Sorry for not posting in forever, but between getting ready to leave for school and then actually going to school, well---you know. Excuses, excuses. I can now update you on the first two weeks at MTI. Right now, I'm sitting at home in Canton, Ohio. I'm close enough to head home on weekends, which has been nice.
Honestly, school has exceeded my expectations. First of all, Bill Smith, our instructor down in Trenton is legendary. One of the funniest and most knowledgeable people I've ever met. What an awesome guy. Secondly, my classmates are the best. There are four of us and we have really hit it off. It's a really fun group. We laugh our ##*ses off every day.
The first week, I headed down to Trenton, about a three and half hour drive for me and arrived at the hotel at about 10 p.m. It's a comfort inn, very nice place, clean and updated rooms, swimming pool, and a decent breakfast in the morning---eggs, either bacon or sausage, waffle maker, hard boiled eggs, fruit, all sorts of muffins, bread, yogurt, cereal, coffee, juice. Not bad at all! Millis gives you 5-ten dollar gift certificates for lunch while you are in class. That was a really pleasant surprise. Helps on the costs. Good places---Wendy's, Frisch's Big Boy, Lee's Chicken, Penn Station. Ten bucks more than covers your meals at these places. The next week we got to pick what we wanted. Just told Bill where we wanted to go. Also water, coffee, and fruit available free of charge in the classroom. Millis gives us a van and the keys to get us back and forth from school. The trip to the terminal is about a half hour from the hotel.
Bill picked us up at the hotel at 7:30 the first morning. First stop was the occupational healthcare clinic for the drug test, then on to the terminal. First day was in-processing paper work and classroom instruction on the rules of the road and driver time regs. There is some occasional homework, mainly quizzes or some reading here and there. Second day was more classroom mainly covering shifting and then logging hours. We kept a paper log the entire first week to learn paper logging. Wednesday we did the Millis 500. Two of us in each truck, one is an early 2000s Kenworth T2000 and the other is a 2013 Freightliner Cascadia. The old Kenworth is pushing a million miles but you wouldn't know it. That truck is a sweetheart. The freightliner looks great and is tight with about 340,000 miles, but I personally like the Kenworth better. Our road truck is a fairly late model Kenworth T700. It's a beauty and a pleasure to drive. It will be replaced soon with an automatic. I think that's shame, by the way. My favorite though is the 1994 Kenworth T600. It's got 1.2 million miles on the clock and will be replaced soon. We might be the last class with that truck. It's a hoot. Has a 13 speed in it. I love that truck! I think Millis would have rather that Bill get rid of it long ago, but he's pretty frugal and it's still kept in road ready condition. I was glad to have an opportunity to drive it.
Shifting went well for everybody, myself included, with plenty of grinding and missed gears at first, but everyone seemed to be getting the hang of shifting an unsynchronized tranny by the end of that Wednesday. Thursday was classroom instruction on backing, road safety, and more of the truck systems. Friday we started class at 6 am rather than 7, which has been the norm from that point forward. We did our first full pre-trip with the T2000 and then went out onto the range for straight back and sight side parallel backing with the T2000 and the Freightliner. We got out of class at about 4:30 and I headed home to Canton. I have to head out and do some things while I'm home, but I will update soon with the week 2 and post some pictures!