Rubi’s trip to her new home

Published by Darron Toy on


We were looking at a lot of trees all over the country. When we saw Rubi for the first time, I knew this had to be the one. Iíve done a lot of plant exploring in Costa Rica and other parts of South America. A little bit in South East Asia. I would say that I… …like plants more than people. The idea behind the Spheres is to share this connection with nature. They asked us to create a heart and soul to the campus. We arrived at what we thought was this, this bizarre combination of people and plants that just donít really exist in the world today. Itís a bit of an experiment. Itís a little Frankenstein-ed. I donít know of any other facility like this in the world. A space thatís unique for Amazon employees to work and think differently. A place where the people of Seattle and the next generation of horticulturalists and environmental stewards can come to learn and be curious. The challenge for me was finding the right plants that would thrive within our climatic conditions. Early on in the Spheres development process there was a desire to have large trees on day one. So, we went big. We visited Berylwood Tree Farm down in Somis, California. Ficus Rubiginosa is its Latin name. We call it Rubi. She was one of the original trees that was planted here back in 1969. Sheís a big girl. Sheís 49 feet tall… …and her trunk is 30 inches across. Rubiís one of a kind. Thereís not a tree like her on the planet. You can just kinda feel the love that, like, went into the trees here. Sheís a very special tree. This is the first time Iíve seen it from this angle. -YeahÖ.me too. -You too, right? -Feel good? -On her side in one piece. Yes, I feel good. So, Rosario, he figured out a way to do the rigging to hold the tree in the right position. See you tie one branch the wrong way, itís broken. [Spanish] Nothing slipped, nothing broke. I know Rosario is very pleased. Heís just, like, smiling. Rubi is one of the largest and oldest trees to go out of here. Itís kinda bittersweet in a way. Rubi is going to be traveling for, ah, several days. Going through the desert… …and then going through a mountain pass. So, the goal is, is to get Rubi there with as many leaves still on as possible. My nameís Joshua Kenneth Thomas. Ah, my job title is a truck driver. I donít think thereís much more than that. Iíve never, never hauled a tree like this before that needed to be watered during transportation. So, pretty excited about it. My biggest concern on the road trip is that we lose the intern. He just started a few weeks ago, and he really knows nothing about the tree, but heís jumping right into it. Heís really excited. For me this is easily an adventure of a lifetime. You know, getting to do something this cool and this rare. Helping carry Rubi from California, all the way up to Seattle. Hauling stuff is, itís, itís a lot of experience and itís a lot of just paying attention, you know. This stuffíll talk to you, you know, your trailers will talk to you. If you get into a situation and you start hearing a lot of bangs and cracks and, and noises, well, it donít like it. Today we still got about 200 plus miles to go. Battle Mountain, thatís where weíre going. Well, we did our morning walk around. Had to tighten some rope. Rubi needs a drink, yeah, she was getting thirsty. -Yeah, everything is, -Looks like the irrigation systemís doing its job, right? -Feeding her where it needs to be -Iím assuming itís flowing good cause itís leaking on both sides of the trailer. -Yeah. As Rubi makes her way up to Seattle on this journey, sheís in good hands with Josh and Nick the intern. Here in Seattle we are approaching the finish line. Weíve got the best lighting engineers on staff to help us add some supplemental lighting. We have really good climate control. So, there will be a lot of fog running like this so that any shock that Rubi has on her way up from California will be mitigated as soon as she gets to Seattle. Itís only about 60 degrees this morning, um, so that beats the 100 plus degrees we had in Las Vegas. -Yeah, weíre doing great. -Ya good? -So… -Okay. -Weíre best buddies now. Well, a little over a hundred miles to get to Portland. When youíre just hauling general freighter, you know, you just kinda put it in the back of your mind and you get to where youíre going. To have something that actually is living, it puts a little more pressure on you. -Ah, itís a 50 foot ficus tree. -Just wondering what youíre hauling there. -Wow, I thought it was a super-secret military helicopter right there. Getting closer to Seattle. Marching closer and closer every day. Todayís our final push. Weíll pretty much go straight up I-5, head for Seattle. -Howíre you doing? -Hey, we made it! -Good to see ya. What weíre about to do today, it makes a lot of people really nervous. When I think about Rubi hanging above the Sphere, going through this 24-foot hole in the top of a glass bubble. Just donít know whatís going to happen. The most important thing is, weíre going to take our time. Weíre going to do everything right. On the first attempt, we heard a loud snap. We broke a limb and we broke the box. If it were to break apart mid-flight then weíd have some potential damage to people or structure or the tree itself. But our team is up for the challenge. The metal box was built over the weekend and tested. Weíre going to get this done today. -Yeah, dome command, this is crane command. Come in, over. -Letís plant a tree. Up, up. -Roger that. Here we go. When you move a tree this size into a building like the Spheres, itís really complicated. I really didnít sleep very well last night, actually, I was up quite a bit. Sure this is going to fit? Honestly, right now, it doesnít look like itís going to fit. Big needle, big thread. Here we go. -Itís in there. -Itís in there. Awesome! Three years. Three years in the making. Amazon is a company where thinking big and taking on challenges is, is really encouraged. I would not have taken this risk if I wasnít at Amazon. I think Rubi will be really happy here.


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