I did it.
I passed the basic skills test, and then passed the road driving test. I may have cheated a tiny bit during that backing up part, but I'll become much more proficient with practice. The road test was all me. My shifting was a bit rough in places [I slowed to 15mph, clutched out of 7th gear, gunned the engine, and shifted smoothly into 5th - without depressing the clutch pedal! D'OH! I don't know if the examiner saw that - it would have counted against me] and even jerky at times. All my cornering was good, and I was looking in my mirrors frequently (both very good). Best of all, I did not hit anything.
It definitely helped that the examiner was in a good mood. [Propriety prevents me from stating why.] All four of us passed the basic skills test (one retested the same day and passed). One of us passed his pre-trip test. I was the only one that passed the road test on the first attempt. I fear that at least one person may have failed on his second attempt. At that time I took the necessary paperwork, said my goodbyes, and headed for the barber shop.
My barber had gone to lunch. To pass the time I did two things to celebrate: bought melatonin tablets (I ran out this week), and Navy blue twin-size flannel sheets. After standing in snow flurries for at least two hours that morning, and being proud of myself, flanell sheets for a future truck berth seemed an appropriate means of celebration.
After a mane removal, I spent an inordinate amount of time locating the CDL facility in South Holland, IL. Once there, I tested for Doubles and Triples (# of trailers), Tankers, and HazMat endorsements. Passed them all. I had been rightly concerned about the Hazmat one. Now I am CDL-ified with all of the endorsements (and for that matter endorphins while the warm glow lasts) that I desired. I now seem to be capable of becoming a truck driver.