2009 NEWS ARCHIVES
November 7: A few 18 wheelers continue to come through the Dragon each day. Traffic has slowed, but the weather is still good for riding with daytime temps in the 60s.
October 29: Six or seven 18 wheelers on the Dragon today. Several got hung up causing traffic delays. Be extra careful in the next few months due to the closing of I40.
October 27: The season is winding down as the colors peak in the mountains. It has been rather busy the last two weeks with a wide variety of visitors to the area. Lots of touring bikes, cruisers, dual sports and some great looking cars. This past week-end saw a lot of Corvettes, Vipers and classic older cars. There were also a number of smaller groups that made for a steady parade.
There has been some discussion about a political dispute between two adjoining counties in western North Carolina over emergency responses in a small area near the Dragon (not on the Dragon itself). The issue deals with emergency coverage on 10 miles of NC 28 and US 129 located in Swain County, North Carolina. This particular area south of the Great Smoky Mountains is an isolated section of Swain County which actually adjoins Graham County. It is 21 miles by road (NC 28) from the nearest point in greater Swain County.
Some new signs have been installed by North Carolina DOT. Tail of the Dragon provided input to identify some of the problem areas on the Hellbender and Cherohala . The new signs hopefully will help riders be more aware of dangerous corners. Remember !!! WHEN YOU SEE A WARNING SIGN SLOW IT DOWN AND BE ALERT.
October 6: The 49 year old rider who was severely injured in an accident at the Hump on August 13 has died. The Lenoir City TN man never regained consciousness. Our condolences to friends and family. This is the fifth death on the Dragon in 2009.
October 2-4: A busy week-end until rain moved in Sunday afternoon.
SEPTEMBER 23: Another sad day for motorcyclists. A trike went off the road on NC 28 just minutes from the Dragon. The Florida rider suffered fatal injuries and wife is in serious condition after being airlifted to UT with multiple broken bones. The accident occurred at the same corner as the recent Solstice accident that claimed a life. This is the third fatal trike accident in three years on area roads.
SEPTEMBER 13: Fairly busy weekend with rallies in Cherokee and Maggie Valley. Also heard that Pigeon Forge had a good weekend with car shows bringing in the much needed crowds.
SEPTEMBER 10 BULLETIN 1030am: Thursday morning truck incident on NC143 caused large oil slick near Stecoah Gap. Oil slick is located approx. 6 miles east of Robbinsville on NC143. Authorities on the scene with traffic control and crew. Hopefully they will clean the road. We advise motorcycles to find an alternative route.
SEPTEMBER 1: The 4th fatality on the Dragon in 2009 early afternoon near mile marker 8. A north bound Goldwing ran off the road into the ditch killing the 66 year old rider from Wisconsin. Be aware that THP will be out in force this holiday weekend.
AUGUST 21-24: Great week-end with perfect weather. Cool temps in the morning (60 degrees) and warm in the afternoons (high 70s). We rode the Cherokee, Little River, Townsend, Foothills, Dragon Loop on Monday and were surprised by the light traffic. Townsend TN looked like a ghost town while Robbinsville, Bryson City and Cherokee on the North Carolina side looked pretty busy. Made us wonder how much the LEO actions of the past couple of years have hurt Tennessee tourism. We plan to check-out the tourism in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge next week.
AUGUST 6-9: A fun and busy week-end with lots of bikes and cars. However there was a tragic accident on NC 28 Saturday night involving a Solstice with two occupants. The female passenger suffered fatal injuries and the male driver is in critical condition. Our condolences and prayers to family and friends of both.
AUGUST1-2: The third motorcycle death on the Dragon Sunday. A female rider from Ontario went off the road and hit a tree near mm 5.0. The roads on Sunday were wet part of the day making for tricky riding. The weather generally has been good in spite of what the weather channel and web sites might be saying. It is normal to have 30% or 40% chance of rain and see none or just a brief afternoon shower and then clear skies again.
JULY 8: The second death on the Dragon occurred on Tuesday July 7. A 49 year old woman HD rider from Texas suffered fatal injuries in a crash at mile marker 5.
MAY 15-17: Those who stayed away because of the weather forecasts missed a couple of good days riding on Friday and Saturday. The sun was out most of both days. Sunday it rained a bit more. By Monday the weather was perfection. Lots of riders in the area taking advantage of perfect weather on Monday and Tuesday. The rest of this week is looking great. Come on out !!!
MAY 1-4: Rain, rain and more rain. Very slow weekend because of the weather. It broke on Monday, but skies remain cloudy with widely scatterd showers predicted. Note that many of the weather forecasts call for rain, but much of the time it is 30 percent. This is common in the mountains and often widely scattered, ten minute showers come and go with roads drying in an hour allowing for good riding the rest of the day.
APRIL 23-26: Thursday Nancy and I were treated to an airplane ride over the area. The Dragon is unbelievable as seen from the air and the Cherohala is surprisingly twisty. You don't realize how remote the area is until you see the wide picture from 5,000 feet.
APRIL 17-19: Friday and Saturday brought good weather and lots of riders/drivers having fun on the Dragon and other area roads. Sunday was drizzly and chilly, but many braved the elements. The scenery is great again this week with Dogwoods and redbuds in full color and the other trees just greening-up. Remember that the LEOs are out and about. We saw a few cars stopped by THP on the Dragon Saturday.
APRIL 10 - 12: Saturday the weather turned bad again with a steady drizzle and temps in the low 50s. We were surprised to see so many riders braving the dampness. Sunday the weather turned back to the good .... sunshine and temps in the 60s. The Dragon was not crowded, but a good many riders turned up looking for Easter eggs. This will be one of the most scenic weeks of the year on the Dragon as the Dogwoods and redbuds are in full color and the other trees are just greening-up.
APRIL 9: The weather has improved and forecasts look good for the coming weekend. Still use caution on the Cherohala and other roads of higher elevations.
APRIL 3-7: Friday weather kept many away, but Saturday was near perfection with many riders taking advantage. Sunday was slower and Monday was a rain/snow-out. Snow began on the Dragon at about 4 pm Monday and continued most of the night. Even more is falling Tuesday. Hopefully Wednesday will warm enought to improve riding. The roads are clear at lower elevations, but certain areas can be tricky. Stay off the Cherohala unless you have 4-wheel drive.
BULLETIN: Honda Hoot has canceled the June 2009 event in Knoxville. No reasons were given, but we suspect the low attendance in 2008, the economic slump, and perhaps the attitude of TN LEOs toward motorcycling. The entire state will suffer losses in the millions of dollars with the canceling of this event. Tennessee will need to be on wellfare soon. By the way, we hear bed taxes are going up in some areas to help compensate for the state and county's lack of funds. Don't change your vacation because of the Hoot, just come on anyway and plan to do some extra riding instead of hooting.
MARCH 27-29: Saturday was a rain-out and Sunday was on the chilly side. Slow weekend overall.
MARCH 20-22: Good weather and a good turn-out at the Dragon and other area roads. Lots of cars and a mixed bag of bikes. Things should be picking-up on the Dragon in the coming weeks.
MARCH 6-8: We finally had some good weather and many drivers/riders were taking advantage of it. We rode the Wayah Road/NC 28 Loop on Saturday and found good road conditions. The Dragon was fairly busy on the weekend. The remaining sand/salt didn't interfere with most of the riders. TDOT is preparing to make some upgrades to the Dragon. Plans that we have seen call for paving many of the pull-offs, improving the berms where most accidents occur, and installing some additional warning signs. There are no plans to install speed bumps.
JANUARY 21, 2009: We just returned from the Washington DC and New York City International Motorcycle Shows. We had a great time and saw many friends that we have made over the years. We were glad to hear a lot of people say they were planning first time trips to the Dragon in 2009. And the smiles on faces gave away those who had been here before.