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Thread: Back of the Dragon

  1. #1
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Back of the Dragon

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    Some of you who attended the MOA Rally in Johnson City are familiar with the 32 miles of Rt 16 between Marion, Va and Tazewell, Va. It is a better ride than the Tail of the Dragon but without the publicity. A group has gotten together to get the message out in a shameless attempt to attract tourist dollars and show our little part of motorcycle heaven. We are in the very early stages but the website is http://backofthedragon.com/

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

  2. #2
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Oh yeah!
    Helen will laugh when she watches the youtube video..."there was scenery?" will no doubt be spoken . She passed some "slower than posted guys" who wouldn't ease over for the first few turns (I remember the thread about all of that behavior)...who saw the ponytail fly by and got type A afterwards and tried to intimidate her for a few turns over their comfort level...they never did catch her I passed them after their shoulders dropped in defeat. A group of Sportbike guys gave her a big thumbs up when we reached the end and a stop sign ...they had passed both of us about five minutes before the stop. Took them a few corners to get by her.

    Anyways one of our favorite stretches that week. There are many out that way for sure.
    Good luck in y'alls venture.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  3. #3
    Earache
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    I'm in. I've been meaning to get down there and will do so some time in May.
    Plan on staying in the area, eating there and bringing what little cash I 'd spend to a place that I'd like to see succeed. I'll try to drag a few friends along with me.

    Thanks for the link!

  4. #4
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    The Youtube video shows the straighter parts of the road. Hairpin turns don't film very well.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  5. #5
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    The Youtube video shows the straighter parts of the road. Hairpin turns don't film very well.
    That is where Helen saw me going above her head at one point as she was glancing at the valley below on the other side of the road and turned back for the corner...she says those are real hairpins in her book...not the ones like in CO,WY or MT with a lot of space between opposing lanes. Shift down, lean in and gas it!
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  6. #6
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Local officials and motorcycle enthusiasts had a meeting Friday to discuss our project and make people aware of our jewel in the rough. I am making maps of several other good rides in the area so folks can spend several days in the area and have a new ride every day.

    Everyone was very positive except one woman who occasionally drives Rt 16 because of her work. She was complaining about being passed on Rt 16 at "about a million miles per hour" and the dangers of the road. I didn't really understand until she made a comment near the end of the meeting. She said she was proud that she could drive across the three mountains on Rt 16 and not use her brakes.

    A 13 year old about 60 miles down the road has a talent far beyond his years. He did this at video at 12. He does some unusual things near the end. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5SNf...eature=related
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  7. #7
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    Everyone was very positive except one woman who occasionally drives Rt 16 because of her work. She was complaining about being passed on Rt 16 at "about a million miles per hour" and the dangers of the road. I didn't really understand until she made a comment near the end of the meeting. She said she was proud that she could drive across the three mountains on Rt 16 and not use her brakes.

    Ken - good onya!

    may i make a suggestion?

    please elevate this message to the people who drive the road every day:

    Please use turnouts to allow others to pass.

    i truly believe that if more motorcycle-related organizations gave this message higher visibility, it would solve a lot of problems.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '00 1150 GS || '06 HP2e

  8. #8
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    Ken - good onya!

    may i make a suggestion?

    please elevate this message to the people who drive the road every day:

    Please use turnouts to allow others to pass.

    i truly believe that if more motorcycle-related organizations gave this message higher visibility, it would solve a lot of problems.

    ian
    We will first have to have some more turnouts. We have very few on most of the road because there are steep mountains on one side and sheer dropoffs on the other. Most of the road is just carved out of steep mountain sides.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  9. #9
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    well, i've ridden that road a bunch and seem to recall a few.

    but yes, that is the other side of the coin, persuading the highway dept. to design-in turnouts and passing areas.

  10. #10
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Another one lost

    Thanks a lot now I have lost one more road to ride.

    There is a reason some of us never mention our favorite roads on forums like this.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  11. #11
    Earache
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDOCKERY132445 View Post
    Thanks a lot now I have lost one more road to ride.

    There is a reason some of us never mention our favorite roads on forums like this.
    It's a fine line; you want the businesses along your road to get more customers and succeed as you'll benefit from it as well. But if it goes overboard - like Deal's Gap has - then it just ruins it for everyone.

    Deal's Gap is almost comical in how bad it is now. Then, to top it all off, the Gap Resort and the Hellbender place on 28 in Fontana, start selling beer to HD crowd. They can't ride in the first place and now they're drinking? Almost unbelievable. Avoid that area like the plague.

  12. #12
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    That is where Helen saw me going above her head at one point as she was glancing at the valley below on the other side of the road and turned back for the corner...she says those are real hairpins in her book...not the ones like in CO,WY or MT with a lot of space between opposing lanes. Shift down, lean in and gas it!
    The US Rockies DO not have hairpins, there are a few in the east. But I only know one paved switchback in the US. If you can negotiate a corner in 3rd gear or higher, it is not a hairpin, if you have to use 2nd, with a lot of clutch modulation, or first, it might be a switchback.

    Too many engineers by the time most of the current western roads were built, the east has some older roads designed by horses. Now go to Europe, and that is where the goats did the surveying, and you need to do a "Linda Blair" head swivel to look for oncoming traffic

  13. #13
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDOCKERY132445 View Post
    Thanks a lot now I have lost one more road to ride.

    There is a reason some of us never mention our favorite roads on forums like this.
    No you won't. If that road was the only good one to ride around here, we would have kept it a secret. When we get done, there will be several other good rides available in the area for your enjoyment. Most should be 150-200 miles long. That doesn't seem very far until you spend a day on them and realize how tiring thousands of curves can be. I know two or three others that are at least as crooked with fewer guardrails but they are not as long.

    Pffog mentioned it is not a hairpin unless you have to use 2nd. We have some 1st gear hairpins that really gets your attention. I don't know why they list maximum safe speed of 15 MPH when you can't go that fast around the curve if you try.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  14. #14
    Rally Rat
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    I'll be heading back down that way this May. First rode the "Dragon" about 5 years ago after spending a week doing Katrina relief work, gutting houses and running electric/plumbing. We swung over to Deals Gap on the way home only to be pushed off the road by some Mazda Miata club. We were down on "The Snake" while at Johnson City for the National 2 summers ago, but skipped the Dragon. This time we (a friend on a Triumph Trophy and another on a '08 K1200GT, plus me on the "S") are headed down for a 3 day weekend. We will be camping and plan to ride the Dragon for the one guy who never has, but are all looking forward to other/better roads in the area. Certainly Rt. 16 is now on the list, thanks for letting me/us know about it!

  15. #15
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john1691 View Post
    I'll be heading back down that way this May. First rode the "Dragon" about 5 years ago after spending a week doing Katrina relief work, gutting houses and running electric/plumbing. We swung over to Deals Gap on the way home only to be pushed off the road by some Mazda Miata club. We were down on "The Snake" while at Johnson City for the National 2 summers ago, but skipped the Dragon. This time we (a friend on a Triumph Trophy and another on a '08 K1200GT, plus me on the "S") are headed down for a 3 day weekend. We will be camping and plan to ride the Dragon for the one guy who never has, but are all looking forward to other/better roads in the area. Certainly Rt. 16 is now on the list, thanks for letting me/us know about it!
    If you're camping, Hungry Mother State Park just outside Marion on Rt 16 is a good choice. It's about 30 seconds from the first good curve.
    '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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