Tail of the Dragon
Hold on for the Ride of Your Life
A decision to skoot through the Tail of the Dragon? One thing for sure. This not your typical Sunday afternoon drive. When I was just a youngster we either went for our afternoon drive or we had our Sunday afternoon nap after returning from church. Well you don’t want to even be one bit drowsy or think of blinking while maneuvering through the 318 curves of this 11 mile stretch of US 129. One wrong move and it is game over.
At the end of the ride (if you start in Tennessee) you will visit the Tree of Shame, located at the Crossroads of Time. There you’ll find a variety of motorcycle parts that are swaying in the breeze and serve as a sobering reminder that the Dragon does bite if you fail to treat it with the respect that it so deserves.
There are no guard rails as you scale The Tail of the Dragon and the turns are tight 90 degree or hair pins. And when you think you have a few feet of straight away, you’re into a series of switchbacks that can change elevation countless times in the next 200 feet ahead.
We took the first ride through the Tail of the Dragon and it was slow going for the 3 bikes in our small group. I scraped the floor boards a few times and the result was a few quick jabs to the waist from my partner to slow down. So we went from second gear to first to keep her happy for the next few curves. It wasn’t long until I was awarded with another jab and again had to cut back on the throttle.
Well it has been as exciting and just as exhilarating the sixth time through the course as it was the first time.
Would I do the ride again? In a heart beat…
You will meet bikers of all sorts, from all over the globe. And don’t think that it is just the motorcycles or the small sports cars that will be trying to beat their previous time to tame the dragon. You quite possibly could be meeting up with some large motorhome or even an eighteen wheeler lumbering through the next to impossible turns.
If you are looking for a ride to remember for years and years to come, this is the one to take.
If you happen to end at Deals Gap and you have planned your day with lots of light left in the day. Continue on to The Cherohala Skway. It’s a journey of some 50 miles that will thrill your senses and leave an indelible mark on your memory. And don’t forget to bring your camera for a chance at some great photo ops.
Remember to share your stories and photos with the rest of us here at Motorcycle Trailers and Camping when you return from this great destination
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