Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ready to Hit the Road

I'm in my third week of truck training, and I'm about ready to call it quits for school.  I spent most of today reading a book I brought with me, because I've passed my CDL test, I've read all the chapters I need to read for the entire course, I've pretty much mastered every exercise in the truck yard (with the exception of the reverse-slalom, which I think I can nail tomorrow) and I'm pretty much just done with doing the school thing.  I hope they let us go early on Friday.

I have learned through my school experience that my suspicion all along has been correct...I am very much blue-collar kind of guy who has spent the last 18 years as a white-collar wage slave.  I LOVE the people I have come into contact with since starting the whole trucking experience.  My only classmate is really one of my favorite people that I've met in the last few years, the instructors are my kind of people, and the "underclassmen" are also great.  I have met one guy that is a loudmouth (but I even like him, in a way) and a couple of recruiters who I don't trust simply because of their agenda, but otherwise truckers are simply good people, in my admittedly limited experience.

So I'm now ready to dive into the real world of trucking.  I've all but chosen the company I'm going to work for, and it came down to the fact that both companies I was pre-hired with were about equal on paper, so the tiebreaker was that one company will allow me to bring my dog once I go solo.  I love my dog.  Nuff said.  Sorry, Swift.  You should have left your pet policy in place, and I very well could have gone with you.  So absent a miracle whereby I had an offer from a company wanting me to drive a local or semi-local job, I'll be with Werner for the next year or more.

They want 6-9 weeks of my time at basically minimum wage to train.  I've got to rack up 300 hours behind the wheel before I go solo.  Fine.  I spoke with a Werner driver who stopped back at the school to talk with his former instructors, and he confirms that Werner, while having problems like any other trucking company, has been decent to him on the whole.  Good enough for me.

On Monday I got my Hazmat background application and fingerprinting stuff done.  I already had my doubles/triples and tanker endorsements, so the paperwork is nearly all in line.  I finish my semester with my Master's program in a few weeks.  There's going to be at least a couple of weeks of down time while I work on that, and then I'll be getting my Greyhound ticket for Missouri, where I do my orientation and then get matched up with a trainer and hit the road.  I look forward to it...I probably won't be writing much until then, but I'll probably be blogging nearly daily from that point on.  I have a feeling I'll want to remember that period of my life.

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