Comments By Rockin' Rick

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Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Failed my test a second time. Over correcting led to my tire going out of bounds.

Testing again, Monday, weather permitting.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

I certainly hope so.

Daughter's wedding was yesterday...I'm broke! LOL. Family is helping us get by with my main concern being getting rescheduled for my test, now that the weather has passed, and second concern is having the gas money to get there. Honestly, once in get the time scheduled I'll start walking, or be ready to walk back if either is necessary!

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

My tests all went fine. Finished with a 94 average.

I failed my 90-degree alley docking during my state exam. They rescheduled me for Thursday...that was cancelled due to ten inches of snow on the test route and am impassable parking lot. TDI is working hard to get my class, last weeks class and the group that is supposed to test next week taken care of ASAP. The folks scheduled to test this week will have to wait, anyway, because they weren't able to get their three-year motor vehicle records (MVR) from the highway department as they were also closed due to the weather.

If I can raise the gas money, I'll drive up to Richburg Monday and get some hours of practice on the test pad, backin' her up!

Stay safe (and warm)! Rick

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Training is complete. Next step is to pass the on-site state CDL exam. I give that a shot Thursday.

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Leaving The Military

Thanks for your service!

I'm a vet also. I recommend that you file your VA paperwork as soon as it's legal to do so. I got out in '08 and was able to get my disability decision and benefits squared away rather quickly. I had to go to the local VA peeps, in my county, to get the process into second gear.

On your medical...once you get your meds squared away, have your Doc give you a preliminary DOT physical to make sure you are squared away. Then, have him write you a letter they call a DMR: Doctor's Medical Release. My Doc typed one up and included a list of my meds. That's exactly what I needed. During the physical, they will go over your history and your DMR, then have you do some minor exercises including jogging in place to get your heart rate up. That was the jarring part of that process. Expect to take. DOT physical at the school and then for which ever company you choose.

Best of luck during your transition!

Rick

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Week 3. Thursday

Two more days! We are piled in the classroom waiting for class to start. The snow kept us off the highway yesterday so we, the six of us, are looking forward to again hittin the highway.

The snow and ice changed up our schedule. We tested on our PTI yesterday and we all passed. We then had time to practice alley docking. I finally got the hang of it with the help of J.B., another one of our driving instructors. I have been able to get the trailer in the box straight as an arrow...then I was stuck. I've been trying to do it the way our first instructor showed us...by putting it all the way to the dock without having to pull up. He made it look so easy I didn't consider any other way. JB introduced me to the idea of pulling up and straightening the the trailer and then straight line backing it in. I kinda felt stupid, but easy solutions are always welcome and I got over myself and put it right in there! What a great feeling...

I have to get my night driving hours in tonight. The guys and I are trying to figure where we can go, get something good to eat, and then work our way back. Rumor has it that we will be in three trucks today instead of two. I'm sure the schedule rearrangement has something to do with that rumor and the kernel of truth at its center. Three trucks would allow us to stay out for 8 hours instead of twelve. But we can cover a lot of turf in eight hours

Tomorrow, we take our final test for the school: the road skills test comprised of alley docking, serpentine, stop box, and straight line backing. They have it set up so that it's all one maneuver on the pad in front of the school, here on SC Hwy 9. Once we pass that, we get our blue envelope which we can't open until we hand it to the folks at the DMV, so they can open it. They'll then schedule us to come back next week to see Bobby, our on-site examiner who will administer the actual state of SC CDL test. I stand corrected...we don't get that blue envelope until Bobby gives us his blessing...better than last rites; that's how nervous I am about that final exam.

Y'all stay safe and stay warm, Rick

Posted:  6 years, 8 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Week 3 Tuesday

This is day four of our road training. Because of an impending snow storm on the way here to north central South Carolina, our instructor gave us the option of taking our road test today. I passed mine on the first try, thank the Lord.

My shifting in this old Freightliner owned me until yesterday. As we headed to lunch in Myrtle Beach, I started using a mantra that I used in Army basic training: click, click, boom. Getting that rhythm in my mind helped me get the double clutch beat, so to speak. It reminded me to stop flooring the clutch as if I were shifting a car five speed. It also reminded me to breathe and stop fighting the truck. I was rushing myself when taking off from a red light, trying to keep up with the pack as if I were in my old Maverick! Click click boom, and I crushed that test.

The snow is hitting most of SC right now. We have been in a slot between the snow fronts. It looks though like the back end of that atmospheric cul de sac is about to catch us. My partner and I plan to get our night driving in...and we should be able to get some of it in before we have to head back to the barn.

Y'all be safe!

Rick

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Glad I could help, PC!

They had a pizza party Friday as the seniors, week 3 guys and gals, graduated and received their blue envelopes containing their diplomas and loan paperwork, if applicable. They all had passed their road test, their skills test, and Thursday morning passed their pre-trip inspection test; the whole class scored 94 or 95 out of a possible 95 points! They also received an appointment to come back and take the final exam, so to speak. South Carolina law mandates that CDL students have to wait 48 hours from graduating, at 5:30 pm Friday, to take their state road test, driving skills and PTI tests. The schools CDL examiner, Bobby, said it takes about three hours to give each student their tests.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Hi Old School!

I will definitely heed your, and Brett's advice! I plan to learn as much as I can over the next year or so before I jump into that world. My TDI instructor, Jeff, has described to me and my classmates what it was like for him as an owner-operator and the expenses that go along with it. While we were out today on our second day on the road, he took us by a couple of truck stops and showed us some of those magazines listing a bunch of the companies looking for experienced drivers and one that was full of tractors for sale. A few of the lots were full of trucks as you mentioned were most likely returned leased trucks. I'm sure there is a smart way to venture into that business world. If there is, I may try it. And I know that I can be a trainer as a company driver, too.

I had a much better day double-clutching this afternoon. I still tend to get into a rush, fight the truck, and lost that battle every time!

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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New CDL Holder

Congrats, CJ!

I got out on the road for the first time with my class... It was awesome!

Can't wait to reach where you are and move life into the next gear!

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

TDI Week 2

Well, today was the big day as my class got out onto the road with our instructors. After driving for a couple of hours I can safely say both that I had a blast and that I suck when it comes to double-clutch shifting a ten speed transmission. The good new is that our instructor, Jeff, is the man! The other good news is that I know I will get better. I have a few miles of good shifting, and then brain cramp and stress because I can't find the gears. When I'm distracted by driving through a town, I shifted without thinking about it...and that's what I'm working towards...the shifting becoming second nature.

There's a great article here on TT by an instructor describing the first time he taught double clutching... I can't help but agree that the instructors here will have more to talk about tomorrow over coffee following my class's first day on the road.

Be saf...have a great day!

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Stevens Transport School in Denver

How are things going, CJ?

I'm considering Stevens after I finish school in SC. Two more weeks....

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Hi Brett,

On day 4 and all is well, so far, thank you.

The hurdle I was most concerned about was the DOT physical. Four years ago I took the dirty dog ride to Salt Lake City from SC. Found out the hard way that I should of talked to my doc before I left. He didn't give me the green light because it had been a while since I'd seen him. Makes sense, but I was hot and was PO'd all the way back to SC.

This time, thanks to Jeff from TDI, I got a "doctor's medical release" from my current MD which made the physical a snap!

My week one instructor has logged 1.5 million miles of OTR driving, and taught me enough to get my CDL on my first try. I also took and passed the written tests for hazmat and tankers. The CDL prep here, on trucking truth.com, and from my high speed instructor gave me all I needed.

An interesting, as in unexpected, part of our first school day was filling out applications for 18 trucking companies. That process is all about getting "pre-hire" letters. I got pre-hires from about half of them, some of which I'd never heard of before walking into the classroom.

After listening to a couple of recruiter presentations and contacting some companies myself, I believe more now than ever that There is great opportunity in the world of Professional Driving and I can be as successful as I want to be. Choosing a company has been foremost on my mind. There are companies guaranteeing weekend home time and some guaranteeing a chance to go OTR and log some miles. I would like to lease myself a truck and become a trainer. The company I'm leaning towards requires their trainers to have a year's experience before they can instruct. I can't help but think that having a more experienced initial trainer will be a good thing.

Now, I'm getting psyched for next week. We'll work on pre-inspections and maneuvering combination vehicles around TDI's back yard.

Be safe! Rick

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Starting TDI Tomorrow

Editor's Note: Check out our very thorough review of TDI Truck Driver Institute

Hi everyone!

My name is Rick. I'm starting school tomorrow with TDI in Richburg, SC.

My background is that I'm retired US Army and I have about ten years of law enforcement and I'm a certified fire fighter, volunteering here with the city FD.

The TDI recruiter has been pretty cool and gave me good advice about getting pre-hire letters. So far, I have a pre-hire letter from Covenant and I got an email from Melton. I spoke with the folks from Swift prior to signing on with TDI and I've been using their CDL prep, along with the TT material, to get ready.

I've made sure I had all my medical ducks in a row and have been cleared, there. In 2010 I rolled out to SLC to train with C.R. England but I didn't have the doctors medical release (DMR) beforehand, and one of my docs didn't give me top cover and I had to head back to the greyhound station far too soon.

The main reason I chose TDI is that I'll be able to use my VA benefits to pay for school. And I've been leaning towards TMC and Covenant because I'll be able to continue receiving my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits while training! My recruiter told me to expect to hear from a lot of recruiters while there at school, so I'm keeping an open mind.

A high school buddy of mine happens to be prepping for the TDI school in Milton, FL and May be a week behind me. So I already have a opportunity to have a team ready to roll once I get through school and training. First things, first.

Thanks, Brett, for creating this site. It's been a refreshing source of info while trying to decide when to bust a move in to the trucking world. My brothers have both been drivers, and my bro PJ drives a dedicated route now for CRST, after having driven for Schneider hauling HAZMAT tankers for several years. My younger bro, KC, didn't take to the ride...so I've had a balance of resources to work with.

Back to studying...and my honey-do-this list!

Have a great day, Rick

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Packed up and ready to go!

Good luck, Svetlana! I start my class tomorrow, also.

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

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Update on my training at Werner

Thanks for the update, Chris. Sounds like you found a good situation.

Rick

Posted:  6 years, 10 months ago

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Career Change

So I have decided to venture into the wonderful world of trucking. This site has really helped me get a grasp of the CDL test. Now for a bit of background on me.

I am 46 y/o, Married for the last 25 years to my one and only wife. Both of our kids are grown. Son still lives at home but is 21. I have been a Correctional Officer for the last 14 years with a one year break that I was working as a Contractor doing security in the middle east.

Needless to say I am looking for as much info as I can find. Plus my wife isn't keen on me becoming a Truck Driver. Then again she didn't like it when I was the Transport Officer for the prison I work at. Logged over 100,000 miles in Two years and never left the state of Oklahoma.

I have a possible date of Jan. 14 to start at Prime Inc. for my CDL school. Can anyone give me some advice on how to make it easier on my better half?

Hi Mongo,

I'm in about the same boat and hope this transition works out.

I've been in law enforcement for four out of the five years since retiring from the Army, and expect some tight spots but can't wait to hit the road!

Good luck, Rick

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