This past September, I drove down to Tennessee for a bit of a family vacation. A driving force behind the choice of location was the Dragon / Dragon's Tail / Deal's Gap / Highway 129. Whatever you call it, it's a legendary motorcycle road. I hoped it would live up to the hype and it certainly didn't disappoint.
While my original intent when planning the trip was to trailer one or both of my bikes down, I decided against it at the last minute. It was enough to drive 1,000 miles each way with a fully loaded car (and 2-year-old in the back seat) without pulling a trailer too. I really need to buy a van. While I would have loved to have ridden my own bike in TN, I was happy with my decision.
I rented a Street Glide for 2 days (9/11 and 9/12) from Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson in Maryville,TN.
My dad brought his 1976 Triumph Bonneville up in the back of his truck from Florida. He unloaded it at the dealership and off we went. The Dragon is a straight shot south on US-129 from the dealership. After countless signs telling trucks to turn around due to the switchbacks ahead, we got to experience the Dragon for the first time together. It was awesome. They say there are 318 curves in those 11 miles and I believe it.
At the end of the road, you cross into North Carolina and end up at Deal's Gap Resort.
If you stop, be sure to check out the Tree of Shame.
Then we rode the Cherohala Skyway, which was beautiful. We stopped at this little place for sandwiches.
Overall, we had a great ride. I went back the very next day 2-up with my wife. Come back for photos in Part 2.