Profile For Aaron M.

Aaron M.'s Info

  • Location:
    Spartanburg, SC

  • Driving Status:
    Experienced Driver

  • Social Link:

  • Joined Us:
    2 years, 3 months ago

Aaron M.'s Bio

Flatbed trucker turned tanker. Two years solo as of 9/11/2019.

I have a loving wife and two grade school aged children.

I'm on my third company and I'm hoping to stay for the long term. It's a long story.

Past careers are Nuclear Engineer (MMN US Navy), Medic for 8 years, small business owner (owned a landscaping business), and a host of other gigs. Trucking is by far my favorite to date.

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Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Drivers who speed up when you Pass

This is an issue I think about often, as it's an issue that happens all day everyday out there on the roads.

Ideally we'd all be considerate of one another, but idealism is not realism. There are so many elements at play here. What's the truck governed at? How heavy are you in relation to who you are passing. What's the terrain? How much traffic is there? What time of day is it?

If I'm governed at 65 mph and I'm passing a truck governed at 62 that's lighter than I am, as soon as any type of grade comes along I might drop back a bit. It might take longer to pass. I don't know how heavy another truck is, what their horsepower is, what they are governed at, or if they are governed at all. They may be driving a bit slow because they are busy texting (see it all of the time).

Basically it's a dynamic situation. If I've got 1 mph on another truck, and I'm running cruise, and there is no traffic in sight I'm going to pass. A few minutes later and I've got maybe 50 feet left to safely get back over and now there's super trucker on my butt cause he's not governed, or maybe there's a few four wheelers lined up. Am I wrong for passing? Ideally the other trucker would slow up a bit and let me pass. However, if I'm heavier, we hit a grade, I've passed and gotten over, and now he's on the brakes. Or visa versa. Again, consideration goes a long way.

My experience has been that the overwhelming majority of drivers don't slow to let another truck pass. They just keep keepin' on with the cruise on. I guess in the end, if you are in the slow lane running cruise, it's not your job to accommodate the driver that's heavier than you are with 1 mph on you. Wait till terrain permits and pass when traffic conditions are correct. Also, slow up a bit maybe...let drivers pass.

I don't know...this is a tough one. We all want to get as many miles as we can. In the end 5 mph doesn't make that much of a difference when you are paid by the mile. Lately I've been considering just setting the cruise at say 63 mph in high traffic conditions. If you are the slowest on the road, and you are in the slow lane...it's not as much of a problem. Hard to do when you can go faster though.

However, letting drivers pass is the safe and professional move. It's also not going to cost you much by way of money. Best thing you can do is get up as early as possible. Start your day at 0200 hrs and you'll have less traffic and therefore less hassle and nonsense to deal with. That's what I do. I just start as early ass possible to enjoy the low traffic times of day, and also to ensure 14 hours later I won't have a problem parking. You can't always do that, but when you can you should. It makes the job much easier when there is less traffic.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Too smart to go for my CDL?

I got the exact same responses from just about everyone in my life. "Ohh you are going to hate it, I know so and so, and they tried it and hated it." I even got "I did it, I hated it, definitely do something else." In the end it was the best paying job available to me at the time. I made the plunge and I'm glad that I did. I'm just two years into the adventure and I'm already in a dedicated position making 70k a year with the ability to make more if I want to put in the miles. It's the perfect profession for me. I've been a nuclear engineer, a medic, a small business owner, bartender, short order cook, loss prevention agent, and now truck driver. I also have a wife and two children. It's been awesome for my family. I get home every weekend and sometimes during the week.

If you think you've got what it takes than do it. You might find it's the best thing you've ever done. If it doesn't work out you'll likely be sitting there just as you are now. The only difference is that your bank account will likely be a bot fatter.

Posted:  1 month, 3 weeks ago

View Topic:

Got hit at a truck stop

I've been hit once at a Pilot in Knoxville TN. I was in the sleeper eating my dinner and started rocking and rolling. Had the privacy curtains pulled and was in full shut down mode. I transform the front of my truck into a kitchen when I shut down because I cook all of my food while on the road. I scrambled up, got some shorts and a shirt on, had to rearrange the front of my truck so I could get out to see what was happening. Still rocking and rolling. Dude was all up in the metal that holds the drive mudflaps on, and was pushing in on my drive tire. I got out in time to see him pull out and rip the flaps forward. It was a mess.

Not long ago I was at the Pilot in Chillicothe OH. Avoid this Pilot at all costs (avoid all Pilots IMO) because it's one of the worst layouts I've ever seen. You pull out of the fuel island and take a right into the parking area which has two lanes situated across from one another. When you pull in you are literally trapped because there is no way out. If you are lucky there is a space on your driver side, if you aren't you have to blind side back, and if you're even more unfortunate there is no parking left and you have to back out on the blind side back toward the fuel island. It's a severely negligent design. Anyways, I was fortunate and was able to get parked on the driver side. I was coming back from a shower just in time to see the worst truck stop wreck I've ever seen. Van drivers were busting U-turns trying to get out of this parking mess due to it being full. This one driver was a bit to close, got his tractor pointed back towards the fuel island and the driver side bumper of his trailer grabbed a hold to the driver side front fender of a new Volvo. I was maybe 20 yards away from the fiasco. It sounded like a moving truck wreck. This driver was probably in 5th gear whipping his truck around. His trailer ripped the front end of the Volvo off. Radiator fluid was leaking and you could see the engine. Half of the front of the truck was lying on the ground. The driver of the Volvo was probably sleeping based on the looks of things. That was a rude awakening for me as I had just got into a lease purchase. The Volvo was parked directly opposite of me. Had the driver decided to go the other way with his ill advised truck stop U-turn maneuver, I would have been standing there watching as half of the front end of my new truck got ripped off...coolant spewing forth, and economic ruin on the horizon.

Immediately I thought how screwed I would have been. I would have been out of work for God knows how long. It costed me $955 a week just to pay the truck bills. At a minimum I would be on the hook for $4000 a month while the insurance agencies haggled about. Not long after that I turned the truck back in (walk away lease), and got myself back into a stable company position. This is just one more example of why it's much better to be a company driver. At least you'd get another truck so you could keep earning, and you'd likely get breakdown pay in the interim to boot. Company drivers are never not making money. Lease purchase and Owner Op's are constantly facing the risk of not only not earning, but paying 1000's of dollars to get things fixed while they aren't earning.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

The Right Strategy For Earning More Miles And Better Pay

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I share these stories with you guys in the hopes that for some of you a light bulb will go off as you read them. I was recently both humbled and happy to see were one of our Moderators, Rainy D, gave me the credit for much of her success, and attributed her ability to manage her time efficiently by reading the things that I shared in here. I hope that helps put in perspective the truths that are in Brett's article above, and I hope many of you end up consistently being able to run big weeks like the one I just pulled off.

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Just one little addendum to this whole discussion...

After running over 3,400 miles this past week, I had to take a reset once I was back in Delhi. I just had a couple of hours left on my 70, and I was only getting about three re-cap hours at midnight on the following day. So what does my dispatcher do? He sent me 150 bucks in layover pay! I send him a message, "Man are you serious? It's not like I can go anywhere anyways." He responds with, "Hey, I really appreciate how you handled everything on that load. Trust me you are worth it, and no one at corporate will question me when I send you extra money like that. Check out your next dispatch - you'll have it in just a few minutes." Once my Zonar (our version of the Qualcomm) went off, I looked at my dispatch. It is a load with 2,950 miles on it!

Man, that's all awesome Old school! Thanks for the anecdote!

I feel like this site is giving me the ability to double my pay and I'm not even in CDL school yet.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

The Right Strategy For Earning More Miles And Better Pay

It's easy to read this article and think that Brett's advice is all common sense. I think it mostly is all common sense. However, it's more complicated than that. Firstly, common sense has become uncommon sense in the last decade or so. That means that pointing out common sense is now a big service because it has become uncommon knowledge.

Secondly, Brett's advice is industry specific. That makes it invaluable common/uncommon sense (depending on your vantage point).

It seems to me that the best strategy for any driver to get good miles is to first stay in the good graces of their dispatcher. That means being safe, reliable, on time, hard working, and getting the job done regardless of obstacles so as to make the dispatchers job easier. I start with Roehl on 9/11, and I plan to be a top tier driver.

Thanks Brett! Thanks for the medium (this forum) and for your advice. I am taking note...literally!

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Depression and Mental Health

It's one of the great things about this forum - you can get some different perspectives. Brett has never been married. I, on the other hand have the perspective of someone who has to provide for my wife and my offspring.

Will, I just see you as being very fortunate to have a wife who has endured the hardships of your issues. You owe her some endurance now. If you want to keep up this wonderful dance we call marriage, well it's time to pay the piper, or the music might stop.

So you are proof that a family man can make it in this business!

That's hopeful...for me at least.

My start date was moved to 9/11...it's definitely a synchronistic date for me to be starting a new career. That was the beginning of the end of my military career, and now it will be the beginning of the beginning of my truckin' career. I also worked for 911 on an ambulance for 6 years. 9/11 has haunted me.

As far as Wills issue with depression goes...that's a tough one. What are you depressed about Will? I've been depressed many times in my life. I was greatly depressed when I was out in the Arabian Sea bombing a bunch of innocent nomads to the stone age. It ate me up with cognitive dissonance. I've been depressed a thousand times since for different reasons. To a certain extent I think depression is just a natural reaction to the insanity that is our society.

Posted:  2 years, 2 months ago

View Topic:

Roehl Question

Hey Brian, I start with Roehl September 5th in Wisconsin for flatbed. Maybe I'll see you there?

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

OTR as a family man

For the record, I would never drink while OTR. I stated during my days off, as in home time, I'd drink. I like beer...nothin' wrong with that...in moderation of course.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

OTR as a family man

My mind is made on this decision. I'm just irked by the constant feedback from all around that I'm making a mistake just because I have a family. Yeah, I have a family, and therefore I need money, more then I otherwise would.

I do not have one acquisitive bone in my body. I do not care about material possessions. I don't need money so that I can go buy stuff that I don't need. I need money to provide a roof, food, medical insurance, and the best quality of life that I can possibly provide for my family. The only thing I've ever wanted was my time, good food, and good beersmile.gif

At 37 years old, and getting older, I asked myself what it is that I wanted out of life now. The answer to that question was to provide for my family. That's really all that I want. After that I'd like some good food and beer (obviously on my limited days off).

Up north you can do the snow plow hustle in the winter if you are a landscaper, but in the south that's not an option. We get snow maybe twice a year and it's usually gone by the second day. Around here you have to land contracts, be they commercial, or home owners willing to pay you a set amount every month...even when you do nothing for them. Apparently some guys can sell that. I can't even sell the idea to myself much less one of my clients. Why would you pay me $200 a month for 4 months to do noting for you? However, there Is more to it. What if I get hurt? I'm a one man show, and in my business you've got about 4 weeks before people start replacing you with the next guy. Anyone can run a lawn care business. You need a truck, a mower, a weed eater, a blower, and a jerry can and you've got a business.

I'm all in. Roehl has already spent money on me for the physical and drug tests. I'm just on here fleshing out the last bit of doubt and looking for encouragement. If things work out I'll share my experience on this forum.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

OTR as a family man

Thanks for the replies.

I don't want to miss my children growing up, but we need money. The only thing that is truly difficult about this decision is the amount of advice I'm getting from all directions amounting to "you are making a big mistake, you will hate it, it will destroy your family." Naturally, I have no desire to destroy my family. I love my family. Ironically, my love for my family is why I'm going to do this. However, not a day has gone by that I don't wake up thinking about whether I'm making a huge mistake or not. The money will be nice (and needed), but at what cost?

I feel like Last Shadow, ahead of time, in that it will be worth it because I will be providing for my family, and that's the point of it.

I'm kind of hoping that it won't be so bad as it used to be due to our current communication technology. There's facebook and facetime now, and there is a cell signal most everywhere...ditto wifi. I won't be a part of their daily lives in person, but I will be virtually, and we will still see each other a few days a month. If it sounds like I'm trying to convince myself that I'm making the right decisions it's because I am. It was nice to hear from another family man on the issue.

What's another profession I can make 40k at in the first year without going to college...possibly even 50K. 39 cents per mile is about as good as it gets being a rookie with no experience. I have no desire to go back to school. I've been in and out of school my entire life. I'm tired of school. I'd go back, if there was something I could go back for that would guarantee money. Any of those options are options I would not want to take.

The best I can do is hope that I'm not making a mistake. Yet, going into it thinking I'm making a mistake will make it even more difficult. I already know that Brett thinks I'm making a mistake. I'm going against his advice being here in the first place. This forum is for Truckers and aspiring Truckers. I'm a couple of weeks away from CDL school with Roehl at this point.

Lastly, I've recently learned a lesson about life. That lesson is that nobody knows what is best for anyone else. Nobody. Those closest to you, who know you and your situation best, are in a position to offer sound advice given that they should be offering advice in the first place. We all must make our own minds, and decide what's best for ourselves. I'm not here on this forum to be deluded, at least not consciously. If I'm being completely honest, however, I suppose I was looking for some responses that would be encouraging...some responses that went contrary to all of the advice I've received on the topic so far.

It's probably most likely that everyone is telling me I'm making a mistake because I am. Being here is my last attempt at clarifying this for myself. I want to do this for a lot of reasons, but maybe it's that I should find another solution to my money problems.

Posted:  2 years, 3 months ago

View Topic:

OTR as a family man

I've been lurking on TT for a couple of months now. I finally decided to join up and put myself out there to seek advice. This is where I'm at presently.

I'm pretty much hired with Roehl Transport. I've done the DOT physical and passed the hair and urinalysis drug test. All that is left is to get the CLP, which I plan to do this coming Tuesday. I'm set to start with Roehl up in Wisconsin on the 5th of September.

Presently I have my own landscaping company. Last year my revenue was just at 30k, but revenue is not what you actually make. My taxable income was only 6k, and I ended up with 4k worth of a "tax return" due to "earned income credit." Not bad seeing as how I paid no taxes. Due to my low income I actually made money. I have two children and a wife. My children are both boys ages 4 and 7. My wife is a photographer and is also self employed. In the past I was an EMT for an EMS agency for 6 years, and I worked for a convalescent transport company for 2. Before that I was a roustabout tending bar all over the U.S. Before that I was a nuclear engineer in the USN. I was on the USS Carl Vinson when 9/11 happened. We dropped 3 million pounds of ordinance on Afghanistan and it amounted to the first bombs dropped.

My father made a career out of Truck Driving, as did his bother and my grandpa. My grandpa actually died OTR in a motel six when I was 8 years old...massive heart attack. I have found memories of going with my dad OTR when I was 8-10. I fell in love with the sound, with going to sleep in the sleeper while the truck moved on down the road, with the smell of diesel. I never saw my father growing up due to many of reasons, beyond him being an OTR driver, my parents got divorced when I was 4. I saw him a couple of weeks out of a year and that only occasionally, and that when I went with him OTR. I mention that to give a snaps shot of my life long love affair with driving a truck OTR.

Now I'm 37. My business does well, but I'm in South Carolina, and once the leafs have dropped, and I get them up, I'm out of work from about December to mid April. That is, my business makes no money for about 4 months out of the year. I go from about 3k a month in revenue to 0, and it stays that way for 4 months. We moved in with family five years ago, so we have no mortgage to pay, and that's how I've managed to be self employed in a profession that only provides money 8 months out of the year. In the years past I've survived on savings over the winter months. Last year we ran out of money around February. My credit suffered due to that.

Now that I've introduced myself, and given a bit of my past. I'd like to ask some advice. I red Brett's ebook. He said, in so many words, that if you have a family you should not go OTR as a truck driver. He pretty much pleaded. I know it's hard on families. Everybody in our little sphere of influence has horror stories about trucking, and how bad it sucked, and how screwed they got, or someone they knew. Everybody says it's a mistake to even contemplate it, much less do it. Still, here I am, getting ready to do it.

Roehl has offered me .39 cents per mile after training. I'm going to be a flatbedder because that's what they are hiring for in my area. They say I can expect 2300-2600 miles per week. Granted, I understand the nature of freight, and nothing is guaranteed. Still, I figure I can gross 40k the first year. My attitude towards this is good. I'm all in. I'm excited about the prospect. I realize that it's many 18 hour days, alone, and that I won't be a part of my families daily life anymore. I realize that to exceed in the business you have to be willing to break some rules. I'm all in, and I aim to be the top driver with Roehl.

My wife is supporting the decision. We made the decision together. Due to my nature, working in some plant, or going to the same place everyday to do the same repetitive thing, over and over is a hell I won't do. I am a loner by nature. I like people one on one, but in groups I can't stand them. Left to my own devices I read books and write, and I have always been that way. I'm very solitary, and so I welcome a profession that mostly leaves me to myself. I really don't like people much at all. However in person I'm cordial and respectful, and I know how to handle people. I know how to act to get people to do things for me.

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