A Couple's Journey With CFI

Discussion in 'CFI' started by Tierael, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. Tierael

    Tierael Bobtail Member

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    Honaker, VA
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    Thanks for that notice. I will keep that in mind as we go through these coming weeks. We work well together but sometimes we look like we are bickering because of the dynamic of our relationship.

    So we spent most of Friday putting our stuff in storage and making arrangements for our neighbors to safeguard our mail while we are gone. They are also family and good people so we are lucky they will be able to handle the mail for us while we are gone. Friday night we went to my grandparents place for the night and visited with them Saturday until they took us to the bus station. The greydog was not a pleasant ride at all. I won't regail the trip as there was much to it. Regardless we got here and got picked up by Trainco on Sunday morning and had to wait for four hours to get our room because they got slammed the night before. There also was confusion on our accommodations and they tried to put us in separate rooms, but luckily we got that fixed. So we spent Sunday relaxing and unpacking for our stay here. I am definitely ready and we are waiting for the shuttle now. I will be posting and update later. I apologize for any errors. I am now on my mobile phone instead of my computer so typing these out will be more difficult.
     
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  3. Tierael

    Tierael Bobtail Member

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    Honaker, VA
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    Trainco Day 01
    So we have our first day over with. We got up an hour early before breakfast to prepare for the day before heading down to eat. We met some other Trainco students there but they were through Keller. I managed to pick thier brains for some advice. The hotel breakfast wasn't the best we ever had and felt kind of minimal to me. It was free though so I can't complain a whole lot. Well luckily the Trainco shuttle doesn't arrive until around 7:30AM so we had plenty of time to eat and get back to the room real quick to brush our teeth. I will say it is really nice having running water again and being able to flush the toilet or take a shower daily. We didn't have running water in the trailer we were at on the mountain. Anyway we arrived at Trainco accompanied by 2 others there for CFI and one was for Keller, but he was testing out that day.

    When we arrived we did our standard paperwork and got started in class. Good instructors, all of them seem to have lots of experience and many were graduates of this school. Our class has 9 people, most of them are from Keller with some from other companies and one freelancer. We were in the classroom till noon and after lunch we went straight to the range to start some pre-trip, the air brake test, and some drop and hook.

    After break we returned to the range to work on straight line backing for the rest of the day. Despite being automatics only we are training in manuals and they are old and beaten at that obviously. It was hard getting used to shifting something like that with a clutch and all but we both got the hang of it. Some of those fifth wheel locking levers were a pain in the ### to pull though. Hooking the glad hands up and back was easy though despite being for different than what we are used to.

    We both struggled with straight line backing, more so me though. I got some sagely advice telling me not to watch the cones, but to actually watch the trailer to keep it straight. So that helped me out a lot. I had trouble trying to look back and forth between my passenger side and drivers side mirrors though as the passenger side wasn't properly adjusted for me. I managed to do okay using my drivers side though. I am hoping for some more practice today.
     
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  4. Tierael

    Tierael Bobtail Member

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    Honaker, VA
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    Trainco Day 02
    We have been learning a whole lot. I will say though that every day we come back feeling exhausted. They had changed the curriculum rather recently so they start you off in the truck immediately, rather than a whole few days of classroom time. So we are in class until first break at round 10 or so. After that we are on the range the rest of the day. Today we reviewed Air Brakes and some new material, basic driving stuff. We have a lot of smart alecks in my class, who openly admit to disobeying the rules of first and reverse gears only. A lot of them put on the accelerator and into 3rd or 4th gear because they don't like how slow the trucks are going through the maneuver.

    We aren't letting ourselves get dragged into that and we are just focusing on learning as much as we can while we are here. After our classroom time we did some straight line backing again. After lunch we did some pretrip until our last break and then we returned to the range for some more straight line backing. I am finally getting the hang of it. Hated the truck we were in today. Felt like the clutch dislocated our hips and we struggled telling if the trailer was straight because of our mirrors. We are going to avoid that truck today and hopefully get to try out one of the daycabs. They really have a good system for passing pretrip here so I am not worried. However I am not as strong of a driver as my fiance so I am concerned about being able to do these maneuvers. I am improving every single day so that is what helps me.
     
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  5. mitrucker

    mitrucker Road Train Member

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    Stay out of the daycab if you can. Concentrate on honing your skills driving a sleeper truck. There is a big difference in how those two trucks maneuver. If you try to use both, you’re going to screw up your timing. Just my two cents.
     
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  6. navypoppop

    navypoppop Medium Load Member

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    Winter Haven, Fl.
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    Like mitrucker said you should stay away from the daycab as much as possible. You will most likely be driving a sleeper cab truck no matter where you are working so it is better to learn on it. It is a lot easier in the day cab but almost every company you could drive for will be sleeper cabs. Good luck.
     
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  7. Tierael

    Tierael Bobtail Member

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    Trainco Day 03
    We made it through our third day and moved onto reverse lane change/offset backing. We had to finish a drug screen this morning so we missed all of the classroom time but we were on the range for the rest of the day after that first break. We unfortunately got stuck in a daycab and we both hated it. It felt like it was so much harder to back in it and we couldn't figure out why at first. It turned a lot faster and we had been using the sides of the sleeper to help line up the tractor with the trailer to tell if we were straight. The daycab weren't wide enough so we lost out point of reference and struggled in that daycab.

    We agree that we want to stay away from those daycab sense we will be testing in and driving a sleeper cab. We are hoping we can stay out of the daycabs but a majority of thier trucks on the range are daycabs and with two classes viaing for trucks it will make it tough. We are doing our best to keep our spirits up and tomorrow is another day. We finally figured out how to keep the trailer straight in a daycab roughly but we will still struggle. We are just going to do our best so we can pass all of our exams in a few weeks.
     
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  8. RoadRooster

    RoadRooster Road Train Member

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    Fort Myers, Florida
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    When you get your own truck, go to the parts window in the shop and get a 5th wheel puller. It's free. Your finisher will probably have one. Saves getting grease stains on your right shoulder and tearing a rotator cuff in your shoulder. You don't want a shoulder injury.
     
  9. RoadRooster

    RoadRooster Road Train Member

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  10. Cerberus XVI

    Cerberus XVI Heavy Load Member

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    Haha I know the feeling of the crappy trucks. Truck dynasty where we went to school had 4 trucks to share between like 20 students. Only two of them could be taken to test and even then one of the tester trucks had to have the hood held down by bungee straps! Haha. On one of the non testing trucks you had to hold the door closed or it would fly open on ya while your doing yard maneuvers.

    If you can drive in one of those clunkers you can drive almost anything haha. It will definitely make you appreciate the brand new T-680s that CFI gives you alot more that's for sure. It can be frustrating. Just keep your eye enon thed game and it will all be worth it.
     
  11. Tierael

    Tierael Bobtail Member

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    Mar 2, 2019
    Honaker, VA
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    Trainco Day 04
    Well same routine today. We started out in class and reviewed things people should already know because of the permit test so in this regard I feel like I am ahead of everyone else. As time goes on here I am clearly seeing that pre-trip will be a breeze for me. My weakness is maneuvers and driving at the moment. My fiance has the opposite issues. So this is why we work well together, I can help her with learning her pre-trip and she can give me a pointer on maneuvers.

    We were on the range all day, we did more reverse lane changes and a lot of people in the class went to do pre-trip. I stayed on the range to practice more and I am mostly competent at this maneuver but I am not good enough to pass it I think.

    I understand that varied experience is good but I am going to be teaming with my fiance and training on an automatic sleeper would make me more comfortable as that is what we will be driving. Most of the trucks on the range are daycabs. We have like two sleepers and none of them would pass a DOT inspection. They have trucks set aside for road trips and actual testing. All four are sleeper cabs. Two automatics and two manuals that are in better condition and newer than what's on the range.

    So ya I get what you mean and it's something I keep saying too. It will make us appreciate the trucks we get to drive when we come to CFI. The range is usually packed with 10 trucks going at once and there doesn't seem to be enough instructors. I just hope two weeks is enough time for us to learn this stuff for our CDL exam. I keep wondering everyday if we are going to make it. We got a lot riding on this and we are trying our best.

    I definitely will make sure we get one of those pullers though because some of those release handles are super stubborn. There are a fe trucks in particular I can't pull the handle on so I will make sure we get one of those when we start driving.
     
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