Before I got my bike, we would hike Gregory Bald mountain which is smack dab in the middle of that run.
It's a 20-mile fairly strenuous 2-3 night hike up to a bald that blooms all over with fire azaleas in June. The azaleas are unique to the mountain and it is the only place in the world they grow - it's pretty impressive.
Anyway, driving in and out of there in a cage is absolutely crazy. I've seen wrecks every single time.
I'm wilderness medical certified and we were actually the first responder on a dual cruiser wreck with some 50-something people. One bike just bought it on the turn and another rammed into the bike taking out the next one. They were very lucky ... people saw it happen and ran around the blind corner and halted traffic before they got run over. A good scream, some crying, right out of a movie. Some blood, shaken up passenger woman, and an old guy totally laid out bragging about how it was his 5th wreck he had survived. I stayed with them until the ambulance was on the way. No one wearing full facial helmets as far as I could tell ... extremely lucky people who shouldn't have been there in my opinion.
And that was just the wreck, I would say in just driving half the dragon on that day we saw 10 other "holy sh!t" I can't believe that guy didn't wreck ... and to get to 20-mile campsite, you only have to drive half the dragon!
Deal's Gap is really dangerous now, not just because of the 600+ curves but because of how busy it is and the incredible variance in vehicles and speeds on it. It's not just the curves but you have to dodge large trucks, vacationers going into the smokeys, cruiser packs, super sports, and total noobs.
For those planning to go, go at first light early in the morning. The early mornings seem to have the least traffic. Take it *REALLLLLY* slow your first time. The Dragon is more of a calculus problem for sport bikes than a "twisty ride". There is very high variance in the turn patterns and some parts require extremely complex cornering skills and angles.
On the Dragon do not be egged on by your friends to try and keep up under any circumstances. It's always the 2nd guy trying to keep up with his buddy that wrecks.
Anytime 11am-7pm and you are just asking to turn into roadkill.
Most of the turns you only have maybe 100 feet before a 90+ degree turn and the speeds people go is way excessive and there is really slow moving caged traffic and motorcycles going in chains in every possible speed. If you go there when it's busy, you will be passing slow vacationer cars crossing double-yellow into hard to navigate turns with cliffs and rocks on both sides driving head-on into oncoming vehicles where you get a less than 2 second visibility on them before you either wreck or are run over.
One of my hiking buddies got his bike too and we were talking about when we will be ready to motorcycle in to 20-mile in the middle of the Dragon and hike from there and we were both like ... uhhh ... maybe never.
Last edited by packtec; 11-22-2007 at 06:15 PM.