Profile For Minnis B.

Minnis B.'s Info

  • Location:
    Chapmanville, WV

  • Driving Status:
    Rookie Solo Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 4 months ago

Minnis B.'s Bio

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Minnis B.'s Photo Gallery

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Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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Another side of local. My experience with a small local company

Minnis your courage and persistence is admirable. I appreciate what you wrote...applicable for everyone; newbies and not so newbies.

Thanks for posting this. Really good stuff!

Safe travels!

Thanks G-Town. It's definitely taken a lot of courage to get where I am now. I nearly gave up my first day back and many times after. Just have to remind myself I was born for this.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Another side of local. My experience with a small local company

Thank you for shedding light on your job. Always interesting to see what type of things people are using their CDLs for. Minnis, out of curiosity how has your driving/awareness changed from that accident you had very early in your career?

Well Rob, to be honest the first month or so after returning was hell. I clenched up every time the truck started leaning even a little. That has since calmed greatly, I still have a mini panic attack when I get into a pretty hard lean but it's improving. I learned I was just not ready to run with the big dogs which is exactly what caused my accident. I became overconfident in my abilities. Now I still run pretty hard but I run at a speed and in a gear that I can come to a complete stop in a reasonable amount of time if something jumps out at me. I've also gotten to the point of knowing every inch of the roads I travel on daily, I can almost see around a blind curve and know where I have an "out" if the need arises. I've started paying more attention to these 4 wheelers. It's the same ones day in and day out 99% of the time with a few unexpected ones sprinkled in for fun. I've noticed they are creatures of habit and when I see a particular one I just about know exactly what he's going to do before he does it. I noticed they have a particular time frame they travel in and they're usually in groups so if I notice it getting to be a certain time I will drag my feet so to speak in order to pass the group in a wider section of the road. I guess you could say laying on my side that day really opened up my eyes. I'm much more aware of my surroundings at all times and even more so when I'm fully loaded.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Another side of local. My experience with a small local company

Now that the weather is getting nice, when I roll in one of them usually has the grill rolling cooking up some steaks, chicken, burgers etc. for anyone that wants to eat. That's hard to come by these days. We also had a big Christmas party last year, I had been working for the company for 3 days, I show up to the party and was welcomed with open arms and a $100 Christmas bonus check. That's even harder to come by these days. It's not all great though. Like I mentioned earlier about my coworker waiting for 6 hours today, a few weeks ago I had a bolt go through one of my tires and was down for 4 hours waiting on a mechanic. Last week I had an NOx sensor go bad on my truck causing it to slightly derate because that sensor wouldn't allow it to regenerate while driving so every few rounds I had to stop for 30 minutes or so to perform a parked regeneration. When the DPF system is operating normally I never need to do a parked regeneration. This really hurt my pay last week as my load count dropped drastically. Another issue is we drive on some extremely rough roads going in and out of these mines and my airbag for my seat is busted meaning I have to sit on the floor and take every bump the truck takes leading to a VERY sore back and rear end. Told the main boss about it and he just says he will get around to ordering the part as soon as he can. It's been 2 months now.

That's all I can really think of right now, it's been a pretty rough day. If I can think of anything else I'll add to this later or if anyone else has any questions feel free to post them and I'll do my best to answer.

Posted:  3 weeks, 1 day ago

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Another side of local. My experience with a small local company

I have been debating writing this for a while now. So far I'm roughly 5 months into my local gig and it's been quite an experience so far. I know the forum focuses mainly on helping new drivers get rolling and if I had it to do over again I would definitely go OTR for a while instead of breaking staight into a local job. I just thought since many people ask about local jobs I'd share my experience with it and also my experiences working with a small company.

*My type of work is not typical and is DEFINITELY dependant on location*

I guess to start off I work for a smallish company named FTL LTD. We have around 60 trucks right now ranging from 1996 to 2018 models. It's a mixture of roughly 75% tandem axle dump trucks (which is what I drive) and 25% tractor trailers. All are either Freightliner FLD's or Coronado's or Peterbilt 379's. We haul gravel, sand, dirt, asphalt, coal, or anything else that can be loaded into a dump truck or trailer. I personally haul coal so that's what this will mostly center around.

There are some perks to this type of job and there's also some downfalls. In the end though things usually work out for the best. I'll list a few of each and try to go into more detail on each as we go along.

First the perks, we are exempt from HOS regulations, we are home usually by 5 pm daily and have weekends off, I hear from my boss once per day which is a text telling me what time we will start getting loaded the next morning, we can fuel when and where we want.

The downfalls would be we are paid by the load with no pay for breakdowns/hold ups or anything else, if we don't dump anload of coal in the bin we don't get paid. Being a small company can be rough when it comes to break downs as well. Today a coworker had a rock somehow get in between the air lines coming from his secondary tank shutting him down, usually OTR with a large company this wouldn't be a big deal. Our shop is roughly an hour and a half away from the job site and we only have 2 mechanics on duty on day shift. My coworker sat and waited SIX HOURS for a mechanic to come and it only took about 10 minutes and a $2 coupling to get him rolling again. He lost $120 pay today over a $2 fitting. That's hard to swallow sometimes but it's part of trucking unfortunately.

Now I live in West Virginia and we have what is called the Coal Resource Transportation System. This entity issues special overweight permits for trucks that haul coal. I obviously have a permit on my truck but it applies only to coal. If I am hauling gravel for instance, I am allowed 66,000 lbs gross weight on my 10 wheel dump truck. If I am hauling coal I am allowed 90,000 lbs gross weight plus a 5% overage which totals 94,500 lbs gross weight on the same truck. Usually 30 tons is what I haul which puts me around 92,300 lbs with a full tank of fuel. It definitely takes some guts (or pure idiocy) to haul this kind of weight on these small winding 2 lane back roads with 4 wheelers playing Nascar all around you.

My day begins at 3:45 am when my alarm goes off. I get up, pack a lunch, usually eat a Jimmy Dean biscuit, dress and am out the door by 5 am. I spend about 5 minutes starting my paperwork for the day and about 20 minutes doing a pre trip. Around 5:25 I start the engine and let it be warming up while I fill out my pre trip sheet. When 5:30 comes I put the ol girl in gear and it's off to the races. I have roughly a 50 minute commute and the job starts generally at 6 am. That puts me getting there around 6:20. Yes, I'm late. There's a reason for this though. It may not make sense to some people but it works out very well for me. We have a total of 11 trucks on this particular haul. I personally like to run in the middle of the pack. I'm not skilled enough yet to run with the big boys but I'm confident enough to run a little faster than the brand new guys. All 5 of the big boys are sitting at the gate at 5:30 before the mine even opens for the day. Remember I get paid by the load? Sure I could show up at 6 like is supposed to happen but I'm sitting there for free. I'm not a big fan of doing anything for free if it can be avoided. Well it takes the loader man around 25 minutes to load those first 5 trucks. I get there at 6:20 and he's usually starting on the last truck as I'm pulling in. I only wait 5 minutes before I get paid this way and get a little extra sleep too. The only way it would end differently is if I showed up more than an hour earlier than I do so it works out in the end. All about learning tricks of your trade. The new guys aren't used to getting up so early and don't roll in til 6:30 or later so I end up getting to run exactly how I like.

As long as things go good during the day I end up usually with 9-10 loads per day which grosses me $180-200 per day. More can be made on some OTR jobs but it's a trade off, I make a little less but I get to be home every evening and all weekend from Friday evening until Monday morning. It's worth it to me.

I have 2 bosses, Steve and Odie, we are on a first name basis and I feel free to call them at any hour for any reason. They are very good people. All they ask of me is to show up and try not to break anything expensive lol. That's my goal anyway so no problem there. I drive my personal vehicle to the shop every Saturday to turn in my load tickets (how we get paid) and grab some grease, DEF and any other fluids or bulbs I may need for the week.

To be continued...

Posted:  3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Had my first accident and boy did I make it count

Very well put Old School. To be honest, if I had it to do over I would have spent a year or more over the road before tackling this beast but I got big headed and starry eyed. At least I have learned from this mistake and if ever put in this situation again I'll be better prepared to handle it. Here's to many more safe miles for everyone.

Posted:  3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Had my first accident and boy did I make it count

No I'm not taking it that way at all. I have actually been around these coal haulers my entire life. It's kind of the family trade hence why I was only running 35 mph in a 45 mph zone in a straight stretch. One day of the 6 weeks was spent on training and it was location specific training not exactly driving. Looking back on it I know exactly what I should have done but at the time my body disagreed. I would also chalk this up to lack of actual real world experience.

Anyone thinking about getting into the industry that may be reading this, I highly advise starting over the road and getting some miles under your belt. Especially before trying to tackle this kind of rodeo. We are talking being overloaded nearly 50% with an unbelievably high center of gravity. My situation was unique as I said, I've been around this particular sector of trucking my entire life. Also please take my advice, just because you think you are prepared for every situation and have an answer for every question in your head does not mean when it comes to apply that knowledge you will do it correctly. You are a new driver as am I and the only way to gain the actual experience is to see it or go through it yourself. You can run hypotheticals all day long but in the end they're just hypothetical. No 2 situations will be identical.

G-Town, Old School, I think both of you understand what I was trying to get at with that last paragraph, I don't feel like I explained myself correctly so if one of you or anyone else could maybe take it a little deeper or even set me straight if I'm wrong please feel free to do so. There's a very important lesson to be learned here about being prepared but I don't have the words at the moment.

Posted:  3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Had my first accident and boy did I make it count

Thanks guys. No dashcam yet but it really wasn't needed. This sort of thing happens more often on this particular road than anyone cares to admit. DOT didn't even show up. Deputy sheriff came and filed a report and that was about it.

Posted:  3 months, 4 weeks ago

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Had my first accident and boy did I make it count

So as some may remember I started straight off with a local company hauling coal about 6 weeks ago as my first actual trucking job. Well Monday morning was going great, light traffic, good weather, and I was on track to make an excellent load count that day. Around 1200 the another local mine has a shift change so traffic picks up a bit. Around 1300 I was about 1/4 way into my 6th load of the day. I'm loaded at roughly 90k gross (permitted 94.5k gross on my dump truck) and running around 35 mph in a 45 mph zone taking it easy. As I come to the end of a straight stretch a small 4 wheeler pops around the curve more than half in my lane. My first instinct is to hold my lane and slow WAY down but subconsciously I think I eased to the right because the next thing I know I feel the soft shoulder give way and my truck sliding into the ditch. Now here's where things got hairy. I SHOULD have just rode the ditch until I stopped but not realizing how far in I was I tried getting back on to the road and succeeded momentarily. When my drives came up onto the pavement the momentum built and caused my load to shift over and flopped my truck onto the driver's side. I ended up with some bruises, major soreness and a fractured fibula but for the most part I'm ok. God was watching over me. With that kind of weight, on that road, in that accident, I shouldn't be home resting fairly comfortably on my couch with a job to return to once I'm healed and all my medical expenses covered. Below are some pics of what's left of the truck. The cab protector went through the roof right above my head. It's totaled according to the owner.

Truck wreck 1

Truck wreck 2

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Hauled my first heavy load this week

Haha that's ok OS, autocorrect never liked my name much. The beautiful thing about this haul is it's on an old backroad where we are the only traffic for hours at a time but i still stay well under the speed limit since it can be narrow and curvy in places.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Hauled my first heavy load this week

Forgot to mention the heavy load part. We haul generally 32-34 tons of coal each load on these dump trucks. We gross pretty close to tractor trailer loads. We can do this due to having a drop/tag axle setup and the county we haul in has weight exemptions for trucks hauling coal. In comparison I have an uncle in VA that drives a similar truck and he's only allowed 25 tons of product.

Posted:  5 months, 1 week ago

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Hauled my first heavy load this week

As a few may have read in my previous posts, I've had a bit of a time finding my place in the trucking community. Until recently I was working for a company where I would occasionally haul small dozers and excavators, nothing big. Well that industry is sort of seasonal and with winter setting in work got slower and slower to the point we shut down til spring. I somehow hit the jackpot though as my boss has several friends in the coal industry. He referred me to his friend that was in need of a few drivers. Made contact with the guy, did a driving test, urine screen and a few hour ride along to get a feel for the job. We both decided it was a great fit and I accepted the job. Unknown to him I was jumping up and down in my head with excitement as this is pretty much the exact job I've wanted since I was 5 years old or so. So now I think I may have found the company I want to retire from. We are a small (45 trucks or so) company where everyone is on a first name basis with the owner. The trucks are somewhat older (my truck is an 07 Freightliner tandem axle dump with the Detroit 60 series and an 18 speed) but they are VERY well maintained. I will be hauling the same loads at the same location 6 days a week from 6 am until 4 pm and until 1 pm on Saturday. The pay is excellent at $20 per load and I average 10-12 loads per day. Only downside is there are no benefits but that's why they're paying so much better than others. There are several different kinds of loads within the company from coal to asphalt to gravel and many different jobsites for each variety so the possibilities are near endless. As I said earlier I feel like I've hit the jackpot as every company I spoke to about similar jobs required 2-5 years experience. I guess it pays to know people sometimes. My truck is in the shop until Monday having it's regular service and a few other things fixed so when I pick her up Monday evening I'll try to get a picture to post here. There was probably no reason to make this thread but I'm so excited about this opportunity I couldn't help myself.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Considering a change soon. Worth it?

Thanks Patrick, I fully anticipate them expecting me to be very good investment of time and resources in a very short time. In fact I expect myself to be a top performer at the company within a few months as my way of showing my gratitude for the opportunity. I do wonder though if down the line things change that I can be away for extended periods could this be counted as experience to some of the larger carriers seeing as it's sort of a dedicated regional type of position.

Posted:  7 months, 1 week ago

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Considering a change soon. Worth it?

As a few may remember I had a bit of a bumpy start in this career. I was set up by a friend for a job hauling oversized loads and it fell through for reasons I was not told. I then got hooked up with Werner. I sold my only vehicle to get the money to go and live somewhat comfortably until I got out of training and could actually turn decent miles. Well the night before I was supposed to get on the Greyhound for the Springfield Ohio terminal I had to run out to town and get a few last minute things. I borrowed my mom's truck and like a fool I assumed everything is good to go on it.

Get in town and get pulled over. Turns out she had no insurance on her truck and I got a ticket. Talked to my recruiter before getting on the Greyhound since I had a court date for the ticket just a few weeks away. He decided it would be best to wait and see if the ticket stuck. In that time I managed to get on with a friend's uncle driving a hydroseeding truck and hauling small dozers and other equipment that aren't oversized. Well to keep a long story from getting any longer, the ticket was dismissed and my record remains crystal clear.

On the flip side of the country, the situation at home has changed drastically and I can no longer be away from home 4-6 weeks at a time. I can manage 2-3 weeks max.

The job I'm on now I'm home daily but there's no benefits whatsoever or insurance and the pay is very lackluster ($10/hr). I have been offered a job opportunity from.a family member to come drive for a company called BMC. It's a small company consisting of around 25 trucks and 30 trailers. They haul frac sand for the natural gas wells in northern WV, PA, NY, OH and a very few other places. It's all dry bulk tanker work and I can stay out as long as I want or come home weekly for a few days if needed. The trucks are mostly older but very well maintained Mack's and a few Cascadias and I think he said they have 2 long nose Pete's. Maintenance program is top notch, safety is top priority for them. Pay is by the load ($150 per load) and rookies average 2 loads per day. They also have a guaranteed minimum weekly pay of $1200. There's insurance and retirement as well, not the best in the industry but not terrible either (high deductible but low copay and low premiums).

On the surface it would seem to be a rookie's dream but I'm curious for your input considering it's a tanker position (even though it's dry bulk) and I've only been driving a tractor trailer regularly for about 2 months. I was also told they would give me a few weeks training in the same truck as someone else then once they feel I can handle my own truck reasonably well they would allow me to run behind my cousin or another experienced driver for a few additional weeks before throwing me to the wolves. I have until just after Thanksgiving to make my decision. Any input good or bad is more than welcomed.

Posted:  10 months ago

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Dreams coming true. Minnis B in training.

FINALLY found a way to post some pics that actually works on my phone.

First is the Volvo I did all my training in along with the 48' trailer.

A87OIJy.jpgpP9mM5s.jpg

And finally the Volvo parked up next to the wicked Freightliner which is the most old school truck there. You can also see a blue Volvo in the background that has pretty much become a parts truck since the transmion has gotten so loose even the vets have trouble shifting it let alone students.

pI6IiHN.jpg

Posted:  10 months ago

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How on earth do I update my profile to 3rd party...

I started a free Wordpress site. I upload my photos there. Hit edit for the photo I want and it gives me a button to copy the URL. I have no problems using that method from my android phone.

Hey thanks I never even thought about that. I'll give it a try.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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How on earth do I update my profile to 3rd party...

Ah I leave for Werner Tuesday anyway so by the time it's up and running I should have plenty of photos to share, maybe even my own truck by then considering the training is 4 weeks

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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How on earth do I update my profile to 3rd party...

Tried that Brett. I only get options of Save image, Share image, and Set as wallpaper. I went under share image and all it does is list the apps on my phone capable of sharing photos with.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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How on earth do I update my profile to 3rd party...

I've tried a few different ways today to post photos in my training thread but nothing has worked yet. I got the photos into my gallery and onto Google+ but neither one has worked. I can never get the actual image url on my phone and unfortunately that's all I have to access Internet on.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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What not to take on the Greyhound

Thanks Old School. I've been looking through all that stuff but never really saw mention of the few items I was asking about. I don't think I'll have too much issue with being overweight. I know I'm allowed one checked bag and one carry on so if I should be getting close to the weight limit on the checked bag I'll move things into the carry on which will be extremely light to start with.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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What not to take on the Greyhound

Hey guys just a quick question. If you saw my other thread about the local job I had it never came to fruition, which leave me departing next Tuesday for Springfield ohion for orientation with Werner. What I wanted to know is if there's anything (besides the obvious guns, illegal drugs etc) that one shouldn't take on the Greyhound. Mainly I was planning to take some otc aspirin and such for the occasional aches that spring up and maybe some otc muscle rub, not an excessive amount of either. Also because my cigarettes are much cheaper here than in Ohio I'd like to pack along 2 cartons or maybe 1 if it's permissable just to hold me over until that first paycheck. I know it's most likely a no go but how about my pocket knife? Would Werner even allow that let alone Greyhound? It hasn't left my pocket in years and I'd feel lost without it lol.

Thanks for any insight anyone can give. I know I could purchase most of that once I arrive but due to cost I'd rather grab it here.

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