2010 News Archives:

November 8, 2010: We have had some cold hit the mountains and there are several inches of snow on the Cherohala SEE PHOTO AT BOTTOM OF PAGE. The Dragon and other lower elevations are clear. Looks like a great week for riding with sunny skies and highs in the upper 60s. Ride while you can .... winters coming.

Remember that there are still good riding days in the winter months. You just have to make last minute plans as you watch the forecasts. Winter is a good time for the cages (cars) to have the area roads almost to themselves.

November 1, 2010: Chilly mornings, but great riding the rest of the day over this past weekend. Saturday we rode the Moonshiner 28 and had a great BBQ lunch in Highlands NC at the Highlands Smokehouse and Bar. Sunday we rode the Cherohala/ Dragon Loop, 120 miles of fun in perfect weather.

October 28, 2010: The weather had been crappy the past few days as storms kept sweeping across the country. This weekend looks like it will be good riding weather so come on out.

October 17, 2010: All area roads remain busy with cycle and sportscar traffic. Watch-out for slower leaf lookers. Hunting season on the North Carolina side begins Monday October 18.

Color Oct 15Colors about at peak above 4000 feet. Lower elevations will peak in the next week or two. We've added a FALL COLOR INFORMATION PAGE for you to keep up to date.

October 11, 2010: Busiest weekend in weeks. Lots of riders and cars on all of the area roads. Cooler temps are bringing more color to the mountains. We've added a FALL COLOR INFORMATION PAGE for you to keep up to date.

October 2, 2010: TN Bear Hunting in Blount County, which is the Dragon, begins Monday, September 27 and runs thru Sunday, October 3. Bear hunters are allowed to use hunting dogs. Ride with caution, watch for hunting dogs on the roadway. Cooler temps will bring more color to the mountains. We've added a FALL COLOR INFORMATION PAGE for you to keep up to date.

September 26, 2010: TN Bear Hunting in Blount County, which is the Dragon, begins Monday, September 27 and runs thru Sunday, October 3. Bear hunters are allowed to use hunting dogs. Ride with caution, watch for hunting dogs on the roadway. Cooler temps are forecast for this coming week which will bring more color to the mountains. We've added a FALL COLOR INFORMATION PAGE for you to keep up to date.

September 21, 2010: Just returned from a 4 day trip touring around Asheville and Little Switzerland NC. Spent time on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Roan Mountain, and Grandfather Mountain. We saw early color at the higher elevations of Grandfather Mountain. No big color yet, just a few trees showing color at higher elevations and other trees dropping leaves at lower elevations.

September 11, 2010: We will never forget 9/11.

 

August 30, 2010: We just returned from Washington DC where we attended the Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial. It was quite an experience just being in the crowd of 500,000 people. We will be doing an article on the event in the coming days.

Sadly we have to report the first death on the Dragon in 2010. A 44-year old man went off the road near Parsons Branch on Saturday and died from internal injuries.

August 23, 2010: Good weather brought a crowd to the Dragon and other area roads this past weekend. An RV with 7 people inside went off the mountain on US 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains and shut-down traffic for a while on that busy highway.

August 16, 2010: Traffic slowed over the past week-end, but that is normal for what we call the August Doldrums. Serious trike accident on the Dragon Sunday. Had some heavy rains on Saturday afternoon but it cleared for the ShineFest at Fontana that night.

August 3, 2010: After a fun week-end tragedy strikes the Dragon. Details are sketchy, but apparently the body of a rider missing since Monday was found down the bank at Wheelie Hell corner on the North Carolina side of the Dragon. The body was discovered when another biker wrecked in the same corner and saw the wreckage. This 39 year old man from Ohio is the first fatality of the year near the Dragon. Technically it was not on the 11-miles of the Dragon. Please ride safe.

July 26, 2010: Busiest weekend this year at the Dragon. Lots of riders and drivers enjoying the sunny days and great roads. Great to see traffic coming and going once again into Tennessee. The afternoons remain hot with temps in the upper 80s and scattered late afternoon showers.

Enforcement continues. Crossing the double yellow and speeds over 40 mph just might get you an unwanted invite back to Blount County. Need an attorney in Tennessee? Call David M. Boyd, Esq. at 865-246-1800. He is a rider who specializes in injured bikers, but can also handle traffic violations.

Come on down and ride the Dragon, Cherohala and Moonshiner 28. All roads are open now. FTP

July 10, 2010:
Well it was like a big celebration at the Dragon today as US 129 was reopened for through traffic after 117 days of disappointment for tourists and hardship for local residents. There were thousands of bikers, tourists in vehicles and locals in pick-ups. Even the LEOs showed-up for the party. Five THP cars, a Blount County SO car and two Blount County cycle officers. Tennessee must have lots of extra cash to keep that kind of enforcement on 11 miles of road for a reopening gala.

Come on down and ride the Dragon, Cherohala and Moonshiner 28. All roads are open now. FTP

July 6, 2010: Busy holiday weekend on area roads. Many arrived without reservations and had to search further away to get a room. Be warned that THP has been actively writing tickets at the Dragon. Stay under 40 and do not cross the double yellow.

People continue to be confused about the status of the Dragon. The entire 11 miles of the Tail of the Dragon is open from 8 am to 8 pm. The only access is from US 129 in North Carolina. You cannot get to the Dragon via US 129 from Tennessee. Many people are now finding the Moonshiner 28. READ ABOUT IT HERE US 19 from Cherokee to Maggie Valley has been repaved. The Tapoco Lodge is now officially planning to open in March of 2011. Watch for updates on coming changes to the historic inn.

The afternoons have been hot with temps in the upper 80s and very dry.

NECKLACE OWNER FOUND !!! It took only a few days and the rightful owner of the necklace found on the Cherohala Skyway has been located. It belonged to a rider who had an accident and was being airlifted to the hospital. It fell from his hand as he was put on the stretcher. The necklace had the first names of his son and grandson both of who had died the year before. It is very dear to the owner. THANKS to Julie Phillips who found the necklace for taking the time and trouble to contact us to see if it could be returned to the owner.

June 24, 2010:
People continue to be confused about the status of the Dragon. The entire 11 miles of the Tail of the Dragon is open from 8 am to 8 pm. The only access is from US 129 in North Carolina. You cannot get to the Dragon via US 129 from Tennessee. Many people are now finding the Moonshiner 28. READ ABOUT IT HERE US 19 from Cherokee to Maggie Valley has been repaved. The Tapoco Lodge is now officially planning to open in March of 2011. Watch for updates on coming changes to the historic inn.

The afternoons have been hot with temps in the upper 80s. This causes widely scattered, short lived showers which quickly die-out. Don't let the forecasts of rain spoil a trip to the area.

June 14, 2010: Trafficcontinues to increase on the Dragon and on other great roads in North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. An increased interest in Moonshiner 28 has also been noted. READ ABOUT IT HERE US 19 from Cherokee to Maggie Valley is being repaved. The work should be finished soon. We have heard that there might be some movement on reopenning the Tapoco Lodge near the Dragon in 2011.

The afternoons have been hot with temps in the upper 80s. This causes widely scattered, short lived showers which quickly die-out. Don't let the forecasts of rain spoil a trip to the area.

June 3, 2010: Traffic is picking up on the Dragon and on all area roads. We have seen many large groups of riders in western North Carolina during the couple of weeks ... and many are headed for the Dragon. US 19 from Cherokee to Maggie Valley is being repaved. The work should be finished in a week or so. The Moonshiner 28 is another great road. READ ABOUT IT HERE

It is still a great time in the mountains so pack it up and get on the road.
May 12, 2010:
Traffic is still light on the Dragon. The past weekend was really slow. Once again we want riders to know that it is a great time to have the road to yourselves. As for the weather, the forecasts for many days in the summer might look like rain, but after a quick shower the sun can clear the roads in an hour or two.

May 2, 2010: The Dragon has been open for several weeks now and traffic continues to be light. Saturday was busy with Mini Coopers and the weather stayed good. Sunday the weather seems to be holding off despite predictions of rain. Several tickets have been written, but they seem to have been deserved.

I-40 has been reopened !!!

April 25, 2010: I-40 is reopening at 6 pm today. Saturday the Dragon was busy in the morning and then the rains came. Sunday turned-out to be a perfect day in spite of some of the weather forecasters.

April 20, 2010: The Dragon has been open for a week now and traffic has been light. Saturday was fairly busy. Sunday was a lot slower even with perfect weather for riding. The LEOs have been reasonable in their enforcement of traffic laws. Several tickets have been written, but they seem to have been deserved.

ROCK SLIDE UPDATE April 16, 2010: The rock slide on US 129 is located between the Dragon and Happy Valley Road/Foothills Parkway. TDOT has announced in a press release that the 11 mile section known as the Tail of the Dragon will be open from 8 am to 8 pm beginning Monday April 12, 2010. The only access is from North Carolina US 129. THP announced that there will be zero tolerance for traffic violations, so I'd travel the Tail with extreme caution. Please obey the traffic laws and report any undue harassment to us. We will forward all complaints to the Tennessee and North Carolina senators and representatives who worked so hard to get the road open. We will continue to post the latest information here so keep in touch.

All is going well at the Tail of the Dragon. Traffic is low, so it's a great time to enjoy the road without fear of semi trucks and big crowds.

US 64 Slide
This photo of the slide on US 64 along the Ocoee as seen from across the river was taken November 17. Some of the rocks are larger than a small house. US 64 reopened April 16, 2010. Photo courtesy TDOT and OxBlue.com

 

ROCK SLIDE UPDATE March 29, 2010: The rock slide on US 129 is located between the Dragon and Happy Valley Road/Foothills Parkway. US 129 has been closed at the TN/NC State Line by Tennessee making the Dragon itself inaccessable. TDOT has posted a date of July 31 for reopening, but a bonus will be awarded the clean-up if completed by July 1. We will post the latest information here so keep in touch. The only alternatives are the Cherohala Skyway and US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains. There are many great roads in North Carolina and the Cherohala Skyway is clean. Use this opportunity to run the Moonshiner28. Watch for weather updates on the Cherohala. Rock Slide Photos HERE

March 20, 2010: The rock slide on US 129 is located between the Dragon and Happy Valley Road/Foothills Parkway. US 129 has been closed at the TN/NC State Line by Tennessee making the Dragon itself inaccessable. There are mixed reports from TDOT on reopening. One says reopen will be March 26, the other gives no date. The only alternatives are the Cherohala Skyway US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains. There are many great roads in North Carolina. Use this opportunity to run the Moonshiner28. Watch for weather updates on the Cherohala.

March 14, 2010: The rock slide on US 129 is located between the Dragon and Happy Valley Road/Foothills Parkway. Removal is scheduled to take several weeks. The road will likely be blocked completely at times, but for now there is one lane open with flaggers. There is no guarantee the one-lane will remain open and as of today we know of no way to check ahead. The only alternatives are the Cherohala Skyway which got more snow this morning and US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains. Remember it’s a long way to backtrack if the road is completely closed.
Slide
Photo courtesy of Chris Pace

March 2, 2010: It's snowing again after a few warmer days. Monday saw temps in the 50s and we did see a few riders. Looks like we might get three to five inches in the mountains today. It's a heavy wet snow. WARNING: The Cherohala is a solid sheet of ice at elevations above 2500 feet.

The local roads are extremely tricky. We had several inches of snow overnight and this morning. Not the best time to be on some of these twisty roads. We suggest that you stay off the Cherohala. Be sure to check the weather before heading this way this time of year. Watch-out for rock slides!!

February 24, 2010: The snow returns after a few days reprieve. Saturday and Sunday saw temps in the 60s and several dozen riders took advantage of the spring like weather. Looks like we might get three to five inches in the mountains during Wednesday night and Thursday. WARNING: The Cherohala is a solid sheet of ice at elevations above 2500 feet.

February 16, 2010: Darryl and Lori of Killboy.com will be at the Chicago IMS Show Feb 19-21. Stop in and say hello.

February 6, 2010: Thanks to Darryl and Lori of Killboy.com for doing the Cleveland Show this past weekend. They will also be in Chicago Show Feb 19-21. Stop in and say hello.

The local roads are still clear after dodging another bullet. We had a torrential downpour on Friday, and the forecast is for flurries on Saturday. As of now it doesn't look like anything serious. We suggest that you stay off the Cherohala. Be sure to check the weather before heading this way this time of year. Watch-out for rock slides!!

Gatlinburg Landslide
Another landslide February 5 on the southbound spur road of US 321 from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg had traffic rerouted for a while. We expect even more of these after all the rain and freezing temperatures we've had lately. Stay alert when driving on these mountain roads.

January 25, 2010: The Washington and New York IMS Shows are now behind us. Thanks John and Charlene from Ironhorse Motorcycle Resort for handling the booth. Darryl and Lori of Killboy.com will be at the Cleveland Show this coming weekend. Stop in and say hello.

We've noticed a few cagers taking advantage of the warmer weather on the Dragon. We did have some heavy rains over the last few days so the road should be free from sand and salt.

Crowd


Rockslide on I-40 at the TN/NC state line closes both lanes. NCDOT reports that the road will likely be closed until late April 2010. Click here for Article.
Photos from Asheville Citizens Times

 

January 14, 2010: We are on the way to Washington and New York IMS Shows. See you there.

We just returned from the Greenville SC International Motorcycle Show. We had a great time not only at the show, but enjoying some of the great places in that city. Too bad the 30 degree weather was too cold for golf. We were forced to practice putting on the hotel room floor.

The show seems to improve each year. Friday, Saturday and Sunday saw large crowds with visitors coming from Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and of course South Carolina.

This year's Ducati stunt riding show was something new. And Ducati offered free expresso at the booth.

The McCoy Motorsports crew had three T-Rexes that had Nancy and I wanting one really bad. The video they had playing was wild. We are working to have some T-Rex Dragon action in our upcoming Tail of the Dragon DVD Volume 5 available in March. CLICK HERE to see more about the McCoys

It is always good to see our friend Lee Parks. He offers one of the best riding courses available in his Total Control Level One and Level Two. Even the most experienced riders can learn more than they could imagine. See more about these classes at DragonSafe.com

We stayed at the Embassy Suites and had an excellent room. We especially enjoyed the hot breakfasts with omelettes made to order. The happy hour is always good for a free drink or two. We spent a lot of time in the pool and hot tub.

We found a good place for lunch at the Pita House on Pleasantburg Drive. This middle-eastern fare is as good as it gets, rated as one of the Ten Best Restaurants by a number of reviewers. Garlicy hummus, fresh baked pitas and meat sampler platter with tahini salad. I'm salivating as I write.

And for dinner we splurged ..... at Northhampton Wines and Cafe in downtown Greenville. Here we tasted some of the best food and wine we have ever had. First night Nancy had grilled quail with bigarade sauce and I had the mixed grill with venison, wild boar and quail. The wine, chosen by our waiter, was a perfect pino noir.

We just had to return and on the second visit Nancy had halibut while I chose the scallops. Truely exceptional was the pomegranate glaze on the scallops and the bread pudding desert. The wine, this night a white, was once again perfect.

Another treat was visiting the Whole Foods Market on Woodruff Road. It reminded us of the St Lawrence Market in Toronto, although much smaller, with a wide selection of quality foods. The third night dinner for us was pizza from the market.

We were impressed with Greenville in many ways. Not only were there great places to eat and shop, but the roads were well planned, maintained and nor overly crowded. It was easy to find our way around. Nancy went downtown every moring to run on the Richland Creek/Reedy River Trails and on the Furman University campus.


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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.