Dragon, loaded LT, two up - safe? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 6:24 pm Thread Starter
 
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Dragon, loaded LT, two up - safe?

We're in Charlotte from Maine where the lady's bowling in a tourney. Since we're here I'd like to take 129, hit the Smokies and head home on the BR Parkway and Skyline. Wendy would like to live. Can we both have our way? Experience preferred.

Thanks, Jim
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post #2 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 6:49 pm
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Just be careful. I've ridden it solo on my LT and had a blast. Hold the LT back a bit just for safety, and respect the fact that the Dragon likes to bite!!!!
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post #3 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 6:50 pm
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Been there, done that, moved to the area so I could do it whenever I want!

Jim, while Charlotte is not far from Deal's Gap, it is not around the corner, either. Under an hour. Riding it 2-up is nothing new, but the co-rider better want to do it, and the rider should be VERY comfortable handling the bike. It is not a place for a novice. She can, however, stay at the Tail of The Dragon, enjoy a cool tea, while you ride up and back. Probably take 30-45 minutes.

As for the rest of the ride, the BRP is no problem, with reasonable attention. You can get on from Cherokee at 441 or follow 321 up toward Ashville. The Smokeys are to the left about an hour away. Actually 321 goes right there, but it will take a bit more time.

Enjoy the ride!!

Jay Slomka
Johnson City, TN

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post #4 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 7:24 pm
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If you haven't done the Dragon before, take it slow the first time. Just when you think you found the rhythm, there are sneaky decreasing radius 120 degree turns that bring out your best riding skills. I haven't done the Dragon on my LT yet but I was throwing sparks from the saddle bag guards on my Goldwing which isn't as top heavy as the LT.

Jim S.
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post #5 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 8:13 pm Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the feedback. Wendy will enjoy that ice tea and I may let conditions and traffic help me decide while I have a coffee at the Gap. If it feels good I'll leave the equipment with the lady and use my head. It's been almost 30 years since I've been on BRP and Skyline and that was on a GS1000e. That part should be nice on the LT but I wanted Wendy to hear from someone else. She has great instincts on the bike when she's at ease. That leaves out the Dragon.
Thanks again. I'll update when we get back.
Jim
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post #6 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 8:27 pm
 
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I've ridden the Dragon on a Honda V65 Magna, an LT, a ZX-11 Ninja, and my '06 GT. So I guess one could say I have a leetle experience with the Beast. I think skipping it while riding 2-Up is a great decision. Missing the Cherohala Skyway however, is a bad one. You will both enjoy it BIG TIME. See if it fits into your route plan.
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post #7 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 8:38 pm
 
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I've ridden it 2 up with a trailer on my Venture. Just ride it, don't race it.
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post #8 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 9:08 pm Thread Starter
 
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Joe,
I actually have to be in Ringgold, GA Friday for a training so we'll head back that way. Any suggestions on a good way to Tellico from there. We're in no rush as long as we keep an eye on the weather and are home by the 27th.
Thanks for the tip.
Jim
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post #9 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 9:42 pm
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Charlotte- Deals Gap in under an hour?

"Jim, while Charlotte is not far from Deal's Gap, it is not around the corner, either. Under an hour."

I have never made that trip in under 4-5 hours with stops....about 240 miles from Charlotte.

What kind of bike are you riding to make it in under an hour.....?.....Jay Leno's Allison turbine powered scoot?????

Wes Phillips
Lake Norman, NC

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post #10 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 9:56 pm
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Wink Yea what Wes said.........

I'm closer than Charlotte, and I can't get there in less than several hours. That said, two up on the "dragon" is fun, no issue to me. Be careful, enjoy.

Chris

Hiddenite NC

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post #11 of 21 Old May 15th, 2007, 11:04 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maine11
Joe,
I actually have to be in Ringgold, GA Friday for a training so we'll head back that way. Any suggestions on a good way to Tellico from there. We're in no rush as long as we keep an eye on the weather and are home by the 27th.
Thanks for the tip.
Jim
Jm,

You wouldn't happen to have a Garmin GPS, would you? I could send you a .gdp file of a route from Ringgold to the southern tip of the BRP. If not, I can just email you a text file. Let me know. Or, we could chat on the phone for a bit. It's up to you.


By the way...near the west side of the Cherohala Skyway is a don't miss restaurant for your bride. It's called The Bistro. Don't miss it.
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post #12 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 5:27 am
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Hey Joe, Just a thought (I know that's scary), if he does have a GPS route him from Ringgold to the Cherahola and then from there to Cherokee, via either Robbinsville over to Stecoah to ride NC 28 to US 74S/19E or US 129S to US 74S/19E. I'm sure that what you're thinking anyway.

On His Ride,
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post #13 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 7:45 am
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Talking Dragon 2up

We did it on our honeymoon (riding the Dragontail that is... )

Fully loaded, including a too heavy bag on the top case. No big deal if you take it easy. Bottomed out a few times, but she will get used to it.

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post #14 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 8:04 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by messenger13
I've ridden the Dragon on a Honda V65 Magna, an LT, a ZX-11 Ninja, and my '06 GT. So I guess one could say I have a leetle experience with the Beast. I think skipping it while riding 2-Up is a great decision. Missing the Cherohala Skyway however, is a bad one. You will both enjoy it BIG TIME. See if it fits into your route plan.
Use care on the skyway also, The 20 mile views can lull you into a dream state, while your bike creeps up on the triple digits.
You can't get the full juice on the tail with a passenger, but then your not going to ride it like a maniac.
Like Joe I have rode it on many differant models, HD's and BMW's, know your limit, respect the road and ride your own ride you'll be fine.

Rock

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post #15 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 9:39 am
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I've done the dragon many times on many different bikes including the LT two-up fully loaded
and even pulling a trailer a couple of times.
My advice is, try to avoid it on the weekends, too many @ssholes.

One of our LT forum friends had a crotch rocketeer lose control and run into the side of his LT,
broke his wifes leg, what a bummer that is.

The scariest part of the whole "over rated" experience is when Joe Q racer passes you on the inside of a curve across the double yellow or anywhere else he can,
just to show you how much faster he is than you.

Some of these guys are "very" good and capable of riding like that
but they can "sneak up" on you and scare the hell out of you or put you into a bad situation,
but the ones you really have to watch out for are the riders that aren't as experienced
and are trying to "keep up" with the fast guys.

Once you've done it (Dragon) you'll probably wonder just what the "big deal" is,
as there are many other roads in the area that are a lot more interesting
like the already mentioned Cherola Skyway etc.

The answer to that is some very "creative marketing" by the "oasis" at the bottom of the hill.


Hans
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post #16 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 9:48 am
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Talking

I have rddn it 2 up and one up in very weather! Sugest a slower drive threw first. Be careful not to get a bruised back. I was almost beat to death every time my kick stand drug.
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post #17 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 12:13 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverBuffalo
Once you've done it (Dragon) you'll probably wonder just what the "big deal" is, as there are many other roads in the area that are a lot more interesting like the already mentioned Cherola Skyway etc.
I'm going to disagree with Hans on what the 'big deal" is. It is a very technical piece of highway to ride. I still like to ride it and my wife likes to ride it while I'm riding at the upper limits of my ability. I know when to back off too. Hans is correct with the idgits that ride up there on the weekends. When they start to back up behind me, I slow down and hold one line and let them all pass. Most of the time, they're suprised that a big bike the LT holds the road as well as it does at a speed just slower than theirs.

As far as the Cherohala goes, it is a great ride. You need to keep your head on straight like Rock says, because if you don't it is gonna hurt. Give the pillion the camera and let her snap a way and show you what you missed while you were concentrating on the road a head.

And I'll agree with Hans and many others. There are lots of good roads up there. NC 28 between US 19/74 and Franklin, NC is a good ride. Another is Wayah Road between US 19/74 and Franklin, NC.

JMO and what you paid for them, worth absolutely nothing.

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Steve
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post #18 of 21 Old May 16th, 2007, 4:39 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maine11
We're in Charlotte from Maine where the lady's bowling in a tourney. Since we're here I'd like to take 129, hit the Smokies and head home on the BR Parkway and Skyline. Wendy would like to live. Can we both have our way? Experience preferred.

Thanks, Jim
Howdy Jim,

Sure, you can have it both ways. Lightly loaded is preferred, but as long as you don't bring the kitchen sink it is very doable

Here is a slideshow of images from my 2-up run on the DRAGON. Click the play button and it ends on shot 173

Should give you a good idea of the frequency of turns, banking, steepness, etc.. Advise Wendy to look through each and every corner. If she doesn't, motion sickness is virtually guaranteed

.

Bill "Omaha"

"Life may have begun at 44, but it didn't get thrilling until I shot past 100"

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post #19 of 21 Old May 17th, 2007, 8:44 am
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We're about to head up there on Memorial day week. I don;t go for the racer part, just to ride it and say I've been and drop some $$$ at the bike shop/campground. Get a sticker, etc. Haven't thought twice about taking the LT fully loaded.

When we last went, my wife was not happy about me dragging her toes on the Vstrom. I told her to turn her toes in more. : )

WE'll see about the LT. I think I'll drag centerstand before her toes.

On the BRP, be aware (or remember) that the Cherokee end is a bit tighter in the turns than when you get up around Blowing rock. After that, it can be run at higher speeds, and the temptation can be great. Good places to eat in Blowing Rock.

Good stop at MP249 or so, too. Stations Inn, which may or may not be open during the week yet. Biker friendly.

Fancy Gap at mp 200 leads to Mount Airy NC, or "mayberry" as they like to tout it. Boyhood home of Andy Griffith and all kinds of Andy Griffith stuff and "Snappy Lunch" if you really need an EXCELLENT pork chop sandwich. Be prepared for a nap afterwards. About 15 miles off BRP. A great place to spend a little time. Good eats.

Goobers 52 is also an excellent place to eat if you have some time to kill. Biker friendly, eccentric menu, funky decor, great beer list and great food. Tie Dye Ts to remember the occasion.

Randy
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post #20 of 21 Old May 17th, 2007, 10:06 am
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Wink

My SO and I just finished a trip to that area Monday. We rode in from Shelby, NC on Thursday before and it was hours getting there.
1. We rode hwys. 74 to Hendersonville, 64 to Franklin, Wayah Rd to 74 and 74 to 129 to the Dragon
2. Stay at the Tapoco Lodge that night and ride The Dragon early(start by 9:30) the next day(Killboy.com won't be there because he must sleep in - missed him both times)
3. We rode 2 up and in 2nd gear and had a great time - no traffic that early
4. We rode it again Saturday, 2 up and loaded, 2nd half in the rain and not that much traffic as it was still too early for many of the crazies. GPS said we averaged 30mph and I was being safe.
I highly recommend doing the circle of The Dragon to 411, 68 to Tellico Plains(lunch @ Bistro), ride through the National Forest to Cherohala Skyway to Robbinsville, 143 to 28, 28 back to 129(go by Fontana Dam) and down the Slide(12% drop) to Tapoco Lodge. A very nice 150 mile ride.

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post #21 of 21 Old May 17th, 2007, 8:51 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maine11
Joe,
I actually have to be in Ringgold, GA Friday for a training so we'll head back that way. Any suggestions on a good way to Tellico from there. We're in no rush as long as we keep an eye on the weather and are home by the 27th.
Thanks for the tip.
Jim
JIm, from Ringgold GA, take 75 to exit 20 (Cleveland) 64 bypass to Cherokee Park Exit (Hwy 64/74) follow 64/74 in the Cherokee Park, you will run along side the Ocoee Lake, Take Hwy 30 (left) to Reliance and turn right on 315, 315 will intersect with 39, turn right and go to Hwy 68, turn right 2000 feet to entrance of Cherohala Skyway (165) which will turn to 143 in North Carolina to Robbinsville.

30 and 315 are better than the Dragon, less traffic, many twisties and longer. just don't tell to many folks.

Have a good ride... several good places to eat in Tellico Plains, I like the Tellico Cafe, behind Hardee for some great home cooking... try the trout...

Don G Norwood
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