Moe's CDL Training Diary

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Moe's Comment
member avatar

I am writing my own CDL training diary detailing my trucking experience up to this point, I will try to keep it as brief as possible. Normally I would have preferred to email this to a site admin first before publishing, but I don't know how to do that here. Any way here it goes.

As you all know by now my name is Moe, short for Moses. I wish I could just say that I have lived up to this point a fairly average life - church , school , work , relationships all of that. But I haven't. Most of my life , I have struggled with what many would know and understand to be the loser mentality. I was never very popular by any means, I was picked on most of my life and was always the fat kid who was the brunt of someone (or group of someones') jokes that I never seemed to get or understand until it was told to me or so plainly obvious that it smacked you in the face and then you KNEW, they don't like you and they are making fun of you (I will tie all of this into trucking, promise). My step father was a very emotionally and sometimes physically abusive substance abuser (alcohol) and my mother - while hard working and professional , has had her own demons over the years , which caused her to be very negative and volatile (emotionally) at times.

To cope with all of that negativity and drama , I did what many I knew and many of whom you have known over the years have done. I escaped - I numbed the pain , I turned to marijuana , alcohol , tobacco and most of all FOOD. to numb myself out.

As you can imagine, that type of world doesn't leave much open for inspiration, creativity , a desire for hard work or much success (material or otherwise). Upon waking up and realizing that substance use and over eating was not going to solve my issues, I had to take jobs to survive. I had tried my hand at mechanical trades in my early 20s and BOMBED horribly- being fired from several jobs back to back. I had to realize that I simply wasn't cut out to work in the shop or keep up with the pace of demands. Thus began my 20 some odd year career in financial services, banking and mortgages. I spent 10 years working for various companies before landing the longest job of my life working for a local mortgage servicer at the start of the 2006-2009 housing collapse.

While I was grateful for the job, I HATED almost every minute of it. I would begrudgingly go to work and do my job finding different ways to tune out the nonsense of certain co workers and customers without the use of substances. I was glad that I had work during the hardest times of recent American history , yet on the other hand I hated what I was doing. I basically went to work and collected a paycheck.

Up to this point in my life , I have never had a trade , a skill, something I could rely upon to sustain myself, something that I could be really proud of. I had tried and FAILED, so I settled for a life of mediocrity pushing papers, making phone calls and tolerating the nonsense of the corporate shenanigans. This went on for close to 20 years and I was miserable every day I went into that office or offices.

In 2017, I had what I thought was a heart attack. I was at work and my chest tightened and tightened HARD. I found it difficult to breath and felt dizzy. I was scared to hell as I was only 39 at the time, yet I was also overweight. I drove myself to my doctor office in a PNW Ice storm in January of that year. I was told it was a panic attack and given time to rest. This is really where the start of this whole CDL saga that you all have been a part of with me began. It's said that life has a way of forcing things (change mainly) onto a person (whether we like it or not) and I knew that I needed to make some changes. I lost over 100 pounds that year and took better care of myself.

It was a fight, plain and simple. Do I want to live or do I want to have something worse happen to me? I had to look at things honestly. I was not happy with my LIFE. It wasn't that I was just stuck in a moment in time, I had had a lifetime of disappointments, rejections and failures and I responded to all of that by adopting a rather apathetic, woe is me Eyor (if that is spelled right) type of attitude.

(Part two incoming)

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.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.
Moe's Comment
member avatar

In December of that year a friend's father recommended trucking to us. My friend had recently been let go as a supervisor for a security company and was trying to find work to support his family. He had told us both of all the opportunity that was in it and the demand would never be going away. I was a bit skeptical at first given my previously mentioned failures as a mechanic. He told me , "You never know until you try" and "Driving is a lot different from being in the shop"

My buddy, being a family man made the jump a lot quicker than I did. He enrolled at a private school in February of 2018 and by April 2018 (taking weekend classes) he passed his CDL on the first try and started working for Schneider intramodal running Subaru parts out of the Port of Portland up to Seattle. It took a while for the seeds of desire and change to get embedded into me, I had a lot of hurts, self doubt, negativity and a lot of things to push through and overcome to even get to a point to where I could believe I could be something other than a call center worker who hated his job. (I am actually starting to tear up a bit).

I rearranged my whole life (as I know it) these last 18 months knowingly and unknowingly in order to be able to even be able to think about stepping foot into a CDL class room. I had my health I had to get under control and consider, my finances, living situation , to say nothing of getting the 5K out of pocket to pay for trucking instruction. It was a big change for me.

I found a local private truck school here in Portland and I spent the next year getting to know the director , the school and the reputation of the school. Five grand is a lot to me , I cant speak for anyone but I don't just have five grand lying around. The director gave a very positive review of the school (of course) and the standard driver shortage speech etc , a CDL is your ticket to freedom etc. I started to become convinced that I COULD do it. That maybe driving wouldn't be such a disaster as working in the shop had been. It took a while for things in my personal life to line up and for me to save up the necessary money , while paying for living expenses in one of the most expensive areas of the country (Portland aint cheap folks).

I am not trying to paint a sob story , but if you are a new comer reading this maybe you can relate? Maybe you can relate to being told you would be nothing your entire life? Of failing over and over and settling for a mediocre existence? Maybe you are unhappy with your career?

I eventually was sold on the school and made the decision to enroll for the August 2019 class. On 8/15/2019 I kissed my old job goodbye for good and on 8/26 I started my first day of trucking school.

To say I was overwhelmed at first was an understatement, there was a lot to know. Air brakes, Pre-trip, General Knowledge, how to identify the parts of a truck. My mechanical background had done some good, I remembered the parts of the truck and picked up on Pre-trip and Air brake systems a lot easier than some of my fellow class mates did. I have also been naturally better at book work and written tests for the most part so the state DMV Permit tests were easy for me - still I DID THE WORK. If its anything I need to impart on anyone who is pursuing trucking school is that you HAVE TO DO THE WORK. I studied that State of Oregon DMV manual from cover to cover and participated in class. I asked questions when I didn't understand something.

My WORK paid off and I got my permit on the first try - I was so excited and it was a victory that I needed sorely at that point in my life. My photo on the permit has me giving the biggest most natural grin I had ever remembered seeing. FINALLY I was on my way - so I thought.

We next got into the skills training - driving. Learning how to drive these big hunks of steel and metal. I was excited but petrified! I wanted to open up one of these bad boys on an open road like some mythical cowboy. My first day driving, I ground more gears than I ever did remember and I had driven manual transmissions before on cars. My downshifting was a flurry of missed gears and coasting to a stop with my left foot fully depressing the clutch so that I stopped the truck using the brakes instead of an easy stop where the engine and transmission did most of the work - you know the way the system is designed?

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.

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

EPU:

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

Moe's Comment
member avatar

There were a few hairy moments those first three days driving the truck , my learning curve about not clutch-coasting to a stop mainly , stopping behind a cross walk (not clutch coasting was key there) and not stalling out on an incline. Also downshifting - clutch, gear out, rev rpm , clutch gear in - it took me two whole days to finally get it. But once I got it, I got it and over time my shifting got better and better as the days went.

I was really confident toward the end of that first week of skills practice - I had my permit, I was shifting and maneuvering those trucks in and out of traffic. I had to learn how judge distances and turn just wide enough to not hit curbs , but not so wide as to impede traffic. Over time I got it.

This all sounds positive , doesn't it? And it is - victories help us believe in ourselves and progress is what encourages us to keep pushing ahead.

We all have to have something to keep us humble (i guess there is an old saying for that?) and that thing for me was backing a trailer. I had never done it before I got into truck school. My family was not rich by any means so we never had an RV , boat or any kind of trailer for that matter. I am not one of the fabled Country Boys of legend and fame who grew up in a small town on a family farm where EVERYONE has a trailer, a truck and a BIIIGGG FARM- Oh! and all of the trailers get driven to church on Sunday, to the grocery store, to school and everywhere else so that trailer backing is made easy later in life (this is my attempt at humor- I have no prejudices none, truthfully). My uncle Bob did have a dairy farm and had some trailers but he lived so far away from us that we only saw him at the family reunion in August of each year growing up and again during the holidays.

I am Moses, Moe if you will - the loser fat kid from city slick fame - remember? The first day I got into that Volvo Automatic on the backing yard and started backing I crushed 5 cones back to back. "Hey , I turned the wheel left why is the trailer on the right?" and vice versa. I would turn the wheel as fast as I could in the direction I wanted the trailer to go and it ended up on the opposite side of where I intended it to be! It was maddening! And it made me look and feel like a big fool. My backing instructor at the time would just sit stoically in the passenger seat letting me figure it out and occasionally point out - "Uhm no , you need to move the wheel to the left if you want the trailer to go right" AT one point I even yelled "Where is the GOD D@MN thing??" To which he looked at me blankly.

That instructor quit his job suddenly in the middle of training and so we were left with one instructor down. This went on for most of my time in the school. It took me almost the entire school term just to get into my brain that moving a trailer is the opposite wheel turn of the direction you want it to go. I tend to overthink things and backing has been a steep learning curve for me. We were getting ready for our first test and I broke down in tears.

I simply wasn't getting backing down fast enough! I had 7 or 8 days before my first state exam and my backing was horrible! I was just starting to get the concept of opposite wheel turns by that time and I was supposed to go exam? To mention nothing of the offset and alley docking maneuvers. Most others in my class were getting it or at least on their way and here I was just trying keep from hitting cones on straight back and park the truck straight in the ally way and learning how to read the trailer!

I felt terrible! I had scrimped and saved the one thousand dollars needed for down payment, to say nothing of all the fees for the DMV , the medical exam for my DoT card. I borrowed over 5 k in living expense money from my mom to cover rent, food etc during school. I had quit a job that I made on average $55 to $60 thousand a year to do this (I have zero regrets leaving that job by the way , I was miserable and money truly cant buy happiness) . I had put a lot on the line and I was so close .....yet ...like a lot of things in my life ...so close yet so far away. Always something it seemed.

I broke down in front my instructor and a trusted student. They both assured me I was ready .

Part 4 incoming.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Moe's Comment
member avatar

The school worked and worked with me. One funny story I can tell during this time is offsetting. I was really bad at it. I kept offsetting left when I was supposed to be offsetting right - so in other words, I would pull all the way up to the far boundary cones and because I was still having a hard time with the opposite wheel direction thing - I kept putting the truck back into the lane I had done the straight back in. True story , did it more than once and each time getting out and proud of my efforts for getting it in the lane....only to have my face fall at the failure.

Okay - long story so far. So went out on my first CDL test - I was up - Pre trip and Air brakes - got those done and met state minimums- I knew I would and was very confident about that. Got into backing- straight back fine. Went to offset and had issues finding the correct lane, plus still working through the whole opposite wheel direction thing. I almost pointed out on the offset , but I made it to the 90 alley dock - where I bombed.

First CDL fail - $160 fee paid...no CDL

Took second test about 2 weeks later - This time I did worse than the first , I pointed out on offset, still struggling with my backing nerves and wheel direction thing . I didn't last long. The state examiner this test was rather a cold fellow too, just saying. He didn't offer much in the way of input, just informed me that I failed.

Second test fail - $160 fee paid...no CDL

Third test was a month later - this time I did really well , much better I was improving . Straight back 1 cone encroachment - offset completed using the two freebee pull ups (in Oregon you are allowed two free pull ups on offset and 2 free get out and looks) - I was so excited I asked the examiner - are you sure i passed? -No kidding I was in shock. Got the alley dock 90 - bomb. I kept coming in too shallow and encroaching and breaking the lane. I pointed out rather quickly on it.

Third Test fail - $160 fee paid...no CDL

It was around this time that I got the call from my mother about some health issues that she had (I have posted about those on previous posts -to save time I wont tell the whole story) to keep it short , we thought she might have lung cancer being she is a former smoker. I had to put my CDL on hold to be with her during the biopsy and diagnosis. Fortunately it was all clear. Came back to Oregon and did a quick refresher at the school for backing and driving. This time due the course was at a church parking lot, we normally used a Christmas tree farm out in eastern Oregon past Portland , however it was Thanksgiving 2019 and the tree farm was in full operation so we had to change location.

The course set up itself was a very tight and narrow location , barely enough for a semi with a 28 foot pup trailer to fit into it. I practiced and practiced the set up at our school yard , confident I would pass this time, get my CDL and head into the holidays with an early Christmas gift.

Its hard to describe it , but the set up at the parking lot was not close to what we had at the school. Many folks failed that day , backing specifically...yours truly included

Fourth Test fail - $160 fee paid...no CDL.

I cant help sometimes but look back think I was a bit hasty in choosing the private school route. I want to be clear, the school has had a 100 percent success rate in passing students by their fifth CDL test. It truly is no student left behind in that regard. They have had some quit, and a couple that they removed from the program halfway through (nerves, attitude mainly) but no one has failed the fifth and final time (in Oregon you have to wait 1 year after your fifth failure).

Here is why I speak of being hasty:

It is now 12/31/2019 since August of 2019

I have paid

$640 in state license exam fees - just to have the state of Oregon give you the exam - 4x$160.00 $99 DoT fee - boo hoo we all pay that. $60 permit fee - with endorsements- air brakes, combination vehicles, gen knowledge $1000 - down payment - my own money

I have borrowed

$3750 - loan via state of Oregon trucker loan program to pay for school $5000 from my mother for 4 months living expenses - rent, food, gas utilities $3000 from mother for Jan and Feb living expense - rent food , gas utilities

I am now in a do or die situation truly , this CDL has in effect costed me over $12K after you add everything up.

I will write the final part of my diary number 5 summarizing my final thoughts on things momentarily and what I think would have been a better option for me.

Part five incoming.

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.

Combination Vehicle:

A vehicle with two separate parts - the power unit (tractor) and the trailer. Tractor-trailers are considered combination vehicles.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Moe's Comment
member avatar

So as I posted in part 4 I have to this point spent close to $12,000 for my CDL. This not just the school's tuition and the DMV fees that I am accounting for (I chose a private truck school). I am also including the missed work and wages I let myself out on. There's a lot to consider when you decide to become a truck driver, especially in the beginning. I had to beg and borrower from my family to make it these past fall and winter months, they did it because for the first time in my life they saw that I was dedicated to something and that I was genuinely happy and fired up to do it. I wouldn't have been able to work my full time job while going to CDL school on the weekends (personally , that is just me -not saying that others can't or shouldn't). As Clint Eastwood once said - "A man's gots to know his limitations".

So I knew right off the bat at the start of all of this , that I needed to jump in with both feet and do it full time. My previous job was a toxic, mentally draining soup of negativity and I would often come home exhausted at the end of the day and use the weekend to recover (mentally and spiritually). I knew there was no way that I continue to work that job AND do weekend truck driver training. Making any change, especially careers has to involve a fair measure of knowing one's self and what one can (and can't) do.

Let be clear - There is absolutely nothing wrong with working full time and going to truck school part time or going to school full time- your end goal is your CDL and that is the mission you will need to have in mind! Nor is there anything wrong with choosing private instruction over a company paid CDL option. All will achieve the end result IF you are willing to put in the WORK.

I have zero regrets in leaving a high paying corporate job that I HATED. I have so much more natural joy and happiness - for those who don't know Joy is eternal, happiness is momentary. One can have all the money in the world and be happy from day to day and yet lack true joy and passion for life. Joy is harder to obtain because it involves us knowing ourselves and taking the often times harder road to achieve it.

If I had a fabled flux capacitor - okay for those millenials on the forum - look up Back to the future if you dont know what I am talking about LOL, I would have looked more seriously at the company paid option. Here is why I think its a better fit for most people.

1) You get paid to train - its not alot but its income- its rent, food, cell phone bill etc. That alone takes so much anxiety out of the picture, anxiety that in the long run can sabotage your efforts. If you are constantly focused on do or die thinking, you often will die because your nerves get the better of you. You also typically only have to front your DMV and DoT med card fees and maybe food while in training (though some companies will work with you on those things too).

2) Consistency - You'll get consistent equipment to train on. In my school we had four different types of trucks. Some good , some not. One day you could be on truck 1 , another on truck 4 and so on and so forth. Having to relearn and change gears (metaphorically speaking) each day to reacclimate yourself to the equipment. For example , one of the trucks that I drive at my school is a Freightliner with dual side exhaust stacks mounted on/coming out onto the sides of the cab. We have all seen them right? On those big Peterbuilt and Kenworths that the owner ops drive. I admit they look cool and have so much trucking SWAG. WELL - I failed my second backing test in that truck because I had never actually backed that truck before that day and the side exhaust stacks kept obstructing my field of vision - even leaning half my large frame as far as I safely could out of the driver window I couldn't see far enough around the driver side stack to get a good visual as to where the trailer was in relation to my lane of cones. The stacks stuck out THAT far. $160 fee and a failure.

3) More real world road time - In private school we typically would drive the same routes over and over without much variation, with the company paid option - you go all over with your truck , getting all kinds of real world experience which will only help you on your test.

4) One on one time - Companies will put you with a trainer, its your 1 on 1 ticket to success, its all about you. In private school the instructors have to divvy their time amongst a group of 3 indivuals per truck, with you and your trainer , its ALL ABOUT YOU. So YOU get what YOU need to accomplish your mission.

In the end (and I do need to wrap this up) I think if you are just starting out , you should really give a heavy consideration to company paid CDL training. Let me also emphatically state there is nothing wrong with private instruction. I think it can be good for a person, especially if you work for a company that foots the bill OR you are one of those lucky folks who have prior experience backing trailers or driving rigs around a yard etc. For you it would probably be fantastic!

Give serious consideration to how you go about getting your CDL, you can either spend or save ALOT of money!

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Moe, I don't recall anyone being as open on their life as you on Trucking Truth's forum. But your openness is great to both help you and others.

I too was the outsider in school. I'm 68 years old and still remember some of the things said & done on the schoolyard. In a way I believe my growing up experience helped me to develop my own self respect and my ability to go my own way as needed. You are in that boat.

You aren't a quitter, I can tell. You have tried, posted your issues here and gotten a bit of advice. I hoped you have been able to internalize some of it.

I wonder though, that after three months practicing are you sure you have that part about which way the trailer goes when you turn the steering wheel? The simple rule for you is:

Turn towards the trouble

So if the trailer seems to be moving left when you want it to go right, turn towards the left and after a bit the back end will start moving right.

Now what I get from your backing trouble is you may not be as careful and sensitive as you need to be. The rule is GOAL (Get Out And Look) but in the skills test you are limited in that. So, like waking in your house at night in the dark, where you know what the doorknobs are but you still move very slowly, be super careful in backing. Do more pullups. Remember, after your free ones, pullups cost less than an encroachment.

If you can, delay your next CDL test till you get better at backing between the cones. I didn't say "perfect" or even "comfortable" in backing, just better at knowing what to do.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13MomCat)'s Comment
member avatar

Moe,

As you know I don't say much on here; not anything to really contribute as a driver's wife at this juncture in my life. I, however DO want to say this to you: the UMPTION in your GUMPTION is undeniably, the BEST.

I've read all 4 chapters of your diary, and WILL continue to, if/when you consolidate them in the diaries section, (and even if you don't~!) and enjoy your adding the successes that are in the near future.

I wish you nothing but the best. You have the wherewithal and perseverance it takes in this industry, IMHO.

Looking forward to more; I love your honesty, writing style, and grit.. I really do. As do MANY others, I'm sure. Wishing your family well, also~!

Best to you,

Anne

Moe's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for the kind words Errol, its nice to meet someone who has been there , done that. Oftentimes we forget that connections can be made in a variety of ways , I have never met you ,yet I can tell you are genuine and genuinely want me to succeed. I have found that most people try as they may to hide it, tend to bring their character with them in their writings online or elsewhere.

You aren't a quitter, I can tell. You have tried, posted your issues here and gotten a bit of advice. I hoped you have been able to internalize some of it.

I am not, but lately I have had those thoughts of doing just that. Any practice that I get outside of that which my private school is able to offer is often done on my gas dime using my own truck with a borrowed trailer (i have only been able to borrower it twice the last 3 months). So as I shared it is now the FINANCIAL cost that is really adding up with me and I almost thinking at times , its too much cost. Yet at the sametime I have come so far , it would be foolish to quit!

I wonder though, that after three months practicing are you sure you have that part about which way the trailer goes when you turn the steering wheel? The simple rule for you is:

Yes, I can say with sheer honesty that I do have the opposite wheel motions down pat, I am not saying I am perfect and that I make no mistakes...but don't we all have that? I have gotten my straight back and my offset back down to a passable (passable NOT perfect) level, it simply truly is the 90 Alley dock that keeps screwing me up and keeping me from getting on that drive portion and getting my license.

double-quotes-start.png

Turn towards the trouble

double-quotes-end.png

^ That is good advice and I will strive to remember that - Thank you.

"If you can, delay your next CDL test till you get better at backing between the cones. I didn't say "perfect" or even "comfortable" in backing, just better at knowing what to do. " - Tenatively my next test is end of January. I have already reached out to several trucking companies - Wilson, Swift, Schneider , Roehl etc. All of them have basically told me that because I am enrolled in my truck school , they by policy can not accept me into their company paid options. So I have locked myself into a corner at this point. Wilson I believe if I understand right told me that ,should I not get the license on the fifth try, they still would not consider me for a company paid option.

I am truly thinking I have slit my own throat (metaphorically speaking) on this. Swift did offer some hope and said they would be willing to consider speaking with me for the company paid option if I failed.

Alot of it had to do with the fact that these companies see it as a non compete - its not stated that way but thats what it is. That if I am in the private school I am considered their student until I get the license with the school. I guess I can understand that, but still I feel shame that I limited myself this way ,when I could probably have had a somewhat easier time going the company paid way.

As I stated at the end of my diary, just reflecting I think private schools are still a great option for those that already have truck driving and backing experience (hostlers, yard jockies, farm boys who drive trailers on a farm exemption etc) or for those who let their CDL lapse for some reason and now have to get it again. I think in those scenarios its reasonable because you already have a firm foundation for what you are trying to do and will likely get it in the first couple tries and the key - Minimize your economic loss (lost wages, time etc) and quickly get to earning.

For someone like me though it truly is a 50/50 , some folks get lucky and others like me ...my whole life has been about crap luck. I had one gal in my class who had never driven a truck and got it first time out and is now making 45k a year starting. I hate to sound sexist but I feel shame to be humbled by a woman - no hate just my feelings honest. There was one guy in my class that has , shall we say an unprofessional demeanor. Yelled and argued with state examiners, blew through school zones at 35 in a 20 , failed drive 3x , backing once and just got his CDL last week. He got backing down first try, but was so dumb or arrogant that he couldn't even be bothered to slow down and listen. I have given serious thought to how much of a hard time he is going to have going to work for his first company.

I have often (and I need to stop doing this) compared myself to guys like that last gentlemen I spoke ofand wonder how they manage to squeak by and make it? He almost couldn't retest again due to his attitude, yet he backs it like a pro into the cones each time (save 1 at the church i shared about in my diary). He was also a former meth head, not to be judgemental. If a guy like that can make it, why cant I? Lastly of him I will say this, he has other problems I would not want to deal with.

I am happy for both of them and I wish them well- I truly mean that. I just want my time to rise and shine, you know man? Thank you for your support.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Moe, you've been very "open" here in your discussions. You've revealed your struggles both with learning how to handle a big rig, and your inner struggles as a human. It's going to be inspirational to so many people. It resonates with reality.

Getting this career started is no walk in the park. For some it's easier than others. Going backwards is almost everyone's nemesis. Eventually we conquer it, only to have it rise up again as troublesome here and there. It's a hindrance that only succumbs to persistence and repetition. I've had my own struggles with getting my trucking career started. It was so long ago that people in here now have no clue of how I struggled. It wasn't a pretty start. In fact it could be described as "demoralizing" if I had allowed myself to go there.

Courage isn't born overnight. It comes from fighting the fight that's before us. You've shown considerable courage in this battle. Keep up the fight. The courage to finish what you started is growing in you. There are future battles ahead. Getting a CDL is not the ultimate goal. There are many more conflicts beyond that point. As you conquer the steps ahead of you courage grows and solidifies itself in your psyche. You have already gained considerable courage and confidence. Draw strength from your victories. Don't allow a few missteps to get the best of your confidence.

Hang in there. You can do this. Fight with courage. You're not a coward. You're a soldier. Get in there and conquer those things that are resistant to your efforts. It won't be easy. Courage never comes easy. It's born in conflict. Conflict in itself is not necessarily bad. Cowering to it produces cowardice. Facing the giants ahead of us allows courage to develop.

My life experiences tell me that you are doing much more than becoming a truck driver. You are genuinely developing as a person. Keep pressing on. There's a brighter future ahead of you.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

This is WISDOM! Thanks Old School!

“ Courage isn't born overnight. It comes from fighting the fight that's before us. You've shown considerable courage in this battle. Keep up the fight. The courage to finish what you started is growing in you. There are future battles ahead. Getting a CDL is not the ultimate goal. There are many more conflicts beyond that point. As you conquer the steps ahead of you courage grows and solidifies itself in your psyche. You have already gained considerable courage and confidence. Draw strength from your victories. Don't allow a few missteps to get the best of your confidence.

Hang in there. You can do this. Fight with courage. You're not a coward. You're a soldier. Get in there and conquer those things that are resistant to your efforts. It won't be easy. Courage never comes easy. It's born in conflict. Conflict in itself is not necessarily bad. Cowering to it produces cowardice. Facing the giants ahead of us allows courage to develop.

My life experiences tell me that you are doing much more than becoming a truck driver. You are genuinely developing as a person. Keep pressing on. There's a brighter future ahead of you.”

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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