Tail of the Dragon Oct-2012
My friend Salva and I took a little trip to the infamous Tail of the Dragon, otherwise known as Deals Gap and Rt. 129. We were Tail of the Dragon virgins. I have heard of it and I wasn't that interested, then I kept seeing pictures on killboy’s facebook page and it looked fun. I really wanted to take the vintage bikes on the road, get them photographed with me on them, which never seems to happen. I take pictures of my friends on them but no one seems to take my picture on them.
In a nutshell, The Dragon is awesome. It’s not just the road that makes it awesome. The road is decent, a little overkill when I first got on it. It’s a low speed road unless you are a professional rider. It does not have the long high speed sweepers that we are used in this area (Rt. 33). I think my max speed was 79mph on a short straight, then down shift, small amount of front brake and an off the bike lean to make the turn. On the second day I was hooked. The road is too much fun at high speeds with no traffic around.
What makes it awesome is the whole package. Everything and everyone in the area likes, has, rides, or supports the motorcyclists. There are tons of fellow riders around. All seemed nice and chatty, especially when we were riding the vintage bikes. I saw very few motorcyclist morons. A couple scared ones riding almost too slow. Slow enough to fall over. There were fast sport bike riders but they were talented and cautious around other riders.
We stayed at the Dragon Pitt Inn. It was nice and in a perfect location when driving a truck down with a trailer. It’s easy to get to from the highway. There is no reason to haul the truck and trailer with the bikes over the mountain so staying on the West side of the Dragon is a no brainer. The motel was nice, clean, moto friendly, owned and operated by a married couple that rides. It’s a very nice 9 miles from the Dam overlook and the start of the Dragon. Perfect amount of time to get your tires warmed up before hitting the Dragon.
We left Northern Virginia Wednesday around 1pm I think. We made a couple stops and got to the motel at 11:30pm I believe. Woke up the next morning and chatted with some motel patrons, met the owner, chatted with him a little. It was chilly so we got the vintage bikes started and did a little test ride. It was cold but we headed for the Dragon anyway. We got to the scenic overlook and stopped for a photo op and continued on. The photographers were out already. I think we rode the whole 11 miles without stopping until we got to the Motorcycle Resort on the other side. Stopped for some chatting with the other bikers, got some food and drink and headed back the way we came. About halfway through the Dragon I passed a semi-truck. He didn't have an escort yet so I turned around, chased him down, passing Salva in the process I motioned for him to turn around and follow. The ill guided trucker let me pass and I motioned to him to follow me and I attempted to warn oncoming traffic. I was leading him and Salva was following, it was pretty neat. A few turns down the road the truck got stuck on gravity cavity, a sharp turn with drastically changing elevation. He blocked both lanes of the road. I stopped oncoming traffic around the corner, got off my bike, took some pictures and then got back on my vintage bike and rode in the ditch to go around the truck to meet up with Salva and ride back down the mountain since I was sure they would need to bring in a wrecker to get the truck unstuck. Shortly after the end of the Dragon my bike ran out of gas. I was able to coast into a large parking lot near the lake. I took Salva’s bike and rode back to the motel to get the gas can, then rode back to where I left Salva and my bike. Put some gas in both bikes then rode back to the motel for some rest and food. Then we took the sport bikes out. That was pretty uneventful.
It rained Thursday night so we got a slow start Friday. We went to town for breakfast but happened to go to the only place in the world that doesn't serve breakfast. We hit the Dragon on the vintage bikes. Went to the store on the other side of the mountain, rode in front of the photographers a few times to get our picture taken. Salva was having way too much fun on the bobber and crashed it into a ditch. It was busted up a little and wouldn't start so I rode back to the motel, got my truck and went to pick him and the bike up. We went back and got the sport bikes and went up the mountain. It was 5:45pm and the volume on the Dragon really dropped. It was great. I was flying. We went to the store and got t-shirts and headed back. I was able to do a high speed run from the border to the overlook without meeting any other vehicles going my direction. It was awesome.
The fun was over. Salva was a little battered and we were down one bike. Our motel was booked so we headed home. I can’t wait to go back in April or May 2013.
See all 133 pictures KillBoy took of us in this album I made.
Visit the tailofthedragon.com's website.