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CDLs and driving big machines

mendelman

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I was reading a thread recently where a fellow cyburbian mentioned that he drove a bus during college. That got me to thinking. How many people here have/had a CDL (commercial driver's license) and what did you drive with it. Or for yous with military experience, what big machines have you driven?

Any good stories, shar'em if you gott'em.

Mysmelf:
During undergrad and grad school, I drove municipal sized buses (50 footers) for the University of Michigan bus system.
here is one of buses and routes I drove at UM:


Man, it was great being the biggest machine on the road. It's a rush when you're driving a 26,000 pound vehicle.
 
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donk

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This is the biggest thing I've ever driven, or a similar sized white.



Plus two 30 foot wagons attached to it (about 200 bails each)

The funny thing is that I drove it on a provincial highway before I had my drivers license.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

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Drove a meat truck back in pittsburgh for a while. A dodge diesel beast that felt like it would tip over ever time a took a corner. No special licence at the time either. I sucked driving up to cleveland to pickup frozen crap though. The wind rocked the beast back and forth. Could only go 75 mph at the fastest before it would begin to growllllll....
 

SlaveToTheGrind

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My grandfather drove a bus for Spokane City from 1935 to 1976. When my mom was little, she and her friend would get on the bus and ride with my grandfather for the afternoon. After my grandfather died, we cleaned out the house and found #10 coffee cans full of change that were in the floor joists of the basement. Found a few stashed whiskey bottles and "mens magazines" too. We assume he traded out old coins at the end of the day since he did collect some coinage. We have still not gone through the money yet to see exactly what is there. My mom has everything in a safe deposit box.
 

mendelman

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donk said:
The funny thing is that I drove it on a provincial highway before I had my drivers license.
Well, there's something to be said for farm living. Hell, by that time you'd probably been driving since you were 10, I'd bet.
 

Cardinal

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My last six years in the Army were as a transportation officer. I was qualified to drive everything up to a heavy equipment transport. It has helped when it comes to understanding the layout of loading docks and driveways on an industrial site.
 

nerudite

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The largest vehicle I ever drove was my mom and dad's RV. When I was 16 my mom and I did a cross-country trip in that thing for the summer. I think I drove well over half of the time, since I was a new driver and I loved driving on the long roadtrips. I think it's a 27' RV.

When I was a kid, I thought it would be cool to drive a truck long distance. I grew out of that eventually, but I still love the long roadtrips. :)
 

biscuit

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mendelman said:
Well, there's something to be said for farm living. Hell, by that time you'd probably been driving since you were 10, I'd bet.
I don't know about Donk but I was driving the tractor, and my Dad's truck, around the property and community by the time I was big enough to reach the pedals. So yeah, country living does have it's advantages. I did that enough that my drivers test at fifteen was a peice o' cake.
 

donk

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biscuit said:
So yeah, country living does have it's advantages. I did that enough that my drivers test at fifteen was a peice o' cake.
No cop is going to pull a 14 year over if he is driving a pickup full of hay. Especially some of the trucks I got to drive.

The embarassing/bad thing is that I did not get my license until I was 21. Drove lots, just no license.
 

Gedunker

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I drove a 1975 Kenworth cab-over with a 12' drom box, and 48' x 102" drop-frame Kentucky furniture trailer for a major van lines. Cummins 400hp diesel and 13 speed transmission. No air conditioning and no radio. :-(

We ran 48 states (although I never made it to Washington, Oregon or Minnesota). Nearly lost it to a jacknife once on black ice outside Oklahoma City going to a truck stop. Pulled up to the fuel pumps and an old timer came over and said "nice recovery". I told him I didn't do a thing. He laughed and said it was the right thing not to do. It wasn't long after that that I decided I didn't want to do it anymore and headed back to school.
 

NHPlanner

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Biggest I ever drove was a small school bus (van type) when I worked at a summer camp.
 

giff57

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I drove these....


and before I got myself educated I drove these for a couple of years



A real one, not the toy....


I also drove a huge loader when working for a grain elevator. It was a Michigan, powered by a V12 Detroit diesel, holding 110 bushels of corn per scoop. I loaded 1.5 million bushels one summer.... thats 13,637 scoops.
 
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GeogPlanner

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drove an ambulance like this one, Freightliner chasis...until the town went to a smaller vehicle. :-(
 

Queen B

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CDL used to be!!!!

I was happy to let it go.

I had to get the stupid thing while I worked at a Mental Health Center. I drove crazy people around. I think it held 17. It had horrible blind spots.

I had to laugh the other day, I was out test driving small trucks and my husband was getting all excited when I would decide to back them into their parking stalls. He was glad I was so comfortable doing it! I just nodded at him and smiled just didn't have the heart to tell him I had driven that stupid bus which was twice the size for years and had to park it in every situation possible.

I never wanted anyone else to know I had that license then I don't have to cart people around.
 

Zoning Goddess

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Never drove anything bigger than a Ford LTD wagon. I have a phobia of merging onto busy highways ("Quiet in the car, I'm MERGING!") and stick to smaller vehicles that fit into rush hour traffic more easily. (Hey, phobias are never exactly rational, are they?)
 

BKM

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Only big thing I've ever driven was the City's Fire Department Ford Excursion.

I just don't understand the appeal of SUVs.

Also: I learned to drive in my father's decrepit AMC Matador Station Wagon. The loss of American Motors was indeed a tragedy in Amercian economic history...not!
 

JNA

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Never got my CDL so I could drive the Fire Dept. Ladder Truck,
a 100 ft straight stick that was 4-wheel drive - now that's Rugged
I could engineer it (set up) though.

Qualified to engineer the Rescue and Engines (favorite was a Pierce Dash).
 

B'lieve

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A toss up between my dad's John Deere tractor and a couple of Ford F350's from when I worked at the rec center on a military base. I got sent off post on a few errands, which some thought was illegal, but the the rec center and the trucks are NAF (non-appropriated funds-basically discretionary money for the army with no congressionally-specified strings) so it was all good. My current car's not exactly small either; gotta love the Olds ;-) .
 

donk

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Gedunker said:
I drove a 1975 Kenworth cab-over with a 12' drom box, and 48' x 102" drop-frame Kentucky furniture trailer for a major van lines. Cummins 400hp diesel and 13 speed transmission. No air conditioning and no radio. :-(

We ran 48 states (although I never made it to Washington, Oregon or Minnesota). Nearly lost it to a jacknife once on black ice outside Oklahoma City going to a truck stop.
But did you ever participate in a convoy? ;)
 

SGB

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Largest thing I've driven is farm tractors one summer in college when I worked on a nursery farm.

I shudder when I think about the 'cides I was exposed to that summer. They thought nothing of doing spray applications with crews working immediately downwind.......
 

Plannerbabs

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Ford E350, extended. My husband uses it for his business, and when the thing is parked in the driveway, it's the length of both of our cars. Hunormous. Has saved us lots of U-Haul bills, though.
 

nerudite

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I know this doesn't count as 'driving' but I got to steer the RV Vantuna during night trawling exercises.

 

mike gurnee

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I don't think I am CDL material.. A few years ago, I had to drive an extended van to take scouts to something. I decided to practice backing up while in the parking lot...and hit my own car.
 

mendelman

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nerudite said:
I know this doesn't count as 'driving' but I got to steer the RV Vantuna during night trawling exercises.

That sure does count. It's a big machine.
 

vaughan

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I drove a fork truck at a douche and enema factory for a while... it wasn't that big of a machine, but i did have the satisfaction of hauling around several thousand pounds of below-the-belt pharmaceuticals every day...
 

Rem

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If I knew boats counted I would have added this sooner. I only got to steer on the way home from racing - my main function during racing was as 'rail meat'.

 

michaelskis

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Biggest thing I have ever had to drive was a full size CASE front end loader. Each tire was bigger than my S-10 blazer. It was when I was a freshman in college, and working for a landscape company. It was cool, but the bobcats where more fun.
 

donk

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Rem said:
If I knew boats counted I would have added this sooner. I only got to steer on the way home from racing - my main function during racing was as 'rail meat'.
I've done that job also. We were affectionately referred to as ballast. I've never gotten so bruised in my life.
 
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