I Just Completed My First Solo Run!

Topic 6541 | Page 1

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Jolie R.'s Comment
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It feels so good to know I CAN do this on my own! This trip had everything I really hate but I managed to get it done with no big issues. I left Atlanta around noon yesterday and ended up hitting Knoxville, TN just as the sun was setting so I ended up coming through the Smokies in the dark. I know they are baby mountains, but the closest thing I got to mountain driving with my trainer was the Grand Island bridge! I'm not crazy about night driving either due to the limited sight distance but this trip was bringing me back to Cincinnati so I pushed on. I got to within a few exits of my delivery point as stopped at a rest area to park and sleep. My delivery time wasn't until 12/15 @ 01:30 so I got to the Cincinnati area 26 hours early which would seem to be a good thing but it turned out to be not so great. I was about 30 miles from home but all of my friends were busy and couldn't come get me for the day so I spent the whole day stuck at the rest area. I couldn't move my truck because that would start my 14 hour clock too soon to make my delivery and then get to the drop yard where I am leaving my truck and trailer while I am home. Thank goodness I had bought some fruit and crackers to have in the truck to eat! The receiving department of the customer didn't open until 9pm and I was told they wouldn't take deliveries early, but I decided to try to get unloaded early. Guess what? They don't unload anyone early....embarrassed.gif Oh well it was worth a shot! I slept in the bunk for a few hours and then had to do the next thing I really am not fond of, backing into a dock at night with poor lighting. However, I got it in with no issues. One thing I will tell those of you with trainers or in school, I personally think backing gets better when you don't have someone yapping in your ear every time you make the slightest wrong turn of the wheel. I know I had a lot of space to work with and that won't always be the case, but I could think of what I wanted to do, not what someone else wanted me to do. I know which way things need to move to get the trailer in the hole but sometimes I need to think about it, which drove my instructors in school nuts. Not having an audience helps too! Anyway, I am at the drop yard ready to sleep for a few hours until one of my friends is up and come get me to drop me off at home. I want everyone to know that if I can do this you can too, but you have to believe in yourself, even when others may doubt you! OK, my novella is done and I'm hitting the sack for a few hours of shut eye!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
RedGator's Comment
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Welcome to the crazy train:-) But seriously congrats. I told ya you could do it. Just remember though the hard part has just begun. The next few months will definitely be a roller coaster full of up and downs, laughter and tears, but we all get through it in the end. Sorry we couldn't meet up but my load wasnt ready til 4pm out of our McDonough terminal and I had to go the other way to NC which is where I sit now but since you're out here I'm sure in no time at all we can hook up for lunch or coffee or whatever time permits.

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.

Old School's Comment
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dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif Congratulations Jolie! dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

I can't tell you how proud I am of you - I've been sort of silently watching your progress, and I know you've struggled at some of this, but you have proven one of the things that I tell people often, and that is that persistence is your best friend when trying to get started in this career. I agree with Red Gator about the fact that it will continue to be tough, but hang in there and it will get better. Red Gator will help you anytime you need it, she is a great friend to the new lady truck drivers in here - I know this because I've seen her unselfishly helping some of the others who were just barely hanging on when they got started, and she was there when ever they needed her. Keep us posted, we love to hear all the crazy stories that our new friends go through as they make their way out into the new and challenging arena we call "Trucking".

ButtonUp's Comment
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Totally awesome! Congratulations!

I agree that once you go solo it makes it easier to improve in MANY areas of driving. I don't know why instructors and some trainers decide to tell you everything to do, and not tell you why or tell you why in a sufficient manner. I think if they were more patient and had you get out to look at the situation from outside every few steps it would make it easier to understand what is going on. As a new student or driver, the view from inside the truck can be deceiving.

I feel I had to self-train myself due to trainers that didn't understand how to do their job well.

There's a guy that works the same shift and route as myself... yesterday we got back to the terminal at about the same time, and when I got out to look at my setup before backing in, he came around the corner of one of the trailers looking all flustered. He had tried to blind-side back into a spot, and someone had parked their bobtail blocking part of it. There was a row of bobtails on the opposite side, and he'd found himself stuck in-between the bobtails! I spotted him to help him get out of the predicament, and he kept steering the wrong way. Even after telling him "all the way right!" he would start turning left. What he perceived from inside the truck didn't coincide with what was going on outside. This is an older guy that has been driving longer than I have. It can happen to anyone. Which I mention to strengthen my point as regards students and new drivers. I am not a trainer, and I wasn't trying to train him as I was really trying to help him get out of the situation before the yard supervisor came over... which was mainly to save him some embarrassment... I did briefly try to explain WHY I was telling him to turn it the opposite direction, but the goal was to get moving quickly. I can see how trainers just want to "get it over with" and give directions instead of instruction, so to speak. My instructor in school when teaching the parallel park, for instance, just walked me through the steps, "turn left, turn right, there you go, now get out and admire your work." Well, I had no idea what I just did, really, because I was just following instructions, and when I had to do it on my own the next few times it didn't work out as well. I failed the evaluation at school, then failed my first test due to the parallel park. It wasn't until I spent much time thinking and observing to break it down in a way that made sense to ME that I passed with a perfect score the next time I took my test.

I write all this to basically say AWESOME JOB in support of your effort.

Backing in at night stinks. I have found getting out to look an extra time or two helps, I've had to get out with a flashlight to see that I actually wasn't going to hit anything because I couldn't see anything in my mirror. Also, when you are backing, if you ride your brake just a little, you'd be amazed at how much the brake lights will light up the area so you can see behind you, and even between the trailers on your sides.

Bobtail:

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

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.

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

6 string rhythm's Comment
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Congrats Jolie!

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Congrats on the first solo run! That's always a super big deal and a milestone to be very proud of!

dancing-banana.gif

Steve L.'s Comment
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Congrats!

Deb R.'s Comment
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Excellent, Jolie! I am excited to hear about this milestone!

RedGator's Comment
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Thanks for the rave review Old School. I appreciate it. I agree with these guys about you getting better without someone telling you what to do. When my girls get in with me. I take them somewhere and have them set up and back for me with no guidance just observation and then I see what can potentially help them, give them a few pointers and let them learn on their own. It does me no good to remote control anyone because without me there they wont be able to do it. Contrary to popular belief you can't teach someone to back up. You can give them pointers and advice but they have to figure it out through trial and error. When that light bulb comes on then over time you perfect your craft but nothing is a substitute for practice.

Daniel B.'s Comment
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Thanks for the rave review Old School. I appreciate it. I agree with these guys about you getting better without someone telling you what to do. When my girls get in with me. I take them somewhere and have them set up and back for me with no guidance just observation and then I see what can potentially help them, give them a few pointers and let them learn on their own. It does me no good to remote control anyone because without me there they wont be able to do it. Contrary to popular belief you can't teach someone to back up. You can give them pointers and advice but they have to figure it out through trial and error. When that light bulb comes on then over time you perfect your craft but nothing is a substitute for practice.

100% agree. I had the same exact approach. Ken didn't really appreciate it but hey, trucking won't hold your hand and neither will I. There's not always going to be a spotter available so you have to learn how to do it on your own. But once that light bulb comes on, its like a whole different driver!

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