Day Five and Day Six

Day Five (Saturday), was mostly spent in the classroom. Even more administration paperwork, some testing, and we were shown a video on how to operate the Qualcomm. Oops, I mean the MCP200. It was the single most boring training video ever made. I’ve spent most of my life doing office work for different corporations, I am a connoisseur of boring corporate videos. Trust me when I say that it was the most boring training video ever made. I don’t say that lightly.

We were outside for demonstrations on how to move the tandems and the 5th wheel. Then we went over to play video games. I mean, work on the simulator.

At the very end we were handed even more packets of paperwork, Benefits packets, our fuel card, a booklet about tires and tire repair centers, and the packets for our upcoming week with our trainer, oops, Training Engineer. I actually have had to get a backpack to carry all the paperwork Schneider has unloaded on us these past few days. As I mentioned, my TE had already called me. We chatted for a bit, he wanted to know if I’m a smoker (not any more), what kind of music I like, and let me know we already have our first load lined up. I’ll be meeting him Monday morning at the Schneider yard in Salt Lake City.

Saturday dragged on so long, all I wanted to go was to get on the road. Schneider had a hotel in SLC booked for me already, and had rented a car for the drive up. 10+ hours from Phoenix. But, because I’m from Vegas, I planned to just drive home Saturday night, spend the night in my own bed, then head up early Sunday morning.

Only a handful of us are heading out. Three guys are going to California, one all the way up to Stockton. That’s a drag. Everyone else is meeting up in and around the Phoenix area.

After being released (finally!) and driven back to the hotel, I rushed to pack everything, caught a cab to the rental place (don’t get me started on my adventures of calling a cab), breezed through check-in (thank you National!) and got to my car.

You know those National Rent-A-Car commercials where Patrick Warburton says, “Go ahead, choose any car on the lot”?

Oh yeah.

mustang blog

As I’m driving north on Interstate 17, with the sun setting on my left, watching the bright melding of a thousand desert colors dance over those ancient Arizona mesas, I thought, “What if I just took the safe route and stayed at my old job. Because it was safe. Because it was easy. Because it did provide me and my family with the basics, though not much more.”

Looking back, I know the best things in my life have come when I’ve stepped out and took chances. That may sound like just another self-help cliché, and it might be. Doesn’t mean it’s not true.

I got home after 10pm. After 5+ hours of driving. I was exhausted. That was when I got another taste of the trucking lifestyle; home time.

Which, for me, meant a quick chat with my wife, made sure everything was still OK at the house, and with her, and then I collapsed into bed.

I woke up early, got a chance to reorganize my stuff, then did some light, quiet work while everyone was sleeping. Soon, everyone was up, I said “Good morning”, then “Goodbye.” I was back on the road. Home time.

Today was all about Interstate 15 northbound. And me not trying to get a ticket. Maybe I shouldn’t confess this, but I have a bit of a lead foot. I only have two tickets on my record, both for exceeding the speed limit. Me driving that Mustang is like an alcoholic owning a liquor store.

It was by the very hand of God that I didn’t incur any infraction on this drive. And not for lack of trying either, I counted at least a half dozen vehicles pulled over by Utah troopers.

slc blog

Just a couple of quick thoughts from the drive. Utah is beautiful. I mean, I knew that, but I was constantly reminded on this day just how beautiful it is.

Second, I forgot how many steep hills and inclines Interstate 15 has. Fun in a car, it’s probably a drag in a big rig. We’ll see.

Lastly, my trip planning sucks. I thought I was doing great on time, until I remembered that SLC is on Mountain Time, and one hour ahead of Las Vegas. Better to make that mistake now, I guess.

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