With an 80-foot Noble Fir in tow – cut from the Willamette National Forest – a Kenworth W990 continues its march toward the birthplace of The Oregon Trail – Independence, Missouri. It will arrive there today – completing the 2,170-mile Oregon Trail route in reverse.
On Thanksgiving Day, the Capitol Tree will take part in the Ameren Thanksgiving Day Parade in St. Louis. From there, it’s on to Washington, D.C. and the Capitol building. A special tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 5 will be hosted by the Architect of the Capitol, in conjunction with the U.S. Speaker of the House.
The Capitol Christmas Tree, transported by Central Oregon Truck Company, completed its leg through Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming Nov. 18, making stops at many historic towns on the Trail. More than 10,000 people are estimated to have seen the special tree at the stops, while thousands more have seen it traveling down the highway during its journey across America.
“This year’s tour is celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail. Kenworth has had a presence in the state of Oregon for 95 years. Kenworth’s legacy began in Portland as Gersix Manufacturing Company, which later was purchased by Kenworth’s founders. Some of our earliest employees were likely direct descendants of those who were trailblazers,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “Today, we have an excellent dealer headquartered in Oregon – The Papé Group – which operates eight Kenworth dealerships in Oregon and is a major sponsor of this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour.”
The Oregon Trail was used by an estimated 400,000 American pioneers in the mid-1800s to emigrate west – snaking its way through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon.
McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
The Kenworth W990 76-inch mid-roof sleeper transporting the tree features a distinctive graphics package with a brightly lit and colorfully adorned Christmas Tree next to the U.S. Capitol below the words “From the Oregon Trail to the Capitol Steps.” The Kenworth W990 features the PACCAR Powertrain and incorporates a PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, 12-speed automated transmission, and 40K tandem rear axles. The truck was also specified with the W990 Limited Edition interior, premium GT703 seats and audio system, Kenworth Nav+HD, predictive cruise control, 1800W inverter, 180-degree swivel passenger seat, and Kenworth TruckTech+® remote diagnostics.
“This is Kenworth’s fifth consecutive year of providing a new Kenworth truck to deliver ‘The People’s Tree’, and we couldn’t be more proud to support the event,” said Swihart. “We’re not just moving a tree, we’re celebrating tradition and kicking off the holiday season by transporting a tree specifically selected to stand tall outside the U.S. Capitol building. It’s why so many people come out to view the tree along the route. It’s special.”
For more information, including a complete tour schedule, visit the 2018 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree web site – www.capitolchristmastree.com. Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization that works with the Forest Service on promoting outdoor recreation and public access to federal lands for recreation, assists with coordinating the annual tour.
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Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.
Photos courtesy of James Edward Mills