Jim Palmer Trucking - Missoula MT

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Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
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Where to start? Why not at the beginning? Sure, sounds great!

Well, I’m not going to start at the very beginning because that would lead to a really long story. Think I'll start when I first contacted Jim Palmer Trucking. Filled out the online application June, 24 2018. Elyi, the recruiter, called me back the next morning and we had a really good conversation. He told me about Jim Palmer Trucking and what they had to offer. We also talked about my background and all that fun stuff. He also sent me a few emails with how the training program works and pay structure.

Next call with Elyi was an official interview call July 6th. Nothing out of the ordinary. Mainly about my background and why I chose Jim Palmer Trucking to which my reply was, I found this really cool website called truckingtruth.com. Truckingtruth.com gave me all the info I need to make an informed decision on which companies to apply to. I picked Jim Palmer Trucking for a few reasons and never looked back. Also, he wanted to know why I wanted to become a truck driver. That being, I grew up on a farm driving everything I could including a semi-truck or two.

Bug really didn't hit until 24 years ago when I started delivering trailers (car and utility). Pulling double stacks with about 5 or 6 trailers on each stack using my Chevy one ton dully. Talk about fun and nerve. Being out on the open road was awesome! Traveling all over Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri was really cool. Sad thing was, the money wasn’t there. $5/hr shop time and $0.25 both ways wasn’t enough to support a family on. Yes, I could take tax deductions all expenses (fuel, mileage, maintenance and meals) but the math still didn’t add up. So did the next logical thing. Talk to a few drivers and a recruiter or two. Everything sounded great to me but the now ex-wife said NO! So found a new job welding, went to college and a few years later got into IT. So fast forward 24 years, no wife, kids are all grown and I’m tired of IT as a career. Think y’all might be able see where this is going. :-)

Since the July 6th to this week Elyi has kept in touch with me at least once a week if not twice a week. This week he has given me feedback on the process every day! Yesterday, July 24th, Elyi called to let me know that all the background check were done and I had officially been accepted in the Jim Palmer’s training program.

Today, July 25th, there was a lot of stuff going on. Paperwork to sign online, videos to watch and training modules to do. And last but not least, travel arrangements to be made. I’ll be leaving Wichita at 1:45 am on Saturday then arriving in Missoula around 7:30 am on Sunday. WOOT!! A 31+ hour bus ride! I can hardly wait!

Won’t really have anything else to post about this adventure until Monday evening. Unless y’all want to read about the bus trip. I'm sure it will be super exciting! :-) Next week will be very busy but I’ll try to update on the process and my progress daily of I can.

Quick side note on how it all works (seems pretty close to how Prime works):
First Week is paperwork, classes and CDL Permit. Don’t know how much initial in truck training there will be. I’ll ask about that tomorrow when Elyi calls.
After you get in the trainer’s truck it’s all based on miles.
0-10k is called D-Seat. At this point you’ll be training to take the CDL tests with the trainer.
After you earn your CDL you upgrade to C-Seat which last 10k miles.
Next is the upgrade to B2-Seat and is 10k miles.
Then the upgrade to B1-Seat and is, you guessed it, 10k miles.
Last is your upgrade to A-Seat and the BIG TIME!

Pay break down as of July 2018 is this.
Before CLP , nothing, nada, zilch! But, they provide a hotel room, transportation to and from hotel, breakfast at the hotel and lunch!
D-Seat (CLP), as long as you’re in the truck you can get a max advance of $200/wk. Repaid $25/wk once you sign on the dotted line.
C-Seat (CDL has been earned!), $600 min / $.12/mile whichever is greater.
B2-Seat, $700 min / $.14/mile whichever is greater.
B1-Seat, $700 min / $.14/mile whichever is greater.
A-Seat, no minimum / $.xx/mile (whatever you and the recruiter agreed on) plus fuel bonuses.

Until next time, Peace!

P.S. Regarding Elyi (does all the talking) and Lisa (gets things done :-) ), I can’t say enough good thing about them. Can’t wait to finally meet both next week!

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.

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.

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Han Solo Cup's Comment
member avatar

Thanks KnowItAll, I appreciate the training time and pay breakdown info. Jim Palmer is on my list and this is good info to know. Good luck with your training and cram in as much High Road Training as you can before you leave. Keep us posted!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

T -4 days!

Talked with my recruiter, Elyi, today about some of the training process. After getting my permit Tuesday there will be yard training on PTI, backing and driving for the remainder of the week.

Not much else to up date on other then I'm working through Pre-Trip Inspection.

Until next time, take care.

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.

Army 's Comment
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Sweet, any update is a good update lol....

Enjoy school.

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

Dang straight! An update means there is forward movement! LOL

Quick story time! Was joking around with the recruiter this morning when he called. Told him I was going to call his cell phone for regular early morning (as in 03:00 and 04:00) updates on the bus ride. rofl-2.gif Strange, he didn't seem to interested in that idea. smile.gif

Army 's Comment
member avatar

rofl-3.gif

Han Solo Cup's Comment
member avatar

I'm also excited to read your diary. And I can't imagine being in your shoes... so excited and nervous at the same time.

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

Welp, day 1 down! This is going to be a short update. First off was the DOT physical. I passed! Next was a tour of the place. Lunch then drug screening. Rest of the day was orientation and signing on the dotted line.

First thing tomorrow will CLP test.

Tired, need a shower and sleep now.

Until next time!

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

Wow! It's been a week since I last updated! I apologizes for that but it's likely to happen again. LOL

Anyway, I left off that CLP testing was Tuesday. I PASSED! Missed 1 on general knowledge, 0 on air brakes and 1 on combination. After lunch those of us that passed got to drive around bobtail for the afternoon. My double clutching was really shaky. Gears where ground to dust! Towards the end of my drive I was starting to get the hang of it.

Wednesday 8/1 watched some videos, did some pretrip, coupling/uncoupling, straight line backing and that was about it. It was a slow day.

Thursday 8/2 was a busy day. In the morning 3 of us (one was still waiting on a trainer so he came along) went out with the instructor pulling 53' of trailer. Went down town and around some pretty tight areas. Learned a LOT and my up shifting and down shifting improved. Two of us went back out driving again w/trailer. I got to drive around Missoula quite a bit. Worked on down shifting in traffic. Blew the recovery a few missed shifts but other than that it was a great drive.

Friday was backing and some more backing. Got the straight line. That's the easy part. LOL Did "okay" on 90 and offset.

Saturday was a fun day! Got to drive some more and work on backing. Was able to run the test course and did good until I missed a recovery pulling into the test site.

Sunday I rode along with some of the folks that are testing this week. I watch and picked their brains. Got to do backing on the actual test site so that was a win! (90 was really ugly but would have passed LOL). Got to drive back to the yard with a detour out west where I was able to work on down shifting and missed shift recovery. That really helped a lot!

Monday (today) 8/6. Went out to the yard first thing and worked on pre-trip. Then worked on backing. Straight line and offset are good but lets just say I was having a bad 90 Monday and move on. After lunch I rode around again with the instructor and some of the students that are testing this week. Sponge was engaged! Learned a lot about what to do and not to do!

Love being able to talk with the others that have more experience. It has really helped with pre-trip, backing and driving.

Forgot a few thing. My classmate went out with his trainer/coach Saturday. Mine will be here sometime this week. Cool with me, more backing practice and seat time.

Hopefully I'll be able to update sooner because I'm sure there was something missed.

Until next time!

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

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.

Double Clutching:

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Dave (formerly known as K's Comment
member avatar

See, told y'all I forgot something! Got some feed back that I'm good on the pre-trip! Nailed the in cab and air brake test! Now, if I can just repeat that come CDL test day!

Later!

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.
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