US Capitol Christmas Tree – 2018

The National Christmas Tree – the one they decorate and put up on the west lawn of the US Capitol – is coming from the Willamette National Forest.  The tree was cut from the Sweet Home Ranger District and is 70 feet tall with a 24 inch diameter trunk, weighs 8,300 pounds and is 35-years-old.  For the first time, a noble fir (Abies procera) has been selected.  The last time the Capitol Tree was selected from Oregon was in 2002.  This was a Douglas Fir from the Umpqua National Forest.

The tree is following the Oregon Trail  in reverse on its way to D.C.  We caught up with the Tree and its considerable entourage when they visited the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Oregon City.

(click the photos in each mosaic to view them larger)

Capitol Christmas Tree postcard

Capitol Christmas Tree postcard

We arrived at just about 4:00, so it was still daylight.  Hubby and I had a great time talking to the forest rangers and truck drivers hauling the tree.  The full length of the set-up including the truck and trailer is about 105 feet!  The trailer was custom made, and the new Kenworth tractor was wrapped with a really cool design.  There is a team of drivers from Central Oregon Trucking here in Oregon driving the rig.

The sides of the trailer are covered in a canvas that everyone was invited to sign with well wishes for the tree and crew.  Of course I took my turn signing – twice!

As 5:00 approached the crowds began to grow, and some friends of mine came by.  We had a great time visiting, talking to the drivers and the park rangers.  I even visited with the official photographer!

The trailer has a window in the rear so we can see the decorated top of the tree.  The lights are on as they go down the road.  We were told they get quite a bit of attention running down the highway!

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By the time we left the moon was beginning to set over the roofline of the wagons at the museum.  What a unique and memorable way to begin the holiday season!

 From here the tree will travel along the trail to St. Louis where they will be part of the Thanksgiving Day parade. I sure wish we could be there.  We leave on Saturday heading east and then south to Texas with a load of Christmas Trees ourselves.  They won’t all be celebrities though.  Hubby thinks we may see the truck again before we head south. I know I will be keeping an eye out.

The lighting ceremony at the capitol is set to happen on Wednesday, December 5 at 5 pm.  To read more about the tree, some history about the program,  and the journey ahead visit  https://www.capitolchristmastree.org/tree.html or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/USCapitolChristmasTree/   and Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/uscapitolchristmastree/ 

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To the Midwest and back in our Big Rig

We just returned from our three week, 7200 mile road trip –  a drive that took us from here in Oregon down the Columbia River Gorge, across I-80 through mountains, corn & soybean fields, and along miles and miles of desert in Wyoming and Nebraska.

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We saw bighorn sheep in the Gorge, and pronghorn antelope grazing along the expressway in Wyoming. In Nebraska we left the highway and began making our deliveries.  We stopped in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois.  I walked along side streets & parking lots with the Pup – and of course the truck stops we stayed in for the nights and weekends.  (to view the photos as a slideshow and read the captions click on the first photo in each group)

We left I-80 behind in Illinois to complete the deliveries from our first load, and pick up our next.  The drive took us into Chicago lined with pavement and buildings, and along two lane country roads lined with fields of corn & soybeans –  and acres of Midwest farms.

We left our trailer in Indiana and drove north, towards my reason for being on this trip. I grew up in a small town in Michigan, and have not been back for 10 years now.  It was time to go back, and walk the street where I grew up once again. By now the landscape has transitioned to familiar wildflowers & weeds –  the architecture and layouts of the towns, the way the air smells and the people talk and live all strikes a chord.

From home we once again bob-tailed north, to Mackinaw City.  Each Labor Day the Mackinac Bridge closes for six hours to allow walkers to cross the bridge.  The bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsula’s of Michigan on I-75.  It’s a five mile bridge over the Straits of Mackinac or the meeting of Lakes Michigan and Huron. I have written more about my experience in my previous post: 10,000 Steps.  You can also view photos via my Facebook album: Mackinaw Bridge Labor Day walk 9.4.17

Time to head southward, and home.  The beginning of our trip took us back over some of the same roads we arrived on.  In Nebraska we headed south to Denver, and a drive through Colorado on scenic highways that wound us through the mountains.  We drove through the Rio Grande National Forest, the road reaching 10,857 feet.  We saw Elk but no snow yet.

We made deliveries in Colorado.  While Hubby unloads the trailer I am free to wander. Mostly it’s just a industrial park or a lumber yard.  But sometimes I get lucky, and we get to walk along scenic roadsides.  This was our delivery in Durango, Colorado.

As you can see, the landscape has changed once again.  This time to more desert landscapes cut with mountaintops.  As you know, Colorado is pretty high. We were at least 5000 feet high most of the time, and even in Arizona we were still at 2000 feet. As we drove through the passes in Arizona the rocks changed from red to black to pink to white.  We saw rainshowers, sunshine and rainbows while in AZ.  These photos (below) were on the road from Colorado, through New Mexico and into Arizona.

Just over the border in Arizona we left the interstate and found ourselves on a section of  Route 66 in Holbrook.  Hubby stopped the truck long enough for me to take some photos at a historic landmark along old Route 66.  You can view a few more photos on this Facebook album: Historic Wigwam Motel

We stopped in Tucson for the weekend, rented a car and headed out to Tombstone for a look-see.  It didn’t disappoint!  You can read all about our day in this blog post: Tombstone, AZ.  With Sunday to rest and do chores, we found time to take a walk around the truck stop and snapped some photos of the local flora.

We finished our deliveries in Tucson, and Phoenix.  It was so HOT in Phoenix, we were happy to leave it behind.  But … we didn’t clear the heat until the next morning when we arrived in Los Angeles.  The road ahead was a familiar one.

One night in Los Angeles – and a walk to an iconic burger joint.  Picked up the load that would bring us home, and off we went for a two day drive south.  I-5 is the most familiar road, as most of our trips either begin or end, or both, on this route.  But that doesn’t mean the scenery is any less beautiful.

By the time we reach the border of Oregon and California I am pretty beat.  21 days in the passenger seat isn’t easy.  So I  am afraid I just sit back and wait until the wheels take me to my own driveway.  Next trip I will try to snap some photos from the road in Oregon.  I will say it’s great to be home.  The laundry is done and the six new t-shirts we brought home with us are all put away, ready to wear on our next adventure.

 

 

4th of July from the road

I am writing this post as we travel down the highway.  I guess I have Red White and Blue on the mind; I am seeing it everywhere today!

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As you know, I have been on the road the last week with my Trucker Hubby. It’s been an eye opening view of his world.  I have even more admiration and respect for those that serve us daily on the open road, keeping America working.

“It’s likely a trucker who brought you your food, clothes, and your bed…a sailor on a concrete sea.” Johnny Cash

The next time you pass a trucker on the road, remember that you may be on vacation, out on your way home from work, but he is AT WORK….bringing us everything that we take for granted everyday.