I wanted so much to have a video log of our experiences during CDL school… but …the fact of the matter is we are as busy as a long-tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs (I know. It’s a very old southern expression – but it fits!)
Every waking moment is filled with learning, studying, memorizing, practicing and when possible sleeping; which quite honestly there isn’t nearly enough of.
We get up at 5:45am and come home by 7pm. Hungry.
Due to our schedule I barely have time to snap off a few pictures and grab a couple videos here and there. The result is a mixed bag. Nowhere near the cohesive story I’d hoped for. However, if I have to choose between getting great video and getting my license and knowing what I’m doing, I’ll pick the latter.
When we left San Diego, CA, to head for Strafford, Missouri, the weather was gorgeous and in the 60’s all the way across country. Within 24 hours of arriving in Strafford, the weather turned cold. And I mean co-o-o-o-o-l-d. Not just a little. A lot.
We came prepared – as Californians do – with ski parkas and ski pants (because it’s the only thing we could find in stores for cold weather!), while everyone else at school wears Carhart overalls or hunting pants and jackets, and the like.
In other words, we stick out like sore thumbs!
All-in-all, the folks in the school, who are mostly from the surrounding area except for two others in our class – one from Colorado and one from Ohio – seem to e taking Jai and I in stride. And eventually, as friends. They know our purpose is no different from theirs… to learn. To get licensed. And to become professional drivers!
Our first week has given us some clue about how fast-n-furious this is going to be.
Our instructor put us both – in turns – in the driver’s seat of one of the four BIG TRUCKS used for training on day one.
Our instructor – Mark “by God” Lowrey – drove for RoadWay for 34 years. He has over 5,000 million miles under his belt and is an excellent instructor (love you Mark!)
Mark, is a grizzly looking fellow with a bellowing voice and… a heart of gold (though he tries very hard to keep it hidden… but cannot!).
Mark taught us how to shift on day one.
The shifting lesson took most of the afternoon. The trucks are 10 speed transmissions and of course we have to learn to double-clutch.
The following day, (day two) Mark made it clear he intended – in no uncertain terms – to take us out on the open road, along with three other students.
Jai looked at Mark and said, “Are you serious? You want me to take this truck out there… (pointing to the driveway that led to the main highway just beyond the training yard) and drive? Where there are actual people?”
All of us, sitting in the back, laughed under our breath.
The look on his face still makes me giggle…. He was petrified.
There is no question that it gives one pause to climb six feet into the air, into a vehicle that’s 13.6 feet tall and 8.9 feet wide and look out at the world. It is quite something.