Blue Ridge Parkway and The Dragon


Once again the great American road trip mile after mile.  We continue here with the Blue Ridge Parkway down in The Smoky Mountains and while in the area you might as while ride The Dragon Tail.

I can remember from my own experience running along The Blue Ridge Parkway from Cherokee to Humpback  in a 72 Nova,  I did not want the road to end.  Breaking camp and heading out early you get to know why this area is called The Great Smoky Mountains.   It runs for 469 miles (755 km), mostly along the famous Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.   The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Construction of the parkway took over 52 years to complete, begun during the administration of U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The project was originally called the Appalachian Scenic Highway.  Work began on September 11, 1935, near Cumberland Knob in North Carolina; construction in Virginia began the following February. On June 30, 1936 Congress formally authorized the project as the Blue Ridge Parkway and placed it under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  The last stretch (near the Linn Cove Viaduct) being laid around Grandfather Mountain in 1987.

The Blue Ridge Parkway tunnels were constructed through the rock—one in Virginia and twenty-five in North Carolina. Sections of the parkway near the tunnels are often closed in winter. (Due to dripping groundwater from above, freezing temperatures, and the lack of sunlight, ice often accumulates inside these areas even when the surrounding areas are above freezing.)  The highest point on the parkway (south of Waynesville, near Mount Pisgah in North Carolina) is 6053 feet or 1845 m above sea level on Richland Balsam Mountain at Milepost 431, and is often closed from November to April due to inclement weather such as snow, fog, and even freezing fog from low clouds.  The parkway is carried across streams, railway ravines and cross roads by 168 bridges and six viaducts.

When you go or if you already been running this stretch of road,  I’m with you for I got some rubber out there.

Video uploaded by U Tube user  

The DRAGON

From Wikipedia:

Deals Gap is a popular and internationally famous destination for driving enthusiasts (of motorcycles and sports cars), as it is located along a stretch of two-lane road known as “The Dragon” since 1981 .  The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to have 318 curves. Some of the Dragon’s sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner’s End, and Brake or Bust Bend. The road earned its name from its curves being said to resemble a dragon’s tail.  The stretch bears the street name “Tapoco Road” in North Carolina and “Calderwood Highway” in Tennessee and is signed entirely by U.S. 129.  State Route 115 is included on maps, and is the name used by Tennessee Department of Transportation for highway contracts.

Since part of the road is also the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is no development along the 11-mile stretch, resulting in no danger of vehicles pulling out in front of those in the right of way. It mostly travels through forested area and there are a few scenic overlooks and pull-off points along the route.  The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; it was reduced to 30 mph in 2005.  The presence of law enforcement on the Tennessee portion has dramatically increased in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

This is like Watkins Glen for the public and I got to tell ya, watch out for the trucks they take all lanes!

This is a well seasoned rider.  Notice how he stays in his lane, (harder to take a left banking turn this way, your turn is tighter) right to the center yellow as not to inter-fear with on coming traffic.  Risk yourself,  no one else.

Video uploaded by U Tube user  

Crash On Dragon

Man if your going to run out here you need to learn how to ride and or drive.  When roads like this are turned into public raceways you are putting other people’s life in danger.  Even with the speed limits the urge is too much and well the throttle gets cracked open.  Haven raced myself,  I can tell ya to avoid an incident you must maneuver do not lock up the breaks!   All you’ll do is slide and lose control where you could have gone around.  Practice makes perfect and even then you go down but alone, don’t take someone with you!  It’s only fun to someone gets hurt or killed.

Be careful on that Tail Man!  It will Bite!

Video uploaded by U Tube user  

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