Deals Gap, North Carolina

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Tail of the Dragon 2.jpg

Deals Gap is a portion of U.S. Route 129 in Blount County, Tennessee, which also lends its name to a small unincorporated community and motorcycle resort situated in a gap in Swain County, North Carolina, on U.S. 129 at the Tennessee state line. The community has an unofficial population of 6, as posted on a welcoming sign.[1] The community's approximate elevation is 1,756 feet (535 m) above sea level.

The Dragon[edit]

Deals Gap, North Carolina, 2007
Tree of Shame with collection of parts from crashed motorcycles.

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" .[2] The 11-mile stretch of the Dragon in Tennessee is said to have 318 curves. Some of the Dragon's 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. The road earned its name from its curves being 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 is included on maps, and is the name used by Tennessee Department of Transportation for highway contracts.

Since part of the road is also the southwestern border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is no development along the 11-mile stretch, resulting in no danger of vehicles pulling out in front of those in the right of way. It mostly travels through forested area and there are a few scenic overlooks and pull-off points along the route. The speed limit on the Dragon was 55 mph (89 km/h) prior to 1992; it was reduced to 30 mph (48 km/h) in 2005. The presence of law enforcement on the Tennessee portion has dramatically increased in 2007, 2008 and 2009.[3][4][5]

In the media[edit]

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