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Ready For the Dragon

Many thanks to everyone who has weighed in. I apologize for ignoring my own thread for so long. I just got home last evening. The trip could not have been more fun. The weather was almost perfect and no tickets. I started the trip with just over 800 miles on the RS (since early-June). I increased the odometer count by more than 50 percent.

I did not get to the Dragon, but I did manage to take in the TN68/Cherohala Skyway loop. I did that one last Monday afternoon. Luckily, I wore my leather jacket even though it was 72 degrees when I left the house. It was 50 up at the top. Tuesday, I went riding with a buddy who grew up in Dahlonega (he's 70). He turned me on to a few back roads that I had never been on in the Young Harris & Murphy areas. Hanging Dog Road outside of Murphy was a pleasant surprise. I rode some familiar roads on my own including Neals Gap, the Richard Russell, GA17/75 over Unicoi Gap, and GA180 back to US129 south of Blairsville.

Without going back through all of the replies to see who said what...I need to check out the back (north) side of NC215 between the BRP and Waynesville. I've never been on it at all. I am definitely familiar with NC/GA/SC 28. I have a story about that road in the area of Satolah GA (south of Highlands NC). I definitely want to check out the Foothills Parkway.

So many roads - so little time. But...the RS is every bit as awesome as I had anticipated it being. Oh, and BTW: Canyon Dancer is the bomb.
So many roads - so little time. But...the RS is every bit as awesome as I had anticipated it being. Oh, and BTW: Canyon Dancer is the bomb.

See if you can find NC 1001 between (near) Ellijay and Sylva... also Cullowhee Mountain Road (NC 1157)
See if you can find NC 1001 between (near) Ellijay and Sylva... also Cullowhee Mountain Road (NC 1157)

Thank you, Visian. I've got them scoped out. Whereas most of my late-80s/early-90s mountain 2-wheeling adventures took place in Georgia, I spent a good deal of time tearing around that part of NC in Toyota MR-2's. Cashiers is a bit of a haul from my cabin. But it will make for a killer daytrip. That area is on my hit list.
..."Tail of the Dragon" and all the marketing...

I did not buy the 318 curves in 11 miles and contacted the owner of the Tail of the Dragon web site and asked.

As he put it: It is not 318 full curves because each time the radius changes within a curve, they will count it as 2 or more curves within the curve. But what the hell, if you are not pulling your suspenders out with both thumbs, any curvy road is fun.

I had a rear tire that was bald on the sides from riding in the Alps, but the center was still good so maybe I should have brought it back home to finish off the center. :laugh
Talking about curves and I mean real curves. Not my video but I road I have driven more than any other there. My previous girlfriend lived on the other side of the valley. Also made the odd mistake on it after a long drive down from my last hotel.

SS46 Rovereto - Zocchio 11km
I’ve ridden that! Also from Rovereto is SS3 & SS8…

From where to where? You might mean SP and not SS. One is a Provincial and the other is a State road.

I take it you mean the SP3 from Mori (just west of Rovereto) to San Valentino which then turns into the SP8, but the further south you go you end up in the flatlands (Caprino Veronese)...and that is boring.

There is a lookout on the SP3 with a view of Lago di Garda...
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But getting back to the Tail of the Dragon, I came across an article calling the 129 from Thessalon to Chapleau Canada's Tail of the Dragon.

So I had a look of a motorcycle tour of it on YouTube. Really, some of these riders really should find out what a twisty road is about. That 129 is straight in my books with the shallowest of curves.
We rode the Dragon a few years aback in the middle of July. We went early on a Wednesday and saw one other motorcycle other than the guy I was with. Fun road, but IMO over sold. It doesn't deserve the publicity it gets. We ride out west every year and Beartooth Pass and Chief Joseph high are by far much better. Many times better scenery, and a better mix of straight road and turns.

I knew a couple local squids that heard so much about the Dragon they trailered their sport bikes out to ride the dragon. When they got back the say it was a great road, but wasn't worth the 2,500 mile round trip!

If you are in the area is is worth riding, but I wouldn't build a trip around just that ride. Don't forget about all the other good rides in the area.
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So, after two visits to the cabin, I still have not ridden The Dragon. I came very close to it a week ago Sunday. When we came to the end of NC28 at US129, my riding buddy (from Sautee-Nacoochee, GA) and I decided to take a left and head back south.

The farthest that I've been on the RS thus far, from home base south of Murphy, has been Turner's Corner (US19/129 north of Dahlonega), Franklin, Helen/Hiawassee, Tellico, and the aforementioned US129 & NC28 intersection. My favorites within that radius: US19/129 over Neals Gap. This has been my all-time favorite since I first rode it nearly 40 years ago. Two wheels or four. I prefer running it northbound where you get more uphill passing lane. GA17/75 over Unicoi Gap between Helen and Hiawasee is a close second. Just like Neals Gap, 17/75 gives you a passing lane going uphill. The extra maneuvering room is awesome. And you can easily (and legally) pass slower traffic. I've only recently discovered Wayah Road between Franklin and Topton. The first time that I was ever on that road was last January in a rented Mini Cooper. The best thing about Wayah Rd. is the relative lack of traffic. The asphalt is fantastic, also. I enjoyed it so much that I ran it twice last week - once in each direction. Hwy 28 is a classic. I've ridden it many times south of Highlands. But I had never ridden it north of Franklin. The last five miles or so northbound before US74 was, IMO, awesome. I loved the Cherohala Skyway. I rode it on my first trip in early-October. I can't wait to get back. I also loved TN68 between Farner (the group that did Double Vision, right?) and Tellico.

My riding friend turned me on to Old US 64 east of Hayesville. I had never been on the stretch through Shooting Creek up to "new" 64 climbing to Winding Stair Gap. Old 64 has been freshly repaved. I enjoyed it so much that I ran it again by myself last Thursday before packing up to head home to FL. No other traffic whatsoever. The stretch of Old 64 going down the east side past Standing Indian into Cartoogechaye is killer, also. I know - I need to run GA60 between Suches and Morganton.

I also rode GA180 last week - both sections on two separate rides. I prefer the high-speed sweepers of the eastern segment between US19/129 and GA17/75 past Brasstown Bald. The western segment between US19/129 and Suches is a hoot. I had not ridden that on a bike in at least 20 years. But it's a little too tight for my tastes, at least on my RS. It's fun, for sure. But with a bike like the RS, I felt like I was having to slog it. My old RD400 would have been a blast on that road.