Hello TT! It's Been Awhile, But This Amazing Thing Happened...

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Mthrsupior aka Julia Bals's Comment
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I became a Professional Truck Driver! shocked.pngwtf-2.gif

No, REALLY! smile.gifI am a CDL Class A licensed truck driver.

"It's a Miracle!" dancing-banana.gifdancing-banana.gif

Thanks to all of you and especially to "Saint Brett" thank-you-2.gif

(I figure since he created this site, and actually helped me to become a real-live truck driver, then that's a miracle and he should be canonized). good-luck-2.gif

Well, as it turns out, truck drivers don't have a whole lot of "spare time". Who'd a thunk? confused.gif Aren't all truck drivers just sitting around at truck stops, smoking cigarettes, and enjoying the "lot lizards"? rofl-3.gif

But seriously, it's amazing, how fast the time goes when you're driving a truck. When I was first looking into becoming a truck driver, I thought: "10 hours? Holy crap! What am I going to do during all that time?" Well... I quickly learned that: "Oh, yeah! Um, I need to sleep during that time." Which means, since I generally need 7-8 hours of sleep, can get by with 6; but anything less and I have to really fight the fatigue, that I have 1-2 hours before and after sleeping to get everything done; including: obtaining, preparing, and eating all my meals, bathing, changing, and using the bathroom, taking meds, checking emails, talking with family, and taking care of any phone calls or other business. So all of a sudden, that 10 hours is gone like a puff of smoke.embarrassed.gif So when am I supposed to have time to keep up with all my TT friends?confused.gif Right now, I'm on hometime, which seems to be the only time, I have time to catch up with all of you, among other things, like catching up with my husband and three children.

Of course, if something were really wrong, I would have made time to ask for your input; so no news is good news; but sometimes it's nice to be able to check in with all of you.

I have been driving solo for about six months. I work for Roehl because they have a program for hometime where I work 7 days out and 7 days home, which I started doing about the beginning of May. The original truck I was issued was a 2007 Volvo with over 600,000 miles on her. The poor girl looked at a hill and slowed down. So finally about four weeks ago, I turned old Gertrude in and started sharing a 2012 International Pro Star with another driver who is out when I'm home and vice versa. dancing-dog.gif

Did you know that trucks, even fully loaded, can go up a hill without losing so much speed that you have to down shift 5 times and use your flashers the entire time? shocked.png Talk about miracles!

You guys and gals were so right...

1. The learning curve is huge, and really just beginning once you get your license.

2. Everyone has a hard time with backing, and it really does get easier with time and practice. (Twice now, I have actually thought to myself "Oh, that's what they were trying to say" and felt like I saw the light turn on above my own head.) What a weird feeling. But now I'm not nervous or afraid of any backing situations. I don't like them, but I know that if I'm patient, take it slow, and get out and look, I will get it in the hole. It might take me a little longer than some of these experienced drivers, but I can get it in the hole.

3. There are a lot more women drivers than I had thought. Sorry guys, it's not just a boy's club anymore, and most of the drivers out there are glad to help out. More than once, I've had two drivers get out of their cabs and help me back into some of the tightest parking spaces. I've had drivers help me get nails out of my van, help me with directions, fix a broken spring on a trailer, and pull a pin on a tandem that would not lock. Of course, there are disgruntled, unpleasant people everywhere in this world, but unlike the reputation, I have found that most truck drivers are more than happy to help in anyway they can, and just appreciate having a friendly person to talk with, that hasn't heard all of their stories already.

4. The hardest part of being a truck driver, has nothing to do with shifting gears, or backing up. Someone told me once, that they can teach a monkey to operate a truck, it's the stuff between your ears that makes you a professional truck driver. Was he ever right!

With your help, I can now say:

I am a Professional Truck Driver, and I still love it! thank-you.gif

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.

Tandem:

Tandem Axles

A set of axles spaced close together, legally defined as more than 40 and less than 96 inches apart by the USDOT. Drivers tend to refer to the tandem axles on their trailer as just "tandems". You might hear a driver say, "I'm 400 pounds overweight on my tandems", referring to his trailer tandems, not his tractor tandems. Tractor tandems are generally just referred to as "drives" which is short for "drive axles".

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Starcar's Comment
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Girl, I am so glad to hear your doin' so good !!! CONGRATULATIONS !!! You need to meet up with Redgator, Or Special K...they both are out there runnin' the black ribbon, and loving it. Be safe, and enjoy your home time.... Lady Truckers Rock !!!!

RedGator's Comment
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I was wondering where you went! Glad to hear from you:) Woman truckers rock!

Old School's Comment
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It sure is good to hear from you! When I'm running the highways and see those Roehl trucks I always wonder if that could be our patron saint in there behind the wheel.

Really glad you got that great home time option, I know that family misses you when you're gone.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
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Wow is it great to hear from you and just lovin all the great news!!! I'm not even sure where to begin!

I work for Roehl because they have a program for hometime where I work 7 days out and 7 days home, which I started doing about the beginning of May

They have the best home time packages in the industry. We get a ton of great feedback about Roehl. People really seem to like it there. 7 out / 7 home is amazing. What a great setup!!!

The learning curve is huge, and really just beginning once you get your license.

Oh ain't that the truth!!! The day you pass the driving test and get your CDL is a day that almost everyone remembers fondly. It's super exciting! I got my CDL back in '93 and I remember that day like it was yesterday. But after you've been on the road for a while and you see how excited people get when they earn their CDL you think, "Yeah, that's cute and all. But wait until you see what's coming next!!!" People have no idea how hard it is out there those first few months. Their brutal! But that's what makes this career so rewarding. Every night you park that truck safely you know you've accomplished something special.

The hardest part of being a truck driver, has nothing to do with shifting gears, or backing up. Someone told me once, that they can teach a monkey to operate a truck, it's the stuff between your ears that makes you a professional truck driver. Was he ever right!

Another profound truth indeed! Handling the traffic, weather, erratic sleep patterns, terrible drivers, crabby dock workers, tight schedules, and on and on it goes. It's a tough career for sure. You have to make smart decisions and be aware of what's going on around you at all time. And of course being kind and respectful to people is a critically important part of being a true professional out there.

I'm so glad things are going well for you. It's a struggle for everyone in the beginning but you're getting to the point where you're certainly making a lot fewer mistakes and you've adjusted a great deal to life on the road.

For me, I felt like it was somewhere between years three and five out there on the road that I had really built up the experience and skills to say that I was near the top of my game. There's a ton of little things that add up to a huge difference in the quality of a driver. You'll continue to learn a lot for a few years yet but then you get to the point that you really begin to reach that highest level. But you've certainly made it through the worst part. You'll enjoy it more and more as time goes on.

smile.gif

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.
Scott L.'s Comment
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That's awesome Julia! Fellow Roehl driver here too. I love it here. I'm on the national fleet and would like to be home a bit more in the future, but this works for now. Great company!

Steve B.'s Comment
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Great to hear from you. Thanks for your encouragement a while back. Wondered about you glade things are good for you. I'm also enjoying the 7/7, felt like it took a bit to get here, but it has been worth it! Say hi when ur in Gary, I know I get there a lot - truck 8012 -Steve

Mthrsupior aka Julia Bals's Comment
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Star, thank you so much! thank-you-2.gif

I wish I could get out that way to see you; but, I'd have to switch to a different hometime fleet to do it. Roehl has a 14/7 fleet that might work, but I'd have to be back home by the end of the 14th day in order for my partners to use my truck while I'm off, it's a lot easier to get to Washington and back in 14 days though rather than just 7. shocked.png The other option is that I could go national and then I could request to go that way for a bit and arrange for some "hometime" while I'm there; but I'm not going to be able to do that for a while yet, as my oldest leaves for college in August. dancing-dog.gif She is going to Pratt in Brooklyn, NY so that leaves my boys home with just their dad and no female in the house. Yeah, Um, sorry.gif Not the best of ideas! But I'm thinking I could possibly do that next summer, since good-luck-2.gif I'm hoping to be able to take my youngest son with me and stop in California, and Las Vegas to visit with family and friends; and of course, we would certainly count you on that list, and make a stop up north as well.smile.gif

Mthrsupior aka Julia Bals's Comment
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I was wondering where you went! Glad to hear from you:) Woman truckers rock!

Yes, we do Red! I have been looking at all of the Wel trucks trying to see if I could spot you. I've been over to and around Allentown a few times and have wondered if maybe you were home, or out. I'd love to try and get together with you one of these trips though. You seem to run in a lot of the same regions that I do, so I'm sure we will cross paths at some point. Send me an email, mthrsupior@yahoo.com (anyone is welcome to email me, by the way) so we can make it happen. I have loved hearing about all of your stories. You do seem to have your fair share of adventures! I know you are; but be careful out there! good-luck.gif

Mthrsupior aka Julia Bals's Comment
member avatar

It sure is good to hear from you! When I'm running the highways and see those Roehl trucks I always wonder if that could be our patron saint in there behind the wheel.

Really glad you got that great home time option, I know that family misses you when you're gone.

Old-school, I have missed hearing from you as well. Last week I got behind a TMC flatbed truck and was wondering if it was you. thank-you.gif for all of your encouragement, and support. You'd be surprised how many times something you said helped me get through a difficult time. Plus, you seem to really understand and appreciate my sense of humor, and that's not easy. rofl-2.gif

You're awesome, I love you! Please feel free to email me anytime. I'd love to be able to meet up with you and thank you in person, as well.

Oh, and by the way, I'm in a 2012 International. It's a "deeper red" than most of the Roehl trucks, but with all the same markings. I am in truck 8778, and I always wear a ball cap. Usually my black Pittsburgh Steeler hat. Why? Because I love the Steelers, yes, but I also have some Roehl caps, which are an off-white color, and guess what? All of my Roehl caps end up looking just as black as the Steeler cap. confused.gif As it turns out, I can't seem to look at my truck without getting black grease everywhere! And then to add insult to injury, I have this little peanut head and the Bluetooth that I got won't stay on my small, silky-haired head, unless I put it over the ball cap. So keep an eye out for the little peanut head with the Steeler cap and Bluetooth on her head. rofl-1.gif

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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