Starting A New Chapter

Topic 26127 | Page 1

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Minnis B.'s Comment
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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!


Old School's Comment
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Good luck Minnis! It's great to hear from you!

Marc Lee's Comment
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Great post. Great attitude. Well done!

Best of luck in your new endeavor!


Brett Aquila's Comment
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That's a fantastic story and it's great to hear you were able to jump right into another job and keep truckin. Hope this one lasts a lot longer for ya. Best of luck with it!

PackRat's Comment
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Great to hear from you, especially with your success story!

Peter M.'s Comment
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Having a great work ethic, along with a solid attitude will always pay dividends. Good on you, Sir.

Bruce K.'s Comment
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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?

Big Scott (CFI's biggest 's Comment
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Great to hear from you Minnis. Glad all is well. You are another example of a top tier driver. Stay safe. Keep us posted.

Minnis B.'s Comment
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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.


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