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Old 01-14-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
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Tail of the Dragon

Anyone interested in meeting at the Tail of the Dragon? Its off season so there shouldn't be much congestion ie: motorcycles and other enthusiasts. Wintertime is a favorable time.
I am thinking of getting there Fri night, goofing off Saturday, heading home early Sun. I could use a dose of Dragon.
Tail of the Dragon

Five or more people that can agree on a weekend in Jan or Feb is a consenus.
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Old 01-14-2008, 11:55 AM   #2
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The Dragon

I have recently moved to the Cumming/Gainesville area, and have heard of this "dragon tail", what and where is it?
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:06 PM   #3
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I believe the stat is 311 curves in 11 miles. Its a beautiful, curvy mountain road on the west end of the Great Smokey Mountain National park in Deal's Gap, NC. You can get there from Gainesville in a couple of hours [4 or 5?] Its been a while since I have been. Long ago it was a bunch of mad motorcyclists tearing it up, but it has since been published in magazines, become internationally known and so weekend traffic got a little crowded [in my terms]. My brother mentioned going there in his car in the winter. So now it is winter. Let's go!

CraigB check out that link I posted and any other searches on Tail of the Dragon or Deals Gap.
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Old 01-14-2008, 03:22 PM   #4
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Actually it's 318 curves, or so they say. I lost count...
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Old 01-14-2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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I visited the Tail around Christmas '06. That is one fine road for driving! However, the local authorities seem to target the road now and again. Do a search for Tail of the Dragon/Deal's gap. There's a website for the area that gives a bit of info about current "activity" on the road. There are also a couple of other similar roads in the same area that offer what we crave. Have fun out there and be safe.
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:02 AM   #6
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so.... any folks in the southeast want to coordinate a winter weekend quickie?
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:15 AM   #7
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Here's pictures from our trip last May :

http://nickandjim.freewebpage.org/TOD/TOD_Main.html

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Old 01-15-2008, 10:32 AM   #8
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Beautiful! I love that area, especially when its warm and green.
It looks like there were a lot of folks there that day. that's the kind of crowded that discouraged me from heading up there during warm weather weekends. And my motorcycle is for sale for similar reasons.
thanks for the pics!
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:48 AM   #9
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Tom, the guy in the wicked fast MR2 Spyder that led us around in May, was in the office a day or two ago attempting to revive my dead server.

He said that the local cops are now crawling all over the various corners of the TOD to give speeding tickets due to a consistent fatality rate on the road (motorcyclists make up the bulk of it, if not all of it I'm sure).

All this to say, I'm doubting the road is nearly as much fun as it was when we went there in May.

... but I still dream of going back all the time. In my dreams, I don't have to drive 17 friggin' hours to get there though!

If I lived within an hour or two of the road, I'd be driving it once a month.

That place is as addictive as heroine for the Boxster owner.
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:09 PM   #10
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Hey Chicago guys, are we doing another TotD trip this year? I wanted to get in on last year's but there was a conflict with another trip. Anything in the works for 2008?
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Old 01-15-2008, 01:45 PM   #11
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I'd like to go in the Fall of 2008...to see the fall colors in that part of the US.
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Old 01-15-2008, 02:45 PM   #12
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Count me in for next year's trip to the TOD. I have to be a little pickier in terms of weekends because of school and a wedding, but am definitely planning for the trip. Maybe mid to late September? Getting into October risks getting into mid-terms.
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Old 01-15-2008, 03:38 PM   #13
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Tod

Ah Nick, thanks for the reminder with the pictures! Of course, I would go again in the fall with the stipulation that we find better dining facilities!

As far as a Jan/Feb trip, it would depend on the weekend....keep me in mind when you get a date...
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:05 PM   #14
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A couple of related links:

http://www.tailofthedragon.com/maps.html

http://www.lexusdragon.com/routes_maps.html

Unfortunately, I haven't experienced TOD first hand, but I'd like to...
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Old 01-15-2008, 04:32 PM   #15
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Count me in for another trip to the Dragon. Maybe the weather won't be wet and slippery like this past May. I thought went we pretty fast considering the conditions but I can't wait to see what the car can do on dry pavement.
Maybe we'll avoid the Mini Cooper gathering this time.
Hey Nick, I just looked at some of the pictures from last May- I love that 'Save The Tatas' sticker.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:20 AM   #16
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Western NC and southwest VA and over into TN is just crawling with that kind of road with a lot less traffic and law enforcement attention. I should probably make the ultimate sacrifice and go scout out more roads for another gathering.
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Old 01-16-2008, 04:47 AM   #17
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Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.

Western NC and southwest VA and over into TN is just crawling with that kind of road with a lot less traffic and law enforcement attention.

Exactly.

The Dragon is now a nightmare of families in minivans being treated as moving chicanes by imitation Rossis and Schumacher wannabes with no training, experience or ability. You may know what you're doing, but that doesn't matter when somebody coming the other way overcooks a corner and swings wide into you or somebody behind you decides to pinch you into the rocks with a combination outside pass and late apex transitioning into a lowside with a shower of parts and sparks.

And then there are the people who pull over to watch the fun, pull out to join the mayhem and crowd the verge. It's like driving the old Chimney Rock Hillclimb with audience participation.

No thanks.

The bad news is that the publicity has ruined the Dragon on all but rare off-season occasions. The good news is that the marketing of the Dragon has made it an idiot magnet which has cleared some of the fools off of the other good roads -- at least those which don't lead directly to the Dragon. It's also a target-rich environment which now draws the police to generate revenue and to clean up the mess as the herd is thinned.

I think of the Dragon in Yogi Berra terms.
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Old 01-16-2008, 06:20 AM   #18
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Sim,

I hope you're not just saying that to dissuade us tourists from visiting ?

( just kidding - thanks for the head's up )

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Old 01-16-2008, 06:36 AM   #19
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Good points - its not what it used to be.
In the last ten years, everyone that ever wanted a motorcycle or suddenly decided they wanted a motorcycle bought one - and soon over crowded where I used to play. And national publications in every motorcycle and car magazine really dropped a bomb.
But see, this is why I suggest a Dragon Tail trip in the Winter. It won't be so congested.

I also agree that anywhere there are mountains there is opportunity for finding great roads. I should put more effort into that discovery. There is plenty of mountainous eastern TN that I haven't explored. I haven't driven / ridden much of VA because I would have to pound highway miles to make time getting there and back. [Yuk]. dmcutter, let me know if you find new adventures for me to explore.
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Old 01-16-2008, 02:03 PM   #20
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I am up for another road trip to NC or thereabouts in the first or second week in September.

The Dragon would be fun, even crawling with cops. I don't think I exceeded the speed limit by more than 5-8 mph ... 40 miles per hour was reckless enough for this old man, that's for sure! <-- if you've never driven the TOD, don't judge me as a slow poke. It's awfully hard to go faster than this on four wheels.

I will not do another spring drive in that area of the country. Tom was right... it always rains in the Smokey Mountains in May! He recommended another trip this year for us, but in September. Said the weather was absolutely fabulous every time he's gone to Deals Gap in September.

Would anyone like to do the legwork on this year's trip? I did it last year and it wasn't much work, but between now and the time I would start driving that way I must complete a rather difficult book I am writing, so I don't think I'll be able to take the time to do it.

I'll have my new rotors, pads, glass top replacement, and SSK installed before then and I'd love to take another road trip!
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