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Thread: Tail of the Dragon/Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park, TN

  1. #1
    Fortes fortuna adiuvat
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    Tail of the Dragon/Smoky Mtn Nat'l Park, TN

    Just wondering who has done the Dragon and what your impressions are. I hear that the number of curves/hills and scenery in the park make the ride worthwhile. If this is so, what are the best times of the year to go in order to avoid traffic congestion? All opinions/tips appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User rebake's Avatar
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    Rode the Dragon the first weekend in October.The hotel people said it was a good week to be there-between summer rain and fall "leaf peepers" season.Be sure to go to wheels through time museum in Magee valley.

  3. #3
    DavidBMWRT
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    Fall

    The Smokies are beautiful any time of the year but as you may imagine, it is hot in the summer and impossible in the winter. It is very popular in the Fall but it is also crowded. The traffic is better after the kids are back in school.
    DonÔÇÖt miss it but beware, I have never been there when I didnÔÇÖt see people being carried off by ambulance (four in one day this year). The Dragon is not dangerous but the lure to test its limits seems irresistible to some.

  4. #4
    Registered User bluegrasspicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillGS1200
    Just wondering who has done the Dragon and what your impressions are. I hear that the number of curves/hills and scenery in the park make the ride worthwhile. If this is so, what are the best times of the year to go in order to avoid traffic congestion? All opinions/tips appreciated. Thanks!
    The dragon is a blast, anytime of year is good if you hit mid week or early in the morning.

  5. #5
    Fortes fortuna adiuvat
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    Quote Originally Posted by HahiraGaDavid
    The Smokies are beautiful any time of the year but as you may imagine, it is hot in the summer and impossible in the winter. It is very popular in the Fall but it is also crowded. The traffic is better after the kids are back in school.
    DonÔÇÖt miss it but beware, I have never been there when I didnÔÇÖt see people being carried off by ambulance (four in one day this year). The Dragon is not dangerous but the lure to test its limits seems irresistible to some.
    Wow! Thanks for the tip. Are riders crashing because they are over riding their abilities/going too fast or are some of the cagers on the road to blame? Also, are most people riding sport bikes or do you see pretty much everything?

  6. #6
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Talking

    Weekdays are best, as the squids will be there in the weekends taking up valuable road space
    The whole area is very beautifull to ride in btw, the Cherohala is really stunning to ride. Enjoy

  7. #7
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillGS1200
    Wow! Thanks for the tip. Are riders crashing because they are over riding their abilities/going too fast or are some of the cagers on the road to blame? Also, are most people riding sport bikes or do you see pretty much everything?
    Can't comment on the causes of crashes, but you will see everything there, from cruisers to sport bikes. My RT was passed by a chopper, and although I kept pace for a bit, he obviously was a better rider than me, regardless of his choice of bike! If you go there to test your limits you're more likely to have trouble than if you just go to enjoy the ride.
    Dan

  8. #8
    GlennB
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    The Tail

    Suggest you check out tailofthedragon.com and killboy.com to get a taste of what the Dragon is about and what you can expect to see.

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    Smile The Dragon

    I have been there 3 times. It is most crowded on the weekends in the summer. If you are going there, it is best to pick a weekday when there are less people and it is more enjoyable. As far as crashes, it probably stems mainly from people trying to test their limits on the Dragon. However, you must be cognizant of the fact that the road is used by other vehicles: trucks, buses, RV's, cars and other motorcycles. We met a flat bed truck in a corner that was in our lane. We had to come to a complete stop. The turns are so sharp that it is impossible for trucks to make the corners without occuppying both lanes. Remember, it is a public road, not a race track.

    Another do not miss road if you are in the area is the Cherahala Skyway. It is like the Blue Ridge Parkway but without the commercialization. Absolutely beautiful!
    Gary Cole

  10. #10
    turnkey630
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    I've done it twice, once on an LT and once on an R12C, enjoyed it both times, was passed several times by sport bikes on both trips. I kept to my own pace and it was awesome. If you're in the area don't miss the Cherohala much more leisurely ride where you can enjoy the scenery. You got to stay on yer toes on the Dragon & not override your ability. Almost every road in that part of the country is great.

  11. #11
    VERSYSgirl 123022's Avatar
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    What's it like in March?

    We're looking at doing the Dragon in March - anyone have info on what it's like then? Is it even 'open'?

  12. #12
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by secretsquirrel
    We're looking at doing the Dragon in March - anyone have info on what it's like then? Is it even 'open'?
    it's a us highway, so it is always open.

    i rode the dragon last week, not a soul in sight. well, the threat of snow may have kept the squids away.

    as recommended above, weekdays are far preferrable to weekends. in the summer, the place is a zoo.

    ian

  13. #13
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    check out drivers on YouTube

    you can see what the drivers do on this road by doing a search for "tail of the dragon" on youtube.com...some are just in over their heads, some not focusing..and a few RV's and one BIG 18 wheeler in one clip that crosses the centerline big time... there are some locals who do it on those little pocket bikes,which actually looks funny.Even when being chased by the law, who are cracking down on the full throttle group.
    The NA rally is in this area this year and we are coming!

    Talked to folks of all ages who have been here...I cannot wait.

  14. #14
    Registered User ALIENHITCHHIKER's Avatar
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    Living in Western North Carolina, the Dragon is pretty much in my back yard. Well, the far corner of the yard anyway. About 120 minutes away if traffic is light.

    I might be spoiled (please don't hate me), but for me the appeal of the Dragon is not the road. I mean, sure, it's a nice stretch of swervery, but I know roads just as wild within a 30 mile radius of my driveway.

    For me the appeal is the whole scene. The Dragon is like the nexus of motorcycle culture in the Blue Ridge. It's a round the clock rally, a road race, and a meeting place all rolled into one. Every kind of bike and every kind of rider can be found there. It is definitely worth the visit.

    Come on down!

    BTW, the BMW RA is holding their annual rally in Asheville, in June, with camping on the Biltmore Estate.

    http://bmwra.org/rally/
    Steve
    Current Hottie: '00 R1100RT
    Old Flames: FY K100RT, '80 XS850 with Vetter Quicksilver, '67 Bonnie, '66 Honda 90

  15. #15
    twinzrule
    Guest
    Mid-week and early in the day is when you'll see the least traffic on the Dragon. It's even less crowded in the winter months and there is less LEO presence in the winter too. From mid-Feb through Mar. there are many very rideable days out on the Dragon; watch for early frost/ice on the roads, but you can wait until 11AM and the road is still pretty deserted.

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