Tail of the Dragon

Discussion in 'Trips & Events' started by DeeBee, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. DeeBee

    DeeBee New Member

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    Just realized that I live less than an hour from the Joe Brown Highway, and less that 3 hrs. from the Tail itself.

    Realized this while browsing Tail of the Dragon Maps
     
  2. V4toTour

    V4toTour New Member

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    flatlanders head up there and tend to blow corners and put themselves and oncoming traffic in the hospital. And there's photographers to immortalize it forever.

    [​IMG]

    So if you're comfortable with that risk assessment, go for it. You'll probably like the Cherohala better.
     
  3. RVFR

    RVFR Member

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    Yea I've heard and seen now that the tail is over rated for what you get in return, not to mention then the risk is with the traffic can be nuts. Probably best to hit it at sunrise on a Wednesday in the middle of the month new moon, low tide in morning, if .
     
  4. V4toTour

    V4toTour New Member

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    Personally, I'd head for the bottom southwest corner of VA given a choice.

    VA-16 between Marion and Tazewell
    US Rt. 58 between Damascus and Volney
    In NC, Rt 421 between Holston Valley and Mountain City
    Hayters Gap Rd is a little bonus
     
  5. Lint

    Lint Member

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    I've ridden it once and it was 4the of July weekend, so it was busy, but fun! Empty would be a blast!!!!
     
  6. duccmann

    duccmann Member

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    Wow that video sucks, feel bad for the Vet, more interested in waving then watching the road. Weekend bar hoppers


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    Ya....Tail of the Dragon. Probably a nice road if you don't live close to Eastern Washington and Oregon where they have spectacular roads and no traffic. I go every second weekend in September with three other guys from BC for a two or three night trip down there. Weather is still good and all the brats are in school.
     
  8. kennybobby

    kennybobby New Member

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    Heart of Dixie Georgia Boys mighta been usin' dat
    That's a good example of target-fixation, he was leaned over for the corner and could have carried on thru if he was looking into the turn...
     
  9. James Bond

    James Bond Member

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    I wouldn't even guess how many times I've run the Tail. I finally woke up and decided to never run it again. It's a great place to ride if one has a death wish. There are many more fun roads in the area, particularly North Georgia with no traffic requiring much more technical skill. I'm finished with the Dragon and the lame brains it attracts. It just isn't worth it. You will see incredibly poor judgement displayed on the dragon and that's what can and does kill people. It isn't over yet, that I know. FWIW.
     
  10. Gator

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    I first did "The tail of the Dragon" back in the late 70's when it was called by it original name Deals Gap. On a small bike like a RD 350 that we use to ride it was fun with a LOT less traffic. Now days its a fad and there are many many better roads that it. But its still fun and if I'm staying on the north side of the park I will go down Foothills Parkway to the Dragon then over to the Cherohala Skyway which I love.

    That Hardly dude that hit the Vet is an old famous crash. Should be used to teach "look where you want to go." And into the the path of a cage is not where you want to be. lol
     
  11. V4toTour

    V4toTour New Member

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    Here's something more recent (click).

    flight.jpg
     
  12. RotaryRocketeer

    RotaryRocketeer New Member

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    Deal's Gap can be fun if you go at the right time. Drove my Rx-7 from OKC to the dragon for a rally about 10 years ago and stayed in whatever town is at the end of it. Got to spend 4 or 5 days getting nice and comfy with the road and had an absolute blast. These guys are right about there being better roads around there though. I took a day and just wandered around and burned a couple tanks of fuel and the roads all around there were unbelievable.
     
  13. Gator

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    Yeah I bet they wish they were wearing leathers.
     
  14. Lint

    Lint Member

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    What a shot!!! I guess Harrrrleez can't turn...

    Actually tho, I rode it with my bro who's riding a 2013 Fat Boy. He actually rode pretty quick, considering what he rode. Ground his floorboards to a knife edge tho. But he's been riding since the early 80s.
     
  15. V4toTour

    V4toTour New Member

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    Wasn't the Harley's fault actually. The dude on the ST or whatever that bike is overshot the corner and hit the HD.
     
  16. RobVG

    RobVG Member

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    Yeah yeah, east coasters have "The tail of the dragon", out in Oregon they have the "Trail of the wagon". Hwy 26 and 84. I don't think they're tight twisties and I haven't ridden it.

    That's "Or Gun"...
     
  17. V4toTour

    V4toTour New Member

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    it's not just "Tail of the Dragon". Giving roads nicknames is a whole trend out here. But too be fair, most of these Appalachian communities aren't exactly well off. If they can attract CPA's, dentists, and retirees from NY, FL etc.. who play pirates a few times a summer to spend some $$$$ in their communities. Can't really blame them.

    http://www.421thesnake.com/
    http://backofthedragon.com/
     
  18. lanesmatb

    lanesmatb New Member

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    I grew up and currently live 20 minutes from the head (or tail?) of Dragon and still ride it 3 times/month (51 years young). There are some tips (some have already shared) that I can pass along that hopefully will make a trip here a good one.

    Weekends are bad, holiday weekends are awful. If you want to a decent pass through 129 on the weekend, suggest you get there by 8:00 AM or after 6:00 PM. Police usually there by 9:00 and that's when traffic starts to pick up. I avoid holiday weekends unless it's a 7:00 AM pass through going somewhere else.

    If you must go during the busy period, your going to get held up by HDs, trikes, Miatas, Vettes, Porsches, et. al. Club rides are all the rage especially on the weekends. It's pretty dangerous with the vast majority of out-of-town cruisers during this time. My suggestion is don't expect to ride a decent pace, slow down, and be patient and cautious. Really, its just get to the other side to go somewhere else, which is to say...

    There is a lot of road on the NC side of the Gap that I'd ride than try to ride the Dragon when it's busy. NC 28, Cherohala, NC 143, 68, 315, Blue Ridge Pkwy, 129 thru Robinsville, etc. Plan to have fun at the Gap on weekdays and early/late in the day.

    Riding tips:
    129 is a remote area. No cell service and a long way to the hospital. Ambulance is minimum 45 minutes away not counting the time to get to a land line to call them, so keep that in mind.
    Majority of wrecks are people overshooting corners. Go in easy, get out easy, and ride YOUR pace. It's easy to get in over your head because of how tight it is.
    There are wrecks on this road every weekend, which means oil, antifreeze, debris can surprise you mid corner. Look ahead and give yourself allowance to make changes in your line.
    Knee dragging and ten-tenths riding is, IMO, Russian Roulette. AGATT won't matter if you bleed out internally waiting an hour for an ambulance.
    Let fast guys pass, let slow traffic pull over or wave you on; passing is risky and difficult. Be patient and don't get frustrated. Sometimes, you just have to wait in line to get to the other side.

    Is it worth it?
    I ride it nearly every weekend, so yeah I think so. It's a very unique road and challenges your corner skills. I usually spend an hour at Deals Gap store looking at every bike imaginable and talking with riders from all over the nation. It's a unique bike scene that very few places can match.

    Scott L.
     
  19. Gator

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    I too like to look at all the bikes parked at the Gap. I have seen some really cool bikes mid week. Never been on it on a weekend but I imagine its a zoo around 10am.
     
  20. 34468 Randy

    34468 Randy Secret Insider

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    I have never been there and only base what I say on what I read and look at on a map. But I am utmost confident that there are dozens if not hundreds of great roads in that area that do not have the reputation or popularity of the Tail, so are likely to be extremely less traveled. That is the beauty of the roads in eastern Washington and Oregon. Relatively unknown and empty. But they too are remote and often there is no cell coverage and no land line phones either.

    On one of my rides there, one of us hit a deer that was in mid air on a corner. Biker and bike then hit a tree, then flew down a rocky embankment. Fortunately for extra gear he always wears, he was able to scramble to the top and wave us down. No cell coverage. I rode for miles trying to find a phone. Even the ranger station was vacant. I was able to wave over a PU with an older man and woman for assistance. She was a retired nurse so that was an added and unexpected bonus. Our friend was banged up but OK otherwise.

    Fortunate for us, it was opening weekend for bow deer hunting and some hunters with a winch came buy and helped get the bike out of the ravine. Buddy was able to get on and ride that bike with a badly bent sub frame from NE Oregon to Spokane where we loaded it onto my truck and home the next day.

    We still ride those roads.
     
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