Comments By Chris L

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  • Chris L
  • Joined:
  • 5 months, 4 weeks ago
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Posted:  2 months ago

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Going from a school bus driver to a tractor trailer driver

I was in the same boat as you at the beginning of the year. Since you already have your Class "B" CDL the only permit test you have to take is for combinations NYS DMV waves basic knowledge and Airbrakes. The test costs $5.00 and you only pay when you pass the test. You can also take additional endorsement test if you want for an additional $5.00 per test. Once you get your Class "A" permit it will only show your "P" & "S" endorsement. Once you pass the Class "A" road test then it will list all your endorsements. Also you will get a pro-rated on the license fee depending when your current license expires. I think I paid $16.50 when I upgraded. Review the High Road CDL training program here on TT it covers all the endorsements that you can take. Good luck.

Posted:  2 months ago

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Second Week Solo / Shadow Training is in the books

Well my second week of Solo driving with my trainer shadowing me is in the books! It has been a long week! The week started early Sunday with my trainer and I driving bobtail from Baldwinsville, NY out to Lafayette Indiana to pick up two spanking brand new 53' Wabash Trailers from the Factory Daw Yard on Monday and what a better way to break in the trailers but to get them loaded up with 42,000 lbs of Paper rolls at the paper mill in Wabash proper.

When we arrived at the paper mill my trainer loaded at one loading dock and I went to the other side of the mill to load up. The first problem I encountered was I could not find the handle to release the locking pins so I could slide the tandems back. The new trailer uses an air system to release the locking pins I got lucky there was another driver waiting to load up and he showed me where the switch was to unlock the pins. That was the easy part getting the tandems to slide back so I could back into the loading dock and get loaded up. The challenge was getting the pins to pop back out when I slid the tandems up.

The trailer frame was coated with rust inhibitor that thick rubbery kind so even though the pins were lined up with the holes they would not pop back out because of that crap. After a bit of convincing I got them to pop out. Then we headed back to Baldwinsville, NY and dropped off the trailers in our yard.

Tuesday, we headed to Auburn, NY and did a drop and hook and picked up two trailers bound for Orangeburg, NY Then it was up to Newburgh, NY for a backhaul of cardboard to Solvay, NY.

Early Thursday morning was a load of beer heading down to Hatfield, PA. Ironically, I had a pallet of Rolling Rock that was brewed and bottled in Baldwinsville, NY and I was bringing it to Pennsylvania (Those of you from Pennsylvania will get the Irony). We got delayed by a traffic accident that shut down the road for an hour and a half which made us miss our scheduled delivery time the guys in the warehouse were cool about it and got us unloaded quick. After that it was a short run up to Cranberry, NJ for another backhaul of cardboard to Solvay, NY which we dropped off Friday morning. Then we picked up a couple of empty trailers and headed to a local paper company to get a loaded up with more paper rolls which we dropped at our yard. That ended our week.

On a whole I'm getting more comfortable driving and my skills are improving I still have some problems backing some days I'm nailing it and other days it's total crap!!! As I do more, I'm getting a little more confident. I'm also still working on my shifting coordination especially down shifting I'm either hitting the brakes too hard or not enough to bring my speed down to the proper speed range to shift to the lower gear. This coming week will be more shadow training so I can continue to smooth out the rough edges.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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First week of Solo / Shadow training is in the books

My Tractor number is 16311 Red 2016 Freightliner

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

First week of Solo / Shadow training is in the books

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Grumpy wrote

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Grumpy wrote:

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Did you live unload at Solvay? That is a sort of challenging back.

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Yes it is. Usually we drop in Lot "B" but yesterday we had to drop across the street in Lot "C" I've been lucky so far I haven't had too much of an issue backing the trailer into a slot. Though the other day I was backing in and I kept thinking that I was crooked when in fact it was the trailer next to me was. I pulled up twice trying to get myself straight.

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I haven’t had to live unload there yet, but I see a lot of trucks backing in with scars on the right front from that guardrail. Lol.

Watch out for the mud hole in front of the building as you are leaving. I hit it idling in 3rd the other day and everything in my overhead bins bounced out. Holy crap!

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We are lucky since we are local we just drop loaded ones and hook up the empties and head out no live unload. Though we have gone in and dropped but there were no empty trailers to take back to our yard.

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What company do you work for?

Gypsum Express

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise

After that tragic School Bus crash in New Jersey last May an investigation turned up the same thing where a New Jersey DMV worker was taking bribes to issue fraudulent licenses here is the link: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/crime/2018/06/15/rodman-lora-ringleader-lodi-dmv-scandal-sentenced-seven-years-prison/705526002/

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

First week of Solo / Shadow training is in the books

Grumpy wrote

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Grumpy wrote:

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Did you live unload at Solvay? That is a sort of challenging back.

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Yes it is. Usually we drop in Lot "B" but yesterday we had to drop across the street in Lot "C" I've been lucky so far I haven't had too much of an issue backing the trailer into a slot. Though the other day I was backing in and I kept thinking that I was crooked when in fact it was the trailer next to me was. I pulled up twice trying to get myself straight.

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I haven’t had to live unload there yet, but I see a lot of trucks backing in with scars on the right front from that guardrail. Lol.

Watch out for the mud hole in front of the building as you are leaving. I hit it idling in 3rd the other day and everything in my overhead bins bounced out. Holy crap!

We are lucky since we are local we just drop loaded ones and hook up the empties and head out no live unload. Though we have gone in and dropped but there were no empty trailers to take back to our yard.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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First week of Solo / Shadow training is in the books

Grumpy wrote:

Did you live unload at Solvay? That is a sort of challenging back.

Yes it is. Usually we drop in Lot "B" but yesterday we had to drop across the street in Lot "C" I've been lucky so far I haven't had too much of an issue backing the trailer into a slot. Though the other day I was backing in and I kept thinking that I was crooked when in fact it was the trailer next to me was. I pulled up twice trying to get myself straight.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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First week of Solo / Shadow training is in the books

Just finished my first week of "Solo / Shadow Training". The week started off early Monday morning at 12:30 A.M. with a run down to Auburn, NY where my trainer and I switched out two empty trailers for loaded ones. Then it was off to Orangeburg, NY where we did a drop and hook and swapped out the loaded trailers for two empty ones. I was still a little shaky when it came to backing up the trailer in tight quarters my trainer was on the ground and assisted me it took a couple of pull ups but I got into the slot. Then came the first of may big challenges when I moved over to pick up my empty trailer the yard muts had put all the empty trailers side by side so there was no room between them so you could not crank up the landing legs. I got lucky because the trailer was sitting on a bit of an incline so when I backed up my tractor under it lifted the trailer up enough to lift up the landing legs off the ground so I could pull forward enough to crank them up. Then it was a short trip up to Newburgh, NY and another drop and hook with a load of cardboard heading to Solvay, NY. Again my loaded trailer is shoved up against another trailer again I had to drag it out so I could crank up the landing legs- I joked to my trainer that he and my fleet manager had coordinated these two early challenges for me. Once we hooked up and made it back to the ’Cuse to drop off the cardboard. Our next load was waiting for us and we hauled pallets of “Ginger Beer” down to Bristol, PA so we did a quick turn and burn in ‘Cuse and headed back down south stopping in Binghamton for the night. Tuesday morning started early with a 4:00 A.M. departure to Bristol, PA we took the Turn Pike and made good time we arrived at the warehouse listed on the BOL and I pulled into the driveway and a guy come up to the truck and asks “Picking Up?” I said no I’m “dropping off” and he looked at me funny and that started a rousing game of rong>“Stump the Dummy” rong>He said “wrong warehouse you have to go across the bridge to our other location”. So the morning challenge became was to bac out of the driveway and back onto the street the driveway was steep so when I backed out my trailer DOT Bumper came close to scraping the street. The lesson I learned here was when in doubt park on the street and check before I pull into a place in-case, I’m in the wrong location. So we headed another warehouse across the bridge and that was the wrong warehouse! Back over the bridge and to the correct warehouse which was ironically across the street from the first warehouse we initially stopped at! By now we were half an hour past our unload time we checked in and the warehouse manager only had one door available so we would be unloaded one at a time. Long story short it basically took all day to get bot our trailers unloaded we actually ran out of HOS time and had to report to our safety department that we were using our “Safe Haven” option to move and get to the TA truck stop in Boardertown, NJ. Wednesday morning we headed up to Cranbury, NJ and picked up more cardboard and headed back to the ‘Cuse . Our next load was -you guessed it back to Bristol, PA we headed back out and made it down to the Pilot / Flying J at New Milford, PA when we shut down for the night. The next morning we left at 7 A.M. To insure that we would not run out of time while waiting to be unloaded in Bristol. This time it actually went a little quicker because my trainer got a door and I got one; but it still took time to get unloaded we got there at 10:30 and I did not get fully unloaded until 3:30 P.M. then it was back up to Cranbury, NJ for more cardboard and we made it to the TA Truck stop in Columbia, NJ for the night. Next morning, we made the uphill run back to the ‘Cuse and that ended the week. On a whole the week went well there were a couple of rough spots especially Wednesday - I could do nothing but grind gears and it got real frustrating I was cussing up a continuous blue streak lol. This coming week starts tomorrow I’m meeting my trainer and we are heading out to Lafayette, IN bob tail and picking up empty trailers and getting them loaded in Walbash, IN then head back to the ’Cuse. The fun part of this week is I get to plan the trips and be in the lead as we head out. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Going Solo Starting Monday

I tried to post this picture from my phone but I was not successful so I figured I'd try it from my laptop.

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Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Going Solo Starting Monday

As my Wife now calls her "The Other Woman" .....lol. I finished out my third week in the cab with my trainer and passed my phase one Road test with the Company safety manager. Now I start phase two which the Company calls shadow training where one week I follow my trainer in my own truck with a load, and the next week the trainer will follow me as we deliver our scheduled loads. Once I finish up these next two weeks I'll road test one more time then I'll move up to Rookie Driver status. I've learned allot this past few weeks and I'm looking forward to getting more road time.

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Second week almost finished

Sitting at the Pilot / Flying J truck stop in New Milford, PA getting ready to head back to Syracuse and the yard to close out the week. It has been a productive week my Trainer had me in the drivers seat most of the week. We started out the week heading out to Lakewood, NY then onto Oberlin OH, Wabash IN, back to Baldwinsville, NY, then to Lakewood NJ, Secaucus, NJ and now the uphill run to the 'Cuse. Every day I've learned something new and my driving skills are improving. Had a couple of hiccups here and there like how much pressure to put on the fuel pedal when down shifting to keep your power up going up the hills in the Delaware Water.Gap (little rev vs big rev) oh and brushing curbs when I'm turning not getting the Truck far enough on the high side of the curb. I've got another week with my trainer and I should test out next Friday. Well time to head out Cheers every one.

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

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Out on the road

Currently on my second day on the road with my trainer. We started out yesterday morning at 1:30 A.M. heading out to Lakewood, NY. To drop off a load of bottles to the Southern Tier brewing company. Then it was off to Oberlin Ohio to pick up a load of scrap paper bales and took them to the paper plant in Walbash Indiana which we dropped off this morning. We then picked up a loaded trailer with paper rolls heading back to Baldwinsvill, NY. I've been in the drivers seat most of the time. Everything is going smooth; but I'm still a little rough on shifting especially in the lower gears my coordination is still off but I must be doing things right because my trainer hasn't kicked my out of the drivers seat or the Truck for that matter....lol. Sitting at the TA truck stop in Erie PA for the night will start up again in the morning and head back to B'ville and deliver this load and get ready for the next. I'm still shooting to test out at the end of the week so I can start my solo / shadow training on Monday.

Posted:  3 months ago

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First Week Down with my Trainer

Grumpy wrote:

Chris, did you back into Westrock (Solvay) or did your trainer?

I am dreading that one. It has limited space in front. That guardrail eats lots of front ends

I've backed in once at West at Rock so far. You are right it's super tight. My trainer set me up so I could back in smoothly.

Posted:  3 months ago

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First Week Down with my Trainer

Well my first week is finished I got back into Syracuse about 2P.M. today I was able to get about 400 driving under my belt for this week. I started out meeting up with my Trainer on Tuesday afternoon he just picked up a load of containers to go to the Turkey Hill Dairy in Conestoga PA with a Wednesday morning delivery then it was off to Denver, PA to pick up a back haul of cardboard to Solvay NY, Then Thursday it was a load of Bud Light King Cans down to a distributor in New Jersey and another back haul of cardboard from Cranberry New Jersey. Then out to Rome NY today to pick up a load of Wire which is heading out to Indiana on Monday. Luckily we are not hauling the wire on Monday we will be heading out towards western NY, Central Ohio, and then on to Wallbash Indiana. My trainer said that I'm going to get allot of driving time this coming week, and of course filling out the paperwork. I've already picked up my TA / Petro, Pilot / Flying J, and Loves loyalty cards. If I do well this week then I'll test out and transition into my own truck and start 2 weeks of shadow training where I will receive my own loads and my trainer will follow me in his truck with his load (The company coordinates our deliveries in the same area) If all goes well with shadow training then I will do my final test out and become a Rookie Solo Driver I'm aiming to complete training by Mid-April.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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The power of positive reinforcement

Bruce K Wrote

I had a really upbeat experience today. I went into a Schneider OC in Indianapolis late afternoon. I had to drop my trailer for a relay. I did my set up and then backed up near the space I needed to be in. Then I did my GOAL and walked around the right side of the truck to make sure I had enough space to continue chasing the trailer. I noticed a truck waiting for me to get out of the way, but I still took the time needed to be safe. I got backed in and I saw the other truck stop right in front of me and a guy got out of the passenger side and walked up to my window. Turns out he was one of the instructors at that OC. He said that he rarely sees a driver doing everything right and it was a good lesson for his student in the driver’s seat. Plus he said he had my truck number and was going to call my driver leader to commend me.

I’m not posting this to brag because I make plenty of mistakes. All I was doing is what I was taught, nothing more. But the positive reinforcement I got from this kind man who took the time to do what he did is something I will never forget. So remember, commendation is as valuable a tool as criticism, and arguably even more powerful.

Always doing the right thing when no one else is looking is the epitome of a Professional! Besides how many seconds does it take to G.O.A.L maybe 30 seconds to a minute?

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Heading out on the road tomorrow

I'm getting ready to link up with my trainer tomorrow afternoon and head out for the rest of the week. I'm looking forward to getting out on the road!

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Failed My CDL road test - Need Advice

I stalled out on my road test also I was stopped at a four way stop and I bumped the selector switch to HI and tried to take off in 8th gear stalled it out good! I corrected the problem and got the truck restarted and made it back to the test area without any more problems. I thought I had failed because I stalled out but the Examiner passed me. I think because I didn't panic and corrected the problem without pausing it helped me. When you completely stop and look at the Examiner for some kind of guidance is when there is a problem. Of course all Examiners differ on how they grade some are by the book no deviations and some give leeway it just depends on the day and the Examiners attitude. Don't worry about no passing the first time I'm in New York and since they state started the Three Part Road Test the first time road test failures had hovered in the high 80's low 90's percentile. Good luck on your re-test.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Starting Orientation With Gypsum Express

Ken M (Tailgunner) said

Just go to flatbed immediately, you will be way, way happier. It's kind of a whole different world from reefer and dry van.

I would like to start out in flatbed but there are no openings in Baldwinsville, NY location at the moment. So I'm happy to bide my time and drive dry van and get my experience then move up when an opening comes available. The important thing is I found a company that is willing to give me a chance and I'm going to do my best to exceed their expectations.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Starting Orientation With Gypsum Express

Old School Wrote

Congratulations Chris! I think we had another driver start with Gypsum Express years ago, but we never heard much from him. It would be great to hear a little bit of your experiences with them as a new rookie driver. I see their flatbed trucks often when I'm in the Northeast.

That's my plan to upgrade to flatbed as soon as I get some experience under my belt.

Posted:  3 months, 1 week ago

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Starting Orientation With Gypsum Express

Well I got the word earlier this evening that I am good to go to start orientation on Monday with Gypsum Express. I can wait to begin.

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