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Thread: In Defense of The 'Great Lizard'

  1. #1
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Thumbs up In Defense of The 'Great Lizard'

    I'll begin this brief disertation with the acknowledgement that many of you have already ridden 'The Dragon' and are familar with it.

    But it seems to be getting a little too much bad press in this thread-zone and I just wanted to throw in my proverbial two cents.

    I have traveled down to the Smokies three times in the last 2 1/2 years to enjoy the challenges of the 'Dragon.'

    I make no apologies for all of the hype that accompanies this 11 mile stretch of public road, and agree - it has gotten way too busy to expect solidary enjoyment, like 'the good 'ole days.' It is almost becoming a motorcycle tourist trap.

    But as an MSF RiderCoach, I revel in the skills ("High-Low-High & Slow, Look, Press and Roll") one should apply to truly negotiate these 318 curves safely in less than approx. 20 minutes.

    I have 'run the Dragon' many times, both from the lake over-look south to Deal's Gap, and again from this motorcycle resort north to the over-look. Both directions involve different concentration challenges and I still think it's a riding experience not to be missed if you're new to the area.

    Would I plan a vacation again specifically to ride this stretch? No. But I would and will return to this area of the country to enjoy winding roads thru impressive scenery (Blue Ridge, Foothills, Cherohala, etc.) and not hesitate to include 'The Dragon' as part of the menu.

    Enjoy your time here next summer!

  2. #2
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    i first rode the dragon in 1977, on my first long bmw camping trip. believe it or not, i found it by taking the dirt road that starts in cades cove.

    definitely worth going outta the way for, better on a weekday.

    and speaking of rallies, believe it or not but graham county has turned around dang near 180 degrees when it comes to motorcyclists.

    they just held a fairly sizeable harley rally at fontana.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  3. #3
    P Monk
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    rode the dragon in 83

    At the time it wasn't known as the tail of the dragon, just a very winding road.
    I was on a 1983 Honda Aspencade. The whole time I was on the road I kept wishing I was on my R75/6 that just didn't seem to ride smooth anymore.

    I went home, took the forks apart, washed out the grease (I never had changed the fork oil), changed the seals and put it back together and sold that Honda.
    P. Monk
    My prized possessions. 74 R90/6 Mine! (also know by bride as the Black Hole). 09 R1200 GS. My wife, 1953 model who has survived aplastic anemia and a bone marrow transplant. My most prized possession is my relationship with Jesus!

  4. #4
    WBIEL
    Guest
    I have rode it a few times and yea its fun but like yall its best enjoyed during the week and avoided on the weekend. And with the increased police around its not as much fun as it once was. Every year I take a 2 week trip to Cincinati, Ohio and enjoy the great roads that South east Ohio has to offer. Anyone ever ride the Trip Nickel? 555 is a great rode for twisty fun. I really enjoy Hiway 52 along the river for the great views. And if your ever there and find yourself near Manchester, Ohio pop into Moyers on the river. Great eats and a view of the river from the deck thats great!

  5. #5
    rocketman
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    I'll begin this brief disertation with the acknowledgement that many of you have already ridden 'The Dragon' and are familar with it.

    But it seems to be getting a little too much bad press in this thread-zone and I just wanted to throw in my proverbial two cents.

    I have traveled down to the Smokies three times in the last 2 1/2 years to enjoy the challenges of the 'Dragon.'

    I make no apologies for all of the hype that accompanies this 11 mile stretch of public road, and agree - it has gotten way too busy to expect solidary enjoyment, like 'the good 'ole days.' It is almost becoming a motorcycle tourist trap.

    But as an MSF RiderCoach, I revel in the skills ("High-Low-High & Slow, Look, Press and Roll") one should apply to truly negotiate these 318 curves safely in less than approx. 20 minutes.

    I have 'run the Dragon' many times, both from the lake over-look south to Deal's Gap, and again from this motorcycle resort north to the over-look. Both directions involve different concentration challenges and I still think it's a riding experience not to be missed if you're new to the area.

    Would I plan a vacation again specifically to ride this stretch? No. But I would and will return to this area of the country to enjoy winding roads thru impressive scenery (Blue Ridge, Foothills, Cherohala, etc.) and not hesitate to include 'The Dragon' as part of the menu.

    Enjoy your time here next summer!
    Yeah, I hear you. I reacted in kind of the same way when some folks panned the BRP, some roads you have to take for what they are/were intended as/for.

    I don't think folks are panning the road itself in the case of either, its the traffic and such that can make them less than what they CAN be, timing (as in when you ride it) is everything.

    RM

  6. #6
    WDaigle
    Guest
    I have ridden the Dragon eight times in the past five years and on two of the eight times my wife and I were almost taken out by riders on sport bikes travelling in the opposite direction crossing over into our lane in a cirve. On one of the occasions the guy was accually passing two cars in the curve. I know that it is less crowded in midweek but an idiot can be out there on any day at any time. In fact if some of the sport riders really want to try for a speed record during the week and early morning are the times to go, less traffic and no LEOs. I probably will not ride the Dragon again. There are too many other great roads in that area with less traffic and far less idiots.

  7. #7
    Random
    Guest
    I've never ridden the "Dragon". It sounds like it could be fun but, is that fun worth the risk? I've been riding 14 years and I have a fair skill set but, I'm not going to be the guy dragging pegs through the corners. I've read several stories about head-on collisions caused by oncoming traffic crossing the center line. I expect there are stories about accidents caused by faster riders overtaking (people like me) others. There are a lot of good riding roads, someone mentioned 555 in Ohio, that don't have the hype or congestion so, thanks but no, I've better things to do, places to go and people to see.

  8. #8
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by Random View Post
    I've never ridden the "Dragon". It sounds like it could be fun but, is that fun worth the risk? I've been riding 14 years and I have a fair skill set but, I'm not going to be the guy dragging pegs through the corners. I've read several stories about head-on collisions caused by oncoming traffic crossing the center line. I expect there are stories about accidents caused by faster riders overtaking (people like me) others. There are a lot of good riding roads, someone mentioned 555 in Ohio, that don't have the hype or congestion so, thanks but no, I've better things to do, places to go and people to see.
    I hear 'ya, and understand your reluctance.

    But while I don't intentionally promote 'The Dragon,' (Lord knows, we have Deal's Gap MC Resort to do that!), I don't think it needs to be demonized either.

    Like rocketman and I agree.....the timing of when you ride it has much to do with how well you will enjoy the experience.

    But avoid it entirely???

    Your choice.

  9. #9
    WBIEL
    Guest
    Yea, Theres no reason to completley avoid it, Just pick your shot be very aware and alert and enjoy it. Some great views and lots of fun. Stop and get that burger......But DONT ask for it any other way than it comes!

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