gkicinski's blog

Day 4: Aug. 25, 2016

Day 4 is an important day in the process of earning a commercial driver license at Truck America Training school, as this is the day students head out to take permit tests that will allow them to take big rigs out on the road next week with an instructor beside them.

Bob Cross, the TAT instructor for the CDL or Bust class through Friday, says the students need a score of at least 80% on the 90-question multiple-choice test, administered by the students' county of residence. 

Video: For Jason Horton, Trucking's In His Blood. Kentucky Sports Are Not.

Jason Horton is the contrarian in the CDL or Bust class at Truck America Training.

Ask the 29-year-old Louisville resident whether he roots for the University of Louisville or the University of Kentucky like all of his classmates and he replies, “Texas,” because that’s the school that his late beloved grandfather supported.

Horton prefers to be called by his last name. He got used to that when there were five Jasons in his class at Riverview High School, and teachers used last names to differentiate them.

Day 3: Aug. 24, 2016

It’s Day 3 of CDL training, and today, Bob Cross pinch-hits for Ann Wooldridge as instructor, with Ann taking the next three days off to show miniature horses at the Kentucky State Fair. Today students will be tested on material they learned the last two days regarding basic knowledge, air brakes and combination. Cross says they get “as much time as needed” to complete the test. Then, time permitting, Cross will cover the “Smith System” that teaches drivers safe defensive driving habits.

Video: Anna Basham Looks Forward to 'Me Time' on the Open Road

Anna Basham’s favorite road trip was a journey from Kentucky to Washington state, where she enjoyed the scenery of the Pacific Northwest.

Now that her children are grown, Basham is ready to embark on a new career that will allow her to hit the open road on a regular basis as an over-the-road truck driver.

Basham, 50, a widow with three children and seven grandchildren, is one of seven students pursuing a commercial driver’s license in a class that Transport Topics is following via our daily online series, CDL or Bust.

Video: How a Chance Encounter at Muhammad Ali’s Funeral Led Russell Durgasingh to CDL School

Russell Durgasingh called his attendance at the emotional funeral of boxing legend and Louisville native Muhammad Ali in June “life-changing.”

It also could be career-changing.

At that funeral, Durgasingh, 45, bumped into a friend with more than 20 years of CDL experience to his credit. Durgasingh knew that his own job as a shuttle bus driver at the time was on shaky ground, as the company was downsizing and changing focus, so he already was pondering his next career move.

Students Learn How to Come Through in the Clutch

Unlike students from a couple of generations ago, today’s truck-driving wannabes usually only have driven vehicles with automatic transmissions. That makes teaching them how to use a truck’s clutch more of a challenge than it was back in the day.

So Truck America Training instructor Ann Wooldridge spent some time on Day 2 discussing this critical part of a truck’s operation.

Buckled up for Day 2: Same seats

All seven students – Anna, Jason, Joey, Russell, Ryan, Teddy and Wayne – returned for Day 2 of truck driving school at Truck America Training.

Today’s topics are air brakes, clutches and combination vehicles, but as was the case when we were studying history, math and science, everyone took the same seats they occupied on Day 1. In fact, the four guys wearing baseball caps yesterday did so again today. And Anna’s sporting a blue UK T-shirt again.