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Thread: Riding the Dragon and Other Paths

  1. #1
    hoss
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    Smile Riding the Dragon and Other Paths

    Dear Friends...This summer I am hoping to ride the Tail of the Dragon (N.C.) , and throughout the Bryson City area and the Blue Ridge Parkway if time permits
    Could any of you offer advise and/ recommend good maps of these areas and/or
    offer advice for riding this series of roads. I am 76 years young, have ridden for
    about seven years and ride a 2006 GS 1200.
    Would really appreciate your input.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Several companies make maps of Western NC, which are much more detailed than the entire state maps. If you want more detail, get a DeLorme NC gazetteer and atlas, they show every cow path and hiking trail.

    Best time to hit the gap is midweek early in the day, to avoid the circus LEOS, and cruiser riders that should be on Mopeds.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    link to maps of the area http://www.tailofthedragonmaps.com/

    dual sport roads are here http://www.tailofthedragonmaps.com/maps_dualsport.html
    an easy one was the "parson's branch road" that comes out of the GSMNP right out onto the Dragon.


    check out the tabs at the top too.

    On the dragon stay away from the yellow line.. lots of people coming the other way drift over into your lane.

    Cherohala is great.. ride it if you have time.

  4. #4
    G - Man
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    You get all the information on : www.tailofthedragon.com
    Riding tips, weather, maps, etc.
    Definitely ride through the Dragon and the the Cherohala Skyway - the Skyway is one of the best roads I have found here in the US. 60 mls up the mountain to 6000 ft and down on the other side - no cars on the road and only a few motorcycles - wide roads. Sweeping corners up you can go 80/90/100 mls per hr - pure fun (no cops around here!) but be careful on the Dragon - Cops are everywhere especially on weekends.
    And don't forget the Foothill Parkway ......
    I was up there 6 x whenever I am going crazy here in FL.
    The Devils Triangle on the other side of I-75 is fantastic too - discovering old coal mines.

    All the info with maps and directions you find on this side.

    PSI

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    oh, and if you run the Cherahola from the southern end, watch out for the decreasing radius right hander. at speed, it can be dangerous.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  6. #6
    G - Man
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  7. #7
    Registered User NavyDad's Avatar
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    The roads you are interested in are great riding, but don't forget that between you and The Dragons tail there is some fantastic riding also. Southeastern Ohio, West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky offer some great roads also. No sense being bored between Mi. and NC.

  8. #8
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyDad View Post
    The roads you are interested in are great riding, but don't forget that between you and The Dragons tail there is some fantastic riding also. Southeastern Ohio, West Virginia, and eastern Kentucky offer some great roads also. No sense being bored between Mi. and NC.
    What he said too. Personally I can leave the Cherohala Skyway, it is a nice scenic road, but I prefer scraping pegs at 20-40 mph, not 80-100. If you are into high speed sweepers go for it, but if you want technical, lots of roads as good or better than the GAP without the circus clowns that gravitate there.

    Look at 28 S of rt/19-74, heading into Franklin, NC, good stuff around spruce pine too.
    Last edited by pffog; 02-14-2011 at 02:44 PM.

  9. #9
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I love the Cherohala, but yes, Pffog is correct, it like the Blue Ridge entices you to high speeds. But for a great view, you can't beat it. There is also a fantastic waterfall you should visit that if off the road 5-10 miles near the TN end. Can't recall the name.

    I'd recommend "Mad Maps". They have a good map with descriptions, routes, etc. Order one and you should have just about all you need for a fine trip.

    The area is full of nice roads, far too many to list. I ride it all the time and never get bored. I still say it is the best area for technical peg scraping fun. And great scenery is a plus.

    You really can't go wrong.

    HWY 28, from the Dragon to Fontana Dam and on is newly paved and a nice forest and river views and twisty ride. Stop at the dam visitor center for a nice break and views of the dam, lake, and powerstation.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  10. #10
    warredon
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    I live about 60 miles southeast of Deal's Gap, aka "Tail of the Dragon" and as close as I live to it I find myself there only about once a year. It is an excellent motorcycle road and usually in great condition. If you have never been on it, it is a must in my opinion. As others have mentioned, I also recommend going on a weekday and as early in the morning as you can. It is well patrolled during peak hours by the police and it is very common to meet oncoming "hotshots" in your lane.

    The last couple of times I was there I saw the Lifeforce helicopter at the dam airlifting another motorcycle accident victim out of the area. In my opinion the Gap is better suited for a 500cc Fastassembeechie than a BMW. It seems that every time I go through it I still manage to overcook one or two of the curves. There is a store at the southeastern end where you can get a meal and buy souvenirs etc. and the food is surprisingly good IMO. I'm posting a couple of pictures I took a few years ago while riding the Gap, occasionally you can run across a large truck attempting to drive through there, so be very careful.

    Just a few miles northwest of the Gap is the Foothills Parkway and I find it a real joy to ride. It is only about twenty miles long, not much traffic, and a very relaxing ride. Hwy 28 from the Gap through the Fontana dam area heading toward Bryson City is a rather pretty ride. If you head south on 129 instead of east on 28, you will find a damn just a few miles from there. It is where they filmed the scene from the movie "The Fugitive" where Harrison Ford's character dives off the dam.

    My personal favorite is the Cherohala Skyway and in my opinion is a must to ride if you are in the area, it just seems to suit my riding style better than most other nearby roads. Though it is true that I rarely see any police activity on the Skyway, I received my last motorcycle ticket on that road about eight or nine years ago. It was on a weekday morning with almost no traffic, so you will still need to be aware.

    If you find that Deal's Gap is your cup of tea, then you would also like Wolf Pen Gap Rd. (Hwy 180) near Suches Georgia. It is also a very tight technical road, but doesn't have nearly as much traffic as the Gap. TWO (Two Wheels Only) campground is also located there in Suches.

    You should have a great time in the area if the heat doesn't get to you. Good luck, keep us posted, and feel free to ask any more questions.





  11. #11
    Registered kobukan's Avatar
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    What everyone else said.

    I spent a few days in that area last summer and there are fantastic roads everywhere. Get your Dragon run in, ride the Cherohala then go exploring. Talk to the locals when you're there and they'll point you in the right direction, but there are great roads in every direction. It's a big area and in the few days I was there I rode all day every day and I felt like I barely saw a tiny fraction of it.

    As others mentioned, don't overlook what's on the way there and back. I rode thru the mountains of Eastern KY then meandered all the way across KY on back roads after leaving NC and that was a really nice ride too. The Blue Ridge Parkway is very nice, but it's slow going so be prepared to take your time - I rode a few hundred miles of it on the way down.

    You're going to have a great time!
    Dean

    '04 R1150RT, '97 1100GS, '99 DR350, '02 DR650, '03 DR650

  12. #12
    warredon
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    Sorry, I live southwest of the Dragon not southeast. I hadn't had my second cup of coffee yet.

  13. #13
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Nice pictures!
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  14. #14
    2009 R1200RT beemeup's Avatar
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    Mad Maps

    I did the Blue Ridge Parkway along with "The Tail of the Dragon" , "The Snake" and Cherahola Skyway for the first time last fall. My favorite by far was the Cherahola Skyway and the roads in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I tend to like the long sweeping curves and I'm not so much into the insane twisties on the Dragon or the Snake. To each their own I guess, that's why they make ice cream in more than one flavor. Do the Dragon and the Snake so you can say you did it, but save plenty of time for other roads in the region. There are a lot of nice places to ride down there other than those high profile roads. I purchased some Mad Maps of the area and they are the best. They lay out specific rides throughout the region and give you lots of information about places to stay and places to eat, interesting attractions, etc. I highly recommend the the Smoky Mountains Mad Map, it's great. If you are camping I'd also recommend The Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground in North Carolina and Willville in Fields of Dan, Virginia. Have a great trip.........Don

  15. #15
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    People from flat country and cities don't know where the good riding is so they have to depend on what they can find out. A good marketing campaign brings a lot of business. A better ride about 60 miles from the Parkway is Rt 16 between Marion, Va and Tazewell, Va. We have hundreds of roads around here and almost all are a great ride. I was the most disappointed person in the world when I finally rode the Dragon aafter a lifetime here in the mountains. Other opinions of our little bit of heaven are here- http://www.motorcycleroads.us/region...palachian.html Click in Rt 16

    A good guide for motorcycle roads is http://www.motorcycleroads.us/index.html

    Ken
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

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