Before I begin, I apologize for all the highlighted words that trick you with advertising. Just try to ignore them.
Nearly at our destination in eastern Montana, driving with the sun in our eyes, we spotted a flagman on the highway, just in the nick of time. He was only a small silhouette, but the stop sign he held up alerted us before we could see the colour or lettering on it. He waved our truck and trailer over to the side of the otherwise empty highway.
“An extra-wide load is coming this way,” he said. “He’s about nine miles from here. Should be here soon. Stay on the shoulder until it’s gone by.”
“What kind of load is it? Farm equipment?”
“No, it’s a boiler, going to Canada. It’s a big one. The load is 27 feet wide.”
As we settled in for a bit of a wait, I marveled at how quiet it was. No traffic. No activity of any sort that we could see or hear. I took out the camera and pointed it out the side window. One of Montana’s many abandoned buildings sat in the high grass.
As the time came for the boiler to come down the road, I thought it would make an interesting photo. I stepped out onto the shoulder and got ready. As the monstrosity appeared, I was reminded of the disaster movies of my childhood — The Monolith Monsters, The Blob, and such horror shows. I snapped a hurried picture just as my driver yelled at me, “Get in! I think we should have pulled off the road more. Holy smokes!”
I wanted to take a close up photo, but didn’t dare get out and our windshield was too full of splattered bugs to take the picture through it. With a sigh and a shudder and a “Wow!” I sat and gaped at the huge boiler rolling past us with inches to spare.