The Jim Palmer Journey Begins!

Topic 24851 | Page 1

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EricTheRed's Comment
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Hi all,

Didn't want to be just a lurker here. Want to try and contribute in any way I can to this site because it's been a tremendous help for me so far. That and there may be something others behind me can pull from my journey, just as I have pulled from that of so many others in front of me.

I've read many journals here. Including the epic rundown by Aaron on his experience with Jim Palmer. I've gone through all of the checklists that I can find or think of and I'm a good portion of the way through the high road training program on this site. Now I'm buckling up for the final two weeks of pre-training (final background pieces, driving record check, etc) and once all is through I "should" be on a bus to Montana for training starting on March 25th. Provided everything goes smoothly from here on out.

Of course, as the past couple of weeks has shown anything can happen. I don't want to assume anything and I'm prepared for more potential bumps in the road, so to speak. But I have a squeaky clean record and one speeding ticket under 15 from about 2 and a half years back, so there isn't anything obvious that should mess things up. Then again nothing in life is promised and there is no such thing as constant smooth sailing on this planet of ours.

But let me back up a bit since some of these other journals do a great job of providing some context. About a month ago I decided the trucking industry and the lifestyle that accompanies it would be a great fit for me. I love the open road. I love to drive. I love to be moving. I love to work and I love to travel. Not just any travel, though, I love travelling the roadways of this great country. Heck, I've driven thousands of miles vs taking a flight for business trips in the past just to see the country and not "fly over it."

As an RVer (yes I know, many drivers loath RVs out there on the road... lol) I've spent many a night at truck stops and Walmarts. The concept and lifestyle is not new to me. But the idea of being paid do live it is.

I've been involved in a start up company for the past year and a half and it has killed me (This was also the source of some of the "bumps in the road" for my initial application process). It blew out my savings and I haven't been paid during that time. No income, 70 hour work weeks and the constant traditional daily grind is just not for me any more. I needed to do something drastic and at 39 I know I shouldn't wait much longer before selecting a new career path.

White picket fences and a 9-5 is something I find rather mundane and, in all honesty, a bit revolting. Give me a cabin in the woods and the ability to explore while being faced with new challenges all day and I'm all in. Driving commercially fits my bill. And fits it well.

Once the decision was made my research began. I've driven 22,000 pound vehicles for years now but a two axle RV is no match for a tractor/trailer. Backing up and big manual transmissions are rather intimidating to me, to be frank. I have no idea what to expect. And no idea how well I'll do with it all. I have no CDL and never have had one. So a paid CDL program was going to have to be my entry point.

In all of my research Jim Palmer remained at the top of my list. A friendly pet/rider policy was key, a good reputable company brought great points to the board, good weekly mileage was a must and a seemingly professional operation was critical. Every turn I made in my research kept bringing me back to Jim Palmer. So that's the route I took.

I applied a few weeks back and my recruiter is Ty. Ty called me within 24 hours and we had a fantastic chat. I felt he was and has been shooting straight with me from the beginning. He's told me things I love as well as some things I didn't like to hear. And he told me straight up I wouldn't like to hear them. I appreciated that. He didn't pitch it all as roses and raindows. He was blunt.

Ty was also very helpful through the process. He had to do a little hand holding along the way and I had some hiccups with employment verification that he helped me work through. There was a point where it felt all hope was lost and he kept at it, never giving up and we stayed on track no matter what.

Last Friday Ty and I had the final "pre-student interview" once we got past the employment verification process. A start date of March 25th was selected for Montana and now here I sit half freaked out and half excited out of my mind. I'm still young at 39, but also old enough to be a little anxious about a 40 hour Greyhound bus ride to an unknown place to spend 10 weeks living with unknown people learning an unknown trade.

It's a bit overwhelming. I feel like a wimp for thinking this way but it is what it is. It's overwhelming. Add to that the fact that I have to take a permit test, learn to drive a big rig and then a CDL test and it's... well... you get the picture. A mental circus is underway that's for sure.

But the road in front of me is paved and now I must traverse it. So let the journey begin...

Provided all goes well between now and the bus ride I'll be posting regular updates/journals/comments in this thread so anyone who might care to can follow along. I hope to bring my own unique perspective to it all. I hope to bring in a new angle if it's at all possible. Will try to anyway. I don't want to copy what others have done but then again this story has been told. Albeit through the lens of another's view. -EricTheRed


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.


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

Pete E Pothole's Comment
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Good luck Eric, I look forward to reading your future posts in this thread.

Old School's Comment
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Welcome aboard Eric, and thanks for posting your journey!

Army 's Comment
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I look forward to reading. I grew up in Missoula and JP is my first choice when I get done with my current career. I have 16 months, not that I am counting.

Turtle's Comment
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Welcome Eric, we're glad to have you. JP is a stellar company, you can do very well there. Don't hesitate to come to us with any questions or concerns you have. We'll try to help in any way we can. Good luck!

EricTheRed's Comment
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Thanks guys really appreciate the welcomes and encouragement. Will provide consistent updates as I have them.

So far nothing to update on really. I had my sort of "student acceptance" type interview on Friday, as mentioned in original post and today should likely have a follow up call from Ty. Had to upload some additional documents over the weekend for him to include in my profile and today they begin knocking out all the background stuff. Hopefully that doesn't take too long or encounter any speed bumps.

PackRat's Comment
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Welcome aboard and good luck heading forward with

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