Randy's Phase 1 CDL Training - Part 1

by rbradyjohnsen

I talked to Randy, for just a couple of minutes, when they stopped in Iowa so he could drive again. He said it was weird to sleep while the truck was moving, but he still has insomnia no matter what so it didn't make much difference to him. They are on their way to Normal, Illinois, and they will be back in Salt Lake tomorrow night. He thinks they're supposed to leave again the same night, but he's not sure where. Apparently, his trainer has several regular runs (Illinois, Ohio and South Carolina), so they're not doing just one thing over and over (that's good).

utah-truck-scenery.jpgA beautiful shot of the Utah scenery while cruising along as a truck driving student.

Long Days Driving For Low Pay

His trainer bought him breakfast and is talking about taking him out to dinner somewhere nice when they get back to Salt Lake. I hope he doesn't expect Randy to reciprocate, because we can barely afford to feed ourselves on his tiny pay. Let me see, $61.43 for LONG work days...I understand why the training pay is low and I'm grateful for Randy's opportunity, but we can't afford to be very generous with other people right now. ;)

Well, I got another 1-minute call 11 hours later from the big truck stop in Iowa, after their trip to Illinois and back. Randy drove all day, while the trainer mostly slept and rested. He was tired, but very excited about how he backed up the trailer at the dock, unhooked it, backed up to a new one and hooked it up like he'd been doing it for 20 years! That's nice, but I told him he needs to call me from the sleeper. ;) Seriously, I know he's busy but I just want 10-15 minutes out of every 24 hours...I don't think that's too much to ask, is it? The answer is no, and I got it!

Tougher Than I Thought

They saw a tire fly off a trailer in front of them today. And they are trying to keep it at 65 mph (or less, depending upon the speed limit). Apparently the trainer was going fast before and getting less than 5 mpg, and that's not good. I asked lots of questions about how it is going, and I couldn't get Randy to complain about anything. ;) He's tougher than I thought. :)

When I asked if he missed me, he said, "yeah, I guess" and giggled at me. That's what happens if he thinks someone else may be listening, he's like 12.

Well, I know every day won't go so smoothly, but I'm glad he's getting some good ones to start out with. :)

Married Widows

I've heard people refer to trucker's wives as "married widows". I'm not even quite a "real" one yet, but that's how it feels alright. :( When Randy called tonight, I was actually researching divorce stats for truckers. Did you know there's a Frank Zappa song titled "Truck Driver Divorce"? Randy's trainer is on his 4th marriage.

He called me from the trainer's house, and they just had a nice meal and a shower and were getting ready to head out to South Carolina. The trainer told him this trip will have all the hard stuff for him to learn. It sounds like he's had some of that already, and has dealt with lots of mountains. He told me about coming down the highest peak in Wyoming (5% grade) and he was SCARED. He had the jake on, and used the regular brakes too...I was worried about that, after reading how some O/O's don't want to wear out their brakes and go downhill incorrectly. And he's been up and down the "Sisters" twice, with lots of road construction going on besides! Fun (not).

The trainer is amazed that Randy is averaging over 7 mpg, and said he's never gotten that kind of mileage. Because, HELLO, the trainer drives fast!

Randy found out that his trainer won some kind of Highway Hero Award last March, for rescuing a little girl after her father (who died) had an accident in front of his truck. That's nice, I like heroes. :)

Once again, I didn't get to talk to Randy as long as I wanted to because every time another human being gets within earshot, he gets self-conscious and has to go. He really needs to get over that. Is it just me, or is that silly, after 29 years? ;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

echo-lake.jpgAnother great scenery shot - it's rather nice having an office with a view.

Randy called me while he was driving through parts of Wyoming and Nebraska. For him, I will temporarily give up my no-driving-while-on-cell phone rule. He said he's doing great other than having a little trouble shifting while taking off ramps, but he'll get used to it. That was early in the afternoon and he was supposed to call me back tonight, when he was in the sleeper. But 13 hours later, he didn't. So I'll assume he's exhausted and/or has no privacy. Well, duh! He sounds so stiff and uncomfortable now...if I didn't know better, I'd think his mother was in the truck with him! ;) Whatever is happening to him, I'm starting to think I won't find out until he's back at the school again around Saturday.

Seeing Randy's Current Location

When I went to Randy company's website to find out why there's been no paycheck yet (direct-deposit delay), I found a link where I can login and see their current location anytime...thumbs up for that! Well, except there is a satellite delay, so it's not quite accurate. And I shouldn't have "clicked around", because now I know that his load has an extra-high center of gravity...I didn't want to know that! TMI! And when I saw he was in North Platte, it made me sad, because we have some happy memories of a fun time there (it sounds like a dull place, but it doesn't have to be). ;)

We were talking about driving in the mountains again, and I've read a bunch of time that Jake brakes don't work when it's wet or slippery. But nobody told Randy that. If it's true, he needs to know it, and I shouldn't be the one who is telling him. I hope the trainer isn't sleeping if he runs into that situation. :(

P.S. He just texted me that he's too tired to talk. Well, then I have to wonder if he was safe to drive either. I hope so, since he seems to be doing an awful lot of the driving.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I got to talk to Randy several times today, but I went for over 24 hours without talking to him at all...that makes my stomach nervous! The first time he called he was driving on a curvy mountain road in the rain and fog, while the trainer was sleeping (without any special instructions or guidance). Before that, they stopped at Subway and Randy ate while he drove. ??? Am I the only one that thinks all of this is bad for a brand new driver? To any trainers or former trainers out there...is this normal? It seems fairly careless to me...am I overreacting? I don't want to ride with him if he does that kind of stuff.

To remind him of how life goes on here, I sent Randy a pic of my right foot, which is turning blue/purple and the doctor doesn't know why. I can't feel it half the time, and it's the foot I was supposed to press the accelerator and brake pedal with. :( Which is why I'm stuck here instead of driving around slippery mountains talking on the phone and eating sandwiches while my trainer sleeps. ;) My "clutch" foot is still good though, for all that's worth.

Randy said when they were going through Wyoming the other day, he saw 2 trucks that he pinstriped...Pat Fruth Trucking from Shakopee, MN. It really is a small world. Except it feels really big when he's so far away.

Now, onto a completely different subject...

Wow, why didn't somebody tell me about the "dirty" texting thing before? It's too funny! But only from my husband, otherwise it would creep me out. :) I guess I thought "sexting" was just for teenagers. Sorry but I do believe this is very important for couples to know before they go to truck driving school and I think trucking companies should put something about that in their training manuals. :)


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.


Driving While Intoxicated

by Brett Aquila

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