January 28, 2010

Tail of the Dragon

Halfway through my lecture on Friday, I began to daydream.  Not about anything interesting, mind you, but about how boring my weekend was going to be.  Which is pretty pathetic because, when you're living the life of a grad student (i.e. lame), you should at least have amazing daydreams.  Sigh.

So, I decided to do something about it.  Two days isn't nearly enough time for me to drive the 8 hours needed to visit Brain at his home in Tennessee.  But meeting in the middle?  Now that's doable.  A quick text later and my weekend plans were set.  And what a weekend it turned out to be!

Brain and I agreed to meet in Sevierville, a town near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Gatlinburg is known for its many tourist attractions such as Dollywood and Ripley's Aquarium, but that's not what drew us to the area.  We went for the sole purpose of driving the Tail of the Dragon.

A little background: Prior to Brain's December visit to Winston-Salem, he took his Acura NSX, Roxanne, for some work at an auto shop in Nashville.  When he told the mechanic of his travel plans, the man asked him if he'd be "driving the Dragon".  After inquiring further, Brain discovered that the Tail of the Dragon is a stretch of US highway 129 situated in the mountains of western North Carolina and, with a reported 318 curves in 11 miles, it's considered by many to be the best driving road in the world.  In fact, car and motorcycle enthusiasts move to the area just to gain easy access to that particular piece of asphalt.  Rich foreigners fly their Porsches and Lamborghinis from Europe or further to experience the thrill of those few miles.  It's.  That.  Good.

Well, earlier this month I drove to see Brain in Tennessee for a long weekend.  Due to construction on Interstate 40, I was forced to find an alternate route.  Long story short, I got lost.  Like lost lost.  And I was not pleased.  That is, until I looked around and realized I was in the most beautiful place I'd seen since my 2003 trek through New Zealand.  My spirits instantly rose, and that was before I saw a sign warning drivers that they were entering the Dragon.  This made me ecstatic.  The road was insane - I couldn't wait to tell Brian about it and was sure to buy a souvenir (a Dragon sticker) to back up my story.  (It's a good thing too, as B even admitted that he would have patted me on the head and said "that's great!" while thinking to himself "she was probably nowhere near the Tail of the Dragon.")

He was jealous.

But Brain's jealous no longer.  We spent Saturday afternoon on the Dragon and other surrounding highways.  For 5 hours, B drove and giggled like a little school boy as I gripped the door handle and muttered things like, "dear God, please slow down", "I'm going to be sick", and "I'm never coming here with you again".

To put it in perspective, the only thing I imagine to be scarier is hanging over the top of Victoria Falls.  In a Speedo, no less.



Word on the street is that visitors are allowed to swim in the
Devil's Pool, positioned at the edge of one of the tallest
waterfalls on Earth, every September and December.
I'll pass, thanks.

There you have it, folks.  My romantic weekend getaway. 

He snuck a kiss without my explicit permission.  That stinker!

[Victoria Falls insanity from A Cup of Jo]


  1. I really like riding the Tail of the dragon on my motorcycle. Its only about an hour away, so I can go frequesntly.

  2. Sight Seer, we saw a bunch of motorcycles on the Dragon and were blown away by their speed and skill. I basically forced Brain to stop following them because I was about to have a myocardial infarction.

    You should check out this article my brother sent me: