Sage Cdl Academy, Part Two (driving Practice)

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Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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The only complaint was today, and that was that I was doing too much, NY is so backed up they want you to get thru it quickly.

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Wow, I’d love to have a word with the instructor who made such a suggestion. Be thorough Grumpy, don’t allow anyone or anything rush you through the PTI. If the DOT examiner believes you know the material, they will tell you to shorten it up or what to skip.

He was saying to combine things as much as possible that the inspector would tell us to hurry it up as they are so backed up.

I figure I’ll do what I can but if he wants me to Hurry he will have to tell me.

I didn’t have any drives scheduled today but I swung by the range around 5 pm just to check. I was correct, there is a nice new rental there, LOL. Not sure if it was Penske or Ryder, it was dark. I knew they weren’t getting that truck fixed that fast.

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.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Day 6

I got to drive the rental a bit this morning. What a joy to drive a nice truck, lol

The only problem was there was 1/4” of ice on the entire pad, so nothing reacted like it did the day before. I got a few successful offsets and parallels, but I worked hard for them. The last offset I did I really messed up so bad I just gave up and went around the building to do a parallel. When I came back to the offset my instructor was waiting and waived me off the pad. I thought “uh-oh, I screwed up so bad he is tossing me out of the truck”!

I climbed down and he asked where I was going. Thinking fast I said I had to use the bathroom really quick. :)

So I spent about 4 hours on crappy roads driving. We drove all around the countryside around Rome New York on a bunch of narrow curvy roads, steep hills, interstate , you name it. Some roads were so narrow I had to watch I didn’t hit the curb while driving around curves. Driving through a tiny small towns And farm country.

At one point I was driving down a narrow road with traffic coming towards me in the pouring rain, and a UPS truck was parked half in the street. I successfully maneuvered around him flashers on, inching my way along. Instructor said I did very well.

G-Town, you were correct, I was pushing the clutch in too far. Today when I left the range I scooted the seat all the way back and did much better.

Tomorrow I drive for 4 hours on the pad, then 4 hours on the road, night driving again.

It’s going to be a long day.

Interstate:

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

Han Solo Cup (aka, Pablo)'s Comment
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Very cool! I'm happy to hear you're doing well and it was a treat to hear someone mention Rome, NY. I used to live there about 30 years ago, loved it. Good luck!

G-Town's Comment
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It’s getting more “real” Grumpy. Just continue taking your time, you’re doing great. Good diary.

Safe travels!

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Thanks guys, I appreciate the support.

Day seven

Went out today for four hours on city streets, back country again, and interstates and lots and lots of ramps.

I did well, but I am definitely not a fan of driving in the city.

I got so comfortable calling out hazards, I was holding a conversation with my instructor, and in the middle of a conversation would say crosswalk clear and continuing on with conversation as if nothing happened.

After that four hours, I went back to the range and practiced parallel parking in the dark. The only lights they had were set up between my truck and the cones, so once I started backing up I couldn’t see anything.

I also did a hook, and got to drive a nice new Volvo around for a little while. Of course, nice and new was a 2013 with 600,000 miles, but compared to the schools trucks it was nice and new.

At the end of the day I ask my instructor with what he is seen so far, if he thought I would pass my test. He said absolutely, that I was doing excellent. I hope he is right, and not trying to make me feel good.

I have a bad habit I can’t seem to shake, and I don’t even know why I do it. Every now and then, I rev the engine while shifting, as if I’m shifting down. Got to break that habit.

Yes G-Town, it is getting very real now. On one hand I’m apprehensive, on the other I can’t wait to get started.

Interstate:

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

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Day nine

Nothing really interesting today, just more parallel parking, offset backing, and one new thing, a couple tries at an alley dock.

I did OK the first couple times on the alley dock, the next two weren’t so great, and then it was time to go home.

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Day 10

4 hours of city streets, then some 4 lane divided, then back country roads again.

The first time through city streets, the instructor told me when to turn, then I went back through on my own. No issues at all. On the first run, I barely missed a curb, on the way back on my own, I held it just a hair longer before turning and missed by about 3 inches. Everything else went great. I only messed up one shift in the whole 4 hours, so hopefully I've got that sorted out.

I'm actually posting this on day 11. Today is my last 4 hour drive this morning, and then at 2:30 is my road test. I will either have my CDL , or will be doing the walk of shame. :)

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.
Pete E Pothole's Comment
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I have faith that you will have your CDL in hand this afternoon. Just remember to breathe, and follow the steps you have been taking all this time in school.

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.
PackRat's Comment
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Well?

Grumpy Old Man's Comment
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Well?

LOL, as you know by now, I passed.

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Day 12

Four hours or so of back country twisty roads going to my CDL road test. I had to pull into a gas station to get diesel, that was a treat. It was a tight fit, LOL.

I got to my appointment, the inspector had the cones up for the straight back. He had me do a PTI from the door to back of truck, and the coupling, which includes connections, fifth wheel, apron, etc.

He had me do the straight back, then moved cones for an offset left, then moved the cones for a parallel. The only problem I had is his setup was wider than the schools, so it threw me off from what I had been practicing. Luckily, I knew what to do to correct, and got it in both with no pullups or GOALs. I was about to GOAL after I backed into the parallel, but he was picking up the cones already, so I got that with no pullup either. Oh yeah, the cones he uses are like the ones on CSI they put by bullet casings, about 3 inches high, LOL.

I may have this sequence wrong, but I don't think so. I think he had me do the maneuvers before the incab and brake check to see if he could mess me up, because after the brake check, we went straight out on the road. He hopped in the cab, and told me to do whatever I would normally do before hitting the road, so I told him I needed to perform a static brake check. He said go ahead, and after the leak down and fan down parts, I said I need to start the truck to build air for the next step. I said while we wait, I will do my incab inspection.

Went through the incab, he asked if there was anything else I needed to do, and I said yes, I need to finish my brake check. He asked me to tell him how I would do the tug test and 50 foot checks, and said OK, you're good we can go. I aksed again, to verify, if he didn't want me to do the checks, and he said no, you described it well enough, let's hit the road.

As we started moving, he said, don't call out hazards, I know them as well as you. I'll test you on a few, but you don't need to call them out. He said if you have something more interesting to talk about, it will be more fun for both of us.

I started to go out a driveway farther back from the intersection, because I knew from my instructors I needed to get in the outside of two right turn lanes, and then into the right hand one before the turn. He said we can go out here. I said I'm not sure I have enough room to make it to the right hand lane before the turn. He said well, you either will, or you won't. I'm not sure if he was saying he didn't care, or that I would lose points. I did make it, but was on the solid line entering the turn before I made it over. I don't think he deducted points, but I have no way of knowing for sure.

We drove through a variety of streets, some tight turns, back onto a divided highway, and back to the testing area. As I pulled back in, he repeated where to turn in as if he thought I missed it, and I said yes, I'm just making sure I clear that guardrail.

I pulled back up to his car, and he said, "not too shabby, I thought maybe you were sharking me". I said excuse me? He said I thought maybe you already had your license and were testing me. I said no, I had never had a CDL, and he said good. He got out, and my instructor told me he said he wished all his tests were this easy.

He never did say I passed, just printed a receipt and had me sign it, then said this receipt and your permit will be your license until you go to DMV to get your license, wait 48 hours.

I told my instructor later what he said about sharking him, and he said, Oh, he thought you were someone from DOT checking on him.

My instructor drove back, gave me my folder, I went to the school and picked up my certificate.

That concludes my diary for Sage (Rome, NY). I am off to H.O. Wolding 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.

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.

DMV:

Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Motor Vehicles

The state agency that handles everything related to your driver's licences, including testing, issuance, transfers, and revocation.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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