Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Week 3

Every morning we were on the range at 6am. In the dark. Started the truck and did in cab check. In reality we were trying to get warm. Once it was light we could move the trucks and would start our skills practice. Lots of practice on skills. Every morning we third weekers would go out on the road for driving practice. Our instructor tried to find more difficult routes each day. This was very good practice and here at school is the place to mess up as long as you learn from your mistakes. Pay attention and learn from others’ mistakes, too. Monday nobody could shift, we were all grinding gears. Each day we got better. By Thursday my classmate, Andy was so smooth I thought I was riding in an automatic. Really. Wednesday we both passed our driving test at school and Thursday we each drove for two hours. That afternoon we did one go round on the skills and we were done. They let us leave early on Thursday. I stayed one more night and left Friday morning. Feeling real good about my test. I’m scheduled for Monday at 9am near Harrisburg PA.

Week 4

I drive up to Lancaster PA Sunday night and check into motel. They are calling for snow in the morning. Hope it’s not much.

Monday morning Andy and I report to third party test site over 30 minutes early. Not anxious much, are we? Snow was falling but only a little sticking to the grass. As time went on it got worse. Andy is scheduled for 7am. By 7:30 the roads are covered and the testing has been canceled. Yuck! This is the view out the back window of my pickup.viewoutmybackwindow32513_zps87041e7f.jpg

So we head back to the motel to hang out until Tuesday. The tester rearranged their schedule so we could test the next day. Thank you, thank you. I took a nap since I hadn’t slept much the night before, nerves were getting to me. Later on I walked across the street and got a manicure.gelmanicure32513_zpsd841557b.jpg

Looks like a claw hand, doesn’t it? I got a french manicure in gel. We’ll see how long it lasts. It was still snowing.

Tuesday morning, fully rested we show up 30 minutes early again. Andy goes first. He passes. Hooray! Then it’s my turn. We walk around and point at (not touch) what I am checking. Do not raise the hood just list off what I would be looking at. Once I “check” one brake system on one wheel I don’t need to repeat it. So pre-trip went quickly. In-cab next. By the way when you’re going to check the air brakes be sure you have air supplied to the system. I got part way through the check and said to myself “something’s not right here”. I told the tester I was doing it wrong and she let me start over, said I caught it in time. Whew! Anyway after that was the driving part of the test. I hit every gear. I never forgot which gear I was in (kept repeating it in my head). Didn’t run over any curbs or cars or people. Was even able to hold a conversation with the tester while on the highway. Best of all I did not stall when reentering the test lot and that was upslope from a stop. Afterwards I called my instructor at Swift and said “I don’t know how to break this to you…” and he went oh no. Then I said I passed! He was very excited for me. I thanked him for taking me on those challenging drives. I was more than prepared for the tests.

So long story short, I PASSED!! I now have my CDL with all the endorsements. Wednesday I went to the port and picked up my TWIC card. I am ready to roll. Now I’m headed for 3 day orientation on Monday in Harrisburg PA. After that I will go out with my female mentor/trainer and learn about trucking in the real world. Right now I’m repacking my stuff to go on my mentor’s truck. Trying to keep it as light as possible and take up as little space as possible.

I have been having a blast this past month. I got up in the truck for my test and thought “This feels comfortable, sitting in this driver’s seat”. Thank you Brett for all the fore knowledge this site gave me. It really made all the difference.

FYI I’ll be 56 next month and I don’t feel old at all. I’m excited to be starting on another new adventure. Let’s roll!


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Future Missionary

"I love to see the temple..."

“I love to see the temple…”

The youth (read teenagers) from church went to the temple Saturday Dec 1. Lots of adults provided transportation and I went, too. It’s always a great trip. Big went and we had a wonderful time together. Was a gorgeous winter day. High in the 50’s, no wind or snow. Easy driving.

He’ll be 18 next year and eligible to go on his mission. Bigger will be 20 and plans on going after this school year. Looks like they’ll be on missions at the same time. Oh joy. Oh boy. They’ll soon be moving on and won’t be my little boys anymore….. Naah. They will always be my little boys. They just won’t look little.

Future missionary

Future missionary

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Hit the Road, Jill

I’ve decided to try something new. Or maybe it’s go back to something old. A little of both. In March 2012 I was laid off from my job of five and one half years. I had the whole summer off, so not all bad. I got a bunch of stuff done around the house. I’ve been laid off before and I have skills to offer so I wasn’t too worried. But it took a lot longer to find a job than I expected. Around Labor Day I was on a trip to visit some cousins and riding the highways I noticed the big trucks. I remembered I once wanted to drive one of those. I thought “I could do that!” So I started looking into it and decided to pursue that old dream. Three weeks later I was offered a job. Not as a driver, no. I accepted the offer since unemployment was about to run out and I still needed to pay the bills, you know. But I kept doing research on truck driving. Big is now a senior in high school. Bigger will soon be leaving for his second year of college. The job I took is in another cubicle. Just like the last one. I do not like working in a cube. I do not like it, Sam I Am. I say instead of hanging around the empty nest I’m going to fly the coop too! I am going to be an Over the Road (OTR) truck driver. New places and new faces every day. And lots of time on my own. I like that. I used to do it as a field service tech before I was married and became a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM). I don’t want to miss any of the time I have left with my boys but I am eagerly anticipating this next stage in my life. Look out, EngineeringMother is going to hit the road!

Look at ‘er go!

Looks like a cockpit, almost.

all the comforts of home

a really small home, that’s all

Hit the Road, Jill and don’t you look back no more no more no more no more


Aren’t these trucks cool? Someday I hope to have one a lot like them. Later, gator!

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We took our (usually) annual trip to Ocean City a couple of weeks ago. It was only a weekend but we had a great time. We almost didn’t go and I’m so glad we went.

Now, just two weeks later OC is evacuated because of hurricane Irene.

Our last day we spent time on the boardwalk. We went somewhat early, about 10:30am and parked at the end near the pier with the amusement park on it.

And had some Thrasher Fries. Yumm! Here’s Big and my friend Susan enjoying some.

Last Saturday you could barely make out the ferris wheel on the pier. This is from the same parking lot.

One place we’ve enjoyed exploring in Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. The shark through the wall acutally moves, slowly twisting back and forth. The exhibits inside are updated frequently so it’s never the same.

Big is Star Wars crazy so he especially liked the display by the entrance.

Car Wars. These sculptures are made entirely of car and bicycle parts.

Last Friday this building was being covered for protection.

Turn left from here and you can see up the boardwalk with the ocean to your right.

Sunday it was covered with sand.

The end of the pier was being washed away.

And some of the stores were damaged.

But overall OC got off pretty light compared to N Carolina and Vermont.

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