When you go out on the road with your trainer, everything is a first. Everything you do is new and exciting. I didn't know what to expect my first day out delivering loads. My trainer is on a dedicated account that gets him home every night, which is good. The bad? He has 3 stops and they are all hand unload. It can be very tiring unloading a 53 foot trailer packed to the doors with merchandise. All in all, his run is approximately 470 miles round trip.
Now because there are 2 of us training, we have to take turns with the driving, so we basically split it up. One of us drives in the morning and the other after the first two stops.
My first experience driving down the interstate with a load to deliver was great except for one thing, I was driving at 3 am and it was dark the whole time, so I didn't get to see much. Still, it is a great feeling being behind the wheel of a big rig.
The next day I drove after the second load, and it completely changes everything when you can actually see what is around you. Visiting new parts of the country you have never been to before can really make you look at things a different way. So far, I am loving being behind the wheel, even if I do have a trainer sitting next to me analyzing everything I do. Don't get me wrong, we get along great, and think I lucked out with my trainer because he is really good at teaching us new things and the proper way to do it, but I can't wait to be out on my own.
At our second stop, the dock is a little tricky to get into. The only way to get the trailer in is to do a blind side back. This is something I had never done before. The first day my trainer walked along the side of the truck giving me tips and how to get it in. Half turn left, full turn right, I still have not been able to figure out how these trainers know exactly how much to turn the wheel to get the trailer right were you need it. I guess it comes with time.
The second day we went to deliver, my trainer looked at me and said "I showed you how to do it once, lets see if you can get it in there". Well, I was a little nervous, and to top things off, there were like seven people in the dock area watching me, which made it worse. I set it up, grabbed reverse and headed on back. Well, I got it in there, but it was a little crooked, so I had to pull up once to get the trailer a little straight, but one pull up and I was into the dock - not bad I think for my first time. My trainer was impressed.
After our second day of driving, it was time for our first truck stop shower. We stopped at a small Pilot off the interstate , and my trainer went in to get the shower receipts. Now, I didn't know what to expect. Was it a shower like high school where it was all open? Well, they called my number and off to the shower I went. I was relieved to see I had a personal shower (heck I didn't know!). It was small, had a shower stall, a sink, a little bench and a bathroom. Yes, I could finally use the bathroom in private! I think that was the best part of all. The shower was clean, and the water was hot, and that was all I needed. After I was done, I felt 100% better. The truck stop shower was better than I expected, so that made the rest of the day go great.
Tomorrow we have to change our route a little. After our three drop-offs, we have a back haul to pick up. My trainer informed me this back haul is in an old coal mine that was converted into a warehouse, so we have to drive down into the mines to pick up the load. We will see how it goes!
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It seems like life on the road throws you one curveball after another sometimes. This winter has been tough, with some parts better off forgotten.
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