Before getting to today’s action, it occurred to me yesterday that whether I get my CDL or not (and I believe I will) I will now be in the position of being able to heist an 18-wheeler and whatever booty is being carried in the trailer. If I ever get that hard up, I now have options that I didn’t have before. Let the record show that I probably will NOT steal an 18-wheeler, but I could if I wanted to. There! Got that off my mind.
Today the two teams did a trade. Kareem went to the dark side and Hibachi came into the light. My suspicion is that they were the weakest drivers on each team and the trainers made the switch to give them a chance to thrive in a new environment. People react and respond differently to different training techniques and trainers. It is entirely possible that Hibachi, who came to the U.S. from Hong Kong back in the early 80s, may blossom into a world champion truck driver under the tutelage of a large, extremely profane former British train engineer. I know I have benefited from his instruction and wise counsel and liberal use of the “F” word. Seriously, I have truly enjoyed his sense of humor and authentic take on driving and the trucking business.
In the end, Hibachi was the weakest of the five team members but he seemed to be improving dramatically through the course of the day. Should be interesting to see whether Kareem returns tomorrow, or even shows up.
Today we ventured off campus in tractor number 381 and trailer 247. The Limey drove us down to an industrial / residential area (I know. Great combination.) for a morning of right turns and afternoon of left turns. Having slept since yesterday it took a bit to remember the smoothest techniques from Monday and it didn’t take long at all for us to forget those smooth techniques by the afternoon left turns. We’ve all seen big rigs in every day traffic taking wide turns. A lot of trailers have that very message tattooed on their back doors. Well, damned if it ain’t true. To make a safe turn on narrow streets, there is no option but to take a bunch of space out of other drivers’ lanes. Thankfully there wasn’t much traffic, but there can be no doubt that the traffic we did encounter was the worse for encountering us. They had to wait on us coming, going and turning. I was even able to read lips, and they were not making a kissing sound.
We all made progress and then regressed in our start ups, shifting and downshifting. Third gear was especially vexing today. It just wanted to grind for no apparent reason. Some of us came to class with sore left feet and sore left legs from all the double clutching we did yesterday.
And we all had to do a couple of air brake tests. Evidently it is the first thing the DPS examiners ask us to do. We have to work our way through all the steps and if we screw up any part of it, the test ends, at least for the day. There are also automatic disqualifications for hitting a curb, rolling through a stop sign, killing the engine, and coming on to the examiner.
I think the three of us who do not have Class A CDLs and have to take the road test are confident that we’ll do it on the first try. Although Ali, the Palestinian, is worried an examiner will come on to him and the whole situation will get out of hand.