL Journal: Balls to the Wall

Thurs Feb 22, 2018

So when does a story begin? It begins with feeling, and intent. Life lessons come from all sides. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

“As the crow flies”

Google maps says it’s 4 hrs from Vancouver to Trucking School. The scenic route along the Fraser Canyon is 5 hrs. Great! (For a crow!)

Having the luxury of a few days planning, I was able to intuit the best day for traveling. Sunny, warm(BC Coast in feb), clear. So I came down from the land of bears and cougars and stayed over in Vancouver with a friend, and after a Truckers breakfast at Bonns off Braodway ($2.95), headed out at noon. Fueled at Hope. Enjoyed the scenery on clear roads.

I’m from the “Wet Coast’, and my experience with driving consists of 20 km between Gibsons (Beachcombers - ‘Mollys Reach”) and Sechelt.

As the beautiful sunset fell, I sailed along ancient lands with the crows flying in the sky, The Cache Creek turnoff to Kamloops passed by, as I was transfixed flowing on the hypnotic flashing yellow lights of a municipal vehicle.…going in the wrong direction!

WTF? It’s 6:00 PM,….I shouldn’t I be there now? Call my new landlord, hold dinner, google maps says I’ll be an hour later, and I’m already 2 hours late! Under a deceivingly bright sky, oblivious to the looming threat, I returned to the turnoff. The sky suddenly dims to eternal blackness as the sun disappears behind the mountains. As the snow begins to writhe like serpents under the headlights, the lines and the un-barriered cliff edges become indistinguishable. A unique effect!

“Does anyone know, where the love of God goes, when the waves turn the minutes to hours? The Sailors all say she’d have made Whitefish Bay, if she’d put 15 more miles, behind her!”- Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, by Gordon Lightfoot

Hair-raising. After 7 hours of driving, it is dangerously hypnotic. To keep my brain awake, I discovered I could wag my head back and forth to maintain focus. Eventually, I just gave up following the other cars. I mean, really, 110km at night in whiteout conditions, on a curving road along a cliff, with invisible lines? I’m glad I didn’t take my dog; I wouldn’t risk his life!

So I pulled over, had a stretch, a breath of cold air and ****ed like a racehorse, and felt alive again. It is touch and go for a wet coast dude not used to snow. I grew up in The East Coast, but I’m rusty.

And not as foolhardy at 54 as I was at 24. I would take off at night in a snowstorm driving my RX7 wearing nothing but a T shirt and my summer rubbers, to go to a nightclub in Moncton. Land in ditches and get out out somehow. Foolish, or savvy? Safe RX! :-p. Balls to the wall.: wear winter rubbers.

I arrived, frazzled but safe, 8 hours later, ready for a beer.

Lessons for traveling: -leave earlier but well rested, and take your time. Don’t drive at night in the snow if you can help it

Study the map before, write out the directions

keep them handy on the passenger seat if you don’t have a sexy navigator. Use google street view to see your turnoffs, exits etc.

Don’t get hypnotized by flashing lights. Give your head a shake!

Don’t wear summer rubbers on a winter date

Don’t even get me started on google maps

Next: Drop your ****s and pull up your Socks, a bunkhouse expression

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Total Newbie Here

Awesome! I'm pretty stoked about it, really.

It's a good thing, like braces! You're off to the races!

Posted:  2 years, 5 months ago

View Topic:

Total Newbie Here

Count your blessings first world recipient of luxury and scientific advancement! You have to look forward to increased mental acuity, energy, stamina, quicker healing, better mood, better decisions, enthusiasm, and weight loss, if u can handle it. It's training you to breathe right, deeply into your belly. You can anticipate waking refreshed, with less sleep, and recover quicker without fatigue. You may not realize it yet, but you've been operating below your full potential till now because you were effectively suffocating on your carbon dioxide and toxins as they were being sequestered in your lungs and reabsorbed, because of subpar lung function. No more snoring, alarming breath pauses. Partners will be pleased, no more being sent to couch, and you'll be able to share a longer life together in health.

Paradoxically, you might feel exhausted for the first few days day as you learn to inhale deeply after a lifetime of incorrect breathing. If you have an in mouth-mouthpiece, it may chafe at your gums. There are different masks to try. Read the manual, know your machine, you lucky dawg. One you get the oxygen you've been starving for, you may wonder what your performance could have been if you had been treated sooner. It's like your own personal hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Once it retrains your breathing, you may go off the machine for awhile. Maybe not, you'll have to find out. read up on it. You'll be fine. Count your blessings!

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