DECEMBER 20, 2008: Three LEOs on the Dragon today in the rain. Surely there is more need for these units than watching a dozen cars cross the Dragon at 30 mph on a rainy winter Saturday.

DECEMBER 19, 2008:
The season for motorcycles is about over. Only the hardiest of riders can endure the winter temperatures that are here most days. Recently temps have dipped into the 20s. There are occasional 60 degree days that riders can take advantage of if they can make a last minute decision to get here.

Wath for Tail of the Dragon at the upcoming IMS Motorcycle Shows in Washington (Jan 9-11), New York (Jan 16-18), Cleveland (Jan 30-Feb 1), Chicago (Feb 6-8), and Greenville SC (Feb 20-22). Wear your Tail of the Dragon gear and get some free stickers.

Remember that the Cherohala with elevations above 5000 feet can be tricky at any time in the winter. Some corners don't get sunlight and stay icy even on the warmer days.

This is a great time for cagers (car drivers) to enjoy the Dragon all to yourselves. I made a trip over on Tuesday at 2 pm and only met a few vehicles going each way.

Construction on NC 143 leading from Robbinsville to the Cherohala Skyway has been completed. The new asphalt is great,but use extreme caution and expect slippery when wet conditions on the new tar.

NOVEMBER 19, 2008: The season for motorcycles is about over. Only the hardiest of riders can endure the winter temperatures that are here most days. Wednesday morning it was 23 and yesterday's high was only 37. There are occasional 60 degree days that riders can take advantage of if they can make a last minute decision to get here.
Remember that the Cherohala with elevations above 5000 feet can be tricky at any time in the winter. Some corners don't get sunlight and stay icy even on the warmer days.
This is a great time for cagers (car drivers) to enjoy the Dragon all to yourselves. I made a trip over on Tuesday at 2 pm and only met a few vehicles going each way.
Construction on NC 143 leading from Robbinsville to the Cherohala Skyway has been completed. The new asphalt is great,but use extreme caution and expect slippery when wet conditions on the new tar.

OCTOBER 28, 2008: A slower weekend at the Dragon as the season winds down for motorcycling. Morning temperature on the 28th is 30 degrees with snow flurries. Warmer temps are expected later in the week so plan for a good weekend Nov 1-2. Oh, by the way, Blount County TN residents can look for a half-cent increase in your local sales tax thanks to the excesses of the Blount County Sheriff at the Dragon this year. And with the state budget in disarray all Tennessee residents might be looking at a state income tax.

OCTOBER 19, 2008:
TN continues to spend large sums of taxpayer monies on overtime and fuel to keep between four and seven units on the Dragon. We thought a Preisdential motorcade was coming on Saturday and Sunday mornings with six LEO units packed near the state line. Just what are they expecting? If terrorists are plotting to destroy the Dragon we can see the point, but we seriously doubt that extreme. Oh well, Tennessee keeps getting deeper in debt.
OCTOBER 10, 2008 -
The leaves are beginning to change and should be good for a week or two at least. We toured the Cherohala on Thursday and saw lots of color even though we were in the clouds. Great time to come and enjoy the secenery.

SEPTEMBER 30: We have plenty of gas in Robbinsville NC, at the Tallassee Store (6.5 miles north of the Dragon), and in Tellico Plains TN. Come on out and ride the Dragon & Cherohala Skyway !!

HUNTING SEASON ON THE CHEROHALA is October 6-7 and October 18-19 on the TN side. October 13 - November 22 and December 15 - January 1 on the NC side . Dogs are permitted and will be present ... sometimes in the roadway.

The LEOs are still patrolling and writing tickets on the Dragon for 40 mph speeders. Guess TN has plenty of money without worrying about tourism. We have a National economic crisis, gasoline shortages, and rampant crime but the LEOs are raking in the money from the lawless on the Dragon. Elections are coming ..... TN voters remember.

We actually heard that LEOs have been standing in the middle of the roadway on the Dragon (on the double yellow) shooting radar. Anyone have a photo of this?

SEPTEMBER 19-21: Another busy weekend at the Dragon. We were surprised at the number of riders that we saw all over western North Carolina. This contrasted sharply with the lack of tourism we noted in Gatlinburn during the week. One would think that Tennessee would offer a better welcome to motorcyclists with tourism suffering in their normally packed Smoky Mountain area. We met a couple who run a motel in Townsend and they commented how the saturation of LEOs at the Dragon has hurt their business and other tourism industry places all over East Tennessee. One would think some government officials would do something about it.
SEPTEMBER 13-15: A couple of busy days at the Dragon with TR7s, S2000s, and a number of motorcycle groups. Saw BCSO awarding some citations, but we have no details.
UNC TV was in the area today filming for a spot about the great roads in western North Carolina. The bit will air on Friday the 19th on North Carolina Now.
SEPTEMBER 7: BULLETIN The third death of 2008 on the Dragon late Saturday afternoon (fourth if you count the accident involving a heart attack). An F4I rider hit a cruiser head-on near Parson's Curve (mm 4.1). Sportbike rider died at the scene, cruiser rider suffered ankle injuries. Speed and over braking caused the accident. There have been six additional motorcycle fatalities elsewhere in Blount County this year.
This accident marred an otherwise good riding day with many bikes from the Cherokee and Maggie Valley Rallies touring on the Dragon.
Busiest weekend of the year as motorcyclists and many others came out to enjoy the perfect weather and amazing area roads. It would have been even busier if many had not headed back to the Gulf coast to take care of business before Gustav arrived. We send our best to all those in harms way.

For some reason on Saturday a LEO was hard to find. It took some 45 minutes for them to arrive at two accidents, one at Rocket Corner where two cruisers hit head-on and the other at Crud Corner where a motorcycle hit a pick-up head-on. No apparent life threatening injuries in either accident.

Sunday and Monday the LEOs were back with as many as six patrolling the area. >> CLICK HERE FOR RADAR MAP
AUGUST 22-24: A very slow weekend at the Dragon with LEOs outnumbering motorcycles at times. We counted as many as five (5) THP units and two (2) BCSO units writing tickets for the usual lawless stuff, mostly coasting downhill over 40 mph and vertical license plates. One good thing is the reduced revenue in TN resulting from their actions will have a direct effect on their future raises. Tennessee continues to suffer from budget shortfalls. Oh yeah, THP has once again reverted to cursing when they stop riders. Real professionals here. Sure hope the affected rider files a complaint.
THP and BCSO remain active on the Dragon writing tickets to unsuspecting tourists who accidently hit 40 mph. Over the weekend we counted as many as eight (8) LEOs on the Dragon at once and they were at the usual places where they can meet their quota. >> CLICK HERE FOR MAP
BCSO today stopped and trurned away at least two semi-trucks on US 129 along the lake before they entered the Tail of the Dragon. It is good to see some positive steps by LEOs.
Sunday there were four (4) THP units one (1) BCSO and one (1) silver unmarked Crown Vic. Lots of tickets were issued in the usual speed trap places
Please pay attention to these locations. It is easy to just coast into a ticket on the downhill straights as the Audi driver pictured at the bottom of the page did. A lot of bikes and cars had fun over the weekend, but the LEOs are still chasing the tourists away. We are filing a formal complaint with the Federal Highway Administration against the State of Tennessee for their enforcement practices on US 129. This includes civil liberty violations, arbitrary speed limits, highway patrol units breaking the law and failure to enforce laws in an equitable manner.
Saturday saw four THP and three BCSO units on the Dragon. This waste while Gov Bredesen scrambles to try to save $64 million by laying off state workers because of shortfalls in the Tennessee budget. Voters need to get this poorly performing governor out of office. As a sidelight, motorcycle fatalities are NOT up at the Dragon, but statewide in TN they are steadily increasing, up from 88 in 2003 to 140 in 2006. Perhaps if THP would patrol the rest of the state they could prevent a few of these. Oh, one more thing. Gov Bredesen seems disappointed the Obama is not considering him for the VP slot. Duh ......
BULLETIN - It appears that Parsons Branch Road has reopened. To get up to the minute information call 865-436-1200 and then extension 631.
Tail of the Dragon posted a video on YouTube July 20, 2008 CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO This video shows the dangers of semi trucks on the Dragon. The video was filmed from behind the truck while a local motorcyclist played escort and attempting to warn oncoming traffic. The video shows THP units completely ignoring the danger to motorists and numerous lane violations. On August 4 we discovered two unauthorized copies of our video had been posted on YouTube with added voice over that was obviously not relevant to the video. We immediately took steps to have these unauthorized videos and all links to them removed. Tail of the Dragon will not stand for anyone using our copyrighted materials without our expressed written permission.
Fairly busy weekend at the Gap. Saturday we counted five (5) THP units, two (2) BCSO units and one (1) unmarked white Expedition. That's one LEO every 1.4 miles. Here is an email we got on Monday - "5 of us in VWs came for our annual Dragon run. We were followed by a LEO most of the way even though we were going 30 mph and staying in our lane. At the lake we saw 3 more LEOs and then 2 more came down the hill. With that kind of coverage it's going to be a long, long time before we return. There are plenty of roads in NC and SC aren't nerve wracking to drive from a LEO standpoint." And this one on Tuesday - "My wife and I drove down to ride the Dragon for the 1st time.  We enjoyed the ride, but will not be back due to the THP and the local police.  We were tailgated for 4 miles by a THP while on the dragon.  We stayed the speed limit, but that is just too nerve racking.  We counted 7 police cars on the 11 mile stretch...crazy.  I just don't understand why.  As we drove back we stopped and were talking to some folks from Columbus Ohio who had also just rode the dragon.  They stated the same thing that they will not be back." Tennessee had better wake-up. We get several emails like this each day. Think of how many visitors feel the same way but don't take the time to contact us. As we have said for more than a year now, the mere presence of that many LEOs creates a negative welcome to tourists. Oh and by the way, three people died and another three were critcally injured in a two car accident Sunday night near Cleveland TN just 50 miles from the Dragon. That's five deaths in one week within 20 miles of each other on East Tennessee roads. And THP is wasting their time driving away tourism at the Gap.
JULY 27, SUNDAY: Really quiet day on the Dragon but still there were three THP units and three SOs. Once again that's a LEO every 2 miles. That's overkill in anybodies book. Meanwhile on Sunday an intoxicated driver rammed another vehicle near Athens (40 miles from the Dragon) and killed two teenagers and seriously injured a third. Think priorities in Tennessee are a little off?
JULY 26, SATURDAY: Well the Lawless Miatas are at the Dragon and THP had five (5) units on the scene to head them off. From what we could see they had the usual tactics of setting-up radar in the downhill straights where it is easy to coast up to 40 or better. We want people to know that you can still come to the Dragon and have a good time just watch your speed. Isn't this a little overkill with five THP and one SO. That's a LEO every two miles. At least they seemed to be staying in their own lanes.
JULY 18-20:
Pretty busy weekend compared to the past few. Saturday a SWIFT big-rig came barreling through and had riders and drivers scrambling for the side of the road. Got some video that SWIFT will not be too thrilled to see, but we tell it like it is. The truck took out all of the road work cones on the NC side by taking to the center of the road. Susie, a local biker, led the truck over the Dragon trying to warn oncoming traffic. Some did not heed her alert though. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
What was really bad is the truck passed two THP units and one unmarked LEO and never got pulled over even though he was all over the road and endangering all traffic. One was busy ticketing a motorcycle rider though. The state of Tennessee should be ashamed of this lack of safety consciousness. They preach how their tactics are to promote safety and then this. Watch the video and you decide.

JULY 11-13:
Another slow weekend at the Dragon. The LEOs are still here and I've had a couple of reports of tickets issued. Although the riders admit they were speeding, the 30 mph speed limit has turned into a speed trap. Remeber that just a few years ago the speed limit was 40 mph and it is easy to reach that speed on several of the downhill straights on the Dragon. RULE OF THUMB - if you are on a down and the roadway straightens with only a kink ahead .... SLOW DOWN. That is where the LEOs make there quota. And there is a quota in order to meet the standards set forth in the special overtime awarded THP and BCSO by the state.
JULY 4-5:
Another slow weekend at the Dragon. At times there were more LEOs than bikes. There was another motorcycle death that will likely be attributed to a wreck at the Dragon. Monday June 30 the 50 year old Indiana man riding an HD Electra Glide lost control near Mile 8 and was air-lifted to UT Medical Center where he died the next day from a heart attack.

There was a bicycle vs. SUV accident near mile marker two a little after noon. Looked like the bicycle crossed the double yellow. Note the skid mark in lower left of photo. Rider was up and walking when we passed.


June 27-29:
A very slow weekend at the Dragon. Two THP units and two Blount County SOs, one in a silver Crown Vic. The LEOs seemed laid back but one tried stalking me for a while, long enough to run my tag. They won't tailgate me with my video aimed at them. We like them keeping things sane, just within reason. Didn't see the THP that should be charged with reckless driving SEE TOP RIGHT. Anyone out there know how I can file a citizen's complaint to see justice delivered? The State ofCherohala poles Tennessee doesn't seem to care at this point.

Visitors to the Cherohala Skyway may have seen these odd looking poles in several places near Hooper Bald. Here's the best guess we got: "Poles were used in 1800s by THP to hang riders going too fast on their horses."

Now for the real use ..... these are northern flying squirrel launching poles .... honest. It seems the squirrels can't cross the road to mate so these poles were put up to give them altitude to safely launch themselves across the roadway for sex. The flying tree rats have been equipped with transmitting devices to track their mating habits. Why did the flying squirrel cross the road? To get some on the other side !!! Or as one reader commented, "Now the government is enabling squirrels to join the Mile High Club."Cherohala Flying Squirrel

BULLETIN MONDAY June 23, 1:30 pm: A serious accident on the Dragon at Thunder Road Bend (mile 3.6) involving a trike. One person fatality, a 67 year old Arkansas man. The road was closed for a while but was reopened at 2:00 pm.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Greater Gwinnett Motorcycle Club would like to thank all the riders who stopped to help one of their members who had an accident on Friday June 20 at the Dragon. A special thank you to Megan, a nurse who stopped. Both people in the accident suffered injuries but were released from the hospital and will recover.

June 18-22
Honda Hoot in Knoxville saw great weather on all four days which gave riders a lot of riding time to enjoy the area roads. Attendance was way down this year and we think the state's attitude towards motorcyling last year played a big part. Once again the actions of THP has cost the State of Tennessee millions of dollars in revenue.

The THP was on hand each day to do what they consider "enforcing the laws". Just after putting in a good word for them (SEE OPEN LETTER BELOW) they seem to be stepping-up their efforts once again to keep motorcyclists out of the state.

There were between four and six THP units on the Dragon during the Hoot and they were issuing tickets for such serious violations as 42 in a 30 (three years ago the speed limit here was 40 mph). These radar units park in sections of the Dragon where there are downhill straights making it difficult to maintain the ridiculous posted limit of 30 normally only seen in school zones. These "radar traps" are located at Tabcat Bridge at the north end of the Dragon (mile 11) and at the Little-Whip (mile 7.3).June 13-16 Rain on Saturday slowed things a bit, but Sunday was fairly busy on all area roads. The Honda Hoot is coming this week so expect a crowd.

June 6-9: Several rallies in the area had the roads packed with motorcycle traffic of all kinds. Lots of cruisers, sportbikes, standards, dual sports and motards. With the heavier traffic came a number of accidents that could have been avoided by riding smart. And it was hot with temps in the mountains even reaching 90 degrees.

Nancy and I took the week-end off and headed south into Georgia. Saturday at 10 am there were more than 100 bikes on the Cherohala already. There were a lot of bikes on all the roads in Tennessee and north Georgia. Sunday we came back through Suches at noon and rode 60, 180, and US 129 Blood Mountain. There were LEOs everywhere with sport bikes pulled over. A LEO helicopter was hovering overhead. If you are planning a trip to this area we suggest riding these roads during the week days. We heard this is routine enforcement on the weekends. The other north Georgia roads were clear.May 30-June 1: Much slower week-end which allowed for some uncrowded riding on the Dragon and other area roads. The weather was good on Friday and Saturday. Sunday threatened rain but most of the inclement weather moved just to the south allowing those riders who were here to have some unexpected fun.

There is construction on NC 143 leading from Robbinsville to the Cherohala Skyway. This will likely be underway through the month of June. Use extreme caution and expect gravel, new pavement, sand, and slippery when wet conditions.

May 23-26 : What a great holiday week-end on the Dragon. We had our own "Rolling Thunder" here at the Dragon with thousands of riders showing-up for the parade with flags flying. It was nearly non-stop during most of Saturday and Sunday with mostly cruisers and tourers, a lot of two-strokes, a good number of sport bikes, and a few motards and cars. The annual B.A.B.E. Rally brought some excitment on Saturday. From what we saw the enforcement by THP was reasonable.

May 9-11 : A fairly busy Friday and Saturday. The weather moved-in on Sunday an messed the road with limbs and leaves, but conditions improved in the late afternoon. For the most part a peaceful, uneventful weekend.

May 2-4
: Probably the busiest week-end so far this year with MiniCoopers dominating the area roads. A power failure in the Deals Gap/Fontana area made things a little difficult on Saturday. We heard NCHP were active on the Cherohala and on the 4-lanes. Remember, the 4-lanes are prime target areas in North Carolina.>> CLICK HERE FOR MAP

April 28: BULLETIN Motorcyle death on the Dragon - A 21 year old Hayabusa rider from Maryland became the first fatality of the year on the Dragon Monday night. Speed is said to have been a factor in the one vehicle accident near Parsons Branch.

pril 25-27: A very busy Friday and Saturday with mostly motorcycles on the area roads. A large group of Busas were crossing the Cherohala Friday morning when one went down and the following bike hit it. Two riders were flown out with serious injuries. Sunday rains slowed traffic. We actually heard that a THP Unit ticketed two semis for crossing the double yellow on the Dragon Friday. Thanks THP !!

April 18-20:
A busy week-end on all area roads. We have heard that several bikes were ticketed for passing cars that slowed and waved them around. We advise that you be very careful and wait until the vehicle ahead of you pulls off the road. There is also an unmarked white BCSO Expedition cruising the Dragon and calling ahead to marked units to pull over passing bikes and ticket them. They also have an unmarked black Explorer and black Crown Vic or Mercury Marquis. We have also heard of tickets issued for 42 and 44 mph in the ridiculous 30 mph area. Remember that North Carolina has many great roads where the LEOs are not so unreasonable. Watch your speed on the 4-lanes.

April 16: Snow on the Cherohala April 15 at 5000 foot. This can happen at any time this month.

TAIL OF THE DRAGON EXCLUSIVE – The State of Tennessee is spending more than $200,000 of Federal Funds to add overtime patrols at the Dragon this summer. The Tennessee Highway Patrol received a $75,183.75 grant and the Blount County Sherriff Office is receiving $125,022.48. These grants began October 1, 2007 and will end on September 30, 2008.

In 2007 grants to THP and BCSO for overtime totaled $120,000 and were in force from July 1 to September 30. During this period we witnessed unprofessionalism on the part of both agencies CLICK FOR COMPLETE 2007 TENNESSEE HIGHWAY PATROL FIASCO. The outright harassment of law abiding citizens cost Tennessee businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue. THP’s reputation was severely blackened, a major detriment to all enforcement agencies. Tail of the Dragon received some 1,000 complaints from riders and drivers many who promised not to spend a penny in the state.

Hopefully this year Tennessee will provide professional enforcement that will encompass both safety and goodwill toward tourists. Tail of the Dragon will be reporting their attitude on this site.

Last year we personally learned the importance of documenting LEO stops on video CLICK HERE FOR OUR EXPERIENCE. We were cited for "holding a video camera while driving". Video proof that my cameras had no display showing resulted in a not guilty verdict by the judge. We recommend that you carry a video camera and turn it on when stopped. You will also likely get better treatment. For your information a LEO has no right to make you turn off your camera unless the area is declared a “crime scene”.

April 11-13: It turned-out to be a good week-end in spite of the weather predictions. Lots of bikes took advantage including a large number of KLRs. There were two serious accidents in the area. Two riders in a single accident were air-lifted off the Cherohala last week after high-siding at mile 11 on the North Carolina side. Injuries did not sound life threatening. A female rider rode off of US 129 into the Cheoah River on Friday. Speed was not a factor but for some reason she overbraked and went off the road and into the river. PLEASE RIDE SAFE AND STAY ALERT

April 4-6: Rain on Friday and Saturday kept many riders away, but the VWs and Crossfires were here enmasse. Sunday was clear and the roads finally dried by early afternoon. Heard of a few warnings being issued by BCSO. They will be here every day so ride/drive accordingly.

MARCH 21-23: Some great spring weather brought out many bikes and sports cars to the area. Friday and Saturday were perfect with temps in the 60s. Sunday a little chill in the air with expected highs in the 50s.

MARCH 14-16: Rain on Friday and Saturday, but clearing on Sunday brought out some riders.

MARCH 7-8:
Friday brought heavy rains to the area. TDOT salted the Dragon in the afternoon, but much of it washed away before the cold and snow arrived Saturday morning. We stopped at Santeetlah Dam which had both sides flowing heavy making the Cheoah River a real froth. Oddly Cheoah Dam near the Dragon was not open.

MARCH 1-3, 2008:
After some severe winter weather the skies cleared and temps rose into the 60s over the week-end. Hundreds of riders were observed on area roads taking advantage of the lull. Nancy and I fired up the KLRs and headed south into Georgia. We returned on SC 28 and US 64/NC 28. This route is great when traffic is light. We had a ball on the twisties. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE

FEBRUARY 26-27, 2008: A winter storm, has dropped six or more inches of snow on the Dragon and several feet on the Cherohala. Looks like even more is coming. Get out the snowmobiles. Only traffic on the local roads will be snow plows and emergency vehicles. Stay home for a day or two.

FEBRUARY 2-3, 2008: Temps were back up in the 50s but we saw very little activity at the Dragon. This is a great time for cars to have the road to themselves.

JANUARY 28, 2008: Temps expected in the high 50s at the Gap ...let's ride.

JANUARY 22, 2008 All area roads are in bad shape today as cold weather and sleet has iced the roads. The Cherohala is likely impassable and the the Dragon is very slick. STAY HOME

JANUARY 2, 2008 Snow blankets the mountains and the Tail of the Dragon overnight. with accumulations of up to 3 inches. US 129 was not heavily affected except in the Topton area near the intersection of US 19/74. We advise visitors to stay off of the Cherohala unless you have 4-whell drive vehicles. There may be icing anywhere with the temps in the low teens. SLOW DOWN.

WINTER 2007-08: The season is slowing down so the Dragon is not very crowded if you want to come and enjoy the road just about to yourself. The chilly mornings and shorter days have reduced the good riding time to a few hours. Be alert with the shadows making it more difficult to see obstructions in the roadway. The sun can also blind you this time of year, especially in the afternoon.

Tail of the Dragon will continue to report on any information that might be of interest to riders/drivers, but weekly updates will not resume until late March. We will be having a few winter contests so watch the site for some interesting stuff. Be sure to check-out our Holiday Sales.

The next few months are a great time for cars to have some unobstructed fun here. Many of the local motels and vacation rentals have plenty of open rooms in the fall and winter. Remember .... the Dragon is at a low elevation (under 1800 feet) and is clear most of the winter. The Ceherohala, Blue Ridge Parkway and US 441 are over 5000 feet and can be tricky at times with ice and snow. Check on conditions before trying these roads.

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Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap brings you motorycle and sport car touring information and maps on all of the exciting touring roads ,accommodations, motorcycle repair, and motorcycle rentals in the area including the Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner 28, Foothills Parkway, Devils Triangle, Six Gap north Georgia, Diamondback, Devils Staircase, the Snake, Blue Ridge Parkway and places of interest in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee: also places of interest such as Fontana Dam, Wheels Through Time Museum,  Carolina waterfalls map, Cherokee Casino, Asheville attractions, Biltmore House, Smoky Mountain Railroad, whitewater rafting, zip line tours, Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock, Joyce Kilmer hiking, Cherokee National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Cheoah River, Nantahala River, Lake Santeetlah, Fontana Lake, Robbinsville, Graham County, Bryson City, Sylva, Waynesville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend and more.