A cheerfully decorated and SmartWay-certified Mack Pinnacle tractor, provided by Mack, is heading cross-country to Washington, DC, hauling the 65-ft. white fir that will light up the nation’s Capitol this year as part of the 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree Project.

The pine tree was selected from the Stanislaus National Forest in the central Sierra Nevada Mountains and loaded onto a special trailer with a custom-built cradle to support the tree’s branches throughout its journey.

(Photos: 2011 Captiol Christmas Tree Project)

The tree’s trek began with a multi-day tour of California before embarking on the two-week cross-country journey to Washington. According to Mack, numerous cities and towns will hold celebrations honoring the symbolic tree at stops along the way, including one near Mack’s World Headquarters in Greensboro, NC.

Royal Trucking Co. is joining Mack in delivering this impressive load of Christmas spirit. The Concord, CA-based carrier is providing drivers and a second truck to transport a trailer supplied by Mack containing 3,000 handmade ornaments and 100 smaller trees for government offices.

After arriving in Washington, the tree will be decorated with almost 10,000 low-energy LED lights and thousands of ornaments. A lighting ceremony on the West Lawn of the Capitol will be held on Dec. 6, and the tree will remain lit throughout the holiday season.

The tradition of “The People’s Tree” began in 1964, and national forests rotate responsibility for providing the conifer. The Bulldog, Mack noted, has delivered Christmas to the Capitol before, most recently in 2009 when a Mack truck hauled an 85-ft. blue spruce from Arizona to Washington.