ARCO No mega-anger here. No mega-fear. Not even a hint of mega-apprehension.
The folks who enjoyed breakfast at Pickles Place the locals and those on their way to someplace else appeared perfectly relaxed.
One womans brow furrowed before she answered a question about what she thinks of the megaload.
Oh, I dont even play the lottery, she said.
That response wasnt typical.
Most of those who make their homes in this Butte County community of roughly 942 have heard about the megaload. And most know the Omega Morgan transport companys monster rig carrying a 450-ton load of oil refinery equipment that measures 376 feet long and stands nearly as tall as a two-story building will soon pass through town.
So, are they shaking their fists? Or shaking in their boots?
It really isnt that big of a deal, Jacks Travel Plaza cashier Valerie Babcock said. I havent heard anyone say anything about it at all.
Juel Lambert, who works at Lost River Drug, agreed.
I havent heard a lot of talk about it. All weve heard is that its coming through here, he said.
Besides, Arco is no stranger to big trucks carrying big loads.
Weve seen those windmill tower trucks come through, Jay VanEtten said. Usually, its hay trucks. One time, someone brought a big boat through here going somewhere.
VanEtten works at Nathans Service Center and Lost River Honda in Arco.
(But) I havent heard anybody talking about (the megaload), he said.
The oversized load thats bound for the tar sands of Alberta began its journey in Oregon. As it moved through the state, the megaload sparked protests by Native American tribes and environmentalists at odds with the oil and gas industry.
It has also become a bit of a tourist attraction, with its own band of groupies traveling to have their photos taken with the massive prop. When it parked for Christmas at its first Idaho roost, between Homedale and Marsing, Owyhee County officials had to warn tourists they could be ticketed for jaywalking or illegal parking.
After Arco, the megaload will pass through Leadore and Salmon and on to Montana.
Lemhi County officials previously voiced concerns about the mammoth load. It takes up two lanes of travel as it moves down the highway. It is also 300 feet longer than the only bridge providing motorized access between the east and west sides of Salmon.
Back at Pickles Place, Boise trucker Steve Thomas insisted that no one in Arco, Salmon or anywhere else along the route had anything to worry about.
They move at a snails pace. Everything has been engineered. Everything has been planned and plotted, Thomas said. The people who are (complaining) about it, dont really understand it.
Thomas and Brenda Johnson stopped at the eatery Saturday en route to Dubois. Johnson admitted she was curious about the megaload and keeping an eye on its movements.
Id like to see it, she said. Its a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.
For those living in Arco, that could mean getting up at 4 or 5 in the morning, when the megaload may come through town before making a right turn at the junction of Highways 20, 26 and 93.
Not me, Babcock said. Im not getting up in the middle of the night.