Kawasaki Ninja 300 Forums banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,602 Posts
Really nice photos and glad you were able to get out after the rain! It looks like you two had alot of fun. I have always wanted to visit the Dragon but I need a damn truck. Other than your tire issue it looks like your 300 handled the dragon very well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
107 Posts
Looks like an awesome trip, thanks for sharing! I need to make it down there one of these days.

Xeon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Really nice photos and glad you were able to get out after the rain! It looks like you two had alot of fun. I have always wanted to visit the Dragon but I need a damn truck. Other than your tire issue it looks like your 300 handled the dragon very well.

Thanks hoss. My ZX14 usually eats rear tires, and though the rear tire was cold shearing from the corner exit hamfistings of the throttle...it was the front tire that took the brunt of the punishment down there. My wife's 300 did exceptionally well most everywhere we rode, aside from some steep inclines where another 10hp would've been handy, it's the bike to have for precision corner carving
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Looks like an awesome trip, thanks for sharing! I need to make it down there one of these days.

Xeon
Once you go, you'll be kicking yourself for putting it off. I've had a truck and trailer for years, but we usually blew our budget on tracktime so we'd never gone to the Gap until now. It cost a bit more than a double trackday does, but was well worth it. We talked all the way home about nabbing a few cheap acres and tossing up a small cabin to make the trip multiple times a year, shave overall expenses, and have equity to later build our retirement home on....the riding really is THAT good down there compared to our home area in Ohio. Plus it's not incredibly far from Barber and VIR to pacify the track urges, although the roads down there are almost better than tracktime since you're not limited to 20 minute sessions every hour....just ride until you can't, take a break to recharge, then back at it.
Do yourself a solid and just make the trip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Wow looks like a blast!
Haha I want a similar set up, once I graduate college I plan to buy a Toyota Tacoma and a 600 but keep the 300, I'll probably stay away from the 14... Haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Wow looks like a blast!
Haha I want a similar set up, once I graduate college I plan to buy a Toyota Tacoma and a 600 but keep the 300, I'll probably stay away from the 14... Haha
For just one bike, the Tacoma does great. Had to get a trailer years ago when the wife started riding because there's not enough bed space for 2 bikes.
I plan to upgrade to a Tundra in the next year or so ( yes, I'm a Toyota truck fanboy ) and buy a toyhauler so we can head out west with ease. Love my Tacoma, but it's max tow is 6500 lbs and I dont want to push it's limits.
I love my 14 because I'm a wide, stout guy at 6ft 280. So it's more like a big guys 1000 to me LOL. They got a lot of power and comfy enough to ride all day long, but if you're coming from a 300 then you're right, it's not a good idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
For just one bike, the Tacoma does great. Had to get a trailer years ago when the wife started riding because there's not enough bed space for 2 bikes.
I plan to upgrade to a Tundra in the next year or so ( yes, I'm a Toyota truck fanboy ) and buy a toyhauler so we can head out west with ease. Love my Tacoma, but it's max tow is 6500 lbs and I dont want to push it's limits.
I love my 14 because I'm a wide, stout guy at 6ft 280. So it's more like a big guys 1000 to me LOL. They got a lot of power and comfy enough to ride all day long, but if you're coming from a 300 then you're right, it's not a good idea.
yeah.... at 5'4 145lbs 600s are even iffy haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
yeah.... at 5'4 145lbs 600s are even iffy haha
Dont discount 650 vtwins. They are very capable and torquey stepping stones from a small caliber parallel twin. I feel they're more manageable than an inline 4 cyl.

Looks awesome. I don't ride road much anymore, but a few roads are still on my bucket list and that's one of them.
If you're predominantly a track guy, you'd love the roads down there. VERY tracklike feeling rides. The speed limit is low at the Dragon at 30mph, but when we rode it hard we still only managed 35-40 average. Definitely consider it
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
Dont discount 650 vtwins. They are very capable and torquey stepping stones from a small caliber parallel twin. I feel they're more manageable than an inline 4
Oh I had a 600 before my 300. Went down to master technique and form, and also ride slower haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
woah, it looks beautiful out there! i want to go!
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top