Profile For Rockin' Rick

Rockin' Rick's Info

  • Location:
    SC

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    6 years, 9 months ago

Rockin' Rick's Bio

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Posted:  4 years, 2 months ago

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Going back on the road

Greetings!

I popped in here a few times over the last couple of years. I started with Roehl, and since then I officially have 9 jobs in the last three years. My experience now tells me...that track record has kept me from getting back on the road as soon as I'd have liked to. Companies I've worked for won't take me back because of the number, and companies I'd like to work for won't touch me with a ten foot cargo lock.

I chased jobs trying to get closer to a girlfriend....no that didn't work out. And I tried the L/P route, and didn't get the miles to pay me enough to buy soup. I drove teams for a FedEx contractor. I couldn't sleep Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, I couldn't stay awake. Decent money...too exhausted for my girlfriend.

I've had fun with medical issues and being rejected. As a type 2 diabetic, I take tablets, not insulin. One of the tablets channels extra sugar into the bladder. A company I really wanted to work for because of sugar in my urine. The medical examiner's hands were tied...he knew about the meds but company policy said "no-go at this station".

A couple of companies want six of the last twelve months OTR. Having left the road at the end of last August, that got a few replies of "we're not moving forward on your application at this time". Companies can be choosey, and will be when it comes to their insurance mandates concerning the definitions of experienced drivers.

Having my hands tied, and wallet thin, I chose to go back to guarding the thin blue line. In most places, that job does not pay well; although, its getting better. Getting kicked to the curb and supporting two households has brought me right back to where I was in the beginning of 2014 when I decided to go to TDI: time to get paid.

So, through Brett's awesome site here, and scrubbing the net for facts, I've concluded I'm going to give it another go. My choices are limited, but the small group of companies is solid. Thanks, Brett... If I'm not rejected again, I'll start a new diary.

Happy Independence Day, Rick

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

So,the CDL school portion of this new adventure is behind me. I head to Roehl's Ellenwood terminal via rental car in a few hours for Phase 1 of dry van training. It's taken more time to get to this point than I had anticipated, and can normally tolerate. I'm going to enjoy this drive...

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl driver training from start to end.....

Very cool, WT!

I head to Ellenwood today to start Phase 1. Roehl doesn't have any flatbed ops here in FL, but, I'm sticking with them.

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Knight Transportation Training in Phoenix Arizona

I was contacted by the first school I went to, TDI, and they offered me refresher training to help me get my CDL. That worked out and now I'm free to look at all the companies again. The people at Knight are good folks. I may go with a different company though, one that offers VA bennies through an OJT program....after being out of work for a couple of months, I need every dime I can muster.

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl driver training from start to end.....

Jim,

Check with your local state workforce, aka unemployment office. They have a program some of the guys in my school used called WIA. Not everyone qualifies for it, but it's worth checking out if you haven't already.

Rick

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl driver training from start to end.....

Congrats, WT!

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl driver training from start to end.....

Day 12 training continued.....

Then I glitched out. Two huge yellow signs that I had just read that stated the expressway was about to end. I have passed those signs 50 times in the past week. The tester asked what sign did you just pass? I drew a blank. DUH! That was another point. Still, I was doing well. Nothing too bad had happened. He asked me to do an emergency stop. I got dinged a point. After completing the stop when I pulled back out into traffic, I signaled my left turn signal,checked my left mirror, and then put my hazards on until I got up to speed. The tester said I got a point because I did not check the right side mirror. Really? Ol well. So, here is where it got sketchy. I was going through a downtown area. This is an area the instructors were not allowed to take us but the tester is. Lots of intersections. The tester said, "When it is safe and legal to do so, make a lane change to the left and then one back to the right." I did the left. Then a car shoots out from a side street as I am making the change to the left. They come flying past my right side. They cut me off inches from my bumper and then turn on their left turn signal and slam on the breaks. I almost had to lock my breaks to stop on time. The tester was like, "Wow what an idiot!" They turned and I went to go. Well, guess what? I forgot to flip my switch back down to low gear. Thinking I was in third gear, I was really in 6th. The truck stalled. #%^%$%.... I quickly got the truck started and rolling down the road. I was so scared. Kevin had told us yesterday if we stalled the truck, it was an automatic fail. The last 15 minutes of my test and some jackass cutting me off is going to cause me to fail. The tester can not say anything while the test is going on. I settled down and did the rest of the test fine. I knew I had already failed so I was pretty relaxed. We got back to the yard. The tester sat in the seat after I parked and wrote on the form. It seemed like it was 4 hours sitting there. It was really like 4 minutes. Then he said, "Very nice job. You demonstrated that you can operate this vehicle safely." I said, " I passed?" He said, "You did great." He said that the stall is not an automatic fail. PHEW! He went over where I lost points. We could miss up 30 points and still pass. I only got 8.

The big test is complete! Not only did I pass but I did with the best score in the class. No more stress because the hard part is out of the way. Sadly, two guys in out class did not pass. I was feeling so bad for them. It was hard to be happy in front of them so I tried hard to not mention passing. So, after all the doubts and fear and apprehension, it is done. I made it. It is real now.... I am on the way to being a true american trucker!

Congrats, WT!

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl driver training from start to end.....

Go get 'em, WT!

Will you operate out of Ellenwood or Gary?

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Roehl driver training from start to end.....

Go get 'em, WT!

Will you operate out of Ellenwood or Gary?

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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School or Company Sponsored Training?

What Anchorman said, and there is also a program called WIA that paid for the school for a few of my classmates...

The benefit of paying for an independent school is that you can pick which company you want to work for and already have your CDL and start working for them without any contractual obligation. On the other hand, as WT pointed out, if you already know which company you want to work for and they have a CDL school you'll learn quite a bit about your future employer every day.

Best of luck, have fun, and be safe!

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Starting TDI Tomorrow

So awesome! You did great! Glad to see you stuck with it and got it done.

Thanks, WT! Hope everything is working out for you, too!

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Starting TDI Tomorrow

Today was day three of my refresher training. Yesterday, I learned to parallel park the rig and ran the alley dock maneuver a couple of times. To start the day off, today, I blind side parallel parked on the first try! That was reassuring....

The State of Florida randomly selects a couple of parts of the hands on CDL test: the pre-trip inspection and the ground skills. I drew section C for my PTI and only missed a couple of things. I must add that the. PTI training in SC well prepared me for the test today. The computer also randomly selects which maneuvers you must perform during the second part of the CDL test. Everyone does the straight line backing. The computer selected for me the off-set parking to the right and, you guessed it...the 90-degree alley dock. I had near-mastered the parallel parking but had to giggle when my examiner told me that my nemesis-maneuver would be maneuver three for my test. I knocked out all three and got 'er done! I did try to mess up on the alley dock....oh yes! But, I didn't give up and raised my hands in victory when my second G.O.A.L. revealed that the rear bumper was in the box.

For the past few days I've been learning how to use the tachometer primarily during downshifting. Once my actual road test began, I nailed the hazmat road crossing section, then noticed as I was clearing the tracks that my tach was kaput! My instructor and I had a good laugh over that irony as a new beast appeared to delay my CDL...mechanical failure. My instructor drove the rig back to the school and he got on the horn with one of his mechanic buds and one of the instructors to see if they had ever experienced and knew how to resolve that fault. We checked fuses, wiggled wires, pulled the gauge panel off....and somewhere in the midst of that tinkering we must have done something right as the tach worked the next time we fired up the tractor.

My instructor told me, before we began, that I had driven well enough yesterday to pass the road test. I appreciated the reinforcement and went out and knocked it out of the park!

The TDI Milton instructors were awesome! They explained the maneuvers in a way I could better envision and then told me how to do them. Fourth time was the charm, and they made the difference. The key was when one of them gave me the key to straight-line backing: 9 and 3. With that key in hand, every other maneuver became a piece of less complicated cake. Perfecting that reduced the difficulty to me of everything else.

Never give up! Rick

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Starting TDI Tomorrow

Hey Rick,

Good luck to you man! You'll be fine, just relax and it will all fall into place.

I have enjoyed your daily posting, keeps the interest and enthusiasm alive for me!!

I start private driver training on April 7th, can't wait!!

Be safe and stay cool.

Jim

Thanks, Jim...and best of luck!

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Starting TDI Tomorrow

Rick,

Hang in there man. It will all work out! You can not fail until you quit!

Roger that, WT! I mentioned that to my bud PC who just got his CDL from the Milton TDI campus... I've had several opportunities to quit. I could easily justify having given it my "all". Even my wife said to me "seems like this may have not been meant to be". I told her that I saw the same signs and the thought passed through my mind...but, I want this too bad. I know that this career move will provide me with the opportunity to prosper, and take GOOD care of my family.

When I went to Milton today they told me I was approved for my three-day refresher course to give me the 4-1-1 to get my FL CDL. I'll find out Monday or Tuesday when I start. In the mean time I'm going to study for my endorsements!

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Starting TDI Tomorrow

Im going to start school at the TDI Dallas campus in a few weeks! I cant wait to get this started. Thanks for sharing!

You're welcome, Kevin! And just FYI, I visited the TDI Milton (FL) campus today...and they seem to have a good crew of instructors there, too. I can tell that the morale among the students is good as they all exchanged information so they can stay in touch with each other once they go their separate ways.

Stay positive...ask questions, and if you need help ask for the help until they give it to you! These instructors all seem to love their jobs and to help in any way they can.

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

I was too nervous for my test the first, second and third time. Per SC law, I have to wait 60 days to test for my CDL again. That presented the challenge of making ends meet for my family. I moved us down to FL to be closer to our supportive family.

After exploring my options, TDI is going to provide me refresher training at their Milton, FL campus. I'll hear next week when my three day course will start. I can't wait. In the mean time, its back to the High Road and refresh my memory to prepare to take my endorsement tests.

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Knight or Swift?

Thanks for the great info on Knight. I'm scheduled to start their training March 3. I was looking at a few other companies while in a CDL school. Those options were removed by not getting my CDL as I had expected, and having to move my family to Florida reduced the number of companies that would hire me with or without my CDL.

Now, I've chosen Knight and look forward to the challenge, and a pay check! I'll work out of the Lakeland terminal once I complete training.

Thanks again, Rick

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

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Does anyone use Twitter for anything?

I use Twitter as a source of information...like a news feed. I have sports sources listed so I can stay on top of what's going on in baseball, and some Veteran information sources to keep an idea on what's going on there, too. I retweet stories that are funny or that I think are important.

You could set up a Twitter account to send Tweets of the stories and headlines and advice articles you send out each day via email, Brett. I haven't looked up trucking industry Tweet sources before now, but, will take a look for some in a minute.

Rick

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Knight Transportation Training in Phoenix Arizona

I start Monday with Knight's training facility in MS, just outside of Memphis.

Posted:  6 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Starting TDI Tomorrow

Things did not go well on my second and third test attempts. I'd have to wait 60 days to retest in SC. I don't have the luxury of waiting that long before getting a j.o.b!

In the mean time, I relocated my family to FL to help make ends meet, so to speak. Looking now at companies that will train me so I can move forward in my new career as a truck driver.

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