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Thread: Ready For the Dragon

  1. #1
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    Ready For the Dragon

    The Mrs and I just closed on the purchase of a cabin near Murphy NC. I've been exploring that part of the world for decades on both two and four wheels (Honda Fours, an early GSXR750, and three different Toyota MR-2's). But it has been twenty years since I have ridden any of the roads on a bike. And I have never driven The Dragon or the Cherohala Skyway on two wheels. I've been all over northern Georgia from Blue Ridge eastward and from Ellijay and Dahlonega northward. I'm familiar with most of NC west of Brevard and south of the BRP. NC215 between US64 in Rosman and the Parkway is another favorite of mine.

    We will be trailering my R1250RS up to the cabin the week of 10/7 for a week of vacation. The Dragon, Skyway & TN68 between Tellico Plains and Ducktown are on my hit list. So is NC28 between Franklin and Fontana Lake.

    So many roads, so little time.

  2. #2
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    It's fun, I've only been down the Dragon twice on different bikes and the Cherohalo once. I recommend early in the morning to avoid the squids.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by skibum69 View Post
    It's fun, I've only been down the Dragon twice on different bikes and the Cherohalo once. I recommend early in the morning to avoid the squids.
    Thanks, Ski Bum. That sounds like solid advice. I'm a little worried about Johnny Law, also. I'm not planning to act crazy (heck, I'm old). But you see many more speed limit signs in that part of the world than you did 30 years ago.

    Enterprise rented me a Mini Cooper last February for a trip up that way. It was a heck of a lot of fun on US19/129 over Neel's Gap. I ran the Skyway in my F-150 about six weeks ago (my first time on that highway). Even in a pickup, it was fun.

  4. #4
    As of a week ago, the Cherohala Skyway (NC-143/TN-165) still has a road closure about 5 miles east Tellico Plains. The road got washed out back in roughly July, and no telling when they will have it repaired. The Cherohala Skyway is still fabulous as an out and back ride, if you are coming from the NC-129 side. Just make sure you have sufficient gas for the return ride, as there are no gas stations along the way, and the gas station at the corner of NC-143 & NC-129 has shutdown. One nearby gas option is at Deals Gap, but they have limited hours during the off season.

    If taking NC-215 from Rosman, why stop at the Parkway? NC-215 is just as good from the Parkway down most of the way to Waynesville.

    And not too far over from NC-215 is NC-115 between the Parkway and Candler which is even more challenging than NC-215.

    NC-28 between Deals Gap all the way to Walhalla SC is pretty good too.

    As for the Tail of the Dragon, best to do it early weekday mornings, and watch out for what appears to be increased police presence of late. I had to pass through the TofD a couple Sunday's ago to get back on my planned route after dealing with the Tellico Plains road closure and saw three police vehicles all actively looking for trouble. Normally, weekends are especially dangerous for racers and those riding/driving way beyond their talent. But with so much police presence that particular day, it was about the safest/quietest I have ever encountered on that route.

    Many more great routes in SW NC and surrounding area beyond those that you have mentioned.

  5. #5
    Registered User kbasa's Avatar
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    It's a nice road. We used to call it "Deal's Gap" before it got merchandised.

    If you see a trailer with Florida plates, be careful. I've been down there and seen some seriously bad motorcycle riding by folks with 3" of chicken strips on either side of their tire. They're absolutely horrified and often seem to ride like they've never ever seen a corner outside an intersection or freeway ramp. I'm sure there are good riders out of Florida; I know some, but man, their squids seem to be pretty much drag racers only.

    West coast comment: 11 miles is cute. Come visit CA 36. 1811 curves in 140 miles is more like it. https://www.pashnit.com/ca-hwy-36 When you see the curvy road sign with "Next 140 miles" under it, you're gonna need to pinch yourself because it just feels like heaven up there in the trees.
    Dave Swider
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  6. #6
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    I will resist commenting on those from the left coast just because.

    Congrats on the cabin. Great riding out that way for sure.

  7. #7
    Registered User langoptc's Avatar
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    Congrats! Awesome part of the country. Keep us posted on house warming party details!
    Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun...but Mama, that's where the fun is!

    2009 R1200RT Sand Beige Metallic (aka Champipple), 2007 Honda VFR RWB

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
    If you see a trailer with Florida plates, be careful. I've been down there and seen some seriously bad motorcycle riding by folks with 3" of chicken strips on either side of their tire. They're absolutely horrified and often seem to ride like they've never ever seen a corner outside an intersection or freeway ramp. I'm sure there are good riders out of Florida; I know some, but man, their squids seem to be pretty much drag racers only.
    Perhaps not fair to lump the OP in these sorts of generalist comments, but most Florida plated cars are more than a tad out of their element in the NC mountains. They drive like stink on the straights then slow down to a crawl on the bends and are reluctant to use the pull-outs to let the growing number vehicles stacked up behind them by, perhaps because they don't believeanyone else can do any better.

    Quote Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
    West coast comment: 11 miles is cute. Come visit CA 36. 1811 curves in 140 miles is more like it. https://www.pashnit.com/ca-hwy-36 When you see the curvy road sign with "Next 140 miles" under it, you're gonna need to pinch yourself because it just feels like heaven up there in the trees.
    The TofD is all about marketing that attracts the tourists. That's fine, as the locals and those who spend more time around here know many more better routes, either more technical or longer windy/twisty routes that lack the shinnanigans and stupidity that goes on at the TofD.

  9. #9
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhbike View Post


    The TofD is all about marketing that attracts the tourists. That's fine, as the locals and those who spend more time around here know many more better routes, either more technical or longer windy/twisty routes that lack the shinnanigans and stupidity that goes on at the TofD.
    The best thing about Deal's Gap is that you can buy a tee shirt if you want to do so.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  10. #10
    RK Ryder
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    One of my trips to the Dragon (Deals Gap) was in October. Be careful of wet leaves in the morning in October.

    Have a blast.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  11. #11
    Enjoy The Ride saddleman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    The best thing about Deal's Gap is that you can buy a tee shirt if you want to do so.
    At one time a few years ago they sold more tee shirts to tourists than any other place in North Carolina.
    Dave Selvig
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  12. #12
    slave to gravity skibum69's Avatar
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    The photogs are there pretty early too if you want something to remember it by.
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  13. #13
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    Congrats with the cabin! Avoid the (holiday) weekends on the Dragon and you will be fine. Plenty of more interesting roads to ride/explore out there as well! Enjoy!
    MOA # 108516
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
    It's a nice road. We used to call it "Deal's Gap" before it got merchandised.

    If you see a trailer with Florida plates, be careful. I've been down there and seen some seriously bad motorcycle riding by folks with 3" of chicken strips on either side of their tire. They're absolutely horrified and often seem to ride like they've never ever seen a corner outside an intersection or freeway ramp. I'm sure there are good riders out of Florida; I know some, but man, their squids seem to be pretty much drag racers only.

    West coast comment: 11 miles is cute. Come visit CA 36. 1811 curves in 140 miles is more like it. https://www.pashnit.com/ca-hwy-36 When you see the curvy road sign with "Next 140 miles" under it, you're gonna need to pinch yourself because it just feels like heaven up there in the trees.
    I was stationed at Travis AFB years back and you are not kidding, CA 36 is amazing and will wear you out. Parts of CA 20 from up near Truckee, down to Ft Bragg is great too. I rode the Dragon last March for the first time, and when we got to the resort I started thinking of all the great riding in California.

  15. #15
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perry461 View Post
    I rode the Dragon last March for the first time, and when we got to the resort I started thinking of all the great riding in California.
    If a person could only afford a house and the cost of fuel.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

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