Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tail Of The Dragon

After a nice refreshing stay at our mountain cabin in Robbinsville, North Carolina we were ready to head toward home, but with a few sight-seeing stops along the way.   

We drove north on Highway 129 which took us past Tapoco Lodge and the Cheoah Dam which we visited in the last post.  Our goal was to drive along the very scenic and popular Tail of the Dragon. The Dragon has 318 curves along it's 11 mile stretch. This stretch of highway is very popular with sports car enthusiasts and motorcycles.

Then we planned to drive on toward the Foothills Parkway and on into Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in hopes of seeing some of the Fall festivities.

Driving past scenic Lake Santeetlah in Robbinsville, North Carolina

As I got out of the car to take a picture of the lake I looked around and spotted these pretty daisy-like pink flowers. 
 They were so pretty I had to try to capture them with my camera.

Driving down Highway 129 we spotted this mini-waterfall in the creek.

It is about a 25 minute drive from Robbinsville to Deals Gap 
where the Tail of the Dragon begins.

The Tail of the Dragon officially begins right past Deals Gap at the 
North Carolina/Tennessee state lines.

Metal sculpture of a dragon at Deals Gap.

The General Store is a good place to fill-up with gasoline before beginning the drive down the Tail of the Dragon.  Or for those coming the other way it is a nice place to stop and refresh.  They also have overnight facilities.

I came across this video at ABC news,  showing an interesting motorcycle drive across the Dragon.  If you would like to see the video just click on the below link.

Beginning the 11 mile drive.

The speed limit across this 11 mile stretch is 30 miles an hour.

And in some areas less than that!

There are no private homes or businesses all along the Dragon 
just beautiful natural mountain scenery.

The Dragon was originally just a very remote trail worn down by herds of buffalo and then used by Native Cherokee Indians for centuries.  The first white  men to use the trail were hunters and trappers moving into the area in the early 1700s.  The roadway was paved in the early 1930s.

There are a few pull-off stopping places along the roadway.

In several places along the Tail of the Dragon photographers are set up to snap photos as vehicles come past the camera.  We found ourselves on their website along with all the other photos they had taken that day.  Just for fun, if you would like to see our car coming through on the "Dragon" and other vehicles, just click on the link below:

The below photo shows just how sharp some of the curves are on this road.

It takes approximately 30 minutes to make the 11 mile drive through the Tail of the Dragon.

Traveling on the Dragon we were surrounded by dense mountain forest and then just suddenly we leave the Dragon and are driving along this beautiful lake.

I could use my imagination and see the early Indians and the buffalos walking across the roadway ... did you feel their presence from the past like I did?   

Well!  What a pretty drive that was.  It was fun to share the roadway with lots of other cars and motorcycles.  We have heard there have been some severe accidents along that 11 mile stretch ... So, if you ever decide to drive on this beautiful stretch of highway, please do be careful!

Not too far up the road we will see the entrance to the Foothills Parkway which is another very remote and beautiful mountain roadway.  

I'm so glad you came along with us today on our trip across the Dragon.  Join us next time as we travel across the Foothills Parkway and visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as I try to capture some of the beauty of the area with my camera.

Have a wonderful weekend wherever you may be.

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