Shortly after the Skip Barber Open House I was on a 15 hour road trip to the greatest motorcycle destination on the east coast – Deal’s Gap or Tail on the Dragon. The stretch of road where US Route 129 crosses the state boarder from North Carolina to Tennessee is where the tail of the dragon is located. The seducing curves of the dragon attacks every driver; in fact every driver is faced with 311 curves within an 11 mile stint with the posted speed limit of just 30 mph. Even though the speed limit is 30 mph most drivers will actually be attempting around 45 mph to 60 mph throughout the entire stretch of road. The hardest part of the driving the dragon is slowing for causal drivers and local traffic; most people want to try a full speed run throughout, but they fail to remember that people actually live out there – long before it became a successful destination road. So it’s advised to wake up a bit earlier and tackle the roads before the crowds awake. There is also the local police to watch out for, but the big secret is maintain your speed while in the straights (as that’s the most obvious spot to get caught) and to NOT cross the double yellow lines. Crossing the lines is how the majority of accidents happen at the dragon.
During my trip down to the dragon, I was faced with rainy weather for the second day which limited the speeds on the curves. However this didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits as it was an epic challenge to really push one’s self through the corners. I was pretty amazed that tackling the corners at speed actually requires more mental strength than physical strength. Even from the first day I arrived I was exhausted from the first four runs as the road was still very new to me. Below is a short video of the twisties at tail of the dragon. Think of the tissue box as an accelerometer.