A 79-ft. Englemann Spruce harvested from northwestern Montana in the Kootenai National Forest will serve as the 53rd U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – and it began its 3,000-plus mile journey east last week pulled by a specially-decorated Kenworth T680 Advantage tractor.
Larry Spiekermeier, a driver with Montana-based Whitewood Transport, is in charge of hauling the tree east on a tour that will stop at 15 “community events” across Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, and Kentucky before arriving in Washington D.C.
The 76 year-old Spruce, which weighs about 15,000 lbs., is fitted with a special 80-gallon water bladder to keep it hydrated during its journey and is also carefully wrapped and boxed on a special flatbed trailer to protect it from the elements.
The tree is destined to end its cross-country trip Nov. 26 at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before being delivered to the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 27. U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, and a Montanan, for the Christmas holiday at a special ceremony in early December.