Profile For Rayzer

Rayzer's Info

  • Location:
    NC

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    8 years, 2 months ago

Rayzer's Bio

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Posted:  7 years, 5 months ago

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Hate eating out, tips for eating on the road?

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Hello, just a question about your instantpot and inverter... is the inverter a standard modified sine wave type that I can buy at pretty much any truckstop? And do you have any trouble long term using the instantpot with the inverter, such as overheating, shutting off, etc? I've seen the plant fuelled truckers videos but I'm not sure about what brand inverter I need etc... thanks!

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Hey Jay Bear, yes, I am running a Cobra 1500 watt modified sine wave inverter that I purchased from the T/A. To date I personally have not had a single problem whatsoever running the Instant Pot, my electric skillet, or any other appliances that I use.

I hope this helps.

Posted:  7 years, 11 months ago

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Looking into schools, price difference, what companies will hire?

Yes, I would definitely start researching the company you are interested in and call and talk to their recruiter. They will be able to tell you what driving schools they will accept from and which ones they will not. If you start looking at schools first, at least look for ones that are certified by the Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI). In my area, Central North Carolina, a lot of your top companies hire from the local community colleges that offer a PTDI certified course, my company included (Epes Transport - Greensboro, NC). Good luck!

Posted:  8 years ago

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Bungy cords can be dangers

Yeah, those bungies can be bad news. I watched a guy up in Gary, IN tarping a coil one day almost lose an eye when he was pulling the bungie tight and it snapped. The hook only scratched his eyeball, but it about ripped his lower eyelid right off his face. It was pretty nasty and I did what I could with my first aid kit, but he still had to go to the E.R. Never did find out how that turned out for him.

I would highly recommend anyone tugging on those stupid things to wear eye protection, even if you are observing someone working with them.

Posted:  8 years ago

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Mountain driving scares the #### out of me

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The Shiva, man you sure do back down easy!

Remember, this is why you are with a trainer. This is the time you want to be exposed to new and challenging things. If you're too scared to try to ride the bike with training wheels on it what in the world are ya going to do when they're gone?

Ok, forgive me, but this career will not allow you to stay in the comfort zone of your own choosing. Everyday is a new challenge and a new experience. It's a never ending journey in the exploration of pushing all your limits.

There is nothing to fear about those mountains. A smart truck driver allows the truck to do all the work, and beside an occasional and brief small amount of pressure on the brake pedal from you, it will. It's not like your foot on the brakes is holding back all those downward forces of gravity. The truck is designed to do it all. Slow and easy in the proper gear with that Jake doing its thing, and it's a walk in the park.

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I'm not quitting, but the mountains are scary to me. I went up and down the 3 sisters, and that big one in Tennessee. It's that big one on the way to Los Angeles that really scares me. But I will be in a low gear, using the Jake brake and stabbing the brakes. My trainer just told me I'm gonna drive down that mountain to get it over with.

Respect the mountain, but don't fear it. Just remember to not let other drivers dictate how fast you go down a mountain. You will see other drivers almost trying to bully you down a mountain by riding right on your tail. Either tell them to get off your tail or slow down even more and maybe they will get the hint.

Todays trucks do very well and as long as your truck is in good mechanical condition and your trainer is awake, which he better be (if not pull over and make him get up before going down) then you will be just fine. Just take it slow and easy and do not panic and listen to your trainer because I can assure you that he doesn't want to die any more than you do. You'll get the hang of it and before you know it you'll be helping someone else down a mountain. It really is no big deal, you'll do just fine.

Posted:  8 years ago

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OK so what's the deal with Prime lease?

I fail to see how it can be possible for there to be a 90 mile difference even if they are basing it off zip code to zip code. You show me any place in the usa that has a 45 mile area in a single zip code and I'll eat my socks after a long sweaty day of welding. Even san antonio which isn't 45 miles from 1 end of our outer loop to the other has at least 8 zip codes in that range, your average distance across a zip code is probably 10-15 miles top, so at 15 miles to assume you went from the very edge of 1 zip code to the furthest edge of the other you should only lose 30 miles... not 90.

Things like this are lessening my desire to work for prime tbh. I don't want to lease and there are plenty of other good companies I can go to where I will get paid for the miles I drive. The way I see it, if you don't want to pay me for every mile that turns on that odometer while doing something for the company, then you shouldn't pay me CPM and instead should pay me an hourly wage.

Sounds like what a lot of companies do; they pay you by HHG miles (Household Movers Guide), which in my opinion is crap, but it's pretty standard in trucking. There are companies that pay practical miles, but not as many as there should be. And of course, my favorite is hub miles, but good luck finding a company that pays that. It's almost like trying to find a unicorn with a golden horn.

Anyway, I know it sucks, but if you are going to be in this industry then you really have to just accept that this is a standard practice of paying HHG miles and move on. It also sucks sitting around at a customer, especially when you had an appointment time that you showed up on time for and still have to wait for hours. It's just another one of those things that you/we have to accept if we're going to stay in trucking.

I promise you that if you start job hopping trying to find the perfect company that you will end up always chasing greener pastures. My best advice to newer drivers is just stay where you are at for a few years and REALLY do your research while you are getting good experience and then make your move to a good company. Walmart for example; their average driver makes approx $82,000 per year, but they are looking for top notch drivers with little to no job hopping. If you start hopping from job to job trying to find the perfect job the only thing you are going to accomplish is getting writers cramp when you fill out the job application and have to list all the info for every company you've worked for for the past 10 years. Trust me, I know.

Posted:  8 years ago

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Is it the same as driving a standard (manual) car?

I suppose you already know that several companies are in the process, or have already, switched to fully automatic transmissions. I've heard that it was to help attract more women to trucking because many of them had fears of the gears. Anyway, if this is a concern for you then I would suggest trying to find a company that has automatics. My company, Epes Transport, started ordering all automatics because of the fuel mileage benefits. We have the new Detroit automatics and I have to say that I really like it compared to the Eaton automatics.

You hear a lot of guys saying that they will never drive an automatic and that they are for wimps (among other words), but after nearly 20 years of changing gears I'm tired of it and it only takes a few times getting stuck in Atlanta, Chicago, L.A., or the Cross Bronx during rush hour to change your way of thinking about them.

I think a lot of guys are just intimidated by them because they have heard things (usually untrue) about how you have no control while going down steep mountain grades, which is completely false. You have all the control in the world with them. Or you also hear how they are terrible in snow and that you get stuck a lot easier. Also untrue. I have had an automatic (2 that I owned and 3 company trucks) for a total of about 5 1/2 to 6 years total and the ONLY advantage that I have found is that if you kill your batteries and are able to get your truck rolling and have a manual trans is that you can get it started. Other than that call me lazy or a wimp, but give me my automatic. I like having the extra legroom to stretch out by not having a clutch pedal in the way.

Posted:  8 years ago

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Bad truck wreck

I passed this wreck this morning in VA on I-85 just north of XIT 42. The only thing I can figure is that at 1:30 AM this guy was dead asleep not to see the emergency lights of police and fire vehicles. He hit the fire truck first and split it in half, then went on to hit the police car, ripped through 200 feet of guardrail, then finally flipped over on its left side. Luckily, according to the news, no one died. This is why I hate driving at night because I'm not a night person and you let me get out in the middle of nowhere where it's completely dark and boom, boom, out go the lights! Guess it's a sign of getting old...LOL.

Link to channel 6 news truck wreck

Posted:  8 years ago

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Hate eating out, tips for eating on the road?

I bought an Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) after following Plant Fueled Trucker on facebook. My blood pressure and weight were just out of control even with meds. Out of fear of losing my CDL this coming June, I figured I had better make some drastic changes to the nearly 20 years of processed, prepackaged, and fast foods that I have been consuming. I switched to a mostly plant based diet. I know it sounds like yuck, but it has actually been a very pleasant and easy diet to follow. With the Instant Pot I make homemade soups, brown rice, oatmeal, and more. I also bought an electric skillet (the absolute best purchase I've ever made for the truck) which I make veggie stir fry, reheat meals, and a ton of other stuff.

I usually always get through the house every week and I stock up on every vegetable known to man, brown rice, fruits, homemade soups and stews. I also carry a butt load of spices and healthy condiments for when I cook in the truck. I also cut out all soda and fruit juices (because of the extra added sugars) and now I only drink water and almond milk. I've pretty much cut out all meat - for now - and although it's been 11 weeks that I have been on this diet, I haven't really missed it at all. I bought a cookbook specifically for electric pressure cookers and they have had some really good and satisfying recipes in there that take very little time to prepare and make. I also make wraps with whole wheat flat bread and leftover veggie stir fry. With those wraps I will also spread natural peanut butter on one, lay a whole banana down on the peanut butter and drizzle a small amount of honey over it...very good! I also use honey and cinnamon, instead of sugar, in my Uncle Sam's and plain Post shredded wheat cereal. Same with my oatmeal.

After 11 weeks of doing this diet, I weighed myself yesterday after getting home and discovered I finally hit the 20 pounds lost milestone. My blood pressure is starting to drop and hopefully I will be off my medications for good at the end of the year, or at least shortly thereafter. If so, this will be the first time in 21 years that I won't need medication. So far without exercise, but I hope to be getting a road bike and a trainer after Christmas and removing my passenger seat so that I can fit it in there to start working out.

Anyway, I highly advise anyone just starting out, or anyone really, to don't start hitting all the crap food at the truck stops. It is very easy and convenient to do so, but I will cause you nothing but grief in a few short years.

Oh yeah, I only have an electric cooler, an Instant Pot, an electric skillet, a single burner electric eye, and a 1500 watt inverter that my company requires that they install.

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Right hand turn, in city, with traffic in opposite lane

Yeah, that is one of those scenarios that you have to figure out your best move once you encounter it because there are so many solutions depending on the actual situation. I know that sounds vague, but there is no right or wrong answer. I will say, however, that Google Maps is your friend. I always pull up Google Maps when I'm going into a new customer that I've never been to and search each turn into that customer. If I see a problem intersection, I always look for alternate ways in there. If I don't find any, then at least I know how to approach that intersection when the time comes. Most, and I stress the word most, people are pretty understanding of what is required of them for you to make a turn like that and you might just have to do your button-hook turn as far as you can and then leave it up to them to clear the way for you. One more thing I ALWAYS, ALWAYS do once people start maneuvering out of my way is to make eye contact and give them a wave to let them know I appreciate them helping me out. I like to think that if you give the wave then people are a little more eager to help out the next guy they encounter in the same situation. Maybe that works, or maybe it doesn't, but I like to think it does.

Posted:  8 years, 1 month ago

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Questions/discussion about going Owner/Operator

And I think that even Rayzer himself would agree with me when I say you not only need to have that cash reserve set aside, but goodness man, you need to get some experience first, and not just three to six months either. You are green and fresh out of the bud, you do not have a clue about what you are about to embark upon. Get out there on someone else's dime for the first few years, it will be way better to learn the ropes while letting someone with deeper pockets absorb your mistakes as you learn what it takes to survive in this jungle.

Absolutely, Old School! I definitely agree with you, well said!

I won't lie about it; becoming an O/O is exciting! The fact that you are a business owner is something a lot of people dream of, no matter what profession you choose. But at the same time it is terrifying just to think of all the things that can and WILL go wrong. You don't know where and you don't know when, but they will go wrong. And God help you if you have a second bunk in your truck because there are going to be times that you swear Murphy has moved into one of them...good luck evicting him, he can be tenacious.

As Old School said, learn the ropes first, you will be very glad you did in the end. You shouldn't be in a hurry to jump into the world of business ownership if you are still trying to learn to float your gears. In fact, I'm not sure anyone should jump into it until you can navigate east of the Mississippi River (or west, if that's where you live) without pulling out your atlas every time you get a load. There is so much to learn about driving a truck and even after 19 1/2 years I can honestly say that there are still very few weeks that I don't learn something, or at the very least re-learn something that I forgot. As much as there is to know about driving a truck, there is so much more to learn about not only being a truck driver, but being a good, or even a great truck driver. But when you throw in all the extra stuff that you have to learn to be a safe, productive, and profitable business owner, whew, it could become too overwhelming and end up driving a person out of trucking altogether.

Just remember, not only will you be doing the normal duties of a company driver, but you also take on the added responsibility of making sure your preventive maintenance is done in a timely manner, you will handle your own breakdowns (depending on the company they might help some), you will have to find a good tax person to handle your taxes (quarterly and annually) and I do stress a good tax person. There are also other taxes you will have to pay like your HUT (2290) of $550 every year, fuel taxes (depending on your company), and road taxes (depending on your company). You might (depending on which state you live in) have to pay workman's comp or some form of it. You will have to either get your truck insurance through the company you lease to or go out on your own and buy it. It seems like everyone has their hand out when you jump into ownership, but if you lease on to a good company they really help with a lot of the stuff you deal with. They will help with reminders about taxes that are coming due, finance breakdowns, you will get deep discounts on tires, batteries, parts, fuel, etc.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to sound like I am discouraging you from doing something you might be considering, I just think you, and anyone else looking for answers, should have as much information as you can get to make the best decision possible for yourself. One final piece of advice and I will shut up. If you do decide to take the plunge, make sure to surround yourself with successful O/O's, ones that have been out there and proven themselves. They are not hard to miss. Their trucks are usually in immaculate condition. And they are usually the quiet ones that know to stay away from the loud mouths bellied up to the bar at the Iron Skillet or Country Pride. They are also not the ones on the radio bragging about how much money they make. Stay far away from those that look like their truck should be condemned by the state yet bolster how much money they are making and somehow can't seem to find the shower room. Nothing good can come from that type...trust me.

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