I haven't been on this forum for long. In fact, I've only begun seriously researching and pursuing a trucking career a few months ago. I drove a straight truck for a furniture delivery company shortly after turning 19. I've always wanted to take the leap from a CDL B to a CDL A but always siked myself out of it. Now my only child is going into her senior year at college. She's on her own, in her own apartment and I find myself at a point in life where it's now or never. I've spent the last 20 or so years jumping from car sales to automotive repair, to retail after retail horror story. It's time for me to hit the open road and find the happiness that has eluded me for so long. Will this career have challenges? I'm confident IT WILL!! Will this career be a total 180 from everything I know and have learned about work...Most likely. Am I ready for this challenge... HELL YEAH!!
After 7 consecutive rejections from various companies, I found a home with CFI. Having a previous non-moving violation that resulted in the suspension of my home state driver's license. I found roadblocks in being hirable by many large and medium-sized trucking companies. CFI reached out to me a few days after I submitted my application and started the process of getting my issue approved by the higher-ups. That took about 48 hours and I received the call informing me that I'm good to go and need to move onto the drug test portion of the application. Urine and hair follicle testing would have to be performed. For the first time in my life being a fairly hairy person came in handy LOL. I took the test on a Thursday afternoon and had the results confirmed by Tuesday of the following week. During this same time frame, they already had me set up with the good people at Trainco and the date of May 10th to start school was set. Since the school is over an hour away from where I live, I was able to get a hotel. I decided it was close enough that I could drive myself down to Ohio from Michigan.
So tomorrow at 6:30 am I am to arrive at the school for the paperwork portion of the training. Normally, we will start at 7:00 am and finish around 5:00 pm. They say we will be outside on day one so dress for the weather. It seems to still be unseasonably cool down here in Ohio as it is a few hours north of where I'm from.
I'm so excited to be able to share this journey with you. If you chose to follow along I plan on updating this daily. I would like to provide a personal viewpoint for future students looking for options and for those who might even walk down the same path as myself.
Day one is tomorrow and then 16 days of training to follow. May 26th I'm set up to take my CDL exam and I can't WAIT to see some dancing banana's that afternoon after I complete the exam : )
See you tomorrow evening!
Trainco Trucking School w/ CFI
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Day one is in the books. We did way more than I expected on the first day of school.
Arrived at the school at 6:30 am and started filling out paperwork. Standard stuff for data collecting forms, I'm on a company contract for 12 months to repay the upfront cost CFI is paying for me. Which is not bad considering how much all of this costs, including 17 nights in a nice hotel!
Class started at 7:00 am and we spent the first few hours of the day looking at powerpoint slides about general knowledge stuff. Things like whats a CDL and what the different classifications are. Brake systems, parts, and how they work. An extremely wonderful youtube video from 1983 out of my home state of Michigan on brakes LOL. SMH
Around 9:30 ish we went outside and practiced coupling and uncoupling from a trailer. This was the first time I moved/sat/anything in a semi before and other than stalling it while trying to get the locking jaw handle to engage, it went really well.
Lunch was a 30 min break around 12:00 pm and then back to the outdoors to start learning the pre-trip. Now, this portion of the test really concerned me over the last few months. I have been watching pre-trip videos online and even downloaded a pre-trip inspection book off of another forum, in preparation for this moment. Great news...I have to unlearn everything I learned over the last 6 weeks because the verbiage is wrong in many places and there are different standards in Ohio. So do yourself a favor and ignore youtube training at ALL costs before school!! lol
The last fun for the day was the straight line backing maneuver on the pad. We spent the last two and a half hours of the day teamed up and backing over and over again. I'm not gonna lie, I got really frustrated and struggled more than I expected taking a truck backward at 5 mph in a straight line. I did successfully complete the maneuver around 13 times but had to pull up and fix 5-6 times and crushed probably 3-5 cones over the afternoon. I kept getting in my own head and staying on my adjustments for too long and losing the trailer behind me. Now let me explain that 1. the trucks we are using are day cabs and manual transmissions. I'm testing out in an Automatic but this school only uses manuals on the pad, as they only have 3 A/T trucks used exclusively for road driving and testing. 2. the tractors on the pad are EXTREMELY old, 20+ years old. The one we used for coupling was a 1984. So the clutches are basically part soup and finding R and 1st is incredibly hard. Not complaining by any means but its another challenge to overcome as a A/T driver I didn't think I would have to deal with.
Overall, day 1 feels like a win. I made it through, performed some basic maneuvers and didn't hit anything, anyone or destroy a truck!!
I'm more physically/mentally drained than I've been in quite some time. I couldn't shut my brain down last night and ended up with maybe 4 hours of sleep. Here's to a much MUCH better night sleep!
Good night allJust passing by Thanks this.
Ron in Joplin local dispatch was one of my favorite people.
the trainers generally know what they are doing.
also just relax don’t try to go full “zen” but try not to be mr.worry either. Just feel it.
The school can’t teach you how to drive just pass the test and get you ready for training.
Ahh, the old CDL mill. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at one. I can still hear the instructors bad dog stories every time I see an old Volvo ragged out Volvo. Or his yelling at the guy in the drivers seat for grinding gears.
But it was all good. Some laughs, a few hurt feelings. We all passed and got the coveted CDL, except one guy in another truck.
I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. I need to send the old SOB a bottle if he’s still around.
Like the other guy said, just get your CDL and be safe. The real learning begins once CFI puts you in a trainers truck. Good luck. Running the road isn’t too bad at all.
Chinatown Thanks this.
Remember that old hip-hop song by Ice Cube "today was a good day". That is how I feel right now.
Class started at 7:00 am and we had slide shows, videos, and tests (all classroom stuff) till around 1:45 pm. That was a much-needed sit down after standing on cement for so long on day 1 and using bad-### clutches. LOL But in all seriousness it was some really good content. We saw a video that showed the NO Zone's that these big rigs have and we all realized "holy CRAP" you can't see cars when they are literally right next to you or in front of you!! Definitely have us all a much-needed wake-up call for personal driving habits and respect for what we are about to begin.
We had to take 2 tests today that we didn't know were coming and apparently become part of our overall grade upon completion of our schooling. We tested on ELD's and using an atlas. Got a 92% and an 87% respectively. I missed 2 questions on the atlas test because I mistook the population number as a page number on 2 questions. Reading the questions is important. Who would have thought??!! LOL
After the classwork wrapped up we hit the lot for more pre-trip. Went over everything we had learned so far and added the front brake, wheel, and tire to it. Each day we all repeat the pre-trip up to the point from the day before and add something further down the list. This will continue through the rest of the week and should be through the truck completely by Friday and repeating it over and over all next week.
After that, we took a 15 break and at 3:30 pm went to the pad/range. There are six of us in our class (typically they have 10) So it's a smaller class than normal and I'm appreciative of that cause we get more seat time. Five of us, including myself, moved onto the offset backing maneuver. They call the "reverse lane change" I don't know if that's accurate, an Ohio thing, or what? Cause I only heard of it as the offset back? Doesn't matter, it's the same either way. I absolutely didn't KILL it but I definitely did it a bunch successfully and dang that feels SO good!!! I used my pull-ups and did have to take a 3rd pull-up a couple of times that would have counted negatively on the test but didn't kill any cones!!
We had 5 students and only 2 trucks because the 3rd truck was being used on the student that had to keep practicing the straight line back from yesterday. I really hope he figures it out because he's a really good dude and just overthinks everything. That is (or at least seems to be) a really big problem for students and what keeps them/us from getting that "ah-ha" moment.
All in all, I'm so happy that things are not a complete disaster. I tend to not think overly positively about myself and performing, especially in front of people who "control" my future. Trust me, I'm working on this and trying to say more positive and motivating statements as I drive into the school each morning. It does seem to help me. I also have a classmate who has deemed us "battle buddies" and try to team up each day on the range. It helps to have someone looking out for me and I do the same for him!
That's pretty much the just of day 2. Hope ya'll have a great night and talk to you tomorrow.
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