Friday, February 29, 2008

A Good Day

I knew it was finally going to happen, a good day would come along. Or at least a day that wasn't one frustration after another.

Morning started out with backing practice, and Dale setup the practice area like it will be when we take our DPS test. Basically we start by driving around the lot then pulling straight up into the parking lines box. Then do a pull forward and then do a straight line back. Once that is complete we pull forward and then parallel park into the adjoining lane in the box.

Everything went very well for me, my first round was excellent and made four of five attempts perfect. On the second try my tractor drive train crossed the line on the parallel park, all five attempts took me about thirty minutes.

Then Perry had his go, as was typical he was all over the place. Even after pulling straight into the box, once he started his backing after pulling forward he jackknifed the trailer repeatedly.

After letting him go at it for an hour, where he did improve but wasn't able to finish the parallel parking part I took over for another round.

Same thing, this time but I was able to complete all five maneuvers without problems.

As I was getting out, Dale informed me that the main school called and I won the lottery on the weekly random drug testing so I had to take off to go get tested. Not a problem for me since I have NO trouble passing those things so I talked to Perry for a few minutes, gave him some pointers on how to watch the trailer tandems in BOTH mirrors when backing and what steps to take when turning the wheels for the parallel, and took off.

I then spent over two hours doing my drug testing due to the wait at the facility then called Dale on the phone and told him I'd meet him at the driving range because I was closer to there than the parking range and didn't want to make them wait for me to get back (and to save gas).

They showed up at the range at 1:00pm and we started driving.

Now, I don't know what happened between the time I left and the time I met them at the driving range. But something FINALLY clicked for Perry. According to Dale about twenty minutes after I left Perry started doing great and was nailing the backing and parallel parking. So since Perry seemed to be on an up note I let him drive first.

And he did pretty damn well, his downshifting still needs a bit of work and he needs to stop getting frustrated over his mistakes but his driving was pretty damn good, which is finally nice that neither Dale or I have to hang on for dear life. It was a pleasant change over the previous days this week.

We each made two pull runs on the range, and my driving is getting better and better. I'm still having a bit of a time judging turning distances on right hand turns, but I'm not hitting the lines as often. Those turns are my current weak spot.

All in all it was a good day. Monday we are supposed to start full highway driving.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Not to bad

Today wasn't to bad of a day. The general stupid crap and another long string of bored time.

As usual I was on time and ready to go. Dale told us we would be backing this morning then go driving this afternoon.

As usual I let Perry go first so Dale could spend time with him working out his driving issues. And boy did Perry need help. Dale aligned the truck perfectly straight in the box and Perry took over. He pulled straight forward to the stopping spot, put it into reverse and promptly turned the wheel, jackknifed the truck and destroyed a cone. It is now 7:20am and I realized it was going to be a long morning.

I told Dale to let him work it out and see if the guy could finally "find" his trailer. I went into the college and picked up a paper and returned to my car to 'watch', catch up on the news and listen to Open Road on XM171.

Around 8:45am it looked like Dale was on his last nerve so I hopped out of the car and said I'd back for a while. Don't think I've ever seen anyone so relieved. However, I didn't let Perry off the hook, I made him ride in the cab with me to see how I do it and to give him some pointers.

I feel for the guy, he's trying but he's just not getting it. And going by the conversation I had with Dale this morning, he doesn't think (and neither do I) that Perry has the bones to be a truck driver. But, as today is day four of being behind the wheel he has eight days till our test to work out his issues.

I pulled about twenty straightline backs, and totally blew one parallel parking routine, but nailed three or four others so all was good.

Once I'd been in the truck about forty-five minutes I gave the reigns back to Perry after setting him up with a perfect straightline back start, and returned to my car.

About ten minutes later, campus police stop by and tell Dale and I that we needed to move the truck off the range so the Dallas Police Department could bring in their helicopter (AirOne) for a demonstration flight for one of the college classes. They said it would take about fifteen minutes and then they'd be gone.

Well 10:00am comes by and the chopper is already fifteen minutes late and I'm starting to get really bored.

It finally shows up about ten after and between the high winds we were getting today and the wash from the chopper, the parking lot where we do our backing range work was completely clean of dirt and debris.

The pilots lock down the chopper and head inside the school for their presentation before bringing the students out, and so we begin to wait some more.

After almost an hour of waiting they bring the students out to look at the chopper for about thirty minutes, then finally take off and leave about 11:30am. Leaving us with half the morning wasted sitting on our asses again.

During this downtime I was talking to Dale about Perry's shifting issues, and we came up with the idea to drop the trailer and let him bobtail around the lot in a huge circle practicing up and down shifting so maybe he would get some rhythm before we head out on the road. So from 11:30 till just after noon that is what Dale and Perry did. He seemed to be doing ok, but then again I wasn't in the truck, I was sitting in my car listening to XM.

Lunchtime came and went, and then we finally hit the road for some practice.

As usual I let Perry go first for two laps, and hung on for dear life. He wasn't to bad today, he's still grinding the gears and shaking all the teeth out of our head, but he is getting a 'bit' better. However, I can give him props on one thing, he can turn that truck. He has not hit a curb, or crossed a line since Monday. So he seems to be good at at least one thing.

I took two trips around and struggled a bit today with double up-shifting but I've just about got it nailed down.

Two more trips each and it was time to head back.

Today was a pretty good day, and each day even though I'm only getting maybe about 50 miles driving in, I'm doing fantastic. At least according to Dale.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

From Lousy to Awesome

Today started out promising but quickly went down hill, and then climbed out of the hole it was in to a excellent finish.

I knew today that we would be heading down to the DPS skills testing site to check out the route and see what was coming in two weeks for our exam. Afterwards we were going to take Perry to the written testing station so he could take his Air Brakes exam.

Everyone was on time, and we got going right at 7:10am after doing the pre-trip inspection (and conveniently ignoring everything that was wrong with the truck and trailer) and headed out.

We got there about 8:00am and parked in the waiting area as another instructor was coming to actually show us the route. Paul doesn't know it as he's never been to this particular DPS.

Roger showed up at 8:15am and we hopped in his truck, older and in not much better condition than the one we are driving and he ran us down the route. And boy is it a bitch and a half. I'm not even going to decribe it right now, but needless to say I'm gonna have to be on my toes when I take it. Especially signaling, because there are almost fifty signal changes on the route. The other thing to mention is EVERY on and off ramp are extremely short, so speed is going to be critical.

Once we got back we bobtailed down to the testing center so Perry could take his test. He passed thank God, but barely according to him. Once done we headed back to pick-up the trailer from the skills site (the route to the exam site is a truck route but the tree clearances are a bit low so Paul didn't want to risk it).

Once we got back and pre-triped again, I pointed out to him that we had a hole in the main airline leading to the right side trailer tandems. I told him about it yesterday but he didn't think it was that bad. Today it was even worse, you could actually see the hole the air was escaping from. Well since the system was pressuring and working he decided we would take it to the shop to get fixed.

We got to the shop about 11:00am and they didn't have the line we needed for that old POS trailer so we had to drop it and head all the way out to the main campus to pickup another trailer to use while they fixed ours.

We got to the campus a bit after 11:30am and after talking we decided to go ahead and have lunch and then head to the driving range so we could get some driving in.

So, up till now we have spent the entire morning being driven around and haven't gotten a damn thing done and now it is 1:00pm and we are finally at the range. Being the kind soul I am, I let Perry go first, because I thought that since he passed his Air Brakes test I "incorrectly" figured that he would be on a high and his driving would be on par with yesterday or even better. Boy was I ever WRONG!

It seemed like he totally reverted to what he was doing on Monday. His two trips around the course was one of the most harrowing hours of my life. I can't even go into detail on it, if you want to know what was wrong re-read Monday's post and multiply by ten.

After his runs I did mine, and only made one mistake. I took the first turn a bit to fast, I didn't downshift early enough. Once I did my trips we parked for a break, and then Paul had us run the course in reverse so we could get some left hand turn practice in.

Perry made two trips and they were not quite as bad as the first two, but still no where near as good as Tuesdays.

When my turn came around I was definately glad to be in the drivers seat. I ran the course completely through the first time and it was perfect, I felt great and it was about 4:15pm. Just as I was coming to the end of the first run and was about to continue on the second, Paul said that my driving was excellent for someone who had only been behind the wheel for two days and probably a total of maybe five hours.

The compliment was great, but once he started talking I figured my driving was done. But nope, he had a treat or reward for me, he had me turn the other way, jump on the expressway and head back to the main campus so we could drop off the temporary trailer and go pickup our regular one.

Talk about shock, he told us he wasn't going to let us on the main roads or freeways till Monday. I buttoned up and hit the OPEN ROAD!

It was a great trip, about 27 miles of real highway traffic and I didn't make a mistake according to him. I do know that I didn't downshift exiting the freeway as well as I should have, but I didn't wreck the truck or kill us all. It was a great experience, and starting tomorrow I get to do all the trip driving till Perry is ready.

The day started out lousy but ended on an awesome note.

Backing practice in the morning, then back to the skills range ... can't wait.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Better Today

Well school was much better today than yesterday.

We got started early by pulling out of the campus and heading down the open road driving area. Only took us thirty minutes to get there today because we took the highway instead of the city streets.

Once we got there I let Perry go first, I was thinking I would get my early misery out of the way and then do my driving. Besides I had to finish eating my breakfast and I could do that while he drove :)

His driving today was MUCH better than yesterday, he is still grinding his gears and shifting very slowly but he's improving. He's gotten upshifting down just about, but downshifting still puzzles him.

Around 9:30 after we took a break I did my driving, and everything went very well. I only missed a gear once on a downshift, didn't rev up to 1500 fast enough. I also hit the damn curb again pulling into the stopping point. But now I now why I was doing it and can fix it tomorrow.

He got to drive again after our second break once I made two trips around the circle then we took lunch.

After lunch I didn't drive again, Dale said I was doing extremely well much better than most new students, so we headed out to one of the backing ranges to work on backing.

Perry still can't find his trailer or learn which is left and right but he got better as the afternoon wore on.

When he took a break I jumped in and starting working on mine. My straightline is looking great, and I'm staying inside the box, but this piece of crap truck (a 1994 Peterbuilt) has so much play in the steering it makes floating very difficult.

I even worked a bit on parallel parking, I can do it, but I need to learn to get closer to the line without crossing. As it stands I'd pass the parallel parking test but I'd be 18 inches or more from the "ideal" parking line.

After I ran some more backing drills, Perry took another shot and I let him run out the afternoon and Dale and I shot the breeze and gave Perry helpful hints and also worked him out of jams when he jackknifed the trailer.

Tomorrow we are supposed to go down the the DMV so Perry can retake his Airbrakes test, and we are going to drive the actual skills test route to take a look at it. Or at least Dale is going to drive it and we are going to see what is there.

Dale said starting late this week or Monday at the latest he's going to stop driving us and we are going to do it all. Even back and forth from the driving and parking ranges.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ugh and more ...

Well, today unfortunately started out horribly. And in general went down from there.

As usual I arrived fifteen minutes early for class, and was out the driving range at the truck ready to go. However, it seems that our old instructor is gone and has been replaced with a new guy named Paul. He's pretty cool, and even though he's only been driving about six or seven years he seems to have a bit more knowledge than Steve did. And is a bit more detailed in his explanations than he was. However today, he was 20 minutes late. But I can excuse this since he has NEVER been to the college campus before and got stuck in really bad traffic in the mixmaster heading in.

So, once he arrived and I got over the thoughts that something had happened and I wasn't called and informed of a class location change (this has happened before) we got acquainted and got started on backing runs.

We ran straight line backing for twenty minutes each, then he decided he couldn't live without some coffee so we took a fifteen minute break. After our break is when the 'fun' began.

When we got back to the truck, he put the key in the door to unlock it and broke the key. And it was the ONLY one he had. He called the main campus to get them to send out another key and low and behold they do not have one. Or at least they can't find it.

So, they called a locksmith service to come out and make new keys. This took about an hour and fifteen minutes or so. So now it is almost 10:30am and the keys are made and we are set to go. But the truck now won't start, something is wrong with the electrical and no one can figure it out.

They call the shop to get a guy out to look at it, and after Paul and the mechanic talk about it for a while on the phone he pops open the breaker panel and hits the ignition reset switch. Why it got tripped is anyone's guess.

Ok, so finally 10:45 rolls around and we finally start going again. I hop in the truck first and start going. I do about twenty minutes or so and am doing pretty good once I got the truck lined up correctly, then I have to give it over to my classmate.

For the next fifty minutes I watch him nearly jackknife the thing repeatedly, up to and including completely destroying every cone on the range. One completely beyond repair. I and the instructor both tell him repeatedly what he's doing wrong. But he just won't listen or won't comprehend that you have to steer in the direction the trailer is going or you won't get lined up properly.

Now I have to state I haven't gotten this down myself completely but at least I can get it with one or maybe two pull-ups. He hasn't been able to get the truck back in a straight line at all.

And only once was he able to get it parked and that was with Paul hanging off the drivers side of the tractor giving him second by second instructions.

Backing training is going to be long and laborious I can tell already, unless he can start to get instructions through his head.

Once we are all done with the morning cone destruction we go off to lunch for half an hour and come back to head out on the road.

Due to traffic and other stuff it took us nearly an hour to get to the area where we do road training to practice shifting and stuff. So we finally get going about 1:30pm after he shows us the route, points out issues and what not.

The trip is a seven mile circle of four streets. It goes down a straight highway service road for two miles, then right down a straight road for two miles past a very active intermodal container yard. At the end is a right turn which goes down a road with one small s-curve that is two miles long, then a right turn to a repeat of the previous road but contains two s-curves with a 7-10 degree upwards incline hill which is three miles long. Then we stop in an abandoned gas station parking lot. It is a pretty good route, with both downgrade and upgrade hills of various small sizes, and several good long straight-a-ways which to practice downshifting, including double and triple downshifts.

We take a break, then I'm the first behind the wheel because I'm so damn eager to get this stuff down.

Now, my first trip around is not to bad, but definitely not perfect. I know what my strong areas are, double-clutch upshifting I have down pat. And down-shifting isn't to bad, but needs quite a bit of work. My other issue is breaking my habit of stopping using the service brakes, and using the down-shifting and engine retarder to slow down.

My right hand turns are not bad either, I only hit one small curb and cross the lines two or three times. Left turns are a ton easier, turning right is gonna take a bit of work and effort on my part. I think the issue is that you have to pull out so far into the next or oncoming lane to be sure your trailer makes the trip properly. But hey, today was only the first day of our road work. And at least Paul didn't have to tell me step by step each and every thing to do. If anything the only real thing he had to tell me was not to rev the RPM's so high when accelerating to upshift. I keep going up to 2000 instead of 1500 RPM's before shifting.

I made two full circles in a row and pulled into the stopping point after about thirty minutes or so, for a total of 14 miles driving.

Then in popped my classmate. Now, to date I've refrained from giving his name and I'm still not going to give his real name, so we'll call him Perry just to have something to call him.

As I've stated on several previous entries, including this one, Perry is a bit slow on the uptake. But now, I'm convinced he has a learning disability or is just a plain idiot.

I'll be upfront and state that I absolutely HATE being a passenger in a vehicle. I can't even get in the car if my wife is driving, everyone scares me. And it isn't because I don't like to not be driving, it is because I'm one VERY CAREFUL and safe driver.

Think about it this way. I've been driving four wheelers for twenty-two years. In that time I have and ONE at-fault accident (I was sixteen at the time and a total idiot and had only been driving for about three weeks. And I've had TWO tickets in all that time as well. One for for doing a rolling stop at a stop sign, again when I was sixteen, and a 63 in a 55 speed zone ticket driving from Dallas to San Angelo when I was eighteen.

So what I'm saying is I have a next to perfect driving record. My MVR is so clean, folks run it twice just to make sure it is actually not an error. Recently I actually saw a copy of my Texas MVR, it was blank with a 'No Incidents Reported' line item on it. Neither of my tickets or the accident is even on it. Swift even turned me down originally about three months ago (before I got smart and stayed away from major newbie companies) they said I was unsuitable because I had no driving history.

But I degrees, back to Perry. He's an idiot, and I think even Paul was starting to get actually frustrated after about ten minutes of having to tell him exactly the same thing repeatedly.

I don't want to get to much into Perry and his training, this isn't about him. But in all honesty if anything is going to hold me back and make me completely frustrated with my driving school experience, it is going to be him.

Ok, just one example of what he as doing today. Every time he hit the clutch to either shift, or move into neutral on the first part of double-shifting he would remove his hand from the shifter and put it back on the steering wheel. And every time he put it in neutral he would swing the shifter around for about five seconds to make sure it was in neutral. Well maybe not five seconds, but at least for a three count. And he could NEVER keep his foot off the accelerator, even when he was trying to show down during downshifting, he would ride the accelerator while trying to punch the clutch. Ugh.

That is just one example, and frankly I could probably go on for another two hundred words on him, but I'm not. I think you get the picture.

I made my third and final trip of the day at 4pm after he finished his two laps and we took a fifteen minute break, and then he ran again. Then we headed back to the campus and finished up at about 5:30pm, right on time.

We are supposed to drive first tomorrow and do backing in the afternoon, hopefully tomorrow will be a MUCH better day and I get more than twenty-one driving miles.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Long and BORING today

And I do mean BORING, I was so bored I took my laptop with me so I could surf the net during the morning session.

This morning, the entire session was related to going over just about everything regarding passing the CDL written tests for my classmate. Then at lunch he cut him loose to go down to the DMV to retake his tests. (If you remember he failed 6 of the 7 tests he needs to be able to start actual driving training with the school.)

Today was supposed to be a hands on introduction to the truck we were going to be using, but that ended up being a bust. After he left it was just me and the instructor and he wasn't feeling well.

So, I was sent to the main campus to work with another instructor for the afternoon, and what did I get to do? Do you dare ask?

Backing excercises for four hours ... lol.

Actually, that part was pretty fun. I've got straight line down, 45 isn't to bad. I'm gonna wreck that truck doing parallel I just know it.

Oh well, got a few days off now so I'm gonna take it easy. Probably head down to the truck stop tomorrow evening down by the Crete terminal and listen to the whiners who couldn't get a load for the weekend.

Cya folks on monday.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Get there and be legal

Today was very boring, but extremely informative. We covered mapping and trip planning, and daily logging.

I've been using road maps all my life, so mapping and planning was a breeze. And the test we were given was so simple it nearly put me to sleep. However, again the other student in my class just couldn't grasp it. I'm not really sure how a man nearly fifty years old cannot read a map. Especially one as easy to use as the Rand McNally Trucker's Atlas.

All the questions were on routes in Texas, with one that ended in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. All the questions and planning took me about an hour to complete. But took him about four hours, and even afterwards when we went over it he was way off in just about everything.

I'm not trying to knock him to hard, but we are going to have to continue to go over everything more tomorrow for a while before he goes back to the DMV and tries to pass his tests again.

Logging was much easier than I thought it would be once the rules were explained to me correctly. The 10/11/14 and 34 hour reset system is simple, just have to know where stuff goes. Couldn't be any simpler in my opinion. But yet again, it took him most of the afternoon after lunch to get in half way to getting his "test" logs completed. Once I got the test in front of me, took me about an hour to write out the four days of logging that was the test.

Maybe it's just me. Granted I have a pretty decent education and have a very logical working mind, and I've spent plenty of time chatting with him so I know he's got a brain. Guess some folks just don't get stuff.

I really do hope he can get his tests past tomorrow, I'd hate to have to do the next three weeks alone in the driving training part of the course.

But then again, if I am alone, talk about one on one training. I'll put some miles on that truck ... lol.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


As stated previously we were supposed to go the DMV today to take all of our written tests for our training permits and endorsements.

Decided to sleep in a bit (7:30am instead of 5:30am) since the DMV down there didn't even open till 8:00am. Once I got going, stopped at McDonald's for breakfast I arrived at about 9:00am.

Amazingly enough I was able to walk right up to the counter without having to wait. Guess it helps that the DMV the school uses is in a town about 50 miles from Dallas ... lol.

After doing the usual paperwork to get started and paying my fee of $10.00 to take the tests and get my permit I sat down and started testing at about 9:20am. I took my time and took all seven back to back and was done about 10:45am and passed them all.

I got perfect scores on everything except the Texas A&B test which was stupid because it included passenger bus questions which I didn't study for. So out of 215 questions on all the tests combined I only missed two. Not bad I think, unfortunately you only get PASS/FAIL records so the actual score is worthless. Not to mention once you get a 80% score on the tests you are taking the thing stops asking questions, so you never actually get to answer all the questions to get a guage for an accurate score. Every one of my test cut off once I got to 80% so, I did well. Except for the two I missed. (The computer tells you if you got the answer right or wrong as you go along.)

Back to class tomorrow, and we are going to start covering logging, mapping and trip routing. That should be fun :

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prep and more prep

Well, today was the last day of DMV testing preperation. We covered Combination, Doubles/Tripples and Pre-Trip inspection. We also took the FMCSA Safety Regulations test, talk about a joke.

I think the whole point of the FMCSA test is to get you to actually open the book and look at it, a good thing I guess for most folks. Personally, I didn't need a test to get me to open the book and look through it if I have questions on the regulations.

Tomorrow morning we have to be at the DMV at 7am to take all my tests, should be a fun day :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

First Day and Good News

Well, the first day at school was just about what I expected I think.

Showed up at 6:45am for the 7:00am class and met our instructor. Steve seems like a pretty nice guy, been driving OTR for about 18 years and seems to know his stuff. Only time will tell you know.

We got our schedule for the next four weeks, it is pretty straight forward so at least we know exactly what we are supposed to be doing and when we are going to do it.

Today and tomorrow we are studying the books and taking pre-tests to check our knowledge. Luckily for me I've been studying the books for nearly a month now and have just about blown the pre-tests away. My buddy in class got started a bit late on the program but he's doing pretty good as well, he just needs to hit the books after hours to shore up what he's learning.

Today we covered the Texas specific laws (Class A & B test) as well as the General CDL, Air Brakes and Bulk/Tankers.

Tomorrow we are supposed to cover Combination, Doubles/Triples and Pre-Trip/Post-Trip inspections.

We won't cover Hazmat till the last week of class because you can't even take the Hazmat test in Texas till after you have your hardcopy CDL license. (I plan on getting mine will just have to do it on my own.)

Wednesday we are supposed to head down to the DPS CDL Testing station in Waxahachie and take all seven of our written tests.

Thursday and Friday we will be covering all the other classroom related stuff such as logging, mapping, trip planning and such.

Then for the next three weeks after that, we'll be doing parking in the mornings and road driving in the afternoons.

We are supposed to be ready and go down to Waxahachie and take our skills tests on March 12th. Then spend two days after we pass our test brushing up skills and dealing with recruiters and company offers. Luckly the recruting and offers stuff won't apply to me.

Which leads me to the "Good News" part of the post. Crete's HR department called today to let me know that they were offering me my pre-hire notice and that with my record and history that I only needed to graduate from class and retake the DOT physical and drug screen to start my orientation and training with them on March 18th.

I am so happy now it isn't even funny, Crete is my first choice (some may not agree) but it has everything I want and I never even talked to a recruiter to make my decision. I made my decision based on information I've found posted by others on trucker forums and actually speaking to Crete drivers at truckstops and at the Wilmer, Texas terminal which is about an hour from my house.

I still have my pre-hire from Schneider and Prime but I hope I do not have to fall back on it.

That's all for today ...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ready to Go

Well, ITDS called me today and let me know that my drug screen came back clean (like I didn't already know it would) and to let me know that the classes would actually be taking place at the college campus instead of the classroom at the driving range. Glad they told me this, I would have showed up at the range where we had our orientation.

I was also told that the class had gotten even smaller, there will only be two of us in the class. Talk about washout rate! Classes haven't even started and they lost four folks right off the bat. I do know one was due to high bloodpressure issues, I can only guess what the other reasons were for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Well, got up bright and early today to head out to the orientation and such for school. And let me tell you, I was semi-prepared to be bored out of my skull and I didn't disappoint myself.

The actual orientation, where we filled out paperwork (some we had filled out already once before O.0). Met the instructors and got a tour of the facility and got the course outline and study materials went pretty fast. I guess maybe about an hour once we got going.

After that it was off to DOT for our physicals and drug screen. This is where the boredom set in. I got there at 2pm, did my paperwork for them and then had to wait. An hour and forty-five minutes later they called me in and I took my drug test (fill to this line don't touch nothing but the cup, at least they didn't stand over me) then sent me back to the waiting room to wait to see the doctor.

Three hours later ... I got called in for the physical. Got my vitals taken, took my vision tests and then was sent back to the waiting room again! ... ugh.

An hour later they called me back and put me in a room and said the doctor would be right with me (yea ... right). After forty minutes the doctor came in and spent about five minutes with me doing all the groping he could handle and then said, "ok, wait out in the waiting room they'll call you in a few minutes to give you your paperwork."

Well low and behold I barely got my cigarette smoked outside when they called me and gave me my long form and DOT card. That was the only short wait I had all day.

Now I'm back home and cracking the study book, we are supposed to go down next Wednesday to DOT and take all seven tests (hazmat is not included yet). Talk about a lot to absorb in a week.

One thing to note is I was informed correctly about the class sizes at the school. There are only going to be six of us in this class, and there are three instructors. I like that ratio :)

I'm sure we'll chat again :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Well, got my confirmation call from International Schools today. I will start my class orientation on Wednesday at 1pm. Orientation is supposed to include the DOT exam and agility test they require to take they class, which is nice.

I've read that at other schools they do not do this till after classes have started and sometimes not even till the end of class or not at all. However, Texas requires you to pass the DOT physical to even take professional driving classes.

So I'm ready to get started, I've already read the CDL testing guide four or five times completely through. Hopefully with the two-three days of class work going over the written testing requirements I'll fly through it when I hit the DOT office the week of the 18th to get my permit.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

International Schools

Ok ... enrolled in school today at International Schools through the Dallas Community College District. Tuition is $4100.00. It is a lot of cash, but I can afford it. It will however cut two months off my bill savings that is supposed to get me through the end of the year.

I'm supposed to do my school orientation on Wednesday, 13 Feb 2008, and school starts on Monday the 18th.

The International School is 200 hours, Monday thru Friday 7:30am till 5:30pm for four weeks (20 days). Class sizes at the school are a maximum of eight (8) students. And there are four instructors. I like that kind of class size, and I'll have to drive to the Ft. Worth campus for classes so I won't even have to stay at a hotel while in school ... I can live at home :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Crete and more

Well Crete called today, they'd love to have me however, they do not have a company school. They did recommend a local school that they work with and I've given them a call. If it isn't to bad, I'll just pay cash for the school. That way I don't have to be beholden to someone else.

Going to give that school at call today and see what the scoop is.

Schneider called today and they want to hire me as well. Orientation and School starts on March 18th (earliest they could get me in) and training will be in Duncanville, Texas (outside of Dallas). Least that isn't to far go for the school.

Prime left a message for me, and I called the recruiter back but no second callback yet.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Well, Maverick called me back today and they said they would love to have me. Only downside is that I'll have to wait five months before I can start with them. They do not have a company school any longer, and I will have to put myself through school.

Gonna keep them in mind but I can't wait that long to get back to work ... I have money in the bank, but that has got to pay the bills till I get going.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Job Search

Well, I've been doing a ton of research since I made my decision about a month ago and so far I've just about ruled out all the HUGE trucking companies (Swift, JB Hunt, England, etc ...).

However, I am looking into Schneider (yea they are big but a good starter company). I put in my application with them today to see what they say.

I'm also looking at Maverick, Crete and Prime. These are all OTR jobs of course, but I am looking also into regional local. Only problem is schooling, unless I can find a good CDL school near my home then I'll have to go to a company school ... and I am somewhat dreading that.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Howdy, and welcome to my blog. Now, I know there are about forty million blogs out there so I'd like to now say thank you for taking the time to read this one.

This one might, or might not be boring ... all depends on your perspective.

After ten years with the same company I got laid off (the bastards), and since the market I was in (IT) is totally flooded it has proved impossible to find a job.

So, after long thought and discussions with my better half :) I've decided to do what I've wanted to do for nearly fifteen years ... drive a truck.

So ... this blog will chronocile my adventure into the trucking industry. Starting with the job search, school and eventually onto the open road.