Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dragon Tails and Toes

OK. So this really isn't about Dragon Toes. But I rather enjoyed the story at breakfast as we started gathering together.

The story of the Tail of the Dragon is 318 curves in 11 miles. (Be watchful of you definition of a curve.) Over breakfast some discussion turned to Florida and its absolute lack of curves. One gentleman actually recalled a shirt (that I would enjoy getting my hands on) that a highway in Florida is considered the Toes of the Dragon: 11 curves in 318 miles. I can definitely vouch for that.

In anticipation of disappointing you, my reading and riding buddies, there really isn't much of a tale to this. I know I haven't written up, or even shared, my previous Dragon exploits from September. So this is going to be plain boring.

Saturday was supposed to be clear and would probably give us the last, best chance to ride the North Carolina mountains in reasonable weather. Temperatures were supposed to reach low to mid 60's with few clouds. Supposed to. I don't know about those words.

The day was cold. Very cold. Hopping on the bikes at 6:15 AM with the temp gauge reading out 39F. And that cloud cover was encompassing much more of the sky then we had hoped. We met up with everyone at IHOP. A few of us ate. Others didn't. We saddled up and hit the road hard.

Only one anti-social bike missing from the picture.

No rest for the weary as we made it up to Hiawassee for our first stop.  Then it was a mere 60 miles to Robbinsville, NC where we stopped for more fuel. The next basic stop was Deal's Gap and the beginning of the Dragon.

I did stop at the dam we have passed numerous times.  The boobs I was with
rode on by.  Intent on the destination.

Destination: Dragon
We ran the Dragon, each to our own abilities. I was there to just have fun and not break any records. We continued on the Dragon into Tennessee with intentions of swinging around and coming back to Robbinsville on Cherohala Skyway.

We ate lunch at a mom and pop Hardee's.  (Please tell me that you know I am joking!)  Along the way of the Dragon we picked up a fellow rider: Joe.  One of our group had met Joe earlier in the year at a Goldwing rally. 

This is Joe's mileage for this year.  Damn!
I sat next to Joe during lunch and he shared stories and experiences of following the Motorcycle Cannonball.  He originally was just riding along the route, but turned into staff as he helped fix, limp and gas the motorbikes along. In case you didn't read, or guess, the Motorcycle Cannonball is for motorbikes of vintage 1915 and earlier.  I particularly enjoyed hearing tales of the woman from Germany with her 250 CC 1907 JAP bike that didn't have pedals or a kickstart.  She literally had to run along and push the bike until it started, then hop on.  This occurred every single time she stopped, including stop signs and stop lights.

He was a great guy to talk and ride with for a ways.

The difference of Cherohala this time was under cover of dusk. We started late in the day. (The shadows are a bit long in the tooth.)  It only had to get darker and colder.  Which it did. 

Shadows are growing.

Love the clouds here.  Mr. Oilburner thought the trees still had
color.  I told him the color was of dead, brown leaves.

I just love those clouds!

I missed the moon shot as I was playing catch up on this road.  Joe promises to send it to me.  Many of my memories of the day are tainted with a headache that turned into a migraine as the sun went down.  But everyone basically had a good day.  For two of our numbers this was their first Dragon slaying.  We all made it home safely, just a little colder for wear.  I think the next few rides will be nice and slow, not covering major distances...  :)


Since I have stopped including tracks of my rides I sometimes forget that people on the other side of the world really haven't a clue as to places that I reference.  Roger, this is for you.  Tail of the Dragon (toenails...good grief...but it was funny) is in NC, about 170 miles from Atlanta.

View Larger Map


  1. Would you kindly mark the plain boring part for me? I haven't found it yet. I get excited every time somebody talks about the Dragon slaying. One day I will have to go there and do it myself.
    Your cloud pics are lovely, can't get enough of it.
    BTW, the Toes of the Dragon gave me a good chuckle.

  2. I love the pic of your bike in front of the dam. So where exactly is this nose of the dragon thingy? Sorry I mean toenails of the dragon...... North Carolina some where. Is that close to where you live? I need google earth....

  3. Hi SonjaM,

    Just get me talking and sometimes I just don't shut up. I didn't intend of writing that much. :) Thank you for not finding it boring.

    Would love to have you out here on the Dragon and sundry anytime you can fit it into your jet-setting lifestyle. The Dragon is basically something so you can say that you have done it. There are many roads in the area that rival the Dragon for sheer number of twisties with better views and less danger from other vehicles.

    The Toes of the Dragon tickled me when he told me. So cute and so true!

    Thanks for reading and commenting!


  4. Hi Raftnn (Roger),

    I have added an addendum...just for you. It ain't Google Earth, but a near cousin in Google Maps. It gives a small overlook into the distance and direction. Zoom into point B and look at Hwy 129 heading north from it. That is the Dragon... Look like fun?? ;)

    I appreciate your keeping me in line.


  5. Thats fantastic, thank you for posting the map. It helps me a great deal. I am not a wizz on Amercian geography, Probably the same as you trying to pronounce some of our place names!

  6. Yeah, the boring part? I must have missed that part! Love the pic of the bike with the dam. I've heard of the tail of the dragon, but hadn't heard about the toes - lol.

  7. lori:

    you are never boring. You mentioned BOOBS passing by, what ! no photo.

    Boy, you live so close to the good roads. At least you don't have any snow. It's going down to -10c tonight and we are getting more snow on Thursday.

    Looks like you had another long day getting home after dark. And Mr Oilburner is right, the trees do have some (brown) colour left.

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  8. Nothing boring there. Joe has a nice map there. One of these days...

    Nice pictures. I especially like the wispy clouds and the one with your bike and the dam. The Tail of the Dragon is one of those roads I've heard about but didn't know any details. Thank you for providing a few more details including "where"!


  9. Ahhhh, clouds!

    I've looked at clouds from both sides now,
    From up and down, and still somehow
    It's cloud illusions I recall.
    I really don't know clouds at all.


  10. Yay! You stopped at the damn dam and got a picture while letting the destination take care of itself.

    And, boring? If it was I didn't notice. But, I have to say again, I like boring rides -- ones without flat tires, breakdowns, or nasty surprises -- but, with pictures :)


  11. HI Roger,

    I'll teach you American Geography. You teach me pronunciation. :) LOL


  12. Hi Bluekat,

    I had a good giggle over that Toes of the Dragon too. I hadn't heard it before. But after the trip to Florida is sure does feel true.


  13. Hi Bob,

    Would have taken a picture of the BOOBS...but they were actually in front. I pulled over and just let them go ahead. Funny that they didn't even seem to miss me. :)

    Plenty of good roads here, you are correct. But many will soon be off-limits for the ice and snow. Tho our isn't nearly as impressive as yours.


  14. Hi RichardM,

    Isn't Joe's map impressive... I agree (and hope), one of these days.

    The Dragon is one of those infamous roads now. You have to ride it to be able to say that you have. But there are other great roads in the area too. Bring the bike and extra days next time and we'll take you on them. :)


  15. Hi Nikos,

    Thank you for the recall. Haven't heard that song in ages and really enjoy it. :)


  16. HI Keith,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence that it wasn't "boring". You are correct...boring rides aren't always boring.

    Please no breakdowns, please not breakdowns...


  17. Dear Beemer Girl (Lori):

    I loved your picture of the dam and would stop there every single time. It would be my pull-over for great coffee from the Thermos.

    I have actually passed by the Dragon twice, as I wasn't in the mood, or still sweating from my ride over Grandfather Mountain.

    God, how I wish I had your endurance. Your bike looks great. This was a terrific post.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep Toad
    Twisted Roads

  18. Lori, just found your blog and loved your last blog, you cracked me up when you mentioned the "boobs" ;-)
    I have been to the Tail of the Dragon and the Cherohala Skyway, both beautiful and everyone should make it at least once in their lifetime, countryside is beautiful. Loved the ride to Tellico Plains too. I have to go back, next year I will. Love your pictures specially the map on the ground, perfect for a blog :-) Now I have to read more of your posts :-)

  19. Forgot to mention, I think I rode a road in Florida with even less curves, Route 40, AKA "Alligator Alley". I have pictures in my blog :-)

  20. Dear Jack,

    Yet again you point stuff put that I just never think of. Why don't I think of thermos of hot chocolate and kicking back by the dam? I stop only when necessity kicks in when I should be stopping to enjoy. Thank you.

    I think you would enjoy the Dragon. It is good for a ride or two. But I don't think you missed much. Maybe you can try it next year on your way south. I can also show you that twisty road hitting 3 states in 20 miles we discussed previously. It isn't too far away. But it would be a day of twisties. Make bobskoot jealous getting Fireballs a picture at Bridal Veil Falls. :)


  21. Hi George,

    Thanks for coming in and commenting. I've heard of Alligator Alley and enjoyed your ride report. But I missed the pictures of your bike with the alligators. I probably need to look ar your picture gallery. But that place is flat and curveless ain't it?? :)

    Let me know when you come down for the Dragon. Gave some more I can show you. And always up for Cherohala. LOL.


  22. Yes, there's a link to my Picasa page with lots of Alligator pictures :-) It is very flat but it's so quite, little traffic, I loved it.
    Hopefully next year I will go down to the Dragon again :-)

  23. There are too many damned places to go to in this world. I need to set up a ponzi scheme so I can quit my job and get to all of them. Thanks for showing off another one.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  24. Hi Brady!

    Yes, too many places and just not enough time or money...

    The Dragon should be a fairly easy long weekend ride for you, though. Hmmm...something in the works before you go maybe? :) Keep me posted!