I woke up this morning and there was still no message authorizing me to pick him up. I called student assignments and within a few minutes had permission to put him on the truck. I called him to let him know I was on my way. After getting him and making a quick trip to a local supermarket, we had trip information: loading in Gap, PA bound for Akron, OH. I opted for driving to the shipper and after loading, back out to the Tollroad. I don't like to throw too many things at the n00bs at once, and prefer for their first time behind the wheel to be open highway.
However, it wasn't ideal conditions. By this time, it was beginning to get dark. There were high winds and we were under a light load and snow was spitting from the gray skies. I stopped at a service plaza west of Harrisburg. We switched seats and I gave him a crash course on the cockpit guages and switches before letting him begin. Soon, we were snaking through the parking lot on our way to the on-ramp. While his shifting wasn't flawless, it was better than most as he climbed through the gears. He shifts a little fast, like you would a car, not allowing enough time for the RPM's to drop, so there's a little crunch as it goes into gear. I suspect he'll iron that out soon enough. He has good lane control, he's patient, and is conscious of his mirrors. These are basically the things I look for the first time a student drives. I can already tell that he's going to do well. On top of all of this, he's confident and not nervous, two qualities which can take days for some to achieve.
After dropping this load in Akron, we're picking up a load in Columbus and heading for California. I don't know if a split is planned or if they want us to take it all the way. It's not due there until Tuesday, but if I dont think we can make it there by Monday, I'll probably ask for a split: not getting there until Tuesday makes a tight timetable for being back home by next weekend. A lot depends on how well he's still doing by tomorrow. I'll re-evaluate it more and see how I feel about it, and how he feels about it before making a decision.
We spent the day talking about video games, music, and movies. Basically, we probably have nothing else to talk about now. We're getting a long great though. LARM has created a LiveJournal and wrote his first entry in it last night, complete with a self-portrait. This saves me the trouble of posting my usual first-day photograph. I thought some of you might be interested in seeing the entire ordeal from the student's perspective. He also hasn't seen much of the country, which might be interesting to read about as we make our first cross-country trip.
You can find him at chasinghighways.