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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

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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…

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

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

 

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

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

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Our cabin at Monticello
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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.”

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

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

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

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

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