Profile For James Daniel

James Daniel's Info

  • Location:
    Mora, MN

  • Driving Status:
    Company Driver In Training

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    7 years, 10 months ago

James Daniel's Bio

Born in NC, raised in Georgia, Navy dropped me off in San Diego, stayed and raised a family for 25 years.

Wife got me to bring her back to Minnesota, her home state. (brrrr, -20 below zero is C.O.L.D. but 20f isn't so bad...)

Warehousing for 10 years (minimal driving of class b for parking and such), then in IT for the rest.

Working in IT is soul sucking, I was in it for the pay and am weary of solving other peoples problems.

I would like to experience working for myself and trucking appears to be a place where your worth is determined by your expertise and can lead to places that you determine and not chosen by others.

I am gathering my paperwork and starting the course on this site and hopefully find something more fulfilling.

Update: 11/2018 Halfway thru CDL School

Update: 1/2019 CDL in 12/2018

Update: 1/2019 Drug/Driving test at Halvor Lines

James Daniel's Photo Gallery

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Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Halvor Lines said OKAY!

Congratulations James!

You always want to go real slow when in a company yard. I usually move real slow and have my headlights and flashers on. You'd be surprised at how many accidents happen in drop yards and parking lots. Most of them are caused by drivers getting in too big of a hurry.

Thanks Old School, alot of activity in the yard thats for sure!

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Halvor Lines said OKAY!

Congrats, I spent many years in the twin ports (Duluth Mn/Superior Wi) prior to moving to Florida. Halver is a good company and one of the two biggest in the area, Jeff Foster is the other which I drove for several years

Thanks Michael

I was raised in GA, but military dropped me off in San Diego, CA so I stayed and raised my kids there but wife wanted to go home to Minnesota...

Right now Florida sounds alot better than 5 f here in MN.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Halvor Lines said OKAY!

Congratulations James I hope it is everything you want it to be.

Thanks Pete and that got me thinking, what exactly do I want it to be...?

Just a job, a career, or a way of life?

I don't have enough information to decide that final outcome, so for now, I want it to be a job where I'm just responsible for my truck, cargo and me.

Someone here said after one year the learning curve starts leveling out, so after a year I'll know for sure, or at least have a clearer picture.

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Halvor Lines said OKAY!

Put an application in at Halvor and they said 'Looks good, we'll take you but you have to do a drug and driving test'.

Ugh, another driving test, hate that T word.

They have three terminals, Superior, WI - Rosemount and Inver Heights, MN (main terminal is in Superior)

So was sent to the Rosemount terminal, recruiter asked me about preferences for driver trainer (animals okay, smoker y or n type stuff), and oddly (to me at least) asked me if I had a truck model preference (volvo, kenworth, etc.) but told her 'what the heck do I know? I'm just out of school, I'm just happy to be here' :-) but she said that some people have definite preferences.

Took the building tour, it has 8 mechanics bays, a drivers lounge, showers, ect., all brand new.

Did a two page test, went on the road test, and then was sent to do the drug screen.

The two page test was simple.

Road test was about 10 miles around curves and highway, it involved hooking up, then parking the trailer (53') then parking the bobtail.

Also, Halvor has driver facing and outward facing cameras but that doesn't bother me (my city bus had the same thing). But what was interesting was the sophistication of the camera. Examiner said it knows your following distance, speed, lane, and alot of other things, and I did make a mistake while driving...

I exited the highway with my right turn signal but forgot to cancel it, got into the left turn lane, stopped at the stop sign and the camera started beeping.

Examiner said 'Oh, you're in the left turn lane but your right turn signal is on'. I thought, wow, has it come that far that it knows what turn lane your in...

Afterwards I asked the examiner 'Well, did I scare ya'?' and he said 'no'. So I had that going for me, which was nice.

The only critique was he said I was too fast in the yard (and had corrected me at the time) but other than that was good.

Back to the recruiter who then said orientation was in Duluth next week and they would send me an email with all the info.

So am waiting for the confirmation email for next week.

Nervous but excited to finally get to this point, its been a long road...

Hope this isn't too long winded, I didn't notice any other Halvor Lines diary

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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Halvor Lines told me to come down for a drug and driving test!

Got my CDL in Dec., completed my 160 Hour Cert in January (Seems most companies I want to work for require it.)

But just got off the email with Halvor Lines and am scheduled for drug and driving test tomorrow (1/16) at 12:30.

I'm excited but nervous!

... oh man... be careful what you wish for... lol

Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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CDL Exam Woes; Yep, I Took The Retest, Retest, Retest

Halvors home terminal is Superior, WI. They have a brand new terminal in Inver Grove Heights, MN and one other but forget where.

They have about 500 trucks, about 1500 trailers, and four-year recipient of “Best Fleets to Drive For” but I didn't know about them till they made a presentation at my school.

They don't pay the top dollar but are in line with most, especially as a new driver, I want to be trained the best, safest way, money is important but training is forefront.

They were up front with what they pay and all the bonuses and whatnot.

What really struck me was how they emphasized that they want you to stay with them so their aim is to be totally transparent with expectations.

Five weeks mandatory with trainer, trainer is not allowed to drive.


Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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CDL Exam Woes; Yep, I Took The Retest, Retest, Retest

Thanks Doug

I can not, will not, quit. I must do this thing.

I get my 160 hr cert next week, then will start applying.

I like Halvor Lines, not too huge but not too small.

I liked how they laid everything out and were honest about their expectations and pay.


Posted:  5 years, 3 months ago

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CDL Exam Woes; Yep, I Took The Retest, Retest, Retest

So finally passed my driving test. Here's the story :-)

In our previous episode...

1st try: Passed pretrip and incab, backing was close but blew it out when the examiner (Keith) noted that I wasn't totally straight in the alley. My bumber was in the box as I was taught but my tractor/trailer (although straight in relation to each other), wasn't straight with the alley. That was 10 points, blew me out of the running.

One week later...

2nd try: Passed the backing with points to spare (went really well).

Driving went good, (doing a manual trans), got back to the test site and Keith (examiner) said you passed on points but I have to disqualify you because you were going 32 in a 25 mph zone. Rats.

One week later...

3rd try: On a Sunday, different examiner (Don, a 30 yr trucker).

Same result, passed on points but speeding AGAIN. "AAAAHHHH!" I. Can. Not. Believe. It...

I drove home calling out loud every street sign and continued this for a week (wife quit riding with me until I get my CDL because I continue to say all the speed limit signs out loud).

I drive around every day calling out signs and pointing to them and checking my speed, every day, 2 to 3 hours.

"Hi, I'm Dan and I'm a speeder."

Isn't funny.

But I had an epiphany, I cannot reach my goal of no accidents, no citations, if I speed like in a car. You just can not do it.

One week later...

4th try: On a Sunday again and Don again, passed with almost no point deductions.

But the lesson on speeding has stuck.

The owner of the trucking school told us once that he drives like an old man and I understand why now. Although he does own several race cars and races around the county as a hobby but on the street, old man style.

After you get your CDL, my school then takes you out and teaches you about sliding tandems, landing gear and such, so I will start that after Christmas.

If I hadn't been speeding I would have graduated by now but God wanted to address my speeding issues, He knows best.

Posted:  5 years, 5 months ago

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CDL Exam woes; yep, I took the test.

Yes, woe is me. So went for my driving test finally, and the thing I was very worried about, my pre-test and in-cab, I did excellent (examiner said "Best today and you seem to understand what you're doing and why."), so that was nice.

Then the thing I wasn't worried about, backing, was next and it was ugly... I won't tell about the straight back or offset except to say I accumulated about 8 points (no more than 15).

Alley dock was next.

I had enough points left to pass and was in the alley good (didn't hit the sides), focusing on getting the bumper into the box at the end of the alley without going over.

Used all my pull-ups and get outs and bumper was in the box.

I signaled I was done and the examiner opened the passenger side and asked me to get out to see. I asked 'Is that good or bad?' but he just grinned and said, "Come look." (by the way, he was extremely nice and professional, don't interpret anything I say to suggest he was rude or anything, he was very polite).

So I was in the box excellent (yeah!) but he pointed out I was a bit crooked in the alley... and that that was 10 points. (yeah, 10 points...) and you have to be in the box and straight. So that thru me out.

Okay, bad news; I failed the alley but my school allows for 2 tests before asking for more money so I will reschedule in two weeks.

The good news; my school is in Minnesota but they also have a site in Wisconsin, so we do all of our testing in Wisconsin (then I would take my results, when passed, to the DMV in Minnesota and I will be issued a MN CDL).

Why Wisconsin? Minnesota states you have to pass all three at the same time (pre-trip, backing and road) but Wisconsin states that you can do them individually, so I won't have to retake my pre-trip when I retest (yea for me!). Also Minnesota has time limits on each maneuver but not Wisconsin, and Wisconsin allows for more pull-ups without penalty.

On a side note: one thing that is funny about the testing world, is in the real world its GOAL (get out and look) as much as you need, take as many pullups as needed, safety first. In testing you are penalized for GOAL and pullups, basically being penalized for being safe.

So, other than schedule a retest, what am I going to do? I'm going to schedule more backing practice and now with the experience of the test I can practice more intelligently and I'm watching ton's of Youtube videos on backing (already picked up a couple of tips I hadn't thought of).

My school uses barrels instead of cones in the backing range (cones wouldn't survive, lol) but i ordered some 7" cones from Amazon and I'm going to measure the spaces to insure they are correct and (although I'll look like a giant dork), i'm going to put those cones out to replicate the exam area.

Ya'll pray for me.


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