Day Ten – 2 Hours of Pre-trip Inspection, then driving

As I mentioned on my last post, I’m having to make this shorter than I would have liked.

However, I do need to share what happened today. In the morning, we had 2 hours of pre-trip. We’ll be going over this every morning until the exam next week. Each time it gets easier, so hopefully I’ll have this down soon.

Then, driving.

We are in Las Vegas, and in the north of town there are several large industrial areas with big roads and little traffic. Perfect. The school starts the students out on these streets for shifting practice. I’m in a truck with two other students. I haven’t driven a stick since 2009. I’m very nervous.

First student is up, and it all goes wrong. He can’t find a gear to save his life. Nothing is working. I’m shocked that the transmission wasn’t ground to dust after his time at the wheel. One hour, he went about 3 miles.

I’m up next. For some unknown reason I mutter to myself, “Fake it ’till you make it,” and I go for it. Turns out, that was the phrase that pays. I’m getting the gears, double clutching , even downshifted successfully a time or two. We get to the end of this one road and where the instructor told the other student to turn left, I was told to turn right. I did it without thinking about the destination.

He pointed us into town. I was horrified. I spent my time navigating actual streets, with actual traffic. 18 wheels of real mayhem. There were plenty rough spots, and I screwed up a right turn that blocked an intersection for about 30 seconds but felt like a lifetime. Overall, however, no actual damage, no carnage, we all made it back to base camp safely.

Later on, the third student was up, and it all went wrong for him, too. He can’t find a gear to save his life. Nothing is working. I’m shocked that the transmission wasn’t ground to dust after his time at the wheel. One hour, he went about 5 miles.

I went about 20 miles overall.

On one hand, I hate that the instructor made me go out into traffic with so little practice. Then, on the other hand, I feel like I just won a prizefight. And I can’t wait to get back into the ring again.

Fake it ’till you make it, indeed.

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