Canuck CDL Journal: Balls To The Wall

Topic 21914 | Page 2

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mikemotorbike's Comment
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Evening Wed Feb 28, 2018

Did you know the iCloud is in Kamloops? Safest location in wartime.

I got a new instructor. He is a genial lifelong trucker, who built his own Harleys and fishes and hunts. He started driving when he was 17 in prime resources (off highway.). He raised a son who is now a plumber.

We focused on shifting today. We hit the highway again. I felt like I was turning inside out at one point. It was when I was observing very far ahead on the road. It has the side effect of setting the wheels in the perfect position in the lane. Its can also set the correct offtrack for negotiating turns.

Like my first “stepDad”, he is deceptively at ease. I have to learn to slow down. Apparently I am hard on the accelerator. My first two lessons marked me at marginal competence, 1 on a scale of three. I quipped that I didn’t realize I was premature ejaculator. Being confident, going slower, focusing on one detail– mastering the gear-changing procedure.

I learned to shift without using the clutch. It is our sworn enemy. The gears are very different on a diesel. It is ‘true’, it feels accurate. Upshifting and downshifting: 1-2 @1,100rpm, 2-3@1,100rpm, 3-4@1,300rpm, 4-5@ 14-1,500 rpm. Using the ‘clutch-brake’(allows gear to mesh at stop) Stop is the only time you fully depress clutch. Bring throttle up slowly. We think of speed in relation to gears not to throttle. The tranny has a very narrow range of usable rpm, the velocitator* is only for letting the tranny find the gear. Today, my competence evaluation increased to 1.5 on some metrics.

I am told this is going to destroy the way I drive a car, so that I will want to throw it out.

I tend to panic when cars are around. I have to learn to hold the space, set the flow, Roads are made for truckers, cars are lucky to drive with us. If you care to have food on your plate when you get home, you’ll wait.

Now I study the drivers guide, and google a schematic of the diesel transmission to figure out the clutch. After three days of 12-4pm classes, I am starting at 8-12pm tomorrow. I have to go to bed and be up really early. No time even for tears, if I had any.

*throttle. The Simpsons. Mr Burns: "I'm sure the manual will indicate which lever is the velocitator and which the deceleratrix."

mikemotorbike's Comment
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Friday March 1, 11:23

Teacher Says: Every day you drive a truck you save someone’s life, by solving their mistakes.

Buddy says: I am the Biggest ***hole in the World. You can’t be, because I am the Champ!

Yesterday I promoted the idea we own the road. Today the Instructor refreshed my memory that ‘the right of way’ is always given. Even if I have the right of way, If someone is in my way, I offer the right of way. Sounds simple, but it requires constant presence of mind.

Today I backed up, coupled to a trailer, drove it around the park, and then uncoupled, with the associated prep. I learned about airbags, landing gear, couplers, traction control, and more. This is a major milestone for me, the result of months of application of effort in study and preparation.

Yesterday, while safely looking ahead for drivers as I made a turn, I experienced the otherworldly feeling of being wholly in two places at once, while I momentarily imagined how I’d appear to them.

Yet today, I neglected to do an important safety step in a maneuver I was told to do. I contemplate and gain insights into myself from this experience neglecting to consider my actions. It seems my best lessons will be learned as I adjust my attitude toward recognizing the seriousness of the endeavour we are entrusted with, and the schools commitment.

Instructors consider everything they say, their words are as accurate, as the diesel shifter. One must listen attentively to their words, and think calmly before doing.

Air brake course on the weekend. Study, prepare, tie up loose ends, socialize, prioritize. Get groceries, call Mum, drink water, write the diary, bleed my clutch.

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.

G-Town's Comment
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It's interesting how your posts have progressed from grandiose, vivid story telling to a more grounded factual account sprinkled with bits of color describing your experience. Both entertaining and informative, a rare but welcome combination for such a dry subject as trucking school.

good-luck.gif

PackRat's Comment
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It's interesting how your posts have progressed from grandiose, vivid story telling to a more grounded factual account sprinkled with bits of color describing your experience. Both entertaining and informative, a rare but welcome combination for such a dry subject as trucking school.

good-luck.gif

X2!

mikemotorbike's Comment
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

Sat march 4, 2018

Friday Night Girls

I took a break from writing yesterday. It was the end of the work/school week, Friday. I was a bit loopy and distracted. We took the 48" loaded trailer on the highway. The instructor had planned to have me drive through the city, but relented when he didn't think I was ready. I watched him closely as he drove the trailer to TRU, the university. He showed me where Air Brakes class would be tomorrow (sat).

On the way back, I asked to go to A&W. I bought us coffee and treated myself to a burger. He declined as he eats healthy. I pried the keys from his cold clenched hands and drove the trailer along a short stretch in the industrial park from A&W to the yard (showing off for the A&W girls?)

We sat and talked about bees and wax and balls of string, then I remembered to ask him to help me bleed my car's clutch. I heard the others say that they were ready to close the gate. We could have easily driven outside the yard and bled them on the street. Had I considered them, and planned my actions, I wouldn't have kept them all waiting for me, on Friday, at close. Doh! I think sometimes the instructor lets me makes mistakes like this, in order to learn from my mistakes.

I drove home and in my addlepated state, and...missed my turnoff again. In an attempt challenge myself to gain directional competence, I had decided ti turn off google maps voice direction. I spent half an hour lost trying to find my way out of the industrial park at school. There are three streets with Kokanee in them. I might as well have been drinking Kokanee beer, because of my directional incomptenece.

Back up

There's that theme again-backing up - but you can't look back, or back up in life...or can you? If we learn from lessons, can we change history?

Without any actual real directions, I went through a dimensional portal and ended up at my favourite gas station outside of town. The young staff are so friendly, and the dudes look alike. I bought every paper map of Kamloops I could find. Then I drove the route to the class so I wouldn't get lost tomorrow. I did get lost an the way back home from TRU, but I had I tried a different route back.

Back at home, with a serious but light heart, I studied every day of my google timeline to see where the hell I went so terribly wrong, as it records every where I go (required as part of my probation. Just kidding!). I learned you have to study the map closely and in detail to plan a route. You have to zoom in to see the lanes for the exits, arrows pointing the directions.

You have to plan your actions in life.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

mikemotorbike's Comment
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Sat March 4, 2018. It is 2 am on Sunday morning.

"Heavy Metal Shop"

The guys are younger, blue collar, scruff type like me. They look like me, but that's where the similarity ends. Well, they are spectacularly comfortable in their blue collar selves. I am 30/40 years behind them. I am the tenenager in ‘shop class’ here. They have collected wives, lives (trucks/farms/primary businesses), brothers, and buddies. They have a creative, colourful, corn-pone way of shortening sentences, i.e.: “I air it up”, meaning bring the compressed air to full pressure. Just like the Maritimes where I am from. It's rejuvenated me. I am relaxed for the first time in their presence. I am not an outsider. I am something they trust and can relate to.

I have been over the top to be with this week. I can’t stop talking, am a bit of an *******, my nerves are shattered, I am pushed to the limits of mental endurance like a TV reality show contestant. Weebles wobbble, see how they fall. I can't concentrate on the task, unable to focus, having difficulty remebering. (Although getting slowly better at shifting.)

My mind races at night, my imagation having puppies, threatening to derail my sanity. I am on the verge of collapse. It's like army basic training.

And so late in that dark sleepless night, I conceded– I am not a trucker. I felt much better. Finally at ease, sleep found me at 2 AM am Sat morning.

I then awoke at 3:30 in the morning screaming the whole house awake!

There was a monster attacking me and a pretty lady from A&W I was protecting. He had smashed the windows, and then he came in the house to terrorize us. That's when I got mad! I yelled at it to "back off! Go Away! get lost! begone!" Each time I spoke, the monster retreated, and in diminishing in size, disappeared.

I am not my IMAGE of a trucker. I cannot be something I am not. And that self-acceptance, willingness to own myself and be responsible all costs, even giving up on my trucker fantasy, is the right stuff.

For I am not a trucker–

I am Mike, who drives a truck,

Trucker Mike.

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.

mikemotorbike's Comment
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Sun mar 4, 2018, 4:00am

Meow

ok ok I am not a Trucker Mike yet, i am a trucking student.

Tomorrow, ahem, today, I take the Air Brakes test. I must study well, with a disturbed sleep cycle. If I can restrain myself from trying to teach the Instructor, I may just pass.

I asked my ever reliable friend and ex biz partner to check in on my grieving Mum, and also my house. He relieved my worries for her safety when he called back. Later, she returned my repeated, unanswered calls. She was napping.

Now, they are conspiring for me to drive locally, to look after Mum for a couple of years. He has set up an opportunity to drive a local gravel truck with a small outfit with a neat name. But I am left wondering about what it would be like earning CDN$70k driving a wood chip truck in MacKenzie, living in a camp with 300 other guys. Do they have trucker friendly A&W babes like here?

I am worried about the house. The key is missing. I spoke with the ship Engineer/biker pal who offered the observation that I looked like a trucker, which inspired me. He will check it out the key issue. I wonder if homeless people have moved in. I hope they enjoy my bachelor decor. My bikes safe.

The Biker helped me by suggesting visualizing driving maneuvers in my head. I tried it, and realized, by confronting my performance anxiety, I can resolve any cognitive blocks. He said it's caused by too much change too fast. The unusual stress is derailing my ability to focus and remember. Part of trucking is learning to deal with stress and anxiety. He has just started a big new position up North, and drives 3,500 km in a month to get to work and back. He has 600 pages to study.

Can we go back? He and his wife may move there when junior leaves. My friends are moving forward. Another good buddy has just got his Rope Access Technician Level Two (RAT2.) He is a high rise window cleaner, and now can do emergency helicopter rescue. He was first mate on a sailing ship before. He is a very fit dude who gets me doing outdoor winter activities a lot.

As we all move forward, life takes its turns, and we perform a double somersault to land on our feet, like the sailboat cats, meow.

G-Town's Comment
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There is subtle truth to your point; "I am Mike who drives a truck."

It takes a while to achieve true trucker status, bringing the gap between successful student and successful professional. Time. Recognizing this fact is half the battle, you've won that part of it.

If I may, a suggestion that not only will help you now, but also once on the payroll of a trucking company; step away from it all when you have breaks. I think a lot of new drivers quickly burn-out because trucking has an all-consuming way of getting in your head and staying there.

When you are not Mike who drives a Truck, try to relax, get away from it, freeing your brain from the shackles of the learning curve. Just a thought...

mikemotorbike's Comment
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There is subtle truth to your point; "I am Mike who drives a truck."

It takes a while to achieve true trucker status, bringing the gap between successful student and successful professional. Time. Recognizing this fact is half the battle, you've won that part of it.

If I may, a suggestion that not only will help you now, but also once on the payroll of a trucking company; step away from it all when you have breaks. I think a lot of new drivers quickly burn-out because trucking has an all-consuming way of getting in your head and staying there.

When you are not Mike who drives a Truck, try to relax, get away from it, freeing your brain from the shackles of the learning curve. Just a thought...

Like you, the Air Brakes Instructor at TRU, (who also teaches the driving) advised us to "have fun." There's an attitude of relaxed anticipation which goes with living and learning. When I was cramming outside the ICBC air brakes office today before my test, I was getting a little panicky, I remembered his wise suggestion, and I noticed all the sudden my memory came back.

Thank you, that's a great advice to be aware of. I've touched on this in my diary entry today, about 'not being' a truck driver. ('not being' is a transcendental state.)

mikemotorbike's Comment
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Mon march 5 2018

It’s hard to grow up and be a man. No pun intended.

It's hard to lose a dad. But others needing come along, and a dad’s love goes to one who needs it the most. So a boy has to grow up.

Alone for the first time, he feels abandoned. What did he do wrong to be kicked from the treehouse? Why does no one love me? a person may show up who obviously needs more help than he does. While he is busy nursing his hurt feelings, he is occupied by the task of helping his new friend. As time goes on, the sharp pain of abandonment turns to a dull ache. He grows stronger.

One day he realizes, this Friend is his love. The love was in him all along, and the helpless one needed it. And so without thinking, and totally unselfconscously, he gave it.

And so he is now the dad.

Funny how that works.

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