Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another Week, Another Snow Storm (or two)

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I lost some time at driving school this week due to bad weather. The lot is on a very slight slope, so the least bit of ice puts a real crimp in moving the rigs around. Sometimes, a guy is kept busy just throwing sand under the tires. I guess you could call that real-life experience. Other time has been lost due to the fact that we have about three classes stepping on one another’s toes waiting their turn to drive. They tried to do things in a more “organized” manner Friday, and I ended up not getting a turn at all! I assume that I’ll go first tomorrow. They’ve wisely postponed the start of the next class by a couple weeks in order to work the backlog of students out the door. Of course, that makes it bad for them, too, since they’re missing out on income for those two weeks.

I spent Friday parked by the area where they practice doing the “alley dock” maneuver. I’d done it pretty well two days earlier, then I got a different truck the next day and couldn’t get it at all. I think there was something just a little too different about the truck to use the same references as to when to make my turns. I don’t know if it was the mirrors, the wheel-base, or the setting of the fifth wheel, or even the radius of the steering. All I know is that I did EXACTLY the same things that worked the day before and nothing came out the same. I think the problem is that the instructors give us reference points to try to get us in the ballpark, but ultimately, it has to be done by eye and by “feel.”

It’s been snowing here all day, but we probably have less than two inches of new snow, so far. Still, that was enough that my wife didn’t want to go to town to get out of the house today, since the state hasn’t yet put any salt on our road. We really haven’t had much accumulation this year; but it keeps coming a little at a time and keeping the roads slick. As a result, the highways department and the cities are running low on salt, and what extra they have ordered is stuck on barges frozen to docks along the Ohio River. At this point, they only salt the hills on our road and merely grade the more level areas. Since there’s not much depth, though, the grading doesn’t do much good.


Class is supposed to start at 7AM tomorrow, but experience tells me that they won’t be able to get the yard in shape until about nine. I may just show up then. They don’t seem to mind. © 2014
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12 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

You have had a time of it with that class, it has to end some day though. I know nothing about big trucks but you really need time to get used to a new vehicle unless you have lots of experience in all of them. Maybe it will warm up some this week.

Gorges Smythe said...

I wish it would, SF, but I'm not holding my breathe.

Mamma Bear said...

Guess this is about the worst time of the year to be learning new driving stuff but look at all the experience you are going to have!

I have read a lot of places are running out of salt. There was no salt here of course during our ice storms. They used beach sand!

Chickenmom said...

Perfectly natural - ever try to drive a friend's car? Very uncomfortable! Snowing here now - getting so tired of it.

Ralph Goff said...

I guess if you can learn to drive that semi in the bad road conditions you will be fine in the good weather. I know those big trucks are kind of useless on ice and snow when running empty.

Gorges Smythe said...

They used a lot of cinders when I was a kid, MB, no-one burns coal anymore though.

I think we ALL are, Cm. I'm ready for spring.

Yeah, Ralph, they're about as useless as an old van with rear-wheel drive and no weight in the back.

Mamahen said...

I take it since you're on here.no class again today :(

Gorges Smythe said...

I was there for 30 minutes and they closed it, Mh. I'll be surprised if things are any better tomorrow, unless they salt the lot. If it even works, that might make the lot muddy, since it's not paved.

Mamahen said...

I don't envy you trying to practice in those conditions!!!

Gorges Smythe said...

Well, Mh, let's just say that there isn't a lot of practicing being done some days.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

They have been mixing rock with salt in some areas around here to stretch it. Nothing new to us, we normally get only cinders until we get to the main roads. Trucks hit docks all the time. I've been in either finance or supply chain for manufacturers and I hear about this a lot! Sometimes I can't figure out how they are supposed to get the truck backed into some of the places I've seen. I'd be hard pressed to do it with a car.

Gorges Smythe said...

I think cinders are hard to get these days, Kathy, but in some situations, they're better than salt. I've done some delivery work with straight frames, so I know what you mean about some of those docks!