made the drive even more memorable.
Some of these roads were so tight that
I met a box truck at one point and I
didn’t think he and I could fit through
at the same time.
We arrived in Highlands, North
Carolina, a very posh town with many
eclectic shops and restaurants on the
main street. I held on tightly to my
wallet, as this was an unforseen bonus
for my wife. Highlands is a unique
town, often described as “the Aspen of
the East.” We spent several hours in
town for lunch and exploring (shop-
ping) and then headed out for the rest
of the drive back to the Snowbird.
On Monday night we were joined
for dinner by special guests Ron and
Nancy Johnson. Ron is the unofficial
mayor of the Tail of the Dragon. Since
we would be driving the route on Tues-
day, Tom invited Ron and Nancy to
join us and they shared a few stories
about the circuitous road. Ron and
Nancy operate the Tail of the Dragon
T-Shirt Shack at Deals Gap, located at
the beginning of the drive, as well as
the website dedicated to the famous
road: Tail of the Dragon.com They are
responsible for the large dragon sculp-
ture which is the Tail of the Dragon’s
trademark. The drive is known for its
318 turns in 11 miles.
We left the Snowbird Tuesday
morning and headed to Deals Gap,
North Carolina, located at the North
Carolina/Tennessee border. We ex-
plored Ron and Nancy’s Tail of the
Dragon store and bought t-shirts and
decals before heading out on the drive.
The Tail of the Dragon is a section
of US129 that runs through the Great
Smoky Mountains and Cherokee Na-
tional Forest. The scenery was fantas-
tic but the curves were even better.
With no intersections or driveways as
hazards along its eleven miles, it made
for an exhilarating drive in a classic
GT350. It did not disappoint.
At the end of the Dragon we all
pulled into a lot next to Chilhowee
Lake. This was an ideal spot to line all
The SHELBY AMERICAN
Winter 2016 33
Day 2 - Taming the Dragon