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Friday, February 8, 2013

Slaying The Dragon - Part 2

The day after my father and I rode the Dragon together for the first time, my wife and I headed out and left our daughter with my parents for the day.  We headed straight for the Dragon.

As you might imagine, riding that road 2-up is a different experience from solo.  My wife was fearless and was sitting on the back taking photos and video while we rode.

We stopped at Deal's Gap Resort.

While looking at the Tree of Shame again, I noticed the Bastard Bash 5 logo from the Quad Cam Bastards.  They have an annual get-together at the resort every year.  I hope the rider was OK.

This ashtray was an interesting re-purposing of a gas tank.

We took a different road out of Deals Gap resort than my father and I did and ended up having lunch in a little town called Bryson.  It was the first time I ate fried green tomatoes (the platter in the middle).

From there, we headed north into Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  We took a side road out to Clingmans Dome.  I highly recommend it since the road is fun to ride and view from the dome is amazing.  However, the walk up to the dome is extremely steep and the elevation is 6,643 feet so I thought I was going to die on my short hike to the lookout point.

We left the park as the sun was beginning to set.  You exit the natural beauty of the national park and enter the disgustingly over-commercialized town of Pigeon Forge, TN.  It was a brutally stark contrast.  I'll take the park any day.  I returned the bike the following morning.

There is no way to convey the experience of riding the Dragon in words or in pictures.  Not only is the road great fun to ride, but the scenery is breathtaking.  You just have to go and experience it for yourself.  It's a very technical road with tight turns, elevation changes, and switchbacks.  It's not a road for beginners.  If you've been to Sturgis, it's like an even curvier version of Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.  I was glad we went mid-week late in the season so it wasn't super-busy.  When a sportbike or sports car does want to pass, there are spots where you pull over and let them.  The most important thing to remember is to ride at your own pace and within your limits.  Let the idiots end up on the Tree of Shame.


BoBo Jufat said...

I said, "Damn...." where do you find these places?

Gophers and Cheese said...

Which places? I always thought The Dragon's Tail / Deals Gap was pretty well known. I had wanted to go there for a few years. We stopped in Bryson because that's where we were when we happened to be hungry. The deep fried food was delicious. Great Smoky Mountain National Park isn't exactly a secret. Clingman's Dome was dumb luck - it just had a really weird name and wasn't too far off the main road through the national park so I figured we should check it out, having no idea what it was (the short hike up the hill really did suck though).

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