Adam’s first day and my leaky air

Adam’s first day of work!

Adam started working at V&S Midwest Carriers today, where we are going to eventually be team driving together. He sent me a text this morning saying he felt awesome, which means that so far things are going really well! It sounds like all the people he met are pretty much awesome, and that’s a really big deal. We’re feeling like this is going to be a really nice company to work for.

He took his drug test, filled out some paperwork, was shown how to drive around a forklift (I’m jealous!), and even got into a truck with a trainer and rocked a road test! It’s been two years since he’s driven a big truck, but it sounds like it came right back to him. I can’t wait to get in the truck with him so he can teach me a few things!

He also head up to Green Bay to get his TWIC card (Transportation Worker Identification Credential), which has something to do with entering ship yards or something. There are so many cards, endorsements and things we need to have to drive a truck. It’s kind of crazy! But I suppose… all of these things make sure we’re all safe and legal.

Now he’s got a couple of days of orientation to go through, videos to watch, and then he’ll be driving with a trainer for the last couple of days this week. He’s really getting this ball rolling! Each day it sinks in a little more that we’re still on track with our plan, and it’s actually happening!

My day – leaking air and a heavy trailer

My day was a little interesting today. In fact, it was kind of a cluster. My partner and I were excited to be thrown at yet another new challenge – a longer trailer (53′), loaded with 45,000 pounds. We got the trailer coupled to our big ol’ sleeper tractor and did the air brakes test. Something was wrong. We had a leaking service brake line. We uncoupled and dropped the truck into the diesel shop for a quick repair. We power-washed our old truck while we waited for the fix, got the truck back and recoupled.

The service line leak was fixed, but our air brakes test failed again. Something else was leaking air. Oy. Instructor Brian jumped in and tried to diagnose the problem, and we were soon back at the diesel shop. The mechanic crawled underneath the truck with a blow torch and the hissing sound of escaping air stopped. Our suspension dump was frozen open. The suspension dump drops air so the tractor will lower itself, making it easier to back under a trailer. By the time this was all done it was lunch time and Mike and I had zero miles for the day. Even though I was antsy to get out with our new trailer, these were great learning experiences too.

After lunch I finally got on the road. Wow, what a different feeling it was to drive that heavy trailer! The longer length didn’t bother me too much, but getting moving from a stop and trying to get up to highway speed was a little rough for me. I was totally the chick truck driver on Hwy 41 south going 45 mph for about a mile because I bumped it up to 10th gear too soon! I was pushing the accelerator to the floor and she just wasn’t goin’ for me! Haha! Just call me Granny Toots the trucker!

I obviously need more practice with this new combo of tractor/trailer and I should get more time on the road with it tomorrow. I also need to work on my starts from a stop at intersections. I’m a little embarrassed about this, to be totally honest. I keep getting so close to killing the engine when I try to get rolling from a stop. Isn’t this day 1 stuff? Ugh… maybe I’ll work on that first tomorrow. I’m guessing it’s a clutch-brake timing thing that I need to figure out.

Tonight I love Adam’s happy first day of work! :)

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)


4 thoughts on “Adam’s first day and my leaky air

  1. Hello, Robin. I have been, silently, keeping up with you and your accomplishments. I am very glad to hear your updates and am among those who are very proud of you! I went back and reread your entry for February 23, 2014, and, as I have been many times, am very moved by your candor. Thank you for your encouragement, by example, to live life fully, to navigate through the times of failure, and to allow fears to bring strength and not defeat. My husband and I are planning a time-limited, thru hike for this summer. I am not an organizer, so I feel defeated, daily, as I try to muddle through the great amount of preparations. As soon as I post this, I am going to read through your gear list, again. If you have any advice to offer this middle-aged novice to backpacking, please do!

    • I’ll share the best advice I’ve ever been given. Ken & Marcia Powers shared this wisdom with me when I was planning my first thru hike. It’s this: Plan and then adapt.

      The plans are an impotant part of a thru hike, and a very exiting one! It builds that awesome anticipation! But just know that your plans are going to all change once you get going, and at that point you just start adjusting. It’s all part of the journey. Try not to stress too much – you gotta leave room for learning things along the way, and either way it’s going to be fun. It always works out once you hit the trail.

      Thanks for your message and compliment. Folks like you encourage me to keep writing. :)

      • Robin, I appreciate, more than you know, you taking the time to respond to my comments and hiking concerns, and so quickly, too! You’ve offered wise, and timely advice. I’m feeling less anxious because of your encouragement. :-) May God continue to bless you. Keep sharing!

  2. Awesome News Robin! I know several folks at VS Midwest. Tom, and Dan Dudek, and one of the Mechanics, I can’t remember his name. Seems like a good place to work for.

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