Off To Melton For Orientation!!!

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Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
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Well it has been a long road to this point and I have "pulled the trigger" and selected Melton. It was a close race with Schneider but as far as the things that interested me, Melton edged them out. One of the things that I wanted that perhaps others might not want was Melton's 21 day stint with a trainer/engineer. Schneider could only offer me a dry van position at this time and the trainer time would have been 5-7 days. I just felt on this point I was getting short changed. I want as much training as I can soak up. I have never done any of this before and I would be a fool to pretend that I know everything. I read a complaint on another forum from someone that ridiculed Melton's approach to training as catering to the newest of novices. To me, that is a strong point. I don't want them to assume I know anything outside of what little I learned in school.

So I get to ride the Greyhound bus for 27 hours to Tulsa, OK in the morning. Orientation begins on Monday morning. 8 days in Tulsa and then 21 days with a trainer in his truck. I think this will be intense but at least I will get to pick my trainer's brain for 21 days! At the end of the 3 weeks, I will be getting assigned my own truck and it will look something like this:

blue melton tractor trailer

Again, thanks for all the help and advice I got on this site from everyone. Old School, looks like I am going to join the brotherhood of skateboarders! I hope to meet you out there sometime soon!

dancing-banana.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing.gifdancing-dog.gifdancing-banana.gif

thank-you-2.gifthank-you-2.gifthank-you-2.gifthank-you-2.gifthank-you-2.gif

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Daniel B.'s Comment
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Well it has been a long road to this point and I have "pulled the trigger" and selected Melton. It was a close race with Schneider but as far as the things that interested me, Melton edged them out. One of the things that I wanted that perhaps others might not want was Melton's 21 day stint with a trainer/engineer. Schneider could only offer me a dry van position at this time and the trainer time would have been 5-7 days. I just felt on this point I was getting short changed. I want as much training as I can soak up. I have never done any of this before and I would be a fool to pretend that I know everything. I read a complaint on another forum from someone that ridiculed Melton's approach to training as catering to the newest of novices. To me, that is a strong point. I don't want them to assume I know anything outside of what little I learned in school.

So I get to ride the Greyhound bus for 27 hours to Tulsa, OK in the morning. Orientation begins on Monday morning. 8 days in Tulsa and then 21 days with a trainer in his truck. I think this will be intense but at least I will get to pick my trainer's brain for 21 days! At the end of the 3 weeks, I will be getting assigned my own truck and it will look something like this:

That right there is why I would put my money on you being a fantastic Top-Tier driver one of these days. You are going to do great with that attitude!

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
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Thank you for the kind words, Daniel. I also hope to meet you, too, someday soon!

Old School's Comment
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Exciting news Steven!

I think Melton is a first rate outfit. They are building a really nice new facility there in Tulsa right now. I spent the night in Tulsa just the other day - I took a peek at what's going on over there while I was there just to see how it was progressing. Just remember the flat-bed job takes a little extra time to get used to, but after doubting yourself a few times you will begin to settle in, and once you get a better grip on everything it will all start to come together for you.good-luck.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Hey congrats Steven! How quickly things move in the beginning of a trucking career. Right now you're sitting home. In a few days you'll be travelling the country in a rig. In a few weeks you'll be travelling the country solo in your own rig!

You blink, and suddenly they're handing you the keys and you're a truck driver!

smile.gif

John P.'s Comment
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Congrats, Wilson! I'll be going to Melton on July 19th after I get my license. I chose Melton for a lot of the same reasons you did. Good Luck and be safe out there!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Larry E.'s Comment
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You picked a great company Steven. I have been with Melton for 10 months and am super happy with them. While the time with your trainer will seem like a long time, you will be much better off. I was "lucky" enough to have just enough "experience" that I didn't have to go with a trainer. Talk about a steep learning curve! Soak up as much as you can and make sure you have his number on speed dial for questions that WILL come up when you get off of his truck. Other drivers (not just Melton) can be very helpful, but keep in mind, it is you, and only you, who are ultimately responsible for your truck and load. Take your time and do it right, every time. You can have a thousand "atta boy"'s that are wiped out by one Alpha Sierra.

This is a great resource, too. Old School is on here all of the time and has lots of good info for skateboarders. StarCar is our flatbed mother keeping us in line. Me, I lurk most of the time since I don't check in as frequently as I could/should.

Good luck and drop by if you see 9118 in your travels.

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
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Thanks for all the encouragement. I am soaking up as much as I can. I hope to have some sort of post for each day (as time permits).

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
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Part 1

Well a new chapter has opened up since I "pulled the trigger" on Melton Truck Lines. I had to decide and in the end it came down to Melton. When i confirmed with them that I decided to work for them, they sent me a bus ticket confirmation number. I don't like buses and the fact that I had to endure (and I mean ENDURE) a 27 hour bus ride is putting it mildly. There were plenty of layovers, some longer than others, as well as a transfer in Birmingham and Dallas. My butt was sooooooooooo sore at the end of that ride it wasn't funny. But here I am in Tulsa learning a new trade in the flat bed industry. This means that if it can fit on a flat bed trailer, I will be able to haul it.

So how was the first day?  I'm glad you asked!  Today was the scary day because they are supposed to measure my blood pressure. We have been working on that and for the most part, it is fine when I am at home. But if I go somewhere to get it measured, it goes up beyond the acceptable levels for driving a truck. That will be the trick; get it down even in the doctor's office. Well I did all what I knew to do and we were all gathered in the classroom waiting our turn.  I went to the bathroom when I got up this morning and had a bottle of water with me to drink in case I couldn't "produce" for the test. 

As I was sitting there, the urge started to manifest itself. I thought to myself, "Well I won't have to worry about not having any." But the urge turned into a need and the need turned into a priority and the priority became an emergency! I was reading through my papers and it was so bad I couldn't even concentrate! I got up and started to pace the floor. One of the people that worked there came in and commented, "Looks like someone needs to use the bathroom!" He was so right. I asked him if I could be next for urinalysis. He informed me that the nurse would have to make that determination. So I waited for her to come by so I could state my dilemma. 

She finally came by and I asked her. She thought about it for a minute, and then told me I could be next. I was so happy. I started pacing the floor again and just kept waiting till she call for me. Finally she had me go with her. Did she take the sample? Not until she weighed me and did the eye test. Once that was done, THEN we went to get the sample. She read the instructions and told me what to do and she gave me the cup. What a relief! It must have been two minutes before I stopped. Then she takes me in another room to measure my blood pressure. I am thinking the whole dance routine probably made my BP go up. She put a mechanical monitor on my arm and turned it on. When it stopped, it read..... 146,   :>(

I started mumbling something about dancing for so long blah blah blah, etc. She said it was not a problem and she got a manual monitor. She pumped that thing up and started to release the pressure. Then she pumped it up again as if to confirm what it was the first time. Then she says, "It's good!" I said, "Really?" "What was it?" She told me it was 122!!!!  Wow, can you believe it? Well, that was one down and two more tests that could be show-stoppers left to go. A little later, the doctor poked his head in the door and called my name. He did his thing and then we went in the back garage area. There were 4 flatbed trailers back there with different kinds of loads on them. One of the trailers had three tarps laying on the floor behind it. He told me to start with the first one and properly pick it up and place it on the trailer. I did so with ease. The he said to do the next one and I did it. He said to pick up the last one and I did that one just like the first two. The last one was the heaviest.

Then came the potential show-stopper. I had to stand on one foot for 30 seconds. Then the other foot for 30 seconds. I had been practicing this for awhile in anticipation for this moment. I danced and hopped a little, but all in all, I passed!  Two down and one to go. Back to the classroom to watch more of the list of videos we had to watch.

Keep reading for part 2

Manifest:

Bill of Lading

An accurate record of everything being shipped on a truck, often times used as a checklist during unloading.

Steven N. (aka Wilson)'s Comment
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Part 2

Then this mean-looking guy came in and took three of us with him outside. We were going to be road tested. The truck was a conventional Kenworth and it had a loaded trailer with concrete barriers you see in construction zones on the interstate. Hmmmmm.... I've never pulled a loaded trailer before so I am not sure how much different it will handle. The first thing he checked is the way we open the hood. We had to open and close it without dropping it or letting it go. I pre-read the road test sheet and I saw what he was looking for. Every candidate had his own test sheet so we all could read it if we were clever enough to do so. One of the candidates obviously didn't read his and I could clearly see that he did it wrong.

He was the first to drive as he got the keys from the mean-looking guy. I climb in (properly, of course) and the inside of this truck is just wonderful. I mean, it was an older truck, but it was a Cadillac compared to the school trucks we were used to. So this kid starts asking some stupid questions and the mean-looking guy (outside of the direction he told us to go) would just say, "You are the truck driver. Show me how to drive the truck legally and safely." So the kid (did I mention he was kinda fat, too?) pulls out of the parking lot and I could tell he turned too soon and his right-side trailer tires went off the pavement. Then he was using all the gears and shifting into too high of a gear for the speed he was going and it was really pulling the engine RPMs way down. So we came to the first stop sign. He didn't even downshift. He just put it in neutral and coasted using just the brakes. If I would have done that on my state exam, it would have been an instant fail. You can't  let the truck roll like that out of gear for more than 60 feet. Otherwise you don't really have control of the truck. All in all, he did that at every intersection, some he rolled for close to an eighth of a mile! On one turn, as he turned right, he went too far wide and missed a sign on a pole by a half inch (or less!). The mean-looking guy commented, "You have got to be the luckiest guy on the face of the earth." I forget what the fat kid said. He had him pull into the Flying J truck stop. There he pointed out two trucks that were parked and told him to back into one of the spots. (There were about nine empty spot between the trucks) So he drives past the spot he picked out and was going to back at a  90 degree angle into the spot. The mean-looking guy spoke up and told him that he was NOT going to jack-knife the trailer. The trailer had a split axle and it would have ripped the first axle off. 

So the fat kid drove around and re-positioned the truck so he could straight back it in. There was plenty of room to do it and once he backed in, that was the end of his test. The mean-looking guy then said, "Next victim." The student next to me asked if he could run to the rest room first since we were at a gas station. He agreed and I piped in that I could go, too, after that ride. Well, I didn't say that, but I said I could go too. I was back first and the mean guy told me to get in and do the backing since we were here. I got in and drove around and made a loop and then backed the truck into that big spot. It wasn't hard since there were no cones this time and a lot of wide open space. When I was finished parking, the other candidate was back and he did his backing just fine. Then the mean-looking guy got back in the truck and the second candidate went on his test drive. He did so much better. He even got a compliment from the mean guy. Then it was my turn. I drove just like I was taught; watched my trailer on all those turns and drove defensively, etc. When we got back, we went into the classroom with the mean-looking guy in tow and he took three more candidates out for their test drive.

Then in the mean time, I resumed watching the videos. A little later, the fat kid's name was called and he left the room. A short while later, he came back and got his things and left. He was dismissed from any further consideration. So at the end of the day, there were four of us left, and I am one of the four!

What a day. It feels good to pass the tests and advance further.

Stay tuned for the next day's escapades!

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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