Volkswagen Beetle, Tail of Dragon

Chasing the Tail of the Dragon, VW Beetle Style

The Tail of the Dragon is a portion of US 129, located on the North Carolina / Tennessee border. Its claim to fame is its America's number one motorcycle and sports car road, with 318 curves in 11 miles. This stretch of road has some of the sharpest curves have names like Copperhead Corner, Hog Pen Bend, Wheelie Hell, Shade Tree Corner, Mud Corner, Sunset Corner, Gravity Cavity, Beginner's End, and Brake or Bust Bend.

Deals Gap is a popular and internationally famous destination for motorcycle and sports car enthusiasts, as it is located along a stretch of two-lane road known since 1981 as ‘The Dragon’.

The road earned its name from its curves said to resemble a dragon's tail. The stretch bears the street name "Tapoco Road" in North Carolina and "Calderwood Highway" in Tennessee and is signed entirely by U.S. 129. State Route 115, also included on maps, is the name used by TDOT for highway contracts.

  • What: Tail of the Dragon (TOD) at Deals Gap, North Carolina
  • Where: Bryson City North Carolina
  • When: May 2-4, 2014

Since part of the road serves as the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s absolutely no development along its 11-mile stretch, reducing or eliminating the danger of vehicles pulling out into the right of way. The road travels mostly through a forested area, including several scenic overlooks and pull-off points along the route.

The Tail of the Dragon VW Beetle Cruise, which began in 2008, is an event strictly for water-cooled Beetles, which include the New Beetle (1998-2010) and current-generation models (2012-2014). Sorry, no air-coolers or non-Beetle V-dubs here. The event, held during the first weekend of May, has grown expeditiously in size every since. This years’ event is scheduled for May 2th-4th.


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Great article Bill, hope to see you both there in a few weeks.