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

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

Whats up? Hows it going out there?

He's being STINGY to Facebook. I've already chastised him (AND Texas Tim) ... to no avail!!! Arrghhh.....

I'm kinda bummed, too. Paybacks, ya know? SMH.

~ Anne ~

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Alright, since dear Anne asked (and George), an update: I'm finishing my 6th week of being out on the road with my trainer since earning my CDL. I have about 18,000 of my required 30,000 miles done.

Living in a small space with someone else 24/7 and sleeping in a bouncing truck are HUGE adjustments...by far the most challenging aspect of being out here. And ironically those won't be part of my solo experience..

Regardless, around week 5 something settled in me, and I just accepted the state of things. Honestly, I tried to stop thinking about being out on my own and just accepted that "this is my life now." I'm grinding it out and looking for what I can learn each day. The grind also seems to acclimatize one to the lifestyle as well, to condition one through the rigor.

But I do love the job...the traveling, driving the truck, seeing the "logistical innards" of the country. I just miss my daughter, whom I haven't seen in 2.5 months. Other than that, I'm good.

Maybe we can shift these diaries in the writing... or maybe there is another way to address this... but I felt overprepared for the 5 days of orientation and underprepared for the reality of 2.5 month training. Those 5 days seem easy peasy in retrospect, but this phase has been challenging. Since some of the big companies have these long training processes, it would be interesting to hear more discussion and support around that. I'm grateful for the friends I have made on here, as that has helped me feel more connected.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
George B.'s Comment
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Just keep swimming! Thanks for the update. It will be over soon. Your first week(and more) solo you will prob wish you were still w your trainer in many aspects. God bless.

ArcherTrucker's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for posting this MM

I have read this at least twice.

I am in the process of joining Wilson Logistics' Paid CDL program, Just need my CLP. Your diary was a part of my decision.

I look forward to reading more and wish you all the best.

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.

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.

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

I'm glad this was helpful to you, ArcherTrucker! Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions about Wilson's program.

Thank you for posting this MM

I have read this at least twice.

I am in the process of joining Wilson Logistics' Paid CDL program, Just need my CLP. Your diary was a part of my decision.

I look forward to reading more and wish you all the best.

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.

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.

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

A quick update: I'm now finishing Week 8 of my on-the-road training and will have 28,000 of my required 30,000 miles done by Sunday. My trainer has a vacation scheduled for late next week, so it's a race to the finish to see if I get the rest of the miles in before his vacation. Otherwise, I'll have to pause and come back at it.

I feel like training is a slow process of conditioning: With the passing of each week, I get more used to the lifestyle and being out here, more comfortable with various aspects of the job through repetition, exposure to new situations, and slow refining of my backing skills. I've now been to some of the same shippers or receivers more than once, which gives me a sense of building a working knowledge of these places. I've been to some of the same truck stops multiple times and am developing a list of those I prefer. I had my first DOT inspection the other day, which was a nerve-wracking experience but good to go through (all clean on the inspection!). I feel like I've earned more of my trainer's respect and so we work a little more as a "team" now... I mean, he's still the boss and all, but...! I've stepped into handling more of the responsibilities and haven't made any big mistakes (thankfully!). Oddly, I've forgotten a couple of times to put the DEF cap back on after filling it... not sure why I keep forgetting this--maybe because I'm hurrying to pull the truck up to fill the reefer? Anyway, I get annoyed with myself when I've forgotten this a few times, though my trainer has pointed it out to me in an even-handed way.

Maybe I'll have some grand conclusion after I'm done or I'll start another thread, but this phase of the training has been long and trying, but I do feel like it has conditioned me, and I also feel it has confirmed that I made a good choice. I am loving the traveling, the driving, the lifestyle, and learning more technical aspects of the work. I even kind of like the paperwork! (It's much less than my previous job.) All this despite having to share the space with someone else and sleep in a bouncing truck. I think this bodes well for when I am solo, though of course then I won't have the safety net of my trainer being nearby. I already have some pretty incredible memories of scenic drives and cool places we've taken a day off and I've gotten to explore. I saw the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans both in one week, for instance.

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.

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.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Hey there MM

Thanks for posting an update on your trucking journey.

You are so close to that next milestone must be a great feeling knowing you are what about a week away from 30k? Then you get your own truck.

I bet you've seen some amazing things crisscrossing the 48.

I start with Wilson on 3/21. So far they have been fantastic, got a call today asking if I needed anything or had any questions. I get the feeling that they are indeed family-oriented and look forward to my start date.

Sounds like you got a good trainer and are surviving if not thriving.

looking forward to more.

Drive safe

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

Thanks, Archer! Yeah, I'm a week or so worth of driving away from completing my 30k. We'll see how it times out with my trainer's vacation. Then I have "solo" week, where I move trailers around at the Kraft yard before getting my truck. So, getting close!

Congrats on your start date! I think you'll like Wilson. The "family" metaphor has always been weird for me (squabbling siblings? demanding parents?), but people at Wilson are nice, and it's small enough that you get a sense of knowing people.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

It's been an eventful week! (in a good way)

I finished my required 30,000 training miles. We got them done the day before my trainer was starting vacation, so that was perfect. I had an extra amount of trouble sleeping in the bouncing truck the last couple of days--I think because I was so excited.

The day after I returned to the terminal , they had my "evaluation," which consisted of doing some driving and then backing maneuvers at a truck stop, just to ensure that I could operate the truck properly. Next I have my "solo week," which for Wilson basically consists of schlepping full trailers from the Kraft plant here in Springfield to the Springfield Underground ("The Caves"), where the product is stored and distributed. It's about 6 miles between the two locations. Today I went over to Kraft for my orientation, which meant working with one of the regulars for half a day. He did a few runs and explained things, then had me drive a run. It was interesting and good experience to drive a daycab truck... and an older Western Star, as opposed to the newer Freightliner I'm more used to. The daycab obviously maneuvers easier, but the tandems on all the trailers are set all the way back, so it kinda (maybe) equals out in terms of maneuverability. We'll see.

My shift is 5pm-4am for the next 7 days. It'll be lots of backing practice... and practice dodging the irregular stone columns down in the Caves. When backing today I had to keep an eye on that, as it's not just straight walls, fences, and trucks to avoid.

After that, about a week from tomorrow, I should have my own truck! I just need to focus on this next stage so that I don't mess anything up.

Also, after 60 days straight in the truck, in the sleeping bag, it feels really nice and luxurious to be in a hotel room (by myself!). Wilson pays for the hotel over the next week while I'm working the Kraft account. I've slept so well in that bed that isn't bouncing around....

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".

Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Congratulations Matt on getting through your 30k team driving. I appreciate your description of the process for you. Good luck with your solo upgrade week. I’ve been to “the caves” in Carthage, MO.

I’ve had 7 days off now at home. Getting back on my trainer’s truck today in a few hours to start my 30k team training miles with Prime. Hopefully in about 8 weeks I’ll be upgrading to my solo truck.

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