A Kenworth T680 Advantage will transport the 53rd U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree from the Nov. 8 tree-cutting in the Kootenai National Forest in Montana to 15 community celebrations during the more than 2,000-mile journey en route to the tree-lighting ceremony in Washington, D.C., in early December.
The Kenworth T680 Advantage’s distinctive decal design features the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree – Kootenai National Forest seal, brightly lit and colorfully adorned Christmas tree, and the U.S. Capitol beneath a starry sky with the words “Big Sky. Big Tree. Big Journey.”
The T680 also includes the logo of Billings, Montana-based Whitewood Transport. The company was selected as the hauler for this year’s tree due to its excellent reputation in Montana’s trucking industry, according to Bruce Ward, president of Choose Outdoors, a non-profit organization that assists the U.S. Forest Service with coordinating the annual tour. Whitewood Transport is a recent multiple-year recipient of the Motor Carrier of the Year, including the 2016 award, from the Motor Carriers of Montana.
“It is an honor to be selected to carry the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas tree and to represent the great state of Montana during the tree’s journey to Washington, D.C.,” says Mike Wilson, owner of Whitewood Transport. “You can count on Whitewood Transport to deliver this special gift to the nation safely with the support of our friends at Kenworth.”
Whitewood Transport’s Larry Spiekermeier, who has 1.6-million accident free miles, was selected to drive the special Kenworth T680 Advantage, which will haul a trailer specially designed for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour. The tour will make 10 stops in Montana before continuing with stops in North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri and Kentucky.
“The annual lighting of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree is a true American tradition. It’s an honor for Kenworth to help deliver the ‘The People’s Tree’ for the fourth consecutive year,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. “The T680 Advantage features the PACCAR Powertrain, provides a very comfortable work environment for this year’s tour driver, and sports eye-catching graphics that thousands of people will see on the road and at the tour stops.”
The company says the Kenworth T680 Advantage features the PACCAR Powertrain with the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 455-hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque, new PACCAR 12-speed automated transmission, and PACCAR 40,000-pound tandem rear axle. The T680’s specifications include Kenworth’s TruckTech+ remote diagnostics, predictive cruise control, idle management system, driver performance center, and premium GT703 seats in addition to high-intensity discharge headlamps, Bendix Wingman Fusion driver assistance system, and tire-pressure monitoring system.
The 76-inch sleeper is specified with the premium “Driver’s Studio” option package, which includes the Diamond VIT interior, 180-degree swivel passenger seat and rotating table to accommodate two people, drawer-style refrigerator, convenient space ideal for a microwave, premium audio package, and swivel TV mount for up to a 28-inch flat screen TV. The Driver’s Studio also offers a full-size wardrobe space for hanging clothes, multiple storage drawers, large storage space under the lower bunk, and 8-inch thick, luxury pocket coil mattress.