We spent the night in Cali at the Casa Blanca Hostel – we were hoping to meet up with Mike who owns the hostel and www.motolumbia.com but he was on a trip up to Cartagena to retrieve one of his rental bikes. Mike helped us with our logistics problems trying to get to South America from Panama.
We got a relatively early start after a great breakfast and managed to get lost in Cali trying to find the main road out of town. We got a firsthand view of the city market as we slowly made our way thru the chaos and mayhem of the market. After maybe 45 minutes of weaving and circling back/forth we found the main road and started moving at a good pace.
The first 100 miles of the road were through mostly flatlands and meadows – with small farming type community towns – not really that remarkable. Then the road began to climb up into the mountains – and climb and climb – we were quickly at 9,000 foot elevations and routinely going up into 10,000 foot. The scenery was truly breathtaking and by far the most spectacular of the trip so far.
This goofy looking M&M truck was fun to follow behind – strange to see when you’re coming up the road but pretty well done!
Here are some shots off the incredibly rugged terrain …
We rolled into Popayan at pretty close to dark time frame – we had maybe half an hour to find a hotel and it wasn’t easy. The town was pretty good sized and we both wanted a hotel that was close to the main road so we could bolt for the border early in the morning. We rode up and down the main road and considered staying at a “Motel” – even stopped to ask for a room at one but they had no rooms with 2 beds… In case you’re wondering – a “Motel” in Latin America is a sex hotel – you rent it by the hour usually and they have garages usually to hide the cars of the people staying there. Every decent sized town has 2 or 3 of these on the main roads just outside of town…
We ended up heading down into town a bit and found a great hotel with indoor garage storage. Grabbed a cab downtown to get something to eat and while we were walking around the main square John felt the urge to gamble a bit – we stepped into a casino and he tried his hand at the computerized roulette – well, when he as finished he had won 42,000… pesos… which was a little under $20 US – still, enough to almost pay for the hotel.
Heading out of Columbia tomorrow morning – the border is about 125KM away and we should be there relatively early.