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Old 06-24-2009, 08:20 PM   #46
photojojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaynen
Very cool HF. I need to ask you about the Airhawk I bought one per your idea on it ages ago got it for Christmas but I can't seem to get it into the right position on the bike so I am curious how you are strapping it down and how much air you have in it. I feel like it raises me up a good couple inches and pushes my legs out wider which feels wierd since I like to hold the bike with my legs. Also since you are "floating" your weight shifts some on corners I think. I really want to make it work since I have it :)

I had just put the straps under the back of the seat and doubled it up going around the front so it was not the tightest mounting method
If I'm doing any real riding I'm usually standing. If I am sitting it's so far forward that I'm damn near on top of the tank. Judging from where HF has his pad I would only be sitting on it while I was on the highway.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:33 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighFive
Tomorrow we'll see if a little 'ol Two-Fiddy with knobbies can catch a real Dragon...

HF
The suspense. Its like an action movie, R2 vs a Dragon
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Old 06-25-2009, 04:59 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck289
The suspense. Its like an action movie, R2 vs a Dragon
Even w/ knobbies, the RR fares VERY well at the Gap - been there twice on mine... Very cool to run up on a sport bike in the tight turns

In fact, on tightly twisted roads, I prefer the RR to my sport(-touring) bike.

HF - make sure to check out 28 and the zillions of dirt roads while in the general Dragon area.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:55 PM   #49
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Very nice RR!!
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #50
Jaynen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photojojo
If I'm doing any real riding I'm usually standing. If I am sitting it's so far forward that I'm damn near on top of the tank. Judging from where HF has his pad I would only be sitting on it while I was on the highway.
Without attempting to derail HF's thread anymore. The pad is for long distance slabbing, I am up on the tank if sitting in technical areas but find the natural position on the WRR for riding comfort is just in front of the stock seat strap or so
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Old 06-25-2009, 03:25 PM   #51
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You just did....

I promise, I'll get back to the Airhawk (plus any other gear or bike related questions) after the end of my trip.

But, there is one question that I will address (from a PM). Yes, its true! All of it. You can go there and see for yourself. In fact, please do...by all means. And report back promptly. You'll probably find some other hidden jewels that I've missed.

I'm a Rider, not a Writer. As such, I'm not able to just dream this kind of stuff up. There's enough real drama and adventure out there; you just have to go meet up with it. That way, there's no need to embellish. Just saying...

HF
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Old 06-25-2009, 05:48 PM   #52
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Alrighty....I've got Willie's CD playing, and we're On The Road Again! The view was....uhm...familiar:





A little of that, and a lot of this:





Then, something almost happens that could have derailed my whole PLAN:





Golly....I didn't even know they were still alive. If I had only been coming through here just one week later! Did you ever hear that KC and Elvis were cousins? Me neither....but it could have happened.

Finally, in an around-the-world kind of way, after this far:





we arrive into Robbinsville, North Carolina. Time to find a basecamp. Its Sunday evening. I figure the place is nearly deserted. Everyone says "stay away from here on the weekends."

I pull into the first motel I see, and actually get laughed at when I confirm I don't have a reservation. Oh dear...honey bunch...you'll never get a room just wandering around willy-nilly this time of year.

Its ok, I've got camping gear. But then, I get a "feeling". I pull into this cozy looking, Mayberry USA style, establishment right at the center of the main crossroads in this little town.








Why am I telling you this? Because this is a VERY important discovery. Something you'll definitely want to know.....WHEN you come to Deals Gap (not IF). Youll be glad for two reasons:





Meet Randal & Ann Phillips. Two of the nicest people I've had the pleasure of meeting in all my travels. This isn't just their motel. It is their home! For two generations now. We sit on the porch and have a nice chat over sweet tea. It feels safe, secure, and relaxing. Plus I can walk to anything I want (grocery, gas, restaurants). And, they are quick to make room...offering this fine parlor to R & me.




When you come out here, please tell them Highfive sent you. Not for a discount. No...this place is worth every bit of the $65 they charge for such a nice room. Do it as a favor for me, to help express my gratitude. I think Randal even stayed up late one night, worried for my well being, when I hadn't returned...way, way after dark.

HighFive screwed with this post 06-25-2009 at 08:42 PM
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Old 06-25-2009, 06:17 PM   #53
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I'm tired, I'm plum worn out. I'm thinking I'll just take it easy and turn in early. That was my plan, anyway. Figured it unwise to get my first peak at the real Dragon under so much fatigue. Besides, it had started raining.

Wait a minute....RAIN. That's sure to run off most everyone out there. I'm not Skeered! Suddenly, I'm energized and I gear up. Enough waiting...its ON. I came to RIDE, not sleep.


Its about 6:30 pm when I get my first glimpse of the real DEAL.







At this moment, I hear a Sesame Street song go thru my head: "One of these things is not like the other; One of these things is just not the same...."

I ask the man in the yellow shirt to help me get the obligatory, ceremonious duties out of the way:





This gentleman returns my camera and remarks (in a condescending way)..."you think you're riding the Dragon on that thing? With knobbies?? Good luck, Superman!"


....Hhhhmmmm....


I just smile, remaining silent, as I put on my gloves. He has no idea who he's talking to. R is SO ready for this. We've been pondering this moment for so long. There's tension in the air. My pulse is increasing, as the adrenaline is brining my senses back to life. Regarding that 'dying' issue, here are my thoughts:

1) I really might die, if it turns out to be totally overwhelming....beyond what I've imagined.

2) I really might die, if it turns out to be totally underwhelming....it seems so over-hyped.

Honestly, I'm kind of expecting something in between. So, let's roll.

HF

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Old 06-25-2009, 06:43 PM   #54
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Hey HF, You shoulda just taken the wing with college boy on the back. I know you could have negotiated that little trail with no problem. Hope it is a lot cooler there. Man we are cooking here. You are out there having fun and Rufus is in Alaska. I hate you guys.
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Old 06-25-2009, 07:09 PM   #55
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Just as I suspected, the traffic is light. Most of the riders are gone for the evening. So, we make our lazy way around the Dragon getting our first looksee. I decide to let R study some of the more challenging turns carefully. I've decided that she has a photographic memory within all her sophistication. I used to be like that...











At precisely 8.8 miles, there is a nice turn-around point with a beautiful view:








You can go back to start, or continue on down the hill for the last couple of miles. That's where the Leo's seem to prefer hanging out. The State Troopers. I'm not sure why they are called Leo...? Think they get a bad rap. I stopped and talked with two of them. They were actually nice and friendly to me. Told me to "be careful....stay in my lane....and be safe."

I rode the Dragon 4 times (two round trips). Its so unique, it becomes a completely different course when reversing directions. This actually makes it 636 turns over 22 miles. Much bigger than I've been led to believe!

I'll admit, I was cautiously nervous. Quite tense....while riding the Dragon on this first evening. With traffic so low, you know there was bound to be a few Pros flirting with the 30 mph speed limit a little (ok...a lot).

My initial impressions: Wow! The Tail of The Dragon is for real. It is impressive. No...it is very VERY impressive. I take the long way home that night. Go on a Recon mission all over the area. Don't get back until well after dark. I'm already anxious for tomorrow...

HF

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Old 06-25-2009, 07:16 PM   #56
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FYI - LEO = Law Enforcement Officer





Carry on
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Old 06-25-2009, 07:17 PM   #57
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Nice (and I assume you are joking about LEO aka Law Enforcement Officer) it's too bad it might not be possible on the knobbies to get a nice kneedown/peg sparking shot on the r2 would be funny to show em :P
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:46 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krabill
Carry on
Pass the popcorn please.

And I am now having "dragon dreams" ... the place looks amazing.
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Old 06-26-2009, 09:34 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krabill
FYI - LEO = Law Enforcement Officer






Carry on
I'll be dammed

continue on HF
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:17 PM   #60
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The next morning arrives, and none to soon. I waste little time gearing up. I planned to go straight to the Dragon before it got busy. However, I was a little bit sidetracked on the way (ok...a lot). I was absolutely stunned at the beauty surrounding this place. Just had to stop and take a some photos here, & there, & everywhere.











Finally, I make it back to Deals Gap about 10:00 am. Its buzzing like an ant hill. Today, I'm going to challenge this beast. Learn the course better, lean into the curves deeper, and twist the throttle further. Thoughts of "Knobbies" are nowhere in my mind. These Dunlop 606 tires are sticking like glue to this nice paved surface. It really fools a lot of people here.....which is half the point of doing it on a WRR. Because I can! And nobody else will...

Here's some proof, courtesy of Killboy.com, of my warm-up laps. These were the only two photos I could seem to get a "digital download" on.








By the way, does that look like I'm "putzing around" to you? Time for a poll. Just wondering...



I rode the Dragon many times over the next two days. Here is a Linky to my photo Albums at the photographers:

http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/viewalbum.aspx?a=601768

http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/viewalbum.aspx?a=601904

There's a few really good shots in there thanks to the tireless work of Killboy, Zee Foto, MoonShinePhoto, & US129Photos. That's a tough job. Standing in a curve with little cushion from the traffic. Constantly shooting photos left, center, & right.....in heat, exhaust, bugs, & occassional rain. To all the photographers, I salute you!

So what do you think, Gadget Boy? I await your critique...

Sometimes, you get stuck behind traffic....of all kinds, for all reasons. So, not every photo is going to be the most thrilling, action packed scene. You can't always see what is beyond the lens. But it sometimes looks like this:





There's nothing you can do, but slow down and enjoy a rest. For me, this was a good time to study the course a little more carefully. You've got to keep an eye out for new debris (gravel, sticks, parts, etc).....every run seems to contain some new surprise lurking somewhere. All too often, its opposing traffic rounding the corner in your lane! So, you never "go to sleep" on the Dragon. You keep your senses on high alert....always. Its intense, and I loved every single foot of it, on every single run!

HighFive screwed with this post 06-26-2009 at 01:52 PM
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