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Disastrous weekend at the Dragon for our Group


mrfbuyer7

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We should have just turned around when we saw the number of bikes at the bottom. We started with 7 bikes, and lost two before we hit the 7 mile mark. The first was a very experienced rider with his wife on a new Victory. A younger man on a FZ1, at mile marked 5, panicked and locked the front brake - low sided and slide right into and than under my buddies Victory, my buddy has a broken foot and his wife is bruised and cut up, the helmet saved her head - it is all scratched up on the left side. The young man has two messed up knees/legs. My buddies wife is a nurse and after recovering a little, actually tended to the young guy that caused the mess - he felt awful about it and kept thanking us for helping him. A third bike was involved in the crash, to avoid hitting the downed bikes, he had to send his bike over the side of the cliff and he dove off to save himself. He is OK, but the bike is done.

 

Next, my brother-in-law and my sister went to call for help on their brand new GS, he is an amazing rider with years of experience. On his way, at the mile 7 marker, a guy on a Shadow panicked and decided to cross both lanes and head to the other side to help him stop, and T-boned my brother-in-law's GS near the front end. My Brother-in-law has one broken wrist and the other is unusable, bruised ribs and very banged up, my sister made it OK, other than flying up in the air smashing into her husband (while at the same time in mid flight swearing like a sailor at the poor fellow that just hit them - she is something else). It was low speed, but the shadow rider (unhurt but shaken) hit the GS so hard it snapped the yoke in half that holds the front shocks.

 

Just wanted to point out, that weekends are not a good time to ride the Dragon, and if anyone is considering it and is unsure of their riding skills, please don't even try it on a weekend. Both wreaks were caused IMO by people riding a course well beyond their abilities and in turn caused major injuries to several others. Luckily no one was killed. The young man mentioned he would never ride again.

 

Rode straight back from the Deals Gap area to Dublin, Ohio yesterday, a beautiful 10.5 hour trip with a few stops for fuel, food and Advil.

 

The topper, the cabin was infested with bed bugs and everyone is covered with bites. What a weekend.

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What a fiasco!

 

Another reason why I am grateful that i live out west. It is funny, I read an article about the top 10 rides in America and the Dragon was number 1. None of the great rides out here made the list. I was glad since there are enough noobs out there.

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As a side note and a mild warning.

 

Welcome to the riding season. Vigilance!

 

As you have now experienced it's not just the cages to watch out for but also the moth balled motorcyclist.

 

Sorry for the really bad weekend.

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In an effort to make the Dragon more than it is...people have made the Dragon somewhat of a holy mecca for motorcycling...It AIN'T what it is cracked up to be...just a dangerous road...

 

Too dangerous for any thinking rider to even want to ride it other than maybe the weekdays... The tree of shame is exactly what it is a devotion to shameful motorcycle riding and good common sense...

 

If you want a good technical rode to try your skills on pick something other than Death Row...IMHO

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Jeez, pity the best part of the trip was the ride home. I'm heading that way in July so please PM me the name of the cabin so I can avoid dem bugs. Thanks. Bill

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...It AIN'T what it is cracked up to be...just a dangerous road...

 

I'm thinking of the old addage "guns don't kill people, PEOPLE kill people". I think the same thing applies here; it's not that it is such a dangerous road, but (some of) the PEOPLE on it are dangerous.

 

I think it's a shame...I loved riding Deal's Gap when I got a chance to a couple years ago; fun, winding road reminiscent of riding on a roller coaster, and the scenery is great too!

 

You are right; best to be avoided on weekends due to the crowds. We have the same problem here in CA with some of our more famous roads (Angeles Crest, Ortega HWY, etc) smirk.gif

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TN_R11_Girl

Oooph!! That's rough! Sorry to hear about the bad outing. frown.gif

 

Hope you have a good riding season anyway.

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Welcome to the riding season. Vigilance!

 

As you have now experienced it's not just the cages to watch out for but also the moth-balled motorcyclist.

As a moth-balled, rentry rider ... I'd agree completely and add that I appreciate advice like Mark's and Tony_K's on this board. Because of advice like this, I opted not to go ride the Dragon when I spent a week in Asheville back in late April. Although the urge was very high as I knew there wouldn't be many riders on it att, I did indeed doubt my skills as a rider (just under 10K in 7 months after a very long hiatus from riding).

 

Instead, I found many other unhinhabited twisties to work on that sort of riding - feeling out my limits more carefully (with no one buzzing by me or pushing me). Reading this thread and I am reminded yet again I made the right choice ... To heed the advice of others with greater experience.

 

Hope everyone heals well, Mark. Glad you're safe and your bike is intact. Thanks for the advice. That said: "All receive advice. Only the wise profit from it." — Syrus

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What a fiasco!

 

Another reason why I am grateful that i live out west. It is funny, I read an article about the top 10 rides in America and the Dragon was number 1. None of the great rides out here made the list........

 

Agreed thumbsup.gif....Don't want trophy hunters out here from all over the country.........Deal's has to be one scary place to ride any day....Just looking at the videos we see here makes me nervous....

 

Phil.........Redbrick

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Mark

 

Sorry to hear about all that. I stay clear of DG anymore it's just too dangerous. Plenty of other good/better roads. If you have not ride the switzerland of ohio sometime.

 

Dublin, Ohio

Mike Perez

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As a "re-entry" rider myself, with about 20K miles over the last two years, I was a little apprehensive about the Dragon, but wanted to experience it while at the RA rally. Perhaps it is fortunate that we did not arrive at the Biltmore until late Friday morning, and, by the time we got the tent set up and had some lunch, we did not feel like riding over there. And I had already decided not to try it on a weekend! Instead, we joined a group of friends and rode the BRP up to Mt Mitchell State Park, and the park road all the way to the top. I found those roads challenging enough, and I suspect that a lot of the riders on the Dragon should do the BRP instead.

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ncsonderman

I'm glad that you all got out of that weekend all right with the exception of a couple of breaks. I saw that FZ1 and it was mangled! While waiting out a problem with my buddy Bob's LT at the overlook, we counted 9 ambulances run past us.

 

One rider on the blue Kawasaki 636R went off the road in front of my buddy Mike on his KLR and caused him to hit the ditch. No injuries or bike trouble for Mike though smirk.gif. The rider on the Kawi was able to spider net his headlight on and kept lapping for a number of hours after that.

 

I see a number of problems with the Dragon:

 

1. Not close enough to my garage grin.gif

2. Too crowded.

3. Inexperienced riders doing the course at a dangerously slow pace.

4. Squids not taking anyone into consideration except themselves and too many risks.

5. The group of riders who ride it just to say they've ridden it. (If you want to put your cruiser through there, you are asking to get run into)

6. No cell service for phoning in accidents, etc.

 

I was thinking that both NC and TN lawmakers are willing to sacrifice lives for the almighty dollar when it comes to the Dragon. I love it and love to speed on it, but if they wanted to stop speeding, they'd have a minimum fine of $$$$ some very high amount.

 

Go Bucks! You guys should have hit the rally since you were in the area. wave.gif

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The young man mentioned he would never ride again.

Unless he had a genuine look of fear in his eyes, I wouldn't put much into that.

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Unbelievable! I am so glad no one was killed by the bad riders. There are so many good roads, no reason to go looking for trouble. Luckily, we have some roads out here that IMO, rival anything that can be found elsewhere.

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The T shirt needs to be changed to "I SURVIVED A TRIP THROUGH WITHOUT SOME AZZHOLE WHO CAN'T RIDE KNOCKING ME OFF MY BIKE!"

 

The thing has turned into a combination of some sort of "Harley Hajj" and "trackday for cheapskates".

 

This combination is deadly.

 

I got no solution but to stay away between 9 a.m and 7p.m. on the weekends. I'm not saying that's a safe bet but, your odds of calamri collision or angst by moving chicane are much lower. (I won't go into how much the cars scare me - the "tuner" types, S2000s, mini's and such. And, boy they really scare me.)

 

If you do wind up there during peak dumbness on a weekend, pull off in a spot (that's relativley safe from run off) and just watch for about an hour to get a feel for the different skill levels that visit this road.

 

It's truly an eye opener.

 

Again, I'm so sorry your group suffered from people who, as my pal Slime sez "ran outta talent".

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Thanks for all the nice comments and thoughts. It is a shame the dragon has turned into such a mess. That entire area is so beautiful and the people that live around there are so helpful and nice. The young tow truck driver was very nice and helpful and the State Patrol Officers did as much as they could to help. I feel sorry for anyone in the area that needs to use that road to actually commute to work.

 

It looks like my Brother-in-law has two broken wrists after a second exam. Poor guy can't even get dressed or feed himself.

 

On a positive note, one great ride a few of the group got to complete was the Cherohala Skyway, on the way back to the cabin. It was just amazing, but even on that route we were passed by several rockets showing off, going twice the speed limit.

 

Oh yeah, Carnadero, I was looking right in the young mans eyes when he mentioned he would never ride again, you never know, but he was scared to death, and in shock and I believe the thought of potentially killing two other people the age of his parents, may have had the most effect. Hopefully it will at least slow him down the next time.

 

Thanks again

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Paul Mihalka

Same here, combined with my visit to Asheville I did my usual thing. On Saturday rode to the store/camp/cabins at thew top of Deals Gap, without riding the Dragon itself. The roads to get there are very nice. Had a cold drink, checked out the hundreds of crazies, and went away to ride better roads. Deals Gap was a interesting road 20 years ago when it wasn't discovered yet. Now? Forgit about it!

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Sorry to hear of your disasterous weekend. Glad everyone is on the mend.

 

I fretted over the Dragon for the past few weeks leading up to it. We rode through there on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. There is no way I'd have done it on the weekend!

 

Being a relatively new rider, I'm happy to say that I did it safely. To be honest, tho, there are many other challenging roads that are just as beautiful. Route 28 was awsome, as was the Cherohala and just about every other road we traveled.

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Calvin  (no socks)

Paul, if I ride in the area, I do the

 

"Anything but the Dragon Loop"....

 

Unless it is 06:00 and raining.....then there is no problems.... grin.gif

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Same here, combined with my visit to Asheville I did my usual thing. On Saturday rode to the store/camp/cabins at thew top of Deals Gap, without riding the Dragon itself. The roads to get there are very nice. Had a cold drink, checked out the hundreds of crazies, and went away to ride better roads. Deals Gap was a interesting road 20 years ago when it wasn't discovered yet. Now? Forgit about it!

 

And 20 years ago the speed limit was 55. crazy.gif

Very few problems.

When I ride it, I sit at the store for a while, or the overlook if coming in from the north. I try to get a feel for the number and types of bikes/riders. Are the tuner cars running? Did Ma and Pa Kettle just go by in a motorhome. eek.gif

Even then, looking for a "gap" at the Gap is rolling the dice because you don't know what's coming the other way.

My first trip through I was passed by a squid.

Doing a wheelie.

Uphill. He was in the left (downhill) lane.

Going around a blind corner with no shoulder.

I was going above the speed limit.

I learned right then that there are those who don't give a rat's arse about me or you on that road and would just as soon run you into a wall, rail, tree, or cliif edge, for no reason other than you are there.

A shame, really.

They've dropped the speed limits, upped enforcement levels, and posted signs about road courtesy to little avail.

It won't be long before a road incident spills over into the parking area and mayhem ensues.

Film at eleven. frown.gif

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ncsonderman

The pictures of the FZ1 and the Victory on the flatbed are now up on Killboy.com in the LEO/Strange Photos section of Saturday's pics.

 

That FZ1 was FUBAR dopeslap.gif

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we have our R90s rally down there each fall. Last year a bunch of us rode over, saw the huge number of Squids and Cruisers, and turned around to ride the Cherohalla. Good decision.

 

I heard on that same day there were four accidents and two head-ons. Way too many people on bikes that DON'T know how to lean. And that ain't the road to be learnin' on.

 

Glad you all lived to tell the tale.

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Not that I'm advocating one position or another but I'm amazed that local law enforcement hasn't shut down the fast bike riding there..I can't imagine there being no public outcry to stop such antics anywhere else..I've thought for years that fast bike riding at the Dragon will be stopped but so far I've been wrong.. confused.gif

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Agent_Orange

"Rather uneventful until noon Sunday when a Cruiser blew a corner and took out a sportbike. No life threantening injuries."

Looks like some folks got the story wrong! tongue.gif

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We were having the same issues here on Angeles Crest Highway up above Los Angeles with a lot of accidents and fatalities. So law enforcement started cracking down with increased patrols. Then they lowered the speed limit from 55 to 45 for a 15 mile stretch of prime twisties. In the last few months they have extended the 45 mph zone another 3-5 miles east on Angeles Crest towards Newcomb's Ranch and also lowered the speed limit on 9 mile road from 55 to 50. Every weekend there is multiple patrol cars/bikes up there patrolling with laser guns and car mounted radar. There are still accidents up there but from what I am hearing there is nowhere near the amount of accidents and more importantly fatalities up there as in years past. The first time I rode A.C. I came around a left hander and saw plastic all over the road and a mangled bike.

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I'm sorry your group had a bad go of it. Hope everyone heals well and quickly.

 

I was at the RA Biltmore rally with a buddy and his Harley. We rode the Dragon on Friday -- I guess the rain kept the crowd thinned out. Still, there was oil on the uphill lane and a couple on a cruiser bike low-sided. My bud on the Harley was there and helped them up.

 

Glad we weren't there on Saturday, and I guess it's now in the "Been There, Done That" file for me!

 

DSC01946.jpg

 

DSC01950.jpg

 

As for the rest of the rally -- aside from the showers, everything was GREAT! thumbsup.gif

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ncsonderman
Not that I'm advocating one position or another but I'm amazed that local law enforcement hasn't shut down the fast bike riding there..I can't imagine there being no public outcry to stop such antics anywhere else..I've thought for years that fast bike riding at the Dragon will be stopped but so far I've been wrong.. confused.gif

 

I'm sure that they could end the speeding if they really wanted to by handing out unfairly high tickets. As long as everyone was aware of the campaign, it would cut down on the speeding on 129.

 

I'm for riding it during the week and taking other roads on the weekend when in prime season.

 

Agent Orange, Sunday was a different day and a different group of crashes. I'm sure on any given day one bike loses it and collects another on the way. bncry.gif

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