The guys on the Triumph Bonneville Forum on Delphi (I'm a poster over there), annually have a ride at the Dragon. It's called the NTBF Ride the Dragon. I believe last year there was also a RAT ride there.
The Dragon is dangerous in as much as there are a lot of bikes (****** rocket lay down road racer wannabee's) traversing the curves (many) at speeds well above the posted limit) and winding up on the wrong side of the road, loosing it and crashing, getting hurt and killed.
Last year one of the NTBF guys lost it and hit a bridge facing and wound up in the hospital. I've been invited more than once, but I'd have to take the sidecar off the T100. It would be physically too much to muscle the sidecar around all the curves. I've always declined not only because of the sidecar, but because of the danger level.
The R3 isn't in it's element there. Yes, it does corner, but not like say a Ducati 1000gt, or a Thruxton with clip on bars and sticky tires. There is only one (I believe) straightaway and that's not very long and then you are in a tight curve again.
The scenery is real nice, but if you want to play road racer, you won't see much of it.
Accomodations are sparse too. I believe there is a small motel in Robinsville, a Microtel and there is also a resort inn right on the Dragon, but the ammenities are sparse.
Riding the dragon and playing road racer isn't for me.
I'm too old to bust my butt and the bike was too expensive to bring home on a trailer.
I did it last year for 2 days...did too many runs to count. I have also done it on a Thunderbird 3 years ago now. There are few roads better than that stretch so in my opinion it is well worth it. It is best to run it during the week as there is less traffic so it is more enjoyable. I found the Rocket perfectly at home there but that is just my opinion.
Just got back from a trip to that area, From Colorado to the Deals Gap,Blue Ridge Mountain area and back in 7 days. While the weather really sucked(tons of rain) that is some of the nicest areas to ride. You don't have to burn thru the Dragon but it's a fun little twisty road. I took my 02 Goldwing and left a bunch of chrome off my Kuryakyn footpegs on the turns. Take some time and do some of the Blue Ridge up to atleast Mount Mitchell,take the ride thru the Smokies National Forest. We stayed in Gaitlandsburg and that was a good place to hit the roads in that vicinty..
This is great stuff guys. I am really psyched about Western North Carolina. And probably just psycho enough to enjoy Dragon's Tail. There should be a thread where riders could post their favorite rides.
I had a buddy of mine take a trip to the dragons tail with a few other bikers. He made it back after a trip to the hospital and hauling what was left of his Yamaha Star bike back on a trailer. The insurance company just hauled it off and totaled it. He got $1000 more from the Ins Co than what he paid for it. The reason for the crash, was moving too fast trying to keep up with the rest of the crowd. I guess he leaned over too far and dug his frame into a raised portion of the hiway. The rest is history. Another friend of mine went to the dragons tail, and made it back unscathed. He said it was very dangerous, in and out of fog and rain on mountain tops going around blind curves.
I don't think I will be making the trip any time soon.
06 R3 Classic R&W
Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee demand you live to the old adage "ride your own ride". I am plenty quick as a few members who have ridden with me know but I am no Valentino Rossi. I have passed plenty of bikes on the Dragon but I am not immune from being passed. In fact when those kids on the race replicas fill my mirrors I make sure to let them go. It is amazing to see how quickly those bikes just tear up the most complex roads, they are truly in their element on the Dragon.
Just remember to always ride your own ride.....especially in WNC and ET .