Roehl Driver Training From Start To End.....

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Tracee W.'s Comment
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Day 5 of training:

Today started out just like the past few days. Alarm goes off at 0500. In the bay doing truck pre trip by 0630. When we got to the bay, it was kind of different. They were moving trucks around to get ready for the testing today. Each Friday, the week two students do their final test to get their full CDL - A. Kind of scary when I think that in 7 days, I will be testing. As you can see each day above, you will get a LOT of repetition in. You cover the pre trip inspections at least twice a day. That is a good thing so when it comes to testing, you will be like doing it sleep walking.

Anyway, we did our pre trip inspections and hit the road. In the driver seat, I was up first after we had coupled the trailer and did all inspections. My shifting was so much more comfortable today. It really felt like I did not have to think about it as much. I still missed some gears and grinded some but it was much better. It started to rain. The temperature was a balmy 31 degrees. Then we started to get ice on the backs of the mirrors. Time to slow down. Freezing rain. I drove for about two hours. Kevin had us drive through the downtown area. We took some tight turns and roundabouts. I had to deal with trash trucks, other trucks pulling out in front of me, and pedestrians. All in all, it went well. I made some mistakes but once I settled in, it went pretty good. I went as well as it could for a guy driving a big truck with only 4 days experience. Mike and Bill drove and they did well. We had a lunch break and pre trip inspections just like the previous days. Mike drove after lunch. After he was done, we went to the range and did the serpentine backing just to practice backing and to kill the last hour before we went into the classroom. Time for the weekly written test. It was 30 questions and we were allowed to use our books. I missed one question. It really wasn't that hard. I knew all the information from studying on here.

Made it through day 5. It still seems a little crazy to think that one week from today, I will be in a truck with someone testing me. Hopefully, I will be proficient enough by then to pass. It takes time to learn the feel of the shifting. Then you have to add the wide turns, railroad crossings, cars, trucks, people, and everything else that comes along on the road. It has been a fun ride so far. Looking forward to Sunday so I can just chill out.

This is great info Wine Taster! Thank you so much for you efforts. I am really looking forward to May 5th and I may even be thinking about the curtained flatbed. I believe it pays better than van which is what I was originally thinking about running... Will keep reading and again thank you for your knowledge about what the rest of us newbies can expect in a few weeks!

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.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Tracee W,

Yes curtains pay better than van and flatbed is better than curtains. However, Van gets more miles, then curtain, then flatbed. The reason is you spend more time securing cargo on curtains and flatbeds. Then on flatbed, you have to tarp. You get paid more but the extra work eats into your on duty clock that may end up reducing your drive time.

Wine Taster's Comment
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Today, I started with Bill. We hit the road at sunrise (0530) because we have an oversized load going to NY. Bill drove for about three hours and we hit a truck stop. Finally, a shower. It was nice to get clean after three days. We spent about an hour there and got some lunch. Then we hit the road. We stopped every three hours or so and checked the cargo and straps. We did our vehicle checks. I drove for about 300 miles today. Bill wanted me to go in sleeper when I could because I really have been running hard on my 70 hour clock. At the pace I have been running, I will not have enough time to finish 9 more days of training without a reset. That would be horrible to have to take a reset in the middle of training. Luckily, I think I will be with Bill for the rest of the time. It is scary to think that I will be all alone with one of these machines very soon.

Today, we drove. The route we took has very few places to stop. We started planning where we could stop. We had to be off the road by 30 minutes after sunset. We were really pushing it. It started getting dark and we still had 20 miles to the truckstop. If they did not have spots for us to park, we would have to make a spot. We took an exit and it was one short of the one we were supposed to take. Opppps. It was not far to loop back around but it was dark when we pulled in the truckstop. Luckily, they had plenty of spots. I backed her right in with not much help. Bill said I had done really well with shifting and driving all day. It was a good day.

We had dinner in Subway. I was tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes I am cheap and try not to eat out a lot. It saves a lot of money. I went back to the truck and grabbed my shaving bag and went back in to brush my teeth (yes I have more than a tooth). Now, I lay in bed roasting hot. Bill likes to sleep in a sauna it seems. I should be sleeping. We have to be on the road at 0600 so it will be another early morning.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

RabidPossum's Comment
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Great posts, WT! I'm leaving for Marshfield in about eight hours. My training with Roehl starts on Monday and it's been great reading about your training!

Lynn

Wine Taster's Comment
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Great posts, WT! I'm leaving for Marshfield in about eight hours. My training with Roehl starts on Monday and it's been great reading about your training!

Lynn

Good luck. You will do great. If I can help you in any way, just give me a shout.

Wine Taster's Comment
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I am losing track of the days. It is day 5 of phase 2 training, I think. Today was another early start. We had about 300 miles to cover to get to our first drop. It was in Jordanville, NY. We were scheduled to be there at 1000. We got up and was on the road by 0500. We got there on time. It was snaking hill roads to a dairy farm. Apparently, the company that the person bout the equipment from decided to not have this speared shipped to the company. They had it shipped direct to the customer because they wanted to skip all the hassle and expense of delivering the item themselves. We were pulling a step deck flatbed. No ramps. Th customer did not have a forklift. They did have a small hill with a concrete wall that we could back up to and roll the spreader off that well. One problem! Snow melt has made the ground soft. Bill said, "Let's see what you can do." He want me to back down the driveway we had pulled in. It was an easy straight line back. Then I pulled around to get lined up to back in to the hill. As I started backing my tires started slipping. I locked in all 4 drives and pulled forward a bit. I tried again. Slipping again. Then I had to rock the truck with the clutch to get it moving forward again. Ol boy! I got it unstuck from where I had it. Then Bill said I need to keep the momentum going and not stop as I backed up. I still need practice backing so I let him have a shot at it. Well, we got stuck again good enough a tractor could not get us out. They had to go clear across the farm and get a front in loader that had tracks on it. We finally got the trailer against the hill two hours later and the hooked up to the spreader and rolled it off the trailer. Then, we had to get through the mud bog again. Bill got her going and didn't stop. Our dirty hard working girl was back on solid ground. The customer thanked us for our hard work. We finished up paperwork with him and headed out.

We had a grain trailer that was due to be unloaded at 1500. It was now 1300 and we had 2 and half hours to drive. I was driving. We had received directions from the farmers about the best way to get back to the interstate. However, they failed to mention that they way were going had an area of downslopes so steep that they had a break check area at the top and runaway ramps. Luckily, we only had about 15K on the trailer. I stopped at the brake check area and did my break checks. Then we headed down. 8th gear and engine brake screaming with RPM's screaming near 1700 she held pretty well with only a couple of brake pedal pushes to bring us down to 5 under safe speed. Made it down safe and sound except I left permanent finger indents in the steering wheel.

Then we boggied to Salem, NY. We called the fleet manager and let him know what had happened and that we would be running a little late. We had already called the company and let them know and they were cool with it. We rolled in there just past 1500. They had the right equipment to get this trailer off. They put a forklift on each side and lifted it up. I pulled the truck forward and they sat it on the ground. Easy peasy!

As soon as I sent in the message we were unloaded, out next load came in. They had already given us a pre plan yesterday so we already knew we were heading to CT new New Haven. This is another two drop load. This will be the first "slinkies" that I have haul. It will be good to get some experience securing these. This is an almost 1000 mile run. We have a lot of time to get them there. Bill decided since we have had so many early mornings and late nights for the past couple of days, we are going to knock off at our first fuel stop tonight. We got a shower and knocked off around 2000. Bill just told me that we are in no rush tomorrow so we can just wake up when we wake up. That sounds good to me.

Some of the turns I had to make to day were insane tight through some of the little towns we drove. Bill said I did very well. My shifting was spot on. (Except a few times) I was making these turns on my own with very little input from Bill. I had on spot where I had less than an inch from the curb with my tandems and less than half inch along the sides of the cars that I was squeezing against to make that turn. Nailed it with no help.

We got to the Pilot tonight. We got fuel. The way this place is set up is strange. It forces you to blindside back because of the one ways. Really dumb design. Anyway, I wanted to give it a shot. Bill said, "OK let's do it." I got positioned. It was very tight so I had to do a blind side 45 degree back. After about 6 pull ups, there was a line of trucks waiting to get through. I told Bill that I was getting frustrated and I was going to circle back around. I wanted to let those poor guys waiting through. When I got around to the fuel dock, there happen to be a nice open spot that I could almost straight back into. I backed it in and shut it down. Bill went inside. Then the driver beside me comes out and he looks at his truck and shrugs. Did I do something wrong? He jumped up on the step and I asked if I was too close. He said I was perfect. The guy on the other side was so close we was going to smack his mirror when he tries to pull out at 0230. We talked a bit and he went his way. I finished my practice paper logs and called it a night after my shower and typing this.

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".

Interstate:

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

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Day 6 of phase 2 training.

Today, I got to sleep in. After getting up at 0337, getting dressed, walking 70 yards across the parking lot, go pee, and walking back, I went back to sleep. I did not wake up until around 0730. Bill was still sleeping so I walked back to the bathrooms and brushed my teeth. Then I got a small breakfast sandwich from Subway. I think I woke Bill when I unlatched the hood for the pre trip. He said I didn't.

We headed out from NY to CT to pick up the load. It was actually a drop the step deck trailer we had and pick up a loaded flatbed. The guard came over and showed us where to go once we got there. Bill asked me what I was going to do as we entered the drop yard. I got set up and backed the trailer in a spot while Bill walked across the street to open the gate where the other trailer was. I dropped the landing gear, pulled the air lines and electrical lines, and pulled the locking pin. The trailer was straight in the spot. Bill gave me some pointers on how to get in the spot if I did not have as much space as I did this time.

We hooked up to the trailer and did a pre trip on it. Then we had to secure the wire spools. It was not that heavy so each of the five spools did not need but one chains. They were cradle very well by the shipper. We placed two chains on the ones on the front and back spools so we could put forward and backward tension on them. I learned a very good lesson about chain ratchets today. Have a can of lubricant on the truck. Bill said he does not have to use chains very often. Well, from all the winter grime and the ratchets sitting in the box, they were rusted and did not want to move well. We ended up using snap binders for a couple of the chains. I told Bill I was going to get some penetrating oil for my truck to spray on the ratchets after each use so they stay lubricated. He said that he thought that was a great idea.

We headed out. We decided to stop and have a nice sit down meal at a TA along the way. It is nice to sit down and eat like real people once in a while. We drove about 400 miles today. We have less than 400 to go tomorrow so it will be another easy day. We got to a TA on I - 80 tonight in PA. There happened to be two other Roehl trucks parked with an open space between them. Bill said he had set up this training for me. LOL! Anyway, Bill backed it in with no pull ups. Then I tried. I got it in but it was insane tight on the driver side. I pulled out and did it again. I was all goofed up. There was a student in the other truck watching me. We talked a bit. Bill was off to watch Wisconsin play basketball. He said there were not many trucks in the stop tonight. He said I could practice if I wanted to. So, I backed in three times. First try I had to completely drive around and reset. Second try, yet another reset. Third try, I placed it in but then had to pull out to get straight. I guess I will be staying in a lot of rest areas where I don't have to back to park. ROFL!

Tomorrow, we head to Columbus, OH. We may sleep at the place of delivery so we can get the load dropped off Monday morning quickly.

Shipper:

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
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It is insane how much information I have been shoveling in for the past few weeks

Wine Taster, you've done an outstanding job with this journal. I know how hectic training is in a flat-bed, and you have really gone the extra mile by taking the time to document all this stuff the way you have. Kudos to ya!

There have been plenty of people following along with this that are interested in Roehl, or just interested in flat-bed work. You've provided a great service here that many people can gain insight from both now and in the future - thanks again for all you've put into this.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Wine Taster's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Old School! Hopefully, I get to meet you for real one day. Now, all I got to do is learn to back the split axle and I will be OK I think.

Anyway, today is day 7 of training phase 2. We had a pretty easy day today. All we had to do was drive 400 miles. We deliver in the morning in Columbus, Ohio. When I got up Bill was still sleeping because he stayed up watching the basketball game. He had already told me we were in no rush. I got up and went inside and brushed my teeth. It was around 0800. Then I had some breakfast. I walked around the store a little while so Bill could sleep. When I got back, he was still asleep. There just happened to be a really nice residential area right behind the truckstop. It was a really nice morning to go for a long walk, get some exercise, some fresh air, and enjoy the mountain scenery. I walked a couple of miles. Bill was stirring when I got back so I started the pre trip. By the time had it done, he was up and about. We hit the road are going over the trip plan in the map. It was pretty easy. Stay on I-8o until it turned into I - 76. Then run I -76 to I - 81. I think that was it, my memory is slipping a bit because I am tired. Anyway, we had a fuel stop at a Pilot. When we got there Bill had me back in doing a 45 degree back. I did a little better today. Then I had to circle around and do it again. I guess three times is a charm. Bill said he was gld this load was set up like this. He said usually they don't get much time to practice backing. We had plenty of time so we got a shower while we were there. We had to wait almost an hour for our showers to become available. Then we hit the road again for the last 100 miles. We got to a Love's just outside of Columbus. When we got here, Bill had me back in two more times. The first one I botched pretty bad and had to circle around the parking lot to get reset. The next two, I did OK on. It is hard to learn how to make these split axles pivot. I tend to wait to long every time to counter steer. Then I have to over correct to try and get back right. Then it is a mess.

Bill said I was doing great. I over heard him on the phone with the training fleet manager. He said I was doing very well and asked when I could be routed to a terminal for final testing. Wait! What? Ready? Me? So, then he tells me that I have been in training for 7 days. He said we should be getting close to a terminal by Wednesday. He said I may be dropped off then. Just hold on a second! Are you telling me that in 3 days I will be in one of these trucks alone? Ol boy! I don't have a problem driving forward. I am confident I can do it. However, backing up I am not so sure. I guess I will never get a shower again because I will be staying at rest areas so I can just do pull through parking without backing. Just start calling me stinky I guess. ROFL!

Tonight, I had a slice of Pizza from Pilot. It was not all that great. I watched a little TV in the drivers lounge and then headed back to the truck. When I got back to the truck, I stood outside and watched some guys and gals back there trucks in. Bill told me to watch different drivers back in and learn what to do and what not to do. I was watching this guy trying to back in. He was have a really hard time. I felt his pain and frustration. A guy gets out from the other truck beside me and says, " How long has he been trying to get it in?" I said he had not been there long (he actually had). Then I said I understood his pain because I was in training. This guy goes on and on about how somebody "cut" his airline. He has been parked here for two days because they have not sent anyone to fix it. Then he tells me how he "love tapped" another one of his companies trailers this morning on purpose. Then he talks about how long he has been driving but somehow DMV messed up his CDL transfer so now every company thinks he has no experience. That is why he gets $0.26 per mile. ????? I get more than that right out of school. He talked about how he would not work for Prime because they have to many rules and govern the trucks at 57 MPH. I said a few times that I had to be up early but he would just keep talking. Finally, Bill came walking back up and I told this guy I had to go so I would not bother my trainer trying to sleep. Geez! All I wanted to do was watch these people back up. Somehow I got dragged into an hour long conversation about.... well I am not sure what it was about to be honest.

Tomorrow, we have to hit it early because our first drop is at 0700. We have five spools of wire and have to drop three of them. Then we head to Fort Wayne, IN to drop the other two. So, for now goodnight!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Road-_-blocker's Comment
member avatar

Wine Taster, I have enjoyed hearing your story from beginning to where you are now. I sort-of know where you coming from since i too am working in retail as i have for 5 yrs. I leaning towards trucking to be doing something different and see the country as well. The only issue is i also have a wife and 2 kids who are 3yrs old and one almost here. I know kids need their dad early on but im just making it through life and would like to better myself as best as i can. How do handle being away from ur family and how did they take the news when you decided to do trucking? Also did Roehl pay for your hotel stay or was that paid with your own money? Just trying to get n idea on what to do.

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