Driving Class

The Mullen firefighters (and ambulance crew) take training seriously.  After two nights of class room instruction (3.5 hours each night) at the fire hall, “driving day” finally arrived.  I’ll admit to being a bit nervous.  Most of the firemen have driven huge trucks for years, so I knew I couldn’t do any better than they would.  I also knew I was going to hear about women drivers forever if I screwed up even a little.  Nobody’s perfect, right?

Starting the course....

Starting the course….

My time to drive was 9:40, but I showed up early and brought my camera (of course!).  The state yard was full of cones.  To run the full course, the driver had to leave the loading dock area, go forward between the small cones, reverse all the way to the beginning, swing a wide turn and enter the “gate” which consisted of two tall cones.  After going forward to make a three-point turn, the driver would exit and enter the serpentine course.  The driver then had to go all the way to the end of the cones, reverse through them before completing the serpentine pattern going forward.  Reverse was the bane of my existence.  A tight turn was in order to make the next gate; after that was the lane shift.  For me, that was the easiest part.  An easy loop was next.  The turn led to the straight stretch and the stop.  Stopping at a cone that is not visible can be really tricky.  The driver was penalized for touching the cones in the course as well as for being too far away from the “stop” cone.  I was so proud when Josh measured only two inches between the truck and the cone!  The chief even gave me a thumbs up!  🙂  Josh actually had a tape measure for that purpose.

All of the drivers did a great job while having a good time!

Here's the stretch and the "stop" cone.

Here’s the stretch and the “stop” cone.

This simulated the loading dock at the end of the course.

This simulated the loading dock at the end of the course.

Driving a rig is hard enough, but when you can hear the guys laughing across the lot, it's nearly impossible to focus!

Driving a rig is hard enough, but when you can hear the guys laughing across the lot, it’s nearly impossible to focus!

Clean up was a snap.

Clean up was a snap.

The trainer's rig had plenty of cones.

The trainer’s rig had plenty of cones.

 

 

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