Alright, So I Am In Conover, NC For Two Weeks

Topic 13243 | Page 1

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Saxon W.'s Comment
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At the notorious W&S school!

Will update as soon as time allows...

Saxon W.'s Comment
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Alright, so it is a long story how I ended up here this week. But I have been to two company driving academies (completed the first) in less than 3 weeks.

WS was my first choice and I am glad I am here now. Never actually made it to a truck with the other company, they accepted my resignation before I went out with a trainer.

I definitely feel like I have made the right decision with WS.

This school is intense. Lots on info, real quickly, and they are NOT baby feeding anyone. I got here Monday morning and I already have watched more videos and have had more homework than I had in the whole 6 weeks of my CDL school.

The hotel is decent. They don't feed you like the other company did. None at all actually.

But there are some real pluses here...

Very specialized driver training. I drove Black Mountain with my personal car on the way here just to check it out. Holy COW!!! And they want us to double-down shift??? Awe, this should be great! Let's see, I have never driven with a load before, much less with 75,000lbs down a 6% grade for 6 miles, double-up shifting and double-down shifting. No wonder they don't send you out with a trainer when you complete the school. If you survive this you should be good! If not, what does matter anyway, right?!?!

In all seriousness, these guys are obviously confident in their ability to train. Info, info, info...until the brain hurts.

Then they tell us right before we left today, "You guys are running loads tomorrow." What? I have been here less than two days...Well then, this ought to be good. Not sure what they have in mind, but I will let you know when I get back to the hotel...

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Chris the stick slinger's Comment
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Watkins and Shepard seems like a good company from what I have read about them. They were on my short list when I got out of school. (didn't hurt that thier Conover terminal is only 30 miles from my house either)

Black Mountain is no joke with all those curves. Watch out for the bears as well. They like to sit all over that mountain.

If the Conover terminal is where you are going to run out of you are going to hate the I40 gorge much worse than Black Mountain...

Good luck to you and be safe.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Saxon W.'s Comment
member avatar

Watkins and Shepard seems like a good company from what I have read about them. They were on my short list when I got out of school. (didn't hurt that thier Conover terminal is only 30 miles from my house either)

Black Mountain is no joke with all those curves. Watch out for the bears as well. They like to sit all over that mountain.

If the Conover terminal is where you are going to run out of you are going to hate the I40 gorge much worse than Black Mountain...

Good luck to you and be safe.

Yeah, I drove the gorge in my personal car on the way up here. I can only imagine what what that will be like the first time I run it a truck.

So today I drove black mountain:

So we go up the mountain first. We are 77,000 gross. I was able to pull 2/3 of it in 7th, trying to keep it at 1400+ rpm. I hit this steep spot and the rpm are just coming down, nothing to do but down shift...so I do. It feels weird when you let off the clutch and the vehicle just kinda "hangs" from all the weight mixed with gravity.

After climbing up, they have you get your speed up so you can double-down on the ramp off the interstate. Twice! 10th to 8th, then 8th to 6th. You got be quick, the ramp is only so long.

To Double-down:

Lay into the brake hard and quick. Get the rpm down to 800 and drop two gears. Immediately after, lay into the brake again. Get the rpm down to 800 rpm and drop two two gears.

Now it's time to go back down:

There is a mandatory CMV information stop at the top. It is controlled by lights. There is info on the regulations (i.e. speed, lane restrictions, etc). Also, the have a diagram showing the mile marker that the runaway ramps are on. Get the green light, and it's your turn!

I don't think I have ever shifted so quickly life. You almost have to double-up. i could have, they prefer you too, but I am still in the habit of "CDL school" shifting...one at a time.

Get to 8th, jakes on high, bring the to rpm 800 and double down to sixth. Oh $#%@, missed it!!!! Speed at 35mph?!?! Recover to 8th...damn near rip the knob of the shifter (not kidding) doing it...try again. Got it! Do it again...Got it! i hadn't ever been shown how to use jakes before. They are awesome. Once your down the mountain? Get the speed back to 65mph and double down in the exit ramp at the bottom. Twice (as explained above).

The training has been real world:

These guys do a fantastic job of training. We have cover so much information the past 5 days. They cover everything. Way to much for me to list.

We took loads on Wednesday. You do some city driving in places that tractors with trailers, literally, barely fit. I mean the light poles are damaged from previous students. Two inches of clearance in some places. Splitting lanes for turns is good training and should be taught everywhere.

Not sure what next week will bring:

But I will let you know.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Saxon W.'s Comment
member avatar

Inner City Driving

Okay, so after, after conquering Black Mountain, they put you into some crazy city driving situations. "Hey, drive this truck where it won't fit, and don't hit anything, especially curbs or light poles." Well, that sounds like fun doesn't?

Either way, I made it through these obstacles and am still here to tell you about it.

The rest

Basically, after you prove you can drive without damaging their equipment or someone's property, you will spend the rest of your time learning everything else associated with trucking. You will slide tandems , cage spring brakes, learn to repair air lines, trip plan, couple and uncouple (the Watkins way), etc.

We have finally starting the out processing paperwork. So, it looks like I am gonna make it. Just a heads up, these two weeks can be trying and are intense. If you ever consider working for Watkins & Shepard, keep the following in mind:

1>Be willing to learn. Know matter what you think you know, realize that you don't know everything.

2>Be confident, but courteous. You will be put through very taxing driving situations. Don't panic. Just drive through and drive on. DON'T HIT ANYTHING. Stay on the pavement.

3>Do it their way. That's what they are paying you for.

4>Pay attention. Aim high in steering. Read every sign. Keep your head on a swivel. Manage your space. ANTICIPATE!

5>Leave your bad attitude and smart ### mouth at home.

6>This company is a close knit unit. You are not a number here. You are a driver. Learn the Watkins way and become part of the family.

I'll continue to keep you posted as time permits.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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