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! :)

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