Shippers track vehicles, equipment, and inventory all the time, but it's not every day you hear about someone tracking an 85-foot blue spruce. Yet for the next few weeks, anyone with an Internet connection can monitor the progress of the 2009 Capitol Christmas Tree as it makes its way from Arizona's Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest to Washington, D.C. The tree is expected to arrive on Nov. 30; the official lighting will take place the week of Dec. 7.
The tree's journey is being monitored by satellite tracking specialist SkyBitz, which attached a mobile tracking unit to the flatbed trailer carrying the giant spruce. The company has launched a Web site,that lets the public follow its progress. Along with the latest tracking data, the snowflake-bedecked Web site includes a photo gallery, a link to the tree's Facebook page (actually quite entertaining, with photos, videos of the tree cutting, and posts from people along the route), and an explanation of how the company's global locating system works.
The Capitol Christmas Tree left Eagar, Ariz., on a biodiesel-fueled, flag-painted tractor-flatbed operated by Southwest Industrial Rigging on Nov. 10 and will pass through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia, and Maryland before arriving at the U.S. Capitol Building.
Each year, a different national forest provides "the People's Tree"—including decorations—as a gift to the nation.