129 the dragon. BEWARE! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-08-2008, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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129 the dragon. BEWARE!

All you riders that travel the dragon beware. Anyone who has rode the dragon knows there are dangers in riding the curves. Going to fast; riding above your skill levels, vehicles taking the inside corners etc. Well I was on the dragon Sunday after going to Cherokee Bike rally and I was at the top stopped at the over look on the right side gravel area sitting on the rock wall. There was six SB going to take off and start heading down the dragon. Three or four of the bikes took off and another was just about to when a truck came around the corner so he went to stop at the very end of the gravel section where the rock wall and the guard rail come together. went to Put his foot down and there is a big whole there bike fell over on him; and he said his arm got caught between the bike and the rail. It broke both the bones in his arm about six inches above the wrist. We helped him out of the whole and some one rode down the hill to get the police that are always somewhere on the hill. There is no cell service up there. He was in exteme pain so I took my pad out of the back of my jacket and made a make shift brace for his arm. Well he had about an hour wait for the ambulance to get to him and I can tell you one thing the four police that showed up acted as if it was more of a nucance to them than anything. So this poor guy is sitting there in extreme pain for an hour and the only thing the troopers wanted to know was his name, if he had insurance for the bike and what was he going to do about his bike. He could not leave it up there or they would not be responsble for it. Yes I am rambling on about the fine caring police officers that showed up And by no means do I think that all law inforcement officers are this way. Some are caring and truly are there to help. These did not. So back to the warning! There is a big whole at the end of the rock wall and gaurd rail. This young man was real lucky if you consider having a broken arm and slightly damaged cycle luckly. But the bike got caught on the gaurd rail and he was down in the whole. If the bike landed on top of him I say it could of been a lot worse. So be careful. there is a whole lot more dangers on the dragon besides the curves.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-08-2008, 10:42 PM
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I bet he has a better story by the time he tells his forum about it

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 08:58 AM
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You also have to watch out for tractor trailers. They are so long they often take up both lanes while trying to negotiate the curves. They use the dragon to avoid a weigh station.

There are so many great roads around here with no traffic, the dragon is really just a tourist trap at this point.

Don
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 11:10 AM
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I love to ride in that area. Except for the "dragon". I only ride it to get to Robbinsville, it's the shortest way from I75.
There are many other great roads in the area to ride, the "dragon" thing has become a "novelty", every wannabe racer with a set of leathers and knee pucks think it's a "racetrack", and have ruined it I say. The last time down there I told my wife to stay off of the centerline.....she did, and lucky for her, I was past the apex of a corner, she was behind me, and sure enough while she was about the apex of the corner here came 2 wannabe's hauling ass, both in her lane. I figure if your any good, you would be racing on a track, and winning, not on a public road trying to look like Casey Stoner, just my opinion.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 02:12 PM
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X2 I agree about the racers and the dragon. I was fortunate, that when I rode it a few years back, it was the middle of the week and almost no traffic.

About the LEOs, I'm sure they have seen so much mayhem from racing SB, that they aren't as caring as they once were. I bet that a disproportionate amount of trouble there is a result of racing motorcycles. Just look at the "Tree of Shame."

Red
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 04:21 PM
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From what I see on killboy.com, the tractor trailers are often traveling through there and hog up the whole road.

Thanks for the warning about the dragon. One of these days I'd like to ride it, but that may not ever happen. That's okay, because there are plenty of other roads out there just waiting to be ridden. I agree that the Dragon seems like it's more a novelty than anything else in this day and age.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-09-2008, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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I have to agree with most that the dragon is dead! It just happened to be the shortest route for me and my buddy going to cherokee NC.They said someone got killed up there on saturday. Same type of situation as jnor talked about someone going to fast crossed the line and hit another motorcyclist head on. I really love the curves but have to admit don't really think it worth the chance anymore. I normally go to tellico and go up cherahola skyway but that would have been about 60 miles out of the way. Also I did mention the fact that before this poor guy fell over there was no less than three bikers who asked had we just come up and did we see any cops. I told them yes even though we did not see any. I gaurantee they would have taken off like a bat out of hell if I said I did not see any. My buddy rides an 07 ninja monster bike and I quess everyone thinks we are speed demons. But the truth is he lets me take the lead and I can tell you I am not a racer.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 11:16 AM
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An unfortunate and odd mishap for sure. I can remember when tha Dragon was actually still fun . Now , I amdit , I make that remark according to my definition of fun . BUT...... It has turned into a place where riders of all sort of style bikes go to prove out new mods , upgrades and assumed skill levels .
The speed limit is 30 mph . Do I always run the speed limit , well , pett darn close . I tend to run the posted mph within no more than 9 over unless I did't see a sign . With that said , I was on the dragon twice this year and personally have no intention of a return trip . Fun road ? Of course ! Lots of twisties ? Yes ! Big Trcuks ? Yes ! Tons of nikes ? Yes ! Fun time ? NO !!!!!
With all the obvious perils on the Dragon , which by the way , we are all aware of the fact that is in large part it's draw , the single most dangerous thing on a regular minute by minute basis , is the BIKE HAULING BUTT . Yep , trucks take up entire curves but it is not illegal and riders no the trucks are potetnailly around each and every curve .
I have had more close calls from riders dragging a knee and veering into my lane than any other situation that was a near miss . In fact , for me personally , the only near misses was from bikes . Albiet , some wanne bee speed racer sorts in their sports cars have made the pucker factor jump right on up there . All in all , WE , RIDERS are the number one cause of havoc on the Dragon .
In knowing that , one woudl think riders as a group and as a community would use the needed cautions to make the Dragon , once again a fun place to go . Depending on personal definition of of course . I suppose I am trying to say , that it is such a disappointment knowing that a certain type of rider , and a particular style bike group for the most part , have fouled the air . Getting our reputation back as responsible people in a fun and exhilerating sport seems to be something that may never heal in the eye of the general public .
For instance , making reference to the cops showing such a lack of concern for the rider that broke his hand . I am not condoning LEO's behavior at all but think of it this way . Be as it may , profiling is wrong by default , but let's face it . If you were a cop and worked that road , in time , you would and could only assume that riders were taking uneccessary risks and become hardened to it . This may not be a popular thing to say among riders , but the last time I was on the Dragon , I nearly got clocked by 4 riders over the course of on day in head on collisons . I stopped on the side of the road one time to adjust my suspension and there happened to be a cop there writing a ticket . As the rider pulled away , he pulled up to me and was cussing the cop for writing him a ticket . I of course inquired why he got the ticket . The rider told me he had laid his bike down and the cop wrote him up for driving to fast for conditions and wreckless driving . That's a big one by the way . The thing that blew me away was when the rider said " , can you believe he didn't even ask if my bike was ok " ? Ilooked at the rider and just laughed . He thought I was luaghing at the cop for being a jerk . the turth be told , I was laughing at the only idiot in my presence .
If I were working that road as a cop , I would be out of my mind . Never the less . I did walk over to the cop and sort of tried to get him to lighten up a bit and started chatting . Told him I appreciated his effort to keep the road safe . He sighed and said it was a losing battle and he was tired of seeing kids needlessly die . I told him what the rider had said about him showing no conern for the guy s bike . THEN the cop laighed for sure . Man , did I put a quarter in his slot . LEO told me that the rider came by him riding like he had some sense , waved at LEO , turned around immdeiatley and came hauling ass around the curve as to prove some point like he couldnt be caught . That's what the rider was doing when he laid his machine down . I thought that LEO was gonna laugh himself to tears . I know , I know , we all don't do like that , but with thousands and thousand and thousands per week doing just that , I am not so sure I wold be worried about him or his bike either .

When you walk into a resturaunt with your gear in hand and you are one of few bikers in the place , tell me how often someone strikes up an unsolicited converstaion with you about poor rider behavior and or injury or a wreck they saw . Rarely does a non-riding stranger have much if anything positive to offer us in public conversation . Yes , on occasion one will say something positive and or encouraging , but we all know what I am saying is true .
The Dragon has by all means become a burial place for the reputation of riders . The more we ignore the need for proper rider education and so little consiquence for wreckless behavior , the more deaths , wrecks and injuries , and the more the reputation takes a dive .
Motorcycle sales are at an all time high this year . It is high time the experienced riders take a stand and help new riders learn some control of their behavior and their machines . Laws will begin to change so dratically and so strengent that it will come to a point there will be little or now fun in it . That in itself is why mid powered Dual Sport Bikes are number one sellers today . So many riders who stopped riding years ago are getting back into and going to a more reasonable machine . Young first time bike owners are buying up all the 160 hp bikes they can find .
Me personally , I am for a more stringent learners prorgam and power rstrictions such as Australia has . I am not trying to be a jerk and have peoples right to kill themselves revoked . I am trying to keep myself and our reputaion as a whole ALIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 11:42 AM
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Go during the week. No crowds, very few cops. It's a great road, yes there are many in the area but few are maintained as well as Deals Gap.

As for saving lives, Deals has no more fatalities per year than any other mountain hot spot. The NGa mountains had 13 fatalities in 04.

The Dragon gets to much attention from press, and boards like this.

Please stay off the Dragon......

That's less traffic I have to deal with!
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by mudarra View Post
Go during the week. No crowds, very few cops. It's a great road, yes there are many in the area but few are maintained as well as Deals Gap.

As for saving lives, Deals has no more fatalities per year than any other mountain hot spot. The NGa mountains had 13 fatalities in 04.

The Dragon gets to much attention from press, and boards like this.

Please stay off the Dragon......

That's less traffic I have to deal with!


MUDARRA ,

Well put and to the point . I would have to agree , ( although I am not up there on a regualr basis ) that through the week is the best time . It seems to have always been particularly good in the early morning hours before the trucks make it up that far .
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 11:57 AM
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I like to ride the Dragon in the morning, while it is cool. Then when the temps rise in the early afternoon, I head to the Cherohala Skyway to cool down.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-10-2008, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PO-SLOKE View Post
An unfortunate and odd mishap for sure. I can remember when tha Dragon was actually still fun . Now , I amdit , I make that remark according to my definition of fun . BUT...... It has turned into a place where riders of all sort of style bikes go to prove out new mods , upgrades and assumed skill levels .
The speed limit is 30 mph . Do I always run the speed limit , well , pett darn close . I tend to run the posted mph within no more than 9 over unless I did't see a sign . With that said , I was on the dragon twice this year and personally have no intention of a return trip . Fun road ? Of course ! Lots of twisties ? Yes ! Big Trcuks ? Yes ! Tons of nikes ? Yes ! Fun time ? NO !!!!!
With all the obvious perils on the Dragon , which by the way , we are all aware of the fact that is in large part it's draw , the single most dangerous thing on a regular minute by minute basis , is the BIKE HAULING BUTT . Yep , trucks take up entire curves but it is not illegal and riders no the trucks are potetnailly around each and every curve .
I have had more close calls from riders dragging a knee and veering into my lane than any other situation that was a near miss . In fact , for me personally , the only near misses was from bikes . Albiet , some wanne bee speed racer sorts in their sports cars have made the pucker factor jump right on up there . All in all , WE , RIDERS are the number one cause of havoc on the Dragon .
In knowing that , one woudl think riders as a group and as a community would use the needed cautions to make the Dragon , once again a fun place to go . Depending on personal definition of of course . I suppose I am trying to say , that it is such a disappointment knowing that a certain type of rider , and a particular style bike group for the most part , have fouled the air . Getting our reputation back as responsible people in a fun and exhilerating sport seems to be something that may never heal in the eye of the general public .
For instance , making reference to the cops showing such a lack of concern for the rider that broke his hand . I am not condoning LEO's behavior at all but think of it this way . Be as it may , profiling is wrong by default , but let's face it . If you were a cop and worked that road , in time , you would and could only assume that riders were taking uneccessary risks and become hardened to it . This may not be a popular thing to say among riders , but the last time I was on the Dragon , I nearly got clocked by 4 riders over the course of on day in head on collisons . I stopped on the side of the road one time to adjust my suspension and there happened to be a cop there writing a ticket . As the rider pulled away , he pulled up to me and was cussing the cop for writing him a ticket . I of course inquired why he got the ticket . The rider told me he had laid his bike down and the cop wrote him up for driving to fast for conditions and wreckless driving . That's a big one by the way . The thing that blew me away was when the rider said " , can you believe he didn't even ask if my bike was ok " ? Ilooked at the rider and just laughed . He thought I was luaghing at the cop for being a jerk . the turth be told , I was laughing at the only idiot in my presence .
If I were working that road as a cop , I would be out of my mind . Never the less . I did walk over to the cop and sort of tried to get him to lighten up a bit and started chatting . Told him I appreciated his effort to keep the road safe . He sighed and said it was a losing battle and he was tired of seeing kids needlessly die . I told him what the rider had said about him showing no conern for the guy s bike . THEN the cop laighed for sure . Man , did I put a quarter in his slot . LEO told me that the rider came by him riding like he had some sense , waved at LEO , turned around immdeiatley and came hauling ass around the curve as to prove some point like he couldnt be caught . That's what the rider was doing when he laid his machine down . I thought that LEO was gonna laugh himself to tears . I know , I know , we all don't do like that , but with thousands and thousand and thousands per week doing just that , I am not so sure I wold be worried about him or his bike either .

When you walk into a resturaunt with your gear in hand and you are one of few bikers in the place , tell me how often someone strikes up an unsolicited converstaion with you about poor rider behavior and or injury or a wreck they saw . Rarely does a non-riding stranger have much if anything positive to offer us in public conversation . Yes , on occasion one will say something positive and or encouraging , but we all know what I am saying is true .
The Dragon has by all means become a burial place for the reputation of riders . The more we ignore the need for proper rider education and so little consiquence for wreckless behavior , the more deaths , wrecks and injuries , and the more the reputation takes a dive .
Motorcycle sales are at an all time high this year . It is high time the experienced riders take a stand and help new riders learn some control of their behavior and their machines . Laws will begin to change so dratically and so strengent that it will come to a point there will be little or now fun in it . That in itself is why mid powered Dual Sport Bikes are number one sellers today . So many riders who stopped riding years ago are getting back into and going to a more reasonable machine . Young first time bike owners are buying up all the 160 hp bikes they can find .
Me personally , I am for a more stringent learners prorgam and power rstrictions such as Australia has . I am not trying to be a jerk and have peoples right to kill themselves revoked . I am trying to keep myself and our reputaion as a whole ALIVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well said !!!!!
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 03:52 PM
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I have to add one more comment on this topic . Quite the paradoxical approach is taken overall when it comes to the topic of the " Tail of The Dragon " . Obviously , we as humans have different outputs on the subject which accounts for different inputs .

Again , as humans , we tend to defend what we are most passonate about , and obviously riding is the passion that brings us all together in decent forums such as this one .

Each and every one of us have heeds to offer each other no matter our view point . But the most commonly excepted heeds and warnings are posted on a website that claims to be the utmost authority and the host to the " Tail of The Dragon " riding community .

Honestly , I find their site to be a very " can't get on one side of the fence " paradox in itslef . They too speak largely of the dangers of the Dragon and even spell it out quite clearly . Making large claims about of knowing it all . All the warnings , all the history , every single detail they can think of .

Yet on the same site and in the same breath , they powerfully condone continuing poor rider ethics and even place strongly suggestive information out there to create a strong challenge to those willing to risk themselves and us all for the sake of one run . I mean , you don't see photogs on the side of every curve on I-40 do you . You don't see endless claims of victory of times from which point to which point you need to run to be the fastest and how to acquire the official time on I-70 do you . Then they make a poor disclaimer by throwing out the challenge to beat the best time by saying , " don't try it , you can't do it " .



HHHMMMMM , you see , that's not rider responsibility being passed on to young new riders . That is challeging and promoting a racerhead mentality . Unforunately , if someone wants to be a racer head , I am in support of it . Just go find some sponsors and a track . Why should my tax dollars sponsor their need to be swept up off the shoulder of the road . Not to mention , why should I be swept up with them due to the challenge they read on a website that invited them to come attempy killing you , themselves and foc course , ME .
Not trying to pick solely on the Dragon , because this is a nationwide , highway wide issue . BUT..... The people that are commercially on the Dragon have marketed it from a profiteering point of view at the risk of life and of course liberty for the sake of monetary gain . HHHMMMM
To postup on the WORLD WIDE WEB , and say , " you cannot do this , but this is how WE did it " is a little hard for me to believe that isn't percieved as a challenge .

My point !!! Ride your own ride , but , PLEASE don't kill me in the process . If you saw Ozyran's Post above , he opens with " what he saw on ..... KILLBOY.com " . In all due respect Ozyran , it appears to me you are blaming trucks for committing legal commerce for the problem . Correct me if I am wrong .


It is not illegal for trucks to be on 129 . It is not illegal for them to extend over the yellow line for the sake of commerce ( I mean , you did get your computer on a truck you know ) . But it is illegal to knee drag on the Dragon at 70 mph hour and or cross and or pass on a yellow double line . No matter how slow the vehicle is going that is in front of you .
However , if a truck extends over the yellow line and strikes another vehicle without warning of their coming , the truck is held responsible for the accident . Now , if a bike or car comes blistering around a curve in access of the speed limit and strikes a truck that has crossed the yellow line for the sake of commerce , and the truck is at or under the speed limit . The truck is not held liable .

Here is something most people are not aware of as far as traffic laws go ......


No mater how steep , or how not steep a hill is ..... THE UPHILL TRAFFIC HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY , even if it is across the center line . Why , because it is more difficult to get a vehicle started back up and inlcine . Basically , the guy needing momentum is in the right no matter what . I know , I know , someone is gonna say , but what if it is to steep for me to get stopped and I am going down the hill . You then are going to fast for conditions . I assure you . LOL

Just my two pence and my IMHO . I just wonder why some commercial operations on the Dragon don't have a webiste called . www.Don't-KillBoy.com ? Then again , I have always had to earn my own way in life and really could not , or did not want to afford death or dismemberment . Just the way I am I suppose ..............

Here are some links I am sure most have seen , but this is what I mean about commercialzing high risk with taxpayer dollars . I swear , I am not trying to piss folks off or start a fuss , but when noone matters but ME , I am wrong .

http://www.tailofthedragon.com/dragon.html

http://www.killboy.com/destiny.html

Last edited by PO-SLOKE; 09-11-2008 at 04:35 PM.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 06:05 PM
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Uh, I hate to rain on your parade......

1 - trucks cannot legally cross the centerline on the Dragon.
They can and do get tickets for lane violations when the police are around. The police will usually escort them over the dragon, then pull them over after the end where it is safer.

http://killboy.blogspot.com/2008/09/...e-as-well.html


2 - It doesn't matter if a vehicle is going up a hill or down a hill, a vehicle crossing the centerline NEVER has the right of way. Once again, lane violation. You cross a centerline, and you have given up all right of way.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 06:06 PM
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Here are some links I am sure most have seen , but this is what I mean about commercialzing high risk with taxpayer dollars .

http://www.tailofthedragon.com/dragon.html

http://www.killboy.com/destiny.html
Ok, but both of these are private businesses, so how do taxpayer dollars fit in?
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 06:25 PM
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dAs for crossing the center line , driver nessecity laws take effect .

As for tax payer dollars , it eqautes to multiple sources . One , roads are built and maintained with by tax payers dollars , the injuries cause by wrecklessness that most riders can't afford the medical treatments for a couple . I suppose my real point regarding that is the commercialization of their business is profiteering through a tax paid , public facility that requires no expense to them for it's existance . In other words , who built the merry-go-round anyway .

Look at BRP , no concessioners at all and it is also a federally funded road . Yes , I a aware it is a National Park , but noe the less , a federal road .

Don't forget , 129 is a US highway , not state , not county , not city . Trucks in my opinion should not be alloowed on any road without an escort in the event there is a remote chance of NEEDING to cross the center line .

Laws are funny in application for sure . My point is , if you are speeding , you are in offense . Hell , I really don't care as long as innocent people are not getting hurt . That's my point .I suppose it stems from picking pieces of human remains up for so many years and putting the in a big black ziplock and or putting them in a bus or chopper trying to save their lives . Only to see them taking others safety in their own hands again shortly thereafter . Hec , I am all about getting back on the horse as soon as you fall off , but not in a case where others not asking for the situation to become their issue .

I just do not feel it is fair to you for me to risk your life for the sake of being seen . Or for any other reason for that matter .

Again , I would like to see semi trucks banned from 129 as well a the road I live on . I live on a road that is a tourist trap also . We deal with wrecks nearly every single day here in less miles than from Tapoco to Robbinsville . You gotta remember , I don't live far from the Dragon at all like some others in here . I hear about it everyday .

The difference in the tourist trap I live within is the product that is marketed is not a federally funded propery . All private . That's all . Not trying to fuss or fight . But I do enjoy and appreciate everyone elses input . Even if we disagree , there is not reason we all should not be willing to help in a bad situation and to jointly help prevent it .
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 07:41 PM
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I see your point about the fed money for maintenance and uninsured medical.
And yes, those businesses did not build the road. But the dragon isn't the only government project that has turned into a tourist trap. (Golden Gate Bridge, Mall in DC and all the fed buildings around it, etc, etc). This one just happens to be a road located in a very nice scenic area. I don't mind that they are making a living there. Commercialization doesn't make it bad, inconsiderate riders/drivers do.

And yes, there are gift shops with BRP souvenirs. I bought a nice t-shirt last time I was up there. It just doesn't draw the testoserone laden super bike studs deals attracts.

I completely agree with required escorts for trucks, or banning altogether. But I do not feel that the trucks cause the majority of crashes there. Once again, inconsiderate rider/drivers.

I have noticed in the four years I have been going up there, that police enforcement has cut down on the crowds. It sucks for the businesses but is great for those of us who like to ride there.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 07:56 PM
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mudarra ,

Man you are so right and I so agree , no one group alone is largely at fault for sure .
I suppose I should have said that the concessionors on the BRP are not private , but yes , you can buy trinketry for sure . I live right at the base of the BRP . Hwy 215 is said to be the location of more wrecks than all of the other access roads to the BRP put together . 214 is my access point . LOL

Let's ride sometime if you are up for a really casual paced riding buddy . Wanna know the truth ? And I am willing to be honest about too .

It scares the hell outta me these days , being on the road . It wouldn't matter if I were in a stainless steel cages . ROFLMBO . My nerves are no longer made of steel and I try to be safe and push others to be safe to the point of being a PIA . LOL

But I like everybody regardless . Well , except for bullys and child abducters , I like most folks . LOL

I bet you and I could get together one day and have some seriously fun converstaion . Even if we disagreed , I bet we could both agree on a lunch spot . LOL
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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I started this thread for the plain simple reason to let anyone that is riding the dragon for what ever reason to be careful of the hole at the top at the overlook. So that no one else gets hurt for lack of knowledge. I also think that bikers are there own worst enemy as far as image go's. And I can't agree more as to the fact that it is scary out there and we all need to take extra care no matter where we ride and on what.
JERRYES is offline  
post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 09:38 PM
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Yep, yep, and yep.

I guess I'm not as nervous as some are on the dragon because of the traffic situation in metro ATL.
Getting to the mountains is the most treacherous part of my trips. People around here are crazy. When I get in the mountains, I relax a little, take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

I've had a few close calls on the dragon with oncoming traffic crossing the center line.
But in comparison, I've had MANY close calls on ATL interstates with drivers who were too busy doing other things (instead of driving).

We definitely need to ride more. Post less!
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