Last week while doing an interview, we were asked questions.

We don’t like when that happens because, basically, we really don’t have time to think.

Nevertheless, there they were, questions, and it would be impolite to ignore questions we are asked when our business is asking other people questions.

When talking to a representative of Mammoet Canada about a massive barge the company had moved from Edmonton to Hay River – via highway – we were asked if people in Hay River turn out to watch when an oversized load passes through town.

That question was pretty simple.

Yes, people in Hay River do turn out to watch oversized loads pass through town. On Sept. 20, as the barge Aurora Yukon crisply moved along the Mackenzie Highway, some people were spotted along the route with their cellphones capturing the event for posterity.

In the past, they have also watched and recorded as some other large cargo has passed through town. We seem to remember some ridiculously large tank being moved years ago, and we distinctly recall two airport terminal buildings being transported to Great Slave Lake on the highway, and then further north.

And there are no doubt many other examples given Hay River’s unique position as the start of the barging route down the Mackenzie River.

The representative of Mammoet Canada noted the same interest is shown in Edmonton. Apparently even in the city, people are fascinated by the sight of something large and out of place on the highway.

While that first question was easy, the second question was subtler and more of a discussion point. Why do people stop to look at really large oversized loads?

We had no quick answer to that.

And that got us to thinking, which was really annoying because, as previously mentioned, we don’t have the time to think about anything other than work. We spent so much time thinking about it that we were forced to turn the question into something that we could use in The Hub or all that time would have been wasted.

And still we have no satisfying answer as to why people are fascinated with big things on the highway.

We just have a couple of unsatisfying possibilities.

Our best suggestion is that people are attracted to anything out of the ordinary. Perhaps it may be as simple as that, but we don’t think so.

That doesn’t explain what seems like excitement and even fun that people have in seeing something really large and unusual pass by in a caravan of flashing lights. That excitement and fun might be explained because seeing an especially large oversized load on the move is a bit of an event.

But when you think about it – and, again, we didn’t want to do that – it is just some equipment, machinery or maybe a building. Where’s the excitement and fun in that?

So when all is said and done, we admittedly don’t know why people are apparently so fascinated by really oversized loads on the highway.

Unfortunately, that means we’ll have to think about it some more.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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