Profile For Verminator

Verminator's Info

  • Location:
    Lafayette, IN

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 8 months ago

Verminator's Bio

I'm a 54 year old male, married with four kids (ages ranging from 9 to 18). I'm originally from the People's Republic of California, but I currently reside in Lafayette, Indiana. It was nice to escape from the socialist utopia for somewhere a bit more sensible.

I tell people I'm a 'recovering aircraft mechanic'. My other past work experience includes poolman, construction work, customer service rep, former crew member for Rare Bear (Unlimited air racer), real estate agent, test driver for VW and BMW, and insurance inspector.

My hobbies include firearms, model rocketry, motorcycling, and reading.

I'll be starting with Roehl under their GYCDL program at the Gary, Indiana terminal at the end of August 2020. I will be joining Roehl's national flatbed fleet.

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Posted:  3 years, 4 months ago

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Road work / road construction zones

As a new driver, I'm greatly frustrated by road work zones - but not for the reason you likely think.

I don't speed. I told my trainers that I'd probably be the slowest driver in the fleet.

My pesky habit of obeying posted speed limits is even more on display in road work zones. Lately on midwest interstates, considerable sections of road under repair or new construction are posted at 55 and sometimes even 45 mph.

My frustration comes at the dilemma I'm placed in by the combination of my driving at the posted limits and other drivers who blissfully ignore them. I am consistently passed by virtually every other vehicle around, even other trucks. Many times I note that I am the ONLY one within line of sight who is driving the speed limit. These vehicles are not passing me by a few mph - they are often moving ten or more mph above my current speed.

I will continue to obey the law, but am concerned about the hazard of being rear-ended by another vehicle in these cases.

Normally, I just apply my hazard flashers, maintain the posted limit, and hope for the best.

How do you more experienced folks handle these conditions?

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl Phase 2 training – Sept - Oct 2020

My Phase 2 training is complete. I tested out on Friday, 10/16/20, and will go out with a flatbed day cab on Monday and Tuesday, in order to get some tarping and chain securement experience, as I have been on a curtainside rig for the last three weeks. On Wednesday, I should be assigned a truck, and get started with my first solo load!

Testing out at the Gary terminal was straightforward, consisting of coupling to a loaded flatbed trailer, performing a thorough pre-trip, walking the instructor through an in-cab brake check, driving around Gary on both surface streets and freeway, followed by a return to the terminal for a backing maneuver into a tight spot between two trailers (took me a couple of tries), and ending with de-coupling from the trailer. I passed without issues, other than allowing my tandems to cross a double yellow for a moment on a tight left hand turn. As I said to the examiner, “not my finest moment!”

I had intended to post regular updates during my Phase 2 training, as I did for the Phase 1 Get Your CDL program, but I had underestimated the amount of free time I would have available. Like, big time. The pace of operations during Phase 2 training was definitely the most unexpected factor for me. I had envisioned that we would be given relatively simple loads, with long timelines, allowing plenty of extra time for practicing load securement, backing, learning about operations such as logging, workflow processes, company paperwork, etc.

Oh, my goodness, no. I was quickly relieved of this misconception.

We ran at a frenetic pace, and it was not uncommon for me to drive my full 11 hours each day (or very close to it), with my trainer taking over to push on for another hour or two before shutting down for the night. I often thought that I should post a quick update at day’s end, but I valued those few extra minutes of rest too much to even dig out the PowerBook.

We hauled a variety of product, including solid & hollow core doors, steel racking, huge Cummins industrial engines, OSB sheeting, Aluminum coils, and concrete pavers. As my trainer operates a curtainside, we secured using only straps.

Our travels took us through Indiana (my home state), Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Iowa. I had never been to several of these states before, and the constantly changing scenery was a real thrill. At one point in Kentucky, driving down a rural highway through rolling verdant hills interspersed with red barns and white rail fences, I said to my trainer "THIS is why I wanted to be a truck driver!"

My trainer was great, and was very patient. We had no serious conflicts, although tempers ran slightly high on one occasion when we were behind schedule and I was making mistakes regarding workflow on the DriverTech PC. No big deal. I knew from studying posts here that living with a stranger in a phone booth for a month would be no picnic, so I actually expected more conflict, and was prepared to muddle through as necessary. We shared similar senses of humor and tastes in music for the most part, and got along very well. Although he did have a predilection for banjo music. Now, don’t get me wrong - I love a good banjo tune or two. But all day?!?

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Overall, I have no complaints regarding Roehl’s Phase 2 training. I do have some suggestions that I think could improve efficiency of operations, but they are minor. Once I have a couple of days tarping and chaining experience, I feel confident that I’ll be ready to hit the road solo.

I hope to meet some of you TT members out there soon! Drive safe!

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

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Roehl Phase 1

Congrats Mike!

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I completed Phase 1 with Roehl at the Gary terminal last month.

I’m currently on the road in Phase 2 with my trainer.

Best of luck going forward, and hope to see you out here soon!

Posted:  3 years, 6 months ago

View Topic:

Game: Perfect Driving Song

China Grove by The Doobie Brothers.

Also a great takeoff song for air travel.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Roehl/TMC/Maverick

Thanks!

I'm home now. Went to the BMV and got my temporary class A license this morning.

I'm scheduled to roll out with a trainer for Phase 2 next Thursday 9/24.

We were advised after Phase 1 that we could take up to six days at home prior to starting Phase 2.

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Congrats! Will you go home or go straight into phase 2?

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Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

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Roehl/TMC/Maverick

Today is my last day in Roehl’s GYCDL program. I passed my CDL exam on Wednesday.

My experience here has been very positive. All staff and instructors are friendly, helpful, and patient.

I’m looking forward to my Phase 2 training starting next week.

As far as training goes, I can heartily recommend Roehl.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

View Topic:

Roehl or CFI?

I am on my last week of Roehl’s GYCDL program in Gary, IN.

My experience has been overwhelming positive.

I am very glad I chose to come to Roehl.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

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Start date with Roehl GYCDL program - Gary, IN terminal - 8/24/20

Test day – 9/16/20 – Let's get this over with.

Finally, test day has arrived.

My two classmates and myself were driven to the test site by our instructor. The first in our group passed his test (total test takes about 1.5 hours). I was next.

I missed a few items on the exterior pre-trip due to nervousness, but the examiner was very helpful, and would ask questions to help get me back on track.

My in-cab and air brake tests went fine.

My backing exercises went fine, although I came close to going out of bounds on the parallel, and the rig was a bit "catywampus", and wasn't straight as I had done many times in practice. Regardless, it was inside the box, which is all that matters for the purposes of the test.

My road test went well, although I read every single sign except for the two that the examiner asked me about. Ug. Oh well. She joked that "I had to get you on something!"

In the end, I passed the exam.

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A huge weight off my shoulders, and I can now relax for the last two days of class, which will consist of cargo securement (I'm a flatbedder). Then I will proceed to Phase 2 training next week, which will entail sharing a truck with a driver trainer for about three weeks.

Roehl did an excellent job of preparing me to take the CDL test, and I am very happy with my choice.

Hope everyone is staying safe, and I will provide updates on my Phase 2 experience in a new thread.

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

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Phase 2 Training Roehl

Best of luck, BadgerLand! I hope you get a great trainer.

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Stay safe & have fun!

Posted:  3 years, 7 months ago

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Start date with Roehl GYCDL program - Gary, IN terminal - 8/24/20

Week 3 - 9/6/20 to 9/12/20 – Practice & more practice.

This last week consisted of more repetition of the three backing maneuvers, along with road trips around the Gary area.

My backing skills were noticeably improved by week's end, and I am able to consistently get the rig into the box for the parallel maneuver, which had been the most challenging for me. I still occasionally screw up my initial setup or entry into the box, but our instructor has shown us how to correct each mistake and get the rig where it needs to be.

On Wednesday, we took a practice CDL exam with a different instructor. I aced the exterior walkaround, then confidently climbed up into the rig to start the in-cab portion. I went through the initial in-cab pre-trip, tug test, and service brake test without issue. Then came the four-part air brake test, which must be completed perfectly - any item missed or performed out of order results in an automatic fail for the entire CDL test. I had been practicing this portion daily, and was confident. However, I guess I attempted to rush through, and completely forgot to release my parking brakes prior to applying the service brake for the applied leak test. I explained each step as I proceeded through the test. Then I stepped on the service brake. My instructor immediately said "That's a failure right there." I was stunned, and thought for a moment he was joking. He obviously read the bewildered expression on my face, and asked "What did you forget?" I began mentally retracing my steps, and my eyes fell upon the parking brake controls. Both were happily set where I had left them - in the applied position. Dammit. I couldn't believe it. I was seething with anger at myself that I could be so careless.

Anyway, I have since been practicing the same procedures, but am making a conscious effort to slow down, and take my time. I guess I'm subconsciously rushing in order to just get the test over with quickly. The instructor called it "The Magic Of The Clipboard." He's not kidding. I performed that pre-trip with my classmates many times over, with no problems. First time I have an instructor with a check sheet sitting next to me, I blow it! Grrrr...

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We are scheduled to test next week on Wednesday 9/16.

I know I'm ready, and several different instructors have told me I'm ready and should have no problems. I just can't help worrying (a bit) that I'll pull some bonehead move such as nailing a curb or forgetting something on the airbrake test. I'll just have to take my time, and make sure that doesn't happen!

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