Today was a very fun day! First, I got to drive the bus up to the State Highway Patrol post so my instructor could check on some times for CDL tests for some of her other students. Then, the other girl training with me took over the driving for a bit, and we headed back downtown.
She drove around the city streets for a while, practicing various difficult turns. At one intersection, the instructor told her that normally, she would want to take the turn in the curb lane, but she could go ahead and do it wide, since there were cars parked, and we needed to be in the left lane after the turn anyway.
While driving the bus today, I got to listen in on some great conversations over the two-way radio. One driver had this very lengthy conversation with the dispatcher about vomit on her bus. I never did figure out exactly why the conversation was so involved, or what the final outcome was. Then, I was treated to a discussion on what time it was, and exactly how many minutes had elapsed since that driver last radioed dispatch.
Today I noticed that my instructor has yet another interesting little pronunciation glitch. She refers to the convex mirrors on the bus as “convict” mirrors. That probably doesn’t help the view that some kids have of buses and schools as prisons.
I FINALLY got to drive the bus today! I have missed it SO much. I totally amazed myself, too, by managing to successfully complete every single part of the maneuverability tests that we practiced today. These were right-hand turn, backward serpentine, alley dock, and parallel parking. All of them with a 38-foot school bus. Go me!
I have to admit, though, that the other girl who is training with me did a much better job on her run through.
Hmph. Evidently a little bit of snow in March can stop the buses from running, or at least stop my training from happening. My first day of driving is now delayed until 8AM tomorrow, which was originally supposed to be 7AM tomorrow. Oh well.
While pre-tripping the bus this morning, the instructor was going over all the points that we have to go over when we go to take our CDL skills test. Based on the way that she said some of the words, I could tell that she’d never really paid attention to how the spelling correlates to the pronunciation. When we were going over steering system components, she kept talking about the “Carter pins” and “Tire rod”.
So today was the first day of my behind-the-wheel training as a school bus driver. Even though I didn’t actually get BTW (making it a bit of a misnomer, at least for today), I did still have a lot of fun.
The instructor was making a left-hand turn at an intersection maybe two blocks away from the depot. Some guy in a crappy old Nissan sped around the bus on the right just after she finished turning, as she was trying to get the bus back over into the right-hand lane.
So I think this evening might be a great sign of my geekdom or something like that. I’m getting so frustrated with a commercial software package I’m currently testing/using that I’m actually gaining the drive to write my own software to do the same thing, but better. And it’s not even software that I actually ever need to use myself. I just need to be able to integrate with the back-end systems.