Posted by Tricia Sharp
When Tricia and Mike decided to drive cross-country back to Georgia they had a few different options. Have everything shipped with movers (estimate: $6000). Sell everything and fly first class (estimate: $1500). Rent a trailer and move themselves (estimate: $1000).  They had no idea going with the ladder would create the SCARIEST drive of their lives...
The drive started out good with Grants Pass, Oregon on the agenda as the first stop for Day 1.  Barry Harter gave the advise to use the WAZE App for their navigation. The app gives the best route for your destination much better than the iPhone standard Map app. In real time, it shows route adjustments, hazards, weather and police sightings. This saved Tricia and Mike hours off their schedule avoiding traffic backups and icy road conditions.
On Day 2, WAZE notified them of a traffic backup near the town of Edgewood California right before Mount Shasta. Police were inspecting vehicles to make sure they were 4-wheel drive with snow-chains.  Tricia & Mike had neither but wanted to forge on.  Bad idea.
While bypassing backed-up traffic might seem like a good idea, they soon discovered how dangerous the roads were.  The road went from clear, dry pavement, to 3 inches of packed snow and ice. Tricia got a very bad feeling in her gut and stopped the truck. "This doesn't feel right. It's waaay too snowy for our load, our truck can barely tow this thing without snow, nonetheless a road that needs chains."  Mike said, "Trust your gut.  Turn around if you want."  As she slowly backed up... the trailer started to turn, the truck slowly started to slide, they were headed for the ditch.  Tricia stopped the vehicle and switched with her bearded hero.  It didn't matter who was driving, the entire load jackknifed in the middle of the road blocking both directions.  They both got out and assessed the situation. "What are our options?" they thought.  "We're going to have to un-hitch the trailer and get turned around, then try and drag the trailer in the other direction, then hook it back up."  So they grabbed the floor mats from the truck to give their back 2-wheel drive tires some traction and used one of the trailer chains to drag the trailer.  Even though Mike was driving slow, the trailer slammed off the jack stand onto the snowy pavement and crashed into the back of their truck. All Tricia could do is scream.  No damage was done, but it was a little scary.  After a rancher helped jack up the trailer again, they were on their way... again.  This time back north toward Yreka, California to get snow chains!  They had to get over the pass before 1pm because another storm was coming that would probably keep them in northern California for an additional 3 days. They made it to Fresno after a very long 13-hour day driving in snow and rain.
On Day 3, they left Fresno, California and headed towards Phoenix, Arizona. Again, Tricia was driving up the pass and felt the truck shift hard into 4th gear, "Oh no!! The Check Engine light came on."  "Pull over at the next truck stop and we'll look at it- I think its burning oil." Mike said.  Being raised by a mechanic, Tricia knew it was the transmission. "Grab some transmission fluid too!" Tricia yelled as she took MJ on her many potty breaks.  They made it to the hotel and decided to have the truck looked at the next morning before heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  "So it's your transmission fluid, the owner said- we can get in today but you're going to have to unload everything."  So in the middle of a busy parking lot, the couple had to unhook the trailer... again... and unload their candle cart and a few items out of the back of the truck. The looks they got was hysterical.  They were even approached by a homeless man selling cigarettes.  "Atleast the weather is nice and warm here." Tricia said. "Well, I see there's another storm that's going to hit Flagstaff tonight on our route towards Albuquerque, so we need to try and stay ahead of it." Mike warned.
After making it to Albuquerque on Day 4 with NO issues the couple forged forward east towards Texas, Oklahoma then Arkansas. Six-hour estimates turned into 9 hours of actual driving time since the couple couldn't do the speed limit (the trailer has a 55 mi. / hour limit to keep from swaying... Tricia pushed that limit to 65/70 mi/hour, just to see if it was true. It's not.  You can totally get up to 70 before you start to feel the trailer ;)
Once in Tennessee on Day 6, everything started looking weirdly familiar.  Highway names and interstate numbers towards Kentucky reminded Tricia of different situations from when she was younger.  "And this is the spot where we broke down when I was a kid...  Oh Look! A Piggly Wiggly and Kroger!  That highway leads to my dad's house 2-hours away!  My niece is going to Middle Tennessee University!" Tricia joked. 
Then at one of the rest stops, Tricia takes a picture of a telephone booth. "Wow! Does it still work?" she thought.  It didn't.  As she walked back to the truck a woman dressed in a blue T-shirt and jeans started sprinting towards her. "Excuse me!! Are you taking a picture of me?"  Confused Tricia asked "You want me to take your picture?" "No!! Did you just take a picture of me?" The woman was very disgruntled. "Oh no mam. I was taking a picture of this old telephone booth- they are starting to take them down and you don't see them anymore." 
"I am 40 years old and I've seen a telephone booth!" the woman yelled "I think you're taking pictures of the homeless, like we're some sort of debilitates!" Tricia looked her up and down. She was clean, hair in braids and clean, her face was fresh like it was moisturized, and her clothes were all clean. "Are YOU homeless?" Tricia asked? "You don't look homeless, I would have never thought that by looking at you. But no mam, I was not taking your picture, you must be confused."  The lady was confused. And she continued to tell Tricia how she thought people were taking pictures of her and making fun of her and they always blame it on taking a picture of the telephone booth.  Tricia's heart dropped, she could tell this woman needed a hug and acceptance. She was obviously mentally ill even though she looked perfectly healthy.  "Hey. Can I give you a hug?" As Tricia reached in to embrace the woman the woman's face went sour.  She put her hands up and yelled "Please don't touch me! I don't want you to be near me!!"  
Tricia said "Ok. but you approached ME with this hostility, not the other way around.  You got in MY bubble, I didn't get into yours! Remember that the next time you approach someone wanting pity or a handout.  The only thing I am offering you is LOVE and YOU decided to turn it away. Your world won't change until you start to love yourself and accept love from others... do you understand that?" The woman scurried away leaving Tricia thinking more about mental health and how Rotary is trying to help this ongoing epidemic.  
Day 7, the couple arrives in Blairsville, Georgia with a sigh of relief. "What a crazy journey this was." Mike said. "Lets not ever do that again!  Next time let's sell everything and fly first class instead." Tricia nodded in agreement. "Yeah, WHEN we move back to Washington, we'll do this completely different." ;)
MaryJane on the edge of the forrest.
MaryJane near the lavender bushes
John (mike's dad) starting saplings with a humidifier and heating pad.
Historic Route 66