“Did he just break the front window of the car with his elbow?!?”
I wake up in a bed, it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in days. We eat breakfast at the venue, and then assemble in the van for another discussion about plans. I make a last ditch attempt to try and push the Bratislava/Holland plan but Aussie 1 is not having any of it.
I haven’t written a lot about the Brits in all this, because whilst I can’t really say I got on well with any of them, I definitely felt bad that they’d dropped a ton of money on this and were getting less than nothing in return. I tried to position most of my arguments around the fact that as they’d paid for the tour to happen and were still paying all fuel costs, they should really get the final say on what we do. At this point however, I think they’d just had enough and wanted to cut their losses.
They decide we’ll drive halfway today, stop in Ulm (Germany) and then carry on the journey tomorrow. Aussie 2 also decides at this point that the tour is really missing a TM, and he should step up to fill that role. His main strategy in the attempt to bail out this sinking ship seems to be that I need to be given money so I can fill up the van every morning before they’re all ready to leave. Because sure, that’s where the tour was falling apart, the extra 5 minutes we took to fuel up in the morning.
On any other tour, this would be a particularly dull entry. It’s a day off, and we have no plans aside from driving to a hotel.
It’s gotten dark all of a sudden, and I’m driving on the autobahn somewhere, maybe an hour or so from Ulm. Aussie 2 is asleep in the front, and everyone else is asleep in the back. I’ve got a single headphone in and am listening to a podcast, a little bit zoned out from a dull drive.
Suddenly, I shout as loud as I can.
Everyone wakes up as I slam the brakes on and pull the van into the hard shoulder.
Moments before, I’d witnessed probably one of the scariest, most insane things I’ve ever seen. About 100m ahead in the distance, from out of NOWHERE, a car had flipped 3 times in the air from the fast lane right into the slow lane, landing on its side.
I’m pretty much frozen, still reeling and not really sure what’s going on. After a few seconds I snap out of it, realising what’s happened. I look to my left, and Aussie 2 is nowhere to be seen. I look ahead again, and I see Aussie 2 sprinting towards the toppled wreck like a quiffed hipster action hero. He tries to open the door, it doesn’t open. He then proceeds to start smashing the passenger side window of the car with his elbow, no concern for a potential fire/explosion, to be able to drag the couple inside to safety.
This. Is. Bonkers.
I run over with a couple of bottles of previously snatched rider Sprite to give to the very lucky, very disorientated couple who have now emerged from the wreckage, and we all stand around in disbelief as a German lady who has also pulled off calls the police.
The police take a statement, and initially think we actually caused the accident:
“You hit the car?”
“Why does your van look like that then?”
Oh. NICE ONE BANT-GELA MERKEL.
After establishing we were just bystanders, we get back on the highway and pull off soon after to grab some food and talk about how lucky we were and how we should just take the rest of the tour in our stride. They’re even complimentary with regards to my driving and avoiding the accident. It’s a nice moment.
It doesn’t last.
I get cosy in the van as they go up to their hotel.