Profile For Uncle Rake

Uncle Rake's Info

  • Location:
    Lubbock, TX

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 11 months ago

Uncle Rake's Bio

Started orientation with Prime September 9, 2020. So far, first week with trainer has taken us from Springfield to Stratford, TX, to Winslow AZ, to southern CA, to Sumner, Washington. We’ll see how it goes from here..

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Posted:  1 week, 1 day ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Thank you, PackRat! I appreciate all the encouragement you have given me through the process.

I remember when I saw you in Lubbock that you told me your pseudonym is related to the amount of tools you carry. What would you say are the most important tools that you use most frequently? I am beginning to think about what I will need when I eventually have my own truck. I have a lot of tools of my own and a lot that I inherited from my father. I am sure there will be some specialized tools I will need to purchase as well.

Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Next we got into the truck to begin the road test. We pulled out onto the street beside the practice pad and he told me I needed to increase my speed. I tried to keep my speed slightly below the posted limit. We drove down to an intersection and turned left. Just after crossing the first overpass he asked me what the weight limit on it was. I did not see any indication of the weight limit for that overpass. We drove over it later in a personal vehicle and could not see a sign then either. I don’t know if he was testing my honesty or if we just missed what we should have seen. We drove out a major section of highway and then turned off onto a two lane road. We eventually ended up on a street that looked like it could have been for a residential area but the buildings in that area were large commercial buildings. In that section he asked me to demonstrate an emergency stop. I had tried to find information online for an emergency stop in a commercial vehicle. The only instruction I found said to turn on your right turn signal, move to the side of the road, turn on four-way flashers, and set the emergency brakes. I did that and then told the examiner that if I was going to be there longer than 10 minutes I would set out my triangles. The only part I got wrong was not being completely parallel with the curb. In total, I had four points deducted on my driving test. The other two deductions were related to failure to stop behind the white line at intersections. In both cases, I remember pulling up to where I could see approaching traffic. Apparently I should have stopped behind the white line and then pulled up to check traffic. In all, I passed all three sections of my test and I am thankful that section of my training has ended.

Friday—Tuesday

Just before I began my test I met another student who was about to test. Afterwards, I spoke to him and found that he lives in Amarillo Texas, about 100 miles from my home. He said he had his own vehicle in Springfield and he was going home. He said I could ride with him. I checked with my trainer to see if that was an option for me. He checked with dispatch and they said that was a possibility. So I got to to come home and spend a few days with my family. I will be here until my trainer gets a load and comes to pick me up. It was great to be home. On Monday I was able to get my license transferred to Texas, and on Tuesday I was able to take care of some labs my doctor wanted me to do. But the greatest part of being home was to spend time with my family.

Posted:  1 week, 2 days ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Friday, October 9

Test day finally arrived. We had to be at the plaza by 830. I wanted to be there by 800 and thankfully my trainer was in agreement. We had practiced backing maneuvers Thursday night from 1900-2200. That’s a good thing, because I was going to need it. We checked in at the desk when we arrived at the plaza. I have learned that checking in is always a good idea when you are scheduled to be at the plaza. Shortly after 900 I met my examiner. He came across as a thorough, seriously minded individual who was not unfriendly. He told us to get a trailer and meet him at pad 8–easier said than done. We went to the location where the trailers are kept but all of them were taken. We saw one parked perpendicular to the others and went back to the plaza and asked someone about using it. After getting approval, we hooked up to that one and went to the prescribed location. The examiner started to look at the trailer and found that the rear doors were wired shut. He said that one would not work. He saw another trainer who was waiting for her student to be tested. He told us that he had called her and we could get her trailer. After finally acquiring a trailer we went back to our prescribed testing location.

For the pre-trip portion, he had me go through the engine compartment and then the other three required sections: the coupling area, the lights test, and the in cab inspection. When we had finished he said that I received 46 of 47 possible points. I learned then that the steering gearbox has more than one hose. I had identified the gearbox and “hose.” He said I should have said “hoses.” So don’t forget the importance of that plural word.

Next we moved to the backing tests. I completed the straight line without any issues. On performing the offset back, I heard the whistle indicating that I had backed too far to the right, incurring a two point penalty. I pulled up and backed it in without additional penalties. Then he asked me to do the right side parallel park, an exercise that had given me no difficulties during practice, once we had the correct movements. I started in the right place but got my initial angle wrong. Several times during practice I had made slight adjustments to the angle as I was backing and corrected it, ending with the trailer in the right place. This time, however, my angle was too much to overcome. First I went over the boundary to my right, incurring another two point penalty. Then I ended up on top of the pylons on the front of the box, incurring another two point penalty. I had used my first GOAL to insure my trailer tires were located correctly. When I ended up on top of the pylons, I decided I needed another look. I couldn’t see how I was going to avoid running over the pylons. The examiner told me I could not back up again until I was within the boundaries. I started to get back in the truck but then went and asked him if I could pull up and start over. He said that I could. When I got back into the truck I stopped worrying about the pylons and just pulled forward directly over them. I saw the examiner pick one up and put it back into place. By this time I was beginning to wonder if I was nearing the end of my fifteen minute time limit. I told myself there was nothing I could do about that and just to do my best. I pulled up past the starting point and backed up into the correct beginning position. This time I got my initial angle correct, backed until I saw my trailer tires on the line in my mirror, made the correct turns, and put the truck and trailer in the box. Normally, I would have used my second GOAL to verify I was completely within the boundaries. But I had no more options for getting out of the truck, and my time limit was still looming in the back of my mind. I checked the mirrors quickly, and sounded the horn. Thankfully I completed the requirements within the time limit, and ended within the boundaries. In all, I lost eight points on my parallel parking attempt. That brought my total deductions to 10, just within the 12 points allowed. My advice to others who might find themselves beginning the parallel maneuver with a bad starting angle is to use a pull-up and get your angle correct. The maneuver allows two pull-ups without penalty. Once the initial angle is correct, pull-ups are rarely needed at all for parallel parking. Thankfully, I passed, and that is the most important thing.

Continued below . . .

Posted:  2 weeks ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Really enjoying your stories as I prepare for school on the 19th

Thank you for the response, Edson. I wish you the best of success!

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Back to Springfield

Note: I remember reading through other people’s diaries and wondering why the detailed information that was included in the beginning seemed to decline at some point through the process. Now that I am the one doing the writing of my own experiences, I realize why the information declines. Along the way events begin to run together. It is also more difficult to find determination and clarity to write at the available odd hours throughout the night.

We got back to Springfield Monday afternoon (October 5) around 1400. We scheduled a time on the practice pad for 1700 and spent at least two hours working on backing maneuvers. On this day everything went well except for parallel parking. I had a chance to text someone I went through orientation with and she said parallel parking was the easiest part for her. So I spent some time looking at YouTube videos. We were making a couple of mistakes which were corrected during our practice session Tuesday evening. These maneuvers really are pretty easy to accomplish if you follow the correct instructions. Although my alley dock on Monday seemed to go well, it was much more difficult on Tuesday. Thankfully the difficulties we encountered led us to realize the advantages of a pull-up while still angled toward the parking spot. Even if we end up with one extra pull-up on this particular maneuver, one point would be well used if it gets us into the spot successfully. My trainer also messaged his fleet manager to see about scheduling my test for me. On Wednesday morning he received a response asking if we want to test on Friday. I told my trainer to respond and tell him we want to test today (Wednesday), but I’m afraid it’s probably going to be Friday. At least that should give us another couple days to refine my backing skills.

Posted:  2 weeks, 1 day ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Sunday—Wednesday, September 27-29

Delivered load to Tyson plant. My trainer allowed me to back the trailer into its position, between two other trailers. The lines between the trailers were not single but more like a very narrow zero so I had a little extra space in this endeavor. My trainer has tried to give me instructions throughout the process in the past but now he is beginning to allow me to experience it for myself and gain an understanding of how the trailer responds. I think this will help me more than anything. Today we are traveling to Pittston Pennsylvania to get a new truck. We will actually find out later that it is a “newer” truck rather than a “new” one. We ended up being in Pittston from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon to take care of everything related to the truck. It needed some repairs and a thorough cleaning. My trainer did a very thorough cleaning to eliminate the odors associated with the previous driver’s smoking.

Once we started driving again on Wednesday, our fleet manager began routing us back towards Springfield where I can take my driving tests. I still believe I could’ve passed the pre-trip inspection when I first got to Springfield from my prior studies. I also believe I will have the backing maneuvers down well with another practice session.

Thursday—Saturday

We drove across Pennsylvania and then to Ohio on Wednesday night. We have made some shorter deliveries in the Indiana area. Our route to the truck wash carried us through Amish territory. I actually followed an Amish horse drawn cart through a small town until it turned off. We are currently waiting to be unloaded at a Walmart DC in Auburn, IN. Our next load picks up in Canton, OH and delivers in California. We will only carry it as far as Springfield. We will drop the trailer there so I can finish preparation and take my CDL exams.

White Line

From the beginning of training, my trainer has taught me to stay close to the white line on the outside of the right lane. He said one of his former students never really tried to follow his instructions on that, so I took the challenge. I have wondered though if my driving exam might go better if I am able to maintain a position in the center of the lane. But to work well with my trainer, I have continued to refine my skills of driving right alongside the white line with the right hand tires, sometimes slightly over the line. I have also noted many other drivers who stay very close to the outside line. It does seem reasonable to give extra room to drivers closest to you, especially when some of them seem to prefer driving all over their own lane. The rumble strip is usually outside the white line and it lets me know when I have gone a little bit too far. The truck we were using the first two weeks did not have any kind of warning for driving too close to the side of the lane.

We got a newer truck! Guess what it has! Yes, it has the warnings which activate when the truck goes over the white line. The warning makes a sound in the dash on the side where the infraction takes place. The sound resembles the sound of tires on the rumble strips found on many highways these days, but at a faster speed. So now I have two challenges: Drive near the white line according to my trainer’s instructions, and avoid getting too close to the white line and activating the lane departure warning. I had the opportunity to drive quite a bit one day, and practiced my new method. Apparently, I was not activating the warning often enough. As my trainer was driving the next day, he explained how we should be activating the warning fairly often. Nearly every time another truck passed us on the left (which is often if you drive for Prime), he was moving to the right far enough to activate the warning. I’m still trying to find the right balance.

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Excited but nervous!

Welcome, Dennis. I am about two weeks into my training. Truck driving is also something I have considered since I was 21 and I am a few years older than you. So far, it has been quite an experience. If you want to see the country, I can tell you that in those two weeks I have been from Missouri to Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Now that I have gotten the smaller states out-of-the-way, perhaps I can see some of the bigger ones.

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Good luck!

Posted:  3 weeks, 3 days ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Friday , September 25

Last night we slept in Belvedere, IL at a shipper’s location for the first time. We were nearing the end of our 14 around 2200 last night, and not sure where we would find available parking in this area. I awoke before my trainer this morning and completed The Ten Lists, Day 87.

Today I had the “privilege” of being routed through Chicago on a Friday afternoon between 2 and 4 PM. It wasn’t too bad until traffic came to a stop because of a wreck that was a mile or two ahead. We sat mostly still for probably at least a half hour. It was not until that evening that I realized I had received a message on the QC during that time. The message said, “You are in driving status and truck is showing stopped. Please change your duty status if you have not already done so.” When I saw the message Friday evening, I asked my trainer if I should respond and ask if there is a duty status for “stopped in Chicago traffic jam.” He said that would not be necessary.

Saturday , September 26

Last night we slept in Borculo, MI at another shipper’s location. We arrived at 0200 with about 30 minutes remaining on our clock. I awoke before my trainer this morning and completed The Ten Lists, Day 88. In this list is Romans 10:13 “For Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

This morning I finally had the chance to do a number of things that I had observed, but had not done. First of all I had the opportunity to back the tractor under a trailer and connect. I practiced sliding the tandems to find the best weight balance. The rear tandem axles on the trailer may be slid forward and backwards to shift weight between the trailer and the tractor. The tandems have two locking pins on each side which lock into holes on the trailer frame. The trailer has about 12 available holes for the pins but some states have limitations on which holes may be used in their state. My beginning weights were unbalanced by about 2500 pounds. On the recommendation of my trainer, I moved the tandems to the center position available in the states where we will be traveling. After that it was still off by about 1000 pounds and so we moved it one more pin. That change balanced the two weights almost exactly. I also had the opportunity to send the macro message to Prime related to the trailer we picked up and the message related to leaving the shipper. Then I called in the live load where they verify information in the macro messages. I could tell the person I spoke with must do this dozens of times per day because it was difficult to understand exactly what he was saying. That is probably not a problem for drivers who have been through the process so many times they know the questions before they are asked.

I pulled the trailer out of the yard and handled the paperwork at the guard shack. Since our load only had to travel about 700 miles, I had the opportunity to do most of the driving. Driving to the location the previous night, I had wondered why we were routed through several small towns from the south, rather than on Lake Michigan Drive which was only a few miles north of our delivery. I may have learned why on our way out when it did route us to that road. I experienced what I have read multiple times here on TT about the “adventures” of detours. Lake Michigan Drive would have been a great path to reach the interstate we needed if the ramp to the interstate had not been closed. Since it was closed, we continued down that route which led us onto Fulton, Street, directly toward the center of downtown Grand Rapids. We had just gotten into an area where the speed limit was 25, and the looming buildings of downtown were only a few blocks away, when the QC led us to turn right. I stayed as far left as I could without hitting cars in the left lane, turned as widely as I could to the right, and still the rear trailer tires went over the curb. However, we did not hit any signs and so it was considered a successful turn. We still had some smaller city streets to navigate but did manage to get to the freeway before long. That did not get us completely out of the woods. My trainer was looking at the GPS and the QC, trying to understand the best way to get to where we needed to go. He looked up just as we were facing a fork in the road and he told me which way to go. Unfortunately, we needed to go the other way. Thankfully, in this case we only had to take the next exit and come back to the interchange to acquire the right direction. I had prepared for such changes last week when a similar maneuver was required to avoid downtown Los Angeles.

Posted:  3 weeks, 6 days ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Wednesday, September 23

Started this morning at 0700, just as soon as my trainer regained his 14 hour clock. He and I can each drive 11 hours per day, but he has to be “on duty” anytime I’m driving as long as I’m a student. That limits our daily driving to his 14 hour clock, which is actually less due to breaks for food or fuel. Eastern Montana somewhat desolate, so this is a good time for The Ten Lists, Day 85.

Very first verse spoke to me today: “After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you” (John 17:1). Reminds me of Matthew 5:16 which teaches that we should live in such a way that others will see our lives & glorify our Father in heaven.

Thursday , September 24

Started today from Sioux Falls, SD. Apparently someone decided our 700 mile days were either too extreme for PSD, or insufficient to get us to NJ on time because now we are heading to Wisconsin where a team will take our load. I-90 is taking us across southern Minnesota. This stretch of highway has a number of old, charming farm buildings nestled within abundant fields of corn.

The Ten Lists for day 86 brought me to Psalm 86:5: “O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.”

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Tuesday, September 22

Between the two of us, we managed to drive 717 miles today. If we can repeat that for the next three days we should be able to get these apples to NJ on time. This was my first trip across eastern Washington. I found it interesting how it could suddenly change from majestic mountains to fertile farm land. Northern Idaho is beautiful, especially around lake Coeur d’Alene. But I think I have enjoyed Montana most. The often untamed mountains, with rivers flowing along the bottoms appeal to this small town Texas boy. I started a spreadsheet today to keep track of my miles. Managed 347 miles in six hours with an average speed of 57.8 MPH.

I guess the drive across unfamiliar territory distracted me from TTL today, but I did get some work on the memory project.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Monday, September 21

I forgot to mention yesterday that my first week with the trainer is completed. I have had a good opportunity to drive in various terrains. I have also driven in places with a lot of traffic and a lot less traffic. I think I am pretty comfortable driving a truck now. I am sure my comfort will continue to increase as I continue to drive. I also forgot to mention yesterday that the verse list I read was for day 83. One more thing that I saw yesterday was the man parked beside us in his Western Star truck. He said it has 1,600,000 miles. That’s a lot of miles for one truck.

Left Olympia & arrived at Costco at 0850 for 0945 appointment time (allowed for one hour early). They took paperwork then gave us a pager. They told us to park to the side & wait for pager alert to tell us which door to go to. Time for breakfast & TTL, Day 84. Have Philippians 1:1-16 about 99% committed to memory. Wonderful book of Scripture for memorization & meditation.

After being unloaded, we went back to Sumner Truck stop & waited for hours to return at 1430. Received instructions for new load from Wenatchee, WA to New Jersey. I got some sleep while waiting, considering the possibility of night driving, but I believe my trainer intends to drive.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Sunday, September 20

I drove about five hours yesterday through southern Oregon mountains. Then my trainer drove through the night to get us to Sumner, Washington around 0400. After sleeping a few hours I got up and called my wife using the new headset. It seemed to work well even as I walked through the parking lot. I am not implying that its range is that great. It worked well since I had the phone in my pocket.

When my trainer woke up we looked for another location to spend Sunday night since the current lot charges for staying there. We did not find a local truck stop and had to go south of Sumner about 40 miles. We spent the day in Olympia Washington and will sleep here tonight. Our delivery tomorrow is at 0940 in Sumner, so we will probably be there at least an hour early. I think I have the first sixteen verses of Philippians 1 pretty well tucked away in my memory. I need to practice it another couple of days to make sure, but I look forward to moving on to the next section. In The Ten Lists today, part of the reading included my favorite passage in Scripture so I have to share that with you. The verses I have been sharing may sound a little unusual. I’ve been reading through the NLT because that is what my sister reads. So it does sound different, but in many cases it is also helpful to read from a different translation. In my opinion, the more colloquial versions help in some places such as the book of Job. These translations make the speeches of Job’s friends sound more like something we would hear today. Anyway here is the NLT version of Romans 5:1-2, my favorite passage:

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

I'm following along on your training journey, Raif.

smile.gifgood-luck.gifsmile.gif

I'm enjoying your diary Uncle Rake! Safe travels!

Thanks, PackRat & Tortuga!

Posted:  1 month ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Friday, September 18

Miscellaneous Notes

Yesterday I learned about parking in cities with limited areas. In the place we stayed in Ontario, California, parking is $25 per night. But if you purchase $25 worth of merchandise, that covers your expenses for parking. I am trying to build a list of areas to park in different cities across the country.

Another note relates to the comfort of the driver’s seat. My first two days were almost unbearable because of discomfort to my back. I kept thinking it would get better but finally I mentioned it to my trainer. He told me about an additional way to adjust the seat. Since then, the only discomfort I have is on the bottom and I don’t know that there is a great solution for that.

Our delivery today is 3/10 of a mile from our location. I looked at the receiver’s location on Google maps to see if I could identify where to enter. Once we got there, I found that the area for the gate that I had seen on Google Maps was accurate. I will try to make this a regular habit. Our appointment time was 0500. We arrived at 0440 and they started to unload us about 0520. They finished around 0720. In my 10 lists for the day I read day 81 (The Ten Lists). It included the following meaningful passage:

Job 19:25-27: But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and He will stand upon the earth at last. 26 And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! 27 I will see Him for myself. Yes, I will see Him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!

I know all Bible verses are meaningful, but on certain days certain ones seem to stand out more. Memory work is pretty strong now through verse 13. After reading I slept another hour and then read trucking truth for a while, trying to learn about split sleeper.

We got our hours back about 1420 and delivery time was 1630. We had to get through a busy area of Los Angeles to the Carson area so my trainer drove. Despite the QC routing us through an exit we did not need to take, and all of the rerouting necessary to reach our destination, we did arrive just in time. We dropped our trailer there and picked up another one headed for Sumner, Washington. I began driving as we left. I gained additional good experience driving in the mountains and learning to manipulate and trust the cruise control system during descents. I drove until about 2120 when we were in the Bakersfield area. I began to get sleepy and then realized I had been awake (except for that one hour) since 0340. My trainer took over and I got some sleep.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Tuesday

Awoke at 0430 to trainer’s alarm. Got up & went to millennium building to go to restroom. Went into the gym & shot five free throws & made all five. Guess the reason I have struggled to make free throws in recent years is because I was not doing it early enough in the day. We left Springfield at 0630. My trainer drove the first couple hours, then I drove from 0930 to @ 1900. We took 400 through Kansas and then 54 down to Stratford TX.

Wednesday, September 16

We continued traveling west on 54 at 0900 with the trainer driving, coming into New Mexico around 1035. Continued down 54 to I-40 & headed west. Not sure where I started, but I drove through a good bit of NM, including Albuquerque. Driving through the hills and curves with other trucks on both sides can be somewhat unnerving. In addition, I am learning how to use the cruise control and the engine break to slow the truck in the hills.

Read Ten lists day 79 today. In memory work I’ve been struggling to remember verses 10 & 11 the past couple days. Went through two time zones today. I have an analog watch and I decided not to change the time displayed by the hands as we travel. That way the hands will always show the time in Springfield and at home. Went to sleep just before 2300 (Home time).

Thursday, September 17

Woke up today at 0545, finally obtaining a good block of uninterrupted sleep. Got up and went inside to use the restroom and brush my teeth. Sometime around 0600 I realize it’s actually 0400 here in Arizona. Need to figure out how to handle frequently changing time zones. Not really an issue, I guess, as long as we’re using electronic devices which keep up with the changes. Anyway, went back to sleep and slept another three hours until 0715 local time.

Remarkable how God designed the human body to recover so well with a good night’s sleep. After driving yesterday my entire back was sore. This morning it’s completely renewed. Think I finally got Philippians 1:10-11 down. Next section is very familiar, so I hope to learn it quickly. Will try to get ten lists read this morning while trainer is driving. Probably not too much to learn watching him drive through western Arizona. Shortly after I decided there was not much to learn, we passed mile marker 213 and got into the hills where I started learning more about the cruise control/engine breaking system. Eventually finished the Ten Lists for day 80 & encountered several memorable passages, including John 12:24-25, Romans 2:4, & 2 Timothy 1:9.

Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
2 Timothy 1:9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

Coming down out of Flagstaff I continued learning about the cruise control system. It doesn’t just set speed, but it manages speed based on a number of factors, controlling accelerator and engine breaking. I began driving in Arizona and into CA on I-40. I drove down to Ontario where I had the opportunity to learn about the truck systems while I was behind the wheel. I have no interest in driving in the mountains using a standard transmission as long as I have the opportunity to use the automatic transmission and breaking systems on this kind of truck. Drove to the prescribed fuel stop & refueled truck, reefer, & DEF. Then I drove to the overnight location & backed into a parking spot.

Well, it’s 2130 here, & I have to be up by 0340 for our delivery. So, goodnight.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Monday, September 14

Awoke about 530 this morning and prepared to do laundry. Had to use two washers and two dryers in order to wash three pairs of jeans and my other clothes. The washer for my jeans did not have a final spin, so I ended up having to do two cycles in the dryer to get them dried. Did my 10 lists for day 78 while clothes were washing. Went through memory work and got through verse nine pretty well and through verse 12 with a little assistance. Perhaps I will have time to relearn Philippians bit by bit.

My trainer called and said we would be getting a load today. I spent some time getting all my stuff organized and prepared to leave. On Saturday evening one of my children had a collision with a concrete barrier. She was not injured, but I have been talking to an auto body shop friend about what it would take to get the car safe to drive. It does not look good at this point. His words were, “It looks pretty hurt.”

Trainer called just after 1100 to let me know he is on the way to pick me up. He came to Campus Inn & we got my stuff loaded. Then he bought lunch for us at Cracker Barrel while we were waiting on a load. We got our load assignment to pick up a trailer from the terminal. Just as we were preparing to hook up to the trailer a yard dog came by and told us that the trailer had to go to the shop. We backed it into the shop and my trainer asked them to call him when they were finished. By 2030 we decided to get some sleep and I slept from then until 2230. After going to the restroom I slept from 2300 until 0430. I have a huge Columbia duffel bag on the outside edge of my bed running parallel to the bed. At the far end it is kept in place by the overhead storage bin. I have my legs running down beside it. It is a little tight but apparently did not affect my sleep at all.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Sunday, September 13

My trainer has a few issues with his truck such as the APU not cooling as well as it should. He said that would make it really warm on the top bunk where I will be sleeping. He got it into the shop late last night and so I did not expect to hear from him this morning. Once he eventually contacted me, I learned that he had been up until very late and then slept some this morning. We have another scheduled time at the practice pad at 1700. I am working on my pre-trip and have it all down except a few phrases and words that I say slightly differently. I recorded myself going through it from memory and then listened to the recording and watched the checklist and highlighted sections where I was not perfect. I think I could pass the pre-trip now, but I will do my best to correct the areas where I am not exactly consistent with the checklist.

We returned to the pad at 1700 and I did more backing today. I did an offset right and got it into the box with no issue. I tried an offset to the left and I got to looking at my tires and overthinking it. That led me to let off on the prescribed movements slightly and I ended up going out of the box a bit. That would cost me two points on the test. I did the rest of the maneuvers exactly as prescribed and they all went well including alley dock. I had to do one pull up on alley dock and then backed just past the boundary. That would be another two point deduction on the test. As long as I don’t have more than 12 deducted points, I will pass. On each maneuver I used my GOALs (Get Out and Look) to verify that the truck was in the right position as I prepared to adjust my turn. I still need some practice, but I think I have learned where to make changes in reference to my view of the landing gear. After that I drove for a while on the highway. My trainer was giving me ideas of what to remember for the test as I drove. When we finished I asked him if I had scared him any and he said no, so I guess that’s a good thing. When we got back to the pad he had me back the trailer into a space beside another trailer. I had to do a couple pull-ups but I got it into the space without hitting anything (except the curb).

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Nice reading your updates, Raif.

Good luck meeting that trainer tomorrow morning.

Thanks, PackRat.

Saturday, September 13, 0525

Was tired last night after all of the pre-trip time and classes yesterday. Went to bed around 2100 and went to sleep directly. Woke up only once in the middle of the night but was awakened at 0425 due to someone’s unceasing alarm. It took probably ten minutes for them to turn it off. After that I tried unsuccessfully to go back to sleep, and finally got up. Prepared to take my prescriptions but the container was empty so I had to refill the weekly container (this comment was primarily for my wife to know I have been taking my meds 😀). I did not have much time yesterday to work on my memory work and today only got through the first six verses. Read The 10 Lists for day 77. Proverbs 15:1 is always a good reminder: “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare” (NLT).

I had thought of some questions I wanted to ask my trainer such as: How many students have you had? What are your primary expectations of a student? Absolutes? Schedule for next few days? Are you a lease operator? I met him for breakfast and the conversation sort of flowed naturally. He is very easy to talk to and the questions were answered in the course of normal conversation. After breakfast we talked for about four hours in his truck. I went back to my room for a bit and returned to the practice pad at 1700. He did the backing maneuvers to show me, and then I tried them. Straight line backing was very simple and I have no problems with that. I did one of the offsets and got it into the box. Then I did a parallel to the other side and got it into the box. I only tried alley dock once or twice and have not yet gotten gotten my angle correct.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Friday, September 11

This morning I had to be at the Plaza by 0830 for a class. I did not want to be late and so I was there by 0800. I did not know what we would be doing but we were told to wear closed toe footwear and our yellow vests. We were also told to be sure and bring our permit, license, and medical paperwork.

The fIrst thing the instructor told us was to be sure our phones were set to maximum volume. She said we need to be sure we hear a call from a trainer. Then she stressed the importance of knowing all 10 pages of our pre-trip. She said that pre-trip is the hardest part of the CDL exam. This was a thought she repeated several times. She said the earliest people can test is 15 days after they begin drive training, and that how well they know pre-trip determines when they will test. She also said there are two primary reasons people get sent home:
1) Being late and having a bad attitude. She said the shuttle is never an excuse to be late. Better to be waiting on a trainer than having a trainer waiting on us.
2) Drinking alcohol. She said if alcohol is necessary during training, this is probably not the job for you. She also emphasized that alcohol cannot be present on the truck either open or closed.

After class we went outside and begin practicing our pre-trip checklists. Some people seemed to be completely unfamiliar with the process. At least one had no idea how to identify the different parts of the truck necessary for the pre-trip. I emailed her a link to Daniel B’s checklist but I also emphasized the importance of using the checklist we were given as the primary resource. I paired up with a young man I had met when I first arrived. He said he was familiar with the checklist but it seemed that he kept reading from it too much. I took it from him to see how he could do without that crutch. I think I was pushing him too much, so I worked with a few others. We later had a class on how to check tires during pre-trip. As we were coming into class I heard someone who sat down behind me say, “They ain’t playin’ ‘bout that pre-trip, boy!” In all, we spent five hours working on pre-trip today.

Just before I got on a shuttle to go from the plaza back to Campus Inn, I got a call from my trainer. He sounded very friendly and energetic. I am going to meet him Saturday morning at the millennium building where we will have breakfast and visit. It appears that orientation is over and drive training is about to begin.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Just Another Prime Inc Endeavor

Thursday, September 10

At the end of the long day yesterday I decided to set my alarm for a later time and so I set it for 0600. As usual though, I woke up about 0540. In preparation for sleeping in the top bunk of a truck with all of my gear, I placed my gear on one side of the bed and have slept on the remaining narrow side the last two nights.

Thursday morning I had to check in at 0800. Since I had finished all of my computer based training on Wednesday, I did not have anything to do until simulator lab at 1545. We had two groups in the lab so individual time was not as much as it could have been. I did get to go through a route through town with intersections that only allowed trucks in one direction. I made it to the end of that one. Then we had a route in the snow on interstate. The roads were really slick, but I made it to the end of that one. The assessment was on the interstate but with quite a bit of traffic, including a wreck at one point. I was in the right lane but could not see the wreck until I was almost to it because of a vehicle in the left lane ahead of me. When I did see the stopped cars, I had to break hard in order to allow traffic to pass so I could move over into the left lane. That gave me a hard braking deduction as well as a deduction for following too close since I changed lanes behind the traffic. I believe my score for the assessment was the lowest driving score I have ever received: 80%. But I passed and that is what matters most.

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