Griffin CDL Diary- Wilson Logistics

Topic 27568 | Page 1

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Griffin's Comment
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The time has finally come for me to trade in the comfort of 70-degree sunny Las Vegas weather for the start of my CDL training with Wilson Logistics in 24-degree snow filled Missoula, Montana. To say that I am excited is an understatement however, I do feel a bit uncertain of what is to come as anyone would be considering I’ve been born and raised in Vegas for the last 25 years and know fairly little of the world outside of everything being open and at my disposal 24 hours a day. To kind of give some background on how I arrived at this, I know my way around the world of electricity and throughout adversity within the field I decided that change is good and trucking could be the calling that I've been dreaming of so here we go. As fun as it may seem, I am fortunate enough to be taking an 8 hour flight out to orientation instead of the coveted 33 hour Greyhound bus ride that is offered as an alternative so that within itself already gives me some hope that i'll be fresh enough to meet the rest of my peers with a decent attitude bright and early on Monday morning. I'll update again once I've actually reached a point where I've got some good stuff to share, i'm sure my Las Vegas-Seattle-Missoula travel plans will yield some "interesting" occurrences smile.gif

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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Welcome to the Trucking Truth site, Griffin.

Many will look forward to following updates of your training diary as you progress throughout your experience.

good-luck.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mike L.'s Comment
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Congrats on your position with Wilson. I live in Missouri and will be starting with Trailiner. However in a year I am relocating to Las Vegas.

Griffin's Comment
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Welp, I’ve made it to Montana after a few rocky Alaskan Air flights and managed to check myself in to the Days Inn that Wilson prearranges in advance. Hotel is about as average as it gets but it serves its purpose for the week (breakfast bar looks good however). It also appears that I may be lucky enough to not have a roommate for my time here so that’s always a nice little bonus to offset me having to order something for dinner via DoorDash which took about an hour to get to me. Tomorrow’s the first day of orientation so it’s time to call it an early night, till next time!

Tortuga 's Comment
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Welcome aboard Griffin! I'll be looking forward to reading your training diary!

icecold24k's Comment
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Good luck on your exciting new adventure and I will be looking forward to your future updates.

Papa Pig's Comment
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Good luck! Stay warm!

SRJ's Comment
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Good luck in your journey. I wish you the best and look forward to following along.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Griffin's Comment
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2/10: Orientation Day 1 Today was actually surprisingly decent (I don't know what I was expecting but I had a great time despite all odds). Class starts at 7 am sharp and by that I mean the Wilson shuttle bus scoops you up from the Days Inn lobby and drives you up the road to the facility for the grand tour. I decided to take advantage of the continental breakfast the hotel offered and i'm happy to say I will be visiting downstairs every day for the next week as the little buffet is fantastic (waffles, different cereals, oatmeal, you name it they have it). The weather in Missoula currently right now is between 28-35 degrees with snow covering every surface of every surrounding area (which i'm told is on the warmer side from my trainer but with me being from Vegas i'm unfazed to hear that haha). Once my small class of four people arrived to the site (6 was the magic number for this week but 2 somehow never made it), we were settled into a training room with a bunch of computers along side our trainer whose name is Ryan. The first thing we did was tour the site and were welcomed by a bunch of friendly staff members who really put their own personal spin on how they got to know each of our first names (nice touch in my opinion, really adds to the small family owned feel). Mr. Wilson himself was in fact in the building today, however we were unable to meet him but I heard good things about him and his methods from Ryan who seems to be a nice dude who means well. After the building tour, we rejoined Ryan in the shuttle van around 8ish and at that point it was off to take our drug tests (urine only) up the block. The drug test for four took next to no time and we were soon back at the facility inside of now a smaller classroom reviewing the binder full of required paperwork like the 1 year agreement that many seem concerned about. Ryan made sure to read verbatim every single page of the contract along with... well.. every single page of every single document in the binder which I didn't mind seeing as we had nothing but time to spare for the rest of the day. In my opinion, Wilson truly does want you to complete the year of schooling/working with them but if that cannot happen, they make it very easy to pay them back the 3,500 or so that you will have to pay if you leave anytime before 6 months (after 6 months you pay half that amount if you leave in $72 weekly deductions). Shortly after signing on the dotted line, Ryan then took us out on the yard to perform some JHA's that included things like: 3 points of contact getting out of the truck, drop and hook procedures, and we even got to check out the inside of a reefer trailer which might I add is kind of hard to climb in and out of when you have snow up to your ankles but we all got through it with no complaints. Lunch time came quicker than I envisioned after a little more desk work and we all hopped back into the shuttle van and headed to a place called Taco Del Sol out here in Montana. The place is alright, I had a 14" steak burrito that bottomed out before I could finish it so it turned into more of a taco salad than anything. After lunch, we all returned back to the center and continued to work more on various things like studying for our Montana permit tests (which we take tomorrow morning) and training videos which take up a good 2 hours as well. If everything goes according to plan with all four of us (if we all pass the written stuff tomorrow), then the day should consist of some pre-trip help and we all will be out with our trainers by this FRIDAY! The day ended around 4:30pm for us and as we all returned back to the hotel for the evening, I took the time to walk over to the McDonalds/ gas station across the way to grab some dinner for the next few evenings while the sun sort of peaked through the clouds (once it gets late out, you're probably not going to want to head out as its kind of dark on the roadways surrounding the hotel). All in all, no complaints here.. tomorrow's another day!

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Griffin's Comment
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2/10- Orientation Day 1 Well today was surprisingly more interesting than I thought it would be. The Wilson shuttle with our trainer Ryan in it came and picked up myself and three other classmates of mine promptly at 7 am which gave me enough time beforehand to grab some delicious continental breakfast from the buffet bar downstairs around 6:40 ish (seriously if you're considering coming to Wilson's CDL school you will be staying at the Days Inn and they have some decent options for breakfast so plan to get up for it daily). The weather in Missoula for this week is between 28-39 degrees with clouds that ooze snow at their own convenience, which apparently according to my trainer Ryan is " on the warmer side" whatever that means (the Vegas native in me screams silently haha). Once we arrived at the facility which is up the road from the hotel, we all piled into the training room and proceeded to take a building tour which yielded some friendly interactions with the wonderful folks of Wilson's recruiting, IT, and fleet manager crews. Mr. Wilson himself was in the building with us today, but for some reason we did not get to meet him (understandable, but definitely adds to the small family feel knowing that all the staff and the man upstairs is aware of your arrival and welcomes you to the team on a first name basis). 8 AM came and went as we all piled back into the shuttle van with Ryan to go take our urine drug tests up the road, it took no time at all for all four of us to finish and soon enough we were back on the road riding through snow to get back to the facility. Once we arrived, we all filed into a small classroom and proceeded to start handling the "adult" portion of the week which was the paperwork/contract signing. Wilson is pretty generous with what they're asking for out of you assuming you follow through with staying the year requirement as payment for obtaining your CDL through them. In the event that you wish not to however, they will bill you about 3,500 if you do not stay for at least 6 months and then about half of that if you leave in say like 8 months or so via weekly $73 deductions. Once all the paperwork was nearly done, we got the chance to do our JHA's which required us to head back out onto the lot and into a fresh sheet of snow for exercises that included: 3 points of contact with the truck, trailer inspections, drop and hook instructions, and some cooler things like checking out the inside of the truck and learning how to lower and raise the top bunk which we'll call home during our 2/3 week individual training sessions (fun fact: the beds in their specific trucks are full sized, I had a hell of a time trying to pre-buy sheets for a bed I never knew the size on so FYI in case anyone was curious). After we completed our JHA's, Ryan took the four of us to lunch at a place called Tacos Del Sol out here in Missoula which wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either (I had a steak burrito in which the tortilla bottomed out before I could eat half so it turned into a taco salad which no big deal... free food is free food). After lunch, we made our way back to the facility and spent the rest of the day studying for our Montana permit tests (which we take tomorrow morning) along with reviewing some online training videos. Class ended at about 4:30pm and we were dropped back off at the Days Inn at which time I decided to walk across the way to the McDonalds/Gas Station combo to grab some dinner. Not a bad first day..hopefully all four of us can pass our permit tests on the first go tomorrow because if we do, we all get to go out with our trainers by this FRIDAY instead of next Monday which is pretty sweet! Till next time.

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.

Fleet Manager:

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.

Drop And Hook:

Drop and hook means the driver will drop one trailer and hook to another one.

In order to speed up the pickup and delivery process a driver may be instructed to drop their empty trailer and hook to one that is already loaded, or drop their loaded trailer and hook to one that is already empty. That way the driver will not have to wait for a trailer to be loaded or unloaded.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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