|A good spot, whether hauling your own mail past it or sitting under the easy-up with Kamal talking gearhead.|
Watchtower and I will take one more whack at the Tail of the Dragon this fall. He has a set of new Michelin Pilot Super Sports he wants to try out. Even though I'm about Interstated-out, it's hard to bear the thought of not making passes again until next spring. I hope to have a chance to hang out with the Killboy crew, and maybe even make a pass or two with a couple of them as a passenger (that is, me as the passenger).
I got into a discussion about this recently with a Dragoneer who knows I'm a big fan of the crew. He said "You're faster than you think, Pilote. Given equal experience with the road and similar equipment, you would not be much if any slower. Get over your fandom." That's flattering, but not on point.
Item: I don't have years of experience on the Dragon. I know maybe 30% of it to the point where I'm confident about the next bend or two. But my brake lights still flash too often, to get my entry speed right. There's a vid on the 'net shot by a member of the Killboy crew, following Darryl. "Notice how he almost never uses his brakes." Yup. At the risk of repeating myself, here's a link again to Killboy's "Jay Multistrata" video. They make it almost to Crud Corner, in traffic, in about 10 minutes 30 seconds. I'll call that about 11 minutes for the complete southbound pass: hauling the mail.
Item: The equipment is not similar. Many of the Killboy crew drive or ride vehicles they've modified for slaying. If you've got a wider track and wider, sticky rubber, and adjustable shocks, your passes are faster. But such a vehicle can get away from you faster too. This is way above the pay grade of an ancien who's done his slaying on four season radials and stock suspension. I admire anyone who can keep a capable car underneath him, be it a journeyman road racer or a Dragon slayer. Killboy's crew is good--very good.
Item: I love the Killboy crew because they love the road. Without doubt, the locals were behind having the pulloffs installed and paved. This allows tourists to work and play well together, if not with each other. The Highlights preach situational awareness, safety, and respect for the limits of your vehicle and own skill. Before he had a wide readership, Killboy used to say something like this: "This is a cool pool we've got here, isn't it? Why would you pee in it by getting us unwanted attention?"
Many of the Killboy crew, including Darryl, moved to Maryville or Robbinsville because they love the road. That's commitment, or passion, or an unbalance mind. ;-) Spend 20 minutes with any of them and you discover that's it's not just about their businesses and schmoozing tourists, it's about their gearheaded love for the road. I loves me some peoples who love a good road.