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Discussion Starter #1
On April 1st I am leaving Windsor Ontario for the Louisville Truck show. After that two of us are going to The Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee. From what I hear it is a really good ride.
My Question is? Is it to soon to go at this time of the year?
 

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It should be OK temperature wise in NC and TN, just check the weather forecasts along the route you are riding. Take in the Cherohala Skyway too. I stayed at this place,
http://www.twowheelinn.com/ right near the start of the Dragon. There is a Wheels through Time museum in Maggie Valley not too far away too. http://wheelsthroughtime.com/


Mick
 

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If you can, plan on hitting it during the week. The weekends can get crazy busy, in more ways than one.
Have a safe trip. :wave
 

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Risky said:
On April 1st I am leaving Windsor Ontario for the Louisville Truck show. After that two of us are going to The Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee. From what I hear it is a really good ride.
My Question is? Is it to soon to go at this time of the year?
\


Biggest weather question will be rain, temps will be better than you are seeing in Ontario. While you are down there, you need to ride the Cherohala Skyway as well. If you use Mapsource, I can send you some routes.

Dave
 

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Temps have been gorgeous this week up here in the WNC mountains, not reaching freezing at night right now. The big thing that can hang you up is that we've had a helluva winter this year and there is a lot of sand on the road.

We can still get snow and freezing weather in April.......(we'll all poke our eyes out if it snows up her again). I don't ride the dragon, but I ride similar local roads and a couple weeks ago there were still spots of ice in the places where the sun don't shine. :rolleyes:

I'd bet the weather holds......hope you have a great visit!
CJ
 

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I plan on heading that way too, Sevierville area cabin from April 1-4, then Tellico Plains April 4-7. Did the dragon a few years ago on my Concours14. I will only go back this year to get the photos of my '10 1200RT for the wall!
I agree with others, take time to do the Cherohala Skyway, and if time permits, hit the Blue Ridge Parkway near Maggie Valley.
 

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I don't want to put a damper on things and as you can see I am a long ways from that neck of the woods. All the posts are good to pay attention to. So if I might add another thread, and I am only using my recent experience to back me up.
I suggest going to the tail of the dragon web-sight. I joined the LT family just last year and my first trip was to, you guessed it, 'Deals Gap' yes the home of the dragon (I am not being paid for that). Last bit of info: in the last 5 years I have made at least five trips to NC each year by auto. In the last 2 years I have encountered rock slides on or around I-40 just over the TN/NC border. And during last summer the dragon was closed from a slide (even though a short time). I went in September and enjoyed it. So do a little more home work before you go. I wish you a successful trip.
ride safe
 

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Risky said:
On April 1st I am leaving Windsor Ontario for the Louisville Truck show. After that two of us are going to The Tail of the Dragon in Tennessee. From what I hear it is a really good ride.
My Question is? Is it to soon to go at this time of the year?
I live 23 miles from the TN end of the Dragon. I rode in that area this past weekend, and conditions are superb. There was not a lot of traffic, but that will change soon, I'm sure. The weather should be good -- it's supposed to get to the low 80s today.
 

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The Tail of the Dragon is an amazing road but don't forget the surrounding area.

Asheville is a great place to visit with a vibrant downtown area and plenty of things to see and do. I suggest the Biltmore Estate and a side trip to the top of Mt. Mitchell. Stop at the restaurant near the summit to experience the highest elevation restaurant (~6400 ft) east of the Mississippi. The Blue Ridge Parkway is close and the Folk Art Center is not far up the BRP from Asheville.

Being a National Park junkie, I found the Great Smoky Mtn NP to be absolutely gorgeous! There are many hiking trails and a fairly well-prepared one to take you to the top of Clingman's Dome. Lot's of history in the park and plenty of secluded picnic spots.

We rode the Dragon in late June of 2007 on a Tuesday at 10:00 in the morning. It was packed! After several runs during that day we headed down toward Atlanta with some Dragon wisdom:

1. There are no intelligence or proficiency tests required to ride the Dragon. This means that a significant element of the danger is presented by other riders and drivers. I can't tell you how many times bikes and cars apexed too early (and fast) in some of those corners and ran wide into our lane.

2. While the road surface is outstanding, many sections peek in and out of sunlit patches. We noticed that in the shadowed portions, the road was a bit damp from the night's dew/sprinkles and covered with leaves. Obviously, this can be treacherous, especially when you are concentrating on looking through the next corner.

3. Many people's goal is to rip-through the Dragon at 10/10ths. I understand the attraction but also want to ride late into the remaining years of my life. We did not have the conditions that allowed this nor would I have done so even if all conditions were right. However, on one of our runs, we followed a Gold Wing that was being ridden so smoothly and accurately that I really started to get into the varied, but controlled rhythm of our lead. It was a challenge that was safe (except for the approaching squids) and very demanding in its own way. THAT was the magic I found in the Dragon.

Don't be surprised to see a photographer taking pictures of the riders on the Dragon. That's Killboy and he has a website of rider pictures indexed by day. You can order a picture of yourself as you negotiate the Dragon!

Have fun and ride safely!
 

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All good advice here on the Dragon. The road is twisty and technical but it's not that difficult because of fairly wide lanes and excellent road surface. Their are several other roads in the area that will raise the pucker factor more than the Dragon. One such to me is Charley Creek Rd that is East of the Dragon and North of Cashiers between 209 and 215.

Once piece of advice that I had read before my first trip was to ride the white line for safety. As others have said, the level of skill on the road varies greatly, expect people to be crossing the yellow line.

Fun way to start is hang out at Deals Gap first, have a bite to eat and look at the bikes parked. It's fun and deafening when the cruisers with straight pipes head up the hill. This will also help you gauge who is going up and time your run a bit better.

My best run on the Dragon was actually on a Saturday afternoon. Through dumb luck I timed it just right and encountered only two cars in front of me that pulled over before I reached them and very few coming the other way. It was the cleanest run I've made there and I will always remember that.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I want to thank every one for the very good advice! The only reason I thought of going to the Tail was one of our club members wanted to go but did not want to ride alone. I go to Louisville KY Truck show every year and last year I went on my bike. The temp was -22c coming back through Ohio last year and with the RT was no big deal! I am going down this year 2 other riders one on a Gold wing and another on a full dressed HD. Should be a good trip as long as the temp stays well up because the other two are not as die hard as my self. But with good friends, the trip should be great. Thanks again. :bmw:
 

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This is just my opinion....
I waited 15 years to finally ride the Dragon and was amused with it at best and quite frankly found it anti-climatic based on the hype.. We arrived on a Wednesday, traffic was moderate. There were troopers every few miles standing outside there cars looking for white or yellow line violations and people exceeding 35 mph. I'm sorry but I would ride it again but never make a special trip. Now , that being said the area within 100 sqyuare miles of the Dragon is awesome!
When we left , we took The Moonshiner (28), which was to me , far above the Dragon , pleasure and riding skill wise. Tons of twists and turns , 55 mph the whole way. Just a great ride. As previously mentioned here The Cherohala skyway is stunning, as are many of the roads.
My way of looking at it is, The Dragon is like a fun little tourist trap in a large, incredible area of riding. The roads Ive mentioned rival ANY road in the U.S. for motorcyclists and while you're riding on them , stop off at the Dragon....

http://www.moonshiner28.com/

Cherohala skyway from the air
 

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Widowmaker2011 said:
This is just my opinion....
I waited 15 years to finally ride the Dragon........... Now , that being said the area within 100 square miles of the Dragon is awesome!
......... As previously mentioned here The Cherohala skyway is stunning, as are many of the roads.
My way of looking at it is, The Dragon is like a fun little tourist trap in a large, incredible area of riding. The roads Ive mentioned rival ANY road in the U.S. for motorcyclists.......
Our experience exactly. The B&B owner we stayed with advised us to go instead for other roads in the area - "too many crazies there"

It was good advice. The other roads are fantastic and were uncrowded.
 

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niel_petersen said:
Our experience exactly. The B&B owner we stayed with advised us to go instead for other roads in the area - "too many crazies there"

It was good advice. The other roads are fantastic and were uncrowded.

+1. All the squids on Dragon make it a combat zone. There are way better roads all around the area with nobody on them and great scenery to boot.
 

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It is a nice road but very over rated and the day I was coming down a tractor trailer coming up was in my lane and had to stop few minutes to allow truck to come through corner.

With the RT was enjoying turns on Dragon going up but Harley's were bunching up and almost had to stop completely .

I found all the roads around this area to be much more fun and less traffic than Dragon.

The day wife and I arrived one person killed on it and one serious.
So was more afraid police was watching speeds the weekend we were there.
But very good roads.

But I do fly and rides to west and these west rides have spoiled me that there is very little traffic to what I see when riding here in east ..
This year heading to Montana and Canada..
Make the best of your ride to Dragon and enjoy..
 

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I'm heading down there again this year for the STC. I agree with hitting the Dragon midweek.

As for a place to stay, John and Charlene at the Ironhorse Ranch do an EXCELLENT job of catering to the needs of their guests. They have always made me feel at home. They have camping and cabin rooms available. They even have a bunkhouse set up if you and your buddies want to share accommodations.

The Wheels Through Time Museum is well worth the price of admission!!!!!

Enjoy yourself!
 
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