Profile For Pianoman

Pianoman's Info

  • Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    5 years, 11 months ago

Pianoman's Bio

A supervisor a few years back suggested I consider a career in truck driving, since I enjoy driving and it pays well. I thought about it but thought I couldn't since I have insulin-dependent diabetes. Long story short, I decided to actually start looking into it and discovered I could get a federal exemption. Eight long months later I finally finished going through the tedious process of getting an exemption. After a few months of thinking about it, I finally took the leap and signed up for company-sponsored training with Swift. The rest is history!

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Posted:  6 days, 7 hours ago

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Sweet Express... Anyone know of them?

According to that screenshot it’s 808 inspections and looks like they’re below the National average for violations so looks all right to me

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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Birthday

Happy birthday Brett!

Posted:  1 week, 4 days ago

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What's the right order to get my hazmat?

I don’t know how it is in Arizona but in Colorado you can do it in whatever order you want but you can’t actually get the endorsement until the fingerprint comes back so it’s advantageous to just get the fingerprints done first and then go take the test and get the endorsement all at once after the fingerprint comes back so you don’t have to go to the dmv twice

Posted:  1 week, 6 days ago

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Top Bunk

Dang this thread makes me think I don’t utilize the space I have in my truck as much as I could lol. I usually don’t keep anything on the top bunk. I’ve started leaving it folded up because it makes the truck feel bigger

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Little update…I’m a baby flatbedder now!

YES! Sweet Madam Blue!

Congratulations! And that’s one beautiful blue babe!

Dude yeeees lol. She's a hottie. If my lady weren't as in love with her as I am she might have given the lady a run for her money!

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Little update…I’m a baby flatbedder now!

Congrats Pianoman! Being a skateboarder is no joke, and you chose to do it just before the winter. Have fun with that! Seriously, good luck to you man. Be safe.

Thanks Turtle! Yeah I was pretty nervous about that...probably one of my biggest concerns with going flatbed. But after getting out here and seeing how it goes, particularly on the fleet I'm on I'm not too worried about it. I'm on the Denver regional fleet and most of our loads are actually pretarped which is really nice. We do run a good amount of I70 over Vail and all that but God knows I got tons of chaining experience a couple years ago doing the Denver/Grand Junction run I was on so that will help ease the learning curve alot I think. Oddly enough the one thing I didn't even think about until today when I ran through some serious rain with an empty skateboard is how it'll be more than a little interesting running 70 in the snow empty sometimes. I did it alot with an empty dry van but an empty flatbed is way more crazy.

Welcome to the the flatbedding world. Please post some more pictures and share some of your experiences.

I see a lot of System Transport trucks on the road but I very rarely see them at my shipper or receivers. So I'm curious what you'll be hauling.

Thanks Chief Brody, I most definitely will. Honestly being on the Denver fleet I will mostly be hauling the same stuff more or less every week. We do a ton of drywall, and so far I've hauled the stacked trailers you saw, a load of steel, and then rebar. Other than that alot of Lowe's and some Home Depot...just a random assortment of building materials. It generally doesn't get very interesting on this fleet but we'll have those odd loads every once in a while.

Congratulations Pianoman! System runs a great flatbed operation. Here's something unique that I have noticed about them. Of all the other flatbed companies I come across in my journeys, they appear to hire the most women drivers. We even had one of our female members working for them. I don't know if any of you remember her, but we called her "Sunshine."

Thanks Old School! I think I MIGHT remember her but it's been so long since I was on here. lol it's funny you say that because I was just telling my girlfriend the other day I was surprised I haven't seen a single female flatbedder with System yet. It doesn't surprise me that you have noticed that though because in general they seem to be really professional and non discriminatory so I don't doubt they attract more female drivers than some other outfits.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Little update…I’m a baby flatbedder now!

And yes, that truck is a beauty! Just remember to tell her that you love her several times a day. That's key to maintaining a solid relationship. BTW, what's her name? And don't tell me it's Ken, for what it's worth.

Haha I have no idea what to call her! I haven't even thought about that... anyone got any suggestions on names? I'm horrible with giving names lol

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Little update…I’m a baby flatbedder now!

Awesome news. I love my KW t680. Been curious about flatbedding down the road. Glad its working out for you.

They’re sweet dude. And I think they look great, especially the blue. I’ve never had a truck I would look back at as I’m leaving it just cause I like the way it looks 😂😂

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Little update…I’m a baby flatbedder now!

Nice rig, wished they all had went to disc brake systems over drums lol When I worked for waste management back in the 80's as a master tech they went to all disc brakes on the new Volvo's they bought, WAYYY easier to do brake jobs, if only the pads needed done, I could do a wheel in 30 minutes or less ! Other lazy techs we had took hours, milking the job!

Congrats on your new gig, good luck out there, be safe !

Yeah they’re great. I was really impressed they are using them on their trailers now too.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Little update…I’m a baby flatbedder now!

I ended up going with System Transport and just got assigned a truck on Thursday after a week of orientation and 3 days of training on the road. Driving came back sooooo fast.

Look at my truck, she’s so puuurty 😍

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I’m driving a T680 with 310k miles on it. It’s an automatic 12 speed with a big ole Cummins in it. One thing that’s cool about this company is they really invest in good equipment. All our trucks have disc brakes and all our newer trailers use disc brakes too. We’re gradually phasing out all the older ones with drum brakes. All Michelin tires (I found out at my last company that the tires make a huge difference), auto 5th wheel release, the trailer tires all have the auto fill mechanism. We have the extra air bag pressure gauges in the truck for telling the weight of the load and the trucks have a built-in inverter with a fridge and KIMS unit (basically an APU but different), and a tv mount already installed. When I picked up the truck it was absolutely spotless, probably the cleanest I’ve ever seen the interior of a truck honestly. My driver manager is the same DM my trainer had and he has kept me running super hard since I started.

Oh yeah and flatbedding is a BLAST!! I wish I’d done this years ago. I’m filthy and tired as hell but I’ve been having fun so far.

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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45 degree alley dock HELP

Congrats Bruce!!

Posted:  2 weeks, 6 days ago

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Paths To Making GOOD money as a truck driver?

My big take away from this particular thread as it progresses is that there’s plenty of ways to make the high dollar income in trucking. The key component seems to be that it lies with those companies outside of what many consider mega carriers or training companies.

Yes and no. Driving OTR for any major company pretty much is not going to get you 6 figures. But you never know what opportunities a company may have. I think it’s all about keeping your eyes open because drivers talk and you’ll find out who’s making the big bucks pretty quick. There are trainers at my company (a large 1500 truck flatbed company) making 6 figures because the company just pays trainers well. I won’t make anywhere close to that here even running my ass off because I’m not a trainer. But I agree that most of those 6 figures opportunities lie elsewhere.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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Paths To Making GOOD money as a truck driver?

I'm going to take a stab at this and anger a bunch of people.

I see NO WAY a regular W2 employee can make over 100k truck driving for any company. Now, can it be done, in theory, sure. You stay out 350 days out of the year, never see anybody, become the most unhealthy person, and die in your truck. Maybe, there's a few people pulling it off, but

Even if you did earn 100k, since you get no write offs on your taxes so your going to be paying some 17 to 18k in taxes, and more for state. That's INSANE.

Turtle, i'm sorry to pick on you, but when i google how much walmart drivers make, it says an average of 87k. That combined with the fact that every walmart driver i've ever talked to has jumped on my back, forcing me to take their contact info to drive for walmart because they're short drivers. That doesn't make any sense. Your telling me a job that will make you a millionaire in 10 years is having a hard time finding drivers when mega carriers have thousands of new drivers a week go through their program? Also, where are all these trucker millionaires?, how come i've never met one?? I've NEVER even heard a truck driver say the word millionaire out of their mouth. And there are drivers that driver for walmart for 20, 30 years? There's got to be thousands of walmart driver multi millionaires? Where are they??? Are they on Walmart Island?

The only way i can see an LTL driver making that much is if they own their own truck, get paid on a 1099. What you guys are saying doesn't make mathematical sense on this earth.

Lets even say your making .70 a mile (which i've never heard of) at 2500 miles a week without going home, staying on the road ALL year long, that's $7000 a month, that's 84k a year. that's FAR from 6 figures.

I don’t think you angered anyone. You just kind of made an ass out of yourself.

I’ve personally driven for a company where at one point I switched into a specific driving position with them and was making 2-3k a week. All the drivers in that position were clearing well over 100k a year and we were home every weekend after 4-6 days on the road. I ended up quitting the position after about 4 months and switching to a mountain driving position with the same company because the first position was just too much for me. I didn’t need the money that bad and was still going to clear over 80k in the position I switched to so it just wasn’t worth it to me. There are lots of drivers making 6 figures a year as company drivers. My experience tends to be that happy drivers don’t tend to spend much time on Internet forums so you don’t hear from them as much

Posted:  1 month ago

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President’s mandate given earlier today

I'm so ****ed about it I don't even know where to start. I feel like I don't even have a voice.

The whole premise of mandating the vaccine is "we care about people and don't want people to die" but most (not all mind you) of the people saying that have an attitude of "if you disagree with me you're uneducated and can go to hell." This also coming from the people that will bend over backwards for minorities but don't care about the minorities that the vaccine may hurt. I'm one of the majority of middle ground people who are literally just a little concerned about the vaccine because we are wary of the long term effects since we don't actually know what they are. If the vaccine was actually effective in preventing covid and if some time passed and we saw that it is pretty safe long term probably most people would get it anyways because we're all sick and tired of all this covid crap. I literally go back and forth on whether I'm going to get it or not...I'm not even against the vaccine. Literally this vaccine is not effective in preventing covid which means it is also ineffective in achieving herd immunity so why the mandate? If I'm going to get and spread covid regardless of my vaccination status why do you even care? It's all virtue signaling and ignorance at it's finest. I'm so done.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Mistakes I've made in trucking

Great post Bruce.

I've made lots of mistakes but my biggest mistake and regret is burning the bridge. I guess the bigger mistake that lead to that one was not appreciating what I had. I was bored in trucking. I think the easiest thing about trucking is actually driving the damn truck--the lifestyle, staying focused and being consistent are the harder things. I'd learned everything I could for a few years and was doing one of the most difficult runs available to me and making good money and I still just got bored doing the same thing every day and just driving. I wanted more so instead of just hanging up the keys and going to a different career like a normal person or expanding my skillset in trucking, I threw it away by not giving a damn and speeding like crazy on my way to work all the time. Not only was it reckless and selfish but it was also stupid as I had no idea what would come next. I'm glad I was caught before I hurt someone, but I wish I'd never thrown it all away because when the pandemic hit out of the blue the following year I found out in a real hurry how little I had going for me. I spent two years just trying to survive and almost lost everything.

Just got my cdl back last Thursday and got started with my new company today, and whether I stay in trucking long term or not I'm committed to appreciating what I have and doing my part to keeping the roads safe. I'm grateful for a hard lesson learned and another chance because you don't always get one. If I had to give any advice to people coming into this career it would be to be grateful for the opportunities you have and don't take them for granted. You may be on top of the world today but it can be gone in a flash.

TL;DR - I took this career for granted and threw it all away. Appreciate what you have while you have it

Posted:  1 month ago

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NTDAW 2021

Major shout to Paul/Pianoman!!!

KUDOS!!

~ Anne & Tom ~

I'm barely on here anymore haha. Glad to see you guys still here and making the trucking world a more beautiful place to be smile.gif

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Disqualifying Prescription?

You might want to just call the company you plan on going with and see if they have someone who would be qualified to answer that question for you not only in terms of DOT medical exam guidelines but also company policy. I think that would be the quickest and most accurate way to get an answer to your question.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Setting up for a straight back

I think it’s easier to back at an angle. I would usually pull past the spot and straighten up like you were saying but leave it so I was still at a slight angle to the spot and I’d turn my tractor left at the very end of my setup before I started backing. I think that’s the easiest way to set up to where you can do it in one shot. Even after yard hostling for almost a year I was never consistent enough with my setups in the truck to be able to setup for a straight back every time without messing it up. I could do it in a yard hostler but I seemed to mess it up half the time in the truck. If you do it at an angle like I like to, even if you screw up your setup a little you can usually still do it in one shot easily

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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After 3 months, I’m quitting

Go read my diary, I failed the CDL exam five times in the state of OR (backing, specifically the 90 alley dock). I would have had to wait a whole year to retest again under OR rules. I ended up having to physically move, yes you read that right, MOVE as in pack up and MOVE to a rented room at a friends house in WA state to test there with a guy who was willing to work with me. From a comfortable two bedroom where I’d lived my life to a rented room, humbling…. I passed the exam my first try.

I’ve been with May trucking for the last almost six months now, backing is still an issue for me at times. But I’ve never hit anything or wrecked a trailer or truck, I’ve goaled more times than most probably need to and I’m slow, but I’ve gotten better and things are starting to click.

If given a choice between a wide open dirt lot to park in or a PILOT or Loves, I still choose the dirt lot because at the end of the day I am tired and don’t want to risk it, be smart about it and stay dedicated. It will click

Wow man, that's some freaking DEDICATION! Holy crap. Nice job. It really does get easier with time.. Seems like every so often something new will just "click" and it'll make more sense. I struggled with backing like anyone does but it came a little more naturally to me. My biggest struggle was keeping the truck square in the lane and not swerving especially when passing or being passed by other trucks. It took about a year before that clicked too and I stopped struggling so much with it. Now it's second nature.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Question for those of you that do flatbed

Pianoman, watch Dr. Sten Ekberg on Tube, might help with your disease a lot. As far as fb loads, they are easy, if you take it easy. I've had tarps 50lb each, helped a lot with keeping my back, it is very dangerous to jump from the 2-3 days of sitting in the cab and grabbing those to carry around without "prep" exercise, Never rush yourself, look 5 times before making a move when securing a load. With your condition avoid long term physical overload.

Thanks I'll check him out! Good point about warming up, always good to do a few stretches or something so you don't pull a muscle.

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