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August 2020

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Tennessee is known for great motorcycle adventure roads. Starting anywhere east of the Tennessee River, this state gets more pronounced hills until you reach the Cumberland Plateau – east of Cookeville. Going east from the plateau you quickly make your way into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains – and there you get more grins per mile than perhaps anywhere in the continental United States. And while the Smoky Mountains are a major travel destination, for bikers, there is one motorcycle road on the Cumberland Plateau which is not as well known as the Tail of the Dragon and the Foothills Parkway – The Devil’s Triangle.

Getting to the Devil’s Triangle

The Devil’s Triangle

The Devil’s Triangle is made up of Tennessee Highways 116, 62 and 330.

If you are coming from Nashville, you will want to take I-40 East to Monterey, Exit 300. Ride into Monterey and turn right on Hwy 62. Stay on Hwy 62 for approximately 50 miles until you reach Hwy 116 – which you turn left on to start your ride of the Devil’s Triangle.

If you are coming from Knoxville, or the Smoky Mountains, take I-40 west to exit 376-A and turn right on Pellissippi Parkway (TN Hwy 162). Follow signs to Hwy 62 and continue heading northwest, through Oak Ridge, to Oliver Springs. In Oliver Springs turn right on Hwy 330, taking it approximately nine miles to Hwy 116 where you will turn left to start your Devil’s Triangle adventure.

Riding the Devil’s Triangle

Some of the many switchbacks on the eastern leg of the Devil’s Triangle

While the actual triangle includes three highways, 116 is the REAL deal. Highways 330 and 62 form the base of the triangle and are fairly mundane. The left and right legs of the triangle are formed by 116 and to say it’s a gnarly, hairy, monster of an adventure road is an understatement. It is highly technical – and dangerous. Why is it dangerous? Well, let the Grey Beard Biker tell you. This is an old mining road. It is nestled along steep cliffs and rock walls. Today, large logging trucks still navigate the road. It is perched along spines of low mountains on the Cumberland Plateau. Because this section of highway doesn’t connect any major villages or cities, it is not well maintained. You will often find sections of road which are crumbling on the cliff-side or gravel washed across the road – many times in the middle of blind curves.


You can actually ride the Devil’s Triangle in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. If you are not a highly experienced rider, I recommend only riding this road in the clockwise direction. Going this direction, you will approach the four tight switchback curves on the eastern leg, from the outside, going downhill, making the hairpins easier to navigate. This is critical, because from the other counter-clockwise direction, these nasty curves gain 25-40 foot of elevation change in a matter of 25-30 yards. Many a self proclaimed experienced rider has taken these switchbacks in the wrong gear and tumbled down with their bike to the entrance of the curve. And I will also tell you this, having ridden in the mountains for many years, these switchbacks are unlike any you will find east of the Mississippi River. They literally curve back against themselves.

WARNING: make sure you are looking all the way through the switchbacks when going counter-clockwise!

These switchbacks are amazingly tight

Unlike the Tail of the Dragon, the Devil’s Triangle will actually give you some periodic breaks in the white knuckled, adrenaline filled, ass puckering excitement. And believe me, your numb hands will appreciate it. But don’t let these breaks lull you into complacency. Many of the curves you will encounter in these sections are of reducing radius. If you enter them too fast, your speed may well carry you through the curve and off the road. And because this area is largely unpopulated, another vehicle may not come by for a very long time. If you are unfortunate enough to go off the road, and need medical attention, you are going to be in a very bad bind as there is also no cellular coverage in the area for your mobile phone.


While the eastern leg of 116 is the most exciting, the western leg is also very technical on the lower 1/3. And while the switchbacks are not as unforgiving as eastern leg’s, there are plenty of them to provide you ear-to-ear grins.

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary

Finally, do not forget to stop at the historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary, on the western leg. This historic prison housed James Earl Ray, the convicted assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. Closed in 2009, it now has a great little restaurant and you can tour the prison daily. Additionally, there are several little general stores along Hwy 116 that are worth stopping at. The people are all friendly and it will give you a chance to have your heart-rate slow.

Until next time, bikers and patriots, keep the shiny side up, master trigger control and ride often! Grey Beard Biker signing off!

Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
Grey Beard Biker on YouTube
@GreyGhost_Biker on The Twitter

Grey Beard Biker Videos – The Devil’s Triangle

Riding the Eastern Leg of The Devil’s Triangle (counter-clockwise)
Riding the Western Leg of the Devil’s Triangle (counter-clockwise)

Some More Images of The Devil’s Triangle

These steep curvy roads will make your ride on The Devil’s Triangle memorable
Be careful of the sides of these roads – note: no guardrail – this could ruin your day
The switchbacks on the eastern leg of the Devil’s Triangle are not as gnarly

Good day fellow bikers, patriots and lovers of freedom! Hopefully you are getting plenty of wind-therapy and perhaps some time shooting and enjoying the smell of cordite! It is hard to believe July 2020 is in the history books and today is the first day of August. Not that I can really tell, it has felt like August since the last week of June. Today, I want to dive into what you can expect if it is necessary for you to use lethal force on a shitbag.

I hope you never find yourself in the terrible predicament where you need to defend yourself – with your firearm. You may be at home, you may be out on a dinner date or you may be at the gas station filling your bike with high-test gasoline. And things go quickly out of control. You pull your pistol from its holster and command the thug to halt what he’s doing. Maybe he’s pummeling your friend, holding you at knifepoint or charging at you with a pipe. Whatever he’s doing, you are in serious danger. You draw your concealed pistol, bring it to full ready and pull the trigger, hitting the scumbag square in the chest. He’s still coming so you put two more shots into center mass before your assailant goes to the ground.

Your life has now changed forever. At this point you need to call 9-1-1 immediately. When the police arrive they will inevitably approach you with their service pistols drawn and command you to the ground. You may well be thinking, “But I’m the good guy.” Unfortunately they have no idea what has happened up to this point. The only thing they know is that there is a guy on the ground, bleeding out, and you have a gun. Follow all instructions they give you. Explain that you feared for your life and you commanded the thug to cease what he was doing. Or, better yet, say nothing except that you want to speak to your attorney. You must understand that even if you did everything correctly, the police are going to consider you a criminal suspect at this time. Pretty scary, isn’t it?

If it can be demonstrated that you acted purely in self defense, you should have nothing to fear. But what factors are considered by the police, and more importantly, the prosecuting attorney’s office, on whether you are charged as a criminal or are quickly sent home with no threat of criminal prosecution?

  1. Innocence
  2. Imminence
  3. Proportionality
  4. Avoidance
  5. Reasonableness

** For more details on each of these five principles, click on the hyperlinks above. **

For each of these five items, you must be able to demonstrate – and prove – that you were in the right. If you fail to prove any single one of them, your argument for self-defense may well fail. The consequences of failure are immense – up to a very long incarceration in prison. This is why I always refer to firearms ownership as an immense responsibility.

Innocence

Innocence seems pretty simple and straightforward. You were minding your own business and the scumbag came at you with a knife. But in order to be innocent, you cannot be viewed as the aggressor. More than likely there will be witnesses to the event. Will they corroborate what you said happened? Were you somewhere you were not legally allowed to be? Did you pursue the altercation? Did you take actions which sustained the incident? Was it a case of mutual combat (legal term)? Did any actions you take cause a small altercation to escalate?

Imminence

Simply put, in order for your self-defense claim to be considered, there has to be an imminent threat of severe physical harm or death to you, or a third party you are protecting. If the dirtbag is 100 feet away from you threatening to beat you up – that would not be considered imminent enough for you to use deadly force. If he is threatening to go home and get all of his brothers, and come after you, that is not an imminent threat. If he is 18 feet away from you and has a knife pulled – that could well be an imminent threat that would allow you to use lethal force.

Proportionality

Proportionality is key to a self-defense claim. If you find yourself in a fist fight with a smaller guy, a proportional reaction would be to fight back with your fists. If you pull your sidearm and shoot the attacker, it would not be a proportional response. However, if you are being brutally attacked by a much larger man, and you are flat on your back being pummeled by his huge fists, you may well be able to use your gun to end the attack.

Avoidance

Could you have avoided using lethal force? While Tennessee is a “Stand Your Ground” state, could you have simply turned around and headed out the side door? Why allow a situation to deteriorate into a life changing event if it is not necessary?

Reasonableness

If the police believe your actions were reasonable, given all of the circumstances, you are most likely going to be cut loose quickly. However, if they have any questions regarding whether your actions were reasonable you may very well find yourself in legal jeopardy. If it escalates to the district attorney, there will be an entire set of litmus tests regarding whether you acted as a reasonable person would have, given all of the circumstances.

I encourage you to take time and read each of the hyperlinked articles, above, as they provide much more detailed information on the five key components to a successful self-defense claim.

Until next time, keep the shiny side up, carry your club when you leave your cave and shoot straight!

Grey Beard Biker
gbb@TheGreyBeardBiker.com
Grey Beard Biker on YouTube
@GreyGhost_Biker on the Twitter @TheGreyBeardBiker on Parler