The Tail of the Dragon is a marketing genius. Deal’s Gap Resort, US 129 Photos and Killboy have made a killing selling t-shirts, hats, stickers, pins, motel rooms and pictures. Before the road was promoted to gear heads, there was almost nothing at Deal’s Gap. That has changed big time over the last decade or two.
There is no doubt, that the road is fun to ride. But in the Grey Beard Biker’s opinion, it is a total tourist trap. While the road is somewhat technical in nature, there are actually more difficult rides much closer to home – and all over the Smoky Mountains.
Nevertheless, we ride it most trips to Eastern Tennessee because it is included on the route to other great rides. This picture was from our last ride there on May 24. We were definitely dragging the right floorboard here – as we do throughout the Dragon. I ended up buying this picture from US 129 photos as it is a unique view that they had not captured of us before. The pictures are one of the things which make the Dragon a must-do in my opinion.
Memorial Day Weekend means hotdogs, parades and flying the beautiful Stars & Stripes. Your favorite Grey Beard Biker likes doing all of that. But additionally, Memorial Day Weekend means riding with my friends in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The mountains of East Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia offer plenty of your more notable roads like the Tail of the Dragon, Blue Ridge Parkway, Newfound Gap and the Foothills Parkway. But it’s the lesser known roads, which are less traveled, that excites the hell out of me. One of those is the Moonshiner 28.
Moonshiner 28 runs for around 100 miles – southeast through North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. We always get to it by taking US Hwy 74 west from Bryson City, NC towards Wesser, turning left on North Carolina Hwy 28. Once you get on 28, hold onto your hat because the shit gets hairy as hell really quick. You will find switchbacks, big looping curves, steep hills, waterfalls and one of my favorite little stops – Highlands, NC. If you find yourself going through Highlands at lunch, dinner or adult beverage time, make sure to stop in The Ugly Dog Public House – a Grey Beard Biker approved establishment!
In closing, do not miss the chance to ride Moonshiner 28 when you are in the mountains of East Tennessee, North Carolina or Georgia. Check out the following video for a taste of the Moonshiner:
Living in Tennessee provides many opportunities to ride wonderful motorcycle roads. At least twice a year, your ever lovable Grey Beard Biker heads to The Great Smoky Mountains to ride some of the most challenging roads found anywhere in the United States.
One of those roads is a little known piece of asphalt which is off the beaten path – and is infrequently travelled by the throngs of nature gawkers most of the National Park roads present those of us on two wheels. If you were to travel east of Gatlinburg on US Hwy 321 you would eventually find yourself approaching Cosby, Tennessee. There you will find TN Route 32 – lovingly known, by those in the know, as “The Secret Road” or “The Road To Nowhere.”
The Secret Road is not for everyone. It may well be one of the most technical motorcycle roads east of the Mississippi River. Running approximately 10 miles east from Cosby, it eventually reaches I-40, after turning to gravel. I call it the Road to Nowhere because it does not connect Cosby to anything but the Appalachian Trail and the aforementioned interstate highway.
When you first start riding from Cosby, the road seems fairly tame. But you will quickly find yourself in the midst of a monster! Unlike the area’s most popular road, The Tail of the Dragon, you will find yourself hitting switchback after switchback, with a couple of curves thrown in to provide a short respite. To my knowledge, no one has counted how many curves are on this road, but I would suggest it’s equal in count to the Tail.
If you decide to ride this road, take it easy on your first couple of passes. You will find that there are very few guardrails to keep you on the road if you high-side a curve or switchback. There are also very few motorists or other bikers who will be able to provide assistance. Making things worse, your cell phone will not work in the remote hills surrounding this road. Lastly, if you were to get hurt, you can expect to wait 45 minutes for an ambulance, and an hour to get to the nearest hospital. But if you are up to the challenge, you will wear a grin from ear-to-ear