Meeting Classic Strider
I had for a long time thought about taking a trip with the Ponton to my mother’s roots in the province (landskap) Småland and the small village Fagerhult. Via Facebook I learnt that the Dutch (but living in New Zeeland) couple Elisabeth and Fred Smits, a.k.a Classic Strider, had planned to visit Sweden in July/August 2022.
Fred and Elisabeth Smits with their MB220S Ponton Abel from 1957
The couple has been driving around the world in their Mercedes 220S -57 (W180) since 2014, with the exception of the covid lock-down period. I urge you to follow them on https://www.facebook.com/ClassicStrider/. The background to their trip you can read about on http://classicstrider.com/. We had been in contact before, so I was keen to meet them in person. They were going to stay a couple of days in Gränna, on the eastern shores of the Lake Vättern. Even though Gränna is located in Småland, it is hardly the closest road to our goal, Fagerhult and its surroundings. But hey, why would we care about distance when we had the chance to meet the Striders! And another Ponton, i.e. Abel!
Following the family Smits' 220S with my 219 Ponton on the way to Rökstenen
Since none of us like early mornings and I had agreed with Elisabeth and Fred to meet at lunch we drove the 280km in one go, entirely on the boring motorway E4. We met up at Rök runestone (Rökstenen), one of the most famous runestones in Sweden, featuring the longest known runic inscription in stone. It is considered the first piece of written Swedish literature and thus it marks the beginning of the history of Swedish literature.
The route from Stockholm, via the Rök runestone and Omberg, to Gränna
The Rök runestone in Ödeshög with the longest known runic inscription in stone. There are inscriptions on all sides,..
An anecdote from the small talk while we were walking around the stone and the adjacent church was that I wondered about Abel's black and white paintwork. I had been curious about it because it does not correspond to an original two-tone painted Ponton. I was then informed that the white is not lacquered but is foiled. Of course I had to ask why they had done that. Fred said it was for heat reasons and asked me to touch the black or white color with my hand. The sun was shining from a cloudless sky and it was close to 30C in the shade so I basically burned the palm of my hand on the black polish while the white was only lukewarm. Never thought there would be such a difference. Given the countries they have traveled through, I fully understand the white paint. Considering how hot this summer was, I almost wished my 219 was white as well, and not black.
Two 6-cylinder Mercedes-Benz Pontons parked close to the Rök runestone
After Rökstenen we went to Omberg via a longer stop for a photo session along the road.
My 219 Ponton and Classic Strider's 220S and a Volkswagen Type 2 at Hjässatorget, Omberg
Me, Elisabeth and Fred Smits and finally, but not least, my mother!
In the picture and gallery above, note the butterfly that is stuck in the vertical radiator mesh. That was more or less the only one that got stuck, as well as a few wasps and bumblebees, throughout our journey down to and through Småland (see the other articles). In the 80s, the radiator was basically completely covered in insects after the trip to our country house, and that's only 110km... That's scary, where are the insects?
Thereafter we turned our star-adorned radiators towards Gränna. During that 40km long trip on winding road, the two videos in this blog post were filmed.
The 1st Youtube video of Classic Strider and their MB Ponton driving along Vänern. The video will open in a new window!
We drove to our AirBnB, left our luggage there and met up with the Striders in Gränna harbor for a nice dinner. We were also invited to see their amazing Zambezi tent trailer in which they so far have slept in more 1000 nights. That so many things can be hidden in such a small trailer, and what space when it’s unfolded. Very cool. But the evening got early, driving over 300km in the scorching sun took its toll.
After a well-deserved sleep, we met again for breakfast at a cafe along the main street. I won't say there was a long line of admirers around the two, 65-year-old cars, but it wasn't far from it. Many happy greetings and at least as many questions about what kind of cars it was and why one had a lot of stickers on it and country plates from both England and New Zealand. It took some time before I could take a couple of "calm" pictures...
After that, the journey continued south, into Småland's deep forests, in search of my, and my mother's roots. You can read more about the next day's excursions in the article Searching my roots in Småland, part 1!
The 2nd Youtube video of Classic Strider and their MB Ponton driving along Vänern. The video will open in a new window!