Graduate Driving School: Check!

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JanaBanana's Comment
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I just graduated on November 1 and have been taking care of personal business before leaving town. I am going to orientation with my handsome fiance one week from today! I have constant butterflies due to the fact that I am a natural worrier, but I feel pretty confident in my skills.

I struggled with skills in the yard a little, but we were practicing with a 25' short box trailer. Backing was a real challenge and I pretty much had a meltdown over that on at least one occasion :) But I heard from so many people that if you can back up, offset, alley dock and blindside a short box you'll be able to master a 53' no problem. So I kept at it, mastered it and feel ready.

I have to say to any of you ladies that are still deciding or haven't started school yet... Take advantage of the HighRoad CDL online training! I totally attribute my test scores in school and at DMV to using this program. I studied and reset and studied some more for a few weeks before starting school and owe my success to it.

I'll update more from training and am probably going to start a blog here as well smile.gif

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.

Dm:

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

It is now day 3 of orientation, and so far so good. Yesterday we went to the clinic and did our drug screening, then on to the yard for our drive test. It was so very easy, since we are students all we had to do was drive around the block. I drove first and man, my hands were shaking! I missed a gear, quickly found sixth, made a pretty nice right turn and was told to pull over. I must have looked worried, the trainer smiled and said, "you're doing just fine and I'm not here to deny anyone employment". He had Jay finish the second half of the block, signed our pass sheets and we were done! I'm looking back at how worked up I was in my head, and I feel kinda silly.

So now we're playing a little waiting game with corporate. We're waiting for final hiring approval, employee ID numbers and trainer assignments. Now that I'm here I do have a few tips for those of you getting ready to head out to training. 1) Money- I know things are tight when you're getting started, but you need to have a little cash. A few companies feed you 3 meals per day but most only provide breakfast and or lunch. You may need food on the bus trip, during orientation and when you head out with your trainer (he won't be feeding you!).

2) Pack smart- You'll have weight and space limits. Most companies will require you to use a duffle bag or other soft luggage. Be sure to read all the pages your recruiter sends you! They have packing suggestions that are based on trainer/driver input.

3) Be Safe- You're a female, you're far from home and most likely traveling alone. Some of the orientation motels are in industrial areas and not all your classmates are nice guys. Don't wander off alone, stay in well lit areas and be aware of your surroundings!

4) Documentation- Double check your documents before you leave home. You'll recieve a list of required items. Forgetting something like your green card can get you sent home, you could be delayed as long as two weeks!

I hope that some of this is helpful to you. I'll keep updating this feed as my adventure continues. If you want keep reading my stories you'll find me easier if you hit the subscribe button below! If you have questions please ask, if you have advice to add... Please do it! I'm learning as I go and I love input!

Have a blessed day :) ~ Jana ~

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

So on day 4 we got our trainer assignment. I'm feeling very lucky right now, he is a state champion competition driver and went to the nationals last August. One of the ladies doing orientation dropped by and said she had been thinking about Jay and I, we were the only couple up for teams in this class. She said she had the perfect trainer for us because they REALLY want to build their husband/wife team ranks, and Nick is perfect for that. Family man, our age range, etc. We all hit it off right away. We've only been with him for 4 days so far and I have already learned so much! He literally taught me to float gears in less than 10 minutes. I freaking love it and will never double clutch again!

Yesterday I drove from just outside of Pheonix to the north side of the Grapevine... while the guys slept! In the last 3 days I have been from Inglewood,Ca to Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and now blogging from Sacramento before we hook a reefer back to Pomona. I just have to say that despite the crowded space and missing my grandsons...I love what we're learning and doing, I chose wisely :)

Before I sign off I want to add to the ladies packing list for orientation and training.

Bring regular size hair products as opposed to travel size. Truck stops are sooo expensive, IF they have shampoo and such at all.

Bring a small supply of feminine products too. Same reason. Panty liners are your friend when you are sitting on your rear all day!

That's all for now, I'll write more when we have wifi again. If you want to follow this thread you can subscribe at the bottom of the page. Remember, I heart input!

Have a blessed day, ~Jana~

Float Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Double Clutch:

To engage and then disengage the clutch twice for every gear change.

When double clutching you will push in the clutch, take the gearshift out of gear, release the clutch, press the clutch in again, shift the gearshift into the next gear, then release the clutch.

This is done on standard transmissions which do not have synchronizers in them, like those found in almost all Class A trucks.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

End of week two!

Hi again everyone! I finally learned how to use the wifi from my cell phone to power the Kindle, so now new updates will be more regular.

Today is the first day of week three, and I actually lay in my bunk this morning giving myself a little pep talk. Two weeks on this truck just caught up with me emotionally I guess. I am a little homesick and longing for time to be a girl. My hair looks terrible. I asked for 20 minutes of restroom time the other day and did a quick makeup job before my shift. Jay, who is usually very sweet, tried to call me on it even though the trainer had said yes. That did NOT go in his favor! We were walking across the fueling lot toward our truck, he got a face full of my face. By the time we got to our truck I had tears and a very quiet fiance and trainer. I know we have to hurry because of Christmas and I pull my weight, believe me. So if I need a few moments to clean up you can bet I'm going to get them. Oh, and Jay has been even sweeter than usual :)

So about that pep talk... We each do an 8 hour drive and mine started in Texas at 3 a.m. today. This truck has not stopped rolling since we got on it. We're hitting all the crazy weather you've been hearing of and last night I had wind...crazy bad wind. I was so exhausted after 4 hours of keeping us upright. My arms were rubber! For the first time since I got here, I couldn't finish my shift. I had to wake up my trainer and he drove.

I went to sleep feeling a little defeated. There's an opinion some of the males have that the wife part of the team is there to just drive and the hubby does the hard parts like mountains and alley docking. I so want to be respected by my male peers. So every time we have a tight alley, I am going to do it. Blindside? I'm your gal. Stuck landing gear? Hand me my gloves sweety! I will not be that lady driver who is there to drive the straight parts, and I want all you ladies to do the same. Elevate your game, wear makeup, pink gloves, cute t-shirts... whatever. But be a driver first and foremost. That was me passing on my pep talk to you!

That's all for now, I'll post again soon. In the meantime here's me... keeping the shiny side up! Have a blessed day... ~Jana~

JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

Nearing The End Of Training

It's the last day of 2013 and Jay and I are nearing the end of week 4, training. I have to admit that last week I was really nervous about testing out or "upgrading" as they call it at this company. This week, not so much! I can feel my confidence growing daily and I am sure I can pass the test. When we were in California last week, our trainer took us to the testing area and put us through our paces. I don't know about a lot of other companies, but upgrading here is kind of easy... although we did meet one girl who failed. Here's what we have to do: we have to drive in traffic, down shift from 10th to 6th, do a straightline backing and an alley dock. They give you 15 minutes to do the alley dock with unlimited "get out and looks" and unlimited pull ups. As for that girl who failed? She was extremely angry about it. I was thinking that if she couldn't do these simple tasks after 7 weeks of training then she is a dangerous driver and needs more school. I have seen people in lots that cannot back into a bay or parking space. My trainer has gotten out and directed drivers on several occasions so they wouldn't hit other trucks. It's shocking that some companies put these drivers out there with such low skills. They WILL be in an accident, it's just a matter of time. Here's what I am doing to not be that driver... I ask my trainer daily to let me do a manuever that I've seen. I drive every single minute that I can. If the trainer has a difficult task and says "do you want to do it?" I say yes. If I think I need to work on a skill, I let him know it. So when I test in 2 weeks, it WILL be super easy to pass. And the following week when I no longer have that teacher spotting me I'll know that I can do what the job requires and do it safely. To sum this up, my advice to you is don't take the easy road. The easy road won't teach you diddly! You'll look really pretty rolling along easy road too... until you get in a situation that requires more skills. So ask your CDL teachers and your trainer to challenge you. Some day you'll thank Mr Go be the top 1%! Happy New Year! ~Jana~

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.

Dm:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

Upgraded and officially an EMPLOYED TRUCKER!

Man! The last two weeks have been crazy! But training is over, Jay and I both passed our tests and we are currently home for a 6 day grandkid hugging/kid kissing/tool gathering/clothes packing/laundry doing break. That means also that this post is being typed on my actual laptop :) Yay! I am still really grateful that we did winter training to start this adventure. As I've mentioned before, the weather has been an issue for nearly the entire 6 weeks we've been on the truck. Our company doesn't allow driving on snow or ice unless you are a "discretionary" driver (usually a trainer with over 3 years experience who has attended a special class). Our trainer has this and he drove over ice and snow to teach us. Even though the company doesn't allow it, he knows that at some point we're going to get caught in bad weather and need to get to a safe place to park. I saw a lot of trucks in the median and off the side in the berms and I want to avoid that bad day if possible! Having the driving skills and ability to stay calm and focused is key. I respect the drivers who's skills allow him to drive through and I humbly admit that it will be a while before I can safely do that.

Onto The Upgrade Test So we get to the south California operations center for our final test. I got up at the crack of dawn and did a full beauty routine including hair straightening. It is calming and familiar to put on eyeliner and mascara, when I feel pretty I feel confident. Jay and I made sure to eat a healthy but light breakfast and took a walk in the warm Cali sunshine. The day was long. We had videos and written tests. We did the Smith System Defensive Driving course for commercial drivers. We had a log book class and a lecture by the safety manager. It was late afternoon by the time we finished.

Just when we both were feeling pretty drained it was time to drive. Great. My mind was fuzzy. I had spent the entire day in a heightened state of anxiousness and testing stress. I was hungry. I was tired. Now I have to drive a 70 foot vehicle in L.A. rush hour freeway traffic while being side-seat evaluated by an examiner? I was just about to feel sorry for myself when my inner trucker spoke in my ear.

"Jana, what do you think most of your days are going to be like as a driver? Sunshine, open roads and polite four wheelers? Get a grip woman!" Geez, my inner trucker is kinda snarly sometimes, but she was right. These safety guys are wiley... they know what we need to prove. My examiner said " I know you're nervous. I'm not looking for perfection. I want to see awareness of surroundings, lane placement, traffic law obedience and down shifting. Don't break any rules and don't hit any curbs." It was all I could do to not hug him for understanding what I was thinking.

The freeway was pretty intense. I was focused. I avoided a crazy driver who passed on the right where there was no lane, I braked smoothly and well in advance according to the flow of traffic. I gave right-of-way to an emergency vehicle. In other words, I just did what I have been training for since October 2013! It was amazing. The surface streets were more challenging because of turns, turn lanes made for cars, pedestrians and the chance to hit a curb and fail, but I did it!

The really hard part was the alley dock test. By the time we both did our drive test and got back to the yard it was getting dark. We found that some yard dog had moved a bunch of trailers and blocked the testing area. The examiners scrambled to set up another alley dock elsewhere. We did panic a little. We had practiced intensively on the course every time we were in SoCal. I had points of reference for my setups, I knew where I needed to be to not hit a barrel! Dangit! Just then my inner trucker once again whispered in my ear... "Jana, what do you think your real alley docks are going to be like? All the same? All in daylight? All wide with pretty, perfectly painted stripes? Get a grip woman!".

My inner voice really is getting on my last nerve, but once again... she was right. Some shippers have lovely yards, some are so tight you have a hard time walking down the side of the trailer. Sometimes it's dark, stormy, sunny, pot hole laden, trashy, busy or confusing. You still have to get it in the door. I had to do this. We had a crowd of bored truckers who were over-nighting at the yard to add to the fun. Yay. An audience.

Jay did his maneuver with quite a few pull-ups because it was so tight. He did about 20 "get-out-and-looks". His little bald head was shiny with perspiration. I thought, if it was that hard for him I am in real trouble! He passed, recieved back slaps, hugs and handshakes from all the on-lookers. I shakily climbed in to take my turn. I brought the rig around and set it up. I did my hard right, hard left and a small right correction. I got out to do a look (or G.O.A.L). Somehow, by some freakish miracle or great training, the rear of the trailer was perfectly set up in the top of the alley! I did one short pull up and straight backed right in.

I heard cheering, my trucker audience and my man were all jumping and clapping. At that moment I became a bonafide professional driver... with a job. My inner voice whispered in my ear... "I knew you could do it". Ok, I kinda like her after all.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Dm:

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.
JanaBanana's Comment
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FIRST SOLO TRIP, NO TRAINER!

Hi girls (and guys), ready for an update? Ok then!

So we got our first assignment last week and it was a doozy. First of all we were delivering an older International to Chattanooga so the company can sell it or trade it in. It's been well used and has a few issues, add to that the fact that I have never been in one and the panel setup is way different than anything we've driven so far, so of course we called breakdown several times and asked "Where is (this) switch or (that) doo-dad?". We learned a lot about that truck as we rolled. Time was short. We were excited, nervous and determined to do a good job. We prayed for no major complications, but little did we know we were in for a test of a lot of skills.

The drops were in Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The first problem was in Az. The dock manager there was heated over the way the trailer was loaded. He had to pull every pallet out to get his order because two of his were in the front. He wasn’t mad at us, it was the Cali guys who messed up, but it took a couple hours to re-load. We had started out 1.5 hours ahead and left 2 hours behind. Then, we were headed to Illinois and got a call from our dispatch office. We had made an error when planning our fuel stops and were a hundred miles off course. We had to back track to the correct highway. We were now 4 hours behind for our next stop. We get into Illinois and that was the start of the most recent freak storm. You may have seen that on the news… snow in the south and the east was crazy!

Jay was driving in winds that were 40-60 mph. Our load was solid and had some weight so he cautiously pushed through it. That slowed us wayyy down, we delivered 10 hours late, the receivers were nice and met us at the dock at 4:am. My honey woke me for my shift a few hours later and I looked out to see nothing but white. The roads were cleared but frozen. The drifts were deep, powdery and blowing across the road. I had daylight and salt trucks, I pushed through it. I lost count of trucks in the ditches, some on their side, some jack knifed, some just stuck. All from the night before. When we were dealing with wind, they were dealing with blizzard. It was a sobering, scary and slow drive through Illinois and Ohio.

All of our appointments had been reset so we were trying to see ourselves as still on time but knowing that we really weren't made us disappointed. We did the rest of our east coast as best we could (Jersey is nuts by the way, not built for trucks!) Our stress levels were maxed out. We had to pay all the east coast tolls out of pocket because the truck didn't have PrePass, that was nearly $180, a good amount of our meager savings. We finished and went to the company yard in Allentown, Pa. and spent the night snapping at each other and wondering why we wanted to do this. We did a quick and stressful refer load to Walmart the next morning which was late due to construction.We both felt like we had failed big time, Jay was blaming himself because of the fuel stops, I was trying to get him to see it my way and not quit… we were a hot mess. We thought our dispatch was going to think we couldn't handle this.

Then he called us. He had a “high value security load”. Very important stuff. Our trainer had prepared us for this. These loads are watched closely by the security team and customer relations. You have to call when you stop for anything. One driver has to stay with the truck at all times. You have to drive non-stop for hours once you’re loaded to avoid possible hijacking. Serious stuff. A chance for redemption (in our minds). We started by apologizing to each other and making a pact to be successful and no more whining, to recognize the things you can change and be patient about the things you cannot change. The world does not recognize or run by our schedule.

Yes, the shipper was not ready. Yes, we sat in an alley behind the loading dock in Jersey waiting for hours. Yes the load was late and no, our security team and dispatchers did not blame us. When they found out that we had to sit in that alley they actually apologized and made arrangements for us to stop at a secure locale for a potty break before hitting the highway. This leg of the trip was so good. The weather had cleared and the sky was blue. We drove highway I81 all the way down to Tennessee through some of the prettiest countryside the USA has to offer. Even prettier with all the snow off the roads! We met our relay driver in Knoxville, traded trailers and headed for corporate headquarters in Chattanooga. They inspected our trade truck and we are currently spending the weekend here getting our new truck set up. We got to meet all the people we talk to on the phone and everyone seemed genuinely happy to meet us. Our pot of gold at the end of this jacked up rainbow? We get to watch the Super Bowl today on a big screen in the drivers lounge!

Our new truck is really nice and I’ll be posting pictures and videos of it on Face Book later today at (https://www.facebook.com/drivenwomen.usa)

Have a blessed Sunday everyone!

~Jana~

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

Hi Everyone~ A post from sunny California!

So, we finally got out of Chattanooga, after all the repairs to the truck, permits all updated and a load going west towards home. We were hauling for a major parcel company and had some hazmat items in there, so we were placarded this time. The weather through Texas was so bad that we had to stop for the night. It was so cold in Texas that one of our mirrors cracked. It was actually two cracks, frame to frame and a DOT ticket if inspected. So we called breakdown for advice and they said "fix it". We went to Amarillo and put her in the shop. While sitting in the waiting lounge, our DM (driver manager) calls and asks "why are you in Amarillo and not moving?" I told him about the mirror and that we had called breakdown. He was very upset, (apparently the breakdown department doesn't communicate with dispatch). Lesson learned, your DM is your everything and you have to tell him EVERYTHING. So, he's freaking out a little, this load HAS to be on time. Major carrier, our company is trying to get their foot in the door and get contracted etc. He just kept saying "oh my God, it can't be late". I said " Look, it's not going to be late, we don't don't mess around. We're not sightseeing or stopping for coffee and gossip at every truck stop. We're 4 hours ahead of schedule and will be on time". HaHa, said Mother Nature as we were leaving Texas. It started really snowing in late afternoon in New Mexico. I-10 was on a mandatory shutdown. We were on 40 and the snow wasn't sticking, so I kept going! It was quite exhilarating to actually use a lot of skills I had learned in school. I kept it safe, slow and steady. Jay would poke his head out every now and then and ask if I felt comfortable. I would evaluate the situation honestly before answering. The snow was blowing but not sticking, I was following a salt truck and had felt no slippage, I was keeping my speed low and even in pace with the salt truck. I wasn't stressed or tired, so we kept going. We got to Los Angeles, found our destination easily and delivered 45 minutes early. Our DM sent us a Qualcomm message and said "Good job guys." That felt great! He got us a couple of little hopper loads to get us closer to home so we could get our dog. Vato The Wonder Chihuahua is now on our truck and seems very content to be back with Mom and Dad. He needs to see a vet which will happen on our next day off (his little hiney glands are swollen), and we're just waiting for a load now. I will say it again, I am super thankful that we did our training during winter. I feel confident and well prepared. I know my limitations and will stop when it's unsafe to be on the road, even if the load will be late. It's my life on the line after all, not the DM's. I am a firm believer in being honest about my abilities. I was being passed up by a ton of drivers the other night, and when I got to the bottom of the pass I didn't see any of them stuck in a drift or wrecked in the median. Good for them! I applaud their skills and hope to be as good a driver one day. But for now, I will creep along behind the salt trucks and snow plows, doing my best to be safely upright and safely on time!

Have a Blessed day everyone!

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

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.

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.

Dm:

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.

Driver Manager:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

JanaBanana's Comment
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Great Answer!

Being Sick and Being a Driver

I have wanted to touch on the subject of not feeling well and being stuck on a truck. The first part of this is all about your lady time, and sh*** is about to get real in here. I would like to take this opportunity to warn and or apologize to OldSchool, Brett and any of the other men who like to read our forum.

I worried about the day that my time would come around. I am peri-menopausal, have fibroids and I am anemic. These conditions create the "Perfect Uterine Storm". A real recipe for a disaster. Sofas will be ruined! Underwear will be considered disposable! I will sit on a towel in my car when I drive to the market for my second 40 pack of overnight pads!

I got pretty lucky with my inconsistent lady parts while I was in training with 2 men. I had just sent Aunt Flow packing right before we started and didn't hear from her for 8 weeks. You're probably thinking I was sooo lucky! No. These types of delays only serve to anger Mother Nature. So she sent Aunt Flow to check on me.... and teach me a lesson about skipping a month.

She showed up right as were getting our first job. You may remember we went from California to New Jersey and then to Chattanooga, WORST WEEK EVER!! Aunt Flow stayed for two weeks. WORST 2 WEEKS EVER!! I was ready for this as far as supplies and a plan. Sweet Jay has been through some tough stuff with me and we talked about the storm and how we would handle it.

Whatta a joke. here's how it goes with The Perfect Uterine Storm. Uterine Fibroids are exctly what they sound like, knots of fiber that grow and harden in your uterus. They make periods very painful and very messy. They rarely turn cancerous, but can cause a laundry list of problems if left untreated. I hate taking man-made medicines and will do anything to avoid surgery. I have a really good Doctor back home who understands me and a holistic nurse at Womens Health who is sweet and knowledgeable. Anyhow, they create little pockets of space where fluids like blood can hide and the suprise you when you stand up!

So, Sweet Jay and I had a plan and it was a waste of time. I had to make so many stops it was amazing that we made anything on time. I learned how to park, climb down and run to the rest area all in one motion... while clenching! I ruined some clothes, bought some clothes, ruined some clothes. I didn't wear makeup for those 2 weeks either. It's easier to drive and cry that way. carried a Walmart bag everywhere when we were stopped. It had pads, undies, pants, feminine wipes, Aleve. I looked like a crazy bag lady who has a penchant for pharmacies and personal care.

Just to give you an idea of just how evil Aunt Flow is, remember at the start I mentioned Anemia? This process was so bad at one point that my Doc wanted to hospitalize me for a transfusion! My blood iron has been as low as a 4 and it should be around 12-13. I just had my blood checked the other day and I was at 10, so we're good.

I just want you to realize that you should have a plan, but don't count on it working. You're best bet may be to "to go with the flow". Pun intentional.

Part 2, FLU!

So after almost being killed by my lady parts, I had about 10 days of healthy bliss. Then about a week and a half ago, I was driving a late night shift. I hate these shifts, they are really hard on me. Sweet Jay likes them and usually drives them, but our hours get twisted once in awhile. I found myself really struggling to stay awake, like on the verge of being unsafe! I did as I was trained, found a rest area, sent a message to dispatch and took a 30 minute nap. It worked, I was able to walk around the truck to wake up and got back to driving. I was back to square one after about and hour and a half. I took another break and let Sweet Jay know what was going on. I carefully drove just until his 10 hour break was up, then he sent me to bed.

I woke up aching and coughing and hot. I felt so much pain in my joints I thought I was dying! Sweet Jay informed me that I had the flu. "No!" I yelled! I don't get the flu! Ask my kids! Ask my former employees! I'm the person who pulls doubles when the whole crew is sick, cough cough, yack! Wait, what was that? "It's the sound of the flu, Honey... Can you drive?" Jay was stroking my head. That hurt. "Of course I can drive. I DON'T have the flu!". I actually had Jay buy us a carbon monoxide alarm, because I refused to believe I was ill from a virus. That damn thing still hasn't gone off!

We had a reefer load that couldn't sit and wait for a sissy with the flu. It was really good miles and our 4th payload of the week. All I could see were dollar signs, or were those stars from coughing? Whatever, I drove cross country totally sick. Jay did his best to keep me in daylight and I took naps when I needed them. By the time we hit Pennsylvania on Sunday I was asking to be taken to the hospital. The female Doogie Howser there said I was on the verge of surviving a bout with Influenza. From all the abuse I piled on myself I also had several small infections. My throat, ears, fracking uterus (figures, traitor) and my belly button? WTH?

I got my antibiotics, took 3 days off and am now back on the road. The meds and rest are working, I had no pain today, the cough is dry and fading and I have agreed to Sweet Jay's new rule. No Driving Sick! I'll gladly acknowledge my limitations from now on!

I hope you all are healthy and have a blessed day!

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Jana...you get to have your fiance as your trainer ???? How cool is that !!!! My hubby trained me for OTR...tho I'd driven intrastate alot for alot of years. Its totally different in so many ways. Keep us posted...and as always...ask anything you want or need to know !!!!! And if ya get out to the WA/OR area...or better still...if your headed this way...give me a hollar.... Now go out there and start your ADVENTURE !!!!!

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.

Intrastate:

The act of purchasers and sellers transacting business while keeping all transactions in a single state, without crossing state lines to do so.

JanaBanana's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Starcar!

My fiance has a little experience but he won't be my trainer, we actually will be trained in the same truck! There will be 3 people in that truck for 7 weeks.

I have tried to imagine how it will work. My recruiter says we'll be rolling constantly. The trainer will drive, ride, sleep and each of us will drive, ride, sleep. My fiance Jay, he just says "cross your fingers for a trainer with a sense of humor!" (He'll need it). The good part is that when I'm driving one of them will be in the passenger seat :) We'll be running 48 states so if I am in your neck of the woods I'll let you know!

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Well, 3 people in the truck will be interesting, to say the least...what company is training in that way ?? Cuz federal law states that NO ONE can be in the top bunk, when the truck is rolling...PERIOD. There was an accident just a few weeks ago, where a trucker was sleeping in the top bunk when the truck wrecked...he was killed. ( I think it was Swift truck, can't remember). So if theres 3 people in the truck, everyone is rotating in and out of the bottom bunk when the truck is moving....thats the law. But other than that...you go out there and have fun !! And keep me updated !!! When you and your fiance get your own truck, I'll give you a link to my stories about learning to live in a truck with your better half....

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Well, I checked the Federal Rules..and they are very "grey" about that situation, since they address the Bunk...not giving them a name...top/bottom. It just sez they have to have restraints in them. But there are ALOT of companies that won't allow it..so be sure you are legal thru the company... Good luck !!! now go enjoy your ADVENTURE ~~

Svetlana K.'s Comment
member avatar

Glad to hear that you made it! Good job! I start school in January, some people are trying to talk me out of it because I'm a female but they said the same thing when I joined the army, now I'm retired. I am looking forward to training in a new career. Have fun out there and hope to join ya'll soon.

JanaBanana's Comment
member avatar

Glad to hear that you made it! Good job! I start school in January, some people are trying to talk me out of it because I'm a female but they said the same thing when I joined the army, now I'm retired. I am looking forward to training in a new career. Have fun out there and hope to join ya'll soon.

Don't let anyone tell you not to do this! We had 5 ladies in my class, we all graduated one right after another, and with great grades. I did more research than I care to think about and found that many companies want lady drivers. We do well in school, have (according to them) better time management, are nice to customers, take better care of equipment and are nicer to company personnel. Any men who are reading this... please know these are the opinions of company employees, no disrespect intended!! I wish you all the luck in the world Svetlana. It's an adventure for sure!

JanaBanana's Comment
member avatar

Hi Starcar! Apparently in certain training situations 3 drivers are allowed when one is the trainer. We'll rotate driving, sleeping on the bottom bunk and side seat observation. On a little side note, my love life is going to tank for about 2 months embarrassed.gif But the adventures have begun! At this very moment I am in a motel room in southern Cali, blogging on a dang Kindle! I got a THICK packet in advance and filled it out while Jay watched 2 football games (remember the part about ladies and time management?). He'll get his done, I'm just saying... We'll have 3 days of orientation and testing, then truck/trainer assignments. I'm a little worried about the driving test. I graduated a month ago and haven't driven anything bigger than a pickup! Jay says they'll just be evaluating shifting and safety to see where I'm at. They won't be expecting me to jump in and blindside a parallel lol! Too bad, I'm like Rainman on the parallels... I'll add more as we go through the process and answer any questions the ladies may have as time and internet allow. Have a great evening everyone!

JanaBanana's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

It is now day 3 of orientation, and so far so good. Yesterday we went to the clinic and did our drug screening, then on to the yard for our drive test. It was so very easy, since we are students all we had to do was drive around the block. I drove first and man, my hands were shaking! I missed a gear, quickly found sixth, made a pretty nice right turn and was told to pull over. I must have looked worried, the trainer smiled and said, "you're doing just fine and I'm not here to deny anyone employment". He had Jay finish the second half of the block, signed our pass sheets and we were done! I'm looking back at how worked up I was in my head, and I feel kinda silly.

So now we're playing a little waiting game with corporate. We're waiting for final hiring approval, employee ID numbers and trainer assignments. Now that I'm here I do have a few tips for those of you getting ready to head out to training. 1) Money- I know things are tight when you're getting started, but you need to have a little cash. A few companies feed you 3 meals per day but most only provide breakfast and or lunch. You may need food on the bus trip, during orientation and when you head out with your trainer (he won't be feeding you!).

2) Pack smart- You'll have weight and space limits. Most companies will require you to use a duffle bag or other soft luggage. Be sure to read all the pages your recruiter sends you! They have packing suggestions that are based on trainer/driver input.

3) Be Safe- You're a female, you're far from home and most likely traveling alone. Some of the orientation motels are in industrial areas and not all your classmates are nice guys. Don't wander off alone, stay in well lit areas and be aware of your surroundings!

4) Documentation- Double check your documents before you leave home. You'll recieve a list of required items. Forgetting something like your green card can get you sent home, you could be delayed as long as two weeks!

I hope that some of this is helpful to you. I'll keep updating this feed as my adventure continues. If you want keep reading my stories you'll find me easier if you hit the subscribe button below! If you have questions please ask, if you have advice to add... Please do it! I'm learning as I go and I love input!

Have a blessed day :) ~ Jana ~

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I am so glad that you have started a schooling/training post for the ladys !!!!! Theres a few from the guys..but as we ladies know...we do,think,and react to things differently..besides, we're special in so many ways... So keep up the posting !!! And we will help all we can !! Stay safe, warm and sane...and enjoy your adventure !!!

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