Day 3: Started Driving

March 19, 2010

Today we started driving around town, we left HQ and took off for the highway,  I got to drive first, we drove down the highway loaded with around 79000 lbs of concrete block (ex students who didnt pass) and headed into East Missoula.  I was pretty nervous at first, its been a month or so since last time I pulled any kind of trailer more than 100 yards.  Loaded up and rolling down the road with all that weight, it actually was pretty easy.  The truck handled way better than when they are empty and stopped even faster.  Shifting was smoother towards the end when I was getting used to the transmission in this truck, I did miss a gear on a downshift and had to be corrected but overall not bad for my first time loaded.  We went up and down some very minor grades, I expected the trailer to push on me since gravity is still in play but it really didnt feel heavy at all.

Me and Willie, then went out to town to get some lunch, along our earlier drive today our instructor was naming off good places for food and such, so we figured hell, lets try one of the suggestions.  It was a Mexican restaurant in town so we hit it up.  Wow, California can cook good food but this place just knocked us off the map as far as good Mexican is concerned…

After lunch we meet back at the classroom and finished up learning about policy and logbooks, got some homework this weekend as well as a job!  The safety director asked if we could straighten up the trailer mess in the yard this weekend, putting loaded and unloaded on their proper sides and making them all straight.  Paid by the hour cool deal and experience to boot.  Since there is no class this weekend this will let us practice our backing with purpose.

Tonight we also tried some blind side backing, most of you who read this know what it is, however heres a breif description for those that don’t, picture backing in and not being able to see your rear of your vehicle in either mirror, your doing it all on feel and getting out and looking.  I managed to get it in pretty quick but still had to get out and look every 5-10 feet to until I got the truck straight enough to see both sides of the trailers and the hole in my mirrors, then it was business as usual.  This is one of those things that any school would not teach, they call it unsafe and not called for.  I asked a driver tonight who was outside parking how often he does this, he told me there are situations you cant avoid it, you pull in and guess what, you can only back into the hole from one side, and it isn’t pretty.  So learning and getting a feel for this is good.  I just wish the schools would see that, even if the DMV says don’t do it.

I will keep you guys updated about the weekend and anything I find interesting, Missoula is small but theres actually some stuff you can do around here.  Not much but some things.



  1. Charlie says it sounds like you are in with both feet,good for you about blind sideing the truck driver was right it doe’s happen so listen and learn.Great that you get to work over the weekend and practice more.Keep up the good work

  2. My first back after I got my truck was a blindside to get into a driveway to get loaded for my first run…. went fairly well, only 2 pull ups!

  3. Oh, good luck straightening out that Missoula mess…when I was there there was so many drivers there that we did not have an empty spot anywhere!!

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