One of the best part of my Southern Comfort 2011 vacation was getting the chance to run Rt 129, better known as Tail of the Dragon. The road is famous, and bikers from all over come to run this route, which is not without some serious challenges. The week before I got there, the road claimed another life. It's not to be taken lightly, and as I told a friend a while back, don't ride it beyond your limits.
I picked up 129 coming out of the Asheville, NC area. I rode Rt 19 out of Maggie Valley, NC, making a right on 28 a little west of Bryson City, NC. You can also access it from points north and west. North, from the Knoxville area, or west from the Bristol area. However you get there, it's 318 curves in 11 miles and you almost never get a chance to catch your breath if you're running hard.
One of the cool things about the Dragon is that 3 professional motorsports photography companies set up at strategic curves along the route, snapping awesome hi-resolution photos of riders (and yes, drivers if you're in a car). A few days after your run, you can access their websites and purchase the photos if you like 'em. I think they run about 5 bucks each for a hi-res download, which is how I purchased mine.
Here are the websites: