Millis Transfer - Eden, NC - Start Date: 5/31/2016

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OldRookie's Comment
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Started CDL school with Millis Transfer in Eden, NC on Tuesday May 31st. Millis puts us up at the Baymont Inn and Suites in Eden, NC... you can google and check out for yourself. It's fine by me... you share a room with another student and they serve breakfast starting at 5AM. Breakfast is make-your-own waffles, muffins, cereal, fruit, yogurt, bagels, toast, coffee, milk, juices, etc. There is a Walmart very close, along with all the typical fast-food and other restaurants.

The school/driving range is a few miles down the road and the terminal is actually in Ridgeway, VA very close to the school. We were picked up the first morning by our instructor. After the first morning, the school loans the students a large passenger van which we use as needed to go to lunch, get back and forth to school, run errands, etc.

Week 1

Our first week was a bit different than is typical for 2 reasons. First, we started on Tuesday instead of Monday due to the Memorial Day holiday. Second, as you will see below, I missed Day 2 due to an infected tooth that waited to hit me hard until I got here in Eden.

Day 1

Paperwork, videos, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes and we went to a local clinic for our drug test. We all had to show up with our CDL Permit and DOT Card... so no need for another physical or spending time getting our permits.

Homework - Read Section 395 FMCSR and a Vehicle Laws Handout

Day 2

Overnight I had a very bad tooth infection kick in... lots of pain, dizzy, etc... so, I called our instructor, Evan, very early. He was great and called me back with a dentist I could contact that would work me in ASAP. It was noon by the time I actually got in the dentist chair. It turned out it was a root-canal I had years ago which had "gone bad" and was infected. All the dentist could do was give me Rx for pain med and an antibiotic. He said it would feel better in a day or two and I needed to have the root-canal re-done as soon as possible. That will have to wait, of course, until I get home after school... but, I'll get it done before I go out with my trainer for 15,000 miles.

While I was out on day 2, our instructor was cool enough to re-work our training schedule so I could get caught-up on day 3. This resulted in the other 2 guys in my class being able to get a lot of extra range time bob-tailing (i.e. doing the Millis 500) around the range course... getting comfortable double-clutching/shifting and down-shifting.

Homework - None (unless you want to work ahead)

Day 3

I'm back in class, after my dental adventure. We began learning to and keeping our daily logs. We also spent a lot of time on the range. It was my first time in the truck and the instructor and other guys made sure I got up to speed. All in all, I think we are all doing OK... some better than others, but no one is getting sent home.

Homework - None (unless you want to work ahead)

Day 4

All classroom time today. Lots of videos, PowerPoints and quizzes... and keeping our logs up-to-date. Also, we typically do a few logging exercises where the instructor puts up a driver's daily log and ask us if it's "Good" or "Bad." After everyone has answered, if you said it "Bad," you have to say why.

Homework - None (unless you want to work ahead)

Day 5

Classroom time early (videos, PowerPoints and quizzes... and keeping our logs up-to-date), then back to the range. More practice, bob-tailing, double-clutching/shifting and down-shifting. After lunch, we immediately hooked up to trailers for the first time. We were given an hour or so to drive the range getting used to having the trailer behind us vs bob-tailing. I think we all believe the trucks drive/shift/down-shift much better with trailers vs bob-tailing. We then spent a couple of hours dropping and hooking... over and over again. It's great with only 3 students, we get lots of time in the driver's seat/practicing whatever we are doing at the time.

The other two guys are going home for the weekend, I'm staying in Eden... hanging out in the hotel and doing homework.

Homework - Read 6 chapters, take 6 quizzes and take the "Week 1 Test."

Week 1 - Summary

All in all, I'm impressed with Millis. The company could have sent me home, the second day, when I had my dental problem. Instead, the instructor found me a dentist and adjusted his/our schedule so I could get on track. So far, I'm pretty sure I made a good decision to go with Millis.

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Chris K.'s Comment
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I'm scheduled for next class but may have to drop out. When you sign their app it states they will pull all your med records. I can pass dot physical etc but my records are not correct. I had an er situation two years ago and the stuff the dr put in records are baffling. My dispute of these records will take 90 days to resolve. I'm pretty disappointed about this. I hear such good things about Millis especially Eden.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OldRookie's Comment
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I'm scheduled for next class but may have to drop out. When you sign their app it states they will pull all your med records. I can pass dot physical etc but my records are not correct. I had an er situation two years ago and the stuff the dr put in records are baffling. My dispute of these records will take 90 days to resolve. I'm pretty disappointed about this. I hear such good things about Millis especially Eden.

Did you talk to Millis about it? Make sure you explain the situation to Raychel, Alice, whoever you are in contact with. Millis seems to be "good people" willing to work with us. Be open and honest and maybe it will work out.

Good luck!

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Chris K.'s Comment
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I plan on calling Monday and speaking w Alice or Rachel.

OldRookie's Comment
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I plan on calling Monday and speaking w Alice or Rachel.

Cool... just so you know, she actually spells it Raychel confused.gif

Chris K.'s Comment
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Ha! I was going to spell it that way. Auto correct.

Chris K.'s Comment
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Old Rookie how's it going? Talked w recruiting today and said if I pass physical I should be good to go!

OldRookie's Comment
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Old Rookie how's it going? Talked w recruiting today and said if I pass physical I should be good to go!

Week 2

It's going well. We started with 3 students and at the end of Week 2, all three of us are still standing. Week 2 was pretty much dedicated to backing skills. We did have homework and quizzes each night to keep up with... and a Week 2 written test... but, in general, this week was all about getting proficient re straight back, both side offsets, both side parallels and 90 degree alley docking.

Early in the week we had three trucks (that's one for each student)... so, there was no excuse to not get as much practice as you could handle. Towards the end of the week... myself and another student shared a truck, because one of the trucks developed clutch problems. But, even sharing a truck, we both feel we had more than enough time behind the wheel to accomplish the tasks assigned. I'd say myself and the student I was sharing the truck with EACH averaged 4 hours, EACH DAY, backing. When we weren't backing ourselves, we were riding with/observing and/or helping each other with the maneuvers... which is, in and of itself, a great way to continue to learn when you are not behind the wheel yourself.

Bottom line... all three of us did what we needed to do and therefore we will all be heading out on the road for Week 3. We will be taking multiple road trips, some day time and others night-driving. The setup will be student driver, instructor shotgun and other 2 students in sleeper which has been fitted with seats for these road trips/training.

I'll update this thread again, next Saturday... with stories from our week on the road. In the mean time, please feel free to post any questions here and I will do everything I can to get you some answers.

OldRookie's Comment
member avatar

Old Rookie how's it going? Talked w recruiting today and said if I pass physical I should be good to go!

That's awesome Chris! Good luck with your DOT physical.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

OldRookie's Comment
member avatar

Week 3

My third week at Millis's CDL school was all about driving... learning/practicing smooth take-offs, shifting, down-shifting, braking, turning... and, of course, using the Qualcomm. The truck seating arrangement was student driver, instructor in the shotgun and the other 2 students in the sleeper area, which is outfitted with seats for road-training. Millis runs Kenworth 10 speeds... we drove a T700 all this week.

All three of us, in my class, drove everyday... Mon-Fri... typically a little over 100 miles each, each day. Plenty of time to feel good, and bad, at various points throughout the week about one's performance. Four of the days this week, we headed out in morning and drove country roads, city roads, State highways and Interstates. One day this week, we timed our departure so as to complete our "night-driving" requirement. We drove in no traffic, lots of traffic, long stretches at a time and in stop-and-go/traffic light after traffic light situations. We drove on flat straight roads and on roads with lots of curves and hills.

I think all of us, students, would agree that the most challenging situations faced this week was driving at dusk (and after dark) in/through a very heavy thunderstorm. With the rain coming down in buckets... and the wind blowing us about a bit... driving/navigating in stop-and-go traffic was a bit nerve-racking. Luckily... our instructor had a good plan. Just about the time we all needed a break, an opportunity to get out the truck for a bit and collect our thoughts... he had just happened to have navigated us to nice little "distraction" for dinner, the Tilted Kilt in Raleigh :-).

Bottom line, another great week at Millis. After three weeks of instruction, I am still impressed with the program here in Eden, NC. Next week, Monday and Tuesday, will be our "orientation" days. After that, we will coordinate/meet up with our trainers/mentors and join them, in their trucks, for our 15,000 miles of OTR training.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Interstate:

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

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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