What A Difference 24 Hours Make

Topic 27104 | Page 1

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Blair's Comment
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Greetings TT, Here is an tale of how 24 hours can significantly alter the timing of getting started. My training partner graduated with his CDL November 7th around 9:30 PM. He went to MVD early Nov 8th, upgraded, and was assigned a mentor within 30 minutes. They coordinated and left Saturday Nov 9th for the wide open road.

I graduated with my CDL November 8th, just one day after my partner. We were part of the evening class, so I finished about 9:00 Friday night. Our MVD was closed for Veteran's Day Nov 11th, so I would have to wait until Tuesday the 12th to finish my paperwork. I also chose to wait 1 more week before leaving my job, delaying my upgrade until Nov 20th. First potential mentor is on home time beginning the 26th so they passed; second mentor did not want a student at this time; third mentor accepted me and then cancelled 12 hours before launch to also take home time (lease ops from what he said.) The company is very focused on coordinating me with someone at my local terminal so we can take home time simultaneously. I can appreciate the effort to make family time during the holidays a priority.

Here is where things get funny! The fourth mentor was arriving at the terminal Sunday morning and was ready to go, but she is also taking home time this week. She had a load to Colorado and a pre-load back to Phoenix where we could be home Thursday or Friday. Great! Let's roll! We pack up, and her truck won't start, throwing error codes for maintenance. We drove over to the trailer drop off area, crawled to the maintenance shed, and now we are back to square one. Realistically we won't be rolling until Friday or Saturday after the holiday. I like this mentor and I know we will get along fine, just a lot of Murphy's Law this month delaying my start. I have the feeling once Thanksgiving is over we will run without too many hiccups. Until then, all I can do is roll with the punches.

Dumb as it may sound this lesson in patience, even before I start out of the gate, is a good reminder to impact change when you can and go with the flow otherwise. Even if my partner and I upgraded the same day I still may have encountered similar challenges getting started with me waiting until closer to the holidays to begin. My mind keeps going back to that 24 hour separation between CDL's, and how just a few hours can dramatically change life's schedule. Stay safe this week everyone!



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.


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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
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Blair, your patience and flexibility are great assets for a top driver. Keep it that way!


Junkyard Dog's Comment
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I agree with Errol.... I am not a patient person but you have to roll with the punches when it comes to trucking. So many times we are stuck waiting to be loaded or unloaded. You have a great attitude. Be a sponge and absorb everything she has to teach you. I'm hoping your patience pays off and you have one hell of a trainer.

Blair's Comment
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I just contacted my mentor. As I suspected, everyone needs to get past the holiday and will start fresh. Our home locations are in the greater PHX area and we are starting Friday afternoon. This gentleman appears to be more organized with specific markers laid out during our tentative 5-ish weeks on the road. I remain cautiously optimistic this will be a better fit to begin my OTR training. Happy holidays everyone!



Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Michael W.'s Comment
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Welcome to trucking, you sir will go far... Hurry up and wait is not an oxymoron out here, it is a fact of life...

Blair's Comment
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Greetings TT!

I found a mentor this week the day before Thanksgiving. He has 23 years, about 3.3 million miles, and is a highly rated driver in the Swift world. We left on Friday at 11 from PHX to Henderson, Nevada, delivering a live unload to Costco. All told about 8.5 hours between on duty, scaling out, drive tine, and unload. Not bad for a first trip! Weather was mixed, offering fairly gusty winds, rain, and some blowing snow.

Trip 2, Vegas to Lacey, Washington. My mentor said he would like to get as much winter mountain driving in as possible over the next few weeks. Day 1 of trip 2, we pulled out around 12 noon north on 93 through eastern Nevada. We stopped in Ely to try and get more day driving the next day.

Day 2, trip 2. Trial by fire! I drove through snow, had to chain going west on 84 in Oregon, and capped a fabulous first leg with a trip down "Cabbage Hill." Thankfully no snow, dry conditions. Significant fog was present, i could only see 3 dashed white lines ahead. Jake set to full, truck in 8th gear, and a ride down at 27 mph in the dark about 6pm. Honestly it wasn't as bad as i anticipated. Loaded we're 64k, so things could have been much more interesting. I fully expected to shart, but managed to pull through. Tomorrow we deliver with a pre plan to Cali.

Night TT!

- Blair


Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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Sounds like fun!

Glad to hear from you! Hang in there.

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