One of the great traditions during the Christmas season is the annual U.S Capitol Christmas tree. This year’s tree will have a connection to the trucking industry, and not just along the transportation route.
Remote asset tracking provider SkyBitz will be offering free tracking of the tree’s trip from the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona along a route that will visit cities throughout Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia and Maryland.
The public can log onto a special web site at www.trackthetree.com beginning on Nov. 10 and following it on its journey. SkyBitz’s GLS asset tracking services will provide the software.
“We are excited to provide this unique and interactive experience for everyone, young and old, to get engaged in this event and the activities and history that surround it,” said SkyBitz senior vp of marketing Craig Montgomery.
The tree, which will be cut down Nov. 7, will leave Eagar, AZ, on Nov. 10. It is an 85-ft. blue spruce and will arrive in Washington, D.C., on either Nov. 29 or 30, according to Mike Monfred, DOT & compliance manager of Southwest Industrial Rigging, based in Phoenix. Southwest is handling the transportation of the tree.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Aldo Leopold to the Apache National Forest, so it’s only fitting that the tree is coming from that area and has been named the “The Aldo Leopold Centennial Tree.”
Leopold was considered a pioneer in the conversation of natural resources. So it’s also fitting that this year will mark the first time the tree has been transported in a vehicle running on alternative fuel. Southwest will be using two tractors to deliver the tree, associated “companion trees” and 6,000 ornaments.
The tractor pulling the tree itself is a 1991 Mack with a red, white and blue color scheme. The company will also use a 2001 Peterbilt for the second load. According to Monfred, the tree itself will travel on a Fontaine flat bed stretch trailer with an insertable deck. The trailer will extended to its full 80-ft. length and the total travel length of the vehicle will 102 ft.
The Peterbilt will haul a 53-ft. Utility Trailer van. Both trucks will make stops in Flagstaff, Show Low, Springerville, and Window Rock, AR, and Gallup, NM. Along the stops, 6,000 ornaments and 80 “companion trees,” which will be displayed around the Capitol Tree, will be added to the convoy.
But what really brings this project home is what brought Leopold to the Apache National Forest in the first place – conservation. The two tractors will make the trip running on biodiesel, the first time the Capitol Christmas Tree will be transported with a renewable fuel, according to Monfred.