COSTA MESA — Even for the most seasoned trucker, hauling a 14,000-pound Christmas tree down the 5 Freeway is a pretty unusual experience.
South Coast Plaza's 96-foot white fir — the same size and species as the one used last year — arrived at 7 a.m. in Town Center Park on Friday after an 11-hour drive down one of the state's busiest freeways.
"It's the start of Christmas," said Richard Coffey, the truck driver who's been responsible for transporting the holiday cargo 650 miles from Mt. Shasta for the last three years.
However, there was no holiday music playing inside Coffey's cab, who explained that he needed to focus fully on the road and other drivers.
"There were a lot of people taking pictures as I was going down the road," Coffey said. "You have to remain aware and cautious because people slow down as they get up beside you and hold up traffic."