Graham Laing decided to retire 10 years earlier than planned to enjoy an epic driving tour with his SLC. The plan, inspired by conversations with his Father, was to drive the SLC from the southern most tip of mainland Europe in Spain to the northernmost tip of mainland Europe in Norway.
When he told his children, they said ‘you should write a blog about it’… So that’s exactly what Graham is doing. Graham approached the SLSHOP and asked whether we would be interested in hosting his work, and we were only too happy to share his story. The SLCenic Route was born!
In this episode Graham gets bored, but after 8,300 miles in 4 weeks, why not?
The SLCenic Route
Episode 25 – Lulea to Sundsvall 360 miles
A nice boring day, what a relief.
Miles and miles of forests, interrupted occasionally by a lovely lake or when the Bay of Bothnia came into view.
Sweden is nice enough, and if you like fishing, it’s great. But I have one major problem, the wee beasties that like sucking blood. For some reason, whether it’s Scottish midges, Swedish mosquitos or even tiny cat fleas, they all think I’m fantastically tasty. At the moment I’ve got 4 bites, 3 on my bald head and one on the back of a hand. The only areas, I forgot to spray mossie repellent today!
Got off the main road for a while, but the only difference was the volume of cars. I was hoping to see a Moose, a Bear or one of the many wild animals in Sweden, but dense forests are not the best places to drive through trying to see wildlife. You need to get out and go on one of the many wildlife tracker excursions; but in mosquito season, I wasn’t going to get out for a walk and give the blood suckers another chance of a meal.
Nearing Sundsvall, a sign appeared that saddened me. An American fast food sign; that means the “uncivilised” world is approaching again. The last 9 days traveling through civilised northern Scandinavia have been blissful and I will miss it.
Was asked by a good friend, “Was seizing up sitting in a car all day”? It made me realise that I haven’t said enough about how fantastic the SLC is. 8300 miles in 4 weeks and I feel better than ever. Yes, it is a fantastic mechanical vehicle that has done everything asked of it and feels as sharp, responsive and smooth as it did when leaving home in the UK; but it has also been a fantastic place to spend these last 4 weeks. If I’d sat in any other seat, for this many hours, over such a short period of time, I would have needed many more and longer breaks.
The boring drive today did give me time to think, as I’ve said before, nearly always a bad sign.
My original thoughts on the route back home were to include a drive south through interesting parts of western Germany towards Switzerland and do some of the Alpine passes that were closed when I was driving north over 2 weeks ago. However, one of the problems of doing a long drive like this is that the rest of the world carries on; it doesn’t just stop and wait for me to return.
Before leaving for the trip, my daughter and her fiancé excitedly told me that she was probably pregnant and while I’ve been off enjoying myself she has had a scan and all is well. Spending time with people is sometimes more important than enjoying driving round Europe. I already know I’ll be going back to Switzerland to do it properly in the future; so I’ll miss Switzerland out this time and just do the low countries and a small part of Germany on a shortened route home.
My daughter is one of my inspirations for getting the SLC out and doing this drive, after surviving Leukaemia as a small child through being determined, full of fighting spirit, the help of an amazing classical osteopath and importantly the fantastic work by the NHS’s fabulous dedicated nurses and great doctors, she realises, better than most of us, life is for living and not putting off till tomorrow.
And I miss my brilliant boys as well.