My Roehl Training Adventure

Topic 27143 | Page 2

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Wild-Bill's Comment
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Cowboy, I haven't heard if you get a choice on transmissions. I think you get what's available. I'm pretty sure like every other company, they're moving to all automatics. I like that we're training on manuals even though it add a huge amount of difficulty to the process. It seems like it will make me a better driver either way. Keep us posted on your progress.

Wild-Bill's Comment
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Day 4 down. We were in or on the trucks almost all day. As I expected yesterday, the wheat is starting to be separated from the chaff so to speak.

Pre-trip in the morning. Then on the driving range until lunch. Two of the four truck teams were pulling a trailer. My group is a bit behind as two people are still struggling with shifting. I Know they wont let us fall too far behind, but I'm pretty jealous that some of the groups are going to ride the roads in the industrial park and we're almost certainly going to be stuck on the driving range tomorrow. I fell like I'm getting more and more comfortable every time I get behind the wheel. Double clutching is getting more consistent. I'm still deep clutching, but I found that if i move the seat back a couple notches, I was more consistent about using the working clutch rather than burying the thing. I'll have to remember to set the seat up properly tomorrow. The downshifting is still a struggle, but that is getting better.

After Lunch, the trainers had a meeting, so we got some good pre-trip practice in. After studying the pre-trip last night in the hot tub (helps me think better). I was able to go through it without using the cheat sheet. I got about 75%. So, I know I'll have that part nailed down by early next week.

We had a different trainer helping us after the meeting as our trainer was running the simulator. We each got to do a few laps with him. It was my first time backing the tractor out from the parking spot and that felt pretty smooth. I know it'll be a completely different animal once a trailer is attached. Anyway. we learned a few different tricks from him that I think will help us. Our truck mate that is struggling the most got the "this program is fast and some people may do better with a slower paced training" talk. It was made clear that you can't go backwards and if anyone has three days of little to no progress they will get some one on one time with a different trainer to try to work out whatever they're struggling with. It's good to know that they will give you the opportunity for one on one time before any next steps.

After the break, we got a chance to get on the simulator to try some turns with a trailer. I don't really like the simulator. It just doesn't have the feel at all. Two of the folks that are struggling in class (one on our truck and one on another) got the promised one on one time. I hope that help for them. It seems like the company does everything in their power to help people be successful.

Well, that's about it for today. I'm heading off to stucdy with my pre-trip partner. then some hot tub time before bed.

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.

Cowboy's Comment
member avatar

Sounds good, Wild-Bill. The best thing about training and testing on a manual is that you won't have that dreaded "Automatic Restriction" on your CDL. I'm still researching hard. Right now I'm comparing/contrasting Roehl and Jim Palmer Trucking to see which one might fit best with what I want to do in my career.

Sounds like you're doing just fine. Keep up the hard work and keep posting.

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.
Wild-Bill's Comment
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Thanks for the words of encouragement Cowboy. I was beginning to wonder if anyone is reading this. Either way its helpful to me to spend a few minutes to think about and write down the days events.

Old School's Comment
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Wild Bill, people read these diaries. They are very popular. They don't typically generate discussion, but people are definitely reading them. Keep it up - you're doing a great job!

Rob T.'s Comment
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Wild Bill, people read these diaries. They are very popular. They don't typically generate discussion, but people are definitely reading them. Keep it up - you're doing a great job!

100% agree with Old School. I get anxious waiting to hear how the day went. I love being able to see someone improve and feel the excitement when things are going well. The diary section is usually my first stop when checking into the forum. Even if you dont feel like people are reading them I assure you we are. Documenting your journey will be helpful for many people to come. For example, "Cowboy" just commented on a couple threads from the past about Roehl including one from over 5 years ago! You're helping many more people know what to expect than you think. I had done a diary and enjoy looking back at it and seeing how far I've come.

You will have some days in school and on the road you feel like nothing's going your way, then the next everything goes perfect. You're doing great, keep it up!

Wild-Bill's Comment
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Day 5. It's hard to believe the first week is almost over. Today was a frustrating day. I need to clear my head this weekend and start Monday with a fresh perspective.

We started as usual with pre-trip. My partner and I almost have it down 100%. We practiced last night and it helped a ton. By Monday, I should be able to do it in my sleep. We got on the driving range and everyone took turns dialing in our shifting. I took the first turn because everyone seems reluctant to go next. That started my frustration for the day. I get a bit snippy and said *&%$ people, we're here to drive. You guys need the practice the most, but if none of you want your turn, I'll be happy to take it. Probably didn't make any friends there, but damn, if you don't want to drive or step out of your comfort zone, why the hell did you come to school.

For the most part my deep clutching is getting better. Double clutching is more natural (I think I only forgot once). I'm more confident in quickly downshifting to slow the tractor in a shorter distance. My downshifting still needs work. I forget to rev too often. All in all though I got solid laps in with little or no correction. But I want to move on to the next steps. I've been pushing hard all week and this was the first morning that I didn't feel I was being pushed out of my comfort zone and frankly I didn't like it. I was watching all of the other groups working with trailers, doing backing maneuvers and getting out on the road in the industrial park. I'm very frustrated (to put it mildly) that I'm in the group that is struggling to make progress. I'm extremely nervous about getting out on the road, but, I know we'll never get to do the job if we can't get off the damn driving range.

We have two on our truck that are still struggling with basic shifting and space management. They're letting their nerves get in the way of their thinking. I'm trying to be supportive, but, it just plain ticks me off that we're being held back by our weakest link. On the other hand, It's encouraging to see how much time and attention they give to people that are struggling. They keep trying different techniques and methods to get them up to speed. It seems like they give every opportunity to be successful. I was very concerned about all of the stories of people getting sent home. Now that I see how much attention people get when they're struggling, It makes me feel much better about the program. No question there's pressure and it's a short program. Some people will need more time than a short company training program allows and there's nothing wrong with that. I know there are many successful drivers on this forum that struggled in school. You'll need some thick skin as is talked about many times here. But the caring part of the tough love is evident at least to me.

Just before lunch, we hooked up to a trailer for the first time. I was the first one out with the trailer. Unfortunately, I let it get into my head somehow and made some stupid mistakes; Missing shift points, Cutting corners too close etc. I had a tough time judging distance in the mirrors. I just couldn't see where my tires were in relation to the corner and that would throw me off until I got to the straightaways. After a few laps I felt a bit better.

We did a cool exercise called "heartbreak Hill" where we had to find the sweet spot in the clutch to hold the truck on an incline using only the clutch. After a few tries, I was able to do it in 4th gear. For my money that was the best lesson of the day. It really helped my deep clutching habit.

Before we broke up our instructor announced that he was willing to come back Saturday at noon to give us some extra time behind the wheel. Saturday is usually a half day and I really appreciate him taking time out of his day off to help us out. I was planning on going home for the weekend, But, I cant miss out on the opportunity for extra practice time. My family will just have to practice being understanding of the new lifestyle.

Ok that's it for now. It feels good to vent that. I'm going to go have some dinner and clear my head to start fresh for tomorrow.

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.

Wild-Bill's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rob & Old School for the encouragement. I read about every diary I could while I was thinking about this career. I know they helped me know what to expect. That's why I'm taking the time to write this. I hope it will help someone at some point. I'll tell you what, It's also helpful for me to just debrief the day. I'm Sure I'll look back on it on one of those bad days to see how far I've come.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I check out the Training Diaries section several times a day, so I'm reading it, too.

Appalachained's Comment
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Thanks for the words of encouragement Cowboy. I was beginning to wonder if anyone is reading this. Either way its helpful to me to spend a few minutes to think about and write down the days events.

I’m reading every word and checking everyday for an update. Lol

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