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Czech Out Brno Part Six: The Last Day

“Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong.”

— Lester Bangs, Almost Famous

The last day of any vacation is a bummer, and this is even more true when you see the rest of your newest group of friends gearing up knowing that you pulled the short straw and have to drive the van back to Munich. At least I wasn’t hung over.

Wait, what?

Fun fact. I don’t get hangovers in foreign countries or at racetracks. I can have one beer at home and wake up feeling like warmed over ass, but give me a dozen Jager shots after the track goes cold and I am the first one at breakfast in the morning.

So yes, despite all common logic, statistics, and laws of science I was not hung over from my absolute clinic of alcohol consumption the night before. Judging by the four empty water bottles on my bed I was smart enough to hydrate and probably pop some ibuprofen before (or maybe after) removing one shoe, in which I found my phone that I somehow plugged into the charger. I’m sure Drunk logic had a reason for this charging set up, but in order to understand why I would need to retrace my steps. Sadly (fortunately?) we were out of time in Prague.

I packed my bag, removed my phone from my shoe, and headed down to breakfast. I sat with Brad and chatted about the shittiest kidnappers in Prague over some scrambled eggs. As the rest of the group came down slowly, we swapped stories from the night before until it was time to load the van and go. I pulled the van around to the clogged-with-construction front of the building and did my best to not block the road, sidewalk, or driveway. I handed the keys to Cat so I could run upstairs and grab my bags, and came back to find that not only was my bike loaded but so was the luggage. Since we had some practice over our time unpacking and repacking the van we had made it so everything fit without needing to use the front seat, and the group got things loaded even tighter one final time.

I was itching to get going, knowing that I would likely need to do some creative navigation to get back to Germany. Even though I was going to be on more of a direct route, I knew that everyone on a motorcycle would be going flat out once the autobahn was reached so I wanted a head start.

I asked multiple times if anyone needed anything out of their bags before I left, and everyone said no. I asked multiple times if anything else needed to go in the van, and everyone said no.

I asked everyone if they were sure, and I was assured that I could leave.

So I did.

Getting out of Prague was easier than finding my hotel the night before, and once I hit the country roads it looked like I was on pace for a detour-free drive to Munich. There were a couple of weird turns on the GPS routing, but I only ended up down two or three driveway-sized roads before hitting the Czech border. I eventually found myself on the autobahn and decided to see exactly what kind of land speed record I could hit in a fully loaded diesel van that, from a distance, looked like a cop.

157, GPS indicated if you were wondering.

The metric system makes everything hella faster.

Yes, with the help of a slight tailwind I set the cruise control at 157kph, which was about the average speed for this stretch of road. I blitzed by more than one supercar, only to then get my doors blown off by multiple others that had to have been going at least 157mph.

I’m not going to say that Germans are better drivers than Americans because I don’t want to ruffle any tiny, defensive, feathers of people that may stumble upon this to tell me “murica, love it or leave it” while calling me a socialist or something. Some asshole always has to bring up politics.


Not once did I have to silently curse a texting asshole in the left lane who was well below the speed limit, scream at someone merging to use their gas pedal, or see anyone swerve to block the path of a lane sharing motorcycle. In America that happens every time I travel more than an exit or two down the freeway. If you don’t see it, you are the texting idiot that doesn’t know how to merge, and you should let someone else drive. Also I hate you and I hope your butt itches. In Europe I didn’t see any vehicle spend any more time in the number 1 lane than they needed to, everyone zipper-merged, and even better, there was enough space between lanes of traffic for emergency vehicles to fit through making lanesharing a breeze on a moto. I should point out that I also never saw the left lane at a full stop while the rest of the lanes moved, unlike the daily occurrence of this unexplainable bay area phenomenon.

I made it to the Munich hotel an estimated half hour or so before everyone else. I decided to unload the van both as a courtesy to my fellow travelers but also so I could pull my bike out and get one last ride in, even if it was across the street to the dealership. I marveled at just how efficient we became at packing. I mean it was almost like there were two bags that didn’t make it into the van when we left Prague.

Yeah about that…

Remember a few paragraphs up when I asked everyone if there was anything else that needed to be loaded into the van? Someone should have said yes.

To protect the innocent I am not going to say who didn’t bring their bags out to be loaded, but when the group got back to Munich, everyone grabbed their luggage and went to their room for a pre-dinner nap, except for Cat. He was on the phone with the hotel in Prague asking them to check the street for his luggage.

I would make some sort of a Cat’s (with)out of the bag joke here, but I want to go on another tour so I am going to suppress my urge to do so. You’re welcome, Cat.

It turns out that before I moved the van around to the front of the hotel, everyone had staged their luggage in the lobby. I left my bags in my room as I didn’t want to leave my camera gear unattended while I pulled the van around. Since the van was loaded by the time I got back down, I didn’t think to look in the lobby, I just asked if everything was loaded.

While everyone was grabbing their bags, Cat was busy making sure everyone had the correct map in their GPS, and he assumed that his stuff got loaded in as it had at every other stop. But because it was in the lobby nobody grabbed it when they got their own bags, and there his gear sat. Eventually hotel management moved it behind the counter, and that’s where it was when Cat drove BACK to Prague about an hour after he got to Munich.

He was trying to get me to go with him, and I would have if I didn’t have the earliest flight possible, oh yeah, and an even earlier Covid test at the airport. Some quick math estimated that the roughly 8 hour round trip would place me back in Munich with not enough wiggle room for me to make my flight, and besides I had about two hours of sleep and enough alcohol to open a small bar the night before. I would have been a drooling and worthless passenger, which is what I believe the flight attendants referred to me as the next day.

Cat couldn’t take the van as the owner of our trusty chase vehicle was picking it up after our group had its last dinner of the tour together, so he had to locate a car to rent. I decided to hang out and wait until the van owner showed up to keep Cat company while the rest of the group hopped on a train to dinner.

Once the van owner arrived, met up with the rest of the group as they were finishing their first beer. With the fun part of the trip over and nothing to look forward to but a long flight home, the conversation drifted from the highs of shredding tires on epic roads and a MotoGP circuit to the lows of sketchy R1 chain maintenance, Czech infrastructure not matching our maps, and yes, about Cat having to go back to Prague on a boomerang luggage run.

We hung out for a beer after dinner as well, a group of friends that didn’t exist, even as acquaintances, just a few days earlier. Even with the things that went wrong, or perhaps because of the adversity, we had grown closer. It’s not like we are besties now, but there have been conversations about a reunion tour to another location that needs some advanced scouting.

We were talking like we had known each other since childhood, which is a common theme amongst people that go on a Leod Escapes tour. Cat often says that if you really want to know who somebody is, travel with them.

I agree.

Once you take someone away from their routine - from their comfort zone - and place them into a situation where almost everything has the possibility of being a new experience, you get a glimpse into their default state. There are no Instagram filters on a Leod Escapes tour. You see their quirks - good and bad - and learn more about someone’s character in a few days than if you were to spend a lifetime following them on social media.

All things must come to an end, and while this tale still has one final mostly motorcycle-free chapter to go, it was time for me to think about home.

William Miller: “I have to go home.”

Penny Lane: “You are home.”

-Almost Famous

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