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So the better half and I went on an adventure a week ago, and I'm just getting around to sharing. Her sister bought a home in Franklin, North Carolina. It's about 90 minutes from Deals Gap, where the Tail of the Dragon begins. We decided to trailer our Speedster over 1100 miles round trip just to drive this famous stretch of US route 129 with 318 curves in 11 miles. It did not disappoint, we had a blast! Highly recommended for serious twisty fun. The action shots are from professional photographers stationed along the route, they cost us less than $50.IMG_20211024_130522481_HDR3493165 34929693492970349297134929723492973

57 CMC widebody, 1776, Dell 40s, IRS, 4 wheel discs, 18" Boyds, 225/35/18

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Glad you had a good time. Shame you didn’t check in first. As anyone who has spent time in the area will tell you, the dragon is but one of hundreds of good roads in the area.

Links Carlos posted from this years TdS:
https://www.google.com/maps/di...!1m0!1m0!3e0!5m1!1e4



Fir some reason, I can’t get the second route to post. It’s in Carlos’ TdS 2021 post on page 6

Last edited by dlearl476

I would agree that there are many roads in the smokies that are more beautiful and more fun that TOD. But there aren’t any more challenging. In my younger days I would spend entire days at the TOD trying to cut my time on a sport bike. Particularly on a bike it is physically and mentally challenging. At 61 those days are over and the TOD is now way too commercial and busy. Cops are also everywhere.
I’m a Virginia resident and I would recommend anyone who likes the TOD to try the Back of the Dragon (BOD?) that travels from Marion VA to Tazwell WVA. Longer and with more curves but a bit more spaced out. It too is very physically demanding.  The area can’t compete with the smokies but it’s worth the trip if you are close to SW VA. I sound like a commercial but I’m a VA native and I love VA.  More VA suggestions. If you are a history buff and maybe you love good food, beer and wine maybe try Charlottesville. I was in the nearby mountains this morning. Beautiful roads and near Monticello, Montpelier, University of Virginia and many other beautiful historical sites. Again roads can’t compare to the driving experience of the Smokies but if you are interested in more than just the drive it’s a no brainer.

Last edited by 550 Phil

Kind of like the PCH, the Tail of the Dragon (ToD) is a bucket list thing for a car guy - and like the PCH, I wish I had been able to do it before it was hugely popular.

As others have said, it's unbelievably crowded, very heavily patrolled, and a LOT slower than I imagine it was before it became famous. It's an amazing stretch of road, and I can only dream of what it must have been like before packs of accountants on Harleys, RVs, leaf-peepers, and the occasional delivery van all decided it was a destination to be taken in at 3/10s speed. Fast cars or bikes who came a long way to drive an iconic road get behind all that, get frustrated, and do stupid things.

It's super-cool to have the images the photogs stationed on the corners shooting thousands of frames a day can provide for short money (I've got two of them blown up to nearly billboard size in my shop), but it's kinda' like Disney World - I feel like the idea of it exceeds the reality at this point in history. It's just too popular.

That being said, I've got a ToD sticker on my windshield, and a shot I took on the PCH as my phone background, so there's that. You've got to do it once or twice - but having done it I can tell you that there are many, many roads not overly crowded and not overpatrolled in the same area.

"The Rattler" is that kind of road - it's longer, faster, and 10x more fun.

Last edited by Stan Galat

I've been down to North Carolina twice with my Spyder. We did the Dragon, we did the Rattler.

IMHO, the Dragon is nice, BUT I was behind a local guy(Piet) and it wasn't a busy day. No policemen were disturbed by us that day, nor the other way round. Got the photos to prove it.(Killboy!)

The Rattler is a fine piece of road, although there are some slightly populated spots you have to watch out for. Definitely LESS busy but fun curves. The destination town of Hot Springs for lunch is an advantage.

I'd love to hit the Cherohala Skyway but that is pretty far west of where we "home-base".

Blue Ridge has a LOT of 35mph areas. I've actually had a Ranger follow us into a restaurant parking lot and wait until we came out. I guess he was assuming that were going to fracture the speed limit. We split up into two groups. He had to make a choice. They're serious! You don't want a ticket on the Blue Ridge.

It's a beautiful drive but I can't drive 35. Been there in June when the fog was so thick you couldn't see your front tire on the motorcycle.

Blue Ridge has a LOT of 35mph areas. I've actually had a Ranger follow us into a restaurant parking lot and wait until we came out. I guess he was assuming that were going to fracture the speed limit. We split up into two groups. He had to make a choice. They're serious! You don't want a ticket on the Blue Ridge.

It's a beautiful drive but I can't drive 35. Been there in June when the fog was so thick you couldn't see your front tire on the motorcycle.

Unlike State and Municipal regulations around the country, there is just one fine for speeding in a NP: $399 in 2002. Don’t know what it is now. And that goes for +5, +10, or anything above it.

Lots of good comments and advice in this thread. We managed TotD on Sunday and planned to hit Cherhola on Tuesday (Monday had rain in the forecast, which was accurate) but the Speedster had other plans. The electric fuel pump crapped out about 15 miles from our hotel, in an area without cell service. Thanks to a good Samaritan with a landline, we were able to call for assistance, and managed a ride back to the hotel to get the trailer. I'd thought ahead and brought the generator and winch and had parked on a flat spot, so recovery was simple. Her sister bought a home this summer in Franklin, so we'll be back at least once a year and will have plenty of opportunities to explore all of the twisty roads the region has to offer. IMG_20211020_191357991IMG_20211020_194422182

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Last edited by Eric (McGruff)

Sorry about your troubles. Check out those pics Carlos posted. Or, better yet, pencil in TdS 2022 and hang out with the hooligans.

I feel your pain, this moment was brought to you by assuming my just-completed rocker replacement had gone awry, when in reality I’d simply run out of gas. But that didn’t occur to me until after I’d pulled my dist cap and valve covers to verify none of my work had gone south.  

DF91BDE4-F575-4630-A372-7C79632714B3

I have a ritual with the Spyder: Since my gas gauge doesn’t work, I carry a 2.5 gal gas can with me. Typically, before a drive I’ll empty the contents into the tank (to rotate the old gas) then go refill the can and top off the tank. I failed the tank part, because I wasn’t planning on going that far. I guess there was less than 2.5 gal in my can, because I ran out after about 75 miles.

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Last edited by dlearl476

Seeing the photos makes me really wish I had purchased some when I did TOD.

You still can. Michelle had some printed a year ago from our 2018 trip.

I think this is you, and your "holding-on-for-dear-life" bride LOL!

killboy.com, 9/28/2018, around noon, under sporty cars. Photos are number 220 to 230 or so.

There's that Michigan plate:

https://www.photoreflect.com/s...mp;po=220&pc=669

And a few minutes later on another curve:

https://www.photoreflect.com/s...mp;po=228&pc=669

Last edited by DannyP

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