A Return to the Tail of the Dragon

the return road from the Tail of the Dragon

It has been at least five years since the last time I was up here in the mountains.  It is a beautiful place to visit with spectacular views and, of course, some fantastic roads.

This morning I got up early and headed out to Deal’s Gap to do my first run on the Tail of the Dragon in five years.  I took it easy on the out run, giving myself time to recall as much of the road as I could.  On the trip back I pressed it much harder really getting into the road and the turns.  While there are 318 turns and many of them very tight, they are all nicely banked giving you substancial grip as you throttle your way around each bend.

Here is a photo from the drive after my return run.  It is not the Dragon, but like many of the roads around here it is full of curves and fantastic views.

This entry was posted in Automobiles, Car Stuff, Cars, Great Roads, Life and Cars, Road Trips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Return to the Tail of the Dragon

  1. Jim's Sister says:

    Pristine. I am sure this was a real treat. Did you get any of our wet weather out west? Sometimes I think driving highways that go on and on — flat, straight, unchanging — much harder than the fun twists and turns of old Race Lane and Route 6A. Of course, those roads are nothing compared to the dragon.

    • jimsgarage says:

      It is very nice out here. In the mornings you can tell how the Smokey Mountains got their name. The low clouds look much more like smoke than clouds.
      There was a bit of rain on the drive out but by Ashville it had dried out.
      You are right about the importance of twists and turns. When highways were first built under the assumption that straight and level was better for driving it was discovered that it only served to mesmerize drivers and cause them to lose concentration. Having highways that would change direction and elevation actually made drivers more attentive.

      The US Interstate system kicked off by Eisenhower was built with future military needs in mind. The President had been impressed with the Autobahn and how it allowed for faster movement of military formations and supplies. The highway system he initiated here made certain there were straight sections that could be used as emergency runways for military aircraft. Overpasses were designed with clearance for military vehicles carrying cargo including missiles.

      One nice thing about the Dragon and other roads around here is that there are no houses along the roadside so that you can tool along with less worry about what might pull into the road. There are certainly places where there are rock slides and enough wild life that roadkill happens, but all in all you can really enjoy the roads and the joy of driving.

  2. Jim says:

    Roads like this are absolutely my idea of a good time. I’d probably have an even better time if I had a car that stuck to the road better — drat the family sedans I’m kind of stuck with at this time in my life!

    • jimsgarage says:

      Jim –

      I think you would still enjoy a drive through that part of the country. Eventually your time of life will change and you can pick up a nice used Miata and enjoy the Dragon for yourself!


  3. Roberto says:

    Jim, I’am so jealous. This is a fabulous piece of road and a genuinely beautiful part of America. Wish I could drive there one day.

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