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Swamp Rat Rider
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Definitely found it quite interesting .. I discovered the Dragon quite by accident in 1973 headed up to Michigan on my 1970 Sportster .. No GPS or cell phone back then but as looking at the Map saw that Hwy 129 was a far more direct shot from North of Atlanta to Knoxville as I-75 takes a Big westward swing to get you to Chattanooga needless to say I found it quite a treat being on 2 wheels and as I was taking to a few locals when stopped they referred to it as " That Damn Road " .. :)
 

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^ The Dragon is on HWY 129. I think the road you are thinking of id US 411. It intersects I75 about 50 miles north of downtown Atlanta, and intersects HWY 129 in Maryville, TN about 20 miles from the Dragon.






I get to put my Dragon pics up
 

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If anyone can't see those pics in the above post let me know.
It's really going to chap my hide:mad:
 

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See 3 pics.

Didn't know anything about the history of The Dragon. Read the whole thing and really liked the photos too. Thanks for posting.
 

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I've had the pleasure of riding the Dragon twice. Once back in the 1990's on a Honda Shadow cruiser, and done rather slowly, and once in 2016 on my then brand new Goldwing that I had only owned for a few weeks before making the trek to that area from where I live in northern Illinois. During the 2016 ride I was frequently scraping my foot pegs, but never felt in any danger as I was not riding particularly fast. The day was brutally hot and I was sorely tempted to take off my armored jacket but resisted the temptation. I came upon two different motorcycle wrecks on the Dragon that day, both full dress Harley tourers. At Deal's Gap, I met and spoke with an interesting group of Austrian riders who had traveled to the U.S. with their bikes (mostly BMW's) specifically to ride the Tail of the Dragon. They had a big tent set up filled with their gear, the seven or eight of them were riding the Dragon several times a day for the 5 days they were staying at Deal's Gap. But for me, while riding the Dragon is exciting, I actually got a bit bored at one point doing the seemingly endless curves. I passed several slower riders and was passed by even more riders on sport bikes, and in one case, by a guy also on a Goldwing but riding at a speed I could not personally imagine trying to maintain. If I ever go back to that part of the country, I know I will ride the Dragon, pick up a few more Deals Gap and Dragon t-shirts, and hope not to add any of the parts of my motorcycle to the tree covered in motorcycle parts.
 

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I visited the Union soldiers Shaw grave on HWY 129, its very remote and on a trail through the woods. I enjoy the old history of the area. I enjoy the whole region actually, not necessarily because of the Dragon, but because there are so many similar roads there, and some much better than the Dragon. Less traffic, less law enforcement to hand out citations, and nicer scenery. I also love the beauty with many of the roads twisting and curving through densely forested terrain, some with white water rapids right along the road side for many miles. Traffic on the Tail of the Dragon has increased with popularity over the years, especially on weekends. It can get dangerous with car clubs like the Corvette, or Miata Club running as fast as they can bumper to bumper 8, 10, 12, 15 cars long with their tires chirping and squealing as they barely hold traction crossing the double yellows through curves.

After a couple of close calls in recent years, I started exploring other roads. Riders also run it fast too, including me (testing their skills), but riders rarely cross the double yellow lines that separate oncoming traffic. The people in many of the small towns in that region are also very polite, courteous and friendly, especially to riders because riders are a large portion of the tourists dollars that make it to their small towns out in the middle of nowhere (motels restaurants, outfitters & such). I've been making the trip there annually for about 15 or 16 years. I usually try to make it once or twice a year because it just keeps drawing me back all year long until I succumb. I just got back from there about 4 weeks ago.

This time was considerably different though. I took the Harley, it was the first time riding a cruiser there through the mountainous twisty roads. Instead of attacking the roads like many of the previous bikes I rode there inspired you to do, I was able to smell the roses so to speak. I was able to enjoy the scenery much more, see things that I've missed on previous trips, and I did more stops to explore some of those places. I also spoke to more people on some of these excursions. I did the trip solo, so I had the time to do whatever I wanted to do without worrying about what someone else wanted to do, so explore I did. After being on this road for about 10 miles in the middle of a national forest, because of the fall colors, I pulled off the road to take a pic. I killed the motor, smoked a cigarette and the whole time I was there, there wasn't a sound. Not a bird, not a cricket, no cars, airplanes, no nothing the whole time I was there. It was like a scene from the twilight zone or something, I felt like the last man on earth, I loved it.
Here's that pic, along with a couple of others of the bike at different locations.




 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the beautiful pictures!
I have been there several times and Alabama and Tennessee has some unsurpassed motorcycling roads and lots of Historic Civil War Museum's to visit.
Sam:)
 

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Oops. I thought you had mag wheels on your bike Zebraranger. Oh well. Nice photos. Makes me think about riding out that way sometime. Being that there's a national forest there, I'd suspect there might be a campground or two that would allow a guy to put up his tent for the night?
 

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Thanks for the beautiful pictures!
I have been there several times and Alabama and Tennessee has some unsurpassed motorcycling roads and lots of Historic Civil War Museum's to visit.
Sam:)
Your welcome, I enjoy sharing them.
Oops. I thought you had mag wheels on your bike Zebraranger. Oh well. Nice photos. Makes me think about riding out that way sometime. Being that there's a national forest there, I'd suspect there might be a campground or two that would allow a guy to put up his tent for the night?
Nope, just original factory spoke wheels. As far as campgrounds, there are several all throughout the region between North Carolina and Tennessee. There's actually a nice motorcycle campground in Suches, North Georgia near the North Carolina state line just a few miles from the mountains with some nice twisty scenic roads. They have cabins (a little primitive), a lodge with a dining hall, tent camping and showers. Its called Two Wheels Of Suches, there's always riders there. Here's a link to their website. https://twowheelsofsuches.com/ . Its a pretty cool place just for riders.
 

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Maybe I was thinking of Critters bike.
Anyhow, I think for my spring/summer ride, I still want to head west. Some things I just can't see too much of, like those Rocky Mountains, Garden of The Gods, northern New Mexico, etc.

But if I can manage a second trip in late summer, early fall might just have to check out the facilities at that Two Wheels Of Suches place. But it will depend on weather and finances. ;)
 

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So do I, I wanted one since I saw my dad's neighbor bring one home in the 60.s
 

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How does that Springer front end feel compared to the more typical fork? Are they so similar that, while riding, you forget it's a Springer?

It does look good.
 

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Interesting history.
It's funny, I've been in that area twice but never got to ride the dragon because of circumstances. My brother recently retired and moved to Maryville, TN so it's practically in his backyard, so I suspect that this summer I'll finally get down there and ride it a few times.
 
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