My Trucking Journey - J. Bauer Trucking.

Discussion in 'Trucking Schools and CDL Training Forum' started by SRJ, Jan 11, 2021.

  1. SRJ

    SRJ Light Load Member

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    After a long year of researching and determining if a career change was going to become a reality, I can officially say my first day is in the books.

    Approach - I spent many months researching companies and school options for obtaining my Class A CDL. One option was a somewhat local technical college that offered a 8 week course or 20 week, weekend course at approximately $3100. Something inside just didn’t personally feel right and therefore eliminated this option. This is where it become more difficult as I had a variety of paid training options through mega carriers. Wilson Logistics, Roehl, Prime and Millis Transfer. I actually had a seat reserved with the class that started today in Richfield, WI. Millis was very close to home and has a very reputation for its training program. My third option, J. Bauer Trucking, was a late addition to my search and the option I decided to proceed with. A few weeks ago I made the 3 1/2 drive here to meet with the training instructor and owner of the company and left feeling it was where I needed to start this journey.

    Training Program - the program is one-on-one training with an dedicated company training instructor, Bruce, that is certified through the state of WI to do Class A certifications. He is a really laid back guy and has been in the trucking business since he was 18. You train on a 10-speed manual transmission. The program progresses as you progress. Once a trainee feels ready to test out, you travel to a nearby DMV location to test. Once you obtain your CDL, you then get partnered with the companies training mentor. You head out with the mentor and run the mentors route until you feel confident in your ability. Once you get your mentors blessing, you then are assigned your own truck. JBT runs an all Volvo fleet and has mechanics in house 24-7.

    Day 1 - I’ll start by saying I’m exhausted. My level of focus throughout the day was physically draining. We started by looking over some Pre-Trip materials and materials regarding the CDL testing process. We then proceeded to the truck. Climb aboard, buckle up and let’s do this. LOL. Now the fun begins. Let’s drive a 10-speed manual transmission in a Volvo tractor. OMG. The biggest thing I was concerned about going into training was the manual transmission and I can say I feel the same way after today. I’m probably being to hard on myself, but man I really feel I didn’t do as good as I should have. We spent several hours in the lot learning the technique of double clutching. I would get in a rhythm and think, I got this, only to them feel like, WTH. A definite roller coaster today. Let’s hit the back country roads now. I can tell you I was sweating as I was so nervous. Shifting, especially downshifting was pathetic. I didn’t get frustrated and continued my best to focus. We made it back to the lot without killing anyone, hitting anything or breaking anything, so I guess that is a positive. We also did a Form A Pre-Trip, which I attempted and was told I did quite well for the first day. I had been working on some pre-trips prior to arriving for training and that definitely helped.

    At 3:00pm my trainer had someone coming in to do a Class B certification. He allowed me to continue to work on my shifting in the lot. I am able to spend as much time as I want in the truck as long as I don’t leave the premise of course. I did about 45 minutes on my own which was extremely helpful, but I finally called it a day. I headed back to the motel and I am now just relaxing as best I can. Overall, a good day in my new journey. Hopefully my night of sleep won’t be riddled in shifting nightmares. LOL
     
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  3. Vic Firth

    Vic Firth Road Train Member

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    Sounds like they have a good training plan for you, best of luck!
     
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  4. Lonesome

    Lonesome Mr. Sarcasm

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    "BAUER POWER!" Good luck, driver!
     
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  5. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    Thanks for the update.
     
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  6. Goldenfan

    Goldenfan Medium Load Member

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    Thanks for the update. After you get your license do they show you how to float or only double clutch? It might be something to ask them. I'd like to know as well.
    Thanks
     
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  7. SRJ

    SRJ Light Load Member

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    Day 2 - Started off doing some shifting in the lot and then hooked onto a 53' trailer. Went thru coupling first and then worked on turns while attached to the trailer. Instructor asked if I wanted to practice the backing skills for the CDL test. I was happy to attempt them as I could get my mind off the shifting struggles I continue to deal with. Straight-Line Back and Offset Left went pretty good. Took a couple attempts on the 90 degree Alley Dock. Man that one is pretty difficult. Initial set-up is key to getting that trailer in the box. Built my confidence back up on the backing skills.

    Next we talked about the procedures for dropping the trailer and proceeded to drop the trailer. My confidence was short-lived as we proceeded to take the tractor out on the backroads and focus on some upshifting and downshifting. Downshifting -FFF (Frustrating Frustrating Frustrating). However, I did make it back to the lot without hitting anything.

    As the day was coming to an end, I decided to stay after, hook a trailer up and do so more practicing. Focused on the backing and shifting for an hour and a half by myself. My shifting improved and seems to do so when my trainer isn't in the truck. Figures. My mind was telling me I had enough for day 2 so I did a straight back and dropped the trailer and then parked the truck for the evening. Let my instructor know I was leaving for the day. He proceeded to advise that I was progressing well. I guess I am just being hard on myself. Going to stay positive though and try to make tomorrow a better day.
     
  8. SRJ

    SRJ Light Load Member

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    Day 3 - wow just wow. Started the day out with driving the yard and practicing my shifting. I have to back up a bit. Due to my frustration of the previous days shifting, I watched several shifting videos last evening and wanted to focus on why I had learned. “One Two, One Two.” I also worked on my left foot and right had coordination. Verbally talking out loud as I shifted. “One Two. one Two. I put into practice what the videos and what my trainer has been telling me from day one. Spent 30 minutes in the yard without a trailer.

    Next up, hooked up a trailer and my trainer saying, “lets hit the roads”. Now the nerves starting to build, I took a deep breath and said, lets do this. My shifting was night and day. Add to that I was driving the roads. My mind working in deep concentration and my trainer saying, just relax. Sure, I can do that. Yeah right. 9a to 1:30p running the monster around city and county roads. Holy crap things are coming together. Confidence building. A few grinds and missed gears towards the end. I can say with the amount of focus, my mind drains me mentally and physically.

    From 3p to 5:30p I worked by self on shifting and backing in the yard. I have cones set up for all the backing maneuvers, which is awesome. My trainer has been very complimentary regarding my backing ability.

    Overall the day was very productive and my confidence built up a bit. Still need to stayed focused.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  9. bzinger

    bzinger Road Train Member

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    I'm a distant relative of baurs , they've been around for ages and have good name .
    Good luck !
     
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  10. Goldenfan

    Goldenfan Medium Load Member

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    Do they have just the 1 trainer at the yard? Are you responsible for getting your own lodging or do they have a place you can stay? It seems to be a good training style being 1 on 1. What's the agreement for the training? Thanks for the detailed updates.
     
  11. SRJ

    SRJ Light Load Member

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    Jan 17, 2020
    Wisconsin
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    Yes there is one trainer, Bruce, that certified in the state of WI to administer CDL tests. He is also a full-time J. Bauer employee.

    Yes you are responsible for room and board during your training and there is a few motels in Medford and also some additional motels within a few minutes from their location. The motel I’m staying at is the Medford Inn and is $55 a night. Plenty of restaurants in the area and a Mexican restaurant I seem to keep going back to. Darn good place.

    The agreement is that you come to J. Bauer Trucking with the intent to drive for them, but there is no written agreement. However, they truly want people who are interested in staying with them after they gain their CDL. As you can imagine there is a lot of time they put forth with you to achieve your CDL.

    Hope that helps and if you have further questions, please PM me and I will try to answer them. If I can’t, I will surely get an answer for you.
     
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