Profile For Older Newbie

Older Newbie's Info

  • Location:
    San Antonio, TX

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:
    Older Newbie On The Web

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 8 months ago

Older Newbie's Bio

I've been in another business, as a business owner successfully, for the last 42 years.

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Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Why Small Trucking Companies Are Often A Disaster Waiting To Happen - article by Brett Aquila

Yes Rainy... Thanks for the reminder Junkyard Dog... I too hope you are ok. Sorry to hear you were in an accident. Hang in there, Tony

Posted:  4 years, 11 months ago

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Why Small Trucking Companies Are Often A Disaster Waiting To Happen - article by Brett Aquila

Hey Gang, It's been a while since I've had a chance to respond to a topic but here goes. First Brett I think your article and many of the responses have been insightful and right on the money. The one thing not mentioned, and probably because most new or newer drivers don't get this exposure, are the specialized/ niche companies. Yes, they are oftentimes not huge...20 to 40 trucks...but they also provide services not seen at the mega carriers. It's not in a mega carriers interest to invest in say, heavy haul equipment for example, because the business model they are using doesn't work as well in that world. I'm sure there are big, or huge, or even mega carriers doing that stuff, but most of what I've dealt with from them is traditional 18 wheel commodities. ( Many of the specialized companies are o/o trucks leased on to them ) What I have been doing has been 10 axle to 13 axle heavy haul, with loads in excess of 235,000 lbs and 200 feet long. The company I'm presently with has a small division that supports this while they focus much of their efforts on their primary freight. I have found that "smaller" companies actually can thrive in a "specialized" world, but their requirements for drivers is out of reach for newer drivers. The owner operators I deal with all make money. Let me repeat that... they all make money. But...and here is the catch...they also have 200 to 400 thousand dollars wrapped up in their rigs and they have lots of years of experience. I guess my point is this; owning your own truck to haul everyday normal commodities is a recipe for disaster. One cannot compete against the mega carriers. So, you are right. But, there are a few people out there who are doing very well indeed and yes they own their own truck...they don't haul regular stuff and they offer services and experience that are hard to come by. I got very lucky. Not sure what my end game is going to reveal but I do know that in the niche I'm in...there is a very lucrative future. You all take care, be safe and I look forward to reading more of your articles and forum chats. Tony

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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A Commencement Speech For Truck Driving School Graduates - article by Old School

Brett you are so right. It should be compulsory for every driver headed to orientation. I think out of the graduates from our class... near 26 or so, only 3 or 4 are still at it. Out of my orientation I know of only 2 of us that made it past the first year, and both of us have moved on to better opportunities. Old School is really gifted us all with his insight, as have all of you guys here. Keep it up ok. There are days I'm sure for all of us, when a little outside perspective is very very helpful. Thanks again, Tony

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Commencement speach

Ha ha, Nothing mundane about what you're doing Old School. I am probably just one of the drivers with a screw loose or two willing to pull insane lengths. Pulled a 146 foot beam not long ago...total truck length was just under 200 feet and almost 200,000 lbs!. I'm still trying to get my heart rate down lol. Take care...be smart...and we will talk again soon. Tony

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Commencement speach

Oops... Forgive the misspelled title...

Posted:  5 years, 9 months ago

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Commencement speach

Hey Old School, Nice job...great speech...AND SO VERY TRUE! It was great to see as I'm sitting at a job site/delivery location with a 125 foot beam chained to my truck and trailer. It made me think about those first few carefree moments of glee having just passed my CDL written and driving tests, wondering what the future held. Moments later, not sure how many actually...the reality of my situation pushed to the forefront of my thoughts..." oh crap...now what?!" Almost 2 years later I can tell you that your speech hit the nail on the head. It's been fun, scary, exciting, humiliating, thrilling and satisfying. Like you, having had my own business I knew the value of hard work and determination, but even knowing that, nothing really prepares you for what this industry is about. My previous career was and is performance based...you were only as good as your last job...period. As you have so eloquently stated, trucking is just like that. No excuses, no laying blame, just get it done. Thanks for your participation on this website. I don't always take the time to acknowledge the contributions of everybody but I can assure you that what is written here has been helpful and absorbed, studied and reviewed, so that I can be the best "driver" that I can be. 2 years in I feel pretty good, but I also know I have lots to learn and will never stop pushing myself and learning...every day. Thanks again, Tony

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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18 months in

Thanks All for the kind words. Yes it has been fun...and scary, challenging, exhilarating and a lot of other adjectives. The thought of pulling a load 3 times longer than a 53 foot trailer can be intimidating to say the least. Strangely though you learn to take it in stride. You slow down, use your brain and think through each move way before you do something. I've got great teachers and mentors around and the team I'm working with has made the transition as painless as possible. We usually work either in pairs or as a group of about 4 to 5 trucks so we try to quite literally keep each other out of the ditch or off telephone poles and signs and other things. As you can imagine turning is ALWAYS interesting! We use steerable trailers, controlled by the driver so the driver behind helps keep you out of trouble. The last truck however in the "convoy" usually has a lot more experience since his extra eyes are the pilot car at the rear and communicating with them is key. I've been at the back a few times now, usually with loads under 140 feet and I can tell you, one feels the pressure of that position big time! The term "city driving" takes on a whole new meaning when you're menuevering 140 to 200 feet through traffic, trying to stay together, and you have cars, motorcycles and other trucks literally zipping around you. It seems your mirrors aren't big enough and your head is moving so fast from mirror to mirror that you feel like a bobble head. We have all joked that we look out to the mirrors as much or more than we look out the front! My first long load; a beam of 140 feet; was into Houston just after the curfew lifted for oversize loads...about 9:30 if I recall. The traffic was insane and I'm sure I must have looked freaked out by the time we got to out job site. Needles to say I survived but the "pucker factor" was way up there. Our lead driver laughed that it took about 5 minutes to get me peeled off the seat when we finally got to our job site. And getting in and out of job sites is often a slow and careful process. One misstep and everything comes to a grinding halt. Ok... enough for now... You all take care and I'll stay in touch.

Posted:  6 years, 1 month ago

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18 months in

Hey Everyone,

I have been a little busy and haven't taken the time to give you an update on my driving career in many months. So here goes.

I took your advice and stayed with my first driving job over a year. Glad I did because it was a huge learning experience from the get go. Hauled dry van and then reefers all over the place in every weather and situation one can imagine. Including a couple of hurricanes and a blizzard or two. The last 10 months I hauled reefers and found it to be challenging and frustrating all at the same time. It's the nature of reefers to sit at docks and wait sometimes for hours and for me that was a frustration but one learns to adjust and get over it so it all worked out.

I spent a lot of off hours reading and following this web site so it wasn't a loss as far as I saw it...I was learning the whole time.

I left that company with a great reputation and have been asked to come back several times so I must have done something right. In fact my fleet manager and I have spoken regularly since my departure and if I wanted I could go back there any time.

Starting this January I made a move I have been very happy with.

I have wanted to get into flat bed for a long time with the end goal doing heavy haul. In fact I was recruited by a major flat bed company and went to orientation for them. In the end though that didn't work for reasons I am to this day not sure of. Turned out to be a blessing however as I immediately landed a heavy haul job making lots more than I thought was possible.

I get the physical work that I love and need; I have to think about my load in ways I never did before; it's an intense challenge...which I love...and best of all...I get to see my family more!

After 3 months doing this I'm in better physical shape, better mental shape, a better driver and I get to do something seriously outrageous! Drive a big rig weighing just about 200,000 pounds and total bumper to bumper lengths of almost 200 feet. In some ways I can't believe I'm doing this and in other ways I feel this is what I was meant to do. Haul insane weight and lengths and do it well.

I'm not an expert; not yet anyway, so don't take my statement of "doing well" as bragging. But I'm doing well and learning all the time and having fun at the same time. My boss/dispatcher loves what I'm doing and how I do it so things are working out well. I was given a Peterbilt they were saving for the "right" driver this month so frankly I'm a happy camper!

I would like to add a thank you to Brett and Old School. You two in particular were a great help to me. Your articles and responses to my queries have been a big help.

In the end, I survived my first 18 months...and I plan on sticking with this. It isn't easy. I'm glad of that. But when the day is done and I look back on it, the sense of accomplishment I have felt and feel right now far exceeds the difficulty... and for that... I'm grateful.

Be safe out there drivers and remember; you may be sitting in that cab by yourself...but you're not alone. We...all of us...have been or are, in the place you are.

Hang in there, it really is worth it.

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Backing in CDL school

Back to backing... Question for you GTOWN and Brett and Old School... When you first got started did you find it easier or more difficult to back squarely, meaning lined up just right...when you had lots of room to play with ? For instance; I find it easier to get lined up and parked when I have other trucks or objects around, either at a dock or in a yard. Backing with just lines on the ground seems like it would be easier but I have found that the reference of another truck or trailer really helps my backing. I'm sure it's a matter of practice practice practice but was wondering if it's a common issue. I have to force myself to concentrate differently when I have tons of room and no other objects around Makes me laugh at myself actually. Tony

Posted:  6 years, 9 months ago

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Backing in CDL school

Brett, It really is about set up isn't it? Bad set up...bad backing...good set up and your chances improve exponentially. I also watch everyone park after I'm done for the day/night. It helps watching others, at least for me anyway, as it allows me a chance to see the difference's in everyone's style and technique. Frankly I sometimes feel as if it should be a part of the schooling...spend a day at the truck stop just watching and learning from others as they deal with real world parking issues. I'm not judging others or critical of others but it really is an eye opener when you see someone roll in with a long wheelbase truck make it look easy after you've seen a day cab struggle with the same spot. Cheer's to all, Tony

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