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So, I made my Dragon debut this last weekend on a last minute trip with a group that had rented out a 4 bdr cabin just outside Pigeon Forge, TN. We made the 200 mile ride from Columbus, OH to Lexington, KY on thursday evening, and stayed there for the night. The best western there, which had a very impressive free breakfast, had a bar that was lackign in service, quality of food and staff; I do not recommend it. Although the bright spot of that stop was that they let us park all the bikes under the front awning out of the weather. Friday morning we made the next 200 mile ride to PF, and collected our cabin for the weekend.

Saturday was a good looking day until we got almost all the way through the smokies, and the sky just opened up, I haven't seen it rain that hard in years. So after losing a couple hours waiting on the rain to move on, we made the choice to return the same way we came down. Fortunately, the rain must have moved south, because the roads were mostly dry for the return ride. A fun little dinner attraction there is Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, it's very entertaining while you eat dinner with your hands.

Sunday was kind of mixed; some people went shopping/window shopping in Gatlinburg. Myself, I had no interest in looking at a bunch of cheap touristy knick knacks, so I went out for a ride solo. I ended up going to an area called Cades Cove, which was very pleasant. It was kind of a pain dealing with the cagers going around the 11 mile, one-way road, but it was worth it. I ended up seeing a mama bear with her cubs, and a few elk.

Monday was the fun day! We headed down the 73 scenic route, cut across the Foohills Parkway to pick up US129 on the northern side of the Dragon. After our 11 mile roller coaster, we picked up the Cherohala Skyway into Tellico Plains. We were all starting to wear down pretty quickly after having made about billion turns, so we took mostly higher speed straight roads back to the cabin.

Tuesday was a long, boring 400-mile burn straight home. I was very ready to be off the bike when I pulled it into the garage with exactly 1300 miles for the trip. :mrgreen:

My 129slayer.com pic, and one of my favorites for the trip!


Parked for the evening in Lexington.


Pulling into Pigeon Forge.


The biker cabin.


Our first sunset in the cabin.


Gangster parking at the Dixie Stampede.


Bears on the way to Cades Cove.
 

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Overlooking Gatlinburg.


Pee stop on the way to the Dragon.


Last stop to ready the nerves before the Dragon.


Our only stop on the Dragon, for scenic view.


Victory photo!


On the way back from the Dragon.


GPS stats for the weekend.
 

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Panoramic pic of Cades Cove.


Panoramic pic of a stop on the Cherohala Skyway.



It was a great weekend, I highly recommend a trip to that area. Many kudos to the state of Tennessee for the quality of their rodes as well, I don't ever remember being on a bad road there.
 

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Hey Mittens, I was just down there myself on Monday through Thursday. I went through the Tail on my way down to North Carolina to a Kawasaki Demo ride. They had a truck load of Vaquero's for testing, so I got to ride one for about an hour...... Went through Cades Cove on the way back to St. Louie. I got caught in a terrible downpour in Pigeon Forge on Wednesday afternoon, and sat in heavy traffic as it just downloaded on me...... Total of about 3 hours of rain riding until I called it quits for the evening.... Last rain ride, I had some electrical problems, but this time, everything was good to go. Hope you had a good time on the solo.......
 

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Looks like everyone enjoyed the trip - nice bikes, nice scenerie
nice ride report and pics - keep up the good work
Thanks for sharing !!

Cheers from downunder
 

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Did the Dragon back in 09. I don't think I ever got higher than third gear the whole time. But what I'll never forget is my buddy Phil riding an 05 YZF 600. When we got to Deal's gap a mechanic ran out of the garage yelling at my friend. "Hey, you can't ride the Dragon on two flat tires. "Phil looked at the guy and said, "Well........I just did"! He had 10 PSI in each tire!
 

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Thanks for the pics. We've done the Dragon and the Cherohala. Love the roads up there.
 

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Sounds like a great trip. I got home last night, after spending a week in Pigeon Forge with the family. Did the Dragon on Tuesday and Wednesday (before the rain moved in) plus 73 and some of the other roads you mentioned. Glad you guys had fun and made it back safely.
 

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Hey Mittens, I was just down there myself on Monday through Thursday. I went through the Tail on my way down to North Carolina to a Kawasaki Demo ride. They had a truck load of Vaquero's for testing, so I got to ride one for about an hour...... Went through Cades Cove on the way back to St. Louie. I got caught in a terrible downpour in Pigeon Forge on Wednesday afternoon, and sat in heavy traffic as it just downloaded on me...... Total of about 3 hours of rain riding until I called it quits for the evening.... Last rain ride, I had some electrical problems, but this time, everything was good to go. Hope you had a good time on the solo.......
I wish I'd have known about that, I've really been wanting to take a test ride on the Vaquero. I love my 900, and will keep it, but I'm seriously considering the Vaq either later this year, or early next spring. I've never been a big fan of the baggers, but that one is just sexy! It'd be nice to have the full front fairing for the long trips, and the stereo wouldn't suck either!
 

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I thought I would love it, but found it to be too big and hot (really feel the heat off the engine) for me to consider seriously, but hey, if I would win the one they are giving away, well, I'd just have to suck up the heat....:) Radio was nice, as well as the instrument panel with the gear indicator
 

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I thought I would love it, but found it to be too big and hot (really feel the heat off the engine) for me to consider seriously, but hey, if I would win the one they are giving away, well, I'd just have to suck up the heat....:) Radio was nice, as well as the instrument panel with the gear indicator
Not sure how hot it was when you were there, but it was 90's every day for us. In the two years I've had the 900, I've never felt it blow as much heat up as it did down there. Just sayin, may have been the ambient temp affecting that.
 

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Hey ... thanks for sharing, great pics.
 

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Great pics, looks like a great trip. I can't wait to do it myself. How was the motorcycle traffic? I have heard it can get pretty busy on the Dragon.
 

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Well, I've been thinking I probably need to drive out there and check this area out. Now that you've posted pictures, I have to move it up on my "to-do" list! great pictures, thanks
 

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Well, I've been thinking I probably need to drive out there and check this area out. Now that you've posted pictures, I have to move it up on my "to-do" list! great pictures, thanks

Not too bad of a ride from NE TX, and I assure you, it's well worth it!
 

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fantastics pics. Our group is planning to the the Dragon next year
 
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