Journey With Wilson Logistics - Springfield, MO

Topic 29314 | Page 5

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Rob T.'s Comment
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Great job!

Old School's Comment
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Nice Job!

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Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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I'm not an actual 'driver, so I can only give out 'these' dancing guys, but.. KUDOS, all the same!!

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Best to you, here forward!

~ Anne ~

Eugene K.'s Comment
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UPDATE - Wednesday 20 Jan 2021

Alright everyone! It's been a considerably action-packed last few days since I wrapped up my D-seat phase of training, so now's a good time to bring everyone up to speed.

After we rolled out of the Love's near Fort Campbell Kentucky, we dropped our last load at the receiver in Joplin MO. On the way out there, traveling along I-44 west, we came to a complete stop for close to an hour and eventually rolled past the most severe tractor trailer accident I've ever seen. My trainer and I aren't even sure of the physics of how this is possible, but the cab was sliced clean off the frame as if by a butter knife, then tossed aside. The frame and engine compartment were in the eastbound lanes, the cab in the westbound lanes, and the trailer in the median, with the bulkhead completely destroyed. We tried looking up news reports to see if the driver survived, but I'm not sure how that would be possible. Let's hope they did!

We bobtailed back to the Baymont hotel and I checked into my room, then passed out cold before 1900 and slept like the dead. Our original plan on Sunday was to spend a few hours out on the backing pad, but since the training truck keys weren't left out, that wasn't an option. No worries! I took a much needed to day to decompress and do as little as possible, banged out laundry and some personal errands, watched some mindless television, and headed to bed early.

Monday we spent the entirety of the day on the backing pad, from 0800 to 1600. Luckily it was just myself and one other student from our original class of five (the only two who are still left). Right out of the gate, first thing in the morning, all of my maneuvers were close to perfect, even with very little backing practice over the last two weeks. A word to the wise for those heading into company-sponsored training , and I've said this in an earlier post: during your D seat phase of training, you will have very little opportunity to practice backing. I only backed 4 or 5 times while on the road with my trainer. That said, I found that my fresh experience behind the wheel in general made ALL of my backs much smoother when I returned. All of this would have been for naught, however, had I not made sure I memorized all of the points. If you can't remember the steps for your maneuvers upon you're return, you're screwed--this responsibility is on YOU! Keep in mind I only had one day to practice before testing.

Ironically (or perhaps not), as the day progressed, my backs proceeded to get worse and worse! After lunch, in my estimation they were straight up terrible. The instructor working with us on the pad during the afternoon is also a DOT examiner, and assured me that they all constituted a "pass," they were cutting it close on points. Instead of allowing myself to get frustrated at the apparently inexplicable deterioration in my backing skills, I reassured myself with two takeaways: 1) I had already executed the maneuvers perfectly that morning, several times, right out of the gate. 2) Even if I completely blew it on exam day and performed backs that were as horrible as I did them in the afternoon, they STILL would constitute a pass. There's no room for pessimism in trucking. Attitude is everything! I simply chalked it up to the likelihood that I was fatiguing mentally throughout the day, and started to overthink my maneuvers too much. All the better, since my exam was scheduled for 0730 on Tuesday: the first examinee.

TEST DAY: I slept well and stayed out of my head, knowing that I was as prepared as I could possibly be. When I hit the pad with my examiner, I only pulled driver's side/fuel area, coupling, and in-cab for the pre-trip. Piece of cake. Then I proceeded to nail my straight-back with no points, reset the truck into the center box, and nail my blind-side offset with zero points. Piece of cake. Then I pulled the 90 degree alley back for my third maneuver. Although I felt far more confident with my parallels, I was still sufficiently prepared for this maneuver and started off confident. Found my landing gear, followed it into the hole, swiveled hard left, followed it back, going in perfectly straight. Then when I pulled up to swing my tractor around, somewhere I miscalculated and wound up screwing myself up. I wound up using SIX micro-pull-ups (two are granted free without penalty) and crossed a line once for a whistle blow, then put it in the box and pulled the air horn for a pass. Had I simply used all of my available space on the first pull-up, I would have finished my backing with a perfect score. Oh well! Five points total on all three maneuvers is still a great score. I'm glad I passed.

The road test was a breeze. There was heavy fog out in the morning, so I made sure to keep my speed well below the posted limits. Even though it probably wasn't necessary, I narrated EVERY single movement in advance, from coming to a full and complete stop at or before stop signs (every time), to making sure my turn signal stayed on until I was fully in the lane. My examiner clearly could have seen I was doing these things without my play-by-play, but for some reason I suppose it subtly boosted my own confidence. A pass is a pass lol.

My fellow student Cole also passed, albeit with a perfect score on backing, so I made sure to give him plenty of good-natured s*** for getting lucky on pulling my favorite maneuver (the blindside parallel). More updates later as I await my new trainer!


"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.


A strong wall-like structure placed at the front of a flatbed trailer (or on the rear of the tractor) used to protect the driver against shifting cargo during a front-end collision. May also refer to any separator within a dry or liquid trailer (also called a baffle for liquid trailers) used to partition the load.


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.

Company-sponsored Training:

A Company-Sponsored Training Program is a school that is owned and operated by a trucking company.

The schooling often requires little or no money up front. Instead of paying up-front tuition you will sign an agreement to work for the company for a specified amount of time after graduation, usually around a year, at a slightly lower rate of pay in order to pay for the training.

If you choose to quit working for the company before your year is up, they will normally require you to pay back a prorated amount of money for the schooling. The amount you pay back will be comparable to what you would have paid if you went to an independently owned school.

Company-sponsored training can be an excellent way to get your career underway if you can't afford the tuition up front for private schooling.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated


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.

Old School's Comment
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Congratulations Eugene! It's been fun watching you progress through the training process.

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GrayBeardinPA's Comment
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Congrats! I just saw the announcement on Wilson’s FB page!

Eugene K.'s Comment
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Sorry for the delays folks and thanks all for the congratulations and encouragement! We’ve been running wild the last few days since I set out with my C and B seat trainer on Thursday.

After a stop at Walmart to pick up supplies on Thursday, we went out for Mexican and then got assigned our load (a reset to Rockford IL). Due to delays unbeknownst, we wound up not picking up the trailer until friday at the prime lot around 1730, which I connected and coupled for the first time. About two hours outside of Springfield, we received word that we were being rerouted to Pottsville PA. I rode my clock out until about 0400 Saturday and really enjoyed the night driving for the first time. My body clock was fighting the adjustment, but the adrenaline kept me going with little fatigue until the final two hours. I really enjoyed the smooth sailing and nonexistent traffic. Since this new phase has a lot more responsibility, my new trainer has given me a lot more autonomy to experiment with the vehicle, as far as things like cruise control and speed and when to take breaks. We weren’t allowed to use cruise control during the D seat phase, but I instantly noticed an immediate drop in stiffness and fatigue due to less stress on my wrists and legs.

The real miracle? I’ve somehow managed to NOT sleep terribly while the truck is in motion. The first morning/day I really only managed about 3 hours, which wasn’t good, but this morning and today I managed 5-6, staying out like a light almost the entire time. My trainer was on the phone and playing the radio, and the only time I woke was when we stopped to turn into the truck stop for gas. I’m really quite pleased at how well I’m acclimating to sleep on the road: I feared for months it would be a dealbreaker for me. Where I really need the most work and have the steepest learning curve, is backing and managing my way around shippers and receivers. We did a drop, live unload, and pickup last night in 12 degree weather with strong gusts after dark in PA last night, and it wasn’t exactly pleasant. I had the windows down to see while backing in the pitch dark yards, face literally frozen from the wind to the point where I could barely move my lips, and unable to hear a word from my trainers instructions shouting at me over the wind. Just because I was able to expertly manage a few 90s and offsets on the backing pad doesn’t mean I’m anywhere close to figuring it out in the real world, let alone after dark when I could barely see, let alone learning how to slide tandems , all while unable to feel my face or limbs! I enjoyed the challenge, though.

When we finally left the shipper at 0200, I didn’t have much time left on my clock, so only drove us about 200 miles along 76. I was really tired by this point, so the hills and curves became annoying really quickly. My first trainer told me it wouldn’t take long for me to BEG for flat, straight, boring roads in Kansas or Nebraska. She was right!

Right now we are cooking up lots of food in advance of a big storm blowing our way along I-80 (we are on our way to Utah, outside Toledo now). I’ll keep you posted!


The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.


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 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".


Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
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Still following along as well, Eugene ~!!!

Did you 'air horn' me as you departed Toledo ?!?!? (LoL!) rofl-3.gif

Glad sleep has worked its way back into your routine, sir!

Stay safe, stay focused!!

~ Anne ~


Operating While Intoxicated

Eugene K.'s Comment
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Update: 25 Jan 2021, 1719

Snow, snow, and more snow! Currently shut down at a Petro off I-80 in Nebraska just west of Lincoln. Last night we left Toledo around 1730 and I got us about an hour west of Des Moines, with 30 minutes left on my clock. I’m loving night driving more and more with each passing 24. Shipping and receiving aside, if given the option once I upgrade to solo, I can see myself running on a 12-hour clock from midnight to noon. Leave the truck stop when it’s full and the roads are empty, trip plan so that I skirt major cities during the morning rush hours, and wrap up around noon by pulling into a truck stop with ample parking and zero wait for showers. That schedule sounds ideal to me.

The one caveat about my preference for night driving? Bad weather. The flurries had only just begun when it was time to switch over around 0330, and in the last hour my visibility dropped considerably. I had to adjust my speed way down, more so than I would have in the same weather conditions during daylight hours. I bought these amazing yellow glasses at the truck stop that improve night vision considerably, but they can only help so much when the weather sucks. (Pro tip: they’re also terrific against snow blindness. Figured that out today trudging back and forth to the Petro!)

My trainer only managed to get us about three hours along, going about 40 for his last hour, before he wisely called it quits and snagged us this spot at the Petro. When we woke up around 1130, the lot was completely full and trucks were circling. It’s bad out there, so we figure to be shut down until at least 0700 tomorrow. This should completely reset my sleep cycle and I’ll be back over to driving days when we head out tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve managed to get a lot of laundry and cleaning done, plus read a bit of this banal spy thriller potboiler I picked up at the free library at Prime.

Will keep everyone posted!

PackRat's Comment
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The Petro in York does normally have plenty of parking, until the really bad weather shuts everything down. Luckily you two stopped early enough to grab your spot.

Where does the load deliver in Utah?

I refer to the area from SLC, north to Casper, WY, then south to Denver as "The Bermuda Triangle" for bad weather driving on any Interstate. Be careful.


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

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