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Thread: Tail Of The Dragon

  1. #16
    warredon
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    Quote Originally Posted by 38839 View Post
    Does anyone remember when the Dragon surface was just a thin coating of black top spread over tree roots and rocks?

    Nope, sure don't! We didn't move here (from Florida) to Tennessee until the 70's, so that is my first recollection. The reference "The Dragon" is a nickname that surfaced only about 8-10 years ago, I have no idea who came up with a goofy name like that. Most of the locals still refer to the area as Deal's Gap.

  2. #17
    Registered User 37071's Avatar
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    Rider!!

    The nut behind the bars is more important than the machine. I had a great time on NC129 before it was the "Tail of the Dragon" in 1988 on my 78 R100RS. Buddies on Harleys had a more mixed reaction. The alpha male hated it.
    Gar

  3. #18
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    Talking my 2 cents

    i finally rode the tail of the dragon late last summer, not very fast, on my R11Rt and had a ball. I spent the night in Maryville, just north of the "start" of the dragon and got out "early," maybe 7:00 on a Monday and had it virtually to myself. Lots of blind turns, so i kept it at a comfortable pace; one I felt wouldn't include the potential of an ambulance or tow truck, and had a great time. Stopped at Deal's Gap and had breakfast, then tried the Cherahola Skyway and reeeeealy had a blast. Much easier to see thru the turns and find a sort of rhythm. Spent the night at Deal's gap with lots of other riders, mostly on Harleys, but also sport bikes and a couple scooters.(scooter might be the way to go) Slept in a clean, albeit weird room, and headed back up The Dragon early the next morning. Once again almost alone at 6:30 am, and because it was my second time thru, tho' facing the other way, I felt more confident and upped the speed a bit. Stopped at one of the look-outs and chatted w a couple rangers and a young man on a Honda sport-go-fast-somethingorother... IDK, but he talked about his technique, which was to hug the white line and stay on the outside of all the blind turns to avoid the trucks coming the other way....of course, i thought, "yes, but that means any error and you're off in the bushes....a couple hundred feet below." But to each, his own. I had fun. Met some pleasant riders, ate some greasy food, laffed out loud in my helmet, put some dragon stickers on my bike. Then I drove home. About 700 back to Chicago, but home in time for dinner. I had a blast and got to have the fun of remembering it here. Go have some fun. And then tell us about it.
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
    used to own: 1982 R100T, 1984 R65, 1986K75C, 1997 R1100RT, R850R, K75S, 1978 R100RS... what was I thinking?

  4. #19
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 26667 View Post
    ................but he talked about his technique, which was to hug the white line and stay on the outside of all the blind turns to avoid the trucks coming the other way.........................of course, i thought, "yes, but that means any error and you're off in the bushes....a couple hundred feet below."

    A wise man you talked with, and an experienced corner carver. White line is where it is safest for sure., unless you have a sight line.

    Think of it this way, yes you are in the ding weeds faster if YOU screw up But running the center and having to veer sharply, due to opposing traffic in your lane, OR if you screw up, you are in the ding weeds too!

    So if you encounter 20 cars/trucks/opposing bikes that MIGHT force you to make a quick move (lets hope you are quick enough), simple math tells me the ratio is 20:1, I personally like the "1" odds, as I can control my actions, but cant control others.

    RH turns, center entry for maximum sight line, apex, and most important exit, on the white line. LH, white line for max sight line, as soon as clear sight line exists, center line apex, and exit setting up for next turn. If blind LH, stay on the white line.
    Last edited by pffog; 03-09-2011 at 02:17 PM.

  5. #20
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    Speaking of Arkansas and the Dragon....we have a "mini dragon" in my neck of the woods. AR 314...runs from Big Flat, AR to the White River, outside of Mt. Home.

    Nearly 20 miles of longer swoops etc...not as tight as the dragon but challenging for sure. Its a destination road for a lot of riders in the region.

  6. #21
    P Monk
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    deja vu again

    rode what later became known as the dragon in 83 (not the first time). Wished the whole time I was on my R75/6, sold the Goldwing when I got home. Rode again last year on another Goldwing. This time it was because my new R90/6 was still in shop getting pistons, etc. major rebuild. Sold the Wing as soon as I got home! Want to go back on the 90/6 and the GS too but especially on the R90.

    Found more fun roads in area than the dragon though. One was coming off of the Blue Ridge to the east, just don't quite remember exactly where.

    Moral, never ride on a Honda. It will get sold.
    P. Monk
    74 R90/6 (also know by bride as the Black Hole). 09 R1200 GS. My wife, 1953 model who has survived aplastic anemia and a bone marrow transplant.

  7. #22
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    First rode the "dragon" when it was only known as highway 129, back in the 80's. It was a fun ride and had little traffic then. I last rode it in 2005. The road was the same but it was wall to wall idiots. People on bikes and cars on both sides of the road while going one direction. I pulled off at an overlook just in time. About 10 seconds later a group of 4 BMW cars swung through the blind curve on the wrong side of the road with about 10' between cars. The road was just far too crowded with stupid people on bikes and in cars. I have no intention to go back any more.

    I did ride the Cherahola in 05 and found that to be a far more superior ride. Not as tight in the turns but better view, far far less traffic and much smoother.
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  8. #23
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by rocketman View Post
    Any bike can do it, go to the tailofthedragon web site and check for the best times to do, when traffic is light, etc. you might even get a picture of you riding it. Be carefull though its a challenging road, go for smoothness not speed!

    RM
    Have ridden The Dragon 19 times - will certainly ride it again.

    As for your questions, couldn't answer it better than rocketman did.
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    Motorcycle & High Performance Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  9. #24
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Dragon flicks

    These were taken last summer, while the rock slide still had the road closed at the north end.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQX2FWSvWBE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z-To..._order&list=UL

    The helmet cam is mounted on my buddy's helmet. I'm in front on an R1200GSA while my buddy is on an R1200GS.

    My buddy is a noob rider, and nearly wiped out two days earlier, having gone so wide in a right turn that he almost went in the ditch on the left side of the road. I was constantly concerned about how he was doing, and I did my best to keep him out of trouble. The Dragon is posted for only 30 mph, and it was patrolled heavily, another reason to sample other roads nearby...

    We did the Dragon twice that day, and I really did get more comfortable doing many turns in quick succession, way more turns than I normally see in a month or more of riding.

    Harry

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