Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dragons and their Tails

 Yesterday was a cleaning day for me, while Gary went off to the Hospital to get his second shot of Neupogen.  We rode up to Walmart for a couple supplies, and then Gary stopped at Kroger to pick up his lottery winnings - $15.00.  Whoohoo (hey, it pays for the last 14 losers).

We were going out with Betsy and Rick to the Rocky Mountain Brewery for half-price pizza night.  They wanted to thank us for taking care of Laptop (totally unecessary, but greatly appreciated).  Betsy and I enjoyed a veggie pizza and the boys had lots of meat.  We stayed and talked a while, then they came over for a campfire. 

While we were gone, Ron came home finally at 5:30, and was resting when we popped over to see how he was doing.  He looked really wiped out, so we didn't stay but a couple of minutes. 

This morning we had planned a big adventure for Mesa (our jeep).  She was going for a very exciting ride on the Dragon Tail.  We have been hearing about the Dragon Tail for months, and finally did our homework.  It is a road located off of highway 129 that is reached from the Foothills Parkway.  There are 318 turns in 11 miles of mountainous road.  She felt up to it, so around 11 we headed out.  But first we needed to stop at Dollywood to see if I had any workdays lined up.  All three of my leads were there and I asked them if I was on the list.  They thought we had left.  Well, heck no.  So they asked how Gary was and told me to report for work on Sunday.  Well, alrighty then.  At Human Resources, we mentioned Phil Vananda and Tuskaleechee Caverns and how much they'd like to be on the Perks List.  Pam King made a note of that and took his business card.  Hopefully they will be able to work together again.

Off to play.  The Foothills Parkway is completed south of 321, but not north of 321 yet.  We made our left off of 321 and enetered the National Park Systems Foothills Parkway:

Many pulloffs and Lookout Rock gave us some stunning views of the mountains and the city of Maryville.

Too many pictures to post, but we were almost at the Tail!  First we passed  Cheoah Lake and Dam.  We had to stop on the bridge to take the dam picture (oops):

A few trees were getting a jump on their fall finery.

Gary told the turkeys to start hiding, as Thanksgiving is right around the corner:

Finally we reached Rte. 129, the beginning of the Dragon's Tail.  Right away it was switchback after switchback one right after the other with very little straight road in between.  The motorbikers love this road as a challenge.  We saw lots of them, some sports cars (some even with cameras attached to the front bumper) very few cars and two delivery trucks.  Apparently this is a biker's heaven and regularly we hear on the news that a few don't make it to the end.  But we did! 

Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort and CG is a fun place to cool off after a dizzying ride.

 You can fill up your gas tank:

Or fill your personal tank at the Grill.  These T-shirts were donated by riders from all over the world and placed - where else - on the ceiling:

We filled our personal tanks with a shared cheeseburger and some fries.  Very good for someplace out in the middle of nowhere.  Of course, Gary had to get a T-shirt proving that he slayed the Dragon, and here it is:

There is a Tree of Shame on the property with motorcycle pieces of those who didn't quite make it in one piece. 

Well, there was only one way to get home, and that was back the way we came.  So that meant we did 636 turns in 22 miles.  During the ride, we saw these photographers parked along the road (at great risk, if you ask me) taking action shots.  I assume I will see our photos on the web tomorrow.  I really wanted to give them a good shot, so I actually stood up and waved (our top was down).  I'll let you know if I decide to buy a good one.  Gary managed to get a shot in while he was driving!  Yee ha!

 Mountain roads are cut into mountains, which are mostly rock.  Big rocks.  In order to keep the rocks from falling on topless jeeps, they often put metal nets over them and fasten the bottoms to the roadside.  For example:

This whole rock side is held back by giant nets.  I think they work as there was lots of debris at the bottom.  Whew.  No rocks on our heads this trip.
We arrived home just before Ron's brother and his wife arrived and parked behind us.  Gary was running a temp and cuddled in bed so we will meet them tomorrow.  A couple of Tylenol made him feel all better, but we stayed in and watched some TV.  Too much excitement maybe? 

Great day! Great day!


  1. Boy did that look like fun!! Is it hilly as well as twisting? In other words, could you ride it on a bicycle?!?!

    Keep having fun!!

  2. Great story. I love your blog. And yes, we really wanted to take you out for pizza just because you are really nice people.