A 5:30 AM departure gets us on the road long before sunrise the morning of Wednesday, April 27th. As reporters,we need to get to prime locations before the racers do, in order to set up our shots.

Today's route is a great ride, 370 km over dirt roads winding down from Quito. A pink tropical dawn in the misty jungle. Looming straight up,18,710 feet, is Chimborazo, whose melting snows feed Amazonian tributaries.

    The Rallye crosses the Rio Napo and the Rio Coca, both tributaries of the Amazon though they don't join for hundreds of miles later, near thePeru-Brazil border. Now the name of the Rallye can be justified. The Original Route was to actually cross the Amazon near Manaus,Brazil.

    By 1:30 we've already reached our day's destination, Ambato, a very German looking town high in the Andes. It's quite pleasant after spending the morning down in the steamy swamps. Beautiful sunshine and in the 60's at Latitude 1 1/2 South. The smell of pines makes one think of the Alps or the Schwartzwald. We check into a nice hotel with a roaring fireplace in the lobby and old wooden furniture and half timbered architecture. Outside is a stream rushing through the pines. Weiner Schnitzel and Bratwurst is on the menu.The proprietors are a pleasant elderly German couple who arrived in late 1945.

    In 1988 in the primitive days before Quick Cams, Powerbooks and portable satellite links,transmitting photographs to home offices was a lengthy and expensive matter.The reporter from Agence France Presse must first spend a couple of hours in a bath converted into a darkroom.Then, an ancient contraption similar to today's fax machines (but much larger) is spliced into the phone line to transmit 3 pictures to Washington. Total cost $200! The room was only $5.