Profile For Minnis B.

Minnis B.'s Info

  • Location:
    Chapmanville, WV

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    3 years, 9 months ago

Minnis B.'s Bio

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Minnis B.'s Photo Gallery

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Posted:  1 month, 4 weeks ago

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What was hardest for you to get used to?

After being in a tractor trailer for 6 months or so now I still have trouble at times judging distance behind me through my mirrors when backing up. Especially when I'm backing up against another truck or fixed object. If I have something on the ground to reference I'm fine though. It's getting easier but still annoying.

Posted:  2 months, 1 week ago

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I Got Some New Wheels Today - Brand Spanking New

Nice! That's one sweet looking ride

Posted:  2 months, 2 weeks ago

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Lettering on the back of cabs

Oh man almost all the trucks at my last company had saying on the back. A few of my favorites were:

Cadillac $tyle

Black Magic

Prisoner of the Highway

Papa's pad when Mama's mad

Posted:  2 months, 3 weeks ago

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Eagle Rider for Motorcycle Rentals

Awesome! Always loved those Ultras. I currently have a road king and though I like it I think soon it will be time to upgrade to a road glide.

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Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

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Starting a new chapter

Thanks everyone. All I do is what was instilled in me while I was young, dirty hands make clean money

Great story, very upbeat.

I'm curious about the trailer you haul. Obviously it's a dump trailer. What are the differences you have to take into account when dumping a semi-trailer as opposed to a regular dump truck?

Bruce, dumping the trailer is much more dangerous. Due to our overweight permits most of us can haul roughly 41 tons of coal. That fills these trailers pretty full and if it's cold or rainy coal LOVES to stick to the aluminum. Having said all that, the trailer is quite a bit longer than the bed on a straight dump truck so when you raise it, it goes much higher which raises your center of gravity. A straight dump you can be leaning quite a bit and still raise the bed because by the time it gets up high enough to affect your center of gravity, the majority of your load is already on the ground or in the bin and what's left is at the main back so it's not going very high in the air. The trailer on the other hand has to be pretty much perfectly level. More of the load goes higher in the air which affects your center greatly. A general rule is if you're out of level 1 inch with the bed on the frame, once fully raised you're 6 inches off center. If you're hauling dirty coal (coal mixed with mud, dust, slate, usually freshly mined) you don't want to be out of level more than an inch or you risk flopping onto your side. Now if you're hauling clean coal (coal that has been ran through the preparation plant and is 100% pure coal) it doesn't stick nearly as bad so you can be leaning a good bit more with minimal risk. It's just one of those things you have to get a feel for and comes with experience.

Posted:  2 months, 4 weeks ago

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Starting a new chapter

Man it's been a while since I posted an update. Most evenings I'm so tired so I creep and read lol. A lot has been going on the past few months. As most know I was driving local hauling coal in a straight dump truck. I did that for roughly 14 months and just wasn't making the money I'd like to be making so I spoke to the owner and some discussion he agreed to put me in a tractor trailer doing the same thing but nearly double the pay. Nice. I started this in late February. It was a bit of a learning curve having a wagon behind me again but I got by. Thankfully there wasn't much precision backing required at the time. We were dumping on the ground rather than into a hopper. I was given a 99 model Western Star that was worn out and had almost 700,000 hard miles on her but that CAT engine just kept purring. Unfortunately the rest of the truck didn't hold up quite as well. Poor maintenance began to rear it's ugly head more and more to the point I was broken down more often that I was hauling and in this side of the industry you are paid per ton of coal hauled. No coal means no money. I endured this with a smile on my face for 4 months. Boss man finally realized how bad everything had gotten for me so he calls me and says I need to bring my truck into the shop. I get there and he reaches me the keys to a 2019 Freightliner Coronado with 58,000 miles and tells me to go make us both some good money. Nice. So I work my tail off putting up 12-14 hours a day 6 days a week and we made some good money. Well there was a rumor going around on our jobsite that the coal mine was shutting down. This is problematic for me as the next closest site was over 2 hours away. Not very economical for either myself or the company. Always trying to plan ahead I started making some calls. Found a company that was willing to put me back into a tractor trailer for roughly my same pay rate with roughly the same hours. Well word came down Monday that the rumor was true and yesterday was our last day. I called the boss as soon as I heard and we discussed it and I told him I was made an offer. He fully encouraged me to take it. I offered to work a 2 week notice out but he insisted the rest of the week was fine as he didn't really have anywhere else for me to go. This morning I returned his truck to the shop, shook his hand and thanked him for the opportunity to drive for him without a minute of real world experience. He told me I was one of his best employees and he hated to lose me but it was the best for us both at this time and told me if he ever had another site come open within a reasonable distance he'd love to have me back. That means a lot to me. This afternoon I made my way to the new companies office, signed some papers, did a drug test, shook a few hands and made off with my new partner in crime. She's a Peterbilt 379 with 500,000 miles but is in nearly perfect working order. She's got a few battle scars but that's to be expected. She has the C15 CAT motor and the 17 speed trans. Perfect for the type of hauling we do. It's taking a bit to get used to the pedals being mounted to the floor rather than hanging from the dash but I'm getting there. The drop visor takes a bit of getting used to as well. Overall very happy with it though. We should make a good living together grossing 126,000 lbs all the way. I'll be putting her through her paces starting at 0600 Monday morning.

Now for the part everyone has been waiting for. New truck pic!

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Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Eye Candy

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AHA!!

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Eye Candy

And I can't get the pic to work. Wonderful. One day I'll figure this technology thing out.

Posted:  4 months, 3 weeks ago

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Eye Candy

Got the opportunity to drive this jewel today while my truck was in the shop. It's my companies former show truck. She's sure seen her better days but that 425 hp Cat and 15 speed sure will haul a load of coal. Was grossing just under 126,000 lbs all afternoon.

Posted:  6 months, 3 weeks ago

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13 speed downshifting question.

Yes. Once you get the range selector up and can start splitting gears you can go from any low gear to any low gear or any high gear to any high gear. Splitting is an option but not required. I drive an 18 speed daily and the only time I need to split gears is if I'm loaded heavy and starting out on a hill or climbing a hill in higher gears. It helps build momentum when starting on a hill and keep momentum if you need to downshift climbing a hill.

Posted:  7 months ago

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Regrets

Kim, if you're in the Charleston area my company is always looking for drivers. We are home daily. It's 100% dump trucks though mostly hauling coal from the numerous mines or gravel from Saint Albans. We have several ladies currently working for us as well. I've been with them for 15 months now and couldn't be happier. You'd most likely start in a tri axle dump truck and move into a tractor trailer once you've proven yourself reliable and safe. I was moved into a tractor about a month ago myself. I'd recommend like everyone else that you spend a year OTR then go local. It's not the path I took but thankfully it worked out in the end. Just another option for you to consider. Feel free to email me at any time if you have any questions. My email is minnisb22@gmail.com

Posted:  9 months, 2 weeks ago

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Game: funny town names

Big Ugly WV. Right up the road from where I live.

Posted:  9 months, 4 weeks ago

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Truck drivers and their non truck driving (like cars)

Pretty much the same everyone else has mentioned but I'll add that I recently traded my GMC Envoy for a 5 speed Silverado. Now when I pull up to a parking spot I find myself throwing it in neutral and reaching over on the dash to pop the brakes. I also have a bad habit of looking for the splitter when I hit 4th or letting off the fuel waiting for the jake to kick in and it never does lol.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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Well I made it my first year.

Thanks everyone. I'm always lurking Big Scott but I'm usually so tired when I get in every evening I read up on the new posts, watch a little TV and hit the hay.

Posted:  10 months, 1 week ago

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Well I made it my first year.

That's right. Today marks one year that I've been with my company. There's been a few bumps in the road but lessons were learned the hard way, friends were made, and lots of money was made. I'm never giving it up, I was born for this. Guess I'll change from rookie driver to experienced now.

Posted:  12 months ago

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What has trucking given back to you?

As I was hauling my last load today I had a thought. We speak all the time of what we sacrifice to be a driver, a normal life, family, friends etc. How about we tell some of the newcomers what this glorious career has given back to us, be it changes in our skills, character, or even things you were never able to purchase had you stuck with a previous job. I'll start off with my list below.

Many new friends: Sure I have several friends outside of work but the guys I see daily know about and experience the same struggles as I do. A lot of people say comradery is dead in this industry and that may be so for a large portion of it but it's alive and kicking in the coal hauling community. If one of us struggles then we all struggle, I have no doubt these men and women have my back with no questions asked.

Skills: Not only has this career sharpened my driving skills, it has also taught me about time management (even though I'm exempt from HOS), balance and weight distribution (let a loader man put 30 tons of coal on your straight truck off center and you'll know exactly what I mean lol), mechanical (I'm paid by the load with no breakdown pay, if I'm sitting then I'm not getting paid, that's some great incentive to jump in and help the mechanic do anything you can, you'll learn to do more things as you go but I realize this doesn't apply to everyone)

Most of all this career has taught me respect, respect for my truck, respect for my fellow drivers, and respect for myself. I've learned to not be afraid going down the road. I know mine and my trucks limits and as long as I respect those and keep a watchful eye on everything and everyone, the day goes wonderful.

Plus it helped me buy a gorgeous new (to me anyway) Harley Davidson. I would've never been able to afford that in any line of work I was in before.

So there it is, I know I've forgotten some things but now it's your turn. What has trucking given back to you?

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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Differential lock. Help Me Out Would Ya?

Hauling coal involves a LOT of off road driving on the mine site. Around here they are notorious for not maintaining the haul roads which means lots and lots of mud and some pretty steep grades. My company has mostly Freightliner Coronado 122 SD's. We have 2 switches for our differentials, one is for an axle lock and the other is what we call a "power divider" that essentially splits the power between both drive axles equally. We can use each switch individually or use them together. With only the axle lock engaged turning is no problem but when both are engaged it darn near takes a 40 acre field to turn. We ALWAYS lock the differentials in while moving as long as we aren't spinning. Never had a problem yet.

I think I touched on everyone's question/input on the subject. By no means am I an expert but I do use these things almost daily lol.

Posted:  1 year, 5 months 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:  1 year, 5 months 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:  1 year, 5 months 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.

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