That's one big Christmas tree

| 11/28/2006

It's taken a massive amount of time and effort to coordinate the transportation of this year's Capitol Christmas tree - a 65-foot long Pacific silver fir - to Washington, DC. Now that it's arrived safely, it's time to get out the decorations.

That's the task ahead for the U.S. Capitol Landscape Architecture staff, the group who will be in charge of stringing more than 10,000 lights on the fir and hanging 3,000 ornaments handmade by Washington state schoolchildren.

The tree was delivered to the Capitol grounds in DC Monday by OOIDA member Gordy Grove, Langley, WA. Grove drives for National Van Lines and was chosen to haul this year's tree from his home state of Washington. He told Land Line he was honored to be asked to drive the tree and to be part of this year's ceremonies.

"Gordy delivered the tree safely yesterday (Monday) and all went well," said Roger Harl, vice president of operations for National Van Lines, the primary sponsor for this year's event.

Grove agreed.

"It was definitely an honor to be chosen to do this," Grove said. "It was a totally different experience for me. It was interesting and a lot of fun and I had a nice time doing it."

Grove told Land Line there were some "tight" turns he had to make a long the way, but that he managed to safely maneuver the 80-foot trailer that was specially designed to haul this year's tree.

Jorja Coulter, vice president of marketing for National Van Lines, said that the total length of the tractor-trailer is 95 feet.

"Gordy did an excellent job of driving the tree for us," she said. "Imagine, trying to drive something that is approximately seven car-lengths long across country."

Grove will be National Van Line's featured guest at the tree lighting on Dec. 6. Other sponsors include Fontaine Trailer, which designed an 80-foot expandable trailer to accommodate the tree's size, and Skybitz, which included a satellite locating system installed in the trailer to track the tree's progress.

The caravan also included a trailer, which hauled 65 companion trees to be put in various buildings on Capitol Hill.

- Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer