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      12-20-2014, 12:57 PM   #1
mxa121
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Dragon and Skyway drive with Fellow M - Full Report

"Hey, let's meet up Sunday and drive to the Tail of the Dragon."
"Okay, let's do it."

The cars:

Car 1: @TheSnail
A lightweight build, received in Germany by it's first owner, this 2012 M3 in Alpine Weiss is a great example of the BMW M3. Limited options with a manual box keeps the focus, while the classy White with Bamboo interior say's "grey poupon?"
Mods include the Akrapovic Titanium rear exhaust, Macht Schnell pulleys and intake, AND KW V3 coil overs. Well done sir.

Car 2: @mxa121
Discovered on this very forum, a menacing M in Jerez Schwarz Metallic shows that a 5 year old car still has the chops to run with the new 'fellas. A 2009 build with quite a few options caters to the needy, with a Fox Red interior that wows most viewers. Equipped with DCT, this car is not a lightweight build, but soldiers on without a hint of struggle.
Mods include Megan Racing rear exhaust, ACM test pipes, BMS filter, Eibach springs, and the "pull the pins" camber mod.






The journey began:
We drove up I-575, into hwy 515 then headed North on hwy 60, veering NE to stay on 60. Then, we headed NE on hwy 64. After a few miles, it turned into hwy 129, the excitement was rising at this point. (It was already fun)

Stopping for gas in the town of Andrews gave us a chance to look around. The mountain scenery is beautiful and it is ALL around us at this point. The land up here is very pleasing to the eye, plus you feel "in" the mountains, not just on them.

From there, two M3s full of Shell's finest, were destined for the Mountain roads I have heard so much about. (At this point I am thinking all Dragon, the Skyway was not in my head)

The Map:



Heading into the Tail of the Dragon, I see the famous tree and gas station at the base. Looks neat, but everything was closed for the season. Saw a few bikers and just a handful of cars. One C7 which pulled off immediately when he saw us coming. He was just out enjoying his car, a gorgeous blue Stingray which sounded awesome on downshifts.

We carved through the mountains efficiently. I was very pleased with my car's performance. At full 'safe' pace, we were tearing it up. Balancing the top of 2nd and the bottom of 3rd gear between the super tight turns was enjoyable in the DCT and the blipping was glorious. The sound of two Bavarian V8s bellowing up to 8,000 rpms was music to my ears.
You never get a break in those 11 miles!
My Eibach spring'd car handled great! The camber mod up front was definitely appreciated with a noticeable increase in front end grip. Both cars were performance machines up there. With Euro MDM and DCT, my car was a bit easier to put the power down, while TheSnail was happy with his tail out, traction control be damned!





The views were beautiful as expected, with lots of water, dams, and terrain to take in. An experience that is 'felt' as well as seen.

From there, we turned around and drove the Tail of the Dragon down to meet up with hwy 143, "The Skyway".
A road that travels us from North Carolina all the way over into Tennessee, we were crossing states on one of the best roads, no, THE best road I have ever experienced.

Note to all you drivers out there, the Skyway makes mincemeat of the Dragon's tail. A long and windy road that eclipses over 5,000 ft of elevation, you see views that most just use as screen savers while carving some great twisty pavement.
Dragon=autocross
Skyway=track day

Here we are looking out, about 3,500 ft up;


"keep going"

We are now above the Sky. Over 5,000 ft up, we looked out in awe...








"keep going"

We were above the Sky, so logic says we should eventually drive through it, right? Yes we did. If you look closely, you can see Snail's car disappearing into the heavens.


Heading down the other side of this journey we experience snow and ice. The elevation, coupled with low temperatures and lots of shade made some areas of the road quite exciting. No problem here for the Ms.


We parted ways after the Skyway, both of us just amplified from our experience. What a great time! Definitely will be doing this drive again. Hopefully we can get some more people interested as it makes the experience that much better when you can share it with other enthusiasts. Also, I loved looking ahead or behind and seeing another M3 glaring at me!

Trip Log:


I encourage you all to make a trip to a great set of roads. It makes owning a car like this that much better. You experience it's true beauty.
As always, be safe and thanks for reading.
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      12-20-2014, 03:59 PM   #2
TheSnail
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Nice write-up Sir!

Spot on, and it captures my experiences on the trip as well. I did have a blast, so we will go again some time soon.

Next time we'll be sure not to pass 28, and try that road out while we're at it. That and more mods will be done for expedition two.
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      12-20-2014, 08:07 PM   #3
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i went with my current S2000 a couple of years ago, and you are spot on with everything that you've written up. Looking forward to when i get my e92 and take it up to the dragon. Glad you guys had a wonderful time.
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      12-21-2014, 01:45 AM   #4
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Made the trip a few years ago when I first leased my 335i all the way from NYC. I remember before I even got on the Dragon, I got my ass handed to me by a beat up 4x4 that was just carving up the corners…I couldn't keep up with it! The locals that drive on the pass are insane and you might end up crashing if you try to keep up with them.

Drove up and down the Dragon feeling like a race car driver in my automatic xdrive 335i…wish I had the M3 or even my previous s2000 but it was still a huge adrenaline rush. Bear mountain in NY seemed like a bunny slope compared to the tail of the dragon. I've been rocking "THE DRAGON" plate frame I bought at the gift shop to remind me that I have to make the trip again. OP, thanks for sharing and I recommend any car enthusiast to at least drive on the course once in their lives…you won't regret it.
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      Yesterday, 09:53 AM   #5
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Great photo coverage.
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      Yesterday, 11:20 AM   #6
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Excellent! I went two years ago. The experience lives up to the legend.

Great write up!
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      Yesterday, 11:48 AM   #7
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This write up was awesome Ryan! I must ask, are you a writer? Lol

I need to do something like this with some of my enthusiast friends. Glad to know you had a great experience, thank you for sharing and keep modding!
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      Yesterday, 12:26 PM   #8
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Great write up - thanks. I had fun reading it.
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      Yesterday, 01:51 PM   #9
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Fantastic. Makes me want to call up my crew and head straight to NW Arkansas (our playground).
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      Yesterday, 02:03 PM   #10
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Heck yea! Looking forward to some Dragon fun soon!
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      Yesterday, 04:01 PM   #11
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Spectacular road, scenery, and cars. Thanks for sharing!
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      Yesterday, 06:24 PM   #12
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Nice trip!
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      Yesterday, 09:17 PM   #13
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Nice write up! A week after I bought my 335, I was up in Maryville, TN visiting some friends. I took my car through some curves on the very beginning of what eventually leads to The Dragon. I would love to get a group together though and drive it, as I'm just over in Birmingham.
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