OOIDA Member Duane Brusseau delivers the Capitol Christmas Tree

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | 11/27/2013

In Washington, D.C., the Capitol Christmas Tree is in place on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol mall and ready to be decorated thanks in large part to OOIDA Member Duane Brusseau of San Jose, Calif.

Photo by Nikohle Ellis

OOIDA Member Duane Brusseau of San Jose, Calif.

He drove the lead Mack Pinnacle that hauled the 80-foot spruce 5,000 miles from a forest in Washington to the Capitol steps, with stops in dozens of communities along the way.

The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree, which comes from the Colville National Forest near Usk, Wash., began its cross-country trek on Nov. 1 when the 80-year-old tree was harvested. 

Duane arrived at the Capitol on Monday, Nov. 25, and says the cross-country trip with 10 stops in Washington state and 15 more on the way to D.C. is one he’ll always cherish.

“It was a fulfilling trip, seeing the country and moving the tree,” said Duane.” It was a privilege to take it to the U.S. Capitol.”

Mack Trucks is a major sponsor of the 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree tour, providing two Mack Pinnacle model trucks to deliver the main tree and some smaller ones to be used in DC. The second truck was driven by Gaylon Baker.

The combined length of the truck hauling the tree and custom trailer was 103 feet. Duane talked about the challenging job of maneuvering the oversized trailer into malls and towns “just not set up for that big of a truck and trailer.” At one stop in Nashville last week, crowds were huge as people came to see the tree and enjoy music from Diamond Rio and Lindsay Lawler.

“In all, we did 25 stops across the U.S. and we got that monster truck into every venue,” he said. “The tree, originally 85 feet, was cut off at the bottom, so it was 80 feet and 30 feet wide at the bottom. We spent three days boxing it in so we could transport it. The tip of the tree was visible through a boxed window, so people could actually see it.”

He said the tree is now installed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol and being decorated with thousands of handmade ornaments from the people of Washington State. It will be lit in an official ceremony planned for next Tuesday, Dec. 3, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio. Duane says he will be there for the lighting ceremony and then fly home to San Jose.

Following the lighting ceremony, the tree will be lit each night until 11 p.m. throughout the holiday season.

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