First Steps: I Want To Drive Big Rigs

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ArcherTrucker's Comment
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Archer Trucker and Jerry B.

Good luck with your CDL training with Wilson in Springfield.

I just finished my CDL training with Prime in Springfield yesterday. Wilson’s training program is very similar to Prime’s. I’m gearing up to start my 30k miles of team driving.

Thank you and congratulations on getting your CDL-A. Hope you get a good trainer.

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.
Jerry B.'s Comment
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Congratulations, Dennis. I am looking forward to starting my journey.

Archer Trucker and Jerry B.

Good luck with your CDL training with Wilson in Springfield.

I just finished my CDL training with Prime in Springfield yesterday. Wilson’s training program is very similar to Prime’s. I’m gearing up to start my 30k miles of team driving.

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.
ArcherTrucker's Comment
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ArcherTrucker's Comment
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0075645001647732353.jpg

Departed Eugene airport to Dallas/Ft. Worth a quick layover and a spicy Italian sub and off to Springfield, MO.

Arrived in Springfield on a rainy night. Caught an Uber (which Wilson Arranged, Thank you, Wilson!) Checked into the Baymont into a very decent room.

0505699001647732555.jpg

0095892001647732795.jpg

I relaxed and settled in today, caught up on some much-needed sleep.

Im off to Wal-Mart to get some supplies.

Ill try and update As much it makes sense and I have time. Going to study the pre-trip script and videos Wilson provided.

Hoping to see the Fantastic caves tomorrow.

Very excited to be here and have this opportunity.

-Archer out

Mountain Matt's Comment
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Welcome to town and to Wilson, Archer! Get that rest, and gear up for the marathon... Not sure if you'll get to see the Caves yet... not typically part of orientation. But you'll see more of the Caves than you ever wanted to during Solo Week, lol!

Give me and Trucking Truth a holler on here if you run into questions or issues.

ArcherTrucker's Comment
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Thanks, Matt I definitely have some questions should I just ask here or DM?

I was going to go take that jeep-train guided tour at the fantastic caves but with the Uber ride, it's outside my budget, man these Ubers add up.

So the Springfield underground is part of Wilson's training? Kraft account?

Had the breakfast buffet at the Baymont, basic but gets the job done. Im looking around the hotel and wondering if any of these faces are training like me or already truckers? I'll find out more tomorrow, shuttle arrives at 6:45 am, early is on time, and on time is late

0232350001647799126.jpg view outside my room

Today Im organizing and looking to grab a light workout and study the pre-inspection script. The power went out early this morning just for a sec, the internet is slow and there is a data cap, so I had to upgrade.

have a great day everyone

-Archer out

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.
Mountain Matt's Comment
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Hey Archer,

Sorry for the slow reply--I got dispatched on my first load, and now am on my first hometime. Hopefully training is going well for you so far. Lol, by "fantastic Caves," I thought you meant the Springfield Underground, not the actual tourist attraction called "Fantastic Caves." And yes, working the Kraft account from the plant to "the Caves" is a standard part of Wilson's training. After you finish your 30k training miles, you have "Solo Week," which is working the Kraft account (usually overnight).

As for the hotel, lots of Wilson students at all stages and drivers stay there, as we get a good discount (or Wilson pays, depending). So yes, lots of truck drivers there... and other folks. Weird about the data/internet. I never had that problem. But you have a better view than I've had.

If you have questions, feel free to post them here, as others might chime in too. Unless it's something you want to ask me personally--my email is in my profile.

Take care!

G-Town's Comment
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I decided after some digging that Swift is not the company for me.

Although it’s academic at this point; where exactly did you do your digging? I drive for Swift for 9 years. The only reason I left was a relocation and a desire to drive local. No regrets driving for them.

Be very careful where you get your information from. Realize the person in the drivers seat has way more todo with success than the company name on the truck’s door.

Good luck with Wilson!

ArcherTrucker's Comment
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Hello trucking enthusiasts, students, and pros

**These are my views and do not represent Wilson Logistics in any way**

We are not allowed to post any photos or videos of training nor post certain details of our training.

The first week into the whirlwind that is Wilson CDL training is coming to an end today (note: it's 2:10 am here in Springfield, MO). The contract went live at midnight, basically, you sign on the contract Monday and have until Thursday at midnight to either cancel the contract or work for Wilson Logistics for 12 months after you get your CDL-A. If you bail on the contract you are on the hook for the cost of the training.

Week one CDL-A training Springfield, Missouri.

Monday: orientation, paperwork, introductions (meet your cohort). Program Outline is given, lunch is provided every day around noon. In the morning when you enter the facility you sign an attendance sheet and put in your rider for lunch (every day is a different local restaurant). The lunches this week have all but once been working lunches where we listen to a presentation on various topics: safety, logs, etc.)

Finished the day out on the training pad getting familiar with the trucks and begging to learn pre-trip. the pre-trip inspection is 99% on the student to get down, which is crucial to the safe operation of the 80,000 lb./40 ton beast you are driving. Some of the students studying in small groups outside of class, others went solo and most of us went out early in the morning and throughout the day where possible hit pre-trip (don't stand around on the pad when you aren't driving -remember this is a 3-4 week interview, they are always watching and judging you, believe it). One beef I have is that most of the trainers and experienced drivers around the pad and terminal smoke as well as some students and do it constantly taking breaks whenever they feel like it, however, if a non-smoker is standing around talking they remind you to get busy doing Pre-trip (double standard). This wasn't a huge deal but as the week went on I noticed it more.

Tuesday: Straightline backing (some students did their Simulator test, yes it is a required test you get 3 practice runs and 1 assessment you must score an 80% to pass, you get multiple attempts) Another student and I didnt take ours until Thursday however we went out on the road in a real actor and trailer first on Tuesday. The simulator was more stressful to me than the actual truck.

Tuesdays are company safety meetings/talks, good stuff. Take safety seriously there was a serious accident involving fatalities and many trucks due to fog near here. Always follow safety protocols.

Went on the road in a real truck and trailer, just going to say wow what an awesome experience, kind of stressful but if you listen to the trainer your good. Always listen to the trainers here they are really good and I believe have an interest in seeing you pass your CDL and become a professional. The lesson learned is to listen to your trainer's exact instructions, watch your trailer on right turns it tells you where you need to be so you don't stomp the curb, and keep your truck centered in the lane.

Wednesday: Offset backing (blindside and sightside), more pre-trip (learn it live it love it) we also had a test on the Air brake pre-trip, just FYI study it as your CDL-A job depends on it because they do. You will have more than enough time to learn the script before the air-brake test.

Got our temporary access badges

Thursday: had to take my Simulator test, was an awful experience my sim would not auto-shift, the handling was trash and the volume didnt work, anyways I crashed the first time, and the second time I got speeding violations. took lunch came back and aced it on the other machine. Not going to give any advice it's better to be experienced first hand.

After lunch, they talked to us about us getting out trainers most likely the next day however about 3 students already have trainers, I was passed over by one as I don't smoke and don't want to be in a cab with a smoker. If you tolerate smoking or are a smoker it seems like you have a better chance to get a trainer (part of me thinks this is sort of BS but it is what it is and seems to be part of the trucking culture). I was curious if the stereotype smoky and the bandit/convoy, redneck/hillbilly truckers were prevalent in the modern-day industry the answer is yes. I don't care how people live their life just thought it was interesting, you do you.

After some blindside parallel practice, we called it a day.

Note: you are trained to do and expected to know and perform the following backing maneuvers: 1) straight back 2) Offset back blindside and driver side 3) parallel blindside and driver side 4) alley dock 90-degree blindside and driverside.

Wilson has a formulaic approach to each maneuver and since you will test for your CDL-A on their pad follow it to a T and you should be golden.

At the end of yesterday while waiting for the hotel shuttle one of the higher-ups approached me and asked if I wanted to go to Garland, Texas tomorrow around noon in a rental car to do my 2 weeks training on their kraft account said yes.

- more in part 2

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

ArcherTrucker's Comment
member avatar

Part 2 of Week one training at Wilson Logistics

To follow up on my initial post the Garland, texas training opportunity involves me doing my 2 weeks training before I test for my CDL-A as a local driver in a day cab instead of over the road like most students do. I had talked to a student who was just about to test for his CDL-A and he told me his 2-week training was doing the local route Kraft account here in Springfield, MO, to the kraft site and then to the Caves https://www.springfieldunderground.com/. There were no spots available here for me however there is a spot in Garland, Texas so I took it and will be driving a rental car today to Garland Texas. Doing this day cab gig you sleep in a hotel instead of a sleeper cab I just hope its single occupancy like here in Springfield.

I am looking forward to the ~six-hour drive in a 4-wheeler down to Texas.

Something I didn't mention above it the weather this week has been cold AF with rain, sleet, and wind, next week is supposed to be really nice 60 to 70 so enjoy the incoming class.

He explained that the students who do the day cab local route thing for their training have all passed at100%-why you might be asking? because all you do is alley docking, coupling,pre-trip inspections, logs, picking up, and dropping off he said he would do between 8-10 alley docks per day. The repetition sounds ideal for me as the backing is not easy for me and 2 weeks of practice on 8-10 pre and post-trips, as well as 8-10 * 2 backing maneuvers, should make the test a breeze. we shall see :) A potential con is that you don't get to experience the OTR thing and see the country however as he pointed out you will do 30k miles OTR after you get your CDL and a week solo doing the Kraft account so you will learn everything during this time such as driving the interstate , sleeping in a moving truck (team driving), navigation, parking at truck stops and so on.

I want to be an OTR driver this is what I will be hired for and do for 12 months to fulfill my indentured servitude.... I mean contract. In all seriousness, I look at this 12 months as a valuable experience that will only assist my career at a company that seems good.

He did say his friend did his in Garland and it was a bit janky but there were no spots here in Springfield so it is what it is, as truckers we will have to be adaptable so I will take this as a lesson and adapt and overcome. I will update after I get to Texas and get running.

Thanks to everyone here was kind enough to respond to my posts although I do miss Anne commenting :(

Speaking of that I thought I saw mountain Matt yesterday in the sim room however it was his doppelganger from North Carolina who is not a trained librarian he is, however, an avid surfer.

-Archer out

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

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.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Over The Road:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Day Cab:

A tractor which does not have a sleeper berth attached to it. Normally used for local routes where drivers go home every night.

Interstate:

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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