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The 2016 Colorado-Utah Best of the Backcountry Expedition

Write up and Pictures by Wiel Penders

Select this link to watch and experience a 10 minute video of the ride.   Link: Best of the Backcountry Expedition CUBDE


The Good Adventure Company is known for putting epic trips together with superior remote riding for the intermediate and experienced riders.

This time around we did a big 1200 miles loop starting from our Good-ADV Basecamp in Cortez, Co.

      • 11 Riders, 2 guides, 2 sweeps and a chase truck with Chef providing the needed supplies.
Colorado - Utah Back Road Expedition 2016
* Each Color in the above map represents a day of riding!

The Team,  a variety of Internationals from Canada, US, Italy, Denmark and Holland…

JJ Lewis, Owner / Guide, BMW R1200 GSA LC
Wiel Penders, Guide, BMW R1200 GSA LC          .
Wietze Gjaltema, Rider, BMW R1200 GSA LC
Massimo Rongoni, Rider, BMW F800 GSA
Ilio Battisti, Rider, BMW F800 GSA
Jesper Dahl, Rider, BMW R1200 GSA LC
Mike Vallely, Rider, KTM 1190 R
Franco Testa, Rider, BMW R1200 GSA LC
Bryan Conley, Rider, BMW 650 Dakar
Tomas Kucera, Chef and Truck driver
Eric Hall, Sweep, KTM 990
Erik Harren, Sweep, KTM 690





































Day 1: Basecamp Cortez (Co) to Muley Point (Ut). We rode via the 4 corners towards Monument Valley thru the Navajo Indian Reservation, from there North into the South East part of Utah with a visit at the Mexican Hat, the Valley of the Gods, up the Mokie Dugway and set camp at Muley point where our Chef Tomas was preparing a nice meal for the group.

Jesper coming up hill thru the Navajo Reservation
Everybody taking in the view at the start of the first dirt riding. The bikes are still clean…but not for long
On our way to the Mexican Hat
Eric trying to reach the hat…
Thumbs Up with Monument Valley in the back ground
JJ in his element
The Valley of the Gods
Riding the Valley of the Gods
Riding the Valley of the Gods
Roaring up the famous Moki Dugway
Spectecular view at Muley point, just before sunset.
Muley Point camp spot..


Some Scotch, a cigar, friends, and a campfire: priceless.
Wiel watching the sunset at Muley point..
Sunrise at Muley point..
Chef Tomas making breakfast..

Day 2: Muley Point (Ut) to Lands Lodging Ranch, Monticello (Ut). Riding the 2nd part of the first section on the UTBDR towards Monticello, UT. Starting in the morning after breakfast towards the Snow Flat Road and North up the Butler wash. Our Chef Tomas would meet us halfway along the road to serve lunch. After lunch we headed up into the Abajo Mountains. The day ended up at a Mountain Lodge South from Monticello were we spend the night.

Group assembled again after riding the snow flat road
Adventure Gang….
The snow flat road had some nice hard rock trails to ride.
On the snow flat road
R1200GSA LC’s waiting for their riders to show up…
Stunning views
Taking a break
Eric Hall cruising along Com Ridge
The Butler wash had a few surprises: Jesper lifting his GSA
JJ had just enough momentum to make it out of the wash..
Franco needed a brake…
Wietze made it with help from Franco.
Heading for the Manti-La Sal national forest
One of the several breaks we took along the trails


Our cabin at Monticello
The bikes getting their needed rest, preparing for the next day…

Day 3: Monticello (Ut) to Telluride (Co). We rolled into Monticello for Breakfast and after that we headed for Colorado via the 491. Dove Creek, Egnar and onwards to Slick Road, a short stop at the Groundhog Reservoir, following the country road into the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests in a downpour of rain towards Telluride. We would be spending the night at the Towne Park so we could close the “Last Dollar Saloon.”

The Italians showing their ridings skills.
Bryan on the 650 Dakar
Beautiful scenery at the Groundhog Reservoir
GSA Adventure decked out with a set of Mosko Moto Backcountry panniers
Having a good time in one of the local bars in Telluride
The Last Dollar Saloon was closed down by the gang…
A wet camp ground at the Towne park in Telluride.
Getting the needed Java jolt the day after…

Day 4: Telluride (Co) to Corkscrew Gulch (Co). We started the morning a little “Dusty” after a tough evening in Telluride. The plan was to ride Ophir Pass towards Ouray, back towards Telluride via the Last Dollar Road and then Imogene pass to our final destination for the day. Ophir turned out to be a good warm up for the group and after a lunch break in Ouray it was decided to go around the Last Dollar road due to the wet riding conditions. (Note: The map states:”impassible when wet”) Back around in Telluride we fueled up and went up the Imogene pass what was very interesting, this pass would bring us over 13.000 Feet Elevation. Not everybody was comfortable in the group to go all the way to the top as it became challenging for the big bikes. It was decided that a small group with one guide would return back to Telluride and ride around to meet the group later that day. The smaller group decided to take the Last Dollar Road after all since it dried out for a few hours at that time of the day.

Franco looking back at what he just achieved riding up the first section of the Ophir pass.
Stunning view of Ophir pass.
Mike on Ophir Pass
Ilio at Ophir Pass
Wiel at Ophir Pass
On top of Ophir Pass
Jesper and Bryan on Ophir pass
Bryan at the top of Ophir Pass
Eric reaching the top
Ilio and Wiel at Ophir Pass
Great view of the Ophir Pass
Wietze riding up Imogene Pass
Erik on Imogene Pass
Eric riding Imogene Pass on the KTM 990
Franco, miscalculated a tough section of Imogene pass and had to “park” his bike
The guys are walking up the hill (At 12.000 Feet) to give Franco a hand getting his bike going again.
Significant steep hill at 12.000 Feet on Imogene Pass.
Franco and Mike take a breath at 12.000 Feet Elevation.
Franco and Wiel on top of the Last Dollar Road
Campsite at Corkscrew Gulch in Colorado
Campsite at Corkscrew Gulch in Colorado with our Redverz tents
Campsite at Corkscrew Gulch in Colorado
Great view of the Corkscrew Gulch area
Having a beer around the campfire after a day of hard riding

Day 5: Corkscrew Gulch to Lake City (Lake San Cristobal). It turned out to be another wet and rainy night. All camping gear had to be packed wet again. Fortunately the morning started off dry and it staid nice for the entire day. The schedule was first to ride up the Red Mountain and California Gulch towards Animas Forks, look around at the old ghost town, ride down to Silverton for lunch and fuel. Back up to Animas Forks and ride the Engineer and Cinnamon Passes. The highest elevations of the entire trip would be reached that day close to 13.000 Feet. Working our way to Lake San Cristobal were our Chef Thomas would be waiting with cold beer and an inviting lake to take a cool dive. It was also a welcomming opportunity to wash off the collected dust for the past three days…

The Italians were afraid for the rain at Corkscrew Gulch and hid in the Redverz tent
Mike posting on top of California Pass
California Pass
Group hug on top of Hurricane Pass
Posing at high elevation on top Hurricane Pass
Bryan and Wietze at Animas Forks
Team effort to get a bike back up on Red Mountain pass
Anybody home at Animas Forks.
Animas Forks, now a ghost town was built in 1870 by gold miners.
The Good Adventure Company at its best on California Pass
Wietze carefully making it to the top as well.
Taking a breath before the second attempt riding the steep pass up to California mountain
The riders coming down hill from Hurricane pass
Bryan enjoying the view
The original mine entrance at Animas Forks
Reading some history about Animas Forks
Story about the first house at Animas Forks
Franco taking a break
Franco and Eric heading downwards
Team shot in front of the old mine entrance at Animas Forks

Day 6: Lake City to Buena Vista. The day started off nice with good weather and it would stay like that for the entire day. After the morning briefing we went into the small town of Lake city to get fuel and supplies for the day. We would be riding the trails of the Gunnison National Forest up to Cathedral, Cumberland and Cottonwood passes, crossing the Continental Divide, both at 12,000 Feet elevation. Taking a break in Pitkin and lunch stop in Tin Cup before arriving at the hot springs in Buena Vista were we would be spending our last night of the trip. We scheduled a nice farewell dinner in the town of Buena Vista.

Our Campsite at lake San Cristobal
Two Italian lifetime long friends, Ilio and Massimo
Daily riders briefing of the adventures for the day to come…
Cumberland Pass
Cottonwood pass
Taking a break along the road
The mighty Blue Beast BMW R1200GSA LC
The 2-wheeled horses lined up in Pitkin
General store in Pitkin, Co.
Stop along the road
Lunch break at the Frenchies Cafe in Tin Cup, a little lost town along the trip
Team picture in Tin Cup, making great memories of an Epic ride.
Ilio at Cumberland Pass
Farewell dinner provided by The Good Adventure Company in Buena Vista

Day 7: Final day, Buena Vista – Cortez. Heading back to Basecamp in Cortez, Co. 300 miles of pavement and twisties, a welcomed variety after 6 days of trails, mud, dust, dust and more dust and elevations. We started the already sunny day early with bringing the tires back to the normal road riding conditions. We would be riding in 2 teams to spread out the group a little bit. After a long day of riding we arrived back at Basecamp of The Good Adventure Company in Cortez where we loaded bikes and gear in to our trucks with trailers. Some of us spent the night, others said their goodbyes and hit the road, reflecting back on this epic ride, with new friends for life…

Airing up the tires, getting the bikes ready for a 300 mile pavement ride
Airing up
Taken a break along the road back to Basecamp with JJ Lewis
Eric Hall reading an information board along the road
Big Adventure bikes at its best..
Lunch break at the Enterprise Bar & Grill in Rico, Co. Where there is a liquor store when you need one….
Good food at the grill
Ready to go home, already planning for the next ride..
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The Navajo Nation Great Adventure, May 17-20, 2016

Having lived and worked on the Navajo Nation, I have been fortunate to be able to create meaningful relationships and visit landscapes that take my breath away each time I return. Our Navajo Nation Adventure tour in May promises to give you a deep, enriching, and fun experience. We just finished our scouting of the final routes this week. We hope you enjoy the photos! (Click on the photos for larger views.) If you want to fly in, we have bikes for rent (KTM 690 enduros, Husky 701s, BMW F800 GS/As, and BMW F650s). Continue reading The Navajo Nation Great Adventure, May 17-20, 2016

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The 2016 Copper Canyon Adventure

Select this link to watch and experience a 10 minute video of the ride.   Link: Copper Canyon 2016

The hallmark of The Good Adventure Company is “To make the world a better place to live and to ride.” As many of you are aware, there has been a great deal of negative media surrounding Mexico and most of the other adventure companies are too fearful of heading down to the Copper Canyon these days. Through our contacts, we were able to communicate our intentions to help the children in Batopilas and support the local businesses along the way. We were able to ensure the safety of our riders and none of us had a single experience where we felt we were in danger. Well, unless you’re talking about the ride itself…  Continue reading The 2016 Copper Canyon Adventure

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A Review About Our Guided Trips

Just thought that I would share a review from a satisfied customer:

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the amazing hospitality and tell you how much I enjoyed the 3 day guided tour of Southern Colorado. I WILL DEFINITELY BE BACK NEXT YEAR!!  Your advice on setting my R1200GSA up for a safe and enjoyable trip was spot-on.  Having the new tires and a Giant Loop Great Basin available for installation when I arrived really simplified my travel planning and the Giant Loop bag paid for itself after the first tip-over. (Thanks again for helping pick up my bike.)

As I started planning this trip, it became immediately apparent was that there were endless riding choices and most of the best stuff was in very remote areas.…much to the dismay of my lovely wife.  Since my goal was to explore some of the more challenging areas, I was excited when I heard about your guide service and my wife was excited that I would have an expert along to keep me safe.  Thanks to you I truly had the RIDE OF A LIFETIME and experienced more backcountry riding and camping than would have been possible without your superbly planned route.  I consider myself an average rider and having you talk me through the challenging sections on the helmet bluetooth system definitely helped improve my off-road skills and gave me the confidence to tackle some really fun sections! 

See you again next year!!!


Dave E. 


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December, already!

The end of the year is upon us and many of you are gearing up and planning your adventures for 2016.  2016 is already here for us as we are busy planning the logistics of our Copper Canyon Adventure, coordinating reservations for the guest house, and scheduling our bike rentals. We look forward to hosting you, serving you, and giving you the best rides of your life. We pretty much guarantee it.

We celebrated a beautiful day here in Southwest Colorado. In the mid 30s, with the sun shining and the heated gear ablaze, I (J.J.) explored some of the many canyons near our Base Camp. 15 minutes away and this is what you may find. Twisting the throttle, hitting the whoops, dodging through the rock gardens, and dancing over the sand, it really does a soul good. We know you’ll experience this, too, when you ride in this marvelous place.

Sleeping UTE 1

We wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season! Thank you for your support!

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Copper Canyon Adventure, February 13-20, 2016

Come experience the magic of camaraderie with like-minded riders who are as crazy about motorcycles and adventuring as you are. You’ll get a deeper taste of that special something that, hopefully (like us), has changed your life for the better. If you’ve checked out our guided trips page, you’ll see that you can come join us in the Copper Canyon for a week that costs lest than your adventure training weekend and includes lodging and a celebration at the end of the trip. This is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Experience the change in topography as you reach the bottom of the canyon near Batopilas.



Cross the vado over Rio Batopilas (looks easier in the photo) on your way up the other side of the canyon to Urique.


Stop and appreciate the magic of these small towns.

Experience the thrill of climbing up and out of Chinipas in the morning.


If you’re looking for an adventure and up for a challenge that will expand your comfort zone, this is it! Please visit our guided trips page for more info.

Thank you for visiting our site and supporting us as we seek to make the world a better place to live and ride.

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Black Bear Pass


Black Bear Pass. It’s a notorious trail and is definitely not for the inexperienced rider on a big bike. We’ve done it on single cylinder bikes without much problem, but when it comes to taking the GSAw, it definitely has a large pucker factor. We’ve outfitted our bike with a Black Dog Cycle Works skid plate which is, in our opinion, the best skid plate on the market. Kurt and Martha from Black Dog are some of the best people in the business and make a killer product. Let’s just say that if we did not have this skid plate on the bike on our Black Bear run, we wouldn’t have made it down the mountain. I don’t know how many times a large rock hit the skid plate or when we slid it down the steps. We also are riding Rigid D2s and BDCW radiator guards. As pictured, we were using the Wolfman Luggage.



I don’t care who you are, when you’re doing Black Bear on a large adventure bike, you definitely get the adrenaline rushing and the anxiety pulsing. The pictures do not accurately show how steep some parts are…




After the challenge of the steps, this is a great place to stop and catch your breath.


After this, you reach the switchbacks which are incredibly loose and rocky this year. You then find yourself riding into Telluride feeling like some sort of cowboy hero.

After an hour of some of the best twisty mountain roads and we find ourselves pulling up at the Base Camp.

Life is good. (And remember that if you’re thinking of doing Black Bear. It isn’t something we’d recommend to just anyone…)

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Major Construction and Rehab finished at Tohdenasshai Shelter Home


Good-ADV firmly believes in taking care of our most vulnerable. That is why we partner with Lost for a Reason and provide help with the domestic violence shelter home project in Kayenta, AZ. Since 2012, Lost for a Reason has been providing construction and financial support to one of the only domestic violence shelter homes on the Navajo Nation. This weekend, we finished up an arduous six month project and continue to assist the shelter staff getting moved in to the new facility.  In real dollars, this project would have cost upwards of $50k but was provided at no cost to the shelter. After 7 weekend trips to Kayenta, we are finished with this large phase of the project. Here are just some of the pictures. When you buy from us, you help us do stuff like this.


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Good ADV Helping Lost for a Reason’s Tohdenasshai Shelter Home Project

On June 19-21, Good ADV partnered with Lost for a Reason in a long term project at Tohdenasshai Shelter Home in Kayenta, AZ. In late December, the shelter sustained major water damage due to frozen, broken pipes. LFAR descended on an initial project in January and discovered major damage to the interior part of the structure. Long story short, this was a significant renovation/repair project that would’ve cost more than $50k–something that the shelter could not afford. Lost for a Reason’s volunteers have worked 6 weekends on this project with major contributions from Franco Testa from Sand Diego’s My Plumber and numerous volunteers. We were also visited by Eric Hall from XLADV, Tolga Bassol on his RTW trip, and received significant help this June from John and Heidi from RawHyde, Rodney Reiman from Big Bear, CA, with the project leadership from LFAR’s Tom Kucera from Flagstaff.

Here are some pictures from the past weekend.  A good time was had by all. We are now in the final phases:

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Ron Grace, Tom Kucera, J.J. Lewis, and many other Lost for a Reason volunteers will return to complete this work in July (July 24-26 and July 31 – August 2). In addition to major sponsorship from Twisted Throttle, this work is supported by the profits from The Good Adventure Company. If you are interested in assisting LFAR in Kayenta those weekends, please contact for more information or visit! We need your help to continue to make a difference in the lives of children and families on the Navajo Nation.