I had the opportunity a couple weeks ago to see a very unusual vehicle. It was truly unique, purpose-built, one-of-a-kind. Unlike most of the vehicles I get excited about, there was no racing involved here. It topped out at only 8 m.p.h.
You see, the point of this vehicle was to move a giant rock.
That's right, a rock. You see, an artist was doing an installation at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) called "Levitated Mass" that involved a trench people would walk through, some supports that couldn't be seen from underneath, and a 340-ton rock.
LACMA's official material suggested this was the largest megalith moved since ancient times. Since the pyramids, people. I'm telling you, this rock was big.
So big that it couldn't be moved on the freeway, over metro rail tracks, under overpasses, etc. Word was, it took a year simply to secure the permits to move the rock in a very wide loop through a couple counties, from Riverside in the east to the Wilshire District of Los Angeles in the west. Crazy enough, it came through my little corner of town on its way.
The rock only moved at night, when roads could be closed, traffic lights moved, wires cut, and so forth. During the day, it sat still, at the side or in the middle of a road, and waited for night. Except in my town, where residents decided to throw a party. A rock party, of course.
What all of this means is that we got the chance to inspect the transportation vehicle up close. As one woman put it (pardon the language): "Who gives a shit about a rock, I want to see this truck!"
It was pretty impressive, as you can see below. A total of 204 wheels, three semi tractors to propel it (one pulling, two pushing), and innumerable support vehicles. We saw it sitting during the day and traveling at night, and I'm still chuckling over all the effort and drama for a rock. :-)