Today was an amazing day in the Smokey Mountains. Chuck took me somewhere I have never been. We did the 318 curves in 11 miles called the Dragon. Deals Gap is a popular and internationally famous destination for driving enthusiasts (of motorcycles and sports cars), as it is located along a stretch of two-lane road known as the The Dragon (or The Tail of the Dragon). The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to contain 318 curves. Some of the Dragon’s sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Killboy (formerly Shade Tree) Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner’s End and Brake or Bust Bend.
According to all the information I read about the Dragon it appears that the road segment earned its name from its curves resembling the back or the tail of a dragon. The stretch bears the street name Tapoco Road in North Carolina and Calderwood Highway in Tennessee and is signed entirely by U.S. Highway 129. State Route 115 is included on maps, and is the name used by Tennessee Department of Transportation for highway contracts. Since part of the road is also the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is no development along the 11 mile stretch, resulting in no danger of vehicles pulling out in front of those in the right of way. It mostly travels through forested area. Along the route, there are a few scenic overlooks and pull off points. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992(I can't imagine ANYONE doing this speed); however, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the limit was reduced a number of times until 2005 when a speed limit of 30 mph was signed a long the entire stretch. Crashing on The Dragon earns you the right to hang part of your crash damage on the famous “Tree of Shame” at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort at the corner of US 129 and Hwy. 28, formerly known as the Crossroads of Time. It was an exhilarating trip....both up and back. Susan and I sat in the back seat and held on for dear life as Chuck and Frank enjoyed the daylights out of this trip and laughed like fools at us....and took the curves like it was Dead Man's Curve. Believe me....it was a wonderful day....a good time was had by all....I actually can't wait to go back and drive it myself.....in a convertible.....and I can't wait to post my pictures tomorrow and let you see what I have been up to this week. When you go to bed tonight....say a prayer for my school friend, Mary(the one who spent so much time in the hospital this summer)....she got some not so good news today. Headed home tomorrow.....pray for traveling grace for us too! Night all!