The longer that you are on the road, the more likely that something bad will happen at home when you aren't there. That happened again to me last Monday. I had a live unload in Caldwell, OH. It was an 09:00 central time appointment. I was about 75 miles short of making it there on Sunday. No, problem I even extended my 10 hour break a little to hold off starting my clock. They were great and had my 12 rolls unloaded and I had the trailer swept out by 09:30.
My backhaul was about 140 miles away in Youngstown, OH. My screen had me planned for a 14:00 arrival time. My instructions had the appointment as a window of 11:00-14:00. I arrived at 13:15 and was informed that I was late. They backed me in right away. How long it would it take? They just told me that they had 2 hours. I asked if it would be OK to take a 30 minute walk. Yes, so I got a 2 mile walk and my 30 minute break in. Even better- They had me loaded in about 45 minutes.
The load was heading to Beaver Dam, WI. I used the Ohio Tollway for efficiency. Ohio's toll rates are not great, but acceptable. Indiana's are not. It takes me about 25 minutes longer to skip the Indiana Tollway and use US 20. If there is something to gain - like making it though Chicago - I will take the Indiana Tollway. In this case, I hit the line with about 3:30 hours left on the clock. There was no way to make it thourgh Chicago. 4:00 is my unofficial cut off from there.
I enjoyed the trip across US 20. It was a beautiful evening. This time I did not stop at one of my favorite Amish restaurants because I had taken care of my 30 minute break in Ohio. I made it to Burns Harbor, IN with about an 1:20 left on my clock and decided to park there and get a shower in the morning. This is where I do believe that on 13/16 hour flex night in the HOS would be helpful for truckers and cities. If I could expand my HOS one day per week - I would have gone thought Chicago at around 20:30 intead of 06:30. That would be a win for everyone. I would get through Chicago and rush hour traffic would be lightened up.
At 20:23 I missed a call from Roxanne. It is unusual for Rox to call after 20:00. I called her back right away. Our dog Chalsee had a seizure and Rox had called the vet. Rox followed the vet's instructions. We have a wonderful small town vet. The vet made a house call so that we could put Jack to sleep at home. Living in a rural area has advantages. Chalsee had tried to get up, but couldn't. She did wag her tail when Rox petted her. We had hope.
By 21:00 Chalsee was gone. Luckily, we have adult children nearby. They came over to help Roxanne. They did what I couldn't. That helpless feeling is just awful. There have been times when I have had to just pull over and cry. Sometimes, you just feel sad and useless. You are never useless. At this point the best thing that a driver can do is not compound the tragedy. Take care of yorself. Get home safely. Your family still needs you. BE SAFE!