MOTD MINIs on the Dragon 2019 May 1st - May 5th

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MINIs on the Dragon is a great event hosted at the Fontana Village in North Carolina. Surrounding Fontana are great driving roads including the...
By Sully · Mar 9, 2019 ·
  1. Sully

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    Sully submitted a new Article:

    MINIs on the Dragon 2019 May 1st - May 5th

     
  2. colinmini

    colinmini Active Member

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    After one year off, glad to be getting back to see my Dragon Family!
     
  3. Sully

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    Last year was good.. year before was a bit crazy! Hope there are no storms etc this year. :)
     
  4. colinmini

    colinmini Active Member

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    Had a run of 12 straight years going. God put me where I needed to be last year, but still missed you all terribly!
     
  5. Dave.0

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    The storm last year was nothing, you should have been there when we had tornadoes. That was a fun time.
     
  6. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
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    I was at MOTD that year, staying down in a tent trailer at the campground. That would have been a very interesting night had I not walked into the brewswap and been drafted into a beer pong team (at 6'4" and 300+ lbs, I'm a very likely candidate to be drafted). I had WAY more to drink than I should have and a friend drove me down the hill. I got into bed and fell fast asleep. I vaguely remember waking up in the middle of the night with the trailer shaking, but I assumed it was a few friends in a tent next door giving the trailer a shake so I just rolled over and fell back asleep. I got up to find my outdoor things very wet and tossed around a bit, but still all there.

    I led a group drive that morning... it was an 'interesting' excursion... we drove around 4-5 trees, pulled a couple off of the road so we could continue on and I had to improvise a drive with 25 cars behind me because of all of the road closures.
     
  7. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
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    To anyone here: I'm leading the Donut Run on Friday morning. We stop at OutMotoring corporate HQ which is 2-3 blocks from MINI of Knoxville. If you need any parts brought back to you on Friday morning, please stop by Cabin 1019 and let me know what I can do (call 'em to place an order and leave me a note, if I'm not there, w/ instructions on how and what to pick up, along w/ delivery instructions to get the parts to you on Friday afternoon (2-3pm ish). You can also email [email protected] or call/text my mobile 214-394-7450, but, well... you know what cell service is like at Fontana.

    Aaron
     
  8. Sully

    Sully Administrator
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    Was that two years ago or more? Two years ago (my virgin time)... power and water were out and trees were down
     
  9. Whine not Walnuts

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    For those traveling down from the NE there are several other good areas to try out more twisities. Off I-81 in Marion Va there is the Claw and the Back of the Dragon (BOTD) and then just down 81 to the east of Bristol Tn is the Snake. For those not familiar a brief unprofessional comparison:

    Tale of the Dragon (TOTD): The Tail spans two States, approximately .6 miles in North Carolina from the Deals Gap Motorcycle Motel to the Tennessee line and then 11 miles in Tennessee. The TOTD does not have mountains involved but there are some very minor vertical elevation changes. Several of the hairpins are banked due to these vertical elevation change. There are no homes or farms on the TOTD as well as no crossroads. There are other banked areas but not to the degree that I found on the BOTD. There are numerous paved pull-off areas along the route. The road is well paved, well marked and has a 35 MPH speed limit. A somewhat leisurely pace "going out" from NC to TN allows one to determine where those that hand out "ticket vochures" are staged so that a more spirited trip "back in" can be undertaken.

    The TOTD has 311 curves in 11 miles and the only road I have ever been on with more is the Road to Hana in Maui that has over 600.

    Back of the Dragon (BOTD): The BOTD and The Claw are in SW Virginia off Interstate 81. http://www.clawofthedragon.com The locals like to say the BOTD is 32 miles long, however, that is the distance from Marion to Tazewell involving allot of "country road" not twisties. The twisties are in three mountain sections. There are basically two runs of five miles and one of four miles. There are several very tight switchbacks where you come to almost a stop due to the steep incline and the corner. The mountain sections are well paved, well marked and many areas are nicely banked leading into the turns, something the Snake does not really have and the TOTD although banked not find to the same degree as the BOTD. The twisties start as soon as you leave Marion with a posted speed limit of 35. This increases to 45 for a short section and then there are no speed signs posted in many areas. From what can be found on the VA State webpage, secondary roads have a speed limit of 55 if not posted but a residential area, that the BOTD has several of is 25 if not marked. There are also sections of limited crossroads and there are several areas of homes and farms. Pull-offs are limited and are not paved. With 3,500 feet of elevation change you can have rain on the west side of a mountain and sun on the other.

    The only other road I have found to have banked chicanes such as the BOTD is a road over by Banner Elk near Boone farther up the BRPW in North Carolina. The BOTD has longer chicane sections though.

    The Snake: Locals like to say the road is 33 miles long but similar to the BOTD, not everything is "twisitie" driving. The "good" sections are confined to two mountains with runs of approximately five and seven miles. http://www.thesnake421.com/snake-421-ride-information/. The most western section is comprised of several miles of some very poor paving (this may have changed in the past year). The Snake has a very sharp/short hairpin, perhaps more so than the BOTD. The road signage is not as good as either the BOTD or the TOTD. The posted speed limit is 35 in the twisties with some 45 areas between the two good run sections. Similar to the BOTD, there are several areas with limited crossroads and there are also several areas of homes and farms. Pull-offs are very limited and not paved. Like the BOTD, depending upon the side of the mountain you may encounter wet roads.

    I would rate The Snake # 3 compared to the BOTD that would be # 2. IMO the TOTD is by far the best if you are into tight turns with very short chutes between exit from one to the entry of another. Both the BOTD and the Snake can surely test your brakes with the elevation changes involved. Some may find the uphill sections of the BOTD and Snake more fun to drive as gravity is doing the braking for you.

    All three have large trees, cliffs and rock walls along with sobering make-shift memorials to those that started out to have fun but ended up never coming home.
     
  10. Dave.0

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    #10 Dave.0, Mar 18, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2019

    More than 2 years ago. Chads own tent got wiped out by the winds that night.

    The best part was in the middle of the storm with rain going sideway, wild winds with leaves and branches flowing around. We saw a MINI coming in from our end (gas station) entrance with its high beams on. Wondering who in the world is the ass driving in this weather....

    Out of the darkness comes a Gen One GP full on race car driven by Colin (Greene Performance) and Jan (Owner of RMW) in the passengers seat. They had just finished a several days of driving from So-Cal to Fontana in a RACECAR with full race suspension, cage, fixed seats in a hell of a storm and drove in on the Dragon fully loaded.

    That takes some big balls.

    FYI we went out for a run the next morning and trees were down everywhere on Hellbender, the Dragon and you could not get to the Harley place that was a Gas station that sold 101 race fuel. Trees everywhere and you could see exactly where the Tornado touched down on the other side of the big lake at the bottom, ripped down hundreds of trees in a circle, crossed the lake and took out the big power tower and came up on the Dragon side and went up into the woods again. Big trees where splintered like twigs. It was a crazy site to see. All the trees by or near the roads where cleaned up by noon and the Dragon was full open by Noon with access to the 101 race fuel gas station.
     
  11. MCS02

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    Thats is crazy! What a way to top-off a long ride in a race car!!
     
  12. wmwny

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    My roomie and I left Fontana that very morning thru the Dragon for Ohio. We had to clear numerous trees to get out and onto Maryville. Those damned trees that were still standing were swaying like snakes and scared the hell out of us both. We carry saws and tow ropes when we come down now. The weather then is way too iffy.
     
  13. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
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    Scanning back through my photos, I'd say 2011. I found some very fuzzy shots of me in front of some very muddy MINIs on my camera and one of a tree across the road somewhere on the far end of the Dragon just past the cool-down lot.
     
  14. wmwny

    wmwny Well-Known Member

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    It was 2 years ago. I know that because I was driving my R50 and went back again with the same car last year. This year, we are taking the R53.
     
  15. Dave.0

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    No, it was much longer than two years ago. That was the year of the power outage not the tornado.
     
  16. vetsvette

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    Dave's right. Two years ago was the power outage and a bunch of trees down, but no tornado. My first MOTD was 2012 so it must have been prior to that.
     
  17. wmwny

    wmwny Well-Known Member

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    Yep, you are both right and I am wrong. While the storm 2 years ago seemed pretty rough at the time, I now remember that other one years earlier...when we watched the skies towards Knoxville light up as we sat on the Porch for the Cigar Salon. We remarked that any travelers outside Fontana on 129 were getting slammed...and, we were right.

    The next morning, we were amazed that Killboy's girlfriend had driven thru on 129 during the storms and her MINI looked pretty much like the after effects of hell on earth...broken windows and huge hailstone dents that appeared to have been done by a sledge hammer.

    This was the same storm system that tore thru the University of Alabama's campus that Spring
     
  18. MCS02

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    That is the year I missed. Lucky me!!!
     
  19. Goldsmithy

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    You all are right. That was a weird year. Ann and I took off on Thursday and had a great day riding around with the top down. I don't remember where we went...but no rain...until I dropped her off at the motel and drove up to Fontana. What a day !!!
     
  20. agranger

    agranger MINI of the Month June 2009
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    #20 agranger, Mar 19, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
    On the nice side of things, Rufus (my current R53 made it out to Kinentech here in Charlotte for a new clutch, LSD install, a new PS pump and a few other bits and pieces. Once he comes home, I'll need to bleed the brakes, do an oil change and I'll be ready for MOTD 2019.


    Photos from way back at MOTD 2011:

    Tree down across the Dragon... well... near the lake on the far side of the Dragon
    [​IMG]

    Here I am with a huge caravan of cars and the Foothills Parkway is closed because of downed trees... I'm scrambling to design a new route on the fly! Look at the sky!

    [​IMG]

    Dragging the trailer across the Dragon on the way in to Fontana.
    [​IMG]

    All of the crap that was blown down onto the road got immediately sucked onto the wet rear end of the car...
    [​IMG]

    More scary sky
    [​IMG]
     

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