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To Dragon or not to Dragon...

  #1  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:05 AM
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To Dragon or not to Dragon...

So my Cooper and I are taking a trip down to NC (from NJ) next week for a family reunion. I'll be about an hour away from the Dragon. I've seen it mentioned on NAM and wasn't sure what it was, so I looked it up. I've read the website and the tips on driving it and such, but was just wondering if anyone had thoughts on it (i.e., is it worth checking out, any other tips on driving it, your own experiences, etc.) I'm a confident driver, but just not sure what to expect. The pics online can only show so much.
 
  #2  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:10 AM
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A hour invested to drive the dragon is well worth it.
It is not a track experience but a lot of fun. You can alway also meet some people at either end that makes the trip with the time.
 
  #3  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:12 AM
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Not an option. Gotta do it.
jason
 
  #4  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:22 AM
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DO IT DO IT DO IT!!! DEFINITELY
 
  #5  
Old 07-30-2007, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DredPyrate View Post
So my Cooper and I are taking a trip down to NC (from NJ) next week for a family reunion. I'll be about an hour away from the Dragon. I've seen it mentioned on NAM and wasn't sure what it was, so I looked it up. I've read the website and the tips on driving it and such, but was just wondering if anyone had thoughts on it (i.e., is it worth checking out, any other tips on driving it, your own experiences, etc.) I'm a confident driver, but just not sure what to expect. The pics online can only show so much.
It is well worth it!! You'd be robbing yourself of an awseome opportunity if you didn't at least run it a couple times. The first time should be leisurly to acquaint yourself, then a quicker run the second time.

Since pictures on-line only can show so much, check out my video run on the Dragon. It's not a Mini, but at least you can see what to expect

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...arch&plindex=0

By the way, we expect a full report when you get back! Enjoy!!
 
  #6  
Old 07-30-2007, 10:48 AM
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+1 here. We just got back from a two-week jaunt from MA to the southeast. We hit the Dragon on our leg from the Great Smoky Mountains to Atlanta. What an experience! I can't believe we even hesitated!

A note of warning: if you have a passenger on your ride, you may want to take your "enthusiastic" run without them. When asked to describe the run down the Dragon in two words, I (driver) responded "totally awesome"; my wife (passenger) responded "airsick bag".

Theo
 
  #7  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:06 AM
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Go for it. I ran it a few weeks ago as part of a marathon 6500 mile USA road trip (still have to process the trip for my write up). A few thoughts:

1) Beware the crotch rocket motorcycles that do not hesitate to pass everyone in their sight
2) Being a passenger could indeed lead to car sickness as the twists are fast and furious and neverending
3) Buy a cool Dragon cap and other fun memorobilia at the cute little Punkin Center Store
4) Smile for the photographer and look at your photo on killboy.com about a week after you make your run
 
  #8  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Skies 05 View Post
Go for it. I ran it a few weeks ago as part of a marathon 6500 mile USA road trip (still have to process the trip for my write up). A few thoughts:

1) Beware the crotch rocket motorcycles that do not hesitate to pass everyone in their sight
2) Being a passenger could indeed lead to car sickness as the twists are fast and furious and neverending
3) Buy a cool Dragon cap and other fun memorobilia at the cute little Punkin Center Store
4) Smile for the photographer and look at your photo on killboy.com about a week after you make your run
+1, you won't regret it . If you have a weak stomach you (driver) may want to take some dramamine for yourself also
 
  #9  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:15 AM
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Take it slowly the first time to get a feel for the road. Stay within the yellow line on your own side. You'll be fine, and will end up like the rest of us...hooked on "doing the Dragon" for life!
 
  #10  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:22 AM
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MINI+Dragon= A good time!

Seriously, this car was designed for that *Road.

* My personal opinion and I'm sticking with it!
 
  #11  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:25 AM
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You absolutely HAVE TO go to the Dragon!!
 
  #12  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Koopah View Post
A note of warning: if you have a passenger on your ride, you may want to take your "enthusiastic" run without them. When asked to describe the run down the Dragon in two words, I (driver) responded "totally awesome"; my wife (passenger) responded "airsick bag".

Theo
A good trick for iffy passengers is for them to look straight ahead, only, as though they are driving the car. That really helps!

Originally Posted by Blue Skies 05 View Post
Go for it. I ran it a few weeks ago as part of a marathon 6500 mile USA road trip (still have to process the trip for my write up). A few thoughts:

1) Beware the crotch rocket motorcycles that do not hesitate to pass everyone in their sight
2) Being a passenger could indeed lead to car sickness as the twists are fast and furious and neverending
3) Buy a cool Dragon cap and other fun memorobilia at the cute little Punkin Center Store
4) Smile for the photographer and look at your photo on killboy.com about a week after you make your run
Yup to all of these. Also, roll the windows down as you go through. Your pix on killboy.com will look better that way!

Have fun and whatever you do, do not cross the yellow line...stay in your lane! Let us know how you like it!
 
  #13  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:32 AM
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For info try this site - www.tailofthedragon.com - it'll give you the current road conditions and LEO conditions (Law Enforcement Officer). Lots of cops on the Dragon because of this year's multiple fatalities.

Make a day of it.. run thru the Dragon from the NC side to the TN side, take a left on 72 and run it over to where it junctions with 411. Take a left on 411, then another left on 360 - it'll bring you back into NC. 360 reminds me of some of the roads in Bavaria - lazy two-lane winding roads... Take a left onto 143, run it over the Cheroahala Skyway Pass and back into Robbinsville. The entire trip will take you less than three hours. It's definitely one for the books.
 

Last edited by Hogtied; 07-30-2007 at 12:06 PM.
  #14  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:33 AM
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Thanks for the advice, everyone! I'm definitely going to go drive it. I'm stoked now. I'm sure I'll get to try it as driver and passenger. I told my dad and he wants to check it out, and probably try my MC on it. Plus once I tell my brother, I know we'll have to try it in his WRX. (Tho it'll be more fun in the MINI. )
 
  #15  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by davisflyer View Post
By the way, we expect a full report when you get back! Enjoy!!
Thanks for the video - it looks like a lot of fun! And I'll be sure to report when I get back. Or sooner if I have net access down there.

Originally Posted by bzn by View Post
+1, you won't regret it . If you have a weak stomach you (driver) may want to take some dramamine for yourself also
My stomach is Ok (I like rollercoasters & such) but I probably won't eat a bunch of burritos before I go.

Originally Posted by Koopah View Post
When asked to describe the run down the Dragon in two words, I (driver) responded "totally awesome"; my wife (passenger) responded "airsick bag".
Theo
Ooh, good advice. Note to self: Mom doesn't get to ride the Dragon. If she really must, she can get sick in my brother's car.
 
  #16  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:38 AM
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It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
 
  #17  
Old 07-30-2007, 11:57 AM
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I'll ditto the 'sick passenger' comments. It takes a pretty strong stomach to ride shotgun on the Dragon when taking it at any speed at all. Weak stomachs might have problems even when the driver is taking it easy.

In the rain at MOTD 2006, I put on my Sea-Bands (accupressure anti-motionsickness devices that sailors swear by) after one run down the road. I was starting to feel a bit queazy. The Dragon is a beautiful road and you should definately take a run if you can.
 
  #18  
Old 07-30-2007, 12:06 PM
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I have been told that Michael Schumaker goes there to ride motorcycles.... I am spoiled as it is not far away and great roads are all over the area but you should make the pilgramage
 
  #19  
Old 07-30-2007, 12:16 PM
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go there...duh!
 
  #20  
Old 07-30-2007, 12:55 PM
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My girlfriend says she has a harder time "passengering" when there is slower traffic and I'm slowing down, holding back, then speeding up again over and over. It's actually more tolerable to her when I can hammer all the way through!
 
  #21  
Old 07-30-2007, 01:09 PM
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I live about 2 hours away. I'm there quite a bit... more and more lately. A few tips from locals (most of these have been given to me by some one else)

1) Don't cross the line. It's tougher then it sounds. Generally you will find yourself not crossing it but getting quite close. A good tipe is to watch the white line instead to judge your cornering line.
2) There have been police every weekend about half way down for the last few weeks. They pretty much are there to remind people to slow down but will give you a hard time if you ask for it.
3) Don't base your stopping distances off of any car in front of you. A lot of decreasing radius corners... Lots of modified cars out there means that there is no one size fits all way to drive it... trust no one but yourself
4) The first time through take it easy. Don't get on it as hard as you might like. This will help for multiple reasons as it's as close to "walking the track" as you are gonna get. many people over heat there brakes here when if they knew the corners a bit better they wouldn't need nearly as much brake force.
5) slow your butt down near the lookout. Lots of action going on there... people turning around... even if it looks clear just creap through.
6) don't let people behind you push you to drive faster. They may stay close to you. There is a general understanding that it's not really tailgating here. just ignore them and watch in front of you. if they are genuinly faster wait for an appropriate time to let them by. In doing so slow down so they can pass quickly and just point your left index finger out the driver side window. They will know what it means. A blinker before you dive to a pull off is a big help. As mean as it sounds... the burden of the pass is on them if you do these things... if they pull out and meet some one coming head on... you have done what you can... hold your lane and brake as safely as possible... you dodging to the ditch means you go down about 100-200 feet in some places.
7) pull offs... Very hot brake parts... nicely surfaced road... pumping addrenaline... transition to gravel. All the makings of a crappy situation... Be very very carefull
8) going towards nc is much harder then going towards tn... going up is easier to have fun doing... going down can be interesting if you find a little push in some of those decreasing radius hairpins.
9) if your bake pedal starts to push to the floor... do not put your hand brake on when you are cooling off @ the top of bottom... don't ask me how i get reminded of this by my own stupidity often.
10) have fun... be safe, make sure it isn't at the epense of locals. It's a playground to a lot of us... a road to others. It's not really rude to remind people of the rules... but some people are just passing through.
11) extension of #10... There are 2 things you need to watch for with the on comming bikers... they will signal when something scary is going on... sitting up straight and tapping their head... means police officer ahead... A slow riding rider sitting up waving his arms or again tapping his head... can also mean a semi is coming through. They commonly escort them because these a-holes will take up both lanes on just about every corner.

keep your eyes open and have fun.

p.s. sorry for novel
 
  #22  
Old 07-30-2007, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by minimusprime View Post
keep your eyes open and have fun.

p.s. sorry for novel
No problem, and thanks for all the tips. It helps to get ideas from vets and/or locals. I'll be there mid-week, so maybe I'll have less traffic. You never know, tho. The tailofthedragon.com calendar shows no events going on for those days either. Where I'm staying is east of the Dragon, so I'll be going west (NC toward TN) first. Then depending on what my timeframe is, I'll go back and try it again a few times, or take the route that Hogtied mentioned. I think this trip is going to be mostly driving, as I know my family is going to want to cruise the Blue Ridge quite a bit, too. But I've got an MC, so I don't mind.
 
  #23  
Old 07-30-2007, 03:40 PM
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Go early in the morning if possible. I ran it a couple of weeks ago (alone; wife wanted to stay in our room and read. Wise woman ) early and found very little traffic. Also the TN-NC direction (mostly downhill) is best for the "walk thru" run. If you can't do that, well, do your best.
Funny/sad is all of the skid marks/ lay-down gouges at the entrance to tight corners. Take a lesson.

Have a ball, and let us know how you liked it!

ps: the downside to going early is that the Punkin Center store might not be open. There's always Deal's Gap.
 
  #24  
Old 07-30-2007, 04:02 PM
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No question about it: DO THE DRAGON!!!!!!!!!!!
(That doesn't sound right, but you get the idea.)

 
  #25  
Old 07-30-2007, 04:09 PM
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The answer to these questions is the same:

1) Should I continue to breathe?
2) Should I drive the Dragon?


Answer - YES!
 

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