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Thread: Headed for the Dragon in September and could use some advice

  1. #1
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    Headed for the Dragon in September and could use some advice

    I will be going to The Dragon the 2nd week in September. I have never headed there before and would like ideas for a route from Scranton, Pa. to Deals Gap. I like to avoid Interstates but am unwilling to spend hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 45mph. I would like to ride some 2 lane blacktop where I can still find a hotel and an eatery (as well as a bar). I plan to take 2 days to ride down, spend a day at the Dragon and take 2 days back. Any suggestions as to a good route as well as lodging and food would be most welcome.

    Regards,

    Will

  2. #2
    Motorradfahrer
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    You are missing out on spectacular riding if you miss the Blue Ridge Parkway. It ain't the speed it's the twisty road and the views. If you hate 45mph you will really hate the Dragon.

  3. #3
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Explore

    I grew up near there. Get off the Dragon and explore the hundreds of great roads in the area. You will have a blast.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  4. #4
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
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    For sure ride the Parkway south of Blowing Rock. Its at its highest and curviest south of there...plus thats where all the tunnels are too! And Blowing Rock is a pretty cool town with first rate independant motels...a real nice town.

    45 mph was plenty speed on lots of sections of the Parkway. We rode it mid week in June and had the place to ourselves.

    The side roads that leave the parkway are awsome too...actually saw a momma and cub bear on one of em!

    Bring rain gear. It will rain on you.
    Mike Davis
    "Old n Slow" It's a way of life!
    1985 K100RT

    1998 R1100RT

  5. #5
    Mike LngRdr's Avatar
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    Dragon

    Went there last year. I'd agree with the others, stay off the over crowded crotch rocket filled Dragon, it's just a bunch of curves. Much better riding over towards Maggie Valley and the Parkway. If you've never rode the Dragon and just want to check it off your list, just be careful, lot's of idiots riding it, especially on the weekend.
    IBA Number 49673
    Moore OK
    http://lngrdr.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    2 cents

    I rode The Dragon on a Monday/Tuesday just to say I did (and enjoyed it), but preferred The Cherahola Skyway. For me, the Dragon has too many blind curves w oncoming traffic of all sorts to be max fun, even when the traffic's light. BRP was rainy, the cagers and RV's particularly crazed, and the trees too close to the roadway to see very much besides the trees. There are lots of great roads nearby.

    PS ride early. The Harley people sleep late
    We might as well walk. ~ Adam Guettel The Light In The Piazza
    used to own: 1982 R100T, 1984 R65, 1986K75C, 1997 R1100RT, R850R, K75S, 1978 R100RS... what was I thinking?

  7. #7
    Registered User PittsDriver's Avatar
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    Here's the thing - you're looking at a trade-off and it depends on how much time you have for your ride which way to do this. We went down from the DC area to the Dragon and the whole surrounding area in mid-June. Even though the roads between PA and Tenn. are some awesome roads, we chose to maximize our time there and did a sprint down I-81 and broke off the slab just before Knoxville. We stayed in Murphy at a fine Holiday Inn Express there and that made a great base for exploring all the other roads that aren't infested by chrome an knuckle draggin' crowd. There are many roads there as good or better than the Dragon. My advice is to ride it a couple of times to get some good photos and then get off in to north Georgia and Western NC to the hundreds of miles of hillbilly twisties found there.

    If you have a lot of time to spend on twisty great roads going to/from, I recommend W.Va down 219 skipping Skyline Drive. Work your way over to 16 south and ride that down to the BRP in NC.

  8. #8
    NC Piedmont Rider ncstephen's Avatar
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    Here are some ride reports from the general area you will be passing through.

    From some ideas on the way down as line to get you there but not saying there are the best routes, look at US 220 down from your part of the world. Also 16 in VA into NC, US 221, NC 194 and then build in roads off the the sides


    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=465697

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=546765

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=697250

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=615446

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=461965

    I hope this gives you some ideas of the 'side trips' for your travels. Do take the time to map our some rides all the way down your route for some excellent riding. I know your goal is the Dragon, but make the journey there far better than that 11 well monitored and ridden miles.

    NCS
    03 K 1200RS (Black is Best)
    03 Honda RC51
    74 Honda CB750 K4

  9. #9
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will3hawks View Post
    I will be going to The Dragon the 2nd week in September. I have never headed there before and would like ideas for a route from Scranton, Pa. to Deals Gap. I like to avoid Interstates but am unwilling to spend hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 45mph. I would like to ride some 2 lane blacktop where I can still find a hotel and an eatery (as well as a bar). I plan to take 2 days to ride down, spend a day at the Dragon and take 2 days back. Any suggestions as to a good route as well as lodging and food would be most welcome.

    Regards,

    Will
    Have fun and when you get back, let us know if you spent a whole day at the Dragon.
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  10. #10
    Smoked Pigs Ass Rider 01 gsweave's Avatar
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    WVA rt 16

    Virginia Rt 58

    NC/Tn 103, 92, 421.

    so many roads so little time

  11. #11
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Others said it, yes the GAP is fun, but in the last 5 or 6 trips to the area, I only rode the GAP once, and that was because It was the shortest route from where I was, to where I was going.

    TONS of better roads, with out the traffic, cops, rolling roadblocks and squids. Get a western NC map, spend some time on Google maps, and research away. The roads as good as the GAP start in Southern VA, and WNC, is awash with them.

    And the BRP is not bad, even at 45mph it is one of the fastest N-S routes in the area, No I don't drone from end to end, but it is a great link to good roads in the area.

  12. #12
    Registered User
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    First,mid sept-oct is full of local festivals,tourists,leaf peepersand traffic. It is a good time to visit midweek,weekends not so much.The police know everybody wants to drive/ride the dragon,so beware speedlimit is low and they are ready. Come on down,but be careful.

  13. #13
    R1200RT Artiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will3hawks View Post
    I will be going to The Dragon the 2nd week in September. I have never headed there before and would like ideas for a route from Scranton, Pa. to Deals Gap. I like to avoid Interstates but am unwilling to spend hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 45mph. I would like to ride some 2 lane blacktop where I can still find a hotel and an eatery (as well as a bar). I plan to take 2 days to ride down, spend a day at the Dragon and take 2 days back. Any suggestions as to a good route as well as lodging and food would be most welcome.

    Regards,

    Will
    My wife rides a Honda Rebel, which both of us consider not suitable for the Interstate. When looking for a non-Interstate route from Northern VA to Deal's Gap, we found the most direct, non-interstate route IS the Blue Ridge Parkway. All the other two-lane roads don't go straight down towards Deals Gap.

    If you rule out Interstate travel and the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will spend so much time zig-zagging from one road to the next road which takes you in the general direction of your overall travel, you would be hard pressed to get it done in the time frame you want.

    Take the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the ride. Even at 45 mph, it will be faster overall than non-direct, non-interstate roads.
    Experience IS NOT the best teacher! Someone else's experience is the best teacher.

  14. #14
    Registered User 39520's Avatar
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    Rt 16 in Virginia/West Virginia. No traffic, no cops, no hype, no tourist traps. Lots of mountain curves, but keep a sharp eye on the road surface.
    Last edited by 39520; 08-07-2012 at 04:56 PM.
    Ub
    05 K12S . 86 R65

  15. #15
    HONDARIDER
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    I just rode from MA to the Tail of the Dragon about a month ago. I can't recommend the Blue Ridge Parkway enough. Fantastic ride! Stayed at an excellent place in Maggie Valley and nice accomodations in Boone as we headed south and then again on the way home. I hit the Dragon at 8:00AM on a Friday and it was already getting congested. It's awesome, but the Blue Ridge Parkway was a more enjoyable ride. The ever-present threat of an Electra Glide crossing the yellow line and killing you head on is amplified 10 fold on the Dragon. I'm willing to bet that once over and once back will be enough before you want to move on to faster roads. Not to mention commercial trucks, boat trailers, dudes in sports cars, and squids. It's certainly a bucket list check mark, but by afternoon I bet its a nightmare. The Moonshiner Highway was much more fun, less congested, and much faster. 45mph on the BRP doesn't detract from the fun...we managed to stay at about 50 for the entire length from start to finish and it was so good we turned around and did it all over again. The Skyline is fun once, but that pace was less than enjoyable for my tastes. Check out Wheels Through Time for an hour in Maggie Valley...so cool. My $.02.

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