Sunday, May 02, 2021

Starting Out as Solo Truck Driver

 I showed up for my exam. First, they put you through a written test just like DMV (traffic department). I passed, missing one or two only. Then I went out with the the intimidating driving guy to do backing and maybe the road…. On condition I pass the backing part. Here we go again, dear goodness! 

I took a couple of Jolly Ranchers candy and headed out. This time, I was going to be tested on an automatic, versus the stick shift from last time! I think this is better but a lot of drivers say backing in a manual transmission truck is better  Oh well!

I got in the Freightliner truck; I’d no idea where what was. i learned in a Stick Volvo Truck and went on the road in a Kenworth for a month! I had to adjust the mirrors and seats etc. Forget all those, I didn’t even know how to turn on the engine! The scary looking guy had to show me! The Kenworth gear lever is on the right side of driver, on the floor. The Freightliner’s is by the steering wheel. Mh kay! This should be interesting! Whenever I step onto the gas pedal, Scary tells me to take it easy! It was all too much  luckily, I made it. 

Back into the yard. Cue the PTSD from trucking school! I had to back into a slot between two trailers. Great! I set up good. I’d a good feeling about it. I’m pretty sure I set up how Carlos yelled at me not to set up, in week 3! I backed that thing once and got it all the way in. I pulled forward just a little bit to make 100% sure it was within lines. I fcking passed! Whew! Thank you, stars!

Someone give me my fcking truck! 

They congratulated me, told me to go downstairs to meet my new Driver Manager. I did. He told me my truck was waiting for me outside. I went out there and searched and looked and…

Solo Driver Brook

It was beautiful! I tried to visualize this truck while I was out with my trainer, Carlos. I didn’t know what Color I wanted it to be but I know I didn’t want it to be blue. The ones we trained with that I sucked in, were blue. Nobody needs that kind of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)! I kept seeing it white in my visions. I would try and push that image aside and have it be grey or something cool but nah!

The truck was locked with the curtains to the sleeper shut. I tried peeking in to see if It had a fridge inside. I was so caught up in that, you can’t even imagine! I knew I was going to cook in the truck. It was important that I have all the tools of the trade! I didn’t feel like having to buy a truck fridge! I jumped up and held onto the side mirror, peeked inside and what did I see? A giant ass refrigerator. It was gonna be a good day on the road for this trucker! 

I went back to the Driver manager, by the way, about him: I had talked to him before, asking about something or another. He introduced himself and gave me his card, this was before we knew he was going to be my manager. After he shook my hand, I shook my head to myself and said, pls don’t let him be my manager. I just didn’t wanna think it was a match. Lo and be fcking hold! He was to be my manager! When I went back for the truck key, I was told that I needed to go to some class with the yard jockey (the guy whose job is to move trailers around all day long). I was ready for my first load, now these mutha truckers are telling me to go attend some class. Class for what? I literally just passed my final test, man I please just do what I was told was next in line? Ughhhhhhhh! I asked driver manager what the class was about. He told me he had no idea but was just told so himself. Great! 

I go find the yard dog (another name for yard jockeys). He was with a fee other truckers. They asked if I was there for the “close quarters” blah blah blah class as well. The close what? Apparently, because of the accident I told you about here; I had to be taught how to get out of tight spaces in reverse. OK, Fine! But I hit the pillar face forward! I wasn’t backing out o’ nuthn! (Which, I’m sure, sounds even worse). You congratulate me for passing everything, including backing and then tell me I don’t know how to back because I had a situation NOT backing. Fckkkkkkkk! Let my people go! The yard guy (another name for a yard dog  haha, just kidding), put a truck in different scenarios and made us back out of them. He first taught us HIS WAY of setting up. Now, I have to forget everything I learned while out there strictly to learn and memorize what this guy is teaching me last minute after my graduation. What kinda mind fck is this? When I tell you, I was devastated! Angry! I was more angry than anything else! I asked my group of truckers; my classmates and I have a chat group on our phones, if they knew about that class. They told me it was a new thing. I was lucky enough to be in the first group. Nice! 

At the end of the day, some of us were let to go n their merry way. I was in the group that was NOT, because you know, I wasn’t good at backing, obviously. The guy was telling me I needed to trust myself. Well, I did when I passed my exam the first time but there’s something about being told, actually, we’re kidding, you’re not good enough to go on the road yet, that makes you feel like, well, YOU’re not good enough! OK? It’s in the afternoon, I had a load to try and find keys to this gosh darn truck they assigned me to that was locked. And I had a load to deliver. I’m not good enough to be set free and be the trucker I fcking wanna be but I was good enough to be used to deliver a loard down the road in a locked truck without a key  mh kay! I see yall! I gave the guys in the shop, they cut me a key, I made my way to the truck. At this point, I was rushing. And I hadn’t even met the truck’s inside yet. I was flustered and overwhelmed. And I kinda wanted to quit. I am not sure who put me on a load when I was clearly still in school. The whole thing was fcked. I got into the truck, drove around the yard, looking for the loaded trailer I was supposed to deliver. I didn’t know then that I could just request (read: demand) to be removed from a load. I arrived at this place, that I, Spoiler alert: have never been back to since. It looks like it was gonna be a breeze to back into. It took me forever. It was dark outside, I was having a day from hell and I had just been told over and over again, I didn’t know how to back, so I didn’t know how to! They unloaded me, I headed back to the yard. It was around 1am at this point. Did I mention I was having a day from hell? 

I get back to the yard, park, go to the back of the truck to sleep, no mattress! Normally, you get two, one for each bunk. It’s a double bunk in there. I had none. The shop was closed. I wasn’t about to drive from the Inland Empire to Pasadena (my apartment) that hour of the night after the kind of day I had (hint: it was straight from hell). I went to dispatch office and requested a hotel room. They normally give you one when you need it. Not me! They told me I live close enough to drive. Kay! I held the tear drops with everything I had and texted one of my classmates about the kind of day (from hell haha) I was having. He told me He was in the terminal as well and I could borrow his bunk mattress. Wow! A turn around! Am I dreaming? Spoiler alert: I wasn’t cos I wasn’t in bed yet, like a normal person should be at 2am. Mind you! I had class at 8am! Welcome to my trucking nightmare, folks!

Click above to see the inside of my new truck, filmed just as I walked in for the first time!

I just posted a bunch of photos and videos and links and and and and all that stuff disappeared because cellphone blogging thanks Apple! 

Let’s see if  I’ll remember everything I typed here cos when you update, you get info you’ve been keeping in your memory out, to make room for more memory stuff. At least,  That’s what I do! Here goes nothing…

The truck looked good. I was excited to make it home…


In our pretrip inspection, we have to open up the hood (bonnet) and see if everything looks normal. We also have to kick all 18 wheels to check abnormalities. 

What’s up!

I’m smiling, partly because I had spent some tome with my boo thang, Derrick. It’s always a good time over there. He cooks, we bum on the couch and watch lots of tv and he’s hilarious. I’m thankful for all the reasons I have to smile. 

Passenger’s seat

Is that a long cellphone charger cable or am I happy to see you? I like to have chargers plugged in all over the place. I’m all about convenience. Speaking of which, they have electric outlets situated conveniently in the sleeper berth. They also have several car charging ports in the driving area. We do appreciate all that. I tell ya, if they had bathrooms in these trucks, I might really love this lifestyle!

My favorite part: memory foam bed

The blanket is from The now defunct, Queen Latifah talk show. I told you about the amazing Christmas episode I was there for, where I got so much good sht! Read all about that here. Sidebar: I placed a book on my bed for staging purposed only. When last did I read a book? Actually, not that long ago. I just hadn’t really been reading at the time this photo was taken. 

Kitchen area
I told you my fridge was huge! It’s a double freaking door for a small ass truck space! I hit the jackpot with this one! 
I brought my microwave from home, which went well with my Silver fridge. I also brought the InsaPot to cook in, as you can see up top. If you follow me on YouTube and Instagram, you’ve seen my instapot cooking videos. If you don't, Please do. 
Driver’s seat

Hindsight: having driven several trucks since the beginning, I can safely say, this Freightliner was one of my favorite  

Below is what I ate while out with my trainer Carlos in his truck that didn’t have a fridge  

Press play

I went through quite the roller coaster writing this particular blog. I did it over a couple of days, reliving some moments wasn’t fun, some were cool and then deleting material and having to redo was frustrating. If you enjoyed it, please post a comment below, it’ll make it worth the trouble. 

@BabalwaBrook on all social
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P. O. Box 4502