Besides the incredible rises and drops in elevation, we are also passing through the contested military zones between Medellin and Cali. Months before, when the Exploration Society scouted the route, a deal was made with all rival military factions in the region to hold temporary cease fires to allow safe passage when the Rallye passed through.

In the early afternoon, high in the clouds of the Cordillera Central, we approach a Colombian Military checkpoint. It is like many others we've seen, sandbags, barbed wire, dudes in camouflage fatigues and perhaps a tank or two, along with the usual M-16's, Uzi's and bazookas. Although the Rallye riders are usually passed through with a wave, this time passports and Triptix must be shown as we are passing out of government control. About two km around a curve and up a steep gradient the cars enter Rebel M-19 territory. Dudes in blue jeans or khaki's and button down shirts with cowboy hats and single shot rifles examine our documents once again.
Night falls quickly, as does the rain. The area east
of Andogoya is the third rainiest area of the world.
Over 300 inches a year fall, all between dusk and
dawn. Crazy truckers appear to pay no mind until it's too late.

As we enter Popayan, we are searched for
weapons. Even the spare tires are sniffed by attack
dogs. A Midnight dinner in the town square of beautiful
colonial Popayan. Artillery fire crackles in the mountains
we just came through. Eight soldiers bite the dust just as los
pilotos bite into their steaks.