Chris & Donna's Motorcycle Journeys
Look at the roads to the west of 81, they're your best bet.
But to be honest, if you're in Scranton, you're going to be disappointed with the Dragon. You've got a dozen better roads within 50 miles of you, and they all have less traffic and fewer cops.
The Cherahola Skyway is nice if you can catch it early when there's no traffic. It's spectacular at about 2-1/2 times the posted limit.
I'm planning an early Sept, trip with some friends, but just the opposite.
We're doing Skyline Drive & the Parkway...all the way.
Not concerned with 129... Too many wannabees & police now head-huntin' .My luck I'd get caught doing 31 in a 30....
Enforcement presence is much higher on the Dragon and nearby in TN then elsewhere due to large number of serious and stupid events. 2/day requiring hospital runs is the norm which is a pretty sad commentary on both the skills and judgement of the folks playing there- expensive for local govts and wouldn't be tolerated at all except its the only industry in the area.
The Cherohala has a well known decreasing radius corner about 10 mile in that has bitten more than a few but is basically faster and safer than the Dragon which is a much older road.
As has been noted by many of you (and the locals agree) the Dragon is overhyped but a good show if you like squid watching. The cardinal offense sure to get you a performance award is crosing the centeline- if you're unlucky it can also get you killed as most of the curves are blind. Re speed, the TN cops on duty are normally pretty reasonable if you're under 50 and riding sanely though the posted limit is a lot lower. As you will see if you've not been there, maintaining high speed on it is both difficult and dangerous due to restricted sight lines.
It is easily possible to ground those Harley footboards on the Dragon where the odd road cambers make it vey likely in some spots if you crank up the speed - this is the known cause of a couple of the historical fatalities. BMWs ridden normally will have no clearance issues.
The Cherohala Skyway (cherO hAla) crosses the Cherokee and Nantahala forests,hence the name. What a beautiful ride.
Early spring, I did a long day from central Georgia, across the Cherohala, up and back on the Dragon, then back across the Cherohala. The skyway was the high point of the trip, not the Dragon.
R75/6, Non functioning 2014 FJR1300A
I agree that if you think that 45 mph on the BRP you won't like the Dragon.
You don't want to be there on a holiday weekend unless you like crowds at the base of the Dragon and insanity running the dragon.
I love NW North Carolina!
Have to agree EAST of 81 is where it is at.
As far as PA roads, yes there are a lot of good roads in N central PA, but as good as the GAP and Smoky's, not by a long shot.
Because of it's proximity, I have ridden thousands of miles in N central PA, and know back roads, that local rides don't, but I still travel to NC yearly, but rarely ride the GAP, as I know better places there too.
The dragon is great , but only if you can get there on monday or tuesday. Blow Rock, NC is one of my favorite areas. Boxwood lodge on main st. Not fancy, not over priced, but always clean and friendly. The BRP south from there is great and 221 south to linville, nc. Also love hwy 184 from Banner Elk up and over Beech Mtn. good rides, good food, and always some kind of event happening in the area.
Living in NC most of my life, (native), and having ridden a lot of NC mountain roads, I can honestly say that the "Dragon" is somewhat of a dissapointment if you've never been. 11 miles of 318 curves sort of makes one sea sick just thinking about it. LOTS of dumb asses in this part of the state. Yes it's an attraction and specticle but there are A LOT of roads in NC much better with far fewer LEO's around to hassle you. Get yourself a NC Delorme Atlas and Gazatteer. Look for roads like 16, 18, 228, 226, 208, 88, 80, 196, 215, 205, 276, 64, etc in the western part of the state. They will not dissapoint.
As for riding from Scranton Pa to the dragon in 2 days... that's some tough nut riding for a 15 to 20 minute jaunt on the dragon. If you haven't already, take a look at www.tailofthedragon.com for more info and maps.
BTW, most of the dragon is in Tennessee and the Hwy Patrol there can be bothersome... 6 or 7 over the limit will get you a pink copy.
2010 RT Ostra Grey
And see if you're still pumped to ride The Dragon. Over 1000 Pages of crashes and critiques on the dumb stuff happening at The Dragon. EDIT: The worst is when innocent riders who are paying attention get taken out by the knuckleheads. Believe me, it happens. I wouldn't ride there on a sunny Saturday for all the money you could muster. I DID ride it on a cold rainy Tuesday on the way home from Barber one October day... and enjoyed it, tho there were darn few people there at the time. In my humble estimation, it might be worth doing once in a lifetime, just to tick it off The List.
If you just can't stand it, do it on a Tuesday or something, preferably in the rain. That way there'll be FAR fewer idjits to deal with. I agree there are many fine roads in that part of the world that don't see the number of bikes as Deal's Gap.
+1 on BRP/Skyline Drive. It's beautiful, and one of our national treasures. If you hit it right (weekday) you might not have too much traffic. I rode a big part of it in November and had it to myself. I saw hawks, bear, and deer.
If you can't stand 45 mph, maybe you just want to jump on I-81 and bypass the slow roads.
Then again, you could take a few days and head west/southwest out of Scranton (Hiway 6?), riding thru the Laurel Highlands and PA's highest mountains (near Mt Davis) into WVA. You could noodle down thru the Mountain State enjoying minimal traffic, hugging the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, then roll into TN/NC/VA to ride the AREA around the Dragon, do the Cherahola Skyway, THEN get on the BRP at its Southern entry point and ride it all the way up to its Northern end. Then map the most mountainous route back to Scranton from Front Royal, beginning with US 522N off the Skyline Drive, which quickly routes you thru VA, WVA, & ND into PA.
If I had the time, that's how I would play it.
Last edited by ricochetrider; 02-27-2013 at 05:15 PM.
Be The Change You Want To See In The World
It is only 318 if you count every weave Bubba the DOT line painter made as he sipped his Busch beer, while painting the continuous double yellow center line. 220 is generous IMHO.
It is a great road, sans the circus clowns, but as you state, lots of other nice stuff in the area.