Day Four: Coupling and Uncoupling, Backing, then Driving

Salt Lake City, baby!

SLC Temple

(not my photo, I don’t know whose it is, or I would give credit!)

The Crossroads Of The West. The Training Engineer I’ll be out with next week is based out of SCL. I have the furthest to go out of all of our class, most of the other students will have their TE’s pick them up in or around Phoenix. One is driving out to Los Angeles. It’s a drag to have to travel that far, but the upside is that if I’m nearer the north western states, I might have to drive through some actual weather.

We were told not to contact our TE’s, they would call us tomorrow or Sunday. However, my TE as already called me, and given me a heads up about what I’ll need. Sounds like this guy is on the ball, which I love. It means I’ll need to up my game, too.

Today was all about letting the other two guys in my truck do backing and driving. Arkansas said he already passed me based on yesterday’s performance. I did do backing again, and it’s been getting easier. The trick is to not turn the steer tires too much, a little goes a long way. For me, anyways, I’m sure it’s different for everyone.

I haven’t talked much about the other two guys in my truck because they are basically the same guys, Guy One and Guy Two, from my CDL school. One is timid. The other is European. I’m not even joking. The trials and tribulations they have been going through have mirrored the story I’ve already written about, so it hasn’t interested me to repeat it.

air ride equipped fb

Oh, and we finally did coupling and uncoupling today. Well, I didn’t do it, I stood around and watched as the other two did some of it. Now that I’ve seen it, though, and read the handy-dandy step-by-step brochure Schneider has given us, it doesn’t seem too hard.

But, like everything with trucking, nothing is overly difficult. But that’s not the point. It’s not that it’s easy, it’s just that there is so much at stake. All it takes is to forget one step when coupling a trailer, or miss one thing in a pre-trip, or lose focus for one brief moment when driving, and your life, and probably the lives of those around you, can be altered forever. It’s a heavy, daunting thought, and I meditate on it every day.

laundry fb

I got another taste of the trucking lifestyle today. I did laundry in an actual laundromat. I’ve got my mesh bag for my dirty clothes, got my $1.00 box of Tide from the vending machine and proceeded to do laundry. Which is preposterous phrase, by the way, nobody really “does” laundry anymore. At least, not like our grandparents and great-grandparents did it, with washboards, tin basins and lots of frontier muscle. I mean, I put the clothes into the big shiny tumbler, paid the money, watched it spin, moved the clothes to another big shiny tumbler, paid the money, then watched that spin. Ding, laundry’s done.

Nothing going to get ironed though. Who has time for that, honestly, I have blogs to write. And reading to catch up on.

Here’s a quick side note about the breakfast situation. Apparently the hotel where we are staying does serve the full breakfast; eggs, bacon, toast, and all the fixin’s. Starting at 6:00 AM. We are in the lobby by 5:20, out to the bus by 5:45 to be in class by 6:00. Oh well, the small Dannon Yogurts haven’t been too bad.

For my evening meals, I’ve been good. Reasonably good, I guess. There is a Port Of Subs within walking distance, and also an El Pollo Loco. I’ve passed up the McDonalds, Burger King, Carl’s Jr and Taco Bell every day. A small sandwich, or the toastada salad, has done me fine. Again, it’s not perfect, but it’s relatively cheap, and not overly unhealthy.

Tomorrow is more testing, I think, or more paperwork. Who knows, it’s Saturday, and I need to get to SLC. Kudo’s to Schneider, however, they have actually rented me a car to drive the 10 hours up there. Very excited. However, I don’t know how much blogging, if any, I’ll get done tomorrow.

Probably, the next time we meet will be Sunday. I’ll be in-between the majestic Wasatch Mountain Range and the buoyant waters of the Great Salt Lake.

Zion, here I come.

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