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Back of the Dragon 5.0 (2017)

3647 Views 31 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  punchbug77
October 27-29, 2017, (Dragon Run on the 28th).

“Back of the Dragon” is a 32 mile drive from Tazewell, VA to Marion, VA. 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 a 55 MPH speed limit for most of the length 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 local cars not running up to speed.

The 2017 edition of the Back of the Dragon GTG and Road Rally (BoD 5.0) has been expanded for the second year and includes cruising Big Walker Mountain, Grape Field Road, Burkes Garden Road (to the valley and back), rolling through Tazewell and ending with a run down The Back of the Dragon itself. The route, beginning at the host hotel in Wytheville and terminating at Hungry Mother State Park just outside Marion, is 95.5 miles and takes about 2.5 hours not including planned stops.

This mid-autumn get-together and rally is the perfect complement to May’s Tail of the Dragon GTG and offers amazing twisty road adventures in the scenic Virginia mountains at the height of the fall foliage season.

Please Note:
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 ranges from 40 to 55, drive within your ability and allow a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.

4- Back of the Dragon 5.0 is hosted by the Mid Atlantic States Beetle Group, a subgroup of newbeetle.org, but we do not require you to drive a Beetle (though it is preferred). BoD is scheduled for the last Saturday in October that is not Halloween.

2013- sweater/coat; some snow on hillsides
2014- short sleeves; sunny and warmish
2015- cool; some sun, pleasant
2016- cool to warm, overnight frost
(*This is a mid-fall event in the mountains and it does get cool to cold at night.)

As far as accommodations, Best Western Wytheville Inn, 355 Nye Rd., Wytheville, VA, 276-228-7300, is the host hotel for the event and the location for the start of the rally. A room block and special price has been established there at a rate of $68.99 plus tax per night for the 27th and 28th. Book directly with the hotel and mention my name, Donald Eaton and Beetle Group, for the rate. (If they transfer you to a general booking site, call back later. The rate is direct with the hotel) There are many other accommodation options in the area and you are welcome to book where you like though most activities will take place at the Best Western.

B0D 5.0 is a bit more casual than Tail of the Dragon in that there are no real set pieces other than the drive itself. However, this is what we did last year and plan for this year:

Friday (27th):

Travel day and hotel check in.

8pm: (optional) Caravan from Best Western Wytheville to nearby Crackerbarrel for dinner

Saturday (28th):
815AM (optional) buffet breakfast at nearby Shoneys - caravan at 8AM. Best Western also has a Continental breakfast for those staying there.

10AM: Driver's Meeting at Best Western

10:30AM: Road Rally begins from Best Western following new route.

2PM +/-: Rally Ends at Hungry Mother State Park then

Lunch in Marion or picnic in park (optional)
You choose activities (optional)

8PM - Group Dinner (optional) TBD

6AM - 9AM Best Western Continental Breakfast in "playpen" (optional)

8AM Big Walker Tunnel/Mountain Run (about one hour) reversing last year's direction. Super Sport Class.

Truck Stop Breakfast (optional)

Departure (for some)

You pick activities for those staying over

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expansion post 2
The List (so far) in no particular order

Don & Kim
central North Carolina
Shiva The Destroyer, 2002 Turbo S

Sasha M T & Jorge C A
Orange City, Florida
Punch Buggy, 2014 TDI Convertible

Warren J, Simone B
Williamsburg, VA
Mocha, 2006 New Beetle Convertible

Jeb & Whitney
Lydia, 2012 Turbo
Gamora, 2017 Sonic

Casandra and TBD
North Ridgeville, OH
Baby, 2003 New Beetle

Al & Val
Jacksonville, FL
Chino, 2013 Beetle 2.5l

Rob and ??
Brookhaven, PA
Pepe Jr, 2001 GLX

Bob & Karen
New London, OH
Bella, 2007 vert

Steven Salyer
Abingdon, Va
Beetle Support Unit,
2016 Not-a-Beetle

Michael & Deana
Richmond, KY
Sherlock, 04 Turbo S

Radford, VA

Hilliard OH
Calcifer, 01 1.8T GLX!

Gene & Lorraine
Ocean View Delaware
Floyd, 2003 TS

Oliver MH, Tabitha L
Williamsburg, VA.
Cars not determined yet (two beetles or a beetle and a Sportwagen)

Leon and Karen
2016 R Line

Richard and Linda
Waldorf, MD
"Fender," 2013 Fender Edition Beetle

Statham, GA
Gandalf, 2002 GLS

Josh, Melissa, Logan, Alex & Olivia
Drayden, MD
Irmina, 2010 BMW 535i M Sport

Marios Miro, Lilia Zoe Torres
Orange City, FL
2011 Accord

Ed & Rose
New Market, TN
Snow Angel, 2007 New Beetle Convertible

Lee C.
Easton, Maryland
2001 Sport
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The latest addition to the 2017 edition, Big Walker Mountain. Yes, it's curvier than it appears. In the sat pic, the uphill side is at the bottom with the top arm of the V being the dowhill.


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3 months to go!
Room booked, can't wait.
I plan on being there this year! Finally!
As of this date, Target and Dick's Sporting Goods both have a two-pack of FRS radios for $29.99. Cobra and Midland respectively. FRS radios are suggested equipment for BoD 5.0 and ToD X to facilitate enroute communications.
Co-pilot and I will be staying at the General Francis Marion Hotel in Marion again...so, we'll make the trek northward for breakfast, etc. :)

Thanks for the tip on the FRS radios, Don. I'll chime in on the Cobra set---I have a model similar to the Cobra...haven't been happy with 'em, and I'm looking to get something a little better.

Looking forward to the weekend!
Wish I could say whether those were good radios - t'was the price that caught my eye. :)
Will check and see about expanding room block
4 weeks from today!
We will be joining the adventure and looking forward to it.
Ed & Rose Johnson
New Market TN
Snow Angel 2007 New Beetle Convertible
Great, will add to list tomorrow. Are you on Facebook?
Two weeks from tomorrow, we're heading out! Gotta get Sherlock's check-ups done...and a good washing!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I got Shiva out of the shop yesterday. Long story short, got brakes that don't hiss now.
Lee Caplan
'01 Sport
Easton, Maryland
@ BW Wytheville Inn Friday-Sunday
Yay! Glad to have you join us!
Current count is 23 with less than a week to go.
Forecast calling for rain.


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