Comments By Steven N. (aka Wilson)

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Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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I'm in!!! Orientation with Melton Truck Lines in Tulsa, OK

Welcome to the world of flat bed and Melton. You can't learn enough in your yard or on the road training. The first 3-6 mo is the most difficult. After that it is just hard work!

Be flexible and patient, communicate with your DM and life is good. See you out here at some point.

Thanks. I hope to see you out there sometime. I know it's going to be tough and I get nervous just thinking about me out there alone to figure things out. So I am going to pick my trainer's brain for all I can get.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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I'm in!!! Orientation with Melton Truck Lines in Tulsa, OK

Day number two at Melton orientation (Part 1)

Today we were issued some PPE (personal protective equipment) as well as a couple of other items. We were told to wear our steel-toed boots today as we were going to be in the yard the whole day.

We all (us four) met in the classroom and the mean-looking guy came in and told us he would be teaching us the entire day as the normal instructor was off because of the upcoming holidays. "We are going to learn about load securement and tarping a load," the mean-looking guy said. By the way, his name is Josh and he has been trucking for I think he said over nine years in the business. He drew a diagram on the dry-erase board and explained what tiers in the load meant. We went over what DOT policy was and the securement requirements were, what dunnage was and how it is used in loading a flatbed.

Once we got that introduction, we went out back to the yard. There were static displays of different types of common freight that are hauled on flatbeds. We saw the suicide coil, the eye in the sky coil, the shotgun coil, slinkys, pipe in 5 tiers, glass, equipment, steel plates, etc. He compared the DOT requirements with the current Melton securement policy. We learned how to operate the straps, the chains along with the binders, how and why you pad your loads. Just a wealth of information. I am not going to go through everything we were exposed to, but just wanted to give you an idea of the information we had to learn; a lot of which we are going to have to memorize.

Once all the introductions to all the subjects were made, we then started our hands-on practicing. I must insert here that we went over safety, safety, and wound it out with safety. So we went to the back garage where we had our tarp lifting tests and divided up into pairs (remember there are only four of us left) and started to unsecure a load. Once all the chains and/or straps were off the load and on the floor, then we had to put it back together again. It was really warm in that garage. There were floor fans that we turned on to get the air circulating. I must say that it was quite the workout.

During the course of the day, Josh (the mean-looking guy) asked me which branch of the military I was in. I told him, "Army." He smiled and exclaimed, "me, too." "Which MOS did you have?" I told him, "Infantry." "I had a blue chord, too," he said proudly. "Tell me," he said, "were you officer or enlisted?" "Well I was enlisted," I told him. I was happy where this was going. "Outstanding!" he exclaimed, and he gave me a fist bump. He asked which rank I was when I retired and he was happy to hear what I had attained. We went on to talk about where we took our basic training and it turns out that we missed each other by one cycle at the same place at Fort Benning. Now talk about a coincidence. So now I understand his "meanness" and demeanor. It all makes sense now. He also had done a couple years as a drill sergeant (big surprise there)! So I have the feeling that we hit it off and do not think he is so mean-looking anymore.

We finished the plate steel load and started on the pipe load. I was already soaking wet with sweat. I don't think I have worked do hard in a long time. I sure was getting some good exercise. It wasn't impossibly hard, it was just intense, and stuffy in the garage. We started the pipe load and then it was time for a lunch break.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Melton for Orientation!!!

Today I was introduced to floating gears.

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Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Melton for Orientation!!!

Part 2

Then this mean-looking guy came in and took three of us with him outside. We were going to be road tested. The truck was a conventional Kenworth and it had a loaded trailer with concrete barriers you see in construction zones on the interstate. Hmmmmm.... I've never pulled a loaded trailer before so I am not sure how much different it will handle. The first thing he checked is the way we open the hood. We had to open and close it without dropping it or letting it go. I pre-read the road test sheet and I saw what he was looking for. Every candidate had his own test sheet so we all could read it if we were clever enough to do so. One of the candidates obviously didn't read his and I could clearly see that he did it wrong.

He was the first to drive as he got the keys from the mean-looking guy. I climb in (properly, of course) and the inside of this truck is just wonderful. I mean, it was an older truck, but it was a Cadillac compared to the school trucks we were used to. So this kid starts asking some stupid questions and the mean-looking guy (outside of the direction he told us to go) would just say, "You are the truck driver. Show me how to drive the truck legally and safely." So the kid (did I mention he was kinda fat, too?) pulls out of the parking lot and I could tell he turned too soon and his right-side trailer tires went off the pavement. Then he was using all the gears and shifting into too high of a gear for the speed he was going and it was really pulling the engine RPMs way down. So we came to the first stop sign. He didn't even downshift. He just put it in neutral and coasted using just the brakes. If I would have done that on my state exam, it would have been an instant fail. You can't  let the truck roll like that out of gear for more than 60 feet. Otherwise you don't really have control of the truck. All in all, he did that at every intersection, some he rolled for close to an eighth of a mile! On one turn, as he turned right, he went too far wide and missed a sign on a pole by a half inch (or less!). The mean-looking guy commented, "You have got to be the luckiest guy on the face of the earth." I forget what the fat kid said. He had him pull into the Flying J truck stop. There he pointed out two trucks that were parked and told him to back into one of the spots. (There were about nine empty spot between the trucks) So he drives past the spot he picked out and was going to back at a  90 degree angle into the spot. The mean-looking guy spoke up and told him that he was NOT going to jack-knife the trailer. The trailer had a split axle and it would have ripped the first axle off. 

So the fat kid drove around and re-positioned the truck so he could straight back it in. There was plenty of room to do it and once he backed in, that was the end of his test. The mean-looking guy then said, "Next victim." The student next to me asked if he could run to the rest room first since we were at a gas station. He agreed and I piped in that I could go, too, after that ride. Well, I didn't say that, but I said I could go too. I was back first and the mean guy told me to get in and do the backing since we were here. I got in and drove around and made a loop and then backed the truck into that big spot. It wasn't hard since there were no cones this time and a lot of wide open space. When I was finished parking, the other candidate was back and he did his backing just fine. Then the mean-looking guy got back in the truck and the second candidate went on his test drive. He did so much better. He even got a compliment from the mean guy. Then it was my turn. I drove just like I was taught; watched my trailer on all those turns and drove defensively, etc. When we got back, we went into the classroom with the mean-looking guy in tow and he took three more candidates out for their test drive.

Then in the mean time, I resumed watching the videos. A little later, the fat kid's name was called and he left the room. A short while later, he came back and got his things and left. He was dismissed from any further consideration. So at the end of the day, there were four of us left, and I am one of the four!

What a day. It feels good to pass the tests and advance further.

Stay tuned for the next day's escapades!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Melton for Orientation!!!

Part 1

Well a new chapter has opened up since I "pulled the trigger" on Melton Truck Lines. I had to decide and in the end it came down to Melton. When i confirmed with them that I decided to work for them, they sent me a bus ticket confirmation number. I don't like buses and the fact that I had to endure (and I mean ENDURE) a 27 hour bus ride is putting it mildly. There were plenty of layovers, some longer than others, as well as a transfer in Birmingham and Dallas. My butt was sooooooooooo sore at the end of that ride it wasn't funny. But here I am in Tulsa learning a new trade in the flat bed industry. This means that if it can fit on a flat bed trailer, I will be able to haul it.

So how was the first day?  I'm glad you asked!  Today was the scary day because they are supposed to measure my blood pressure. We have been working on that and for the most part, it is fine when I am at home. But if I go somewhere to get it measured, it goes up beyond the acceptable levels for driving a truck. That will be the trick; get it down even in the doctor's office. Well I did all what I knew to do and we were all gathered in the classroom waiting our turn.  I went to the bathroom when I got up this morning and had a bottle of water with me to drink in case I couldn't "produce" for the test. 

As I was sitting there, the urge started to manifest itself. I thought to myself, "Well I won't have to worry about not having any." But the urge turned into a need and the need turned into a priority and the priority became an emergency! I was reading through my papers and it was so bad I couldn't even concentrate! I got up and started to pace the floor. One of the people that worked there came in and commented, "Looks like someone needs to use the bathroom!" He was so right. I asked him if I could be next for urinalysis. He informed me that the nurse would have to make that determination. So I waited for her to come by so I could state my dilemma. 

She finally came by and I asked her. She thought about it for a minute, and then told me I could be next. I was so happy. I started pacing the floor again and just kept waiting till she call for me. Finally she had me go with her. Did she take the sample? Not until she weighed me and did the eye test. Once that was done, THEN we went to get the sample. She read the instructions and told me what to do and she gave me the cup. What a relief! It must have been two minutes before I stopped. Then she takes me in another room to measure my blood pressure. I am thinking the whole dance routine probably made my BP go up. She put a mechanical monitor on my arm and turned it on. When it stopped, it read..... 146,   :>(

I started mumbling something about dancing for so long blah blah blah, etc. She said it was not a problem and she got a manual monitor. She pumped that thing up and started to release the pressure. Then she pumped it up again as if to confirm what it was the first time. Then she says, "It's good!" I said, "Really?" "What was it?" She told me it was 122!!!!  Wow, can you believe it? Well, that was one down and two more tests that could be show-stoppers left to go. A little later, the doctor poked his head in the door and called my name. He did his thing and then we went in the back garage area. There were 4 flatbed trailers back there with different kinds of loads on them. One of the trailers had three tarps laying on the floor behind it. He told me to start with the first one and properly pick it up and place it on the trailer. I did so with ease. The he said to do the next one and I did it. He said to pick up the last one and I did that one just like the first two. The last one was the heaviest.

Then came the potential show-stopper. I had to stand on one foot for 30 seconds. Then the other foot for 30 seconds. I had been practicing this for awhile in anticipation for this moment. I danced and hopped a little, but all in all, I passed!  Two down and one to go. Back to the classroom to watch more of the list of videos we had to watch.

Keep reading for part 2

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Melton for Orientation!!!

Thanks for all the encouragement. I am soaking up as much as I can. I hope to have some sort of post for each day (as time permits).

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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I'm in!!! Orientation with Melton Truck Lines in Tulsa, OK

Short update here. I am starting the forth day and there are only four if us left. My group had eight on Monday and four were canned. I know of one that was canned for failing the road test. I was in the truck that he drove and he just didn't have the driving skills (I'm being really nice here....). His right side trailer tires went off the road too far on one turn. He always started out in 1st gear. Ne missed a sign by a half inch on one turn. And for every stop he coasted in neutral to the stop sign or stop light; and I'm talking 300-500 feet of coasting and just braking! We were hauling a load of concrete barriers for construction zones. He may have made some mistakes that I didn't see, but my eyes were closed.

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I know any four of us left could still be let go, but I have a feeling they are focusing on us to stay. I am still going to give it my best shot.

BTW, Melton's oldest driver stopped by the classroom yesterday. He is a 2 million plus driver that is 73 years old. I wanted to talk to him but he was already gone when the break came up.

Today? Driving as we are going to be practicing the defensive driving techniques we learned yesterday.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Finally made it!

Gratz, Chris, on your *new* truck!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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I'm in!!! Orientation with Melton Truck Lines in Tulsa, OK

Hey Steve, do not slack off, they will have no problem sending you home. You haven't made it until next Monday(actually Sunday), they will do and say things to test your character and nerve. You may not think so, but you are being evaluated at every moment, so be proactive, show interest and be your best behavior until you get your ID and a hand shake welcoming you to Melton next Sunday..

You are so right and thanks for the heads up. I think they sent 3 guys home today; we'll see tomorrow. I don't want to slack off at all. I want to learn as much as possible and hope that they see something salvageable in me to keep me. There is a long way between now and Sunday. I hope I keep making the grade! I really need this job and I need to know how to do it right.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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I'm in!!! Orientation with Melton Truck Lines in Tulsa, OK

See also: Melton Truck Lines Review

I can't say that I wasn't worried. Orientation with Melton Truck Lines started today. The first day was for the most part administrative. Lots of forms to fill out. Lots of videos to watch. But the biggest thing, at least for me, was the DOT physical that they administer. Some companies will farm that out. Melton prefers to administer their own and have the results there immediately. The part that had me 'worried' was the BP measuring. Well I was dancing all over the classroom because I had to go so bad. I asked the nurse when she went by if I could possibly do my urinalysis next as I could not even concentrate on the forms or videos since we were all instructed to "hold it" and I was trying. She let me go next and what a relief (no pun intended)! However, she just continued on with the physical. Next was the BP. She put this automatic device on my arm. I was thinking that holding that long may have driven my BP up too far. When the device finished, it was 146. :>(

I commented to her that my BP may have gone up because of blah, blah, blah.... She said, "No problem. I'll just use this manual one. I almost had to close my eyes! She let the pressure out and then pumped it up again and let the pressure out. I couldn't look. She said, "It's fine." "Really?" I asked. "How much was it?" She said 122.

Woohoo!!!!!!! dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

When that was done, I had to perform a one-legged stand (to ensure balance was okay). I had to stand on one leg for 30 seconds without going into a break dance. Then on the other leg. Well I won't say I didn't dance, but I passed that one, too. (We also had to lift 3 tarps off the ground and place them on the back of a trailer, then back on the floor.)

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Then of course, there was the road test. I won't go into all that on this thread as I will be starting a diary thread in that section. But the main thing is, I PASSED THAT TOO!!!! dancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-dog.gif

So since I officially made it past all the show-stoppers for me, I am changing my status from 'In CDL School' to 'Company Driver in Training.' The pressure is off but now there is a lot of hard work ahead with all kinds of securement classes and it is 99% hands-on training. I am so looking forward to that, even though it will be hard work. Tomorrow we start doing that kind of thing all day long.

Bring it on! smile.gif

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Melton for Orientation!!!

Thank you for the kind words, Daniel. I also hope to meet you, too, someday soon!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Off to Melton for Orientation!!!

Well it has been a long road to this point and I have "pulled the trigger" and selected Melton. It was a close race with Schneider but as far as the things that interested me, Melton edged them out. One of the things that I wanted that perhaps others might not want was Melton's 21 day stint with a trainer/engineer. Schneider could only offer me a dry van position at this time and the trainer time would have been 5-7 days. I just felt on this point I was getting short changed. I want as much training as I can soak up. I have never done any of this before and I would be a fool to pretend that I know everything. I read a complaint on another forum from someone that ridiculed Melton's approach to training as catering to the newest of novices. To me, that is a strong point. I don't want them to assume I know anything outside of what little I learned in school.

So I get to ride the Greyhound bus for 27 hours to Tulsa, OK in the morning. Orientation begins on Monday morning. 8 days in Tulsa and then 21 days with a trainer in his truck. I think this will be intense but at least I will get to pick my trainer's brain for 21 days! At the end of the 3 weeks, I will be getting assigned my own truck and it will look something like this:

blue melton tractor trailer

Again, thanks for all the help and advice I got on this site from everyone. Old School, looks like I am going to join the brotherhood of skateboarders! I hope to meet you out there sometime soon!

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Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Did ya miss me?:-)

.....We are currently on our way back to WI for her to test and for me to snatch another one.

What kind of test is there left to do after the miles you two have completed?

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Trucker Travel Advise

... "what are these two nutjobs talking about?"

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Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Tell me about parllel parking

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Okay, well, I have been driving for almost a year and have not parallel parked since school.

Well, I'll just add that it was not part of my schooling and also not part of my AL state exam. I would like to learn, though.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Hurray!!!!!

I am happy to say that I passed my state exam and got my CDL with all endorsements on Thursday afternoon!!!

It's been a long road, but I have it now. I am set to go to orientation on the 30th with either Schneider (dry van) or Melton (flatbed). I am still weighing my options. I wanted a tank job at Schneider, but there are not any openings in my area for a tanker yanker.

Again, thanks to Brett and TT for the immense help I received here. This wouldn't have happened without you.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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You Tube Trucking Videos

If he hasn't been mentioned yet, I enjoy Trucker Josh's videos, too.

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Thoughts about Werner Enterprise military apprenticeship driver program

Dave

Welcome to TT and thank you for your service.

We just had a Werner recruiter come to the school yesterday. He gave a good presentation and specifically told me about the apprentice program as well as something I had not yet heard. First of all, there are a number of companies that offer the program so you won't be tied to one company to choose from. We did a thread a while back discussing the programs and options available for vets. You can check it out at one of the links: Companies with the Apprenticeship Program

Well as you already know, the apprentice program is really run through the VA and DOL. It is additional pay you get for one year on top of whatever the company is paying you. Now I am assuming you will have the Post 9/11 GI Bill and have 100% available. You will get $13, 891 during the year. Werner breaks it down here: Werner's Veteran Benefits

Here's the new part I just learned yesterday. If you attend a school and use VA benefits to pay for the school, Werner will PAY YOU BACK that money. However, the two stipulations are you get it $100 per month and only up to $6,000. So in the course of 5-6 years, you will get that money back. Still, an extra $100 per month is still a chunk of change and worth consideration.

Well keep doing your research so your decisions are well informed. good-luck.gif

Posted:  5 years, 4 months ago

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Training, training, TRAINING!

Thanks, Redgator. I'm glad you shared that and I really enjoyed reading about the adventure. Keep it coming when you can. thank-you.gif

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