On route 129 between North Carolina and Tennessee there is what looks like a short bypass on regular road maps, but it is anything but regular. Innocent victims of these road maps can find themselves confronted by some of the most aggressive drivers the United States can dish out. These are people who have come to this small stretch of road to push their car or bike to the limits. If you think you’re just going to pass through unscathed….well, it isn’t called the Dragon for nothing.
It is 318 curves over a distance of 11 miles with elevation changes. It really isn’t for strolling, and some points the 30 MPH speed limit might be too fast for the casual driver. Almost every turn is blind, so you never know what is coming at you in the other direction.
Yes, it is a public road….unfortunately. Of late, the Tennessee governor has taken an interest in it and has requested more State Trooper activity around the Dragon. I can understand this call by the governor. People die on the Dragon, and enthusiasts have little patience for the people who are just using the road for transportation purposes – I am sure some road rage complaints circulate from that 11 miles.
Maybe I’m a little nuts (I have jumped out of an airplane, for fun, more than once) because I try to get to the Dragon at least once a year. I’ve been on it with little traffic and I’ve been on it with a cop in front, behind me, and in a helicoptor above (not because of me 😉 ). Even doing the 30 MPH speed limit is still fun due to how twisty the Dragon is….but not nearly as fun as having an open road and pushing things quite a bit past 30 MPH. I’ve done it in the rain, in the pitch black (that’s the most fun), and even with snow falling (at midnight no less). I’m not going to say I’m a Dragon expert, but I can definitely say I’ve spent some time on that road and seen a lot of the conditions it can throw at you.
These photos to follow were not taken by me – I was driving. Most were taken by a photographer who goes by the name Killboy and there may be one or two taken by another Dragon photographer.
If you want to view more images from the Dragon:
- 2005 Gallery by Killboy when I had the 2001 Honda S2000
- 2006 Gallery by Killboy & random photographers when I had the 2007 Porsche Cayman S
Yes, I do want to put the current car on the Dragon, but I worry it might be too powerful for that road. Some of the sloppiest cars I’ve seen on that road have been Corvettes, and eventhough I’m not driving a Vette the E60 M5 is powerful like a Vette and also likes to slide.