Paul's Travel Pictures

Deals Gap "The Tail of the Dragon" Highway U.S. 129
Pictures, information and video clips of Deals Gap a.k.a. the Tail of the Dragon located on HWY US 129 in TN & NC.

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Installing Frame Sliders
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Honda F4i 600cc Sportbike
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Engine Frame Slider Installed


Are you an adrenaline junky or a thrill seeker with a suspended driver's license? If you are, then you may have already heard about the motorcycle and sports car enthusiast Mecca known as "The Tail of the Dragon", Deals Gap or just "The Dragon".

This short 11 mile stretch of road on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina contains 318 twisting turns. While the dragon is officially part of HWY US 129 it is also known as Tapoco Road in NC and Calderwood Highway in TN.

A friend of mine from college and I took a trip up from North Florida to see if we could, as the veterans would say, "Slay the Dragon" or crash and add bike parts to the "Tree of Shame".

Before we left, I helped my friend install some motorcycle frame sliders on his 2001 Honda F4i to save the plastics just in case they were any mishaps while riding at Deals Gap.
 

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Ford F150 Truck
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2000 Yamaha YZF R6
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The Overlook
We booked our stay at the Microtel Inn located in the city of Robbinsville in Swain County North Carolina for it's convenient location close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Other lodging options include the Crossroads of Time campgrounds, the Thunderbird hotel, and the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort.
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Calderwood Dam
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Great Smoky Mountains
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Deal's Gap
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I didn't witness many other bikers riding the Dragon during our visit but while researching the web I saw pictures and video clips of a huge variety of motorcycle enthusiast groups including sportbike riders, Harleys, metric cruisers, motard dirt bikes, and even Honda Goldwings. Members from the R6 Messagenet, R1 Forum, Gixxer Suzuki GSXR board and Ducati owners all hold events at Deals Gap. Other bikers who meet up to slay the dragon include those who ride Aprilia bikes, Kawasaki, Hayabusas, Triumphs, and even pocket bikes!

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Adjusting On-Board Video
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Tail of the Dragon
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Slaying the Dragon
My friend and I rode the dragon multiple times during the two days we were there with just one trip to the Cherohala Skyway. For my next visit I'd like to bring along a portable GPS unit to guide us to the variety of other fun routes including the Foothills Parkway, the Fontana Dam to NC28, the Smoky Mountain National Forest Highlands Road, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Devil's Triangle. Hopefully I'll also take the time to stop and snap more photos of the area's natural beauty.
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The Crossroads of Time
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Bikes Loaded Up
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5' x 8' Utility Trailer
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Robbinsville, NC


 
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Microtel Inn Hotel Room
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I'm looking at some other pictures and video clips of events at Deals Gap and I'm glad our first trip to the Tail of the Dragon was so quiet since having an exotic super car on your tail might be a bit intimidating.   Automotive enthusiast groups hold various events at the dragon such as the Ferrari Chase, the EVO Rally (Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution), and the Honda S2000 club's "Wake The Dragon" event.
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30 MPH Speed Limit
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Pit Stop At The Overlook
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Other car groups that have slayed the dragon include owners of the Mazda Miata, Shelby Cobra, Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, the Mini Cooper, BMW Z3 / Z4 Roadster, Porsche 911, VW GTI, Honda Civic, Lotus Elise, Acura RX-7 / RX-8, Chevy Corvettes, Chevrolet Camaros and many others. But it doesn't matter what kind of automobile or motorcycle you have, any one can enjoy a run down the dragon's tail, just stay on your side of the road so that you don't take out any oncoming bikers.
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View From Microtel Room
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Microtel Inn Sign
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Front of Microtel Inn
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Luckily our trip went well with neither our bikes or bones being broken. I didn't see a single 18 wheeler truck, law enforcement officer, bike cop, leaf looker, police roadblock, or accident scene. The fact that we were visiting during the week and the temperatures were in the mid 60's definitely helped keep the Tail of the Dragon relatively wide open. The downside was that the photographers from "KillBoy" weren't there either. I would have liked a picture of myself dragging pegs at Deals Gap to frame. Next time I'd like to see more of the sights such as the Bald River Falls, or the Mingo Falls in Big Cove. Also on the must bring list for next time will be a bullet or lipstick camera to capture more interesting angles on the video camcorder.
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'00 R6 & Yoshimura Pipe
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To view the movies from our trip to Deals gap click on the links below. In  the first clip we ride from the Overlook at the Calderwood Dam to the Crossroads of Time Motorcycle Campground.


Tail of the Dragon On-Board Video @ Deals Gap - From Overlook To Crossroad of Time

Panoramic View Video of the Overlook & Calderwood Dam On HWY U.S. 129
 

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