: Pics from Tail of the Dragon

11-03-08, 11:16 PM
I just got back from a family cabin/camping trip in the Great Smokey Mountains. This was my first year with my V so a friend of mine and I made a 1/2 day trip down to Deals Gap to run the infamous Tail of the Dragon (318 curves in 11 miles - more info here http://www.tailofthedragon.com/)

Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately?) conditions were slightly wet and just above freezing, so we had a chance of ice (my nav system popped up an Possible Ice Coniditions warning - cool!) and as a result had to take it easy. We still had a blast though.

I will say this, that many curves in that short of a space is -punishing- for a rider, even in "reserved" drive mode. I drove one way and then let my co-pilot (only 1 of 2 people I'd let drive the baby!) romp it back the other way. I shot pics while he was driving and I got totally motion sick as a result (you'll see what I mean from the pics).

Last point - if you've never been, there's a "tree of shame" at one end with parts from motorcycles and cars that wrecked as well as xrays from those who survived (?) all tacked on the tree. Lots and lots of wreckage. One of the workers at the rest stop said the local fire dept has trucks with special cranes that can pick up stuff up to 200ft down off the edge of the curves (the pics don't show the edges, but most don't have guard rails and are almost sheer drop offs).

(no bitchin' about it being dirty, it drove from FL through SC to TN in a day! :tisk:)


11-03-08, 11:16 PM
A few more pics....


11-03-08, 11:28 PM
wow.. that looks like soooooooo much fun :lildevil:

11-03-08, 11:29 PM
Great pix...Nice V. I check out trail of the dragon, dot com web site. This web site seems to be focused more on bikes, but has documented the HEAVY presence of TN Highway Patrol writing lots of tickets.

How was your experience and were there many statey's? A few of us from the ATL area have conspired to do a run one weekend up that way.

You picked a perfect time for sure.

11-04-08, 12:35 AM
A couple of your shots would make Cadillac proud! Nice post!

11-04-08, 01:03 AM
Back in Dec '05, heading cross country from west to east (before I had the V) I went the kinda southern route and made it a point to go to the Tail of the Dragon. I also drove the Cherohala Skyway, which is in the same general vicinity. The Dragon is pretty insane - I didn't take any pictures (I was kicking myself afterwards!), and I would say the pics you took don't do it justice. (Definitely some cool pics you took, though. MagnaV is right. A couple of those shots look like they could be ads!) I've never seen a stretch of road like it anywhere else - not even for a few hundred yards, let alone for mile after mile! Truly unbelievable.

Weather was about the same when I went through. Actually, I guess the Dragon was above freezing (probably in the low 40s), but the Cherohala (which is at higher elevation) had snow here and there in the scenic overlooks. As cool as the Dragon is, I would say the Cherohala is more suited to the V - long, sweeping curves taken at speed, rather than the tight curve after tight curve of the Dragon. Either one is a blast, but on the Cherohala you can let the car stretch its legs a bit. :)

I didn't see any police presence at all, but in the "off season" they're probably not going to be around as much. I'm sure in the summertime there are police all over, and based on the videos you see on Youtube it's no wonder!

Definitely worth the trip if you're ever within a couple of hours drive.

11-04-08, 01:45 AM
Sweet pics man nice work

11-04-08, 07:49 AM
Everyone: thanks for the kudos!

Police presence: due to trip timing, we got out there on a Tuesday morning and were there through noon. I didn't see a single LEO anywhere near the Dragon (but passed one going the other way in the nearby Foothills Parkway). From what I saw, there didn't look to be many spots for an LEO to run radar and, even if they did, speed isn't really the issue (check out my dash @25 with the limit @35) because there just aren't more than a few straights longer than a hundred yards, it's all curve after curve after curve. Still, I bet the LEOs cruise through looking for general "hooliganism" and ticket accordingly.

Bikes/Cars: It definitely leans towards bikes, but I saw plenty of Vettes, Vipers, and more (not in pics). It seems a lot of car groups do runs on the weekends (there was a Mazda group there the Sat before us). Again, Tues morning wasn't the time for seeing a lot of people out - but maybe it's better that way, the tail was almost clear the entire time.

Pics don't do the Tail justice: Being objective, I like the pics but they don't do the Tail justice. There's a lot of scary drop-offs that you don't see here and I just generally didn't visually capture the fact that you're on a ridge road the entire time. Unfortunately, we were crunched for time to get back to the family and the weather wasn't ideal for pics either (overcast, dreary, and in a dim wooded environ). I'll do better next year :)

Punishing ride: Last point, if you're a passenger (or even a driver) it is a punishing circuit. Think of a roller coaster that goes on for 20 minutes and you get the idea. It's tight switchback after tight switchback. Even with the suede, I was constantly up against one side of the seat or the other with no in-between. I can't imagine what it would have been like had we really been on it. As a driver, it's thoroughly engaging, as a passenger it's almost sickening (if you're susceptible to motion sickness like me, ugh!)


11-04-08, 10:24 AM
I just got back from the tail of the dragon myself. I also drove the Cherohola Skyway, and that was just as much fun. Here are some more pics for those of you that haven't been yet. You must go! This was the most fun I have ever had on a public road.







Braking was just as much fun as accelerating!

11-04-08, 11:11 AM
Those are great pics. I have made the trek down to the tail twice on motorcycles from MI just to do that run. Now that I see your pics I have a HUGE hankerin to go back and run the V through there..... normally as a biker I get pissed in the tail at slow cars taking pics and going to miles an hour.... but I bet the V could whip through there fast enough and no bikers would say a word... oh man I wanna do it so bad now. Nice pictues... real nice.