The Dragon


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 Tail of the Dragon. The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to contain 318 curves. Some of the Dragon's sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Killboy (formerly Shade Tree) Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End and Brake or Bust Bend. The road segment earned its name from its curves resembling the shape of the "Dragon". 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. Along the route, there are a few scenic overlooks and pulloff points. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph prior to 1992; however, in the 1990s and early 2000s, the limit was reduced a number of times until 2005 when a speed limit of 30 mph was signed along the entire stretch; this limit (and any other traffic law) is zealously enforced with a law enforcement presence of up to a dozen officers on the Tennessee portion alone. Crashing on The Dragon earns you the right to hang part of your crash damage on the famous "Tree of Shame" at Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort at the corner of U.S. 129 and N.C. 28, formerly known as the "Crossroads of Time" ("CROT" or "Crossroads").

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