May Trucking Rookie Pilot Training Program

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JoJack's Comment
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I'm heading to Brooks, Oregon to May Trucking's main terminal for their Pilot Training Program, as in brand new, never been done before.I passed my CDL test on May 30th and haven't been in a Semi since and have to pass the backing maneuvers again this Monday, 3 1/2 weeks later. Therefore I am nervous. Now, get this...training to go solo is one week. I am not kidding you. None of this training is over the road. They have set it up to where it all takes place at their Brooks, Oregon terminal. Zero over the road experience with a mentor, no getting to back up with the instant relief of knowing there's a pro in the seat next to me. Nobody telling me how to handle truck stop traffic and parking and where to park in general etc. If I pass my backing and my drive then they give me a truck and I hit the road, Friday, with no experience at all. Therefore, I am nervous. Before pulling the trigger on becoming a trucker, like many, I read about it online for a few years with a large portion of what I know coming from TruckingTruth. I want to be as mentally prepared as possible, ya know, get the romance part out of my head and truly come to understand that this is a hard working job that isn't for everybody. I've looked at a hundred companies at least and somehow found the one that is unlike all the rest. I've heard about 3 weeks training, I've heard about 8 weeks training, but I've never heard about 1 week training and again they just started doing this, perhaps this is related to the virus and not having any trainers available but what do I know? Has anybody experienced such short training? Will I get by by watching videos online when I find myself in trouble due to my lack of experience? How in the world will I find the parking spots to sleep at night? Will I be ok learning this job on my own? I can't lie about it, I was looking forward to getting some experience with a pro but now that I know that's not happening I'm slightly concerned but I'm going for it. Thanks for reading. Jojack

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.

Terminal:

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.

Over The Road:

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

Don't worry about what you can't do, rather focus on and have confidence that you CAN do it.

The first time I alley docked was when I had first gone out on a road test. When we stopped to park, the trainer started to get out of the truck and I said "can I try." "Sure."

Took me a little bit and had to do several pull ups, but I got it in and didn't hit anything.

Take your time and focus on your set up.

As far as finding spaces to park, one night we parked in a spot that had like 5 large signs that said "absolutely no parking." There's always a place park at the truck stops.Download Trucker Path to help you find spots where you won't have the trash truck guy banging on your door at 5 a.m. telling you need to move your truck so he can get to the dumpster.

JoJack's Comment
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Thanks, Rob D....it's looking like a balls to the wall beginning for sure.

JoJack's Comment
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Showed up in Salem, Oregon last night, Sunday. Didn't sleep well but not so much nerves as much as some noisy neighbors at the Days Inn. Nothing some ear plugs can't solve. I was picked up along with 4 other gentlemen (Idaho, Montana, California, Portland and me, Pullman, WA) at 7:30 this morning and taken to May Trucking's main terminal and offices in Brooks, Oregon. A little bit of in class schooling on backing and some friendly banter about why we want to go OTR. Then the drug test which was immediately followed by skills backing maneuvers and a drive. I'd never been in such a nice truck and this was an automatic 2020 Cascadia. Huge difference from the ancient million plus mile 10 speed I was driving back in school. I was up first, this always happens. It had been about 3.5 weeks since I tested for my CDL so I didn't feel like I was in the swing of things. My instructor is former military and he was letting me have it. "Why aren't you always always using your driver side mirror? It's gonna be much more fun if you can see what your doing." I would hear this a few more times throughout the day. He was also frustrated that I was sticking my head out the window to watch my rear axle tires for steering. He made me roll up my window and he had me use only one hand to steer while backing. Now, this is nothing like I was taught in school. Which is fine if not great once I shake these nerves off. I was feeling the heat because with May you aren't hired until after the first day. They want to know if they feel like keeping you around. I made it through but I was pretty upset with myself. Doesn't matter if it hadn't been a while, I should've done better, that's how I felt. Next, I went on my drive. It went quite well. It was cool using cruise control and hill assist, both firsts and I'd never used a jake before and that was great. The other 4 did the same and they all let me know that they felt as I did. We were all sweating it but, talk about misery loving company, it helped us all relax. Like I was saying they're doing a one week training/mentorship out of this yard in Brooks and I should be doing my first run this Friday. They don't mess around. I've never heard of such a thing but it's new to them as well. I'm not sure about their other May training locations but if you end up in Brooks, Oregon as a new trucker...it's one week and c-ya. I was told my first run will be with a mentor and then they jump ship and it's all you and that truck is yours. I'm nervous about this but I don't mind. I think it's because I really want to make this my last career and take it all the way into the sunset....Side note, a guy showed up at the yard to discuss his employment with the bosses after getting in an accident in his first week solo. Dang. He said he got detoured off the freeway or highway and ended up on tiny roads and a tight turn did him in. He said he hit a car that he absolutely didn't see, said it was a dark green and dirty car in a shady spot and it just blended in. Anyway, I don't think he's employed anymore and I feel bad for the guy. I'll let y'all know what happens tomorrow but it is for sure happening fast. Jojack

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.

Terminal:

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.

OTR:

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.

PackRat's Comment
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Sounds like an exciting first day! Sink or swim.

JoJack's Comment
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Day 2...PackRat how are ya man? You are correct, sir, sink or swim for sure. My head is above water, barely. Seriously, I got my ass handed to me today. Same deal, picked up at 7:30 and off to the terminal. They give us homework every night so we went over our assignments and then hit the skills area they have set up in the northwest corner of the yard. Guess who was told to go first, yep, me, this always happens. I nailed it, the hardest maneuver they have set up is a 90 around a barrel they put about 15 yards in front of their alley. Instructor was probably both surprised and happy because he let me know "good job." Now, understand, that was my or anybody's first back of the day. I hadn't received any instruction, I got in and nailed it. It all went downhill from there and I don't believe I hit that 90 again for the rest of the day. Whether my set up was off or my mirrors not adjusted properly or starting my pivot too soon/late...I fell apart. These instructors have some sharp tongues and I think I was letting it get to me. Honestly, I have never been so upset or frustrated with myself ever. I'm back at the motel now and the thought of breaking a few things has crossed my mind. At times when I'm out there I'm thinking that they're gonna send me home, my instructor gets so upset and I find myself in panic mode which is doing nothing for my less than professional backing abilities. Seriously, I've got to find a way to relax, like all day relax and drive that trailer. Actually, what I need is to make sense of and apply what is being taught. I have thick skin so condescending remarks/body language etc from a couple brutal instructors isn't going to keep me from coming back for more and I'm not going to snap back. I want this gig, I'm committed but I'm afraid for one of the other guys. I feel like he might not be able to keep his cool and I can feel something coming that might result in him being sent home. They'll have to drag me out kicking and screaming. Listen, my CDL school was a lot about the students teaching themselves. I can't remember getting too much instruction. I'd spend all day doing straight backs, offsets and 90's but unfortunately, I learned how to do them my way. Now I'm being taught with new terminology like, command/pull/push/center and while it does make sense it's all new to me. Before all this training I watched backing videos online but just like CDL school the instruction here is different so I need to unlearn things and breaking a habit ain't easy. I'd never even heard the term button hook turn. Do you know how embarrassing that is? The only good thing about the button hook turn is that even though I didn't know what it is, it's the only thing I can say I have got down with confidence. Showed me once and now I pull that trailer through that alley and around every time. Meditation has never been my thing but it's going down tonight. I want to focus and pinpoint exactly where the errors are and fix them right here in my motel room. I want to get back to that yard and nail that dang 90 every single time. We also worked on some other things like chains, sliding fifth wheel and sliding tandems plus a refer pre-trip. It all made sense but everything's easier than backing. Man o man, I want nothing more than to make my next entry a much more pleasant one. I better get to my homework. Regards, Jojack

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.

Terminal:

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.

Tandems:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

JoJack's Comment
member avatar

Day 3... I didn't sleep at all after a pretty disastrous day with failing to perform a 90 around a barrel...today was all classroom. What a relief. It helped me calm down and even better it helped me get back in my instructors good graces. We went over hours of service and Life of a Load and I was prepared. He and another instructor can still be a little brutal in the classroom with their particular style of teaching, but, I guess I can handle it better than others might. I'm not gonna get to Trucking without them--so be it. Day 4...they asked us to check out at 7:30 from our motel and then off to the yard. Good news, checking out means I'm assigned a truck, the truck I'm in right now. In all honesty and I know this gets said a lot about many things but I'm like a kid at Christmas...except I don't want to play with my toy. Being in the truck and having to sleep in it for the next 2 nights before I do my first run on Saturday has upped my adrenaline. I'm not too sure I need anymore. I will purchase my own fridge and microwave and there's a mount on the wall if I want to pick up a tv. Maybe down the road but now tv isn't even on my mind. What I really learned the last two days in the classroom is that I have sooo much to learn. Overwhelmed no doubt. I already know I'm going to have some ridiculous and embarrassing mistakes. It was just that so much was covered and this job isn't a joke. With that said a guy got up and quit in the middle of class today. He couldn't take the heat of the instruction, which is a bit rough and tough but dang. I believe you really gotta keep your eye on the prize and I thought long and hard about it the other night and came to my own understanding which is...these guys are about to give a rookie a $180,000 dollar truck with 2 to $300,000 worth of product to deliver in a humongous vehicle in a bunch of traffic. The whole thing seems kinda crazy but it makes sense that instructors are being very hard and detailed in a way to convince you that this isn't a kids game. But still, I can't believe I'm about to get paid to do this. I do feel stressed already but man do I feel alive in a 2 year old Cascadia with about 200k on it. I was bored outta my mind the first half of this year and I have a feeling the 2nd half is gonna fly by. I'll be in touch with an update on my first load by the end of the weekend. Regards Jojack

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Great news that you have upgraded!

dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Take your time with the loads, ask questions, seek help when necessary, G.O.A.L., focus, follow the rules, remember your training, stay positive, don't get frustrated, and have fun safely.

good-luck.gif

JoJack's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Packrat... Ya know I tried to get on at CFI based on reading your posts but they didn't get back to me. I think it's because of where I live but that's alright. I appreciate your support. I'll let ya know how things are going in 2 or 3 days.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I'm driving again for Crete as of two months ago if that tells you anything about my former company.

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