Northern Lights by Nick Ireland – Part 2

Blondie Scandinavia (24)

We took the direction Gothenburg, and then split off towards Stockholm. The roads were excellent, dual carriageway all the way. The extra bit of pedal left under the right foot really helped when having to push the little DAF past the massive 25m long Swedish outfits, I was in awe of them. Near Linkoping we went past some SAAB planes stuck on plinths by the side of the motorway, presumably to advertise the factory at Trollhatten although it was some miles away. Near Sodertalje we took on fuel, I could see the vast Scania factory on the opposite side of the motorway. It started getting dark about 10pm, but by 1am I was amazed to see light coming from the east, the nights are very short here. We stopped at 02:30 for a coffee in the middle of a forest area, and the light was the kind you would get around 5am in England in summer. I took some pictures of the truck and the flash still went off as it was a bit dull, but nonetheless it was light, this was messing with my head!

Blondie Scandinavia (76)

Blondie Scandinavia (103)

Blondie Scandinavia (117)

The scenery was spectacular, vast areas of forest with lots of lakes. In many places the roads were dead straight for miles, mostly single track now though, and every now and then we’d drive through a deserted town or village, although it was daylight you had to remind yourself how early it was. We reached Ostersund and parked next to some huge 8-wheeled tour buses that were carrying crew for the festival. Steve checked in with the Blondie production crew, and when we found we couldn’t position the truck for an hour or so, he got me a pass and we went off to the catering building for breakfast. When we sat down it quickly became apparent that we were sitting next to Clem, the Blondie drummer! He was giving somebody a brief history of the band and how they broke up and reformed. After breakfast Steve was able to position his truck next to our production crew’s Beat The Street bus and pull my card out. I said my thank you’s to him, and said goodbye, I was due to fly home the next morning. I got to my gorgeous, plush hotel, had a shower and went to bed, the plan being to grab a few hours before exploring Ostersund, then back to bed again in the evening.

Blondie Scandinavia (122)

Blondie Scandinavia (137)

I got up in the afternoon, and took a wander down to the concert area where I bumped into Steve. He was glad to see me, as he wanted to ask if it was a problem to stay on an extra day. He need to take a 24hr break, and wondered if I would drive the truck over to Oslo, where he would stay for a break and I could fly home from there. I had no problem with it, after all and extra days work, and an extra country to tick off my list! He also said as I had a pass I could go and watch the concert that evening, an extra bonus! I left him to make the arrangements while I took a wander around the town, and the fantastic lake that it sits next to. The town itself was nothing special, except for the fact that with no exception every single woman I saw was drop dead gorgeous, it was surreal! Near the edge of the lake I found a visiting fairground, and their trucks that were parked up were all classic Volvo F12’s and Scania 1 series, my camera was glowing red hot by the time I had finished there!

Blondie Scandinavia (152)

Blondie Scandinavia (157)

I also took a wander out of the town and found a parking area with some 25m combinations in it, a spotter’s paradise.

Blondie Scandinavia (84)

Blondie Scandinavia (90)

Blondie Scandinavia (174)

In the evening I went down and watched the concert, and was blown away, the band was fantastic. Steve spotted me down the front and called me to come round the back of the stage, and proceeded to take me onto the stage so I could watch it from the side, what a thrill.

Blondie Scandinavia (189)

After they had finished, we loaded the truck, and set off for Oslo. Heading for Trondheim it was around 5am as I crossed the Norwegian border. Being the first time I had been here I sailed through, and plodded on regardless. About half an hour later Steve poked his head out from the bunk and asked how we were doing, and how far away from the border were we? I replied ‘very well, crossed the border half an hour ago’. He asked what I had done about getting the carnet stamped? Whoops, didn’t realise we had to! So I had to backtrack, and got back to the deserted border at 6am. The customs office didn’t open until 7am so I snoozed in the seat, still feeling rather silly about my mistake. It didn’t take long to process the papers once they opened, there were only a couple of other trucks waiting with us. Then it was on past Trondheim, Lillehammer and to Oslo, the scenery was breath taking and I wish I could have taken more pictures. We reached the outskirts of the airport and found a place for Steve to park. Once again I said my goodbyes and set off for a stroll to the airport. It was a shame to leave, I would have loved to have seen a bit more of Norway, but I wasn’t needed now, Steve’s schedule was a lot more relaxed from here on in, but it was a trip I will never forget, and although I have been back to Scandinavia lots of times since I will always remember this one as the best, so far….!

Blondie Scandinavia (202)

Blondie Scandinavia (206)

Another excellent account of life of a Rock N Roll truck driver from Nick. I have used a lot of his photo in both parts of this blog, but to see all of his photos from this trip, CLICK HERE.

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