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Old 06-09-2006, 03:33 AM   #1
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Tail of Dragon

Trying to find a weekend to make the trip to tame the Dragon. (for those who don't know, it's an 11 mile stretch of road with a reported 318 curves in North Carolina - google it on the web).

I've read some great reviews and even downloaded a video someone made of their trek. Killing time on an airplane last night, I watched it and wanted to share my observations of this 21 minute odessey.

I'll take their word for it that there are 318 curves but I did not count them. I did, however, count what I considered to be 'significant' curves - 175. These are curves that I estimate will give me over 1g of force.

I also counted what I call PSM curves - those are ones that have a likelihood of triggering the saftey device that will keep me crashfree - 117 ! What an incredi ble ride this will be.

So, I've read about it, seen it, studied it; all that's left is the experience!

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2661935769599122845&q=tail+of+dragon

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Last edited by Mantis; 06-09-2006 at 03:37 AM.
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:13 AM   #2
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Hi,

I've driven it twice (actually 6 runs on two occasions), once about 6 years ago in my Esprit and last Fall in my Boxster. The first trip was very challenging while the second was a nice, scenic drive. It changed significantly from the first time. BTW, the run is primarily in Tennessee, not NC.

It seems that everyone with a Harley (a few of whom like to ride the Centerline) to a Miata is now making this pilgrimage. This has spawned Traffic Jams, Tourist Traps, and lots of State Troopers.

The key is to check the calendar before planning your trip to insure that the Classic Jag Club, Miata Club, Vespa Club, or some such is not holding an event there on those dates and to catch it at it's ebb, usually starting before 7am and to find a niche between packs. Bring a Radar detector and lots of cash.

It's still a worthy drive, but far from the Gumball Run it used to be...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

Last edited by MNBoxster; 06-09-2006 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:03 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MNBoxster
Hi,

I've driven it twice (actually 6 runs on two occasions), once about 6 years ago in my Esprit and last Fall in my Boxster. The first trip was very challenging while the second was a nice, scenic drive. It changed significantly from the first time.
Thanks for advice on events, Jim....are you saying it was different the second time because of traffic or was it the Boxster just wasn't challenged?
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:30 AM   #4
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That looks like a lot of fun, and less than 5 hours from me. Should make for a nice mid-week road trip.
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:15 PM   #5
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Another website: http://www.tailofthedragon.com/
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:55 PM   #6
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Bring a Radar detector and lots of cash.
i read in some article (R&T or some euro mag) that the cops are there just to make sure they can get to accidents quicker. they know that people go there to "drive". did you get a ticket?
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:21 PM   #7
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I did it 10+ years ago on my motorcycle. At the time I had a Yamaha V-Max, not the best handling machine in the world, but a great bike nonetheless. One of the senior riders in our group, riding a Honda ST1100, lost control and crashed about 30 minutes prior to arriving at the really twisty parts. He brushed himself off, picked up the broken pieces, and continued on. We rode through and back twice. I recall stopping at a convenience store at the end where many pictures were displayed of busted-up motorcycles. Never thought about doing it in the 986. It would be a blast!
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mantis
Thanks for advice on events, Jim....are you saying it was different the second time because of traffic or was it the Boxster just wasn't challenged?
Hi,

What I'm saying is that it's now a really crowded venue. If you go to tailofthedragon.com, you can look at their calendar and see which events are officially sanctioned and if you're not a part, you probably want to avoid that day as it can diminish the experience. I actually pulled aside and waited 45 min. for the stretch to clear and then it wasn't bad, the Boxster is made for roads like this, but it seems for many other vehicles also. I would recommend overnight accomodations at one of the many Inns on the route, that way, you can get an early start, before the Rush Hour...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99

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Old 06-09-2006, 05:06 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 2kwiq
i read in some article (R&T or some euro mag) that the cops are there just to make sure they can get to accidents quicker. they know that people go there to "drive". did you get a ticket?
Hi,

The Troopers must not read the same magazines, because if they weren't issuing invitations to the Policeman's Ball, they were definitely writing tickets...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:11 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by creseida
That looks like a lot of fun, and less than 5 hours from me. Should make for a nice mid-week road trip.
Hi,

Mid-week would be the perfect time, far less traffic...

Happy Motoring!... Jim'99
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:30 PM   #11
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I figure it is much like Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway; both are lovely drives in the Box, but weekends are not the time to go. I hate traffic in general, so I tend to do most of my travel mid-week. Fortunately, I usually have Wednesdays off, and that is road trip day for places like this.
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:34 PM   #12
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I usually have Wednesdays off, and that is road trip day for places like this.
I have to ask, are you a banker or dentist?
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:44 PM   #13
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No, I'm an independent contractor.
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mantis
So, I've read about it, seen it, studied it; all that's left is the experience!
Every year in May, the MINI Coopers take over with the largest gathering. If you want to read a ton of information on the latest outing go here.

http://northamericanmotoring.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=141

Accidents do happen. One car totalled. One car hit by a bear. Last year someone in a Miata was killled hitting a tree. Be careful, many of the turns are blind and the most important thing is to stay in your lane. Many ppl cross the yellow line ... Check out the tree of Shame.

Best of Luck, You will love it.

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