Finally caught the Dragon by the tail
No good reasoning as to why the wife and I waited all these years to take in Deals Gap and it's surrounding routes, but now that we have, it's abundantly clear why it's such a well loved area. The riding there is second to none that I've ever experienced, aside only to track time. Not to mention the awe inspiring views.
I spent the first half of last week tuning up the truck, the bike, and overhauling my trailer so the wife and I could trust in it all for this trip. Met up with a couple buddies at an eagerly early 345am Thursday morning. We reached the Dragon right about noon to sunny skies and perfect weather conditions, so I got to enjoy driving it first on our way to check into our cabin at Ironhorse Motorcycle Resort in Robbinsville ( for anyone curious, it's a great place to stay, well ran, good people, and plentiful amenities ). Once we got unpacked, unloaded the bikes, and suited up, we went right for Rt129. Took a parade lap the first pass in heavier than expected traffic, but a couple hours later we got a fairly clean run at it and really dug in at a much better pace.
I like the Dragon, it's tight and technical turns bring exhilaratingly quick transitions, one after another, in an almost neverending succession. But, I honestly enjoyed a lot of the other routes we'd ridden the following day a bit more. Rt28 is a lot of fun, and better suited for the long gearing of my ZX14, whereas my wife's 300 was perfectly happy on the Dragon, some of the steeper uphill sections made her downshift and wring on her little bike to stick with us. Cherohala is a big favorite too. Even Foothills Pkway was enjoyable as a nice, easy ride of long sweeping turns and sweet overlooks.
Friday, we rode an awesome twisty route from NC, to TN, down to northern Georgia, and back. Blood Mtn was a blast. The beautiful elevation changes where most every corner is so sweetly banked, easily enabling extraordinary entry speeds that eventually shear away at your front tire until it's down to nothing, making you stop at the nearest dealer who gladly helped get me in and out at just over an hour. So, I nod my head with huge props to Union Powersports in Blairsville, GA and their excellent service of a last minute customer.
The ultimate culprit was a less than credible tire gauge that had lied it's ass off prior to us leaving the house. Their mechanic showed me the true pressure was at about 22psi, semi-hot. So ambient pressure that morning was likely sub 20psi, but the janky gauge had read around 32-34ish. Needless to say, that turd of a tool went into the garbage to be replaced with an accurate instrument.
Sadly, less than 5 minutes after we left the dealer is when the worst part happened. Torrential downpour. For the entire trip back to Ironhorse. I'd wager it was similar to what Noah experienced when the Earth flooded. Water was filling our boots, soaking our buttcracks, and running behind our helmet's visors, rendering us all virtually blind but for what was barely within our headlamp's range. We aren't fair weather riders, we've been caught in the rain before, no big deal. But this storm seemed to follow our every move with a non-stop dumping of buckets, thunder, and lightning. But why stop? Once you're soaked and out in the middle of who-the-heck-knows, embrace the hate and mush on. Took us over 3 hours to journey back from just outside Blairsville to Ironhorse. We got to see Bridal Veil Falls for all of 3 seconds as we rode past it, my leading buddy pointed up, we all looked, wife and I chuckled to one another over our Sena coms that the rain was coming down harder than the falls were, and kept riding. I'm just happy I didn't have to limp it through that storm on a bald front tire in the twisty hills, or I may not be here today to tell this little tale of conquering adversity. Albeit somewhat mild adversity, 'twas still a dangerous mission.
Saturday morning we all decided not to ride since the forecast showed rain all day, our gear was still soaked, and our pruned hands and feet had just dried out. So after breakfast we headed into Maggie Valley's famed Wheels Through Time Museum. Awesome place to visit for those that haven't been. There's a ton of history on display in that building, and quite a bit of it still runs. The owner fired up a few pieces to boast his handy work, pretty impressive to see something over a century old start right up and run. Nabbed some lunch before heading back to the cabin. Wife and I went to the Gap store for some keepsakes and took a spin for a bit to take in some more scenery before we packed up to ready our jettison the following morning.
Got back to the homestead about 5pm yesterday. Glad to say none of us went down, and we all had the best time. Looking forward to the next trip down there. Pics to follow
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2011 Triumph Sprint GT
2006 KTM 625SMC
Last edited by Brockified; 06-29-2015 at 12:10 PM.