Capitol Christmas tree loaded on Kenworth, heads to D.C.

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It took more than 300 people joining forces the U.S. Forest Service, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, and federal, state and local representatives Wednesday to harvesting the 2014 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree near Cass Lake, Minn.

The special 75-foot white spruce from the Chippewa National Forest and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was loaded onto a heavy duty trailer – expandable to 80 feet – and coupled to a Kenworth T880 for its trek to Washington D.C.

The official U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour truck is equipped with the powerful and fuel-efficient 500-hp Paccar MX-13 engine with 1,850 lb-ft of torque, Eaton Fuller 13-speed transmission, and 52-inch mid-roof sleeper. The T880 was made available to Kenworth for the tour by PacLease, which provides customized full-service lease, rental, and contract maintenance programs featuring Kenworth trucks.

The special T880’s distinctive design incorporates a U.S. Capitol night image, brightly lit and decorated Christmas tree, 2014 Capitol Christmas Tree official seal, and logo of Wille Transport, a long-time Kenworth customer based in Cohasset, Minn. An owner-operator and a company driver with Wille Transport will pilot the Kenworth T880 – and a Kenworth T680 Advantage with 76-inch sleeper, respectively – during the more than 30-stop tour.

The T680 Advantage will also transport 70 smaller Christmas trees donated by the Minnesota Tree Growers Association. Those trees will decorate the inside of the U.S. Capitol building and other federal sites throughout Washington, D.C. The T680 Advantage also will bring 10,000 ornaments created by children and others from Minnesota communities to adorn the Capitol Christmas Tree and the smaller trees. The T680 Advantage on the tour is specified with the Eaton Fuller Advantage 10-speed automated transmission, Diamond VIT interior, Kenworth Idle Management System, and Kenworth’s new, factory-installed aerodynamic package. .

The 50th anniversary Capitol Christmas Tree tour’s initial stops are Sunday, Nov. 2, at Itasca State Park and Bemidji, Minn. Among other notable stops are: Nov. 7 – Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.); Nov. 13 – Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum (Grand Rapids, Mich.); Nov. 14 – Michigan State University (East Lansing, Mich.); Nov. 15 – Henry Ford Museum (Dearborn, Mich.); Nov. 16 – FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio) for the Cleveland Browns versus Houston Texans football game; and Nov. 17 – Kenworth Truck Company assembly plant (Chillicothe, Ohio). 

The Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit by Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a special ceremony in early December. House Speaker John W. McCormack began the Capitol Christmas Tree tradition in 1964.