Canuck CDL Journal: Balls To The Wall

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mikemotorbike's Comment
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CaturdayMay 5, 3:42 AM


Sliding into home base, I was worried I might lose steam. It wasn't about the test anymore, just getting through it. It is like a test everyday: A test of endurance. If I hadn't learned to chill, I would've burned out. So yesterday, after a brief warm up around town, I took the test. And I made a mistake! I aimed for 'normal', not 'super'. And I achieved what I set out for.

I haven't been to bed yet. I can't sleep well lately. NO reason to escape with sleep. My universe is safe.

The Big Cahoona recommends I seek work in my own town first. He's seen it where people go to Fort McMurray (oil up North), burn out working long days, never to return to trucking. It's important to have home.

Or the gravel pit! It's just two blocks away. I hear it at night and see the lights.

But I think....what I've been looking out my window every Thursday all these years...garbage truck.

Will I get romanced if I say I am garbage truck driver? If l am fit, then I think I might have a chance!

I was BS'ing with a beer drinking ex trucker tonight.: he suggested taxi. That is something I hadn't considered. I figure that's his dream. (btw, appropos, They can make $1000 a day up North)

He also wished he had got a heavy equipment ticket. He could operate anything then. But it too late, he's too old at 60, he says. I say, its about hope.

I say that a lot. Does anybody hear? I've leveraged everything I had, 15 Grand on my mastercard, my shoes are falling apart, my car needs a muffler, and I am packing for the undiscovered country. A mix of pride, sweet tears from the ordeal which nearly broke me, but i persevered. I learned humility, to fail well, and follow my dream.

The truck's idle throbs, poised on the bridge over the sleeping town. A few townsfsolk are roused, and astonsihed, find me levitating high above the town, marker lights appearing as a beacon.

I can't help but observe that it's the middle of the night now, as I re-visit this precient poem I wrote in my member page before I started. I'm heading out now, car packed, in trhe dawns early light of the dewy morning. My passenger seat is open.

Wanna take a ride?

G-Town's Comment
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PackRat's Comment
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Awesome news!dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

John P.'s Comment
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Wed mar 14 2018

A few days off from the journal to recalibrate. Less hype, mo money.

Study less…except for the pre-trip inspection. Its your mistakes that reveal where you need to focus, not perfect marks. That has almost nothing to do with real life. My deficit is awareness. Using Mirrors, watching and considering Pedestrians. Looking ahead.

Seeing road signs. Its mostly remembering them a moment or minute later. And listening to my instructor.

I am finally slowing down after 2 and a half weeks. I must see what is happening, and learn to think and plan. I cant go faster, its not a contest. I have to think of all the things, and more: plan escape route, if people change their plans.I gotta relax in order to be able to mange shifting focus, to include shifting the gears. And share that focus by distributing my attention around and back and out around again, the mirrors, tach, traffic, conversation. I find when I get flustered, I go faster and race through the gears.

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.


Operating While Intoxicated

mikemotorbike's Comment
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I have so much to say, I have written pages and not posted them. Figuring out whats relevant or maybe useful to others.

Got a job riding with a septic tank outfit. It’s not as smelly or dirty as you might think.

TL:DR; The drivers are the best thing for a trainee. They don’t train you, dump that idea ever came in your head, forget it: they hire what they are familiar with, your trucker character. Your character gets you the job, and your lack of character looses it. The other day, as I walked away from the mirror, I felt like an unmovable rooted pole, or pillar(pillar of society?), and that the world comes and goes past stationary me. I am feeling great about confronting my fears about meeting new people, and confronting fears of inadequacy. I’m making interviews, being hired, fired and trying again. I am becoming a trucker. Without a job! But who gives a frack??!! I’ll just declare bankruptcy, like Trump! LOL

From one Driver/trainer. (They hate training, because they are not trained and skilled instructors. They’re drivers. They do however teach you tremendously through their character.) I learned the valuable lesson– not to give a truck/duck/luck/frack/****. I have never had road rage, I don’t insult or make fun of others, because I made the same mistake at one time. So giving no fracks was hard for me. I frack very much thank you. I am a snowflake, think of the orphaned kittens. Weep and bleed for them. Now I say, let the cycle of life be, and may I confront death and rebirth boldly with compassion.

Drivers are in a hurry, and don’t give a duck about me. They forget in a minute they were held back, but were willing to risk their, mine and others lives overtaking. I don’t give a duck means when they push me I’m not speeding up for them because they have poor time management skills, are ADHD, demonstrate impulse control issues, can’t see beyond their greedy selfish grabby nose and don’t consider how they affect other peoples lives, have the common misapprehension that the point of driving is getting there faster. It’s all about them.

I always catch up to them at the next light, bus, slower driver, or flashing cop. I also suspect there is an anarchistic bent in people to avoid the speed limit. You can drive below the limit too, its allowed. When I drive safe, I find people are forced to encounter inner beliefs which they can’t face, an almost pathological escapist tendency to speed. They will break any rule, pass on the turning lane, overtake on a solid line, confront oncoming cars in a desperate suicidal attempt to avoid following the speed limit.

I live on a single peninsula hwy(101) to the ferry. Theres nothing you can do to get anywhere quicker. You might make a minute or two, at most, if you risk others lives overtaking on hilly, curvy, wet, dark, no shoulder roads with animals and driveways. Most of the time there’s someone coming when they overtake, it’s predictable. And dangerous.



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.


Operating While Intoxicated


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.

mikemotorbike's Comment
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So I speed up, 10 km above the speed limit, to avoid tempting others to overtake. Its compassionate, and crazy: Crazy Wisdom! In the lower mainland, people go 20 km above. So what I do is, follow the traffic on the straightaways, but slow the f down approaching intersections. That’s where the safety is most needed. You have to protect other people from themselves. Essentially; they don’t trust authority, and they don’t trust themselves.

They defy authority, but will submit to it when caught. Why not accept the traffic laws are there for a reason: They work. People are like kids, exploring the boundaries, until they make a mistake. Driving as catharsis and teacher of limitations. Only problem is, the risk involves easy death. No return from that. People want to feel free, but freedom is within, earned through responsibility, and is not without consequences. These are spiritual characteristics underpinning our laws.

They don’t have a plan for their lives. They are insecure, and attribute power to others to derail their goals. When you know yourself, you have confidence. When you accept and love yourself, and embrace even your issues with affection, you have power to determine your destiny. 

This takes courage and a willingness to drop your ego and be vulnerable, even risk confronting your fear of failure, or paradoxically, fear of success. All those insecure inner voices are now given voice, now there is no self-censorship, and the confident belief you are capable of accomplishing anything, threatens to derail your ultimate trust in your innate authentic goodness.

Persevere. Risk being your real self, and gain confidence by succeeding at small accomplishments. Man up and take the correction, learn from it, be greatful someone was man enough to tell you you ducked up, and don’t do it again. Promise yourself. Believe in yourself. A truck driver must have confidence, for s/he is responsible for others lives.

So I now look at other drivers with compassion, as I look at a child, not giving a duck about their tantrums or their unwarranted fears they are ‘missing out’, or selfish and irresponsible need for immediate gratification all costs, even safety. Geez, I’ve just become a Conservative/Republican! And I used to be a liberal snowflake. wow. That's one to write home about…or not.

Because, when you are a trucker, you don’t give a truck about other peoples crap, but you truly care a lot about their safety. And you take steps to avoid dangerous situations. We use statistics and defensive driving techniques to keep our drivers abstracts clean.

We also say goodby to unproductive behavior, in ourselves and others. It means being prepared to let go of old friends, business associates, even family members. 'I have not come to bring peace, but a sword '. And if it comes to it, I'm prepared to walk away from it all, and start again as trucker mike II. The melted snowflake flows into the stream of life and gets recycled.

Because as we change, and become convinced of the rightness of the rule of law, our contunued presence creates an unbearable conflict in others who have been hurt, or feel betrayed by authorities, or their dads and moms and teachers. They can't handle the truth, which is that salvation lies within oneself, it does not come from outside, from someone giving you permission to be yourself. We decide, not others, not to play the victim.

One learns to forgive, be humble, and set the boundaries, and conditions for satisfaction with your interactions, just as you do in a truck.

This dovetails the blog about having Steely Determination to succeed in trucking, and in life. Be the 5%, fellow trucking candidates

I relate to recent blogs: Why You Should Not Start Your Trucking Career As A Local Driver by Old School

"It is always prudent to start out doing something new, by exposing yourself to the least amount of risk. Are you aware that almost 95% of the people who attempt a new trucking career never make it to their one year anniversary date? Sounds like there is a high risk factor here doesn't it? This is not a career choice to be cavalier with."


My Recent Trucking Adventures - Quite A Challenge by TruckerMike (great name, eh? i want that one)

"Truck driving can be filled with stress. I think I've learned how to deal with stress more in my time as a truck driver, than the rest of my life. If you're just getting into the industry, be aware that you will make some bonehead mistakes, you will require the help of others from time to time, and you'll wonder how you got into and out of certain situations. It just comes with the job, and everyone goes through it. The key is to take a deep breath, and deal with the situation at hand. As soon as you get into a hurry out here, is when people get hurt. If you make a few people late, so what? Better that happens, than getting into a hurry and really making people late!"



Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

mikemotorbike's Comment
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turns out i still had the tab open in the background, so I composed a cover letter sentence clicked SEND and my application went through!

well see...but we continue to refine our job search as we refine our career plan

this is hair-raising stuff! A driver should be better prepared, but sometimes, you get in by the skin of your teeth. In this case, cautious and predetermined, I left the 'window open' while I did some research before I jumped.

I'm ready to do it. There's someone to look after Mum, a person to take my rescue dog, and a place in Vancouver (45 min commute), maybe even a place local to the job with a friends Mom. I could be the man about the house. We'll see.

I've got my washing mitts.

ready to wax on, wax off!

Army 's Comment
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Good luck with the application process. Hope you get offers you are happy with.


mikemotorbike's Comment
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Thanks Army, i appreciate that.

2 months since my last post, wow. Been busy, got a job– Septic Pumper. That means we clean out porta potties and tanks.

They were excited to have a driver to relieve their overworked class 3 (3 axles, i.e.: dump truck) driver. Questions and introductions were asked quickly in the boardroom interview with the ops manager and the head manager. It was a huge relief to dislose honestly that I'm new out of school, I don't know anything, I'm learning, and I've never driven commercially before, (except a few days riding shotgun in another septic company where I was fired - for not knowing how to back up steep driveways.

They replied in unison "We like you, can you start immediately?"

Ok....great! "That was easy", I thought, and then my buddy got me hammered that night to celebrate, as I drank my rum and coke I wept long held bittersweet of immense relief. Finally! I got a job.

It 's been a hair-raising journey coming from a mid life crisis, changing my whole life this whole last few years. I lost my Dad, my inheritance beachouse because of his dementia, my Mum inconsolable, my cat died, my dog died, my relationship ended. I sat on the couch for three years and retrieved dead bodies for cash. The universe was kicking my ass.

My entire focus has been becoming a truck driver this whole year. Suspended in midair, highly strung, 100% engaged to the max, and sometimes beyond. Mistakes, accidents, temper flares. Studying, the school...then being tried, fired, dumped, trying again, only to be let go once more– always the trainers same verdict: "Can't drive!, talks too much, can't get a word in edgewise to train."

Insecure after a midlife crisis, I guess I talk too much, too loud, too enthusiastic, too green, too eccentric."

So I got a job sucking poop, something I should be good at, apparently. I love it, and the hours are long, somtimes r15 hr days, mostly 12, rarely 8

regular pay for Driver is $21.44 overtime after 8 hours is time and a half, $32.16 doubletime after 12 hours is $42.88

no breaks, no lunch different trucks to learn to pre trip everyday no route of my own we have to fend for ourselves no training to speak of, a few days with drivers on their established routes

they're swamped, need drivers! The thing is, I'm about one quality job a day. Cleaning a roof, pressure washing a drive. Do it well! Overdeliver! you have all day to make 100-300 bux. Mass production is about numbers, and customer pecking order: the industrial clients should get done first. Know your customers, route plan accordingly. a million details

I never route planned before. I love each and every customer equally, and do the same fantastic job for each. With numbers, you have to learn to cut corners. I'm thorough, and its costing me credibility in the office big time. They discuss me I am told, concerned I'm too slow, that I won't make it. What am I doing, standing there? they can see me on GPS, I am always reminded. What I'm doing is puzzling over google maps, or writing the directions to the true location of the potties.


Its' a bit of a driver secret. They don't write it. I continually live in fear I will lose my job. I am told otherwise by wise people I won't. But I still worry, and want to improve. Everyday is a new lesson. Today it is to go slower to plan and think better.

I haven't received a uniform, tablet, truck, route, locker or keys yet. Other new hires have. I am always being tested, I think. Pushed to grow, new routes every day, new problems, changes, events, and I have to find the hidden porta pottie.) I'm stretched to my limit everyday. It's still like it was in school. All the drivers started when they were 13. One 25 year old got his beginners car licence at 16, "You've got a licence" they said, and was thrown the keys to the propane truck.

The girl quit. They gave her everything. I get nothing but a diesel card. I like the hotdogs at the truck stop. Except, i will admit am given some respect for having a class 1...which I am not aloud to use. At least, yet. They are right, of course. I need to learn to drive in the city. I have improved immensely in a month. But I still do eccentric manouvers which startle other drivers. Truck driving is giving me an objective measure to assess and evaluate my continuing progress as a person. Because its not about the driving, but everything around driving; it's about character.

I feel stipped naked in the garage in front of everybody.


I find it hard to get enough sleep, but my mechanic biker buddy, the one who said I looked like a trucker....the words which inspired me to jump start my life. He's here to take me to lunch with his wife who just won a tennis championship at 65. He's proud of me. *added later* I paid for the lunch! Im working now! Time to pay back favours.

NEver any time to edit, to plan, to anticipate. It's a film composed of raw footage. The principle actor is exhausted, running dangerously on empty Filled with hope and spit, levitating in the air holding himself up by his balls and the everpresent promise of redemption.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

mikemotorbike's Comment
member avatar


Three months and 14k gross earnings later (hey, that's what my schooling cost!)

Beginning new life, I forget it's about the money. I never did it for the money. I learned a lot, wrote down my complaints in a looong post, it felt good to get them off my chest. But I didn't post it. Is this is my first lesson? "Choose your words carefully, like you choose your gears."

Joining a overworked company as relief summer driver was challenging! I am grateful for the opportunity to get wheel time. True, it only required a car class licence, but I learned a lot about highway and city driving in all conditions!

Kudos to my employer for seeing the potential in me, and extending a hand. You took the risk on your expensive equipment and excellent company reputation hiring a new inexperienced driver to represent you, thank you for your respect and confidence in me.

Some things I learned:

Don't try to make make friends listen more, talk less think before acting memorise route, know your exits, write down your questions, ask later convince other drivers to exchange contact info in case you have to ask questions about their route your covering the mechanic is excellent which might make pretrip quicker, but I we are legally liable. Our pre/post trip is on camera. don't look if you tap something backing up (always someone watching). just smoothly move somewhere else. pro tip! construction workers love pranking newbie drivers. trust but verify info. be cheerful poke your face in the office occasionally do what they do, don't change things traditional values, local, H.S. football player have an aura of confidence plan route, zoom closer into google maps to see directional arrows, know your exits ask Operations Manager/dispatch for help proceeding report accidents, take pics pics pics every minute saved adds up to say 40 mins a day!


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.


Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

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