Just Got My Truck This Week

Topic 22985 | Page 1

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Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

I don't post on here very often but I am an Avid Reader of the forums. Started thinking about Trucking years ago I really got serious about it last fall. Found this website and started doing the High Road program. I'm really good about absorbing what I read and I did really well on the tests on here. I decided in April to take the plunge went and got my CDL permit and all the endorsements I could and passed everything I could the first day. I went to Des Moines Area Community College for CDL training. 30 + years ago during college I used to drive dump trucks in the Summer for the County engineer where I lived. They had Detroits and Eaton Transmissions and I had no trouble driving them. I did extremely well in the classroom portion of CDL class but I struggled with double clutch shifting and backing was a nightmare.

I failed backing miserably the first day of testing. And I posted this before but I literally had another student take a toy truck and two brochures and he showed me what the teachers couldn't get through my head. Without even practice on what he showed me on the table I passed my backing tests and then barely passed my driving test.

I started training with Butler transport and I had a trainer that was incredible. He had been in the business for 24 years. We had some things in common but I wouldn't say he and I would be best friends if we knew each other outside of this. First day I was with him I drove 450 miles. My arms shoulders and neck we're killing me because I was so stressed out. But he was so positive. Several times the first week I drove close to 650 miles a day. He told me you don't have to drive this far. When you get tired let me know. But I needed to prove to myself that I made the right choice. And I really love driving. Sometimes I'll go an hour or more without the radio even on. The stories that guy told me about his training experiences. I seriously believe he should write a book. We would literally drive all day never had the radio on and we would just talk. About Trucking, family life, he loved the questions I asked him... About how to manage time, how was your try to set up how to get into the spot... I still struggle greatly with this... He told me I will for probably a year LOL more later about that. Anyway I got done with training on Monday. We pulled in late Monday night. And slept at the terminal in the truck. Never heard him get up that morning, but I heard him when he opened the door and said hey buddy you got a truck. And it's a nice one. And it is... a Kenworth huge sleeper lots of storage... And it's a manual. Guess what I trained on an automatic.

I looked at him and said I knew this was going to happen, he laughed and said he did too. He could have left right away with another trainee. But he stayed that day, and said let's go driving. We probably drove for 4 hours...some grinding, missed gears, but he was happy with my progress and said guess what? Only you will hear the gears grinding...lol. funny thing is my down-shifting is probably my strongest point especially double downs... Something I just couldn't get during school. Wouldn't this be a sweet career if all we had to do is drive interstates? So I go to hook up a trailer for my first run... And as I looked at it I knew the trailer was too low. My trainer was already gone but I had read about this on here, trailer was loaded so there was no way I was going to Crank It Up so I dropped the airbags and it barely was under. it has been raining in the yard the whole day and I just couldn't get the tires to keep from spinning when I tried to hook up. Called my Trainer told him what the deal was and he said get rough with it. LOL so I did and got it hooked up. Got the first delivery done dropped the trailer and went to hook up on another one and I'll be damned. This trailer was way too high. I'm sure by now someone's messing with me. I learned about the dangers of a high hook and wasn't about to let that happen to me. At least it's easier lowering a loaded trailer. So I pull into the truck stop for the night only a few spots left and I'm trying like hell to get into a small spot... Must have taken me ten GOALs and numerous pull ups but I got in without hitting anything and with extreme patience from a couple drivers waiting to get into their spots. I have had several drivers help me the last days... Walked over to my truck and said new driver? I said yes, and trust me I sweat bullets as I'm trying to do the backing but I'm not ashamed or hurried because I'm having trouble.

Two things my trainer stressed... Use all your space to turn and don't hit anything.

One bit of advice for new drivers. We are looking at our mirrors. And usually looking low. I almost clipped a reefer today because I was looking at the bottom of the trailer as I was backing. It was very tight and if I hadn't got out and looked I would have had my first accident... Seriously I get out and look every 3 or 4 ft if I'm not comfortable with what I'm doing. I am not at all discouraged when I fail to do something I think I should have down. I know this is a process. I'm a lot older than 95% of the people on here there are new. I'm at the age that I'm going to do this... This is a career that doesn't judge you by your age but by what you can do. Had to set at a Walmart Distribution Center for 8 hours yesterday. Didn't get loaded until 2pm today and drove 10 hours, long day, but I love it.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Interstate:

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

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.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

That is a great story. There are highly dedicated, motivated trainers out there who are reasonable and decent human beings. Just don’t hear about them as much.

A couple of thoughts on hooking;

Use the differential lock-out when getting under a low-set trailer. It spreads out the torque over 4 wheelsets as opposed to 2.

You can crank-up a fully loaded trailer if you use the low-speed setting on the landing gear. The fallback if available, have a jockey driver raise the trailer for you so you can more easily spin the landing gear crank.

Great point on watching high and low on the mirror when backing, especially if on an uneven or rutted surface.

Good luck on the solo running. Safe travels!

Junkyard Dog's Comment
member avatar

It's been a crazy week. I ran the I-70 corridor for the first 4 days and everything went smooth for the most part. At times my backing went great. Other times a disaster. Then I went to Dallas. My trainer told me he hated it... And now I know why. Even with my Garmin I missed my turns, if I violated my hours of service trying to find parking. Ended up paying for a night at a Motel 6 because they had truck parking but at least I got to shower...lol. I tried for 2 hours to find parking. Walmarts in Dallas do not let you park there unlike other markets.

Ended up sitting at a Walmart Distribution Center for 5 hours and then went to my pickup and I missef my load time because of the Distribution Center so I sat there for three and a half hours. I'm now headed for Loveland Colorado and my clock was ticking dangerously low again... As I cross the Oklahoma border I saw a sign for a casino pulled in there and literally got the last spot.

I'm totally wiped out. At least I'm driving Interstate all day tomorrow and shouldn't hit any rush hours. Still going to be late for my Loveland delivery, because I will be out of hours just as I'm getting there if everything goes well... And we know how that is?

Road construction, missed turns, and setting wondering when I'm going to be released? Yeah this is part of the learning curve you guys told me about. There are times what you want to say f it. But other times I go this is awesome.

Interstate:

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

Amish country's Comment
member avatar

It's always tough the first few weeks just keep at it. Everything will get easier and if you're learning you won't keep making those little mistakes. It all gets easier if you give it a fair chance. Forget about the previous days troubles and focus on the new day and clean clock.

You got this!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Sorry for my spelling last night. I was so tired but I was wired from the long day. I drove 600 miles today all interstate would have more but an accident and a lady's car that overheated sitting in the mess cost me an hour. I-70 through Kansas is awesome... Good road, light traffic but I don't have Sirius in my truck so finding something to listen to it was a little hard... You get a station you're into... And it's gone in 15 minutes LOL.

Interstate:

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

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

It's been a crazy week. I ran the I-70 corridor for the first 4 days and everything went smooth for the most part. At times my backing went great. Other times a disaster. Then I went to Dallas. My trainer told me he hated it... And now I know why. Even with my Garmin I missed my turns, if I violated my hours of service trying to find parking. Ended up paying for a night at a Motel 6 because they had truck parking but at least I got to shower...lol. I tried for 2 hours to find parking. Walmarts in Dallas do not let you park there unlike other markets.

Ended up sitting at a Walmart Distribution Center for 5 hours and then went to my pickup and I missef my load time because of the Distribution Center so I sat there for three and a half hours. I'm now headed for Loveland Colorado and my clock was ticking dangerously low again... As I cross the Oklahoma border I saw a sign for a casino pulled in there and literally got the last spot.

I'm totally wiped out. At least I'm driving Interstate all day tomorrow and shouldn't hit any rush hours. Still going to be late for my Loveland delivery, because I will be out of hours just as I'm getting there if everything goes well... And we know how that is?

Road construction, missed turns, and setting wondering when I'm going to be released? Yeah this is part of the learning curve you guys told me about. There are times what you want to say f it. But other times I go this is awesome.

Drove down to Austin two weeks ago and hadn't been down I-35 in 15 years. Seeing that casino really surprised me. Man, that thing is BIG!

Interstate:

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

Squirrellyguns's Comment
member avatar

All around congrats! Time is a monster that will be the bane of our existence at times for sure. As I drive my remaining training time even as a team with my trainer, you see just how much attention you have to pay to it in order to get the job done. Keep up the good work and you can never have too many goals when the outcome is a safe parking job. Keep it safe!

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