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Episode 9: The Capitol Christmas Tree Mission with Ed and Deb Kingdon of Hardy Brothers Trucking

Brent – 00:00:01:

Welcome to Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast, where we explore the fascinating world of trucking and freight management. We dive deep into the freight industry and uncover why the trucking industry is more crucial to our country now than ever before. Stay tuned to uncover the driving forces behind successful trucking businesses and hear from the hardworking truckers and leaders who keep the world moving. Let’s hit the road. All right, welcome back to Freight Nation, a podcast by truckstop.com. We appreciate you joining us today, whether you’re joining us and watching us visually, which is always fun, or you’re listening to us. We just appreciate you coming and listening to great stories about freight transportation. Freight in the United States is such a fun, fun market to be in. And I’ve been in it for, at the leader of Freight Nation here. And I’ve been at it for 26 years. And one of the great things about it is we got, there’s so many people that have been in it their entire life, their entire career. And that’s one of the things that makes trucking and freight transportation so endearing. And we’ve got a great, great group of guests today, as you can see, joining us and talking about something that is really, really near and dear to all of us. As we move into the holiday season, the guest today is so appropriate. Joining us today is Ed and Deb Kingdon of Hardy Brothers Transportation out of North Carolina, one of my favorite states. And joining us as well is Dale Norman, the Director of Sales and Marketing for them. So we’ve got a super cool story today because Ed and Deb got to do something that I have been watching since I got in the industry in 1998, which is they got to haul the Capitol Christmas Tree from their home state all the way up to DC. And so we’re going to talk about that. But more than that, we’re also going to talk about the story of Ed and Deb and their journey into trucking, how they got into it, how they got to Hardy Brothers. Dale’s going to give us a little bit of the history of Hardy Brothers and what it, why, what makes it so cool. And boy, is it a cool trucking company. And so we’re just glad that you joined us for Freight Nation today. And Ed and Deb, thank you so much for coming on today and telling your story.

Ed – 00:02:02: 

Thank you for having us. We’re glad to be here.

Brent – 00:02:04: 

Yeah, man, that’s awesome. So they got such a really cool story. I want to start, Ed, with you. Maybe it was you and Deb. Maybe it was where you guys started. Y’all made a decision as a couple. Hey, we’re going to get into trucking. Tell the watchers and listeners today a little bit about how Ed and Deb started their journey into the trucking industry.

Ed – 00:02:24: 

Well, it’s not a new thing story. I rode with her brother back in 1978. He was a long haul trucker for 25 years, at least maybe 30. Now I was right out of high school and had a little bit of a bug, but little boy doesn’t like big trucks, right? So I had the opportunity to ride with him. He was based out of Arkansas and got to see California for the first time. I got the bug back then and knew it was something I wanted to do at some point later on. But as like moved on, joined the service and different things and like that change that it just wasn’t the right time to get [inaudible] . After retiring in 2018 from the Air Force, it looked like a good opportunity to do that. I was reviewing and looking at things that might work. Our first inclination was to do something to help support the military and give back some way. So we looked at an opportunity with trucking companies that did that hauling and found one and worked through the process with them. Unfortunately, at the last moment, they were purchased by a large company that got rid of their veterans hiring program. Deb had already started school to get her CDL, so we had to look for another company. So that was part of the background, but I’ll let her tell you a little bit of how I convinced her because she had no idea what was coming.

Brent – 00:03:48: 

Well, hold on before Deb jumps into that. I want, if you said 1978 to 2018, last time my Alabama map. She says that’s a long period of time. You were in the Air Force for how many years?

Ed – 00:04:03: 

Well, a total of 38 years, meet active duty, And we got married right after I joined. We went to England, Germany, Florida. Then I got off active duty and finished my college and graduated. Joined the Air National Guard, stayed in the Air National Guard all through my career, and went back active duty associated with the Guard on several occasions, including a tour in Iraq in 2005, and then a tour in Washington, DC for seven years doing domestic operations, operations, and then also wrote at Joint Base Andrews doing director of the security forces and law enforcement.

Brent – 00:04:41: 

Wow, man, that’s super cool. Well, on behalf of trucking and on behalf of Truckstop , thank you so much for protecting our freedom. And, Deb, thank you for protecting our freedom. It’s a joint effort, I know, and in the military, it’s not always easy. But thank you so much for doing that. I admire anybody that’s willing to be courageous and go out there and do those things. So thank you so much. I wanted to make sure you talked about that because that’s a big part of who you are. And it’s a big part of y’all’s marriage. And so it’s super cool. So all right, Deb. So Ed said you got a big part of this, too. All right, just tell us what happened.

Deb – 00:05:14: 

So he mentioned that he had a job up in D.C. for seven years. During those seven years, I remained in North Carolina because we had children in high school and we didn’t want to move. So at the end of that time, he presented to me, perhaps this is time for me to do trucking. And I said, “okay, that might be good”.

Brent – 00:05:36: 

Had you always wanted to do trucking?

Deb – 00:05:39: 

Oh, no. This is part of the story. I knew I had to be subduing him since I went riding with my brother. And so he said, “this might be the time”. And so I said, “okay”. He says, “I’m thinking long haul”. And I’m like, “missing you, we’ve just been apart for so long”. And he said, “that’s me”. And that’s how I imagined it. And I said, I think I get pretty bored just riding along. And he says, “no, no, no. I want you to go to school and meet your CEO and you be a driver as well”. And I was like, “no, that’s not happening”. I just said, “drive a truck”. So it took him about two years to convince me that this might be our next adventure in life. And so after he finally convinced me, found me a very good school to go to, we were planning, like he said, to do the trucking with, that would help the military, and then that didn’t happen. So I was never at the rest school when we had to find a company. And so we didn’t just want any company. So we narrowed it down to two, and that’s another story, but anyway.

Brent – 00:06:39: 

So now, am I assuming that the one you narrowed it down to is sitting to your right?

Ed – 00:06:44: 

That’s correct.

Brent – 00:06:45: 

Oh, okay. All right. Well, that’s super cool. So, Hardy, what’s your choice? Now, Deb, I know this, and I want to make sure we talk a little bit about this, that you and Ed were at a park for seven years. He’s worked in D.C. You’re back down in North Carolina. And so, you’re also raising the kids and stuff. And how many children do you guys have?

Deb – 00:07:03: 

We have four. One time I just had our baby was in high school. So the others were gone and married. So it was just really down to one. And we made several, I mean, many visits about once a month, or he’d come down for all, you know, we never saw him for seven years.

Brent – 00:07:21: 

Well, I would hope not. That’s tough on the relationship. Well, I do want to make sure I mention this, that while during y’all’s career being married, raising kids, and I want to bring this out because my wife has been in the same situation where I call her the CEO of the house. And I think they call you the chief home officer. Is that right? The chief house officer. And so because you run the house and you also homeschooled your kids, which is what the Hutto did as well. So, and the amount of work that goes into this, and here’s why I say this. Whenever I tell people, when I travel around, I tell people what my wife does. They always go. My goodness, she’s a saint. Because most of them, they go, I don’t think I could do that. You know, homeschooling five kids, you homeschooled four kids. And so, you know, so I’m not surprised that trucking was probably an easier thing for you to do than what you went through in homeschooling.

Deb – 00:08:09: 

Well, the funny thing about it is our children were just wondering how this would happen because we had been, he had his own apartment in D.C. I had a house down here. We were separate. And then all of a sudden going to live in a box.

Brent – 00:08:24: 

So tell a little bit about what it was like when you guys first got in the truck together. And then what was it like when Deb was driving and you weren’t driving? And then Deb, what’s it like with Ed’s driving and you’re not driving? And talk a little bit about that because not everybody gets to hear about that experience.

Ed – 00:08:41: 

And that’s true. Team driving is very different than, you know, going out on your own. Very different than what I had experienced when I went with our brother years ago. The great equipment that we have that they list in the Chandler C680s and it’s state of the art equipment. And they keep it up. The shop supports us like you wouldn’t believe. I can call and I will talk to somebody any time of the day or night, no matter what time zone I’m in. And that makes a huge difference when you’re out there. And need help. So I wanted to put that point in on.

Brent – 00:09:14: 

I appreciate you talking about the equipment because, you know, that’s what gets you from A to B. I remember talking to the transportation committee a few years ago and I got to talk to Senator Deb Fischer out of Nebraska. And I said that you guys know that the number one thing that puts a truck or a small trucking business out of business is a major mechanical failure. And so great equipment is primary to them being able to run their business. And that’s why I said you as the government need to make sure that these roads and bridges are the best working shape that possible. So that’s the best thing that you do.

Ed – 00:09:45: 

Okay. So back to, to teaming. So it is an adjustment, like I said, to our kids laugh with us saying, how in the world are you ever going to sleep with Mondrian? Well, it is, it is not the point, but I had trouble doing that in the car, right?

Brent – 00:10:02: 

Okay. Oh, so they, they had previous experience. Like that doesn’t mean monster.

Ed – 00:10:08: 

It’s amazing. So the hard part. That wasn’t hard at all. Actually, that was quite easy because you’re exhausted and you better sleep because you’re going to be up next and you know, you’re should come in. So it wasn’t difficult at all. She was very confident, not buying the wheel, make good decisions and kept up with what needed to be done. So it worked out very well for us. And we help each other a lot. I’ll let her talk about a little bit on the TV for us. We were good at different things. And would use that opportunity to use those strengths as a team together. So whereas if you know, you’re a single driver sharing with somebody else, you may do everything, you know, while they’re sleeping. So it’s a little bit different. It depends on how you use it as a teammate and as a team working out on the distribution of things that need to be done.

Brent – 00:10:59: 

What year, Deb, what year did y’all get married?

Deb – 00:11::02: 


Brent – 00:11:03: 

’80. Okay. That is really super cool. Deb. All right. So Ed just gave us a little bit of his perspective. I want to know your perspective. And then, and then I want you to be the listeners and watch as your perspective. I want to hear about the first load you hauled together.

Deb – 00:11:17: 

The first thing is that with Hardy Brothers, you’re not out days at a time. Rarely her trip go over five days.

Brent – 00:11:24: 

Oh, yeah. Okay. Sure.

Deb – 00:11:26: 

Straight to California and back, sometimes in four days. So, which was an adjustment because the truck, I tell all my friends who can’t imagine this, The truck number stops, really, except to fuel. And brakes, mandatory brakes. That was an adjustment to get in the mindset. And it probably took several trips to get the mindset that I’m working. This is my job. This is what I do. I’m not just going out there sightseeing. I drive. This is what I do. And I think you have to get yourself in the mindset. We’re both very logistically minded. We plan things out. We plan routes. We plan food. We plan everything out. We don’t like surprises. So, you know, maybe it’s not much of an adventure to some people. That’s how we do things. So, and it helps in this situation. I don’t know if that answered your question.

Brent – 00:12:18: 

When you jumped in behind the rig the first time, like, you know, I know you get your license. I’ve never driven a truck legally. So, I don’t have my license. So, I’ve been behind the wheel of a truck for a little bit. But, I mean, I’ve never driven one for a living. And so, I can imagine, you know, it has its own excitement and its own fear. Tell me when you guys jumped behind the wheel the first time, what did it feel like?

Deb – 00:12:44: 

So both of us here at Hardy Brothers had to be trained opposite. I was in a truck with another driver for eight weeks. He was in a truck with another driver for eight weeks. So our work was not together, put it that way. Can you remember our first trip together?

Ed – 00:13:00: 

Yes, we went to California on that trip and we sat at Barso for a little bit. I forget exactly where we delivered, but you had a talk about it, Dale, and you helped us with that trip. But, you know, we left pretty early to give ourselves some time to get there and get used to sashing California. So there’s a little bit of nerves there, you know, to see everything and make sure you’re doing it correctly. Take a little more time and effort. I will say there’s a lot of excitement there, at least for me it was. You know, I’m really doing this. This is interesting.

Deb – 00:13:32: 

I still can’t believe I’m doing that.

Brent – 00:13:34: 

That’s what you said?

Deb – 00:13:37: 

I can’t believe I’m doing this.

Ed – 00:13:40: 

There is a romanticism of the road, of the industry out there. It seems to be diminishing a little bit, but it is there. You know, to go places, see things, the scenery, to go from East coast geography to west Coast rocks and earth and things is so different. The sunrises and sunsets, and we’d see almost a full moon every month like I came through, and shooting stars and taking moments to see what’s there and what you’re passing and what you’re doing. Going past the field, you’re going for produce, seeing the great folks out there working. You know, at five, six o’clock in the morning, they’d roll up in a bus and they’re out there harvesting. The produce that we’re going to be loading in a few hours. And bringing back to East, and it’ll be back in three days on the 2004, that to see those folks working out there and the cogs and the wheels that make everything work. I mean, it’s amazing.

Brent – 00:14:41: 

Deb, does Ed just break out into poetry when he’s driving? Because he’s just like a poet. It’s beautiful. Makes me want to go out and drive.

Deb – 00:14:51: 

Yes, you’re absolutely right. He does break out into poetry. I do, too, actually, because what he said is absolutely right. We try every trip to make the best of it and just what we can experience. And, you know, I did a lot of night driving. I just like doing the night driving all night. Just because you didn’t deal with the traffic quite as much. And there’s a stretch in California, coming into California for three hours here in the desert. I really enjoyed that time, you know, just driving through the desert. Most of the time we have the moon once in a while here in Goldsville, California, in the desert. But yeah, there is a romanticism to it.

Brent – 00:15:30: 

I think it’s great. My wife and I have been married almost 30 years, and so we’re trying to figure out what’s next for us because our last two will be graduating this year. We have twin sons that are getting out of the house, and so we’re trying to figure out what’s next. And so it’s super cool to hear you guys. So this is the next thing you’re doing for y’all’s life together. That’s super cool. Sorry, look, I know it’s not all poetry and roses, all right? So what’s a couple of the hard things about driving as a team. And then Dale, I want to, after they, they come in, I want you to jump in there and say, you know, what is it that, how does the Hardy Brothers support teams when they’re out there? So tell me a little bit about where are some of the not so good things about team driving together?

Deb – 00:16:15: 

The traffic.

Brent – 00:16:16: 

The driving all the time, yeah.

Ed – 00:16:20: 

It’s getting worse. I mean, it’s just really bizarre what people will do around trucks. I think we really need a better education process for young drivers and coming up through learning to how to manage life around a big truck. A lot of the trucks now have the radar in front. And if you cut off the truck, it hits my brakes. And without my control. And that’s a little bit tough sometimes with that because you’re cutting way too close. There needs to be more of an education in drivers for that. That’s tough. A lot of construction. And you talk about bouncy roads. Yes, there are some very always new when we were sleeping. There are certain parts of the country we always knew where we were in the sleep. Because we were out about, yeah, I know where I am. We’re doing this stretch right now. So that’s interesting for sure. [inaudible] .

Brent – 00:17:16: 

Deb keeps pointing to something. I don’t know what she’s pointing to. She’s.-

Ed – 00:17:19: 

Waiting till it’s on. Sometimes there’s the nature of a problem. So there was that you have to wait. Like she said earlier, we were planners, but it’s hard to plan sometimes when you don’t know when something’s going to happen. And we didn’t really change on the clock. Like some teams do. We look because there may be, you know, a favorite driver she likes or something I like to do. And so we adjust why we’re sitting in and adjust our hours and to, you know, within our timeframes obviously legally to decide who’s going to do what when. And so when you’re waiting and you don’t know that, that, that changes that a lot. So for logistic planners, that’s a tough thing to absorb sometimes. But I will say from my military background experience and probably for her as a mom waiting is something you do a lot. The military is hurry up and wait all the time or different activities and things. So you hear that. And they back around that you’re about to lean on sometimes.

Deb – 00:18:17: 

But we’ve also said every time that we’ve waited, we tend to think, well, maybe if we had rushed or if we didn’t have to wait, what’s down the road that we’re avoiding?

Ed – 00:18:27: 

That we missed.

Deb – 00:18:27: 

That we missed.

Brent – 00:18:28 

What great advice to those that might be seeking to go after some team stuff, which is obviously you maximize every effort. Ed came to you and said, hey, we’re going to do this thing. And he might have left out a couple of the details, but you guys said yes. And start me out on the journey. What you guys started from, you picked it up where it was in North Carolina, and it was bigger than nine feet. It was like 78 feet. What do you put a tree on?

Deb – 00:18:54: 

There’s a special trailer by Hale for that is made just for the tree.

Brent – 00:18:59: 

Now, what kind of trailer?

Deb – 00:19:00: 

Hale Tree.

Brent – 00:19:01: 

A Hale. Okay.

Deb – 00:19:02: 

And it’s a special trailer that has been built just for this tree.

Brent – 00:19:07: 

Is there any truth that it’s built by elves?

Deb – 00:19:11: 

I’m sure. At Rosario Landi.

Brent – 00:19:14: 

Yeah, we’re not. I just wonder. I mean, come on. It’s a good history.

Deb – 00:19:19: 

You set for. There were hundreds of people to get this. So I saw, led, and got the trailer from Pennsylvania where it’s kept. North Carolina to Asheville, NC area where the tree was harvested. So we never saw the trailer until we took the truck, the special made truck to Asheville, NC and that’s met up with the trailer and it had to be expanded. And that was a whole group did that. I mean, all we did was drive a truck, you know, there was a full.

Brent – 00:19:47 

I mean, what does a 78 foot tree, how much does it weigh?

Dale – 00:19:50: 

Like I said, actually, I was surprised when they had it on the crane and could weigh it. They were talking about 12 to 14,000 pounds.

Ed – 00:19:54: 

Yeah. Not that heavy for a truck.

Dale – 00:19:56: 

Yeah. Which I told you to be a little bit heavier than that. As she mentioned that the trailer, so it’s 43 feet when it’s put together and then there’s a plate that sits on it and they stretch it up to 80 feet and put them middle and put them back together in about 80 feet long when it’s put together. And then there are pieces along the way that, that you lay the tree. I don’t want to tell her story a little bit about the harvest itself. She felt about it. And of course the tree was a little bit bigger than the trailer. So it was a little bit bigger than the trailer. It was named Ruby. That’s what the tree, Ruby, Ruby is a tree. And it ran through. And so how you felt about the.

Deb – 00:20:33: 

It didn’t bother me until the day in the harvest, because the harvest was fascinating that the tree never falls down. There were two cranes and there was a forest service personnel who was taken over by the crane to the top of the tree, wrapped cords around it so that, and she was also in charge of climbing the tree regularly to make sure flying squirrel making nests and they were in danger. So once they did that, then they had a place where they could hook the tree to the crane. And when the sawyer cut the tree, up goes the tree.

Brent – 00:21:10:

Up goes the tree. Wow.

Deb – 00:21:13: 

Up goes the forest and laid it on the back of the flatbed where there were what they called cradles. Six pieces of large wood pieces where they just laid the tree on it. So at that point, I started thinking, you know, this is my baby in a cradle. God, I should give this baby to D.C safely. So that was my imagination the whole three weeks we were out with the, you know, taking it. They had a huge bladder. I didn’t. They did it. The Forest Service did it. A rat with a trunk with a bladder that they regularly put water in at every stop. Every night along the way, there were two guys that followed the tree in a van and they would make sure she had plenty of water for that night.

Ed – 00:21:59: 

They were the elves. They were the elves. They were called.

Deb – 00:22:06: 

This could not have taken place without the Forest Service. They were, I mean, we were led by four state troopers with four low and four sleds. Because sometimes we had to take both sides of the road. You know, we went through little. We went through the Nattahela Gorge in North Carolina, which is hard to do even in a car. I don’t know what I’m talking about. It was fascinating. It was.

Ed – 00:22:28: 

But if I think that the key was where the stops, you know, we knew that people would be excited. But as we stopped in different towns and just the excitement that was there and people signing in and say, you know, no one ever comes here. And this is great. And it really made you feel good about being there and interacting. You know, we obviously got out of the truck. We talked to the folks and in the communities and met different people. And that was really the fun part. And hear some of their stories of different things in their lives. Some were trucking related. Some were not. And I remember one, a group home of adults in one town. And I’ll tell more of that story because she was involved in that.

Deb – 00:23:13: 

This one stuff, there was a group, I’d say 25 people of mentally challenged adults with four caregivers with them. And they were just rolling all around the trunk and signing it and just taking pictures in front of it. They were just so enamored with it. Well, they were getting ready to leave. One of the caregivers came up to Ed and said, are you the driver of this truck? And he said, yes, me and my wife are. And all of a sudden, about three of the mentally challenged adults came and hugged him like, you are our hero that you could just drive on and on. They just raged over him. And one of the ladies came up to me and she said, you know, we did all the ornaments on the back of that tree and we wanted to come and see our ornaments. And so I was like, really? And could we take a picture with you? So we took a picture with them. And as they were leaving then, walking down the street, the one caregiver said, you have no idea. What you really are heroes to these people. You have no idea. And what that has meant to have you here and talked about, you know. So that was really special to us that we don’t feel like heroes, but, you know, they call you heroes.

Brent – 00:24:21: 

Well, yeah, but you’re helping. You did something significant and others contributed and they got to feel significant too. It was such a cool thing. So, yeah, I’m glad you brought up the ornaments, Deb, because I did read where the ornaments were made by a group in West Virginia.

Ed – 00:24:36: 

This year or last year.

Brent – 00:24:38: 

But there are, the ornaments are made for the tree itself. So from different states and such a cool thing that people get to personalize it. All right. So how many stops were there along the way over the three weeks that you guys were getting it there?

Ed – 00:24:50: 

We had 17 stops. At the beginning, we had three a day. Meeting for the first couple. Oh, it was constantly, I mean, pretty intense. And of course it’s in the mountains of North Carolina, which you’ve experienced. So it takes a lot of concentration and work, but it was well worth for the stops and the people as we were able to bring some joy to their community.

Deb – 00:25:15: 

The theme was the mountains to the sea. That was the theme. North Carolina. In the very westernmost part of North Carolina, the mountain. And because we harvested in Asheville, NC and west from that point. And then we headed east all the way to the Outer Banks. So we have the body lighthouse in Hatteras was celebrating the 150th anniversary. They wanted to get a foggle up there. We didn’t have an event there, but we did do a foggle up. So we managed to get the drug and she’s going to fly the light out. It’s something I the two people that were touring the lighthouse and November. We’re just like what is right on night of summer . So that was really special to get that. All the way out there to the sea.

Brent – 00:26:06: 

Super cool. So you guys driving around 17 stops you got to i’m sure every top was exciting and for a while that becomes exhausting because not only driving and having to pay hyper attention to this very special cargo that you have and a unique trailer on top of it you have to be you you’re the representatives when you stop so you’ve got to be on point all the time you’re talking all the time and so at what point did you get a little tired, I mean you get 70 tell me about that what point did you start to get a little tired

Deb – 00:26:39: 

I missed a hill.

Brent – 00:26:41: 

That’s a little early, Deb.

Deb – 00:26:45: 

I think if the harvest had dawned on us what this was going to be like.

Ed – 00:26:48: 

It was tiring, but again, from the trucking standpoint, a tiring industry.

Brent – 00:26:54: 

You have to have a lot of endurance.

Ed – 00:26:56: 

So it really carried over, and having that background really helps because that carries over to what we were doing here. And it was the anticipation of what we were going to see next. For me, the Veterans Day on Veterans Day in @McKinsey was very special to talk with Air Force veterans, to talk with some other folks. There was a really neat story there, though, to share was there was a gentleman. I was away from the truck with some other people, and I looked, and it looked like I was worried. It was a medical emergency. And the guys from the Forest Service were hauling this bed out, and I realized, no, they’re hauling it to the truck. I thought, oh, okay. Well, maybe I’ll do it. All right. So I watched a little bit, and then I walked over to them. And the gentleman, a prior Marine in the home, and his wife was there and son was there. And they said, you know what? He said he hasn’t been out of his room in two years. But he wanted to see the truck, but he refused to leave his room for two years. The guys from the Forest Service and the blessed son, they carried him out there. He got to see the truck. He put a sticker on there. So we got talking a little bit and found out he was formally stationed up in D.C near where I was. And we talked a little bit, found out that his grandson is in the Air Force in the same career field I had been in. And he is at the our first Air Force base where our first son was born in Inc. And so just a beautiful time, beautiful conversation. He talked to us a bit. But you just can’t replace that kind of experience. You just can’t.

Deb – 00:28:30: 

They said he came out for this.

Ed – 00:28:31: 

Yep. They were just adults.

Brent – 00:28:33: 

Well, what camaraderie. Yeah, no doubt. Brothers in arms, man. You know that. And, and, and soldiers too, but you know, but when that, what a great thing. And I’m sure that that things like that stick with you or your whole life. You bringing this up and talk about, I could hear the emotion in your voice. That’s super cool. All right. So you guys had 17 stops, a lot of fun, a lot of incredible memories to it. So you turn the corner, you’re heading into D.C., bring us into the stop and what it was like, and then we’ll wrap up.

Ed – 00:29:01: 

All right, to stop, we had our briefing at 2:00 a.m. in the morning prior to the delivery. We ended law enforcement key about 3 o’clock, 3:30 from D.C. And you can imagine all the different law enforcement agencies involved here because you got D.C. You got the state of Maryland. You got Capitol Police. So it was awesome. So exited Joint Base Andrews and they took us down in the middle of the night. That’s really about the best way and time to go because otherwise you’d never get. .

Brent – 00:29:29: 

DC. You know it is. Yeah.

Ed – 00:29:31: 

102 feet long, you know, go past the national stadium. That was really fun. And then get us into place where we could see the Capitol. If I were about the two streets up from the Capitol Hill along the edge there until our delivery, again, about five in the morning, we were there. And then at 10 o’clock, the delivery where we went around and went into the Capitol Hill there. So it was fun. It was just so exciting to be there. And then just stand there in awe at where we were. You turn one way and I see the Washington Monument. You turn the other way, the Capitol Building. And it was really, really interesting, awe inspiring. And the folks did such a great job. I’ve got to give kudos to the folks with the Capitol. And that stops my mind of what they call the Architect of the Capitol and his crew. They were just absolutely super when we pulled in. And of course we had the crane there again. And it just. I mean, we, with coals, uh, yeah, Ruby, on from there and then a tight trip to her resting place up there and. In front of the Capitol. And, and they just did a super jobs. I also wanted to say that Ruby wasn’t wasted Ruby. The cities from Ruby were taken to star and reforest around North Carolina and in the upper. The wood was reclaimed and brought back to a company in North Carolina that makes instruments, pansos, guitars of that sort. And so she’s living on with in music and continuing on there as well. And a little tree. So that’s pretty exciting for those that get a little upset with, you know, the harvesting of a tree. There were plans to make it live on.

Brent – 00:31:10: 

That’s super cool. So Deb, what were your feelings when you were pulling in and unloading and setting it up and sitting right there in front of the US Capitol, you know, sort of this. Tell me about it.

Deb – 00:31:22: 

It was it was beautiful at sunrise as it’s coming up because everything was just glowing across the Capitol. And I got a really cool shot of the truck with the cowl in the background. And but I’d always Joe Dahl, I friends and family were like, oh, you guys are so main runs here. Just so good. I said, yeah, until we get that tree on the lawn, then they’re going to say, get this truck off my yard. It’s so funny because probably within a half an hour, they were like, you need to leave. I never know. It’s time to go. We’re like, okay, we’re going. We’re out of here. Out we go.

Brent – 00:31:57: 

Yeah, they’re pretty strict with that stuff. Absolutely.

Deb – 00:32:01: 

That’s where he’s been. Put it back together. And we did have one person that let us out. A lot of this is the way.

Brent – 00:32:08: 

Well, that’s good. Well, what a great memory. So-

Deb – 00:32:10: 

Can I say one thing that one of my memories, and this is about Rolf. So we had a stop in Mount Airy, NC and Ralph Hardy, who has since passed, was there. And I went up to him and he said, so damn, you ready to haul two 53 foot pups now? And I said, I don’t think so. He saw the, you know, if we do a hundred foot, surely we can do two 53s. And that was really my last memory of Ralph.

Brent – 00:33:37: 

Oh, wow. Yeah. He was a great son senior.

Deb – 00:32:40: 

Great son senior. Good guy.

Brent – 00:32:41: 

Yeah, he’s a good man. What? Thank you. I’m shut. I got a thousand questions about. I love it. Thank you so much for, well, first off, thank you for making trucking look great. And stories like this are why little boys and big boys and little girls and big girls and all of us love trucking. That’s why we love it because trucking does things like this. We’re always ready to make sure that we’re helping and supporting our country, helping and supporting people, making sure that the things that we have grown to love, that more and more people get a chance to see them and love them. And the Capitol Christmas Tree is one of those iconic things that everyone looks at and sees every year. And the fact that Hardy Brothers Trucking and Ed and Deb got to be a part of that is one of the coolest things ever is in my mind. And I know, and I hope that as you’ve watched and listened today, that you heard an incredible story from three incredible people and an incredible company who just wants to do what is the right thing. And it helps people see the goodness that America is. And then just appreciate, I appreciate Hardy Brothers Inc. Trucking and Ed and Deb, just thank you so much for being such great representatives of our industry. Makes me proud to be a part of it. And thank you so much for being on Freight Nation today.

Ed – 00:34:02: 

Thank you. Well, Brent, do you want to see on the Hardy Brothers Instagram? There’s a short three and a half minute video that talks all about the harvest and the trip and the tree.

Brent – 00:34:12: 

Absolutely. Yeah. We’ll make sure we post on the link in the pod. Thank you guys for being on. Appreciate everybody listening to Freight Nation today. This is the beginning of our holiday edition. So thank you so much. You got to hear something that I hope this was the first time you got to hear it or you’ve seen it before, but you really got to hear how it happens. And so that’s the cool thing. The story is the best part. So again, thanks for listening to Freight Nation today. And don’t forget to work hard, to be kind and stay humble. Thanks for joining us. On behalf of the Truckstop team, thanks for listening to this episode of Freight Nation. To find out more about the show, head to truckstop.com/podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. Until then, keep on trucking and exploring the open roads with Freight Nation: A Trucking Podcast.

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