October 24, 2015
Back of the Dragon is a 64 mile drive from Marion, VA to Tazewell VA and back. A classic twisty road, the two-lane ribbon of asphalt known as VA-16 features blind curves, various switchbacks, and steep elevations changes over 3 mountains in a rural setting with 55 MPH speed limit that will cause trouble if you don't pay attention.
It's not all constant curves and corners though, there's the occasional straight away that allows the driver to relax for a moment or two or to pass any locals who are not running fast enough for you.
Hungry Mother State Park is along the route as well as a couple of other turnouts for photo ops though restroom availability is limited to the park and a gas station on the route.
The previous two years we met at Appletree Restaurant (Hwys 81 & 16) for a breakfast meet, greet, and eat then formed up, paraded through Marion and rolled up 16 to Tazewell and back.
In 2013, we ate lunch upon returning to Marion. In 2014, we ate hot dogs at a turn around point at a gas station/store where we also bought stickers and decals.
1- There is no designated “Leisure Group” for Back of the Dragon. If you prefer a more casual run, please position your car to the rear of the line up. If, during the run, the pace is too fast, feel free to signal the cars behind to pass on the straights or reposition at convenient opportunities -- we'll all catch up to one another at the stops along the way. Along the route, there's only 1 or 2 places to take a wrong turn and those will be pointed out.
2- It is a public highway with local traffic and law enforcement so be forewarned.
3- While the speed limit is 55, drive within your ability and allow a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.
4- Back of the Dragon 3.0 is hosted by the Mid Atlantic Coastal Beetle Group - a subgroup of newbeetle.org but we do not require you to drive a Beetle, but it is preferred BoD is scheduled for the last Saturday in October that is not Halloween.
ToD 3.0 is evolving as far as planned set pieces. It is a collaborative effort among various people including some who live in the area. Here-to-fore certain aspects of the day/weekend have been made “on the fly,” but as the group is growing, more aspects will be decided in advance.
2013- sweater/coat; some snow on hillsides
2014- short sleeves; sunny and warmish
As far as accommodations, Wytheville (27 minutes up 81 from Marion) is the best choice for variety though Warren stayed in Marion at the Francis Marion Hotel and said it was very nice. Last year, 4 cars stayed at The Best Western in Wytheville.
This a partial list, book at your own discretion. Google is your friend.
*General Francis Marion Hotel
107 E. Main St., Marion, VA
1420 N. Main St., Marion, VA
Americas Best Value Inn
1424 N. Main St. , Marion, VA
5558 Lee Hwy, Atkins, VA
*Best Western Wytheville Inn
355 Nye Rd., Wytheville, VA
* indicates accommodations that have been used by participants previously and are being booked again this year. There are other hotels and motels available to chose from.
2013 - Original Dragon Masters:
Vincent (+12) with Steven
Buglet (NB) with Lorna
****** (NB) with Don & Kim
Po’ Man (+12) with Ed & Lois
2014 - BoD 2.0
****** (NB) with Chris
Shiva (NB) with Don
Beetle Juice (+12) with Whitney and Jeb
Vincent (+12) with Steven and Cody
My Girl (NB) with Ashley and Mom and Dog
Ikiane (NB) with Warren and Simone
Pepe Jr. (NB) with Robert and Christine
For those interested in expanded or optional runs in the area:
200 mile version:
"Morning of" Details
More details to come