Hello readers! My second week of CDL school has been completed. I have truly been learning something new every day. Mostly, more of the details about what the DOT test entails and how many ways there are to flunk it. Ugh.
So, my backing skills have been getting better as I’ve gotten a better grip on setting my mirrors, adjusting my seat and what to look for in my mirrors to know when I’ve got the truck where I want it for each step. It’s a challenge each time I get in a truck on the range because the seats and mirrors don’t have exact settings and all of us students seem to need them in different places.
In case I didn’t clarify before, the range is the paved lot where we practice backing maneuvers. There are numerous cones lined up exactly the way they are at the DOT test site. We use the cones to get a grip on where our truck is and needs to be to straight back, offset park and parallel park. Yes, parallel park. I know, right?!
Anyhow, I got a pretty good bit of practice in on the range this week and I’m sure I made my instructors raise their eyebrows at some of my attempted position corrections. Thankfully, they’ve been very patient thus far.
I also made some progress on my inspection list. There are so many details we have to remember to tell the examiner when we inspect the truck for safety! From tire tread to the power steering reservoir to shock absorbers to hoses to torque bars to proper colored lights and on and on and on. Multiple times each day I find myself beginning at the front of the truck and working my way to the back describing what possible issues I’m looking for all the way to the back of the trailer and on into the cab. Little by little I’m finding myself able to remember more of those details each time I repeat the process with the goal to have them all down before test day.
On the road I’m learning to watch everything around me including my trailer position, changing traffic lights, bridge heights, bridge weight limits, bicyclists, pedestrians, traffic, school zones, etc. Mostly the usual things a four-wheeler driver has to watch for, but while up-shifting and downshifting in a vehicle that’s 80 feet long and can take more than the length of a football field to stop. When that driver in a four wheeler makes the stupid choice to cut you off to make a turn, it’s much easier for another four wheeler to adjust than it is for a semi. I’m not sure some drivers really get that, but I digress.
Now, about the title of this post. I believe I talked about TCKs in an earlier post, so I’ll just let you guys go back to that for an explanation of what they are. I’m a TCK, and I find it very interesting that I’m meeting a pretty high percentage of them here at school. I’ve got classmates with military brat backgrounds and those who moved to the US as children. I’ve met people who grew up in Haiti, Trinidad and Turkey to name a few. There are also quite a view Veterans here. Some who were in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When I was just a passenger on the road, I wrote sometimes about the way the culture on the road is unique, especially for those who drive long haul. Being in a different state from day to day, spending a lot of time in truck stops, shopping in stores you wouldn’t have ever heard otherwise, eating out a lot, seeing the beauty of this great country, spending a lot of time on the phone, etc. I wonder if it’s that wanderlust that seems to root itself in many TCKs that draws some of them to the trucking industry or there’s something more to it. I suspect there’s more to it for many of us. Perhaps I’ll research that one at some point.
For now, I shall enjoy the rest of my day off before turning my focus back to CDL learning again.
Until next time, readers, be safe out there 🙂