Profile For Julian Ellison

Julian Ellison's Info

  • Location:
    Saint Paul, MN

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    9 years, 4 months ago

Julian Ellison's Bio

No Bio Information Was Filled Out. Must be a secret.

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Posted:  6 years, 11 months ago

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So, what exactly should I bring with me? (non-driver)

Ask others to chime in on this. My experience so far is you only make $$ when the wheels are turning. And the trips are planned for you with very tight delivery times. So far for me at Werner, a shower is a luxury I only see once or twice a week. It's not picnic out here

This is true, however if you plan your trip so you end at a truck stop or service plaza, you're going to get a shower. You may only make money when the wheels are turning, but DOT doesn't like you making money when you're supposed to be laying your ten. Ha.

No offence, but sounds like you need to get better at trip planning. Once or twice a week for a shower is abhorrent to me. In my opinion, a shower is a necessity, not a luxury. Take care of yourself out there

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Miles, Miles, and more miles!

Hey all!

So I don't have any cool stories or anything to tell ya right now, but I thought this was pretty interesting. In my first week on my own, as in a full 7 day period, I ran a little over 3200 miles. In two weeks that went up to 5500 miles. I've been running hard, just because my dispatch gives me deadlines that I feel are impossible, but I've gotta make them as close as possible.

Heading out to Nazareth, PA on Monday morning for a 5am delivery on Wednesday. 1200 miles in two days shouldn't be any issue at all.

Stay safe out there everyone!

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Disqualification

A CDL is not just limited to your state. If you had a Class A license, and you were licensed for interstate commerce, and you were disqualified for life, I don't believe it is just limited to that state. It goes right along with the fact that you can't have CDL licenses in multiple states. Therefore, if you are disqualified for life, you are just disqualified. The state doesn't even matter, as I understand it

Posted:  8 years, 10 months ago

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Question about running out of hours.

I've had that happen to me a couple times already, and my safety supervisor has always said "Just get somewhere where you're safe and legal to park. If you need to drive over your hours, so be it. However, don't go further than you need to go". When I asked him if I would get a ticket or anything for it, he said that it isn't legal, but as long as it isn't a regular habit, you'll be fine

Posted:  8 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

My first (and only) week of training

So the tandems wouldn't slide. We were really getting on them too, and nothing was working. Finally, when I was about to take it over to the international dealership, I decided to try locking the trailer brakes up at about 20mph. That did it. We got the trailer California Legal and took off. One thing I can say about California is that people need to learn how to drive. Anyone that's been there will tell you the same. We drove until we hit Vegas, and took our 10 hr break there. At this point we weren't in a huge time crunch anymore, so we decided to head over to Freemont Street for a few hours, and I ended up walking out of there 300 dollars richer from playing craps. We hit the sleeper for the night right after that.

Next day: This day was pretty uneventful. Drove from Las Vegas straight up I-15 through Utah and stopped at a small Flying J in Idaho. Merry Christmas at this point. One thing I noticed was that there were very little trucks on the road. Maybe one every 5-10 miles. It was crazy.

Sixth day: We drove through Idaho and into Montana. Montana was BEAUTIFUL. We hit Yosemite National Forest, and the roads weren't too good. Took her slow, maybe 10-15 under the speed limit, and D&H'd in Bozeman, MT. Now, I spent about 20 minutes coupling to the hook trailer, because in school, we didn't have loading docks that were on a slant. But I got it coupled up, and I looked at the e-log, and my trainer had put me off duty the whole time, when I was on duty at first. So I though he was trying to cheat me out of my 30 minute break. I very calmly and coolly told him that I didn't agree with that, because you can't be doing anything work related on your 30 minute break. He was a bit of a hot head, as I found out at that minute, because at that moment, he flipped out on me, just screaming about how if I didn't like it, I could pack my stuff up and get out of his truck, then told me I wasn't driving anymore. Seeing as I was only his second trainee, I don't think he should be a trainer, simply because of the fact that he can't get along with personality types that are different than his. About 15 miles down the road, I swallowed my pride and apologized, and he let me take back over when we got to Billings. Night was starting to fall, as was the temperature, and we started seeing black ice really bad underneath the overpasses. We hit two patches. I saw both, slowed way down, and gently accelerated through them in order to prevent a jackknife. On the first patch, the entire combination slid to the left two whole feet. On the second, the drive wheels spun out under 1/4 throttle. I decided to pull over at that point, and we spent the night on an exit ramp, even though I didn't agree with that. We were taught in school that if you do pull onto a ramp, it should be an entrance ramp, because people are going a lower speed, and if they do hit you, it will be far less damage/injury. However, seeing as I realized he was a hot head that day, I bit my tongue and climbed in the sleeper.

Final Day. We get into ND and get a call from our safety supervisor, saying I need to pick up a truck at our Bismarck Terminal, and that it's gonna be assigned to me. It's truck number J405. The way trucks are numbered is this: J(Year it was bought)(what number truck they bought that year). Obviously, I was ecstatic that I was being assigned a brand new truck after a week of training. I also got my first load out of it. From Bismarck to Page, ND, delivering Talcum Powder to a business on a farm.

Note: I realize the industry standard time for being with a trainer is 5-8 weeks. However, being that I went to a school that was a 16 week program, and the quality of the education that I received, my trainer felt that there was really nothing else he could have taught me. He recommended that I be put on my own, after only 6 days, because I was ready. It was definitely a good feeling, and it really made all my hard work pay off.

Right now i'm on my first long run. Fargo, ND to Warwick, MD. I'm very nervous about going too far out of route, just because it's tough to read my dispatch directions, but i'm sure i'll figure it out. If I learned one thing this week, it's that even if you don't really get along with someone, you still need to just bite your tongue and get along sometimes.

I hope you all enjoyed reading this. I'm really loving this career choice. I know it'll be a great thing for me, both in the short term and the long run. Stay safe out there guys and gals

Posted:  8 years, 11 months ago

View Topic:

My first (and only) week of training

Hey all! Good to be back!

I've been on the road with a trainer for the last week. Friday (12/20) I left the yard in Fargo, ND bound for Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Well, let's back up a minute. I got a call Thursday morning from my safety supervisor asking if I had a bag packed. I told him I did, and he told me i'd be picked up by a driver coming up from Chicago the following day. I said ok, gave him my phone number, and then he said the driver would be giving me a call when he's an hour out from the Pilot in Alexandria. Friday came, and I waited. Then I waited. Finally I waited some more. When 1pm rolled around, I had enough patience. I called my supervisor and asked him what the deal was. He said he wasn't sure, and to just keep waiting. So that's what I did. Until about 3pm, when my trainer gave me a call, asking when i'd be in the yard. I told him the situation, and he informed me that the driver was stuck in St. Paul, and hadn't even begun to get his trailer loaded. He was stuck at the Dock. Then, my trainer told me that if we didn't get this load out of California by 3pm on Monday, we'd be stuck in the state until after Christmas, which neither of us wanted. So I made the executive decision to drive up to the yard and worry about the gas money later. I needed to get out on the road.

So we left the yard in Fargo approximately 6pm on Friday. I was driving, and the training truck was a 2013 Mack with about 150k on the clock. Overall a pretty nice truck, but seriously lacking on interior space. One thing that really worried me right off the bat was this: How was I going to spend a full week in a space the size of a walk in closet with this complete stranger? He seemed kind of outspoken, and kind of an idiot in my opinion, so I knew personalities were going to clash. I just didn't know to what extent. In school, I had driven 9-speeds, 10-speeds, a super 10, 13-speed, and even an Auto Shift (with a clutch). Imagine my surprise when this truck was a two-pedal automatic. Learning how to drive it to get the best fuel economy took a little bit of time, but no big deal. The trainer said we'd stop in ****inson, ND for the night, which we did. Roughly 6 hours of drive time. No big deal.

Next Day: We're going into South Dakota, headed towards Wyoming. My driving is spot on, but i've never dealt with driving in blowing snow before. Essentially, he just told me to stay out of the cruise control/engine brake and keep speed 3-5mph below governor speed (62mph) so we would have some power if needed. Other than some blowing snow, we were all good in SD, and we crossed over into Wyoming, where it started to get interesting. The difference in "Winter Maintenance" that some states have vs others is just amazing to me. For example, North Dakota? Clear as could be. Wyoming? Eh...not so much. I didn't use my cruise control THE ENTIRE STATE. Random patches of black ice, snow drifts in the road..it was pretty sketchy to drive on, until we get to WY-220W headed towards Rawlins. There's a Flying J down there, and we were going to stop for fuel, and drive a few hundred more miles to the WY/UT Border before we shut down for the night. No problem right? We get onto 220 and i've got 5.5 hours of driving time left, and 8 hours on my 14 hour day. No problemo!I NEVER KNEW HOW WRONG I COULD BE. There were message signs every 3-4 miles saying "Slick Spots, No Cruise Control". But the road was completely dry and clear! I was cruising along doing about 50-55, just to be on the safe side. I did that for about 10 miles, until I hit this bridge. It was completely covered in ice, and so was the entire roadway for the next 120 miles. It was slow going. I'm talking like 25mph in a 65. Flashers on the whole way. Trucks were passing me, but the joke was on them, because I saw about 3-4 of them spun out in the ditch. It took me 6.5 hours to get down that mountain. There was nowhere to pull over, except for a rest area that wasn't plowed out, and we were afraid we were gonna get stuck. My second day on the job and I had to drive over my hours due to inclement road conditions. I made it to the fuel island with 45 minutes left on my 14 hour clock. When we got out to fuel, my trainer patted me on the back and said, "You became a truck driver today. I wouldn't have driven in that ****, but i'm glad you have nerves of steel. We needed to get off that mountain". I was very proud of myself. But exhausted, so we hit the sleeper.

Third day: The day of the Rockies. Honestly? I wasn't too worried about them. The way I see it, they take damn good care of the mountain roads, because they wouldn't want a spinout. The worst thing I could imagine was wet roads. Still can't use your engine brake, but it's better than ice. And that's exactly what we encountered. Wet roads. My trainer didn't have to say a single word to me going down the pass, and he said I did a really good job. I ran out of time when we hit the Virgin Mountains on I-15 through Arizona, so my trainer drove until we got into California.

4th Day: I woke up just as we were pulling into Rancho Cucamonga. I told him i'd take over, because I wanted real-world dock experience. Got my door number, backed in perfectly with only one pull up, and we were good to go. We deadheaded about 20 miles to do a D&H at Ashley Furniture. Only issue was, the tandems were slid too far back on the hook trailer for California. No big. We would just slide them. Only, they wouldn't slide. Will continue in comment

Posted:  9 years ago

View Topic:

TRUCKERS GPS

So, Just out of curiosity, how many of you guys and gals use these? Obviously there's nothing better than sitting down with an atlas and actually planning out a route, but maybe this comes close? Anyone actually have any experience with them? Good or bad.

What kind of features do they offer that are different than a GPS you might use for a car, or one I might use on my smartphone? I'm all in the business of making my life easier out there on the road. Working smarter, not harder. On the surface, these seem like they could be a lifesaver, but then again, I take everything with a grain of salt.

Any opinions/experience y'all can throw out there?

Posted:  9 years ago

View Topic:

Less than a month to go, and good news!

Old School: Don't be too jealous. Just a quick google search of truck pictures and I found it. Haha

Brett and Troy: Thanks for the words of encouragement! I'm excited for this new chapter to start in my life and actually be able to start making some decent money for the first time in my life where i'm not just living paycheck to paycheck and hopefully get a nest egg started. Also, I can't wait to get out there and see the country. Not only because of the scenery and whatnot, but right now in Minnesota it's 2 degrees. I'm ready to escape the cold for a bit :)

Posted:  9 years ago

View Topic:

Less than a month to go, and good news!

Hey all,

Just thought i'd pop in for a quick word.

I'm graduating on December 20th. Just short of a month to go! Last week I passed my CDL Road test with very little issue while driving a 13 speed twin-screw sleeper cab and a 53 foot trailer. Those city streets really tested me, but with a little bit of patience, I got er done.

Second piece of good news! On Wednesday I put in an application online with J-MAR Enterprises, based out of Fargo, ND. They came in and talked to us a few weeks prior, and said they were very interested in hiring us. They've hired former students in the past and been very satisfied with what comes out of this program. Thursday morning at 9AM I get a phone call from them, asking me if i'm interested. I said I was, so they asked for some personal information to run my MVR and such, and said he'd get back to me. This morning, I got another call back from them. My MVR came back clean and they wanted to schedule orientation for December 30th and 31st, so I could have time off with my family for the Holidays. I'm excited! Mainly just anxious to get out there on the open road with my trainer!

That's all for now. My next update will probably be after the first week on the job, so stay tuned!

-Julian

Posted:  9 years ago

View Topic:

School Update

Howdy all!

Been a while since my last post, but trust me, I've been reading up on this forum. Very helpful, as always.

I am in my 11th week of a 16 week program at Alexandria Technical College in Alexandria, MN. I've driven everything in our fleet at least once. This includes Straight Truck, Dump, Cab-over Dual-Axle, Single Axle Day Cab, and Dual Axle sleepers. I like the sleepers the best, which is good, because that's what i'm going to end up in! I've pulled every trailer except the double drop flatbed. Dry Vans, Reefer, Step deck, Tanker, etc.

A few weeks back I got my permit in the program, after we went over the MN manual in class of course. Passed all my tests. One of them I had to take twice, but I passed them all in the end. I have a Class A Permit with Hazmat, Tanker, and Doubles/Triples Endorsements. I also have a Class B License with a School Bus and Passenger Endorsement. I got that separate from the program because I got a part time job driving school buses for the local school district, and the depot just so happens to be right across the street from my program! Convenient, eh? But the way I see it, when I'm done with the program, i'll be able to drive damn near anything on the road! It's a good feeling.

So after we got our permits we went out on the road with our instructor. He has an older Kenworth that he took the sleeper out of and put in 3 seats with seat belts in the back, so he has the capability of taking 4 students on the road at a time. When it's time to switch, we'd just pull over somewhere safe, flip on the 4-ways, and switch. Let me tell you this, even though we spent a LOT of hours on the private one-mile track we have on campus, practicing turns, shifting, coupling/uncoupling, backing, etc...There was NOTHING that anyone could have done to accurately prepare me for how full your plate is when you're driving on the road. You have to focus on everything around you, shift, watch your trailer, position your rig for turns, make turns so that you're safe and not endangering the general motoring public. Probably things that Brett and starcar and all the other seasoned drivers on this forum don't even give a second thought to on the road, but DAMN!! It's nerve wracking!

I have been out with my instructor 4 separate times now. Both on the country roads, and in town. We've made lefts, rights, up shifts, downshifts, gone on narrow roads and wide roads alike. He expressed to me last week that he felt I was ready for my road test. I think I am, to a certain extent, but I'm just nervous as hell! My pre-trips are good, backing maneuvers are good, but the confidence level just isn't there yet while we're driving on the road. That being said, I've taken multiple road tests in my life. Class-D, Motorcycle, and Class-B. All three, I've gone through this same feeling. All three, I passed with flying colors. Plus, my instructor holds me to a MUCH higher standard than the state will.

That being said, My road test is tomorrow morning, 11/13/13 at 0800 CST. Wish me luck!

I really just can't wait to get out on the road :) I've actually made the decision to haul flatbed. I think it will be a healthy challenge for me, what with load securement, tarping, etc. I think I would get bored with Dry Van sooner rather than later. Anyone know of any good companies out there for skateboarders?

To those of you that made it this far down, Good job for reading all the way through! I certainly didn't intend for it to be this long :P

Keep on Truckin. Stay safe out there!

Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Speed governors in trucks

Hey all,

Why exactly are big rigs governed? I've heard some are set at 62, 65, etc, and frankly, that just doesn't make sense to me. Obviously, the fuel savings, but in areas like Minnesota (where i'm from) I-94 from the twin cities to Fargo, ND is 70mph. All those trucks going 8mph under the limit could create a hairy situation for a distracted driver going 70, 75, even 80mph as some four wheelers do.

Is this only exclusive to company trucks? Or is it a federal mandate? I know for a fact i've seen trucks keeping up with, and overtaking four wheelers. Even staying in the left lane for many, many miles. What gives?

Side note, do truckers get pulled over for speeding? Can't say i've ever seen a truck pulled over except for by the state patrol, and I just assume it's a level one inspection because the trooper is bored.

Thanks, and stay safe out there.

Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

Oil rig driving jobs in Texas

Not sure about Texas, but in North Dakota where the oil boom is happening, i've spoken to multiple energy companies that hire water haulers up there and they are receiving in excess of 150 applications a day. You better hope you have some experience to set yourself apart from the crowd in that field

Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

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Get Out And Talk To Those Drivers, Folks. You Won't Be Sorry

So yesterday I was sitting at a rest area outside Maple Grove, MN trying to get some sleep in my car, to no avail. So i step out to have a cigarette in the wee hours of the morning, and i noticed there was a Werner Enterprises tractor-trailer parked by all the other big rigs. I just got pre-hired by them last week, and I never saw one on the road before. Also, I'm a firm believer in the fact that recruiters can be very dishonest people, and I had just spoken to one roughly a week and a half ago, So I have been really eager to talk to a driver and see what it was really like to work for them. Imagine my surprise when the trucker got out to do his pre trip. Perfect opportunity! Who better to talk to than someone actually on the road? So after about 5 minutes of courage summoning, I went over and talked to him. Nicest guy ever! Gave me a lot of useful information. Everything from how much showers cost to what life on the road is like, and what it's like to be a team driver. He reassured a lot of my doubts about the company and all the negative things I had heard on the internet forums, and reaffirmed my belief that trucking is going to be an awesome career for me. The coolest thing was, this guy was a former Marine Recruiter who only started trucking roughly 4 months ago, so he was in the same spot I am not too long ago. Who would have thought a simple conversation at 6:15 in the morning could do so much? I can't wait for CDL school to start in 12 days smile.gif

Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

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OTR Hopeful with less than stellar driving record

Thanks for the replies, All!

I did some more research into my driving record. The fact still remains that I got 3 tickets last year. However, I called the school admissions department and asked them to look at the MVR they pulled when I enrolled (they won't let you enroll if you have too many violations or even one severe one) and this is when I got the best news i've gotten all year...Only one ticket stuck to the MVR!

Thanks to Brett for the advice on the Pre-Hire Process. I've actually already applied at Werner. No, I don't graduate for a little more than 4 months, but I want to get the process started ASAP. Plus, they use electronic logs, so there's a slim to none chance a dispatcher could force me to drive over my hours (which i've read some do). Out of all the companies i've called so far, they seem like the best ones to work for.

I have new hope for my job search with only one ticket vs 3. Thanks again for all the advice :)

Posted:  9 years, 3 months ago

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Quick question regarding Drug screen

Yup....it always amazed me that a simple thing like poppy seeds would test so close to pot, and yet didn't have any effects. Makes all the hype about THC kinda suspect. But I've never gotten high off of poppy seed muffins...and I quit doing drugs back in the 60's....

Actually, Drug Screens test for a multitude of drugs, not just THC. Usually it's a 5-panel screen. The poppy seed muffins would have triggered the opiate test. That muffin had to have been LOADED with the seeds to test positive for opiates. Either that, or the threshold was far too low.

Back to the original question though. There are several "labs" out there that hospitals, clinics, etc send the samples to for analysis. As long as you're clean on this one, you'll be good. There is no record, public or private, of passed or failed drug screens. Unless you're on Probation, than your P.O. keeps a record, but it stays in a file and can't be given to anyone without written consent from you.

Pretty sure you're in the clear

Posted:  9 years, 4 months ago

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OTR Hopeful with less than stellar driving record

Hello all.

I actually found this website while looking for reviews on trucking companies (as great as internet reviews can be :/) and it's been nothing but a blessing for a new guy who's brand new to the industry and waiting to start CDL school through the local tech college in 27 days (and counting).

As i've been driving, i've been paying more and more attention to the big rigs driving down the road. Being that my goal is to drive over the road, i've been calling different companies that advertise on their trucks for company drivers and asking them general questions about routes, equipment, etc. Finally, I ask them about their policy on hiring drivers with previous moving violations. My general understanding before I started calling all these places was that most companies would hire you if you have 3 moving violations or less, with the exception of DUI/DWI, Hit and Run, etc. In 2012 I got 3 speeding tickets on my motorcycle, none of which were over 10mph over the posted limit. I started just setting the cruise on my car for the speed limit, knowing I was at the limit and risking unemployment if I got another. Haven't gotten another moving violation since. Now, the companies I talk to are saying that with a new trainee, they like to see a next to spotless MVR.

Am I wasting my time going to trucking school? How many Moving Violations can you actually get before you're automatically DQ'd? What companies would I look to start out in being that I just want to drive OTR that would accept 3 moving violations in the last 3 years?

Thanks in advance for your replies. Keep on Truckin.

Julian

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