Mailing Address: P. O. Box 756
Andrews, NC 28901
The Jason Curtman Show
"The Voice of Valleytown"
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Tail Of The Dragon
Here's a tale of a tail for you. Namely a tale about The Tail Of The Dragon.
Traveling through the mountains on interstates and freeways, travelers see beautiful vistas while ascending and descending high elevations. These travelers experience just a small taste of what the mountains are truly like. Tail of the Dragon creates a closer encounter with the mountains and valleys.
People looking for Tail of the Dragon won't find such a location when looking at the maps of the mountains. Those in the know look for U.S. 129. Besides being located near Andrews, NC, Tail of the Dragon is in an area known as Valley of the Dragon which includes Tellico Plains, Maryville, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, Gatlinburg and Townsend. The Dragon's Tail starts in a gap located in Swain County, NC with the street name of Tapoco Road and extends into Blount County, TN where it goes by the street name of Calderwood. For those who seek out Tail of the Dragon, the encounter can be laid back and slow or a fight to the finish. Whichever style you use, it is an encounter long remembered.
This road was not hap-hazardously constructed. Travel through the mountains (whether by foot, horseback, horse and wagon or motorized vehicle) was and can be very challenging. Some of the Native Americans called the mountains home and needed trails to travel to different locations. Trial and error gradually developed routes for the Indians that were discovered and embraced by the white explorers, hunters and trappers who were followed by the early settlers. U.S.129, of which Tail of the Dragon is part of, was part of the trails.
Due to the nature of mountains, the trails that later became routes involved a multitude of twists and turns to cover even a small area. The twists and turns which makes up the Dragon's Tail can only be indicated on the map to the left which shows route 129 along the Smoky Mountain Nation Park which is the green area to the east of the route.
Tail of the Dragon is an 11 mile section (though some consider it to be 12 miles) that is said to have 318 curves. Based on the nature of the beast (pardon the pun) some of the Dragon's Tail curves have specific names including Copperhead Corner, Brake or Bust Bend, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Killboy, Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity and Beginner's End. Part of the attraction of the Tail of the Dragon is the limited access to the section due to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park which borders it. The National Park limits commercial and residential development. That also means the 11 mile length goes through a forested area with only a few scenic overlooks and pull off points. Even though development has been restricted along Tail of the Dragon, there has been commercial usage at the Dragon's Tail via magazine articles and even motion pictures like "Thunder Road", "Two Lane Blacktop" and "The Fugitive" which utilizes the dramatic surroundings.
Andrews, North Carolina invites the experienced and newbie Dragon Tail slayers to make a run to Andrews to recuperate and regain strength to tackle the Dragon another day or enjoy the other activities in the area for the faint hearted. For those who want to relive the Dragon adventures or get a taste of what the Dragon is like please click the various links below.
Tail of the Dragon ride by motorcycle set to rock (Backman Turner Overdrive-"Hey You")
"The Voice Of Valleytown"
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