10-Apr-2001 -- Setting out: We set out in two cars (for redundancy providing fail-over safety, and because there were six of us) at 12.00 from the MIBU office in Värtahamnen with brilliant sunshine under-blowing our high spirits and confidence. Our first stop on the way was to pick up one of the team members, RogerE, who was home due to the nasty burn he got in Kittelfjäll the week before.
Reaching a roundabout in the periphery of the destination suburb of Stockholm our dev. lead, driving the leading car, seeks confirmation about the direction to go:
- It's to the right here, right?
The PM, seated in the co-driver position, looks down on the closed map book in his lap and contributes:
- Ehhh... No, I think we should go straight forward.
The car keeps going straight forward and inevitably after 300 metres, with the map book opened, it is obvious that turning right would have been a better choice. To win a map of Jakobsberg, guess how many smart-ass remarks the dev. team could come up with based on this incident during the rest of the day; 1, 15 or 50?
Roadside Diner: Having gotten RogerE on the boat we set off to cover the first 100 km before having lunch at a roadside diner. Relative to its size, this diner must be one of the least frequently visited diners in Sweden. I don't know if this is because there is a big 'Closed' sign in the window even when they're open, because the butter is 5 months past its 'best before date', the ketchup is 3 months old, the soda is 6 months old, it takes 30 minutes to get some french fries (and they are delivered with the remark 'we had problems with the oil', making you smell them to make sure there was no motor oil involved in their making) or because the 'meal of the week' is all out on Tuesday.
We spend most of the lunch debating the intended function of a peculiar little box mounted upside-down on the wall in the restaurant that goes 'tick' and makes a diode flash about once every 5 seconds. We suspect it might be a Geiger meter (!), a thermostat, a motion detector or a light detector. Right before we leave we get the solution from the manager/cook/owner of the place; it's an ultrasound emitter that is supposed to keep vermin away. Maybe it works on customers as well...
Competition in Västerås: Our next stop on this weird journey is Västerås, where we have scheduled some undefined 'team activities' at a hotel. We split up in two teams according to the cars we're in and compete in events such as 'tricky-match-figure-modifications', 'word-construction-with-letter-cubes', 'shoot-hare-with-blowgun' and 'giant-stick-picking'. All events except the last give points on the order of 5-50 and are won by margins of some 1-20 points. The last event (the stick-picking) gives some 500-1000 points to each team and is won with a margin of some 300 points. The way the winner is determined by the hotel staff is to add all the points up and see who got the most. Not surprisingly this makes the winners of the last event win the competition. Not that the same team wouldn't have won anyway, but when we hear the announcement of who won, and how that was decided, keeping our mouths shut, letting nothing but laugher out, is not an easy task. This does not reduce the happiness and glee of the winners though, not necessarily as happy about winning as about having beaten the losers. After some champagne, a few beers and some snacks we're off again, this time to cover the last 100 km to get to where we'll have to start walking.
Finding the Confluence: The road goes ever on and after some time we start seeing snow in the landscape. There are clouds thickening overhead, and we are a bit apprehensive about getting the old GPS navigator we've borrowed to lock down its position. When we reach road 60/63, having driven through Kopparberg, we start tracking.
The GPS keeps finding and loosing the position, but we soon find a good place to get out of the cars and start walking into the forest. We estimate the confluence is no more than 350 metres from the road. Following the GPS, which keeps loosing and regaining the contact with enough satellites to be able to give a position, we walk through forest of mixed pines and fir trees with some semi-swamp areas.
It is evident from the many piles of droppings and the hoof prints that this is moose territory. Other than the moose this place has also been visited by people cutting trees within the last few years. Reaching the confluence is something of an anti-climax. Is this it? But with the normal mentality of the juggling MDP team we soon work ourselves up to realizing how fantastic a feat this is. We take the standard set of pictures and make sure to get one with all of us juggling. After a few minutes at the confluence we head back.
Dinner and Home: We go to Kopparberg to get some gas and to look for a restaurant. We don't find a restaurant though, so we go on to Västerås to have dinner. After some confused driving around in the outskirts and the centre of the city, we finally find our way to a chinese restaurant named 'Hong Kong' and have a fabulous meal. We miss getting a cake to celebrate RogerE's birthday, but that'll be amended tomorrow at work.
The final part of our excursion is covered with the speedometer around 140 km/h and the radio tuned in to P3 on the topic on philosophy and religion. Someone claims one of the people calling in is intelligent, and we ask ourselves the question whether being intelligent and calling in to a radio show like this is a contradiction. We get back to Stockholm around 11.30. It is a very tired team that come back, but also a very happy team, filled with a sense of fulfilled purpose.