CDL Range wk2: Blind yet Strong

CDL Range wk2: Blind yet Strong

For the audio transcription of this post, please click play below:


Greetings! Well, week 2 is now wrapped up, with lots of progress I might add.  If you’re wondering about my “Blind yet Strong” title, I’m referring to the mirrors on the trucks and how they relate to backing. :0)  The driver’s side being the strong side and the passenger side being the blind side.  For obvious reasons, blind side backing is always a last resort.

So with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, last week, we all returned on Tuesday.  It was quite a Tricky Tuesday.  As may have been expected, the 3-days we forgot everything.  Hehe— Just Kidding… but recollection and coordination was a bit diminished on Tuesday.  Wednesday we were getting back on track, though.

Learned a lot more this week, also.  The biggest take-away this week was really seeing the blinders open a bit.  I’ll explain how this unfolded for me, and see if what I’m attempting to convey makes sense to you.

Intensely Focused…

Speaking for myself, I tend to be very intense and focused when I’m learning something. And as I write this I just realized since I enjoy learning new things so often, I may come of as an intense and focused individual overall.  Anyway….A constraint (or con) to this intense focus is the tendency to:

  1. Not breathe
  2. ‘White knuckle it’
  3. Have tunneled vision – figuratively and literally

That being said, it energizes me as I notice these ‘cons’, and start adjusting for them.  So… when I recognize that I’m not breathing (number 1), I’ll take some nice deep breaths, along with muttering a “shhhh” under my breath and using both my hands, fingers spread, palms down, gently pumping them slowly and slightly downward a few times like that hand signal of slow down, which is my short routine reminding myself to “Just quiet down – how important is this anyway?” kind of thing.  Once I do that, number 2 (white knuckling it) immediately ceases, and yep – you guessed it, that [number 3] tunnel vision goes away.

Check it√: Ya’ know the little cap that shifters have on top? The one that is typically a company logo or sometimes the shift pattern?  well…I’m into a turn and feel that cap starting to come loose!  I mutter audibly “Oh goodness, the cap is coming off the shifter”  First thought: The cap is loose and needs to be fixed (external thinking) BUT… when it happened a 2nd time I scanned my actions, and realized:  “Confuscious say: Chickie who holds shifter too tight, likely to squeeze cap off” (said with that popular “Confuscious Say:” accent)  Too funny!

Skills for Week 2

Learned a lot on week 2.  Still sorting out that downshifting. If it were up to me, I’d do it for hours and hours until I “nailed it”.  There was a day I went home feeling like I accomplished absolutely nothing, which wasn’t true, coz I did accomplish learning a whole lot of what I didn’t want to do.   So… I made Flash Cards (Pictured below) to tape onto the steering wheel for quick-reference reminders. (One for down shifting, one for that parallel parking) and brought them the next day.  It didn’t make me perfect in every downshift, but it did give me a little boost and I was satisfied with the minuscule progress achieved, which fueled a larger leap forward the following day.


More Backing Practice:  The Parallel and the Off-set are identical, procedurally speaking.  I got all tangled up on Wednesday, but the instructor gave me a bit of time at end of class to help untangle the mess in my head.  Then after that I did better the next day and on Friday even more so.

Moving the Tandems – when arriving to be loaded, the tandems must be all the way back BEFORE you get into the dock, or sometimes even into the yard!.  Once loaded, the tandems then must be moved forward to comply with Bridge Laws.  Not bridge as in over a cavern or river, but the trailer’s frame from king pin to rear tandems. Bridge Laws vary state to state, so you need to look it up as part of your trip planning.  You will see 40 or 41 feet in most states. There are further stipulations, but I can get into the nitty-gritty another time. See the short video clip of the tandems sliding.

WARNING: Adjust Audio Down a bit First if you are listening to my audio transcription, the levels are wa-a-a-a-y different! Uggh…




Drop & Hook – intuitive, ya? Dropping off one trailer & hooking to another.

TT FlashCard

Pre-Trip Inspection.

So they provided us with a 20 something page document (not single-spaced though, so don’t envision it that way in your head!)  It was generously spaced; good line spacing to add notes.  I marked the heck out of it, but by Thursday and the way I studied it, I missed only 5 terms on that whole thing! I didn’t even miss parts, just the terms of what I’m inspecting for.  This was still my practice and study, not any test.  The way I did it was I kind of narrowed down that 20 pager to a two pager of my own short hands – but only after I really studied pictures and parts, the act of doing this in and of itself was a great tool to help me remember stuff.  So then, each day on the range, I’d make a voice recording running through the pre-trip from memory, went home at night compared the voice recording to the papers, marking the items or terms I missed.  Then wrote those down.  Each day I missed less and less, and by the 3rd recording, I was down to those 5 terms.  I will continue this until the test.


What were the 5 you ask?

  1. That the Skid plate was “lubed”
  2. That the hub seal was “filled to proper level”
  3. That the u-bolts were not “loose”
  4. That the landing gear feet were “free of debris”
  5. And that the power steering pump was “GEAR” driven

Anyway,  I’m off for the weekend, already filed my taxes, and hope to have a nice buffet breakfast Sunday morning at Golden Corral.

Thanks for riding along with me through CDL Training School!

Cheers, and Clix and More Downshifts,



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