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View Full Version : Going to the Dragon my first time



GP-FLHR
01-25-2012, 09:21 PM
I have never drove my bike out side of Michigan, this should be fun.
My Brother booked us for June 22 - 28th at 'Volunteer Cabin Rentals' in a 7 bedroom cabin they call the 'Magnificent 7.
The cabin sets about half way up Clabo mountain over looking Wears Valley not to far from Wears Valley Road by Sevieville Tennessee.
We will have 11 guys and bikes most are Harley's, with 5 Wife's or GF.
Got to admit I'm a bit excited about this trip.
Has any one here rode around TN and NC ?

Kosher
01-25-2012, 10:12 PM
Very nice, definitely on my bucket list.

DK Custom
01-25-2012, 11:50 PM
Been out that way quite a few times. It's about 8 hours riding from where I live. There really isn't a bad road in those parts. Pick most anyone and you are going to see nice curves. The dragon is fun, but pretty short. The road I cannot get enough of is Cherohala Skyway. Fantastic road and scenery...take a jacket, it can get cold up top. Have fun!

Gas Man
01-25-2012, 11:58 PM
It's a good road but not the best road in the area....been there many times...

http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l311/cjclark69/Riding/Gas3.jpg
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l311/cjclark69/Riding/GAP%20July%2009/A1201376.jpg
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l311/cjclark69/Riding/GAP%20July%2009/C1102802.jpg

sprink
01-26-2012, 08:13 AM
Went there the last two years. Like Kevin and Chris, I think the Dragon while a must do, is not the best road around there. It was closed to through traffic when I went the first time. That was nice because there was no traffic, but made the trip down about 180 miles more. That road actually gets a lot of traffic including an occasional camper or semi.

Cherohala and Blue Ridge are both cool. I liked 28 south from 129 and hear it is really nice south toward Georgia. Apparently I turned around too soon when I did it, but we took the advice of a local that sent us down a really cool little back road that eventually hit 129.

You and your group be careful down there. There are no turns like you will find there anywhere in Michigan. Parts drag, and baggers don't lean very far. Oh, and watch out for the squids!




http://i147.photobucket.com/albums/r310/sprink_photos/Photo1.jpg

Gas Man
01-26-2012, 08:26 AM
BIG time watch out for squids!!!

Hawgrider
01-26-2012, 08:34 AM
The Dragon is a bit over rated. But yes it a must do at least once. The unique thing about the dragon is there are no side roads and driveways to deal with. But in its place there are trucks and squids and cops to deal with. As said above the Cherohala skyway is the golden nugget of the area. Make sure to take the side trip to Bald river falls on the Tn. side of the Cherohala. For maps and info hit the websites - http://www.dealsgap.com/ and http://www.tailofthedragon.com/
Have fun be safe.

Thruxtonbill
01-26-2012, 08:42 AM
Agree with everything the guys have said. Plus one on the cherry cola and 28, great roads. Since you have not been out of the state to ride , these roads are not like anything here in Mi, that's why there are so many get offs down there, be careful and RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE. These roads are technical and advanced. 129 is a must do, ride it during the week if you can and watch for idiots crossing the centerline.

Gas Man
01-26-2012, 08:44 AM
Echo....

Mad Dog
01-26-2012, 09:55 AM
Hell Yeah! Last June. Had a great time. Came back with a smoked rear rotor and ground down floor boards.
And yes, as said before. Ride your own ride.
I felt like I was snowmobiling on 2 wheels.
Earldawg did a great job of keeping up with me with his K-9.
http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r84/Valueteck/Forum/Dragon1.jpg
http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r84/Valueteck/Forum/Dragon2.jpg

Gas Man
01-26-2012, 11:01 AM
Great pics Don!!

sprink
01-26-2012, 12:30 PM
I should have mentioned trikes as well. They tip over! I heard a lot about trike crashes and passed one that was bad at a sharp left entering the Blue Ridge Pkwy from Cherokee.

Gas Man
01-26-2012, 04:09 PM
BRP to Cherokee is a GREAT piece of road... even through Cherokee is AWESOME!!

Mad Dog
01-26-2012, 04:51 PM
Great trip. I would go back again!

seatmaker
01-26-2012, 06:06 PM
Definitely on my bucket list. Someday...

Moesride
01-26-2012, 08:08 PM
Definitely on my bucket list. Someday... I'm thinkin the same Seat...Someday. Very cool pictures and information Fellas.

sprink
01-28-2012, 09:32 AM
A little overdramatic, but cool video. The guy they interview owns the name "tail of the dragon", a lot of the merchandise and a lot of rental property. Can't really blame him, but he is the one that overcrowded the place.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K16YnmJN0fc&feature=player_embedded

Thruxtonbill
01-28-2012, 11:31 AM
Great vid and if nothing else it will make noobs have caution. Not sure if I'd blame him for the crowds, I mean we do have the internets so good roads means the word gets out.

Thruxtonbill
01-28-2012, 11:32 AM
I fear one day they will close that road or really limit the fun you can have.

Gas Man
01-28-2012, 11:34 AM
Double posting..

Double agreeing..

Mad Dog
01-28-2012, 03:30 PM
Double posting..

Double agreeing..

http://i142.photobucket.com/albums/r84/Valueteck/Misc/doublemintgirls.jpg

Gas Man
01-28-2012, 05:16 PM
Oh yummy.

GP-FLHR
02-13-2012, 03:47 PM
Thanks to all of you for the advice.
We are now up to 12 bikes going, we kind of wish we didn't have this large of a group but we are all friends. In the end I'm sure 1 or 2 will back out anyway. Only way I would back out would be a death in the family or my own....Thanks again.

Thruxtonbill
02-13-2012, 04:29 PM
Where are you guys staying?

GP-FLHR
02-13-2012, 08:53 PM
Where are you guys staying?

I had most of it in my first post
'Volunteer Cabin Rentals' in a 7 bedroom cabin they call the 'Magnificent 7.
The cabin sets about half way up Clabo mountain over looking Wears Valley not to far from Wears Valley Road someplace around Sevieville and Gatlinburg Tennessee. The cabin looks great on the web-site. I don't know much more then that.

Gas Man
02-13-2012, 09:00 PM
Sounds like an awesome trip man!!!!

Thruxtonbill
02-14-2012, 05:09 PM
Good on ya, have fun.

Caveman
02-19-2012, 02:50 AM
I went with Gas a few years back and it was an awesome trip. I would love to get back down there especially with the wife. She would absolutely flip with some of those twisties.
My only warning is BE CAREFUL. With the way most of those turns are completely blind, take it slow the first time through. Let the fools who live there and are experienced, or those that are just plain dumbasses that think they are Superman and do it for the first time at 100mph, breeze past ya. Which they WILL DO. Take your time for the first time and get a feel for it. I think that Gas and I must have gone back and forth on that thing like 4 or 5 times the first day and did it again the second day we were down there.

I am also in agreement with the other posts here. The Cherohola and the BRP are superbly more suited to touring and sight seeing. The long sweepers, the dramatic change in elevation and the overall beauty of it accompanied with the occasional pull off picture sites make it a must ride for any serious touring rider.

Mad Dog
02-19-2012, 08:45 AM
Yup, Earldawg and I did it last year. Was a great trip.

Caveman
02-19-2012, 09:15 PM
Yup, Earldawg and I did it last year. Was a great trip.

Speakin of Earl, when you to old guys comin out to the mit? lets do some riding out here. I'm sure Gas could find time in his busy schedule to get some rides in.

Gas Man
02-19-2012, 09:42 PM
Cave, last year was for money, this year is for more riding.

Sargeyork
05-21-2012, 08:43 AM
I rode it after the Honda Hoot in Knoxville one year on a 1200 Goldwing. I see your dates are already set but I would not ride it on a weekend or near a major Holiday when it will be real busy or if there is a sportscar convention or motorcycle rally nearby or going through the area. Watch the videos, you really hope you can use ALL of your lane all the way thru and hope people coming the other way don't use some of your lane when you need it, I waited at the overlook for all the sportbikes to take off and coordinated with the tourers and cruisers so we would all be spaced out and not bunching up on the guy ahead of you or have someone riding your ass, ride your own ride don't let someone push you to go faster than you want to. I did not ride it terribly fast yet stuff was scraping stuff like floorboards and their mounts. The Cherahola is beautiful and thrilling Youll need your jacket there even if it was 90 degrees in Knoxville.

Gas Man
05-21-2012, 08:45 AM
Sarge is 200% correct!!!

Mudpuppy
05-30-2012, 01:47 PM
didn't read all this thread but i recommend:

1. DO NOT ride the dragon on the weekend - unless you like crashing and/or tickets
2. Talk to Mark at the Gap Station and he can tell you roads only the locals know - do those on the weekend for sure
3. DO NOT ride the dragon or hellbender at night - bears, spooky and overall dangerous even in the light let alone pitch black - i have done both about a dozen times on bike and car.. it is extremely hellish
4. Check out devil's triangle, blood mountain and cherohala (although I hear they have ramped up leo on cherohala lately - check out www.tailofthedragon for info and roads, etc.)
5. Stop by and say hi to Killboy - Darryl is a really cool cat and takes awesome pictures (my sig pic is his picture)

Kosher
05-30-2012, 02:52 PM
So it looks like in fact I will be checking this off my Bucket List in July, but I have questions.

I'll be riding to Knoxville on day 1 of my trip. From there, I assume just get to 129, follow that down to Deals Gap and all the way through to Robbinsville? And then from there on to Topton, then to US 74E (I need to continue on to Atlanta from there)

Like this: http://tinyurl.com/82kuoyy (http://tinyurl.com/7qouqpc) ?

Gas Man
05-31-2012, 01:26 AM
Great suggestions by mud. Good of him to type that up.

Mudpuppy
05-31-2012, 02:02 PM
So it looks like in fact I will be checking this off my Bucket List in July, but I have questions.

I'll be riding to Knoxville on day 1 of my trip. From there, I assume just get to 129, follow that down to Deals Gap and all the way through to Robbinsville? And then from there on to Topton, then to US 74E (I need to continue on to Atlanta from there)

Like this: http://tinyurl.com/82kuoyy (http://tinyurl.com/7qouqpc) ?


No offense to anyone but Knoxville blows - don't stay there. Gap Resort (http://www.dealsgap.com/) is like $50 a night and right at the start of the dragon and not too far from Knoxville really. You got the right idea - day 1 head to Knoxville to 129 - only suggestion I have is keep on going right to the resort. Sounds fancy (the word "resort" is deceiving) but it is not but it serves the purpose - decent room, cheap price, gas right there, minutes from Robbinsville for sundries and supplies (they also have a store / restaurant) at the gap resort. Go there - plan to get there just before dark. Check in, grab a cold one and hit the bon fire - ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS interesting characters chatting around the fire. Or if you want to step it up a notch then right when you get to the gap resort head up hellbender (us28 - a must ride when at the dragon) and stay at fontana resort - nice pool, nice accomodations, they have a cheaper gas station. Or you want to downgrade on the cheap head to Robbinsville (7 miles from the dragon down 129) and stay at the SanRan - Randy will hook you up with a bates motel like room for super cheap. Serves the purpose - don't take the tv outside to watch it, don't put the bike in the room and don't light off fireworks at 3am in a drunken stupor - we did all of the above and Randy was a little pissed.. need any more info let me know..

GP-FLHR
05-31-2012, 09:37 PM
Thanks for all the advice, I will pass on all this info to the leaders of our group. They have been there 2 times before and some of the places you have mentioned they know about. We are doing the dragon on a weekday morning, and won't do any night riding when down there.
Looks like a total of 17 going with 12 bikes, 2 Big Dogs, 1 Polaris. 9 Harleys.
First time for 5 of us.
Leaving Lansing at 6:15 am on 6/22 and starting back home on 6/29...Excited.

Gas Man
06-01-2012, 02:03 AM
WOW man... that is a heck of a group!!

Bagger Dave
06-01-2012, 06:14 AM
WOW man... that is a heck of a group!!
yeah right! :whoop::rockwoot:

Chain
06-01-2012, 11:15 AM
Um, your going with our group...... Gary!?!? :) I know it's you Mr. Pontius ;)

GP-FLHR
06-01-2012, 10:12 PM
Um, your going with our group...... Gary!?!? :) I know it's you Mr. Pontius ;)

Hey I didn't know you was lurking around here.
I believe Rich and Steve has been down there 2 times. I don't think you went the first time they went down did you? BTW, Rich and I are planing on a ride this Sunday, can you come out and play?
Be sure to give your cool Wife a hug for me too...see ya soon.

Gas Man
06-01-2012, 11:10 PM
See guys... TWM is the place to be.

Make sure you post up any rides you are doing so others can join.

GP-FLHR
07-09-2012, 09:00 PM
Up-Date
We got back from Tennessee last weekend. We all had a good time. I got to say after 5 days of nothing but curve's it felt great to go down straight roads again.
The Dragon was ok but I took a old friend of mine down with our group and he cant drive very fast and I promised to stay back with him. I would like to do the dragon again so I could go a bit faster. He is a very nice guy and this is his first Harley, he loves it. He is a long time friend and even though I had to drive a little slower his friendship is worth it.
No one dropped a bike and we all get along together. 5 of the guys took there Wife's and all 5 are hot looking, I was a good boy I only looked and looked and looked. Feels great to be back home but it's been so hot some times I won't even go out to ride.
Thanks to all of you that gave me info for our trip...
Gary.

Gas Man
07-09-2012, 11:37 PM
Gary I understand the love/hate on the straight roads. After riding for days of everything curvy... the straight isn't so bad. But then you wish for some curves... never happy. LOL


Glad you had a good time. Keep your eyes on here... I go down to TN all the time, nearly yearly. You can tag along, and we'll show you much better roads. I have local support/friends down there.

Chain
07-10-2012, 08:06 AM
It was a blast!

The wife and I took off and did some good miles on a few of the days. A few of the others went along as well. We did the popular rides then did our own back roading. Just took off in the general direction and drove. One day we took off to a HD dealer in Morristown, then over to ride the Diamondback. then back roaded all the way back to the cabin. 355 mls that day. Another was off to Thunder Creek HD in Chattanooga, Mt Creek HD in Dalton GA then back roads to Six Gap in GA, then back to the cabin. 444 miles that day. And on the last day we did the Devils Triangle in N. Tenn. That was some scary roads there! Like I said we road... The wife and I averaged 409 mls a day. That's what I like, perfect medium! We also fit the Dragon in there, Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner 28 (most of it). WE had a blast. Prolly the last year for a while so we covered a ton of back roads (some of the best riding, talk to locals, and GPS) Next few years the wife and I will scour the NE and SW of this GREAT nation!

Great Friends, great times!

Our Group!

http://i455.photobucket.com/albums/qq274/bigdogfatty/TENN_group.jpg

Mudpuppy
07-10-2012, 09:12 AM
that is awesome.. definitely put some miles in.. I love devil's triangle and I can't get enough of the curvy stuff.. I have done the dragon back to back to back to back to back to back to back before and wanted more.. It was awesome when the rock slide was there and they shut the dragon down at the end.. a lot less traffic and if you timed it right you could do a solo dragon run which was awesome.. dragon at night - now that is a different story.. dragon at 6am on a 185hp bike you have never rode and rented on a company credit card while it is still dark - little bit scarey..

GP-FLHR
07-10-2012, 09:11 PM
Shane, Thanks for putting up the pic of our group.
One night chaingunner and 2 others didn't get back until about midnight, we could see them coming from high up on the mountain we stayed at, awesome site. I don't think I got 600 miles on my bike down there, but I had a great time. Only way I could do 444 miles in 1 day around the Mountains would be with lots of Vicodin.
I should make this clear, 5 of us took our bikes down in a trailer, the most I have ever drove in 1 day is 337 miles and that was a bit to much for me. 'chaingunner' and the rest drove there bikes down from home....Say hi to your hot looking Wife for me.

Gas Man
07-10-2012, 11:05 PM
Great stories guys!!

Chain
07-11-2012, 06:57 AM
Shane, Thanks for putting up the pic of our group.
One night chaingunner and 2 others didn't get back until about midnight, we could see them coming from high up on the mountain we stayed at, awesome site. I don't think I got 600 miles on my bike down there, but I had a great time. Only way I could do 444 miles in 1 day around the Mountains would be with lots of Vicodin.
I should make this clear, 5 of us took our bikes down in a trailer, the most I have ever drove in 1 day is 337 miles and that was a bit to much for me. 'chaingunner' and the rest drove there bikes down from home....Say hi to your hot looking Wife for me.

Don't take anything from yourself!!!!!! It's all about the Journey!!!!!!:rockout:

Couldn't have had a better crew! And I'll pass along the hello! ;)

Bagger Dave
07-11-2012, 11:37 AM
Sweet!! Cool pic Chain! glad you guys had a good time :rockwoot:

Rainey
08-20-2012, 10:09 PM
I'm new to this forum and this is on my list too. I haven't found many great riding roads since I moved back to MI. I spend about 8 years in Southern California with great canyon roads and the PCH, I'm always looking for a fun twisty ride.

Gas Man
08-21-2012, 11:22 AM
You left a piece of heavon.

But welcome back!!

Thruxtonbill
08-21-2012, 01:29 PM
I haven't found many great riding roads since I moved back to MI.

That's because they are few and far between. Best roads in Mich are near the Traverse City area and they don't come close to SoCal canyon carving (lived in Carlsbad for a time). The closest you will find to that are in the Hocking Hills area of S/E Ohio.

Chain
08-21-2012, 03:04 PM
That's because they are few and far between. Best roads in Mich are near the Traverse City area and they don't come close to SoCal canyon carving (lived in Carlsbad for a time). The closest you will find to that are in the Hocking Hills area of S/E Ohio.

Hmmm, I may just have to make a trip there, and recommendations in regard to accommodations?

Thruxtonbill
08-21-2012, 04:44 PM
Hmmm, I may just have to make a trip there, and recommendations in regard to accommodations?
I recommend it, ya know it's funny, I tell people about S/E Oh and i don't think they believe me, the few that have made the trip are blown away.
As far as places to stay it is such a vast area to ride in , your choices are plenty. I like Zanesville on I70, great riding to the east and south from there, safe big enough town to give lots of hotel choices, I like the Hampton Inn , really clean well lit, biker freindly and the not really free breakfast is good, a bit pricey but as I said there are many choices. Also Cambidge further east on I70 has the same choices. The last two times though I've stayed at the best western in Mt Vernon, the hotel mgr rides and he lets me keep my truck and trailer there if we haul them down.
As far as the riding, just pull up google maps and look at the roads south and east even a little north of Zanesville and Cambridge, these are roads in mostly perfect condition winding through Amish country in the foothills of the smokies. Some are VERY technical and will have your full attention, others are just flat out fun to ride with really nice scenery. Just don't miss rt 555, 329 and my favorite 26. all of these roads go on for miles and each time we go down we get surprised again with another good one.
BTW, rt 555 is like going to cedar point and riding all the coasters, crazy crazy road, and you can stop in Athens Oh for lunch, you can't go wrong.

Gas Man
08-21-2012, 11:50 PM
Bill... that post should be in the hocking hills thread...

Chain
08-22-2012, 02:26 PM
Thanks Bill, maybe a moderator will move this... ;)

That is on my "to ride" list, maybe even this year, a long weekend.

Gas Man
08-22-2012, 02:46 PM
Actually I just copied his post into a hocking hills thread...

Chain
08-22-2012, 02:56 PM
Thanks Gas.

Gas Man
08-22-2012, 03:08 PM
BK don't have nothing on me.