Swift Driving Academy, The Road Training

2010 March 1

After my driver training at Swift Academy last October, I began my six weeks of over the road training. Following are excerpts from my emails home to family and friends. This is a continuation of Swift Driving Academy, A Student’s Experience.

Hi All,

I just finished the two day company orientation yesterday here in Sumner, WA. It was good to see my buddy Cory from class and I was pleasantly surprised to see Steve from the class before me. I had lost track of him after he left class, so I was hoping to see him again sometime. We all had a good time and made some new friends. Orientation was led by Dawn, who is a character; mean, but not really. Constant sass, and when we finally clued in and started dishing it back, I think she appreciated it. She took good care of us.

I met my driver/mentor yesterday. Ernie is a well traveled older guy who appears to know what he’s doing. We had a quick talk and I think we understand each other. I told him I want to learn everything I can and he said he’ll teach as much as I want, so that suits me fine. He seems a personable fellow. I’m looking forward to it.

I arrived here at the terminal at 8:00 am as directed. I’m waiting for my driver code. As soon as I have that, I’ll be ready to go. Ernie did a run last night from 11:00pm – 9:00am and so he’s gonna need a nap later. He’s having his rig serviced now, so we’re both just waiting. The plan is to leave tonight at 11:00 with a load going to Albany, OR. He told me we’ll try to do some local stuff for a couple of weeks, then western 11 states for a couple of weeks and then all 48 for a couple of weeks. Sounds great, can’t wait.

The driver’s lounge here is not too shabby. Several big leather couches, big screen TV, wireless, showers, laundry, and driver services. It’s doable. Have met several drivers so far, all seem likable and are willing to share stories and offer advice to the rookie. I’m surprised I’m not being treated like a rookie so far, instead they all just wish me well; drivers, mechanics, office staff, and all. How ‘bout that.

That’s it for now, I’ll keep you posted when I can.


Since last I wrote, I got assigned to my mentor Ernie. He’s sort of cocky, but I think he’s earned it. So far, he’s a pretty decent trainer.

The truck I’m in is a 2010 Volvo 660. It’s pretty nice, interior wood trim and all. As sleeper cabs go, this is a small one. It’s perfect for one person but a little cramped for two, but it’s doable. We left at 11:00pm Thursday night and headed for Albany, OR with a reefer (refrigerated trailer) and arrived at a Costco where they unloaded us. We then headed for Salem, OR, just up the I5 and stopped at a cold storage facility and they Read Full Article & Comments…


Swift Driving Academy, a student’s experience

2010 February 20

This post is this student’s account of attending the Swift Driving Academy at Lewiston, ID.  It’s taken from emails I sent to friends and family while going through the experience and this account is intended to be a reference for others considering attending this school as well as an accounting of a cool experience.

Prior to attending in the early fall of 2009, I had talked with my Swift recruiter on several occasions, filled out the applications, they did a background check on me, and I had to get my Commercial Driver Instruction Permit.  I picked up the CDL book at the DMV in Bellingham, Washington and started studying.  Swift’s web site also had course content I had to study and exams I had to pass.

After three or four days of studying, I went to the DMV and took three tests; general knowledge, air brakes and combination vehicles and passed all with flying colors.  I also had to pay the Read Full Article & Comments…


And now for something completely different

2010 February 20

Hi All,

It’s been a while since I’ve published anything, I’ve been a little busy you see. As you know, I had been looking for a job in my field for a few months and my particular industry is dryzabone so to speak. I’ve had some interviews here and there, but nothing came of them. It’s frustrating to say the least, that my full time job is looking for a job. It’s frustrating that a couple hundred or more of my colleagues in my industry have been laid off recently and are in a pickle. It’s frustrating that things do not seem to be getting better. I’m sure they will eventually and my message to my friends out there who are still employed – do what you have to do to keep that job, even if you’re miserable. Just tough it out.

I’ve been trying to balance the job search with trying to make the most out of the time I have available. Trying to balance being responsible with a little self indulgence. Even though I’ve been unemployed (by choice for the first few months) for over a year now, it’s been one of the most enjoyable and growth years ever. I’ve traveled, spent quality time with friends and developed those relationships and Read Full Article & Comments…


Deadwood Revival closes out Elizabeth Park concert series

2009 August 28

Elizabeth Park concert series and Deadwood Revival

DSCN8019 copyLast night marked the end of the summer concert in the park series at Elizabeth Park in Bellingham Washington and regional band Deadwood Revival brought it to a fine end indeed.  Sponsored by the Eldridge Society and supported by Bellingham Parks and Recreation, this series takes place throughout July and August in a four block by four block park historic Bellingham neighborhood; complete with play area for kids, tennis courts, lots of trees and grass, a lovely fountain area, and no kidding – a big gazebo.

I really looked forward to these concerts each Thursday night from 6:00 – 8:00 and spending quality time with my neighbors and dear friends Dorothy, Barb, Sharon, and Jan.  It’s a great way to Read Full Article & Comments…



2009 August 21
by Maggie Williams

there once was a toad
that sat on the road
a car came a long
then angels sang a song
now toad is part of the road

– Maggie Williams, 3rd grade, yeah it’s missing a few syllables


Migrating from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

2009 August 9

Moving from WordPress.com to WordPress.org

Easy right?  Well, ‘easy’ is one of those relative words isn’t it?  Am I glad I did it?  You bet; primarily because had I waited longer, the task would have been more monumental.  There are other reasons as well.  So, why would one make this migration or why would you chose one over the other?  What’s the difference? Read Full Article & Comments…