Ringo was an imposing, grizzly bear of a man with a beard like Dan Haggerty and, despite his thinning hair; he continued to grow graying, shoulder-length locks. He looked a bit like an oversized caricature of Hank Williams Jr. Ringo's resounding baritone voice left the impression that it might have shattered a wine glass or two in its time.
When he arrived to pick me up in the red, white and blue Mack, I loaded my gear into the truck in anxious anticipation of my first week on the road. As I began to settle in, I observed, in horror, only one sleeper berth. Having recently seen the movie "Brokeback Mountain", my perineum instinctively tightened. Ringo sensed my panic, and released a powerful belly laugh in amusement.
"The company's gonna give us a condo next week", he explained between chuckles. "We're stuck with this flat top this week so, we'll just have to do the best we can. You can have the sleeper the first couple of nights 'till you get settled."
I heaved a sigh of relief and Ringo continued to chortle for the next few miles.
Ringo had recently returned to the company after having spent the past year driving for a private owner. I was his first trainee. This would be a new experience for both of us.
Over the next six weeks, we traversed the southeast together and Ringo displayed a patience and understanding that belied his, sometimes, brash personality. Ringo could be described as many things, but boring is not among them. He regaled me with road stories and death-defying tales from his youth during our six weeks together. I never knew, with certainty, how much truth these tales contained but, oftentimes, an allegorical truth is just as enlightening as a literal one. Ringo was, without question, a bard of the open road. He also had a habit of bringing interrogative closure to many of his observations with the query, "You know what I mean?" I didn't give it much thought to begin with but, after a time, I began to wonder if Ringo were channeling the ghost of the late Jim Varney. To his credit, however, he did find time to provide me with training between yarns.
Since we were running southeast regional , we would get to go home on weekends. I would soon discover, however, that the company's idea of a "weekend" was often displayed by getting the driver home late on Friday evening and then, dispatching him on a load that required him to leave early on Sunday morning. The "trucker's weekend" was not something I'd been prepared for.
A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:
Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.
The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.
Being in training as a trucker on the road isn't easy - but when you add mountains and wrong turns into the equation, it can be terrifying!
by Peter Jr
My CDL training is complete. Here is a recap of what training was like on the road, and what it was like to return home to my family.
by Philosopher Paul
You meet a lot of crazy characters in trucking, and my finishing trainer is off the charts. This guys seems more like someone you'd find in a movie.
by Philosopher Paul
I'm finishing up CDL training with a trainer who screams in tirades and I've had to try to deal with it. But finally, the showdown between us occurred.
After completing orientation with my first trucking company it was time to head out on the road with a trainer for the first time, and away we went!
My first few days of my trucking career are off to a great start and I'm out on the road with my trainer. Everything is so new, everything is a first.
I've been on the road with my trainer and there's been a lot of ups and downs. We're learning a ton everyday, but it's not easy for me or my family.
After two weeks with my trainer, I went home for three days to relax and get ready for my company road test. If I pass, I get my own truck and run solo
CDL training will test you in so many ways, and it will go far beyond your ability to drive a truck. It will also test your patience and perseverance.
by Old School
As a rookie truck driver you're going to face enormous challenges and be tested continuously. I learned a great lesson about how tough CDL training can be.
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