Profile For RWD

RWD's Info

  • Location:
    Biloxi, MS

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:
    RWD On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    6 months, 3 weeks ago

RWD's Bio

33 year old Youtuber, motorcycle enthusiast and hopefully future trucker.

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Posted:  4 months ago

View Topic:

First solo week. I did NOT anticipate the amount of stress!

Packrat, yes! I told my trainer to tell me the steps and I wrote them down in my notebook. Every time before I hook, unhook, pickup, deliver, I read my notebook step by step to make sure I don't miss a step. I'm paranoid i'll miss something. I promise you if it weren't for that notebook, I would have left my CFI padlock on a damn trailer somewhere haha.

Thanks for the tips, I didn't try delivery out there at Wilmer, didn't realize anyone came out there.

Posted:  4 months ago

View Topic:

First solo week. I did NOT anticipate the amount of stress!

Thanks for the sentiments Old School. I'm hanging in there, I think the home time will really do wonders for me with the time off and being able to fully equip my truck with what I need.

Posted:  4 months ago

View Topic:

First solo week. I did NOT anticipate the amount of stress!

I just finished my first solo week. I honestly don't think I have ever been so stressed in my life than with this job.

My first load when I got my own truck was a 30 mile relay. Grabbed the trailer at our Wilmer, TX yard. I decided I would go try to park at a truck stop close to the receiver. This was a Saturday and little did I know in the Dallas area truck stops were jam packed on weekends. The whole time just going from truck stop to truck stop I am a nervous wreck. These are things I got comfortable doing with the trainer sitting there but when it was just myself in a new truck, my own truck with no one to correct my mistakes I was honestly have serious anxiety. I did not expect to have this amount of nerves, I thought I would be fine after training but I was wrong.

Well I circle three different truck stops not able to find parking. Finally, at a pilot/flying j there was an idle air NOSE IN spot. This is my first day and I'm like oh hell yeah, don't even have to back. Once I got into the spot it hit me, I can't see anything when I have to back out of this spot, I'm not even sure I know how to back out of this spot. Well that just added to the stress. Then of course a nice gentleman comes knocking on my window saying I needed to pay $10 for this spot, which I did, because I had nowhere else to go and was hungry.

I grab some food and suddenly a thought hit me. I don't have any paperwork for this load, where was I supposed to get the paperwork? I call my trainer, "Hey man, where do I get the bills for this load." He said I was supposed to get them from the terminal I was just at earlier in the day. Freaking lovely, just paid $10 to park here, now I have to leave and get the bills. Waste more fuel going 30 miles back to the terminal, get my bills. Finally get to the receiver the next morning and actually got in there without a hitch, maybe 3 or 4 pullups but damn were the nerves real by myself.

The first two or three days were all pretty much this way, problem after problem, stress after stress. I have had my GPS take me down random ass roads I wasn't supposed to be going down. I've got turned around and lost trying to find a customer in a whole cluster of distribution buildings, then took a wrong turn through the car parking lot trying to squeeze myself around that tiny lot. I've had to make U-turns at dead ends when my companies address for them was wrong. I've embarassed myself backing at truck stops. I've went on wild goose chases to yard after yard looking for an empty trailer. I've rushed and stressed about tight delivery times and have lost quite a few pounds due to just not having time to stop to eat. I've gotten so worn out and frustrated at times that I've wanted to quit, but through all of it, I've kept on trucking.

The funny thing is each day it got a little easier and a little less stressful. Today I felt was a turning point, I had a really good day. I knew exactly what I was doing at the shipper and receiver, and when I was finally loaded and hit the interstate on a 500 mile load, i cranked up the music, rolled the windows down and felt really good. It's the first time being solo I felt this way. Yes, I have a lot to learn, there will be more problems and stress, but today was the day I said to myself, I can do this and it's going to continue to get better.

That's my experience so far through my first week. My three days home time is coming up on the 24th, just a few days away. I need it, I still haven't been home since orientation started, I went through training and now solo. I need to get a refrigerator, a microwave, a blanket, and stock up on food. That's it for me, hope you all are well out here :)

Posted:  4 months ago

View Topic:

My CFI training tale and solo truck assignment.

Well I just completed my first week as a solo driver and it has been eventful. It all makes sense to me now when I would tell another driver I'm new or about to start training. They always had that smile, a smirk almost like they knew what these first experiences as a truck driver would be. I'll start off with some details of my training and eventual upgrade.

I started with CFI and the training went pretty quick and somewhat smoothly. I had a good trainer who really wanted to make sure I learned things the correct way. A few times when backing issues I was so frustrated I almost quit. I even told him at one point take me back to Joplin, I've had enough. He talked me into not doing that, whether he actually cared or just didn't want to lose out on money it doesn't matter. I apologized to him for getting frustrated and carried on. Lucky for me he was clean, orderly, my age and we got along pretty well so the rest of the time went very quick and I actually upgraded 5 days early, I only did 20 days instead of 25.

I did my testing and it was downpour raining in missouri that day. This made the obstacle course, backing tests and everything that much harder but I still passed. Hooray. I didn't have much time to celebrate because after that my trainer took me around the terminal everywhere to get some gear, truck assigned etc., and in that process I got soaking wet. Then I find out the only truck they have for me is in our terminal near Dallas, Texas. So I had to carry all my belongings onto the shuttle to Enterprise rent-a-car. Due to Covid-19 enterprise had everyone standing literally out in the rain. All my stuff at my feet getting soaked along with myself even more soaked. I was maybe 5th in line and finally got a car. Awesome, I'm out of the rain, now a 6 hour drive.

I go to put my phone on the charger in the car, it won't charge. It's been damaged from the rain and is dying. I'm stressing big time at this point because I am going to have to call my fleet manager when I get to the terminal, communicate with the company etc. I find a random ass AT&T store (my provider) in a small town in oklahoma. Stop in, sign a new contract and buy a new Iphone 11. Alright, one problem solved. I drive the rest of the way to the terminal to move my stuff into the truck before returning the rental. I move all of my stuff from the car to the truck. I begin checking out the outside of the truck, like a pre-trip, everything looks pretty good. Get inside and at this point I'm super excited. My new home. All mine. I put the key in, crank it up and low and behold, the dash lights up like a christmas tree. Check engine light, a wrench light, warnings on screen saying service immediately due to several different errors. I immediately turn the truck off and call road service. I read them the warnings and they said that truck will need to be towed to Dallas for repairs, we will get you a hotel for now until it's completed. Damn.....

I got set up in a motel 6 down the road from the terminal. It honestly was the nastiest place. I would never complain to the company because I mean I am getting a free hotel but I'm just stating facts here. They only had a smoking room, the comforter had stains, there were burn holes in EVERYTHING, towels had hair on them, it just wasn't a pleasant motel at all, but hey I have somewhere to stay. I lay my head down to sleep after a super long day, I am exhausted and just before I fall asleep, moaning from the next room, LOUD. Lovely end to the day.

The next day I'm hanging out when someone from truck assignment calls me to assign me a different truck and it's ready now. So I take an uber down to the yard and there she is. Looks good, smells good and no warning messages or lights. I'm finally on my own.

This was pretty long, I just completed my first week of solo and wow, I did not anticipate the stress and problems as a new driver AT ALL. I'd like to make another post telling you guys about that too in a day or two. I'm still at it though, learning every day.

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Finally finished driver training

Thanks for the information guys! Big Scott, I am in Joplin right now at the La Quinta. Luckily my trainer said he will be here tomorrow when I graduate to make sure I get everything from the shop so that's nice! Tee, PJ, thank you, I am going to try my damndest to not care about what others think or holding people up, I'm going to try to take my time no matter what. I was rushing with my trainer and he taught me to slow the hell down, I was always worried about holding other truckers up or being in the way so I've been working on that!

And yeah, here at CFI they teach us to pull the 5th wheel release lever with the puller. Both hands, one foot on the wheel and pull.

I really am excited and nervous as hell. From my 20 days though, I've come to the realization that I love this job. Literally everything about it I love. The traveling, the freedom, never knowing where you're going to go next. It really doesn't feel like work to me and I can't believe I am about to have a job that is actually enjoyable. I know the honeymoon phase will wear off and it will be day to day work but to be honest I think it's the best and most rewarding work I've ever done.

Once again, thanks for all the tips and positive reinforcement. Will keep ya guys updated :)

Posted:  4 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

Finally finished driver training

Well, just finished my last day of training with CFI. I ended up doing only 20 days instead of 25 and was called in early to test. I do all my testing tomorrow on Friday and if I pass I will be in my own truck.

I have to say, this was by far the most stressful 20 days learning this job that I've ever had in my life. Luckily my trainer was very diligent and thorough with me. I've learned a lot, have nothing but good things to say about my experience at CFI so far.

My backing still needs work and I am going to be a nervous wreck every time I'm out there on my own backing at customers, truck stops etc but I think I can manage. It's a mix bag of excitement and nerves as I inch closer to being on my own. A whole new chapter is starting in my life and I hope I can succeed.

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

My career is about to start!

A lot of great information thank you all! Interesting to hear your stories and others. If I may ask Rubber Duck, what starter company did you get on with out of your school?

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

My career is about to start!

I'm curious, why did you decide to go to a private school and then try to get on with a company? Who are you going to get on with....or hope to?

Laura

It was mostly personal reasons why I decided for private. One of the major things for me is I feel it would be an easier process for me. I live 20 minutes from the school so I can go home every night in my own bed and I can also take a week to decompress after school before deciding on a company to join and start my mentor training. I just felt it would ease the discomfort a little more than say joining a company, going through all the schooling, sharing hotel rooms, then immediately hopping on a truck with a driver mentor for however long etc. I just really liked the idea and comfort of going home every night after school plus being able to take a short break after school before hopping in the truck with the mentor.

RWD congrats on getting started. I will tell you your going to have to be on too of your game. The school will take your money and get you through the license part, as long as you perform to their expected level. They have no vested interest in you one way or the other. We have some great folks here that started that way, it can be done.

Also when you get on with a company they will not have a vested interest either. They will put you through their program and as long as you do well and meet expectations your good. If you struggle, or get hurt you may find yourself unemployed.

We also have several members here that have struggled with that situation.

We all wish you the best for succuss. As always jump in here with questions.

Appreciate the info! Yeah, I know I'm not going to have as much leeway doing the private school rather than joining a company that has more vested interest in me. I know there's a little more risk with the route that I'm taking, many of you guys let me know that and I had to take a step back and give it some thought. I'm going to take it very seriously and give it my best to succeed.

On a side note, let's say I were to fail this route and lose my first job for whatever reason. Is there second chances in the industry for new guys? Will anyone else hire you and put you through a second drive mentor training after you've already done it? With only weeks or months experience? Or are you pretty much done if you really screw up on your first job after a short time?

Thanks guys!

Posted:  6 months, 1 week ago

View Topic:

My career is about to start!

I posted awhile back regarding my starting a trucking career and got some very useful information from you guys. Many of you thought I should forego private school and join a company school. I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people I know in the industry and I have decided to attend our private school here.

I start Monday bright and early at 7am (good thing I'm a morning person) at Truck Driver's Institute. Three weeks of school and then "hopefully" onto a company and beyond. Funny thing is I'm not nervous about the school at all, I'm more nervous about when I have to share a truck with a driver mentor for so long. That is the most unappealing part of the process for me, although I know it is for the best to get my on the job training. I've heard the horror stories of terrible trainers, first hand actually from someone I used to work with driving Class B.

I can only hope that I get a good driver mentor I can learn from and get comfortable doing the job. So excited but nervous at the same time. I know you guys have gone through the same but damn, it's a nerve wracking experience taking this plunge.

Cheers!

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

I mean, honestly I don't think your example of why not to start Class B concrete truck is completely true. I mean, the same could happen in any vehicle, a semi, a 4-wheeler or even a motorcycle which I enjoy riding. When you take the Class B CDL tests, you're taught proper following distances, you're taught the basic safety procedures just the same as any other license. It's on the driver/rookie to abide by these precautions to avoid the situation of having that van full of children slam on the breaks and ending their career. I mean it makes no different than a rookie driver straight out of Class A school having to pay attention to the same thing and abide to a proper following distance to avoid this situation when they're hauling a load.

So basically I don't agree that someone shouldn't start off as Class B concrete driver due to a minivan full of many kids slamming on the brakes with all due respect to your experience. I base it solely on the driver, their tendencies and how well they abide by the things they have been taught in order to get their CDL. I don't disagree that those jobs are terribly dangerous for rookies, I just don't see how it could be any more dangerous driving a fully loaded semi-truck in the same situation, without proper following distance or care and precaution to avoid the situation. I feel like if a driver slammed into a minivan full of kids and ended his/her career, the same probably would have happened in a semi truck anyways considering they probably weren't following protocol included with receiving their license. Obviously **** happens on the road, I get it, but I don't think the type of truck you're driving matters as much as portrayed here.

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All these guys give great advice but one thing I don’t understand is they readily admit 90-95 percent fail at OTR , why push people into something where if and when they fail they will have a 6-7000 dollar bill hanging over their head.

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First off that high percentage of failure is not related to OTR. It's just related to truck driving in general. Jay, you have only your own limited experience to go by, and it's extremely rudimentary. You've done a lot of things we don't consider as "best practices" when starting this career. So far it's working for you, and we are glad of it.

I would never recommend starting out driving a concrete truck, or a dump truck. Those jobs have killed a lot of trucking careers. As soon as a minivan full of little kids slams on the breaks in front of you while you've got 10 yards of mud loaded, you'll understand why I think those jobs are terribly dangerous for rookies.

We teach best practices. You took a shortcut to what you wanted. That's fine, but please don't be thinking you've got some super secret formula for success that needs to be shouted from the roof tops. So far you've been fortunate. I hope that trend continues.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

Thanks Jay for your input on the matter. I'm honestly still on the fence whether to do private school or join a company. Unfortunately I didn't receive a call back from the recruiters I applied for today, but I'm sure they will come. Unfortunately where I live in Mississippi, pay is pretty low. Most concrete, class B jobs pay $15 or less. Trust me I've checked indeed for awhile, even previous to my last job, it's about $15/hour or under. If I could get $18, i may go for it but I figure I could make much more money with a class A here. I mean anyone here can say what they want, but at the end of the day I know people here straight out of TDI making more way more than $15/hour so I know it's possible.

The only reason I am considering company sponsored training is because of the advice from members here. Before I felt like it was a trap, but I'm read their replies carefully and am taking that into consideration. I try to be open minded, not stuck in my ways and get into arguments with the experience folks here about how I'm right. Ultimately they know more than I do and I'm taking that into serious consideration.

At the same time, I have high recommendations from friends, one that's been doing this for 5+ years, speaks highly of our private school here and once again, it's right by my home. I really like the idea of being able to do my training and going home to my own house at night, especially when after all is said and done, I'll need to hop on a truck for several months with a driver mentor. I feel it makes the whole learning process a lot easier than going to a company, staying in their motel possibly with another student, sharing a room, then straight after hopping on a truck with a trainer for several months. I just like the idea of being able to have a bit of an easier ride in a private school and being able to go home every night. At least it takes 3 weeks off the bill of staying in motels with other people and the inconvenience that comes with it. Like I said before, I'm a lone wolf type, like to be on my own. I know I gotta do my time with a trainer in the truck, but if I can minimize the inconvenience with a private school by being able to travel from home to school each day easily and feel a bit more comfortable, that is actually important to me regardless of what people think.

All in all, I am taking serious consideration what the experienced guys here have said, as well as you Jay. I'm on the fence, going to wait until these recruiters call me back and see what they have to say. Yes, I'm aware recruiters will say almost anything to recruit you, but hey, I need to see who is willing to take me on before I make a decision anyways. Once again, thanks for all the advice and replies, and hopefully I make the right choice in the end.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

Ahh ok, well I guess I have some more research to do if I decide to go with a company agreement. Small world too, Gulfport is the neighboring city to where I live. Knight was also recommended to me from someone here too. Thanks man.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

I did put in a few recruiter forms online with KLLM and Pam Transport today, just to hear what they have to say I guess about it. I chose those two because they're both based fairly close to where I live in Mississippi. If you guys believe that it does work to my advantage I may give that a shot instead. Would be nice also to keep my money in the bank and not have to pay up front. Will let ya know what i ultimately decide here soon!

Thanks

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

Oldschool, no I'm not going to ultimately do what I want. I appreciate the advice honestly and I never thought about it that way, that they would actually care about the investment but it makes sense. I figured they would still be as quick to cut and run and make you pay them back for the schooling. But I trust what you say and it is something I need to consider now that I think about it because I would like to drive for a company that actually wants me there and did invest into me so that makes sense.

As far as TDI, one of my buddies is now OTR with ATS driving flatbed. He started with Mcelroy then went to another company and now ATS. About 5 years into it I believe. He says nothing but good things about their training. But yeah, I guess I really need to consider the option of having one of the starter companies pay train me, thanks for the info!

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

So, you'd rather pay out of pocket for school, then take the chance getting hired somewhere, to avoid a contract with a company pays you back for the school?

Yes, because if I go through TDI I have a wider choice of companies to start with and I'm under no contract. Said companies also have tuition reimbursement plans where over time I am reimbursed up to 5, 6, even 7k depending on the company. Mainly though it's due to the wider choice of companies, because obviously if I leave the company I choose after school, I'm responsible for the rest of my tuition.

On top of that, through my own personal research I am leaning towards wanting to drive for Schneider. Unfortunately they do not do the free CDL training but they will take you straight out of school for your driver mentor training and beyond. Also, I live 20 minutes away from it. I can go home every night after my classes, sleep in my own bed and it makes it more manageable. Personal preference really. I've also heard really good things about our TDI school here from some drivers I knew that went through it.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

Thanks for all the info guys. Errol, I am actually going to do my CDL training through the Truck Driver's Institute when I do my training. I had a few buddies that went through there and they all said it was great. I also like the fact that I will be able to choose my company and not be tied to a contract. I kind of wanted to stay away from the training/contract situation. Yeah, wee hours in a big city isn't too bad, that's when I normally drive the box truck, but I figure rush hour in a huge city in a semi would get a bit nerve wracking lol. I'm sure it's unavoidable sometimes, I think that's what makes me the most nervous if I took up the career. I couldn't imagine a New York City run in a semi haha.

Jay, I haven't looked into Class B jobs. That is very interesting what you say about making that kind of money with a Class B, I didn't know it was possible. My one fallback is I started with my current company, they helped me get my Class B and unfortunately I am restricted to automatics because that's what I tested in. Unless of course I can find a company that somehow has automatic cement trucks etc. in that line of work. Do they do automatics in cement trucks and things of that sort?

Thanks again guys.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Current class B driver considering a class A career

Hey all, this is my first post here. I won't lie, I've browsed around a bit beforehand and would like to commend you guys on a very informative forum.

I currently drive part-time for a local company, hauling newspapers from a central printing location to the distribution location in a 29' Box Truck. I drive about 300 miles per night, four days a week and am paid hourly. I love the job, I love the driving, the solidarity and everything about it. I'm a very sociable person but I've always been a lone wolf type, I prefer to be on my own, an introvert I guess you could say. So I figured trucking might be for me and decided to get a little more serious with a career, because let's face it, this Class B part-time gig isn't exactly a career. It's my only income, but luckily I have a 125k YouTube Channel that helps fill the gaps. It's about motorcycles, but I would love to transition to trucking vlogs if I do that as a career.

I hope that a transition to the big rigs would be a little easier for me considering I drive some kind of truck, obviously the backing is going to be way different being a truck and trailer. I also can drive a manual vehicle, my every day vehicle is a manual and I ride motorcycles. I do hear though that the shifting in a big rig is very different, I'm curious to know how as I have never driven one. My current work truck is also an automatic so there's no shifting either.

Only really a few questions I have. What would you guys consider the easiest route to take as far as dry van, reefer etc.? I'm leaning towards dry van as I've heard that reefer can be a pain in the ass at receivers. I'm not lazy or anything, I just want my first year to be as smooth as possible considering there will be so much I have to learn, so I want to try to limit the amount of stress and hiccups along the way. One thing that sort of terrifies me though, I won't lie, is traveling through big cities. I don't mean on the highway per se, but when you have a delivery through a big city that you've never been to and know nothing about and being new on top of everything. I know in my personal four wheel vehicle when I drive through a city I don't know it's pretty unnerving sometimes, I couldn't imagine doing it in in a big rig. How quickly did you guys get accustomed to that?

Anyways, don't want to leave too big of a wall of text. Nice to meet you guys, any advice, recommendations or comments are welcome. Thanks!

-Dave

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