First Impressions: Day One

There are just nine students in my class. A bit smaller than I expected, but I prefer it over larger numbers. There are three in the class from Washington. Two of us with “Class B” CDL’s (Commercial Driver’s Licenses) and, as it turns out, I will not have to test and get a license here in Idaho. Because we’re so close to Washington they’ll allow us to simply “upgrade” to the “Class A” endorsement by testing just across the river at Clarkston. This means, instead of a battery of five different tests, that those without a CDL have to take, I only have to take one. 20 questions! How sweet is that!

It was an extremely busy day today and having stayed up late last night didn’t make it any easier when those alarms and the wake up call came in at 4 a.m.

After assembling with the other students from three different classes, in the lobby with some breakfast goodies to choose from, we piled into the shuttle for our first venture to the Swift Driving Academy. (more…)

The Arrival

Well, here I am in Lewiston, Idaho the night before day-one of a 23-day training class to earn my Class “A” Commercial Drivers License for employment with Swift Transportation.

The drive from Yakima was casual and beautiful. While passing through the Tri-Cities I get directions from a customer in a FedEx office. He says I just rode that highway on my motorcycle last weekend, you’ll love it, it’s a great ride. He was right.

The landscape changes along the way from the Columbia River through those fruited plains we all remember singing about as school kids. Along a curving and occasionally slightly climbing road I pass a number of historic markers and reminders that the route follows “The Lewis and Clark Trail.”

Along eastbound Washington highways 124 and 12 joining Pasco of the Tri-Cities with my destination there are beautiful farms and cattle grazing along the road and, in some places, scattered high among the rolling green hills in the distance. There are a number of small towns along the way I’d never heard of. This is all new road for me and hopefully just the beginning of many thousands of the same to come. There are towns like “Starbuck,” “Pomeroy” and “Dayton.” Visit Dayton a large sign says. Lewis and Clark did! (more…)