My First Day

Topic 14015 | Page 2

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Brett Aquila's Comment
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That was an awesome update. You really sum up exactly what it's like to be a rookie driver. I was going to quote some of your statements and respond to em but I would have quoted pretty much everything. Very well said.

Just keep plowing forward. You can already see that it's getting easier as you go. That will continue for quite some time. Six months from now it will be a whole lot easier. A year from now you'll look back and laugh at it all. It will seem like it was a lifetime ago.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Yes really good post CR. That's about how my first month was...nice truck. Best of luck to you.

Safe travels.

Code Red NV's Comment
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Thanks, guys.

And, seriously, anyone driving a Kenworth T680 who wants to give me tips on shifting, I'm all ears. I still can't skip shift (like, going from 2nd to 4th). I could skip shift all day in the Freightliner Cascadia.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Really great post Code Red!

Brett is right, once you get started quoting some of what you said you just want to keep on quoting, but I just have to quote this one because it is important for others to see it:

This job, man. I've never had so many highs and lows, often in the same day.

That statement right there sums up most new drivers experiences so well!

Getting started as a new truck driver, especially for someone who comes from a completely different background in their career, is a proverbial roller coaster ride of emotions, frustrations, exhilaration, and contentment. It is not uncommon for grown men to break down into tears, and not even be exactly sure why they are crying! As a newbie there is so much thrown at you that you just sort of have to figure out, that often times it is easy to let yourself believe you have been thrown to the wolves. This is why the misguided websites full of horror stories where the drivers blame every problem they are having on the company abound.

I'm really pleased to see how you are progressing. There seem to be stages of progression that we go through as rookies drivers and you seem to be advancing along the path much like others before you have done. Hang in there - it only gets better! There will be days and times that you will question your sanity for even making this decision, but eventually it will all smooth out and you will be quite satisfied with where you are and have some reachable goals in sight.

Congratulations to you!

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, guys.

And, seriously, anyone driving a Kenworth T680 who wants to give me tips on shifting, I'm all ears. I still can't skip shift (like, going from 2nd to 4th). I could skip shift all day in the Freightliner Cascadia.

Every truck is different. It's the lack of clutch play that probably has you flustered and the lack of wear on the transmission. I went from a high mileage truck to one with less than 100 miles. It took me several days to get comfortable with it and reset muscle memory to forget the old and remember the new.

Just tap the clutch when you are shifting...eventually you will not use it at all. The skipping part...don't worry about that, it too will come over time. One month "in" isn't that long. No kidding it took me almost 6 months before I could get through a whole day without scrubbing the gears. It was a Holy S___ moment because it just kinda happened. Repetition, repetition, repetition...

Rob S.'s Comment
member avatar

Good to hear from you again. Don't make us wait so long next time. When I was getting pretty comfortable with my shifting I was reassigned to an auto. So just keep doing your best one mile at a time.

Code Red NV's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Every truck is different. It's the lack of clutch play that probably has you flustered and the lack of wear on the transmission. I went from a high mileage truck to one with less than 100 miles. It took me several days to get comfortable with it and reset muscle memory to forget the old and remember the new.

I'm sure that's it. In CDL school I learned on the standard issue Kenworth POS edition, where a thousand rookies ground that transmission into dust well before I got to it. And then my first truck was also a piece of work.

Now that I've got something fairly new, as you said, it's just getting used to it.

And thanks again, everyone, especially the moderators on this site.

I've said it before, I just feel so lucky to get into a decent CDL school that didn't just steal my money but actually taught me something, and thankful for Trucking Truth, and all the efforts the mods put into this site and it's resources to make this site work for us newbies!

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.
Code Red NV's Comment
member avatar

When I was getting pretty comfortable with my shifting I was reassigned to an auto. So just keep doing your best one mile at a time.

There are days when I wouldn't mind an auto, but for the most part, and call me crazy for thinking this, but for the most part I like shifting. I feel like i have more control over the truck.

Code Red NV's Comment
member avatar

Hello, TT, sorry I haven't been around much.

I thought it was time to give a 3 month update.

Exactly like what everyone has said, it got easier. Mostly. The ground floor basics that I used to spend so much time worrying about (hooking and unhooking trailers, shifting, trip planning, etc) now come fairly easy. I'm learning that trip planning is less like a symphony, with every note planned out in advance, and more like a late nite jazz session, where you have to make music with what you've been given, and be able to improvise when the music instantly changes.

I'm also trying more and more of the smaller mom and pop truck stops. At first, it was Pilot/Flying J/Petro's or nothing. Tonight, I'm at the Fort Independence Travel Plaza, off the 395 in California. I'm in an enormous dirt lot with just 3 other trucks. For once, I'm hearing crickets at night and not the blasting noise of a thousand idling truck engines. It's glorious.

Schneider has been good to me, they've kept me running. Pretty much only Cali/Oregon/Washington and Nevada but, as I've said before, I'm ok with that. My DBL and I hardly speak, but I'm ok with that, too.

My truck has been a trooper, mostly. It conked out on my in Oregon a month and a half ago, a fuel injector went and that left me in a hotel room for four days (Thurs-Sunday), but past that she's been good to me.

Being away from home has had the biggest impact on me. Most days I look around and I'm amazed that I'm getting paid to drive down beautiful highways. But then, in the morning, when I'm brushing my teeth in front of a sink that's been spit in by a hundred other drivers that morning, or trying to live off Subway and whatever food I can carry in the truck that won't spoil, or not seeing my wife for weeks at a time, that is what's really bringing me down.

And, if I'm honest, I think the time I’ve been spending alone in the truck might be starting to get to me. I had a full blown argument with my GPS recently. You know the movie Castaway, and how Tom Hanks talks with Wilson? That was me. I was heading to the Schneider drop yard here in Vegas, on the 15 south coming back from Cedar City, Utah, and the GPS was directing me to exit onto Tropicana. To hell with that, I’m getting off on Russell. Trop is way to crowded, tight, and too many weirdos, especially just west of the 15. Russell has nice big lanes, less traffic than Trop, it’s just a better choice.

I was explaining all this to my GPS, until I realized I was explaining all this to my GPS.

Frightening.

Anyway, again, I apologize for not contributing as much as I should to this page, keep up the great work, everyone, I love how supportive everyone is here, it's a beautiful thing.

Drive safe, y'all!

Pianoman's Comment
member avatar

Hello, TT, sorry I haven't been around much.

I thought it was time to give a 3 month update.

Exactly like what everyone has said, it got easier. Mostly. The ground floor basics that I used to spend so much time worrying about (hooking and unhooking trailers, shifting, trip planning, etc) now come fairly easy. I'm learning that trip planning is less like a symphony, with every note planned out in advance, and more like a late nite jazz session, where you have to make music with what you've been given, and be able to improvise when the music instantly changes.

I'm also trying more and more of the smaller mom and pop truck stops. At first, it was Pilot/Flying J/Petro's or nothing. Tonight, I'm at the Fort Independence Travel Plaza, off the 395 in California. I'm in an enormous dirt lot with just 3 other trucks. For once, I'm hearing crickets at night and not the blasting noise of a thousand idling truck engines. It's glorious.

Schneider has been good to me, they've kept me running. Pretty much only Cali/Oregon/Washington and Nevada but, as I've said before, I'm ok with that. My DBL and I hardly speak, but I'm ok with that, too.

My truck has been a trooper, mostly. It conked out on my in Oregon a month and a half ago, a fuel injector went and that left me in a hotel room for four days (Thurs-Sunday), but past that she's been good to me.

Being away from home has had the biggest impact on me. Most days I look around and I'm amazed that I'm getting paid to drive down beautiful highways. But then, in the morning, when I'm brushing my teeth in front of a sink that's been spit in by a hundred other drivers that morning, or trying to live off Subway and whatever food I can carry in the truck that won't spoil, or not seeing my wife for weeks at a time, that is what's really bringing me down.

And, if I'm honest, I think the time I’ve been spending alone in the truck might be starting to get to me. I had a full blown argument with my GPS recently. You know the movie Castaway, and how Tom Hanks talks with Wilson? That was me. I was heading to the Schneider drop yard here in Vegas, on the 15 south coming back from Cedar City, Utah, and the GPS was directing me to exit onto Tropicana. To hell with that, I’m getting off on Russell. Trop is way to crowded, tight, and too many weirdos, especially just west of the 15. Russell has nice big lanes, less traffic than Trop, it’s just a better choice.

I was explaining all this to my GPS, until I realized I was explaining all this to my GPS.

Frightening.

Anyway, again, I apologize for not contributing as much as I should to this page, keep up the great work, everyone, I love how supportive everyone is here, it's a beautiful thing.

Drive safe, y'all!

Wow, awesome update! I remember reading this thread when you were first starting. I'm glad things are getting easier for you.

I had the hardest time emotionally after about two months solo, if my memory is correct. I actually thought I was literally losing it. I couldn't remember stuff, felt lost and disoriented sometimes, always tired, forgot how to talk to people. I even started talking to my wife like I was just gonna have to just keep keeping on until I lost it all together and had to quit. I obviously didn't realize it at the time, but that was silly. I didn't lose my mind, and I am doing much better now. I still panic a little sometimes, but I've found that I can usually avoid that if I spend enough quality time free of distractions in my sleeper.

Missing the wife is tough too. I sometimes don't realize how much I miss her until I see her again. I keep pics of her in my cab, taped up in a few places, and we talk on the phone every day, but she always seems more beautiful whenever I come home and see her in person again. It's the little things about her that get to me--those tiny, subtle characteristics that I can't believe I forgot while I was gone.

The "gps lady" drives me up a wall too. Recently I started writing out my directions like I should have been doing all along. It helps so much! Not only do I know my route way better, but I can also often turn off the sound (and sometimes the screen too) so she doesn't keep driving me nuts. I've also found that this reduces distraction on the road. If I don't have to glance at the gps every so often or try to understand "gps lady," I can focus more on driving.

And if you miss your wife alot and want to get home more often, start talking to as many people in the office as you can, and ask other drivers at your company what options there might be. Schneider, like Swift, is a very large company and has lots of options. If you get in touch with the right people and make a good impression, you could find yourself being offered a position with weekly or daily hometime and guaranteed (to some extent) miles.

Good luck and continue to keep us updated!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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