I never expected to be thinking about Jim Carrey’s Dumb and Dumber character as I wizzed around semi’s in rural Sweden during a torrential downpour and 5 hours after the sun went down, but it happens. And it’s a small miracle that I have the most patient wife, mother and children in the world who decided not to strangle me when we figured out what had gone wrong.
I’m sure that we will have another post about this weekend sometime soon, explaining how we ended up on a really fun weekend getaway to Småland (southern Sweden) with both kids, Lisa and my mom who had come in town earlier in the week. But until that part gets posted, showing pictures from the Crystal factory, the moose park and the Baltic / renaissance castle, I figured it was best to get this part out in the open.
|Traditional swedish McD's before our road trip - look at those smiles!|
We had planned on wrapping up our mini-trip right after lunch, driving the 5+hrs back to northern Stockholm and being home in time for Calvin’s bedtime and some Patriots football. All was going well as we started driving north on E22 around 1:30pm. Lucy was asleep, Lisa was reading some stories to Calvin and Grandma was checking out the Swedish countryside. The route back from Kalmar was taking us through some nice rural areas on smaller roads with some really pretty forest/farm views, and everyone was doing great.
About 2+hrs in, I start thinking about filling up the gas tank, while Lisa is thinking about how Lucy has been filling up her diaper. Calvin had just fallen asleep, so we decided to stop when we got to the city of Norrkoping an hour away. That would give him time to get a little nap, while still being within the window for diaper changes / gas top off. It was also the only “turn” on the map as we went from E22 to E4 on into Stockholm. As we get closer to our pit stop, the sun is starting to disappear and the rain clouds gather above us. To make the turn onto E4, we have to cycle through 1-2 rotaries, and then pull up at an exit to take care of our business. We move quickly and get back onto E4 before Calvin has woken up – this has been a perfect stop. And only two more hours to go!
The next part of the trip goes great – we are laughing and chatting, passing bags of chips and drinks around overall having a blast. Calvin is still asleep – which is great because he has a tendency to get car sick, so the longer he can sleep the better. With about an hour to go, he wakes up, looks around to realize he is STILL in the car and says that he doesn’t feel great. We quickly pull over to let him get some fresh air while we explain to him that the sooner we get in the car, the sooner we’ll be home – we are SO close now.
Then we hit the road, except that the signs to the highway are wrong. Not sure how it happened, but the sign to Stockholm seemed like it was taking us the OPPOSITE way that we had been going previously.
We probably had gotten turned around at the gas station after one too many rotaries, but just to be sure, Lisa checked her phone – “weird, my phone’s GPS is all whacky. This says we have another 3hrs to drive!”
At this point, I was starting to realize that it was a mighty strange coincidence that BOTH the Swedish signs would be wrong AND Lisa’s phone would be off, so I pulled over to the next rest stop. With bated breath I checked my phone and realized that, rather than
Instead of being HERE….
We were HERE…
I felt ill
No idea* how we had ended up going the wrong way on the highway – FOR OVER AN HOUR, but there we were. In Jonkoping. 3 MORE HOURS away from home. In the pitch black. In a torrential downpour. With a toddler who had been perfect, but was now embarked on a 8hr road trip and was prone to car sickness. With a baby who hadn’t been cuddled all day (due to the car seat) after not having been put down for the previous three weeks of her life.
(*explanations I came up with over the next three hours - no direction signs on the highways (i.e. no North, South, East or West), not driving often so having no idea of the major cities and their geographies, blaming rain/darkness....so nothing great. we are open to suggestions)
Luckily, as I said, everyone was really great about it. When Grandma and Lisa went for a “we have 3 more hours in the car” bathroom trip, I had a heart to heart with Calvin and Lucy, and they took it well. Then we got going and Lis gave me a shoulder rub while mom worked on keeping everything in perspective.
So we drove, and drove and drove. Calvin slept for a little bit more. Then got sick a bit, but at that point it was just icing on the cake. The good thing about all the signage being in kilometers, is that they drop a lot faster than miles, so you really felt like you were making progress.
I don’t know if it was my fiery internal rage-driven tunnel vision, the redbull I chugged, or the great company, but we made it home much quicker than I would have expected. I’m not sure how Lisa was able to juggle both kids on the backseat for 8 HOURS, but she did fantastic. And we did it all without anyone raising their voice once!
I’m not positive, but I think this might be even more impressive than delivering Lucy on the hallway floor….