Cruising through the southern United States the other day I noticed an increasing number of motorcycles on the road. Other than being extra cautious around them, I thought no more of it. One group of bikers, in a rush for some reason, risked passing me and the obnoxious slow driver ahead before I managed to get past that goofball, as well.
|Photo Credit: Clutch and Chrome Magazine|
Following them I saw signs announcing motorcycle friendly motels and taverns, a Harley Davidson dealership, as well as dozens of two wheeled vehicles coming the other direction. And lots of signs touted dragon silhouettes. After no small amount of time a traffic sign indicated a high accident area for the next eleven miles.
Without undue worry I found my awareness heightening as the turns twisted tighter, became more frequent. As my single lane gained altitude I noticed professional photographers stationed along the way. That’s when it hit me (nothing literal, thank heaven).
I was driving the Tail of the Dragon!
Otherwise known as US Route 129, this stretch bordering the states of Tennessee and North Carolina is a destination known to draw both motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts. In fact these eleven miles are considered to be one of the greatest challenges a biker can face (hence the photographers, who will sell an image of your excited face back to you via website).
And I saw that fact when one motorcyclist became my biggest hazard. Just when she zoomed out of sight I would round another hairpin curve to find her just yards ahead, way too close for comfort. Imagine my relief when another from her group lagged behind the rest and urged her onto a designated pull-off point.
Many miles later my partner had the presence of mind to send a text message asking a close friend if he ever took this drive. Phoenix said he had not, but planned to next year (yes, our motorcycle enthusiast buddy is nicknamed after the mythical bird). I grabbed the smart phone and bragged about driving it ahead of him. His teasing response failed to deflate me (much).
“Cars don’t count.”
The heck they don’t. So maybe I wasn’t in a Corvette or Porsche, I zigged and zagged through all 318 curves without white knuckling the wheel once.
So phooey on you, Phoenix. I call this a win.
Are you a driving enthusiast like me? Would you challenge the dragon?