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Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by SCQTT, Apr 16, 2009.
previous comment was totally 205 - removed
I agree. Everything is right about that photo. The gear, the bike, the setting, the look. Everything.
Benny Hill rides the dragon? I guess it's "right" for someone.
You can buy chrome but you gotta earn patina.
an inmate here?
Dude that guy chopped of JohnyFives head and made him into a headlight..
I dig the pre-Go Pro camera set-up.
That is my new sig.
A bit more of story about what I do believe is this rider and her BF from Matt on another site.
....... I simply can not ride the street with the intensity that I ride the track. All the aforementioned combined concluded with the street having lost a bit of luster.
All that said, I've been all over the great USA and there is no place that I find more intoxicating to ride then the NC/TN/N.GA region. The roads here are a sport bikers dream, a land where it's easier to find twisted up asphalt then it is to find straight. If "the feeling" were not alive here, my enjoyment on the street was hopeless. Returning to this area for the first time since 2008 broke the spell. ......
... we would spend Wednesday night at the motel at the Crossroads of Time (aka the gas station at the end of "the dragon"). Bill had mentioned that he'd stayed there before and you meet some "interesting folks". Looking back, boy what an understatement that turned out to be....... I arrived back at the motel just before nine to unite with Bill. We spent a few minutes talking with the folks next door (a couple from Columbus, GA) both having come in on R6's just ahead of us. They were there for their virgin run of the dragon. I quickly stepped to the pulpit and asked them to please be very careful and run the road at about 50-60% of the speed that they would normally charge forward for the first few runs. I didn't get an "Amen" and so ended my career as a preacher. Later Bill told me that the woman sounded almost proud of how stupid, crazy, daring, ... that her man rode.
The next morning we were greeted with absolutely perfect weather. My favorite time of the year, on my favorite roads, gathering with friends, work soundly out of mind for a few days, WHAT COULD BE BETTER?.....
.... I'd mentioned to Bill that I was going to run about 70% pace on the run out and he said "sounds good" as we motored off. I'm quickly amused at how much fun I've having on the road even without pushing it. The "Dragon" is just so engagingly fun that even when not pushing hard it is fun. About half way through we pass a couple of bikes sitting at a pull-off (very common on this stretch for those not familiar). Reaching the overlook I'm ecstatic as the experience was invigorating and the road was void of cops... again, what could be better? A few minutes after we'd arrived at the overlook, a bike comes slowly trolling by us down the road. Bill mentions that it's the female part of the duo we'd met last night and that they were the riders whom had been pulled to the side. The conversation that followed was a bit chaotic and confused:
Bill: he crashed
Matt: who crashed?
Bill: the guy from the motel, that was his girl that just rode by
Matt: why didn't she stop?
Bill: he crashed, he pulled out behind us and I could hear his pipe wailing as if it was coming from my bike, but then it went silent.
Matt: why didn't she stop?
Bill: he crashed. I thought maybe he'd gone back for pictures, but he crashed.
Matt: (putting it together finally) oh, he crashed and she didn't see him?
Bill: yeah, I think. Looked like she was looking for him so I don't think he turned around.
We decided that we should go back and look for him. I've often wondered if I were to go off a mountain how long it might go until I was found by a hunter walking through the woods. As we slowly wandered up the dragon looking over the edge of the road as best as possible we came across him roadside. The good news was that he seemed to be okay, possibly a BIT shaken (as compared to the night before -- we did note that it seemed the couple were former meth users). The bike was about 15' over the edge. Bill offered to track down the girlfriend/wife and rode off.
In the time that followed, I talked with the guy for a bit mentioning that I'd said to "take it easy" the night before while also considering in my head that if he was following us that he WASN'T going too crazy and WAS on an R6 which is certainly more capable/controllable on this road then my VFR. He nonchalantly told me, "I WASN'T going too fast". Really had me questioning what this guy would have considered too fast given his bike was laying on the side of the mountain. Just earlier I'd asked why they had been pulled off and he said that he was asking his girl why she was going so slowly.
Selfishly I had began wondering how to get his bike out and ensure we didn't have police involvement. The Dragon had been relatively clear and as my plans had been screwed for heading on the longer North GA route that I'd planned out, of some 325 or so miles, I wanted to stay on the Dragon that day non-policed. I told him that I'd go see what the deal was on tow operators and headed further up the road to the one Killboy photographer just a mile or so up the road. Mentioning the need for a tow truck and a guy off the mountain, he asked me, "young guy?" I said, "yes". "Followed by a girl?" he asks. "Yup". He says, "can't say that surprises me, he wasn't overly fast, but looked shaky as he came by here. The girl looked like a much better rider, much smoother."
I returned back to him with the news that tow operators numbers were at the Crossroads of time building at the beginning. Upon returning I see a Goldwing rider stopped and offered a rope that he carries on his bike before departing. I noted that the rope was rated at 278lb and the bike around 430lbs. We figured that the rope would be capable of more weight and (as with many things) was rated lower for liability/lawsuit reasoning. We get a guy stopped with a pickup truck, but he doesn't want to drag the bike out for fear of somebody hitting his truck even with two of us stopping traffic. Instead we end up playing tug-o-war with a 5 man army to pull the bike up the mountainside. Bill Morgan returned nearly an hour after leaving, just in time to help with the final heave to bring the bike back up on the pavement. Bill told the guy that he'd ridden all the way out to the 129/72 split (about 20 miles) and still didn't see her. Later I joked with dimwit (no, NOT Bill) that it would have been easier had he not been on the brakes while we pulled the bike, that was when he said, "I wasn't on the brakes, but I never did take the bike out of gear". Gotta love it.
Good Samaritan efforts behind us, it was now nearing on noon. Bill and I talked, and concluded that we'd scratch the north GA route until the next day and just continue to ride the lightly trafficed/non-patrolled Dragon. ......
By this time Bill and I had ridden about 100 Dragon miles (which are like dog years and calculated at a 2:1 ratio) as well as 50 or so other miles. Bill said he was throwing in the towel and heading back to Fontana Village with Jerry. Me, well I wasn't quite finished yet. I told him that I wanted to do 4 more runs (2 each direction) and then I would be back. Trip 1 was fun, and trip 2 was almost my final. I didn't feel tired, but found myself missing my marks on 3 or 4 occasions. I wasn't jeopardizing anybody (nor myself) by crossing double yellow or near crashing, but I was not happy with my lines and it wasn't one of my smoother runs. After a break at the store I was convinced that I wasn't really tired and off I went again. Nearing the far side (dam overlook) I wave as I see that our "friends" had reunited at some point in the day and they were on their way back themselves. The trip out to the overlook felt much better then trip 2 where I was disappointed. A short break for me at the overlook and I was getting it. This would be my last trip of the day, and likely for the trip as I do not enjoy the road when it's busy. Things WERE going great, the bike and I were dancing to the same song this trip, smoothly transitioning from gas to brake, right to left. And then it happened...
Looking through the upcoming turns, I see folks motioning to slow down. Getting closer, I see her, the girlfriend/wife slumped along the side of the road shaking. She has blood on her face and it seems to me that death is in her eyes as I park and walk closer. I don't have to ask what happened, some amateur detective work quickly revealed an arching scrape in the road running wide. Following the gouge in the road to the edge of the mountain, locating her bike about 60 feet from the edge of the road I was surprised she was alive frankly. In some respects, she was lucky I suppose. Lucky in that after losing control she split a space of only 4 feet which was bounded on one end by a guardrail, and bound on the other by a very large tree. That said, "lucky" is certainly only partially fitting. You see, in the area that she went off the road, there was what amounted to a small motocross jump. It seems that when the department of transportation built the road, they put in some type of concrete retaining wall which I'm guessing was to keep the mountain from eroding under the roadway. This wall actually extends about 12-18" HIGHER then the roadway itself. Through time whether through some run off or intentionally placed, the area on the road side of the wall had been dirt packed creating what looked to be a "jump". After "jumping" the bike off the mountainside, she literally flew through some branches before coming to rest below. The headlight on the bike was now facing up the mountain suggesting that it likely rolled after touching down. At what point she separated from the bike, I don't think that she could recall and I wasn't about to ask her although I did overhear her saying that she did recall flying through the tree limbs. Just a few feet from the resting place of her motorcycle was a memorial garden, a revelation that she was not the first to be bitten by this corner.
As I'd approached the situation, there was a local man trying to convince her of a need for medical attention. Seems that she really didn't want to go to a hospital, whether it was due to a lack or insurance, worry over co-payments or otherwise I will never know. The guy mentioned that just last week somebody had gone down and died the following day after not seeking medical attention and thinking that everything was okay. I seemed to think that hubby had told him to call for the ambulance when he reached the store (landline as cell phones do not have signal). I've heard in the past that it takes the ambulance 45 minutes to an hour to reach this area, and the events following were confusing. Folks had moved on, leaving it to where it was just them and I. Call me a glutton for punishment, or a curious busybody, but I stayed around to try ensuring that they would be okay.
A few minutes passed and for the first time since I'd arrived she stood. She couldn't seem to straighten her back, walking around a few feet hunched over, and slurred her words a bit talking. Externally you couldn't see much, but I was thinking that the internal trauma had to be quite massive. She sat back down and began sobbing, what happened next just caused me to take pause and realize just how different each of our situations are. After she began crying (not sure if it was due to physical pain, emotional pain, the damage to her bike as she looked down the mountain, or just a combination of the whole situation/day) her husband said, "Honey, quit crying... I didn't cry when I crashed my bike". It doesn't happen often, but I was speechless in disbelief. Part of me wanted to say something, yet another part of me realized that these folks were a bit different. He mentioned that he was just so thankful that she was "okay" because he don't know what he would have told the kids. KIDS? I asked and it seems these two whom were seemingly trying to remove themselves from the gene pool had already spawned 3 children (10, 12, 14) together. Could you the imagine the devastating news of losing Mom and Dad in the same day?
Then a seemingly laughable comment from him as he mentioned that he was going to go down and turn off the bike so that the battery didn't go dead. You must realize that given the situation, that would have been the last thing on most folks mind. The outrageous dialog just continued with him asking if she was ready to ride yet. WTF? Ready to ride? Seems he was going to take her two up back to the motel. Oh the confidence of crawling on the back of a bike that is missing half it's plastic after going off a mountain hours earlier... all this minutes after you went on a high-flying off road adventure yourself. Instead of telling him to f-off, she asked "where's my helmet"? They spot the pink mohawk at the bottom of the mountain in the ravine and dimwit goes off to retrieve it. Ten minutes later he's back, huffing for air. He pops his seat revealing a stash of cigs and lights up passing one over to her to help her feel better. Over the cigarette, she expressed concern over leaving her bike! Are you freaking serious? I know it was totaled, as well as down the side of a mountain where it would be difficult to find even looking for it, let along spotting it by accident in the dark as we were about 30 minutes from sunset at this point. It was then that I realized that I needed to separate myself from this situation asking if there was anything further that I could do before riding into the sunset. The next day I discovered from another guy that we'd met at the hotel that she was still alive (had not gone to the hospital) and that they'd rented a U-Haul and were in process of hauling the carnage back to Columbus, GA.
Just another week-end at the Gap.
That's a great story thanks for posting it, too weird.
Yes, and it's also why it took me 4 years to go back there even though I find it intoxicating. You see, in 2008 I came into a lefthander with a cruiser in my lane and on the line I wished to take. While I truly love the road, the track is a much better choice for me.
Yup. I love the road, but I hate everyone else who rides it. This thread serves as my reminder why I don't like to ride there anymore.
You'll catch me in the area frequently, but not on US129.
That is brilliant! I think I'm getting one. Will probably land me in jail here in Europe, but what the hell.
I remember that ride!
My old XRL is down the line a bit, I can see me helmet
sorry..I am only here for the pix...
Too much to read..but you had to quote the entire thing?