Trainco Day 05
Well today started like the rest of the week with the first part of the day until break doing classroom stuff which was largely review with some new material. We then went to the range where we continued our offset backing until lunch. After lunch it was pretrip until last break. Finally it was more reverse lane changes for the rest of the day. My fiance got it down earlier and after a little help I am finally mostly comfortable with it. I am glad that I will be good at pretrip so that I can devote more of that time to practicing my maneuvers. I am not picking up on them as quickly as I would like but I am making great progress along with my fiance.
It is amazing how far we have managed to come so far especially after that first day in the truck. I look forward to improving and driving someday soon.
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Trainco Day 06
Today was mostly classroom time. Thanks to the instructors yesterday I got my offset backing down for the most part. I think we are both ready for the next maneuver. We received a pretrip study guide today but I could take the pretrip today and pass. My fiance needs some more practice so we are going to be studying on our day off this Sunday. We did some stuff on map reading and log books. The map reading was super useful. I didn't know those atlases had that much information. We got a brief overview of the Hours of Service regulations as well. For the last part of the day we worked on pretrip.
I can't believe it has been a week already. When I started this I wasn't sure we could do this but we are doing so well. We still have lots to learn but I feel we will be ready for our exams at the beginning of the week after next.
Trainco Day 07
So today was the first day we got some drive time on the road. We spent the first part of the day in class and got to hear about the 5 out of 6 people in the graduating class failing thier pre-trip exam. One guy in particular missed it by 5 points. I feel for the guy but I know I won't have that issue. I am extremely solid on my pre-trip and I have a great flow. My nerves won't get to me either because I know how to approach this kind of thing. Plus I have done these pre-trips so many times on Forklifts during my previous job and the general process is the same in my mind. The only thing that is different is that it's a different vehicle with different part.
My road time was less than stellar though. It was a bit of a shock to my system and even though I actually drove very well. I made everyone in the cab very nervous with how nervous I was. They about kicked me out of the driver seat and I got a good lecture about it. So that was fun, not. It felt like driving my car for the first time again and that was exactly the same thing. So I got a giant black spot on me now because I am the only one who had this issue. My anxiety and nerves got the better of me because I take driving extremely seriously especially now that the vehicle is much larger and a much more deadly weapon.
We were driving bobtail so there were many notable differences between this thing and my car. For one this thing picks up so much faster than my little car. Getting used to the acceleration was tricky. My braking was smooth but the controls were all more sensitive than I am accustomed to. Plus driving and more so turning with two hands took some getting used to.
The main lesson I honestly learned today was that none of these people are my friends nor will they be understanding of anything. So it is my fiance and I against the world again as usual. So I am walking back into this tomorrow with that mindset. I have to play my cards close to the vest.
My fiance on the other hand did much better. When we got range time though she struggled with the parallel. I showed her a time or two that I had it down. She got a little frustrated but I told her to relax as she probably has a mental block that is stopping her from doing it. From my perspective all the maneuver is, is a offset back but into a box. I think she is letting the fact that she's never parallel parked a car get into her head.
Trainco Day 08
Well I redeemed myself today. My fiance was in the cab today so that helped my nerves and some more practice got me more comfortable. Got a lot of complaints from the others because we weren't pulling a trailer the first time because of me. A different instructor, who obviously heard of my issues, wanted a crack at me and gave me a hand. I improved in that regard and the next trip out after break we hooked up to a trailer and pulled that around. Having the trailer helped with the acceleration for me but introduced many new issues I had to learn to deal with. The instructor was extremely helpful though and I made it through well. My fiance did well as well. We also got some range time in and tried helping my fiance with her pretrip. She has got a good way to go but she is making improvements. We are hoping tomorrow that we can get some range time for her to work on her parallel and me to get some alley docking in.
Trainco Day 09
Things don't seem to be going well. We are feeling the crunch but learning everything in two weeks doesn't seem like enough time. At the end of today both of us still need about 6 hours of drive time each and most other students are in the same position. Had we started last week like we were supposed to we may have had more time. I have vastly improved on my driving and my fiance is still doing excellent in that regard. Got to pull a 53' trailer today with a small automatic day cab for my road drive. The instructor enjoys challenging people apparently. I got to drive it through two roundabouts and a very curvy windy road and a few small towns. The toughest thing though was fighting that wind today. They said I did well so I feel pretty good.
Things got worse though. I missed a few things on my mock pretrip that I need to brush up on quickly and then I tried an alley dock today. I can't get it, it was very frustrating. My fiance got in a good bit of range time and broke down crying because she couldn't get parallel parking. So we are both struggling with the maneuvers and she still needs work on her pretrip. We feel a lot of pressure to try and pass especially considering our paper permits expire in a little over two weeks.
So if we fail the first time and they can't squeeze us in early enough that second week then we will have to go back to get our physical permits and come back, which would be a pain. All the while we have bills coming up and we just need to start getting paid and training asap. But we feel the deck is stacked against us at this point. We will try to keep our spirits up and throw ourselves at it.
Mr Pop will be the other last note. Once Mr Pop shows up into that cab with you, that's it you don't have enough air and you are going to stop. You hopefully will already be somewhere off safe so that you can stop out of the way of the horde passing you at 80 mph. it will royally screw them all up.
The one thing is to have presence of mind. Yes you are pretty much out of air, yes there is the stuff going on in the cab, it's noisy in there. But keep your eyes up and look for a hole to stick it out of the way but stay on pavement where possible so that when Mr Spring does lock it up you are safe and sitting pretty.
Grab a water bottle with soap in it start spraying where you think you hear Mr Hiss around that rig. Mr Bubbles will tell you here is Mr Leak. Then you can go from there.Tierael Thanks this.
Turn wheel this way, trailer eventually goes that way. It's the REAL SHORT trailers say 20 footers that are the MOST PAIN.
Again. This much wheel wait a moment and you get that much trailer movement. Turn wheel back across to erase it and then follow trailer around. If you want more add more wheel this way. If you think you are getting it, put in that wheel and get straight.
Watch all your corners. Don't stress. Again. this much or that much or this little bit of wheel that trailer moves for you just so every single time. You will get it.
You talk about two weeks not enough time to learn. Well, Ive been at this my life and im still learning. You can tell by other members correcting me here for example now and again or when I read about what they have done to a new truck or whatever. Grandma should have wheels to be a wagon in this modern age. Ugh. But you never stop learning.
The bills. That's regrettable. But remember. When you are paid for a load, set aside your withholding, then the large percentage of what you don't really need to deliver that load. Example 1000 mile run, pays .50 a mile call it 500 dollars over two days. You only need about 20 dollars per day for food and fluid if you are very careful selecting good food. Not the processed crap or fast food. The rest of the pile goes straight to savings.
Then do it again the next load. Stacking money. If you have feast and famine? great no problem keep on trucking big and small. Your bills will take care of themselves.
It definitely feels that way, and my wife and I had the same issue. She couldn't parallel to save her life. But she got it down eventually, 90° alley dock is the hardest thing you have to learn. So it does get discouraging. I got two day of practice on alley docks before they took me for my test and out of the 15 plus times I attempted on the yard at the school I maybe got it in once unassisted. But guess what they gave me on my driving test! An alley dock...idk how..but when it was crunch time i got it in there. Not perfectly mind you, the tester blew the whistle on me. But after my mess up I fixed it and got it in there.
Point is, idk how you and your wife operate, but once it's crunch time you'll be amazed at how you do!
Cerberus XVI Thanks this.
Trainco Day 10
We got in a lot more drive time. We've been super busy trying to fit everything in and retain all of it. I had a crappy day though because it rained really hard and it was my first time driving this thing in severe weather. I got super tense and apparently was cussing up a storm and not going fast enough. I got those nerves out of the way and did much better on my next drive though.
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