A Rook's Attempt At A Veriha Training Diary

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Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Drove up to Marinette, WI, yesterday to start my training at Veriha's Driving Academy today, Monday, October 17th, 2022. Day one in the books! Maybe not as overwhelming as I thought it would be, but it still kinda was. All paperwork stuff was done in the main building through the Driver Pulse app. Didn't take long. They have a driver lounge with laundry and two bathrooms with showers, and laundry. I heard it's available 24/7 but that the office is not always open, so maybe not. Then we headed to the training building across the lot for the rest of the day, and where we'll spend the remainder of our time reporting to.

The hotel is a one-story with about 20 rooms and no front desk/lobby area. I believe the company owns it but also does not have exclusive use of it. I have a roommate. The bathroom is decent, the kitchen is lacking in space (tiny fridge, no stove but has a plug-in cooktop, but it will serve its purpose for why I'm here. Guess that'll prepare me to make do with what I got while on the road!

We talked about the history of trucking in America which I found interesting. We went over the Pre-Trip in slide-form inside before lunch, finished after lunch, then went outside to see it done for real. That part definitely had some overwhelming moments. We should be outside working on that and straight line backs tomorrow. Yes, just got here, and tomorrow I should be going in reverse already! I am glad I studied Daniel B's Pre-trip before starting this adventure but I will have to tweak some things, as I figured I would. The biggest is instead of PMS, I have to say properly mounted, not damaged. PMND in my mind now. And add in Not Leaking, if it can leak. I am at the public library now which will serve as my study place. I'd like to learn a section at a time, their way, just as I did using the one on here.

The trainers expressed something debated much on TT and it mirrored the overall sentiment here. Out of seven students, two came in with CDL in hand. The trainers flat-out said instantly that he is afraid of what they already know, or something to that effect. Basically, he'd prefer if they had no experience because he doesn't know what bad happens they learned and what he will have to break them of. As a background, they both went to 160 Driving Academy, just different locations. One paid out of pocket, and said he should have used the grant but didn't know about it. One used the grant, but said he probably should have just come here first, since he signed the same contract we did. He is still on the hook, and I don't mean that in a bad way, for the 12 months AND 120,000 miles, or the $12,500. That is a very high number, but mentioned by the experts in several other threads, it doesn't really matter because we're not here to fail. Focus on passing the CDL, which Veriha is using these three weeks to get us ready for, then focus on honing our new craft for the first year plus. A trainer basically said the same thing, almost word for word how it's expressed here.

That's what I got for today, looking forward to tomorrow, now time to study. I will report back as 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.
Dennis L's Comment
member avatar

Good start Sandman J, will be following.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

George B.'s Comment
member avatar

I will be following also. Good luck. Pretrip pretrip pretrip!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ryan B.'s Comment
member avatar

This is a company that has always intrigued me and I don't think there has been much information here on TT about it. It's beautiful that we have a trainee putting out a training diary on Veriha.

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Day two complete. We started the first hour doing pre-trip in random groups of two or three, and will continue that every day for now. My group had one of the instructors show us some parts we weren't sure of, which cleared that up. Think we'll need that again with a few other parts tomorrow but that should be it.

We did straight-line backs today. Seven of us in class, two CDL holders without experience. So one of them in each group. My group had four, and we each got in two backs before lunch. After lunch, we all joined up and just randomly rotated between two trucks. I was eager but cautious of overstepping, don't wanna screw anyone else out of their turns, but man I wanted to just stay in that seat! I improved throughout the day, and can somewhat-confidently do them with zero or one pullup. Others seemed to catch on a bit faster, but I figured that would be the case, and it doesn't bother me or slow me down, just moreso mentioning it for future readers. You don't have to be the best, you just have to get to the place you need to be. Tomorrow is supposed to be the hour of pre-trip practice followed by offsets, then an instructor-driven trip to a nearby town's industrial park where we'll get some seat time on real roads. I can't believe how fast this is all happening! I am covered in grease and couldn't be happier! Any hard parts I run into, and I know there will be a ton, I will just remind myself, "I finally escaped my last job that I hated and finally doing (training do do) something I've always dreamed of!"

I will be following also. Good luck. Pretrip pretrip pretrip!

Back at the library to memorize some more parts!

This is a company that has always intrigued me and I don't think there has been much information here on TT about it. It's beautiful that we have a trainee putting out a training diary on Veriha.

Not many on here. I believe Bill M's was the last one from earlier this year.

Thanks for reading.

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

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Today was filled with ups and downs. When I hopped up in a truck for the in-cab brake test, called LABs here (Leaks, Alarms, Buttons), and turned the key to the On position, the windshield wipers immediately went on. Me and the guy I was working with couldn't figure it out, after putting that lever in every position it could go in, so I ran inside and asked the instructors. They told me about the power button on the driver side left floor. Ran back out, turned it to on, and like magic the wipers finally went off! I learned I was more confident in the LABs in my head versus in the truck. But I will get there. We have an hour to practice each morning.

They switched up the plans for the day, and I didn't know how glad that would make me until later. The instructor showed us the lot by a movie theatre that is used for the backing test, I believe. If I misunderstood, but don't think I did, it's at least got paint on the ground to facilitate the backing tests including the 90 box. After that, he drove us to an industrial park in a nearby town. After he drove us around, it was our turn, and I was first! Did a series of left turns, right turns, crossing intersections, and typical new-guy stuff. That was followed by leaving the park, through the small town, and onto the highway at 65mph. What an adventure! Back to the industrial park, switch drivers, and the second and third guy got their turn. The instructor estimated we each got about 45 minutes. That had us all feeling great, even though we all need to pay more attention to our speed and smooth out our turns. Tomorrow we are supposed to switch to the other instructor and try it again.

Back at the yard is where things went south for me. After lunch, which I ate quick then practiced pre-tripping a truck, we each did a straight line back just as another practice. I don't think anyone made it without one pull-up, and some including myself needed two. We all had some rust on our newly-formed/practiced skill from yesterday. But for me it got worse. Time for the Off-set back. I did terrible! I didn't understand the concept, and got my movements guided by an instructor. After paying attention to what others were doing, talking to those that were catching on, and what the instructor was telling others, I started to get the concept, I think. But in practice, it wasn't coming out. So after another guided effort, I got it in the box. Then I couldn't straight-line back for the life of me! Nerves and repeated failed attempts kept blocking my thought process. After several pull-ups, I finally realized my mistake. I wasn't keeping my elbows tucked. So in they went and I finally got it back there, still not too pretty though.

I spent almost an hour and a half after class pre-tripping a truck and am feeling much better about that. Here, it's broken down into many sections, thirteen I think I counted. I am pretty confident in front of tractor, passenger side engine compartment, and coupling. For this personal session I worked on driver side engine compartment, back of cab, front of trailer, and am feeling pretty good about those, and okay on side of trailer. I quickly reviewed rear of trailer and also spent some time on "Budd Wheels, Drive Axles, and Rear of Tractor." Now I'm at the library to check in on TT and go over the CDL Skills Test Guide paper they gave us today.

Hopefully tomorrow I will show some improvement. I want this to happen.

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.
Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Today was the same layout as yesterday. Pre-trip for an hour, where I focused on the LABs (brake tests) since that's when we have keys to the trucks. The other stuff I can work on whenever I see fit 24/7, so that was my focus. I have it down pretty good, just gonna get it smoother so I'm not stumbling my words. Same for a good chunk of the pre-trip, gotta hammer down the details so I don't sound like I'm fumbling for words, and get a better handle on the parts I don't have locked down yet. I'd say for day four, I'm doing pretty decent.

After that was the road drives. Same three students from yesterday but swapped instructors. I drove second today. We all got to drive around town dealing with turns, some tighter than others, and traffic. That was fun and I feel like I learned a lot. Can't wait to get out there again!

Back to the yard to break for lunch, then offset back practice again. Started with two groups then combined into one. I got three backs today. It doesn't come natural for me, so I try to learn from my mistakes and from my fellow students' successes and mistakes. On my third go at it, I finally didn't need instructor assistance to make it happen, and although I did two GOALs and was told I encroached at one point that I wasn't aware of, I got it in the box. Even the straight-line back part went better, after following the advice of once I'm in the box, stop worrying about the cones on my sides and focus on the two cones on the back. I knew that was the key to success, and thought I had been, but apparently not. Regardless, that part felt great! I believe tomorrow is the same, before starting 90s next week, so hopefully I can get to a point where I'm feeling better about it tomorrow.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

George B.'s Comment
member avatar

I totally feel you on the backing. When I was training it would go great then brutal. I remember one instructor at school who would stand in front of the truck and spin his finger as to which way to turn wheels. I could not get it. Then I realized the jack--- was spinning his finger in the direction from his perspective. Fun fun. Best of luck. One day you will nail every back the next zero. Thats the fun of it.

Sandman J's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the encouragement George. I won't let it get me down.

Today's road drive went pretty well, the instructor said afterwards was the only thing to pick on you for was not steering smoothly on the turns, and some on the pedals. We could be in different trucks each day so I will have to adjust accordingly, and obviously improve my skills. Back to the offsets. I feel like after my first try, which wasn't pretty but I got there, I started to understand the concept more. Also, adjusting some things to work better for me, like them saying, "When it looks like it's two feet away..." well, for me, that kept me hard-right on the wheel too long, and I found when I think it's four feet away is putting me in a better spot. I asked for some additional instruction as one guy got today, which helped him, and they will try to facilitate that. That said, I'm not doing as bad as I think I am, because he said we would've had a conversation about that. I'm not the best (which is clear to anyone with eyes) but I'm not the worst, so that made me feel better. I also know I'm hard on myself, I don't like feeling incompetent which is unavoidable when taking on a new endeavor, especially one such as this.

The forecast for Monday means the roads are supposed to be more like swimming pools, so that may be a classroom day if that happens. But at some point we will start the 90 backs. We are all ready for a weekend off, but sounds like most will still be heading over there to work on pre-trip and also doing some computer assignments we got before starting out.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Time for the Off-set back. I did terrible! I didn't understand the concept, and got my movements guided by an instructor. After paying attention to what others were doing, talking to those that were catching on, and what the instructor was telling others, I started to get the concept, I think. But in practice, it wasn't coming out.

Hello Sandman J!

Don't beat yourself up over going backwards. It's really awkward at first. In fact most rookies are really bothered by it for the entirety of their first year. Learning to go backwards and park a big rig in tight places is a real challenge.

I just wanted to encourage you to hang in there. It will come, but it will take some serious repetition. Another thing you have to realize is what you are learning now is focused on enabling you to pass the driving portion of your CDL exam. You'll get to the "real world" challenges after you have your CDL and are driving with a trainer. Then you'll advance to the real educational time when you're a rookie solo driver. Each step of your progress presents new challenges. Hang in there!

I wanted to give you a chance to read something you'll appreciate. Here's a great article about learning to go backwards in a big rig.

The Backing Range - It's Like Clown Soup

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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