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Thread: Back of the Dragon

  1. #31
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    Go do it. It is a great ride and I will go again. Good pavement with many very sharp turns and wonderful views. Look out for the blind curves, I was surprised more than once.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike_Philippens View Post
    Well, I've planned a 3 month tour of the US, and I've decided to spend some time in the area surrounding the Dragon. I start in New York en go down to Key West first, so I pass the Dragon. I'll take my time and try to do the best motorcycle roads in the US, as long as they're on my route (which is flexible).

    I'll also try to educate the people over here a bit more about traveling by bike in the US. I bring my own bike since the shipping and insurance is even cheaper than renting a bike for a month. Also, when Dutch people think of the US by bike, the only thing they think of is Route 66. While it's not at all bad, it's not the best route you can take in the US. By spreading the word about how nice it is to drive around in the US and how easy it is (I hope) to bring you own ride), you might see more crazy Dutchmen on their own bikes.
    I'll ad my 2cents: why go to Key West? The road(not roads) is flat and full of traffic, prices too high and so on down the line , all adding up to a not so great place to ride a bike.I've been on the highest spot in FL & if I remeber right it is like 700'+, so not the place to get great riding. Maybe just OK for winter hideout , but not a bikers heaven for sure. So, spend more time up where the scenery and culture are a bit more vibrant! If you want some Carribean, save it for a trip to Yucatan, in the winter, if you want good riding its where you already know it is.
    Another 2cents: I love to ride curves but fail to see the attraction of the ones that make you virtually stop your motion-per the discussion of hairpins vs. switchbacks? I've been on the Stelvio and yes its aneat place but full of tour buses and bicyclist , plus you have to sort of stop to negotiate the curves, whatever you call them. I'll take the SE US curves anytime over those & that from a person that enjoys being in Europe.
    Make certain you watch your speed if riding I-81 in the area of this thread as I can attest to very strict enforcement of the speed limits there-EXPENSIVE IS THE WORD!

  3. #33
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drsales View Post
    Go do it. It is a great ride and I will go again. Good pavement with many very sharp turns and wonderful views. Look out for the blind curves, I was surprised more than once.
    I have mapped out 6 more good rides in the area at the request of the Smyth County Tourism Association (http://www.visitvirginiamountains.com/) so folks who come to the area can spend about a week and have a different good ride every day. I plan to map out a couple of others that are more scenic and less demanding. They have been sent to the map guy who is to draw them out. I hope they will appear on the Back of the Dragon website (http://backofthedragon.com/ ) the near future. If someone wanders this way before then, just drop me a line and I will send them to you. The rides are beintween 60 and 200 miles long. They all involve mountains and lots of curves. You will ride in Va, WV, TN, NC and a tiny bit in KY.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  4. #34
    Certifiable User Mike_Philippens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    I'll ad my 2cents: why go to Key West? The road(not roads) is flat and full of traffic, prices too high and so on down the line , all adding up to a not so great place to ride a bike.I've been on the highest spot in FL & if I remeber right it is like 700'+, so not the place to get great riding. Maybe just OK for winter hideout , but not a bikers heaven for sure.
    I know, but still it's a place I'd like to visit. There are lots of places that are riddled with tourists, but it's not like I'm in the US every year and there are some place I'd like to see. With Key West in particular I don't have a choice but riding to the end and back again, but with other places I can decide on the spot that it's not worth it and take a turn somewhere else.
    I'll make it a mix between great riding and things to see/do. Remember that Holland is flat too, and the scenery in FL is not the same as we get here. So maybe it's heaven for us poor Dutch people
    -=- if you always see the road ahead of you, it's not worth the trip -=-

  5. #35
    just hangin' out 2bikemike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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

    I drove a tractor trailer across their once. Not even half way across I was regretting that decision!
    keep it light enough to travel.....
    '04 R1150RT
    '81 Honda CB650 Custom

  6. #36
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2BikeMike View Post
    I drove a tractor trailer across their once. Not even half way across I was regretting that decision!
    Most don't make it half way. If they come from the I-81 end, they generally get stuck in the third curve on the first mountain. The wreckers and state police get great joy in punishing violators of the warning signs.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  7. #37
    RSPENNACHIO
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    Last July my brother and I made that ride. We were started in WV and rode south through Tazewell ultimatly to stop in Bristol. When we stopped an Hungry Mother State Park we both said this is every bit as good as deals gap, maybe better because there is less traffic. The one thing I specifically remember was the approch to the base of the mountain (shortly after leaving Tazewell). The foilage was like a huge carpet. My description does is no justice. But it was absolutly beautiful to look at.

    I like stickers. Are there any available yet?

  8. #38
    RSPENNACHIO
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    yep, there are stickers. In my mind it is sacrilege to order one and have it mailed. I must now ride to Tazwell and get one in person.

    My Aunt Judy lives there (actually she's in Pounding Mill) so free lodging for me.

  9. #39
    Old man in the mountains osbornk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rspennachio View Post
    Last July my brother and I made that ride. We were started in WV and rode south through Tazewell ultimatly to stop in Bristol. When we stopped an Hungry Mother State Park we both said this is every bit as good as deals gap, maybe better because there is less traffic. The one thing I specifically remember was the approch to the base of the mountain (shortly after leaving Tazewell). The foilage was like a huge carpet. My description does is no justice. But it was absolutly beautiful to look at.

    I like stickers. Are there any available yet?
    You were looking at Kudzu that has taken over the north side of the first mountain. The stuff grows about a foot a day in the summer and covers everything.
    'You can say what you want about the South, but I almost never hear of anyone wanting to retire to the North.

  10. #40
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by osbornk View Post
    You were looking at Kudzu that has taken over the north side of the first mountain. The stuff grows about a foot a day in the summer and covers everything.
    The Electric Utilities nightmare plant...takes out lines & transformers with ease...especially wet
    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

  11. #41
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I made a special trip up to this road from Raleigh on Sunday. I was disappointed! 510 miles round trip.

    The road has great potential. Like PFFOG, I would have ridden the entire road in 2d gear, the sharpest corner could be taken at an entry of 20 mph if, IF:

    There wasn't gravel all over the place, right in the center of the lanes so you couldn't hit any apexes or lean with confidence AND the pavement in the technical areas is horrible: Gravel, busted road, potholes, etc.

    If the road gets repaved, please post it here, as I'll head back in a second.

    The scenery would be nice in Spring or Fall.

    I rode back on 622/610 via Nebo. 622 was quite nice and in good shape, but 610 was no fun.

    PFFOG, I know you cut it up hard, did you not find the road full of gravel and in poor condition. I almost lowsided twice and was sliding the rear tire on acceleration out of corners (gravel) before I turned around and headed back to North Carolina.

    Seriously, if you guys organize a crew to sweep that road, I'll come up and bring a broom if you have manpower and pickup trucks.

    Finally, traffic was very light (which is nice), and very easy to pass on just about any hard left corner. You can see so far around (at least this time of year) that passing is a breeze.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  12. #42
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    On Colorado:

    I enjoyed Colorado and spent 5 days riding the Rockies. The roads are in great shape, with generous passing lanes, and beautiful views. But, is there a chicane anywhere in the Rockies?

    It's 200 feet straight, sweepy turn, 200 feet straight, turn, 200 feet, turn....

    I got bored with the lack of technical areas. I'm not saying there are none, but nothing like the roads in the Smokies/NC/TN/VA (HWY 16 being a pretty good example with crappy pavement).
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  13. #43
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    ...................

    PFFOG, I know you cut it up hard, did you not find the road full of gravel and in poor condition. I almost lowsided twice and was sliding the rear tire on acceleration out of corners (gravel) before I turned around and headed back to North Carolina..................
    Last time I rode it was 2 or 3 years ago, rode it 2 or 3 times prior too. My memory is there is always some gravel, back in '02 or '03 I also hit some invisible sand or dirt, that gave me a little pucker moment, that was on the North end.

    I do remember it getting rough, unfortunately VA and WV don't seem to have the Buxom blonds in knee pads, procuring their road improvement money from the politicians, that NC and TN seem to have.

    The other issue this early is the sand and gravel they spread in the winter, it takes a good rain or two to help wash them clean. But even late summer I remember having to pay attention to debris, more than some other roads.

    I am going to be back in the area at the end of the month, and plan on exploring the Cumberland area, so I will likely ride it.

    It is a good road, and worthy of riding, but like all roads, they can go from great to so-so as pavement ages. Fresh blacktop makes any road better.

  14. #44
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    On Colorado:

    I enjoyed Colorado and spent 5 days riding the Rockies. The roads are in great shape, with generous passing lanes, and beautiful views. But, is there a chicane anywhere in the Rockies?

    It's 200 feet straight, sweepy turn, 200 feet straight, turn, 200 feet, turn....

    I got bored with the lack of technical areas. I'm not saying there are none, but nothing like the roads in the Smokies/NC/TN/VA (HWY 16 being a pretty good example with crappy pavement).
    Can't agree more, but Robo and I are in the 5% of the 10% of riders that CLAIM to like corners. Many riders like the "cruiser" corners, 45-50 mph sweepers, I like the 1st/2nd gear stuff, all day long if I can get it. Many riders don't enjoy the work and concentration needed to do it hour after hour, and that is fine. That is why I travel to the Smokies and Europe.

    The views in the Rockies can't be beat in the US, and the roads are nice, just not challenging. Maybe that is why I like the Alps, views that exceed the Rockies, and roads that out twist the Smokies., you can't ask for more.

    Damn, fun is expensive!
    Last edited by pffog; 04-04-2011 at 04:06 PM.

  15. #45
    Earache
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    On Colorado:
    . But, is there a chicane anywhere in the Rockies?
    .
    Not like eastern US - wish there was as I'd move to Colorado!

    Hard to beat TN /NC road surface - for whatever reason, some of the best in the States.

    I'm heading to ride Route 16 with a few folks from Chicago in May, hope the gravel is cleared up a bit by rain then. Otherwise, I'm gonna hear a lot of bitchin' from people

    But it'll be an adventure no matter what, even with the crap road surface.

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