2015 Long Island or Bust Tour – Day 20 – THE DRAGON


May 12 2015-all pics clickable

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do all day here near Robbinsville, NC so I decided to drive up to Knoxsville, TN to check out some RV’s.  Just for the hell of it.  Unbeknownst  to me I ran into the real “Tail of the Dragon”…hence the above video.  I feel a little embarrassed to have thought I drove it the day before but hey…no map no clue.  Now I have an idea why many and I mean many come to drive or ride this road.

381 curves in 11 miles = WOW

I left for my first run early in the morning and had the Dragon pretty much to myself.  Heading back was another story.  Hundreds of bikes and very expensive sport cars woke up in the afternoon and the road was crazy with traffic.  For the most part people pulled over to let the faster traffic fly by.  I happened to be one of the quicker cars. 😉  Heading back to my Treehouse I was following a corvette.  A 72-year-old man who used to drive tracks in his heyday.  What a great pace he set and with a few minor cruisers getting in our way we had plenty of free space to open up our cars.

Roland and his wife were so cute and nice.  He wanted to be interviewed so this is what Roland had to say about the drive and me.  He calls me “A HONEY”.

I have to say I was surprised to hear there are only a few fatalities on this road a year.  I know any deaths is not good but this is like the autobahn in the mountains. Everyone is pushing themselves.  Was great to see sport bikers in full gear.  I was told most deaths are cruisers who don’t gear up and many cross the double yellow.  Having said this I was passed by 2 sport bikers going about 55 MPG and when I came around a tight corner the second guy who flew by me crashed.  His buddy had no idea he must have went over the edge. Never saw his riding buddy come back and I pulled over immediately to find this guy climbing up a “cliff”.  He was SOOOOO luck that vines caught his bike and himself.

not sure about the overall damage but fairing was cracked

I asked him how I could help.  He said he was OK and was going to try to find cell coverage.  I asked if he needed a ride.  He just walked off while I continued to ask if he was OK.  Some others pulled over but this guy I think would need a tow truck.  Not many 4X4 vehicles on this road-all fast ones lol.  My Fiat did really well and although being on a bike would have given me a much different perspective, driving a car does too.

the curve the rider missed

All I can say about this road is it is fun but can be extremely dangerous with inexperienced riders.  Like I said I am surprised many more don’t die but apparently many get seriously hurt each year.  Driving it both ways was extremely fun for me.  So, that is what I did most of the day…drive the dragon and talk to people about their own experiences.

There are a few areas that are safe to pull over and check out some views

Tons of graffiti at this pit stop…interesting writings 😉

When I drove south on the Dragon and saw the hundreds of bikes I felt a bit left out.  When I stopped and spoke to the corvette driver Roland?  He made me feel great about being in my car.  Torn between two loves.  😉

What a great way to make money for many in this area.  One thing..they have photographers on the curves taking photos to eventually sell you.  I can not imagine how many crash when they see these guys trying to pose.  Seriously though I wasn’t expecting to see them on my way back.  One guy belongs to the ADVRider forum, Killboy and he was there.  Has a great gig and web site offering all sorts of stuff.

Anyway, this post is done and I am heading north along the Smoky Mountains to hopefully West Virginia.  Sad to leave this place like many but will be back with my bike and I loved my treehouse.  Yes, cheaper places to stay but this was a great first time Glamping experience.

Later Dragon…

1 Comment

  1. curvyroads says:

    Glad you got to experience the real Dragon and I am sure it was fun in the Fiat! We did it years ago when we had a Mini. Fun on a bike too, but like you, we prefer the off-season.

    Next time you are in the area, Google Cherohala skyway. It is Hwy 143 going west out of Robbinsville. It was built to be a scenic drive, but not as many know about it so it is so much less crowded. Everything from fabulous sweeping turns to tighter ones and elevation from 2500 to 6000 feet. We were there yesterday (rode up for lunch) and shared 50 miles with a handful of bikes and 10 or 15 Porches. 😉

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