Wilson Logistics Training: Start Date: 12/13/21. A Librarian Learns Trucking!

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Mountain Matt's Comment
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Hi Everyone,

As others have said, I too have benefitted from the many posts and training diaries here on TT, so I figure it's my turn to contribute. I hope this also sets some context for if/when I run into challenges and need some guidance from you good folks!

A little background for those that haven't read my bits and pieces in other threads: I just left a 16-year career as a librarian. I supervised our bookmobile, among other things, and so have had my CDL-B for about 12 years in order to drive our 40' coach-style bookmobile. Now in my mid-40s, I find myself without much to tie me down: divorced, daughter going off to college, etc. I also found myself stale and stagnant in life... After at least a year's serious consideration and research (thank you again, Trucking Truth!), I've decided it's time for a new chapter in my life, a new set of challenges and experiences so that I can grow as a person to the next stage. If I do it right, I also think trucking will help me out financially.

I also decided that my best option (most adventure, most amount of money saved) was to live in my truck once I'm solo'ing (why pay for an apartment, when just I will be there 3-4 days/month?!). Thus, I decided to change my residency from Illinois (Chicago) to South Dakota (Sioux Falls). You can establish SD residency in a day, and there are no state taxes! But making this change has obviously been an involved one. Here are some of the steps I have taken over the last weeks:

-Gave notice at my job.

-Signed up for temporary health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

-Gotten a storage unit for my stuff.

-Got my DOT med card & applied to various trucking companies.

-Moved out of my apartment.

-Set up my new address and virtual mail service in South Dakota.

-Drove out to South Dakota, got my class-B CDL transferred over, and then tested for my class A CLP.

-Finalized my application materials with Wilson Logistics, went for their assigned drug test, and finished their online learning modules (driver health & well-being, anti-harassment training, Food Safety, CSA , etc.)

My experience with Wilson thus far has been great. Each one of the 3 people I have worked with there have been professional and helpful, calling me when they said they would, explaining the process, etc.

This Sunday, I drive down to Springfield, Missouri, to begin my training on Monday (12/13/21). I'm excited to take on new challenges, expand my areas of knowledge and experience, and test myself. To be honest, the "trucking world" (as far as I've been able to experience it thus far) has been diverse and a nice change of pace from the library environment. At least here, no one questions my tattoos or long beard, lol!

I'm very grateful for Trucking Truth, for the community and knowledge here, as well as for the High Road Training Program, which smoothed my way to my CLP. In the weeks and months to come, I will continue to look to you all for experience and insight.

Thanks for reading my novel. Lol. I will add more chapters when I can.

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.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

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.

CLP:

Commercial Learner's Permit

Before getting their CDL, commercial drivers will receive their commercial learner's permit (CLP) upon passing the written portion of the CDL exam. They will not have to retake the written exam to get their CDL.

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

Rarely am I first ...... BUT YAY! ;)

Subscribed, man. Major KUDOS, excitement, and happiness for ya!

Love the 1st Chapter, and all others will, too!!!

~ Anne ~

Mountain Matt's Comment
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Thanks, Anne--I figured you'd be the first respondent. ;-)

Your kindness warms all of us. Thank you!

PackRat's Comment
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Following

good-luck.gif

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Vicki M.'s Comment
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Definitely following!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Packrat and Vicki!

Well, I arrived in Springfield, Missouri, about 6:30pm today, then immediately drove to WalMart to get some fruit and healthy snacks. And eggs. I kind of live off of eggs. Wilson puts trainees up in the Baymont Inn, which is newly-remodeled and pretty nice. I've got two beds, a desk, a sitting chair, a closet, a coffee/sink area, AND my own bathroom. Pure luxury compared to the trainers' truck I should be on by the end of the week. The guy at the front desk obviously works with a lot of us Wilson people and was very kind and informative.

When I went back out to get something from my car, a Wilson bobtailed truck was out front (apparently they were dropping off a student who is ready to take his CDL test). That was the closest I've gotten so far to a Wilson truck, and I gotta say, I was pretty excited! Checking out the fifth wheel, the tires, etc. It's nice to feel excited about something new in my life.

And that's my primary feeling going into tomorrow: Excitement. After a year of planning, it's finally happening. I'm 100% in and going to see this through, no matter what.

Now to try to get some rest so as to be ready for the 6:45am shuttle tomorrow...

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.

Bobtail:

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

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

And I meant to add that the weather forecast calls for 60s and even one day in the 70s this week, though later in the week will be in the 50s and rainy. But coming from Chicago and then Sioux Falls where it has been in the single digits, I was all prepared to spend much of my time outside in the cold (I brought all my cold weather gear and boots). I'm glad to not have to do that and have this warm weather! I'm also glad I'm not in their Missoula terminal , haha!

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.

Kandyman's Comment
member avatar

I just became "verklempt". Ha ha! I envisioned myself in your spot viewing the truck for the first time. Brings me back to trucking school. I wasnt sure who I wanted to work for until a Stevens driver stopped by and showed us his truck. I was in awe. I chose Stevens. Best of luck to you brotherman. This is what you want, make the best of it. There will be ups and downs but keep your head high. "Put the needle to the groove"(a lil 80s rap/funk for Anne)rofl-1.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

I just became "verklempt". Ha ha! I envisioned myself in your spot viewing the truck for the first time. Brings me back to trucking school. I wasnt sure who I wanted to work for until a Stevens driver stopped by and showed us his truck. I was in awe. I chose Stevens. Best of luck to you brotherman. This is what you want, make the best of it. There will be ups and downs but keep your head high. "Put the needle to the groove"(a lil 80s rap/funk for Anne)rofl-1.gif

Wu TANG it, for sure!

I'm waiting patiently, Mr. Matt!!!!!! :):):)

~ Anne ~

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Kandyman! Saw a bunch more trucks today, so getting used to it already, haha!

Just a brief DAY 1 update, since I'm tired and I need to study:

It was a pretty great day! I love the vibe of the company... it was warmer and friendlier than I expected, but I am aware (and saw evidence) that we are being watched and evaluated throughout. Right away was the agility tests... a few people really struggled getting into the trailer with 3 points of contact, but they gave them many, many tries. After some initial paperwork and talks, I went on the simulator, while others went out to the pad. The sims were pretty fun, actually! The instructor warned that they might make you nauseous and asked you not to throw up on the equipment (lol). I took it slow, and I think my class-B experience helped me in terms of knowing to take the turns wide and just do everything slow and smooth. The guy next to me made a few more mistakes, and they let him know about it. They commented even on how often I was checking my mirrors, so they're definitely watching.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the pad, going through the parts of the truck for the pre-trip exam. We've been told in no uncertain terms that we'll have an informal test on the 4-part air brake test on Wednesday, so that's the main thing to be studying for now. I have learned that my fellow students are coming into this with different styles, personalities, and levels of preparedness. I joined their study group for a while back at the hotel but then left, as I do better studying on my own (when we're not in-person on the truck, that is). In the end, I'm here for myself, so I'm doing what's best for me (though being polite to others, of course).

Some interesting facts:

-56% of Wilson's drivers came through their training program

-They are currently averaging students getting their CDL in 23 days.

-The cost of the company-paid training, if you leave, is $3,500. If you work for them for 6 months, half of that is "forgiven." If you work for them for a year (a good idea for your resume anyway), the whole amount is forgiven. They had us sign contracts today, but they're not legally binding until the end of the day on Thursday (so you have time to read the fine print, change your mind, etc.).

All in all, I feel very good about Wilson and the process so far. We're getting right to it... they're friendly but down-to-business. I'm keeping my eyes on the prize. Now to go memorize some stuff... :-)

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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