Valley of the Gods—A Good Adventure for Father and Son

Valley of the Gods—A Good Adventure for Father and Son
“The adventure leads the ride.” —JJ Lewis

It was July, 107 degrees, and not a sliver of shade in sight. My son Ben had just ripped a gash in his rear tire on the razor-like rocks so common in this part of the northeastern Arizona desert. It was a “good adventure” in the making.

Any ride with JJ Lewis is, by design, a Good Adventure. It is also the name of his company and a fair mantra for anyone with the chutzpah to connect with one of his challenging tours. My son and I were fortunate enough to receive invitations to join his Best of Back Country tour.

Our route touched on the iconic Monument Valley and took us through the magnificent Valley of the Gods before turning back northeast into the glorious San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Our team of riders all proved themselves worthy accomplices as we worked together, scrambling through rock-strewn sand washes and over rain-washed roads.

The road into Valley of the Gods is like riding into the backdrop of a John Ford Western movie.

The American West has been our playground these past few decades. Although Ben and his brothers grew up bouncing around Moab, UT, and the San Juans in a Jeep, I was eager for him to experience its majesty on an adventure bike. This was our first motorcycle ride of consequence since his teens, two decades ago. Ben’s riding skills have always seemed uncanny. Even at four years old, his first ride on his older brother’s Yamaha PW50 was impressive as he stood on the footpegs at full throttle with smoke trailing from the exhaust, beaming a grin from ear to ear. A similar smile spread across his face as he tackled the terrain on his BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.

Sharp Rocks and Sewing Up Tires

We were only a few hours out of JJ’s base camp and home in Cortez, CO, when we cracked the lid on the first can of worms. After a stop near a Navajo hogan, we launched our eclectic group composed of a couple of BMWs and a cluster of KTMs back onto the desert floor.