Graduate Driving School: Check!

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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.
Starcar's Comment
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JANA !!!!! I'm loving that you two found a great trainer !!!!! And keep the up dates coming !!! The guys have alot of those...us ladies don't have any !!!!!!

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~

Starcar's Comment
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THANK YOU JANA !!! that pep talk is EXACTLY what we, as lady drivers need to do. We are not fancy seat covers!! And there is NO reason why we can not do the exact same job as a male driver. Now sometimes, especially in flatbedding, us ladies will have to figure out different ways to get things done...but dang it, WE DO IT. I have never kept my nails done, as it just isn't me. But on the road, if I didn't get a shower every day, or every other day at the most...my fangs grew. I wear perfume ( very expensive, I might add..its my treat),and having long hair, it HAS to be taken care of every day, if just brushed out. So yeah...we ladies need some gussy up time. And mentally, you can lose yourself if you don't keep yourself up. You will see what I mean, when you see those women in truckstops, you know they are drivers, but they look like they just stepped off a wagon pulled by 20 head of mules..and they smell about like that too. They embarrass me, both as a woman, and a driver. Redgator keeps herself put together...which I think is an excellent example for lady drivers. There is no reason we can't stay clean, comfortable and still be a trucker. Its a guy thing to look like they just crawled out of a cardboard box and smell like a bull moose...Us ladies can't deal with that stuff. Or is it just the fact that we refuse to give up our feminine status for the chance to steer and gear ?? I'll have to think on that one...

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Free Spirit ( AKA #Hashta's Comment
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Jana, how are you dealing with missing your grandsons? That's an issue for me, but not a deal breaker. Know what I mean? My grandson will be 2 in Feb '14, and naturally he has me wrapped around his finger and I have him wrapped around my heart. I have been by his side since the day he was born. I'm just curious how another woman deals with the separation.

Thanks and I love reading your posts!!!

JanaBanana's Comment
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Thanks for your kind words Starcar! And a big hello and welcome to Freespirit :) I have four grandsons and 3 of them live near me.I too try to stay involved in their lives and help my daughter out as well. Freespirit, I can tell you that you're going to miss your little guy no matter what. I miss mine too, but I had to do this for me. It wasn't an easy decision.

I look at it like this... I worked really hard for many years to raise 4 kids. I was THE parent most of the time and the provider. I'm amazed at how awesome all my kids turned out since I was never home! I feel like this is my time for me, to have my adventure, make memories with Jay and make very good money too. I don't worry about not being with the boys every minute. I send them text messages, state magnets for their collection and letters. AND with the money I'm making I'll be able to help out financially and have my dream realized as well. I will tell you this, my favorite granny lived 2000 miles from me my whole life. I only met her in person a handful of times. But she made an effort to know me and was my constant penpal until she passed. I cherish her love to this day. so I know that all my grands will think of me as their favorite grandma, they will always know that they are loved no matter where I am!

I hope that helps you. Go and have a dream for you Spirit, if you find you can't be away from him then at least you tried something new! I'll write more in a few days, so much to share! Happy Monday and d Blessings to all!

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.
Free Spirit ( AKA #Hashta's Comment
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Thank you Jana, I told Jeff that as long as I could see him "whenever" we got some home time, I think I would be ok. He really tugs on my heart when I hear him say "Meme...hug" and "I wub ew" lol. I know that it will definitely be hard in the beginning, but I have thought about the financials also. It will be awesome to be able to help with a car or surprise him...even help with education. Listening to you did help and I greatly appreciate it the reply.

I can't wait to hear more about your adventures, like I said, I really enjoy your posts.

Be safe!dancing-banana.gif

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

Starcar's Comment
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Oh....Jana Banana....You to will learn, grasshopper...... Have you ever had a day when you should never had turned on the stove to cook dinner, cuz ya burned everything ?? Or you shouldn't have tried to shave your legs, cuz you nearly bled to death ?? Well...trucking can give you the same kinda days. I have driven 15 years over the road , all lower 48 states...and there were days when I looked like a trucking school reject when I was tryin' to back into a parking space, or a dock, or even up to the fuel island !!!! It just happens...ask any driver...its the Murphy's Law of trucking. So when you see those poor lost souls in the parking lot, having a hard time...don't think bad of them...Murphy is sittin' on their shoulder...get out and help 'em !!! Cuz ya never know...tomorrow Murphy may be in the cab with you....

Over The Road:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

No Ma'am Miss Starcar, I would never judge anyone! I've seen my trainer have a bad day and I respect his skills so much! And I know it can happen to anyone and WILL happen to Jay and I. The spirit with which I wrote that post was to encourage students to be vigilant and to not let the ease of testing out fool them. Real world driving and school driving are very different, I'm preparing myself for that time while I have the resources. I hope to write with more clarity when I can go home and get laptop, using the Kindle is pretty sketchy and I lose my train of thought!

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