Wilson Logistics - Missoula MT

Topic 29987 | Page 2

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G-Town's Comment
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Good luck!

Let the journey begin... and never forget:

Watch Your Wagon !!!

Mountain Matt's Comment
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I'll probably lighten up more as I go...this is the way it works for me on my backpacking trips too :D

Nice to see a fellow backpacker on here! I do figure those backpacking skills come in a bit handy living out of a truck.

Interesting to read your story and your big career change! All the best to you in your training. good-luck.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

What a week! Guess it’s time to update. I went to pick up my rental car last Friday. The company had paid for a midsize, but there weren’t any available. I feared I would have to do 1300 miles in a roller skate. They offered me choice between a Buick convertible and a Dodge Challenger. I took the Challenger. I cry foul on offering a lead foot a bright orange challenger to drive to a job that I could get fired for speeding tickets! I didn’t make any hotel reservations since I didn’t know where I wanted to stop. By the time I thought about stopping, all the hotels were full. I ended up stopping at a rest area south of Butte and digging out my sleeping bag. I slept like a baby, but the Challenger was more fun to drive than to sleep in.

I arrived in Missoula and checked into the hotel. It’s a nice enough place but a lot of the amenities are closed because of the pandemic. So are many of the restaurants, but Uber Eats has been a life saver. There were 7 of us and I am the only female. The guys range in age from 23 to 67. The old man, as he was nicknamed, drive trucks for 25 years and has maintained his CDL. He’s just refreshing. I got to know all of them pretty well. We had one drop out on day 2. Just decided it wasn’t for him. I think he missed his kids.

The first day we did paperwork all morning and then went to lunch at a local taco place. After lunch we did an agility test. Open and close the hood, climb in and out of the cab, pull the 5th wheel, cross under the trailer and climb into the trailer. I had a hell of a time pulling the 5th wheel in the Freightliner, not as much in the Peterbilt. I barely made it into the trailer. When I get my own trailer I am carrying a step ladder.

On day 2, we went to the DMV to get our MT licenses and learners permits. Of course I failed. You get 2 tries and then they send you home. That made me a bit nervous. So in MT, they don’t use footage for measurements on their test. Every darn thing Is a football field. Now honestly I knew the lengths, but I have NO clue how many feet a football field is. Or a half of one. With or without the end zones? Ugh. And a lot about winter driving. Give me a break guys, I’m a girl from the desert. I spent the majority of that afternoon studying and finding out how long a football field actually is! They also gave us a walkthrough on the pretrip. We are expected to learn that on our own. If you fail the pretrip after your 2 weeks out, you go home. Nothing like pressure.

Day 3 was back to the DMV for me. I passed. This time I got all questions I knew the answers to. Figures. But I passed. And I do have to say the DMV in Missoula is very efficient and nothing like the one in Vegas. In and out in less than an hour. Back to the yard to practice straight backing. I can kind of do it. Sometimes. When the galaxies align and my chakras are shining. Or something like that lol. We also took the Peterbilt for about a 10 mile drive. We went in pairs and the guy I went with drove first. When we switched at a dead end country road with huge wide spots on both sides, the instructor told me to do a Uturn. Now I’ve read you shouldn’t do that, so I asked. He said it’s fine, just do it. So my first ever maneuver in a truck was a Uturn lol. I felt fine driving. I like forward way better than backward!

Day 4 we did a pretrip on the truck. One of our instructors went out and messed things up for us to find. There were 5 things and an extra credit. I found 3. I seem to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to engine components. Considering I didn’t know how to open the hood on a few of my cars, that isn’t surprising. One was he left the oil cap off. I called him over and asked if that hole was supposed to be there lol the extra credit was checking the trailer registration. I didn’t even know where it was kept, let alone to check it. The rest of the day was learning the alley dock. That one was easier to learn for me, but I still don’t have it. We were also assigned our trainers and were told to call them that night. We were assigned our fleet managers too. I was assigned a female trainer and was told I’d be picked up Sunday-ish. When I called her, she didn’t even know she had a student. She said she’d call them Friday and keep me posted.

Day 5 we did another pretrip. There were 6 things to find. I got 5. The one we all missed was that they swapped the air lines. I’ll know to look now! We then learned the off set. The instructor had a 4step process...I could never remember all the steps. I did it the way I envisioned it and blindsided it into the hole. I doubt I could reproduce it though lol I was happy to hear that you hardly ever do it in real life. We also took the Pete for about a 40 mile drive. It was governed at 65 and that’s about where I kept it. I found it comfortable and easy. Going forward. Lol. Trainers were coming in and picking up students and by the end of the day we were down to 3. Went back to the hotel to await my trainer, who still hasn’t called! It’s Saturday afternoon now. I’ll be packed and ready to go on Sunday but if she doesn’t show I’ll take my happy butt back to the yard on Monday and say ok what now lol

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.

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.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Great progress update, Vicki! I'm hoping you get a meeting with your trainer ASAP.

good-luck-2.gif good-luck.gif

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.

Vicki M.'s Comment
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A few notes:

With COVID, the hotel is doing grab bags for breakfast. They all have a fruit cup, a string cheese, a bottle of water and a nutrigrain bar. You can add a bunch of things. I usually went for a microwave breakfast burrito or a croissant sandwich. I also added yogurt. It was plenty of food for my midnight munchies. I’m not a breakfast eater. We went to lunch every day. We went to a taco place, Panda Express, and twice to a great local sandwich place. One day they ordered pizza. You’d be hard pressed to go hungry for sure. I also bought some single serve soups at the minimart next door. I ordered from Uber Eats once. Many places still have no indoor seating right now, so I just order it to my room.

I returned the Challenger with no damage, but the rental car company is claiming there is. I called my recruiter, who put me in touch with someone in Missouri. I sent her the photos I’d taken of the car and told her I had full coverage insurance anyway. She said it was no big deal that they’d cover it if they had to. They made it less of a thing than I thought it would be.

3 guys came in after their 2 weeks. What happens is the instructors spend a couple days with you practicing backing and doing the pretrip before you test. One kid came in with horror stories about his trainer. They even wrecked the truck by hitting the fairings (?) with the trailer doing a Uturn. The “trainer” ran it like a team truck and never let him back. There were other horror stories. So this poor kid couldn’t back. I was better than him and that’s damn scary. He will be staying on for another week to learn backing before he tests. Another guy couldn’t get through the pretrip without freezing up. They kept him an extra day to teach it to him. So the “if you fail” thing seems to not really apply. If you show effort, they seem to work with you. Of course you don’t get paid anything until you get your CDL , so you want to know it as quickly as possible.

The weather. Omg the weather. It snowed my first night here. Not a lot bu enough to stick. It was chilly. Day 2 was sunny and warm. Short sleeve weather. I got sunburned. Day 3 it rained. Cold and wet. Day 4 was chilly and overcast. Day 5 it was freezing, literally. Even the Montana boys were saying how cold it was. Then it snowed. Then it warmed up and we were all in short sleeves again. Today it’s overcast and supposed to rain. I’m staying in my room lol. I forgot what spring Is like up here. The guy from Palm Springs and I are dying of hypothermia lol

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.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
the instructor told me to do a Uturn. Now I’ve read you shouldn’t do that, so I asked. He said it’s fine, just do it. So my first ever maneuver in a truck was a Uturn lol. I felt fine driving. I like forward way better than backward!

That's funny!

Just so you know, a U-turn at a dead end is fine as long as their is room to make it.

The problem with U-turns is when you are on a street where traffic is flowing in both directions. A truck is big and it takes a good bit of time to make a turn. Because of that time it is a potentially dangerous maneuver. Cars going 70 plus miles an hour come upon you quickly. Many U-turns end up being accidents. That's why you avoid them.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

the instructor told me to do a Uturn. Now I’ve read you shouldn’t do that, so I asked. He said it’s fine, just do it. So my first ever maneuver in a truck was a Uturn lol. I felt fine driving. I like forward way better than backward!

double-quotes-end.png

That's funny!

Just so you know, a U-turn at a dead end is fine as long as their is room to make it.

The problem with U-turns is when you are on a street where traffic is flowing in both directions. A truck is big and it takes a good bit of time to make a turn. Because of that time it is a potentially dangerous maneuver. Cars going 70 plus miles an hour come upon you quickly. Many U-turns end up being accidents. That's why you avoid them.

That’s what I figured. There was enough room there to turn 3 trucks probably. It’s something I definitely wouldn’t do in traffic.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Alex's Comment
member avatar

Interesting they gave your group things to look for on the pretrip. Our group they just cut us loose with the checklist and would take each of us and quiz us on random sections. Same with the drive, we went on a 10 mile drive once before we went out with our trainers. Other than that it was all backing in the yard.

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.

Vicki M.'s Comment
member avatar

My trainer finally showed up on Wednesday. She gave some story about having a 30 hour window for a load pickup, but from what I have gathered since, she wanted to do a 34 with her boyfriend. Whatever, I am finally in a truck. She’s youngish, 34, the daughter of a trucker and trained by her dad. She’s been driving a year or so. Her mom also teamed with her dad, so hopefully her knowledge is genetic!

She picked me up in Missoula on Wednesday midday and I drove to Billings where we spent the night. After we woke up I drove almost all the way to Denver. She brought us in and then delivered the load this morning. Our pickup isn’t until tomorrow so we are hanging around the Denver yard. A friend of her family (the dads ex codriver from years ago) is going to pick us up and take us to his house for dinner and a shower.

All in all, it’s not bad, but I can tell that she and I are of a different breed. She’s very much “we have time” and I’m very much “let’s go!” But it’s only a couple months. She’s also not as clean and organized as I’d like to be, but still not as bad as it could be.

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

My trainer finally showed up on Wednesday. She gave some story about having a 30 hour window for a load pickup, but from what I have gathered since, she wanted to do a 34 with her boyfriend. Whatever, I am finally in a truck. She’s youngish, 34, the daughter of a trucker and trained by her dad. She’s been driving a year or so. Her mom also teamed with her dad, so hopefully her knowledge is genetic!

She picked me up in Missoula on Wednesday midday and I drove to Billings where we spent the night. After we woke up I drove almost all the way to Denver. She brought us in and then delivered the load this morning. Our pickup isn’t until tomorrow so we are hanging around the Denver yard. A friend of her family (the dads ex codriver from years ago) is going to pick us up and take us to his house for dinner and a shower.

All in all, it’s not bad, but I can tell that she and I are of a different breed. She’s very much “we have time” and I’m very much “let’s go!” But it’s only a couple months. She’s also not as clean and organized as I’d like to be, but still not as bad as it could be.

Vicki;

How are things going, gal ?!?!?

Are you still with that trainer ?!?!? So many questions; hope all is good!!!

~ Anne ~

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