Wednesday, March 2, 2011

… And so it begins…

Trite title, I know, but it’s true. The circumstances of the past 2 months have closed some doors and opened this window to full timing, big time.  We planned for this day for so long and now, it is really happening.

One of the items on our to-do-to-go list was for Merrily to go to truck driving school.  You have seen the rig we have in other posts. She has wanted to be comfortable driving it under most circumstances and said so several years ago.  I attended the North Carolina Truck Driver Training School at Johnston Community College in the summer of 2004 along with my oldest son. That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life…. but worth every ounce of sweat and tired.

Now, Merrily is going through the same course to train her skills to work like they should to be safe and confident in all situations.  Down the road, options for workkamping will be a lot more flexible if we both have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) so she is going to get hers, now.  Not that driving an 18 wheeler is in the plans but team drivers can make a serious dent in income in a pinch. More likely we will pick up a few gigs driving shuttle busses or tour busses in places. There is a lot of demand for licensed and certified drivers in places like Alaska, and National Parks.  We will see what develops.

Meanwhile, the first of 8 weeks in class is drawing to a close. Each day is about 3 hours of classroom time and the rest of the 10 hour day is divided between working the field exercises (backing, coupling, serpentine backing, offset alley navigating, Pre-trip inspections, etc. The objectives of the class make it imperative that every learned skill is automatic and tightly tested before certification. This makes a graduate a professional driver.. not just a truck driver.

My son has driven for TransAm trucking out of Kansas since 2004. He loves the work, hates being gone from home so much but now owns his own truck and has nearly 1 million miles under his belt.

Although I have never driven professionally, it is a keen confidence I have when I sit down behind the wheel of our HDT. It Is a more comfortable and natural place to be than behind the wheel of my automobile and that is totally to the credit of this Truck Driver Training Class.  A lot more folks can pass the NC CDL licensing testing than can graduate from this class. The requirements for passing the course are just that much more rigorous than the state examination process, and that is not easy.

I will be working this blog a lot more frequently, now that we have some real movement into full timing in play. Much of the daily work was very non-full-time related so I stopped wasting everyone’s time trying to make it interesting.

BTW, Katie is doing well. She made it to 100 days, as I previously mentioned but then had a couple of seizures a few weeks apart. Now she is back on track and on her 50th day without a seizure.


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