Monday, March 31, 2008

Day 15, Stuck Again

Well, just like last time we got stuck in Denver for a full 24 hours. And it sucks!

After making about five calls to dispatch to hound them about getting out of here and on the road proved pretty pointless.

Around 3pm we decided to bob-tail to Wal-Mart to pickup some supplies so we could keep from eating in restaurants and save money in the process.

However, once we actually got unhooked and started pulling away when dispatch called us with a load. Unfortunately, it doesn't pick up till 11am on Tuesday. So that will just about make a 34 hour reset but not quite.

This load is another one going to La Porte, Texas, which we already know from previous experience that it will be another 44,000 pound load of beef hearts going to Egypt. I sure would like to know what they do with those things.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Days 9-14, Off and On Again

Well we ended up taking two full days off as Tom needed a bit more time taking care of things with his mom than he thought.

But I stayed on top of dispatch and we picked up a load of beer Thursday morning that had been T-Called on the yard and took it up to Oklahoma City, OK. Was a pretty quick run and we got that done in just under six hours. If you've ever done it you know that the run up I35 from DFW to OKC is a quick one and the receiver was a fast unload, they had us in and out of there in thirty minutes.

Once we got clear and sent in our MT call we got a quick response and dead headed up to Junction City, KS for a pickup. It was a hot load that was already ready for pickup that was already running late, and it was fourteen hours overdue for pickup once we got there. However, they didn't really seem to care *shrug*.

We got it picked up and scaled out then made a run for the KTA (Kansas Turnpike Authority) rest/truck stop at mile marker 53 just outside of Andover, KS. We got there about 2am and packed it in for a bit of sleep. Since the sausage we picked up was already late, us taking our time wasn't going to make a difference, and it was going back to Ft. Worth so we hoped that once we got there we could get a long load out of there, but as you will tell soon, that wasn't going to happen.

I woke up around 7am and got us going again heading for Ft. Worth. The drive down was very nice till we hit Oklahoma. Man that state sucks and I mean big time. The roads are just plain horrible, I35 is like riding a roller coaster the whole way, just plain rough as hell.

We got into Ft. Worth and droped the load at the receiver around 6pm and then bob-tailed over to our yard about ten miles away to pickup an empty trailer for our next load.

We got the load information in route and groaned, another pickup at Quaker in Grand Prairie going to Denver. Denver has been hell lately and getting back out has been a pain as I told you about on my previous adventure up there.

Once we got the trailer and headed over to Quaker for the pickup we found out the load wasn't due for delivery till 11pm CDT on Sunday. UGH! It was only Friday night.

So once we got to Quaker and they started to load we hatched a plan. Since I live in Irving just five miles from the Quaker distribution center we decided to spend the night at my house and start off sometime on Saturday as we had over 50 hours till delivery.

Once we loaded up we headed to Irving and parked at the Wal-Mart and called my wife. She and my son came and picked us up and we all went out to eat at Outback Steakhouse just a mile away then headed to my house. When we arrived Tom said he was going to sleep in the truck instead of our guest room cause he didn't want to leave the loaded trailer alone.

So he took a shower cleaned up and I took him back to the truck, and then went back home myself. I got up around 8am and had my wife drop me back off at the truck, I let Tom sleep and took off.

Once thing I can say about the run to Denver, it is quite easy. US287 is a nice road most of the way (except the hour you spend in Oklahoma) and is a very easy drive. We swapped out in Springfield, CO and Tom drove us on to Limon, CO where he packed it in at the Flying J truck stop.

(Sunset in Colorado from US287)

Since we were so close we both slept late, I didn't even get up till about 9am went in a took a shower and got us going around 11am. Since we had plenty of time, I decided to go to Church at Our Lady Mother of the Church Catholic Parish in Commerce City, CO not far from the TA Truck stop. It is a pretty nice parish, but they seem a bit to progressive for me, but overall it was a nice place to visit for Mass.

The fuel mileage was still bugging me so I stopped off at the TA after Church to have the fuel filters looked at again, the shop manager wanted to argue with me because I wanted them to re-service the truck under warranty since we just had it done like ten days ago. Finally he relented and they took the truck in.

Sure enough, looks like we got a bad filter. The enclosed primary filter was black where it had been completely white when they originally installed it. Hopefully now we'll get back up to over 7.0 mpg.

After the service stop, we headed on up to Longmont, CO for the drop off of our Gatorade. We decided since we hadn't eaten all day we were going to stop on the way. We ended up stopping at Texas Roadhouse in Thornton, CO for dinner. I'll say this about the place, they bill it as Texas food, and it may look like it, but it isn't. The dinner was good, but definitely not "Texas Style" like they billed.

So, now we are sitting at a truck stop just down the road from the receiver and our delivery isn't till 11pm, however they said we could go ahead and check in at 9:30pm when I called earlier and will try and unload us early (no promises of course!).

(TexasMike and his Truck in Longmont, CO)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Day 8, End of the Road

Well, after sleeping in that hole in the wall truck stop in La Porte last night, we got up at about 7:30am to head over to the receiver.

After driving up and down the street like three times we finally figured out that they gave us the wrong address and finally found it.

P&G Cold Storage is just like any other icebox except that this one seemed even colder than others, it was -28 degrees on the dock... talk about excessive electric bill... ugh!

After unloading, we put in our MT call and proceeded to leave, we got a block down the street and the Qualcomm went off and we had a load ... yea! no dead head back to Ft. Worth. But now we have to turn around, our pickup is back where we dropped off ... lol. That doesn't happen much but this was a blessing.

After getting back we drop the trailer for them to load and head out for breakfast at the same truck stop we spent the night at. It is only a half mile away and wasn't to bad. Will have to remember that truck stop if I have to come back down there again.

We got back to the shipper and the trailer was ready for us, I signed it out, hooked up and hit the road.

The trip back to Ft. Worth was very uneventful except for the traffic coming out of Houston.

We got back to the yard and T-Called the load and headed home about 6:00pm. And we'll get back at it on Wednesday after 48 hours off. That is assuming that Tom is able to take care of his mom in that time. I'd really hate to have to get another trainer, he is just too cool.

Granted, I do everything, but then again that is the way it should be. He's evaluating me and helping me get to know the company, I won't learn anything if he does it all.

For the 1st week of running I ran 2,157 miles. I probably could have broke 3,000 if we hadn't been laid over in Denver for 48 hours.

Cya Wednesday!

Day 7, Short Trip

We got going today at about 4:00 pm today and the trip down to Houston was pretty uneventful. Dinner at the Flying J around 10pm and now we are sitting here at a truck parking lot across from the receiver and our appointment is at 9:00 am.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll get a load of of here heading back to Ft. Worth quickly so we can get back at a decent time.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Day 5 & 6, Homeward Bound

Well we got up early and made our appointment time in Greeley, CO and it looked like it was going to be a good day. Man were we wrong :( They got us up to the dock just as soon as we got there and started to load us about an hour later. However, at noon they told us to close up the truck and they would be back with us, then they all promptly went to lunch! After sitting there a while they got back and asked us to open it back up and then proceeded to unload us ... Apparently the first time around they put the wrong load on our trailer and didn't even bother to tell us till 2pm local time, four hours after we arrived.

Finally at 6pm local time they had the correct load on the truck and we headed out. Since we were already six hours behind and wanted to get into Texas before midnight, Tom hit the rack and I drove till 11pm. We swapped spots in Eads, CO and he drove till the wee hours of the morning ... and then some. I got up at 8am and we stopped in Quanah, TX and swapped again and I floored it down US287 to get us to Ft. Worth.

Once we got in the yard we discussed it and decided we'd take 24 hours at home (where I am now) and go ahead and carry the load down to La Porte, TX in the afternoon and be there for the delivery at 9:00am on Monday morning.

Dispatch is working on getting us a load back to Ft. Worth on Monday afternoon, if not they promised to deadhead us back so he could go to the Doctor with his Mom on Tuesday.

Cya tomorrow!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day 4, Layover

Well unfortunately we ended up getting laid over for the whole day along with about twenty other Raider drivers up here in Denver, and it turned into a 34hr reset.

(Tomahawk Truckstop in Watkins, CO)

It wasn't that bad of a day really, just slow and somewhat boring at times. One thing we did today since we had the time is take the truck over to the TA Service Center to have the fuel filters looked at. Since we started on Tuesday the fuel mileage has been horrible and the truck has been very sluggish.

We were correct, one of the filters was bad so the other one was picking up all the slack, so they replaced both of them and now the truck is running much better. Hopefully once we get going tomorrow morning our mileage will be better than 5.2 mpg.

(Snowstorm clouds on the horizon coming into Denver)

Around 8pm we finally got our load assignment, we will be heading up to Greeley to pickup a load going to La Porte, TX which is due on Monday.

However, we are planning on only taking the load to Ft. Worth, TX and seeing if we can T-Call it and pickup something else that will get us back into Ft. Worth on Monday so Tom can handle some family business that came up. If not, we can always try and get a D/H back to the Yard or a backhaul of somekind.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 3, Deliveries and Layovers

Got up early this morning and ate breakfast and continued on to Denver.

(I70 Heading into Denver)

With me continuing to do just about all the driving, we arrived at the consignee about two hours early and ended up having to wait an hour to be able to log in for our appointment.

That wasn't to bad though, because we were early we were forth in line and got our door number very quickly as soon as they started calling trucks. Then the wait began ...

(One of several hundred Gophers living around the Denver DC Yard)

Took them two and a half hours to unload 23 pallets, and man those lumper fees are a scam. That is what I need to do is open a lumper company ... geeze!

After we got cleared and made the MT call, we were told there were no loads leaving Denver going anywhere and we would have to layover till Thursday morning and hope to get a brokered load out as the meat plant up here has nothing going out for some reason or another.

So we are now up there at a truckstop about ten miles outside of Denver for the night. Had a good dinner with another driver who is stuck here with us and hoping to get out tomorrow as well.

So far so good ... see ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Day 2, On The Open Road

Today started out pretty crappy, it started raining in Dallas last night and man did it start. By noon we already had three inches of rain and my back yard was flooded.

I was originally supposed to meet my trainer at the yard, but he ended up having to do a local run early and he told me he would call when he got to Irving to do a pickup. Once he called I met him at the Quaker distribution center and unloaded my car, kissed my wife goodbye and joined him in the truck.

Tom's a pretty good ol' boy, a redneck just like me ... we should get along just fine.

After joining him we drove over to the yard so he could unload his stuff into the truck and we took off with me driving ... lol.

Heading to Denver with stops for fuel. Those folks gotta get their gatoraide :) I'm sitting in Boise City, OK right now and about to take my 10 hour break. More tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Day 1, Orientation

Got up early this morning so I could be at Raider at least 15 minutes early for orientation. Traffic wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting driving into downtown Ft. Worth and got there about a half hour early.

Once I got there I hung out outside smoking and talking with other drivers who were about to head out for their runs. Everyone was very upfront about how things are there. Guys said that money was good, freight was plentiful and if you want to run hard you can and make good money. Even guys who take their time seem to be running about 3100 a week and the average length of haul is about 800 miles. Since 99% of work is drop/hook time flies and there is very little retention.

Orientation started right on time with Andy and went by pretty quick on the first part which covered doing a ton of paperwork including company policies, tax forms, contracts and all that jazz. Then afterwards he talked about the pay scale, and specifically my pay. Bonus programs (which are achievable and not just a scam) as well as benefits and more.

After that, Dustin came in and talked about company procedures such as dealing with their shippers and receivers, client specific procedures and qualcomm and reefer operations.

Once that was all done, I sat around a bit and waited for HR and Safety to finish going over my paperwork and such. I was assigned my trainer and given his phone number and told he would call me later today to let me know what time to meet him tomorrow to get started.

I'm all packed and ready to go, and everything starts tomorrow. Stay tuned if you dare :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Done, thank God!

Today was a great day on several fronts.

Went into class this morning expecting more of the same stuff but we had a trucking rodeo. Which included straight line, 45 and 90 degree backing, parallel parking and serpentine runs.

Was a ton of fun, the score: Perry 10, Michael 140. LOL. Perry did have 100pts but he busted all his points on 45 & 90's. Totally seems he forgot how to park. Oh well, it's over and I'm glad.

After the rodeo we headed over to the main campus to 'graduate'. Which included filling out some final paperwork including a satisfaction survey. I was pretty satisfied with the course, very happy with Dale but unhappy with the way things kind of ran at times. Otherwise it was a good experience.

Once it was all said and done I started to head home, but heard from Raider Express, they finished my application processing and wanted me to take my DOT drug screen. So I headed over there and picked up the paperwork for that and went and filled the cup. Afterwards they told me to report for orientation on Monday at 8:00am sharp. Once that was done I could start with my trainer anytime I was ready.

Think I'm actually going to wait till next Monday after Easter to start with my OTR training. That way I can speed spring break with my wife before heading out. I won't be out for two months solid like I planned for previously with Crete, but I should only be gone a week at a time. I'll be taking hometime when my trainer does which is every 5-7 days and usually a max of ten.

I'm excited about starting with Raider Express, should be fun. From what I've seen so far and heard from talking to drivers and folks who work there (and not just the recruiters who are actually cool and not trying to sell the company to drivers) the place is a great place to be and everyone knows your name and you are part of the family instead of just an employee.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Short Day and Hired

Today was a short day. Dale took Perry and me to the Flying J this morning to eat breakfast after we fueled up the truck.

After breakfast we hit the highway for some highway driving. Each of us drove for an hour and a half, Perry drove first and I drove second. It went pretty well, seems now that Perry has his license he is much more confident which is nice. I was actually able to take a nap in the sleeper while he drove and only got woke up once when he had to quick stop due to traffic. After he drove I picked it up and drove us back to the campus.

After that we ran a few serpentine runs around the lot then packed it up at 1:00pm. I had an interview at Raider Express and Perry had an interview at Central Refrigerated.

After I left I headed home to take a shower and change then headed over to Ft. Worth to the Raider Express offices for my interview.

Happily it went very well, I go for my drug test tomorrow (which I'll have no problem passing), once that is done I'll attended orientation on Monday and head out with my trainer on Tuesday or the Monday after Easter. Just depends on how it works out.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Super Trucker!

Well, we took our skills test today and needless to say I passed with a perfect score

Perry passed as well, he didn't get a perfect score but he did very well. I was worried about him, guess there is someone up there looking out for him.

The morning started off on time and we did backing exercises to start the day off. After lunch we headed down to the test area and Dale let Perry drive down there. We got there about an hour and a half before our testing appointment so we each drove the back side of the route three times.

Once the tester arrived we each did our air brakes test then Perry was first. Dale and I were talking about him while he was gone, and we were both praying that he would pass so we wouldn't have to come back tomorrow.

When he came around and got out of the truck, the smile on his face said it all. Dale was very proud of him, and I was very happy as well. He still scares me a bit when he drives, but looks like he finally found some confidence.

I took my driving test after him and it went swimmingly. I did have one shifting issue but it wasn't major.

Afterwards we headed over to the DPS office to turn in our testing paperwork and get our licenses, damn it's about time. Seems like this month has taken forever.

Afterwards I drove us back to the campus, and even got to drive on the campus property (the school police do not let students drive on the campus roads) and park the truck in our spot.

That's it ... Tomorrow Dale is taking us out for breakfast and then we are calling it a day at noon. We graduate on Friday after we attend the main campus rodeo.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


My school referred me to another company today even though I already have a pre-hire with Crete Carrier.

The company is called Raider Express in Ft. Worth, and they are a Texas based refer company who pulls on dedicated accounts nationwide.

I gave their recruiter a call today and then went over to their terminal to meet them. They seem like a pretty good outfit, and the package they offered me was damn near as good if not better in some areas than the one Crete is offering. I told them I would think about it and get back with them on Friday after I graduate.

I'm seriously considering changing.

Working and Learning

Today didn't really turn out the way it was planned, but was a good day none-the-less.

Dale called in sick, apparently his back was having some kind of problem so he was not going to be able to come in today. Instead the main campus sent over Keith ride herd on us today. Now I've already met him several times and he's a pretty good guy. Been teaching at the school for seven years so he obviously knows what he's doing. And what he taught us today was invaluable.

He showed up about a 8:00am, once he arrived we talked things over and he asked me to setup the truck and cones for backing practice. This really made me feel good because he recognized from talking to me and from his conversations with Dale that I was much farther along than Perry.

So, I pulled the truck out set it up in place then laid out the parking area for straight line and parallel parking, as well as the traffic cones for the turns and run outs.

However, we never got a chance to do it. About five minutes after I was done he got a call from the main campus. Something happened with the one of the testing trailers at the DPS and they needed ours so those students could test.

So, I packed everything back up and off we went. He drove us to the DPS testing station, once we got there that was the last time he drove.

We got there and he hopped out and told me to backup and drop the trailer then pickup the one that DPS said they couldn't use for testing. So I kind of thought about it and said, OK ... no problem. I moved the trailer into position using a 45. Hopped out and unhooked it and disconnected and pulled away. Then pulled around backed up and snagged the other trailer, finished the hookup and moved out after testing the air brakes.

Was surprised I did it without any mistakes and didn't miss a thing, considering we hadn't really trained on it much and I was working from intuition more than training.

Afterwards we took a break and chatted with the other students who were there to test, then we took the trailer over to the shop to have the clearance lights worked on then took it and dropped it at the main campus. Just a note, I did all the driving including the D/H at the repair yard and the drop at the campus.

Once we were all done with that we ate lunch and waited for the other group to bring our trailer back. Once they got back, I went through the whole thing again and hooked up our trailer. Then we drove down and ran the DPS test route once each.

By then it was 2:00pm and we headed back to our campus for the backup skill work that we were supposed to have done this morning.

Once there, I backed up a few times and Keith let me take off early so he could work one on one with Perry who seemed to forget everything he's ever learned about backing a truck. The guy needs serious help.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Fine Tuning

Today was a pretty easy day, but very informative.

This morning we continued to practice our backing skills for the DPS skills test on Wednesday afternoon, and this afternoon we went driving.

I've got the parallel parking down now to a science, I can even pull up from my straight line back and complete the parallel parking maneuver for the test without touching the brakes or doing a pull-up. My 45's and 90's are looking real good to, however with the confined space we are required to do the turns in for those, I do a few to many pull-ups for my own liking.

Today's road driving consisted of going over to the East Dallas industrial district by the UP Intermodal Terminal and driving around the two lane roads around the warehouse district and practicing sharp left and right hand turns. We even did a few dock maneuvers at closed or abandoned warehouses. Very informative and a ton of fun.

We also tacked heavy highway traffic driving as well. I drove from the campus through the mix master canyon on I30 which is under construction and is always practically bumper-to-bumper. Moving through that stuff really puts the work on and gets you to paying attention to your surroundings.

Dale yet again stated I was 100% ready for my test in two days and if I got anything less than a 100 on the test he would be surprised.

Perry is on his way as well, he's still hesitant in his driving and needs constant coaching on his driving, but he should pass the test if he just relaxes. As I've said before his biggest downfall is he isn't aggressive enough.

On another note, spoke with my recruiter today and everything is good to go for me to report for work next week baring any problems. Due to my location I'll be skipping the main company orientation till after my eight weeks OJT. I'll do a half day of paperwork at the terminal in Wilmer then I'll be off.

One thing she did note is that she is trying very hard to find me a Wilmer based driver so I can get regular home time along with my trainer, no guarantees of course but she is trying.

Till tomorrow ...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ready to Roll

Well, today was a pretty simple day and what is pretty much becoming the norm. Backing practice this morning doing 45's. Then we headed over to the main campus on our way out to the testing area and ate lunch.

Got treated to a visit by the Swift recruiter who was visiting the main campuses students during lunch so we hung out and listened to him while we ate. Good spiel even though I know most of it was bullshit.

After lunch we headed down to the DPS testing area and ran the route a few times each then headed back to our campus and went over the Airbrakes skills test a few times.

Perry is finally starting to come around it seems, he still has problems and will probably pass the test but he really needs to get on his "A" game. He needs to work on multi-tasking while driving. He seems to really only be able to do one thing at a time. That and he's not very agressive and you really need to be to do this job affectively.

Weekend is here and we test next Wednesday afternoon, I'm ready to roll.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ice Road Trucker

Well if anyone has been watching the news or the weather, then they'll know that Texas and Oklahoma are getting a rare March winter storm.

Temperatures started dropping yesterday afternoon and were in the 40's this morning when the rain started about 7:00am. By noon the temperature in DFW was 35 degrees and the rain was mixed with sleet and snow. By now (4:45pm) it is mostly sleet and snow and 31 degrees. However, this did not deter us from driving today, yea!

And I'm seriously happy about it, we took a nice LONG drive today, 100 miles each and all of it on the highway and service roads that were building up with snow and ice.

Suffice to say I lived, and did quite well. Especially since I can drive in the stuff anyways from driving all over the country over the years. Perry had more difficulty than I did, but since I was out yesterday and he has ten hours of one-on-one training he was MUCH MUCH MUCH better today than he's been in the past. Perhaps it is finally clicking.

Dale told me that if I didn't want to come in tomorrow I didn't have to, I'm ready to take the CDL test and should pass it with 100%. Depending on how bad it actually get's I'll be going anyways because any driving I can get in will only make me better.

Be safe out there ...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

No Class Today

Didn't have class today, I was sick something awful. Dale said since I was doing so good I could skip a day and not worry about it. And it would give him more time to work with Perry one-on-one.

Hope it helps him.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The route of death

Today started out pretty crappy, I didn't get much sleep last night and felt horrible this morning with the something awful sick-to-my-stomach feeling. Thought I was gonna barf all morning.

This morning we did a quick forty-five minute turn each doing straight-line and parallel parking runs, and then started doing 45's and 90's like we would in truck stops and shipper/receiver lots.

Not to bad, didn't take me long to get them down well enough that I could do them without 'crashing' into another truck/trailer on the lot. Thank God that particular excercise isn't graded or timed like straight-line/parallel runs. I'll get quicker over time.

Perry did ok, but they just confused him for the hole day and threw him off and it affected his driving the whole afternoon. However, I'm not going to go into it. You folks get the picture now what I have to deal with.

Ok, one thing. When driving down the freeway he NEVER looks in his mirrors, it is scary as hell. I'm tired of Dale telling him to check his sides and keep to his lane. Grrrrrrrrrrrr..........

This afternoon we drove down to start learning the testing route that we will take for DPS. Originally Dale said that we could only see the route in advance but could not drive it. However, another instructor told him that we could drive it all we want. That particular DPS testing center doesn't care if we know the route or not. Only that we do it PERFECT the day we test.

Let me tell you it is pretty damn complicated. It is eight miles long, covers two freeways including a double clover-leaf. Broken down here is how it goes: From parking after air brakes test, pull out and stop at stop sign. Sharp turn left then immediate lane change to left lane then enter freeway (Have to accellerate to 45mph and merge onto freeway in less than 100 yards). Follow freeway and take highway exit ramp to next highway. Lane change to right, turn on cloverleaf to enter next freeway service road. Left lane change, left merge onto freeway (same speed scenario).

Drive to second exit, exit freeway keep left lane (this exit is a SHORT ramp [they are all very short ramps, less than 500feet]). Follow service road and take sharp left turn after stop sign. Follow road under overpass (check height, they will ask you AFTER you go under what the bridge height was) then left turn onto other service road. Follow service road up to next stop sign. Through stop sign, pass entrance ramp and head to bridge. Change to left lane and then STOP on service road at exit sign 100 feet before bridge.

At this point the trooper will get out of the truck and go stand on the grass on the right hand side of the road. You are instructed to do a pull-up then a straight-line back, then do a pull-up again and parallel park into the right hand lane. (Yes, you do this ON the service road.)

After you complete the above excercise the trooper will be back in the truck and instruct you to go on. You have two yields, and then another loop around to get back on the second freeway, with another two lane changes and a short ramp (up hill) highway entrance.

Once on highway, pass to second exit and leave freeway on the shortest downhill ramp I've ever seen, then up a steep hill to an intersection that does NOT have a stop sign. However you have to stop anyways because you cannot see left over the bridge to see any oncoming traffic. Left hand turn onto the service road bridge, across bridge then right turn (no stop) back onto the testing area service ramp then full stop.

That's it. Frankly it is insane, but once you've driven it a few times it isn't to bad. There are nearly seventy signals used on the route and you if you miss any, or any signal cancels you get a point taken off for each one.

Another thing you cannot do it impede traffic, ie: going to slow on on-ramps or on the freeway itself. The speed limit is 65 and you must be doing at least 45 when you hit the ramps and remain at 60 when on the freeway. But you must also maintain your following distances.

Should be FUN! :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Excellent Day

Well after a weekend of relaxation and catching up on sleep I headed into school today in driving rain, howling cold wind from the north and a rapidly dropping temperature, damn it was 80 degrees yesterday. Oh well.

Because of traffic due to the weather I was about twenty minutes late and got there and Perry was already doing backing runs, and sure enough he was doing pretty damn good. Not perfect but he would pass the DPS test for parking if he took it today.

Same for me, Dale only had one comment on my morning backing runs and that was my tractor tires went over the line once during one of my runs, but not by much he said. I've worked the parallel parking down from five steps with one pull-up to three steps with no pull-up. I even did some 45's today which was a nice change of pace.

After an early lunch we headed out for road driving. Perry drove first and once we got on the highway we went about 40 miles to a small town southwest of Dallas and did what I describe as traffic management driving.

Basically we did an eight mile loop along the service roads of the highway, up and down shifting, watching traffic and yielding to off ramps. Tons of stop signs and traffic congestion, and four VERY sharp left turns from two lane service roads to one lane bridge underpasses. Was very good practice.

After we each did two complete circuits of the service roads, I drove us back to the campus and the day was over.

Perry did very well today on his driving, he is still very timid (due to low self-confidence) and he easily gets overwhelmed by all the things he has to do and screws up his shifting patterns and rhythm, but he is finally starting to get it. Hopefully by test day he'll put it all together.

One thing to mention as well is it was raining and sleeting all day long, and even had some hail at one point when we had a good passing thunderstorm. All that driving in traffic combined with the weather and cold temperatures was good practice, and was a hell of a lot of fun even if it was stressful at times.

Doing the same thing again tomorrow, and at the moment it is snowing out side, should be fun. Because we all know that most Texans can't drive in bad weather, let alone any other time for that matter.