Practical driving? No problem. I ran a bit close to the curb on a few corners, and rolled back twice while waiting at lights ("YOU'RE ROLLING! ROLLING! STOP ROLLING!! ~Hoss ;) I love to hear him panic).
This time, we rented from Penske. Considerably less expensive. This truck is easier to nail 3rd and shift. Higher gear ratio.
We hit our unused street behind McYuppies and practiced parallel parking several times. It's tough to judge when to start cranking the wheel to nose in, but I did make good progress. Hoss then directed me to the McYuppie parking lot to practice tight turns around parking islands and pretend rows of restaurant patrons' cars. I did pretty well.
We then headed down 481 toward the Eastmost 690 on ramp. More calling of bridges, overpasses, hazards, work zones, speed limit changes, on ramps, and merging. Once again, Hossman enjoyed hearing my frantic call outs.
We ran up to the Seneca Knolls neighborhood in Baldwinsville to practice tight turns and narrow streets. Again, I did well. Although I need more finesse, the practical portion of driving seems to come fairly easily.
We took a break at home for a short while, then drove up to Sam's Club parking lot to practice more pre-tripping. It was too dark to pre-trip at home, and since we planned to top off the tank at Sam's, it made sense to park there and practice.
For some odd reason, I seem to freeze up at the beginning of the practice pre-trip, during the air pressure testing. There's no difference between engine off / key on / watch gauges / release spring brakes / press pedal / etc etc etc and the logical, physical steps required with a front end check, yet when Hoss, my pretend road tester, sits in the cab and tells me to begin, I blank out. I stumbled through the first two or three pre-trips, and when Hoss laughingly asked me WTF was wrong, well, I got pissed. Really pissed. Not at him, but at myself. I'm not a rocket scientist, but jeez louise, I should be gliding right through this crap by now.
And so, adrenaline kicked in. I'm mad. Air pressure testing, the very start of the pre-trip. 1st run through, screwed it up. Dammit. Restart. Another stumble. Double dammit. Start again. After 3 or 4 restarts, I finally get it right without freezing. I jump down from the cab and start the outside pre-trip, angrily rattling off the check points and going through the physical motions, rapidly, aggressively. I missed only one or two steps in the pre-trip, and only one consistently (why can't I seem to remember the rear license plate??).
We ran through the entire pre-trip several times, and although I wanted to continue until I'd had it perfected, I had to agree with Hoss that it was time to quit. We were both exhausted and ready to fuel up and return the truck. We were spent.
Today was very beneficial in many ways, but perhaps the most useful discovery was that getting pissed increases my ability to concentrate and recall. This could be very helpful, indeed.
God help the Brownie that tests me.