Orlando to the Tail of the Dragon - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Orlando to the Tail of the Dragon

Getting ready for my first out of state ride with the 2015 Versys 650 to North Carolina. First time riding the tail of the Dragon. I just put a set of Q3s on the bike I got for a deal, so I grabbed them.
The front tire is a 120/60ZR17, so I will report back if that makes much of a difference on the ride and handling.
For luggage I have an Emgo travel trunk I rigged up to my Givi rear rack adapter. I have the DrySpeck 66 (2 bags) that I will fit on the back seat.
I installed a Kuryakyn 6218 Universal Econo-Throttle Assist. Tested it for a few miles and was working fine, see how it works on the long miles.
Leaving on June 28th and will be at Maggie Valley, NC for the Thunder in the Smokies with my Harley friends. Then we will ride up to the Tail of the Dragon and hit up the other roads out there as well.
Head back to Orlando July 3rd.
Will have some photos and updates as the trip starts.
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 09:19 AM
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That's awesome! I have a group of friends leaving from Chicago to ride the tail by mid June. I couldn't join giving work has been demanding. I've been there driving a convertible and it was just wonderful. Keep the rubber side down and enjoy the scenery.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 10:36 AM
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Be careful the dragon is no joke! I went a few years back and saw two different crashes. Bikes were totaled and riders sent to hospital in ambulance in one instance. Be sure to check out the tree of shame for proof! You will also see the locals that run it like a race track with full leathers, dragging knees and will pass you up like your sitting still. Have fun and ride your at your own skill level. Your going to have a blast and a lot of good memories!
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 11:09 AM
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Timsters correct on you riding your own pace. On weekends it gets real crowded so don't get distracted by people roaring by you.

While in Maggie Valley, I'm sure your HD friends will have you stop at the Wheels Through Time museum. Incredible collection of American made bikes.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 12:36 PM
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And on weekday mornings the locals in their pickup trucks straighten the road on their way to work EEK! The Dragon is a road you ride to say you did and get the T-shirt and then go enjoy all the other roads in the area. There are roads as twisty as the Dragon up in those mountains that are still posted at 55 MPH!
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-05-2018, 03:33 PM
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The Cherohala Skyway is a better road, IMO. It's not as tight and can be just as exhilarating! Matter of fact, 2 years ago when I took the CTX up to The Dragon there were actually more accidents on the Cherohala than on The Dragon, but not because it's any more dangerous. (One was pretty bad as the guy took his son - all on sports bikes - through there for THE FIRST TIME EVER RIDING! The dad passed on a curve and the son followed, clipping a car trying to get back in their lane. Idiots!)


No matter what roads you go I always worry more about the buttheads who go beyond their abilities. Plenty of stories from azzhats who wipe out and their bike goes flying into the well-mannered riders, taking them out in the process.

Have fun and be careful. I'll be going up that way myself this weekend!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 07:20 AM
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My buddy and I just got back from a 6 day trip to NC ..we did not ride the dragon..we rode it in December and that was enough for me..It's a great road but as has been mentioned there are way better roads in that area...

We came down from NJ and rode the Skyline and then rode the BRP most of the way down ..on the way down we took a few detours to do some loops but on the way back, rode the BRP all the way back to Skyline Dr ... only having to get off at one section that was closed...but we got right back on..

Be safe and stay alert...the dragon is not a forgiving road..there are no guard rails on most of it and if you go off, you will be in a world of hurt...literally and figuratively

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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 07:42 AM
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Greg, heed all you hear about the Dragon. It is not for the faint of heart. I have been there many times with different bikes. Always rode it on a week day. Week end are too crowded. If you ride the BRP have lunch at the Mt. Pisgha Lodge and have the crab cakes. They are the best.

Be safe
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 06:29 AM
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You have to do the Dragon, well because it is the Dragon (need to check that off the bucket list) if you have to do it on a weekend. Do it early like 8:00 am. They no longer allow semis on it which is a good thing. Lots of great roads in that general area. Enjoy your ride and be safe.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GregB View Post
Getting ready for my first out of state ride with the 2015 Versys 650 to North Carolina. First time riding the tail of the Dragon. I just put a set of Q3s on the bike I got for a deal, so I grabbed them.
The front tire is a 120/60ZR17, so I will report back if that makes much of a difference on the ride and handling.
For luggage I have an Emgo travel trunk I rigged up to my Givi rear rack adapter. I have the DrySpeck 66 (2 bags) that I will fit on the back seat.
I installed a Kuryakyn 6218 Universal Econo-Throttle Assist. Tested it for a few miles and was working fine, see how it works on the long miles.
Leaving on June 28th and will be at Maggie Valley, NC for the Thunder in the Smokies with my Harley friends. Then we will ride up to the Tail of the Dragon and hit up the other roads out there as well.
Head back to Orlando July 3rd.
Will have some photos and updates as the trip starts.
That’s fantastic! I’m also in Orlando and will be coming back down to Florida the week after. I’ve ridden the dragon - my own speed - and yes, there were some sport bikes who think they are on a track. Get your pic taken and have a blast.

When you get back hit me up if you want to ride. Be safe.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old 06-09-2018, 09:17 PM
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I'm in North Carolina, if your up for it. Drop me a line and I'll see if another member on the forum can meet you and we can all grab some food. I have already been through the Dragon on my 16' Versys and really enjoyed it. I went with my uncle on his Kawasaki Concours last year. I also suggest riding at your own pace, I did and really got to enjoy myself.

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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2018, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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What an amazing ride we had! 1,804 miles total and 5 states total. After riding all my life in Florida, I regret not going to North Carolina sooner cause the ride was not that bad up there. The Smokies and Deals Gap were an experience. Will have more photos to share soon. The Versys was great......Spent a total of $83.97 on gas for the whole trip. 6/29 to 7/3. Only major thing is to adjust my chain since I've been back. I would like to experiment with some other seat solutions for longer rides. I used the beads on my stock seat for a Key West trip and this one...and I think I need more than that.
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2018, 02:35 PM
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What an amazing ride we had!....
GLAD you had a good ride - I always tell guys that to "do a long ride"..., just get ON and GO.

I tell them: "IF you're nervous about the idea of a LON-N-NG trip - just think of it as several (or a BUNCH) of THREE-DAY rides linked together... then GO!"



(Looking forward to your RIDE REPORT!)
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2018, 03:13 PM
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Glad it was fun and safe. The North Carolina area is beautiful.

16', Versys 650 LT, Black w/ modifications
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2018, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Some more photos and great views!
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post #16 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-09-2018, 11:05 PM
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My first 3 trips on the tail of the dragon were at night. It was for the 1982 worlds fair and we stayed up at Fontana dam. I got to lead my group of 3 bikes because I had a the best headlight. 2 up on a kz 550 in the dark. It was a lot more fun a few years ago on the c10 in the daylight.
It was just rt129 at that point no one had named it yet. Two lanes, tar snakes, damp roads, no turn outs, no photo ops, but also little traffic. We took it because it went where we wanted to go not because it had a name.
Glad you had a good time.
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post #17 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-10-2018, 08:21 AM
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GregB - glad you had a great trip up to the Smokey mountains. It's truly a motorcyclist's playground. Since my first time up there back in early 2000's I have a passion to visit there every year. And every time I go back, there's always something new to see - a road, historic landmark, or just an old house/church/structure that has a story to tell.

As a teacher I have the luxury of 2 months off and I try to plan a trip in the first few weeks of June when the rain is less frequent and the weather is perfect and, most importantly, there are few tourists at that time so you have less worry of traffic.

Hopefully, that area will do the same for you in terms of wanting to go back again...and again...and again...!!!
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post #18 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2018, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
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Had to take advantage of some action shosts and purchase them of the ride on the Dragon!
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post #19 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2018, 03:51 PM
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You absolutely have to check out Cherahala and Moonshiner while you are in the area.


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post #20 of 21 (permalink) Old 07-14-2018, 04:20 PM
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Greg, great to hear you enjoyed the ride and returned without leaving a deposit on the tree of shame. Next time up, ride the Cherohala Skyway. Deal Gap is know for 318 curves in 11 miles while Fla is best know for riding 318 miles with 11 curves.


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