Celadon Week Five Laredo Texas March 2015

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Pepper's Comment
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What a wow week last week was. Really busy!

I was struggling with my gears, and this past week was really hard. On Friday, I told my trainer when he suggested I switch driving early with someone, "I am not getting up from here. I don't care if I grind it 'til I find it, I don't care if I bawl like a calf looking for her mother, I am going to nail this thing if it kills me." He said "Okay. Let's see how that works out for you. Let's get this thing nailed."

I said "awesome." (Even though I didn't feel awesome.) Then I did it. I fought it out with that darn shifter. All the way from 1st to 8th, I scratched. He didn't say anything. Then I smoothed out. Then I scratched between 8th down to 1st until I started floating gears. Nailed it good enough for as hard as I was trying. I was all "tears going down my face", but I did not give up. Hell, no. I have worked too hard to get to that point, and I knew it was on the edge of "clicking" for me. My time ran out, and we had to switch. This weekend, I had a great weekend.

Today, the beginning of my 5th week, I got to go out on the road. Got in the drivers' seat, adjusted everything, made a couple of jokes about hoping that my gearing was getting better. Then I drove. I drove on the little service road that we drive on. Then, my instructor saw me dropping gears in place and he said "Go ahead and get on the highway up there on the ramp." My heart was in my throat, but I put on my turn signal and merged with traffic. Shuffling gears, not scratching a single one on the up. I felt so good. My teacher said "Damn, girl! Where have you BEEN?" I was smiling from ear to ear so hard my cheeks still are sore. He said to not go past the speed limit. I laughed (yep, I laughed!) because with the governor, there was no way that we were going to come anywhere close to the speed limit of 75, and we even chatted. Yes. I was talking and driving and looking at stuff and taking it all in. It was AWESOME!!!!!! I was on the highway, y'all! (I-35-it's on maps and has exits and everything!)

I DID scratch once. Downshifting, I was coming from 9th to 8th, and I scratched. I gave it some fuel and guided her right into gear.

My teacher looked at me and said "Excellent work!" I have worked so hard towards this day!!!!! My instructor was SO NICE. When I got done with my turn driving, I smiled so big and I said "So. How'd I do?" He said "You did great! That is a huge improvement from what it was like the last time we were in the truck together." I was just beaming.

We came back to the yard with someone else driving, and I got off that truck walking on a cloud. I was SO happy! Now, I hope I can keep up the momentum!

Hugs and Hugs!

Pepper

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

Brian M.'s Comment
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Good for you Pepper sounds like things are really starting to click.

Pepper's Comment
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Good for you Pepper sounds like things are really starting to click.

Thanks, Brian, I think that they finally are, too! :)

Errol V.'s Comment
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Con -

clapping-happy-smiley-emoticon.gif

grat - you

clapping-happy-smiley-emoticon.gif

LAY - shuns, Pepper! cheering-clapping-smiley-emoticon.gif

Aced driving right from the git-go!

Pepper's Comment
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Tuesday.

Well, today was a hard day, we did city driving. Well, I was super happy yesterday, but today I got the gears worked out of me. I did not give up, I did not quit, but I sure worked for it. At the beginning, driving in the rain, in the city was really frustrating, but I just kept at it. I am sure envious of the people who are just getting it. Everyone keeps telling me to relax, that I am "too nervous", but that only makes me more nervous. That's okay. I know that they are trying to be helpful. I will keep plugging away until I get it nailed! :)

Last week and this week, the people who I have made good friends with are taking their road tests and getting things progressing towards their careers. I am really happy for them and I wish them the best. I am saying goodbye to my friends, but only after we exchange telephone numbers.

One of my classmates who was my first "neighbor" when I got here took his CDL yesterday and he did not pass the test. He was really devastated and today he asked the instructors if he could take today off. I hope that he does get the rest he needs, and I also hope that he does not give up.

Another lady, who I only got to know for a short while was sent home yesterday because she cannot pass her physical. She was a really sweet, down to earth lady and I am sure that she will do well in whatever she chooses to do. There was a driver a few weeks ago who was sent home because of his high blood pressure. He came back this week and he passed his physical today, so I was super happy for him and I look forward to having time in class with him. Others have been coming in with huge smiling faces and I am so happy and excited for them all.

Tomorrow would have been the day that I was to take my CDL test, but as I saw today, I am not ready for it yet. Hopefully, the time that I am still here will allow me to get the skills that I need to nail the CDL and then the Celadon road test.

All the best,

Pepper

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Right now I assume you are watching the speedometer and the tach, trying to remember which way to push the shift lever, while you steer the truck safely down the road.

Soon the rhythms and the sounds will settle in, and it will be smooth, kinda. Do not worry what other people think or say (except for your instructor!). Like you said, you will "get it", it will all fall into place in your head, and the pressure will be off.

I told you about the US fourth string Olympic skater. She wasn't expected to win, so she didn't feel the pressure. She went out and skated for the sheer experience of the Olympics and had fun. Being so relaxed, she did well enough to win the Gold medal! (I did some research: Sarah Hughes, 2002 winter Olympics, figure skating)

Your positive attitude will get you through, Pepper!

Pepper's Comment
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TGIF!

What a week! We lost another instructor on Friday, but we got a new one as well earlier in the week. I have not worked with our new instructor, yet, but we are all sort of shell shocked at losing another instructor. The week has been really just "wow". Our driving time has been cut, has gone up and gone down, but I am still pushing through.

I am still having issues with my shifting, but I am convinced that if I were to have a truck alone for a couple of hours, I would get it. We can't always get what we want, so I will keep on shuffling on.

I was sick in class on Wednesday, so I didn't get to drive, but I did get to observe and it was AWESOME to see some of the people in action, doing their thing and getting it all together to get their CDL.

One of my favorite people took their CDL test this week and they did not pass, which was really sad. She was really discouraged, but now she seems to be pulling herself up by her bootstraps and doing what it takes to get ready for her test, which is scheduled for the middle of April. My test is on the 7th. I went to the dollar store, got a calendar and counted off the days until my test. Each day, I will write in the calendar what I mastered and what I need to work on so that I have a goal and success place I can look at and make sure that I am meeting those goals. I think that will help me a good deal.

Thank each and every one of you for your support, guidance, friendship and everything. I could not have made it this far without the site, the encouragement and everything else. I know that I will get it, it is just taking me a little longer than most. That's okay.

On the campus today, a lady crossed over to us and spoke to the ladies that were waiting to go to the range. She said "Look. I know it is hard. I know that it is tedious some days. Don't give up on yourself. You are doing this for you. You are doing this for your life, your future and your ability to bring home a good paycheck. If you can be patient, you can be successful." That made me feel so good, although at first, I was sort of just listening to her. The message is sinking in. The words of encouragement are getting into my brain. I will not give up!

All my best hugs!

Pepper

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

The calendar thing is a neat idea! You see your progress every day, and what you need to work on, at the same time.

Pepper, just being optimistic (and realistic) will do almost miracles for your progress. Even when you were sick (hope it isn't contagious) you still came back for more.

Tater's Comment
member avatar

Pepper, hang in there sounds like you are right there in the edge. It will click!! I also grind when downshifting and it irritates me to death. I mean I have drove everything BUT a semi and thought I would get it but nope!! I talked to alot of seasoned drivers and they all say the same thing. No one starts out shifting smoothly right away!! I admire your stick-to-it-ness!!

Tater

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.
ThePsychotics's Comment
member avatar

Glad to see things are looking up for you Pepper. My fiance and I just got accepted to the school in Laredo and will be attending starting April 13th. I do have question though, for you or anyone:

Do you go OTR for CDL training, or is it all on site? Just curious to know how much cash to bring on hand to the school. I know we have the 10km company training wit a trainer and then we will be able to team together.

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.

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