Comments By JoJack

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  • JoJack
  • Joined:
  • 4 years, 8 months ago
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Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Started the day at our Payette, Idaho terminal and received a pre plan on Qualcom and my mentor had me fill out the paperwork. The bill # order # shipper and receiver (consignee) addresses with pickup and delivery dates and the PO #'s oh yeah and the seal# plus the weight of the load and piece count...aaaand trailer # that we picked up and trailer # we were going to drop. This particular run is a repower, meaning that another driver already picked up the load from the shipper and dropped it at the yard, now we pick it up at the yard to take it to another yard in Denver, so we never went to the shipper and we aren't going to the receiver (consignee). We're just the middle man on this run but we still fill out the paperwork as of we were so everybody knows where it is. We accepted the pre plan and they dispatched us. This is a reefer load and we weighed at 79,600lb so we can't run on a full tank or we'll be over weight. Our reefer is being a bit fussy so now that we've stopped for the night we are letting our over the road support know what's up. It's supposed to be at a continuous -1 degrees but it has quit on us a couple times only to start back up. Right now it's not a major issue but it's probably going to become one. The drive was nice. I always love the drive but it's summer and the weather is great and our country is beautiful so you can't beat it. I still need to do a better job of trip planning but doing that while accounting for the HOS is a decent challenge. Ya know, I also need to remember to change my status when I start to do paperwork, when I hop out of the truck, when I get to a shipper etc. Crazy. As soon as I think I have a grasp on something I am once again humbled. I have a feeling this job will keep me right there, humbled. I recommit daily to persevering. It also helps to remember to be grateful. I'm surprised at my fear, I mean sometimes the job leaves me nervous and wondering...you want me backing that where?? Backing in and out of orange cones, man I miss those days lol. I've been trying not to consider blowing money on a navigator but I'm slowly changing my mind. Anything that can help me remember weigh stations, rest stops, weather etc is probably gonna be a big help for me to start. I remember someone telling me about a navigator that will speak to you for such reminders and upcoming inclement weather. Did I use the word "inclement" properly? And if somebody knows the best nav for a beginner I'll take any suggestions. I have the atlas... So I'm doing my best to learn about it... Honestly, I think I've found a job I'll love and be proud of and so I'll persevere. I'll be in touch. Thanks, Jojack

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

PackRat...you bet. I'll keep on. Thank you. I have a chance to shower so I'm taking it and then on the road.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

I've finally hit the road with my mentor as of 7/1, so a couple days ago. We left the Brooks, OR terminal after receiving a pre plan, accepting the preplan, receiving dispatch and routing, then requesting turn by turn instructions, requesting fuel.... Wait a second, don't we just go pick stuff up and drop it off? Haahaaaa, oh man. I've been lost in the Bahamas a few times in the last couple days. My mentor took an empty trailer to come to pick up some smart water. He showed me the routine, at least at this particular distribution center, on how to pick up a load. We dropped it at a drop lot near Portland and picked up a different trailer at the drop lot that was already loaded with smart water, this is called a repower, we hauled that load to a coca cola DC in Fruitland, ID. I drove up the famous "Cabbage Hill" and what a difference between an empty trailer in trucking school and a 75,000lb load. Controlling speed downhill, and the company doesn't want you using breaks, that wastes gas with having to go back to the gas peddle. It's all about focus on traffic and speed and using the auto cruise control and jakes. Auto cruise isn't necessarily auto and the truck will pick up speed so fast. My mentor doesn't stop talking and drinks monsters non stop staring at about 2am after his 2 to 3 hour sleep. He smokes non stop at night right below me on the bunk. I'm lacking sleep and I'm concerned. Seriously. My mentor is a good guy and really wants to help but he's a bit too intense and excitable. I wish he'd relax on the monsters and non stop chatter. He just doesn't ever calm down. I drove the load to the receiver or consignee which was a little different than the last place but I get the point. My first backing attempt into a dock was terrible. My driving was fine but like I've heard, driving is the easy part. I think that once I get the over communication with dispatch down I should feel better. A lot of filling out forms and double checking and phone calls and macro messages just to ship some water. I will say though that once I get that down I can see that it's just routine. But I really need to know how to trip plan so I can let dispatch know my ETA and how many hours I'll legally have available after I deliver so I can get another load and do it again. Pulling in and out of truck stops, hopping on scales, pulling into weigh stations and cruising into towns I've never been to before... It's all pretty big and amazing for this rookie. Will I persevere? I want really bad to put this all together but the truth is that at times I feel a bit overwhelmed. I think I need to give myself a break maybe? It's only been two days and I've heard it here on Truckingtruth that the first year is about survival. I want to survive. This might come easy for some but I know it will be one of the hardest things I'll ever do or accomplish. I'll keep you posted. Jojack

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

My mentor has been delayed again. I've been living in a truck at the Brooks, Oregon terminal since last Thursday. Found out that out of my 5 man class a second guy has already quit. So that's one that quit in the middle of class on the last day and one that quit as soon as or shortly after he returned from his mentorship. Packed up and left without telling a soul. I can't understand but it does make me wonder, "do I have what it takes? I always had confidence before but I must admit, with these guys dropping like flies, doubt had crept in a little. Evil little ******* that doubt. I really want this, I don't care how much of a fool I have to be until I become a pro. I'd rather bypass the foolishness but at worst I can be that dumb rookie that never crashes until I piece it all together. I'm nervous, I'm thinking will my pre trip planning come together. Will I remember all the steps? Will I send all the appropriate macros? Or will I run out of time while searching for parking and a place to sleep? It suddenly feels like there's way more to this than I ever imagined but then again I've been sitting at a terminal with wayyyy too much time on my hands to overthink things. I will look at some more study materials. I will practice some more backing in a few hours. Then hopefully things will begin to fall into place when my mentor picks me up. I haven't even left yet but it's already been an adventure. Regards, Jojack

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Thanks Mark...I hope I have something more for you to read as that will mean I'm still employed. I was supposed to leave with my mentor today but I got a call that he's delayed for 3 more days. Wow. So I'm just camping out in a semi at their main terminal in Brooks, OR. Did laundry and got in a shower. I'm trying to familiarize myself with the Atlas so I can help some with trip planning I'm trying to learn the life of a load and when to send which macro messsgeand where to send it. I've been told that a lot of companies use a system called NAVI-GO and that everything is made simple. The system asks if you've arrived at the shipper, you push yes, it asks if you arrived at the cosignee, you push yes etc... We use Qualcom which puts a little bit more on the driver to be accountable. We have to send quite a few messages throughout the life of the loadI'll get it down eventually and it sure beats having to find a pay phone to communicate, if you remember what that is. Lots for me to remember but it will all become routine, so I'm told. I have all day tomorrow to practice some backing, they told me they'd leave the keys in the truck so that's cool. I should head out Tuesday with my mentor and I'll be sure to keep you posted. This is going to be interesting and for sure, humbling. JoJack

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Heard. Gotcha. Some prayers are better left unanswered. Have a great night.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Thanks Packrat... Ya know I tried to get on at CFI based on reading your posts but they didn't get back to me. I think it's because of where I live but that's alright. I appreciate your support. I'll let ya know how things are going in 2 or 3 days.

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Day 3... I didn't sleep at all after a pretty disastrous day with failing to perform a 90 around a barrel...today was all classroom. What a relief. It helped me calm down and even better it helped me get back in my instructors good graces. We went over hours of service and Life of a Load and I was prepared. He and another instructor can still be a little brutal in the classroom with their particular style of teaching, but, I guess I can handle it better than others might. I'm not gonna get to Trucking without them--so be it. Day 4...they asked us to check out at 7:30 from our motel and then off to the yard. Good news, checking out means I'm assigned a truck, the truck I'm in right now. In all honesty and I know this gets said a lot about many things but I'm like a kid at Christmas...except I don't want to play with my toy. Being in the truck and having to sleep in it for the next 2 nights before I do my first run on Saturday has upped my adrenaline. I'm not too sure I need anymore. I will purchase my own fridge and microwave and there's a mount on the wall if I want to pick up a tv. Maybe down the road but now tv isn't even on my mind. What I really learned the last two days in the classroom is that I have sooo much to learn. Overwhelmed no doubt. I already know I'm going to have some ridiculous and embarrassing mistakes. It was just that so much was covered and this job isn't a joke. With that said a guy got up and quit in the middle of class today. He couldn't take the heat of the instruction, which is a bit rough and tough but dang. I believe you really gotta keep your eye on the prize and I thought long and hard about it the other night and came to my own understanding which is...these guys are about to give a rookie a $180,000 dollar truck with 2 to $300,000 worth of product to deliver in a humongous vehicle in a bunch of traffic. The whole thing seems kinda crazy but it makes sense that instructors are being very hard and detailed in a way to convince you that this isn't a kids game. But still, I can't believe I'm about to get paid to do this. I do feel stressed already but man do I feel alive in a 2 year old Cascadia with about 200k on it. I was bored outta my mind the first half of this year and I have a feeling the 2nd half is gonna fly by. I'll be in touch with an update on my first load by the end of the weekend. Regards Jojack

Posted:  3 years, 10 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Day 2...PackRat how are ya man? You are correct, sir, sink or swim for sure. My head is above water, barely. Seriously, I got my ass handed to me today. Same deal, picked up at 7:30 and off to the terminal. They give us homework every night so we went over our assignments and then hit the skills area they have set up in the northwest corner of the yard. Guess who was told to go first, yep, me, this always happens. I nailed it, the hardest maneuver they have set up is a 90 around a barrel they put about 15 yards in front of their alley. Instructor was probably both surprised and happy because he let me know "good job." Now, understand, that was my or anybody's first back of the day. I hadn't received any instruction, I got in and nailed it. It all went downhill from there and I don't believe I hit that 90 again for the rest of the day. Whether my set up was off or my mirrors not adjusted properly or starting my pivot too soon/late...I fell apart. These instructors have some sharp tongues and I think I was letting it get to me. Honestly, I have never been so upset or frustrated with myself ever. I'm back at the motel now and the thought of breaking a few things has crossed my mind. At times when I'm out there I'm thinking that they're gonna send me home, my instructor gets so upset and I find myself in panic mode which is doing nothing for my less than professional backing abilities. Seriously, I've got to find a way to relax, like all day relax and drive that trailer. Actually, what I need is to make sense of and apply what is being taught. I have thick skin so condescending remarks/body language etc from a couple brutal instructors isn't going to keep me from coming back for more and I'm not going to snap back. I want this gig, I'm committed but I'm afraid for one of the other guys. I feel like he might not be able to keep his cool and I can feel something coming that might result in him being sent home. They'll have to drag me out kicking and screaming. Listen, my CDL school was a lot about the students teaching themselves. I can't remember getting too much instruction. I'd spend all day doing straight backs, offsets and 90's but unfortunately, I learned how to do them my way. Now I'm being taught with new terminology like, command/pull/push/center and while it does make sense it's all new to me. Before all this training I watched backing videos online but just like CDL school the instruction here is different so I need to unlearn things and breaking a habit ain't easy. I'd never even heard the term button hook turn. Do you know how embarrassing that is? The only good thing about the button hook turn is that even though I didn't know what it is, it's the only thing I can say I have got down with confidence. Showed me once and now I pull that trailer through that alley and around every time. Meditation has never been my thing but it's going down tonight. I want to focus and pinpoint exactly where the errors are and fix them right here in my motel room. I want to get back to that yard and nail that dang 90 every single time. We also worked on some other things like chains, sliding fifth wheel and sliding tandems plus a refer pre-trip. It all made sense but everything's easier than backing. Man o man, I want nothing more than to make my next entry a much more pleasant one. I better get to my homework. Regards, Jojack

Posted:  3 years, 11 months ago

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May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

Showed up in Salem, Oregon last night, Sunday. Didn't sleep well but not so much nerves as much as some noisy neighbors at the Days Inn. Nothing some ear plugs can't solve. I was picked up along with 4 other gentlemen (Idaho, Montana, California, Portland and me, Pullman, WA) at 7:30 this morning and taken to May Trucking's main terminal and offices in Brooks, Oregon. A little bit of in class schooling on backing and some friendly banter about why we want to go OTR. Then the drug test which was immediately followed by skills backing maneuvers and a drive. I'd never been in such a nice truck and this was an automatic 2020 Cascadia. Huge difference from the ancient million plus mile 10 speed I was driving back in school. I was up first, this always happens. It had been about 3.5 weeks since I tested for my CDL so I didn't feel like I was in the swing of things. My instructor is former military and he was letting me have it. "Why aren't you always always using your driver side mirror? It's gonna be much more fun if you can see what your doing." I would hear this a few more times throughout the day. He was also frustrated that I was sticking my head out the window to watch my rear axle tires for steering. He made me roll up my window and he had me use only one hand to steer while backing. Now, this is nothing like I was taught in school. Which is fine if not great once I shake these nerves off. I was feeling the heat because with May you aren't hired until after the first day. They want to know if they feel like keeping you around. I made it through but I was pretty upset with myself. Doesn't matter if it hadn't been a while, I should've done better, that's how I felt. Next, I went on my drive. It went quite well. It was cool using cruise control and hill assist, both firsts and I'd never used a jake before and that was great. The other 4 did the same and they all let me know that they felt as I did. We were all sweating it but, talk about misery loving company, it helped us all relax. Like I was saying they're doing a one week training/mentorship out of this yard in Brooks and I should be doing my first run this Friday. They don't mess around. I've never heard of such a thing but it's new to them as well. I'm not sure about their other May training locations but if you end up in Brooks, Oregon as a new trucker...it's one week and c-ya. I was told my first run will be with a mentor and then they jump ship and it's all you and that truck is yours. I'm nervous about this but I don't mind. I think it's because I really want to make this my last career and take it all the way into the sunset....Side note, a guy showed up at the yard to discuss his employment with the bosses after getting in an accident in his first week solo. Dang. He said he got detoured off the freeway or highway and ended up on tiny roads and a tight turn did him in. He said he hit a car that he absolutely didn't see, said it was a dark green and dirty car in a shady spot and it just blended in. Anyway, I don't think he's employed anymore and I feel bad for the guy. I'll let y'all know what happens tomorrow but it is for sure happening fast. Jojack

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