You never know for real until you try.
If you’re into motorcycles or cars, and you’re anywhere near North America, chances are excellent that someone will tell you that you need to run Deal’s Gap at least once. Also known as the Tail of the Dragon, Deal’s Gap is a stretch of US 129 nestled deep in the Great Smoky Mountains along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. Featuring 318 challenging curves in 11 miles, the Gap is a magnet for riders and sports car nerds from around the world.
Of course, that means it can also get incredibly crowded if you don’t get out there first thing in the morning when you go. Then again, that’s a rule that holds true on every half-decent road out there, so most riders already know to adjust their internal clocks accordingly.
YouTubers and riders Chris and Rich of the channel Two Wheels Big Life love to ride and go motocamping, but 2020 was their first time visiting the Dragon. Rich rides a Harley-Davidson Road Glide with a trailer, while Chris rides a BMW K1200GT. Did this legendary route live up to their expectations?
Since this is a moto-traveling video, the channel provides plenty of buildup to get you excited about the experience. First, the pair leave Nashville and visit Bushtec Motorcycle Trailers to get new tires for Rich’s trailer. Then there’s some camping, cooking, and all-important breakfast burrito assembly. After that, it’s off to visit a patch specialist, and finally on to the main event at around the 12-minute mark.
How did the TWBL duo like it? They’re from Texas, and said they’ve ridden plenty of comparable roads in the southwestern part of the U.S. After finally riding the real thing early enough that they beat traffic and only saw one other bike the entire time, they said it was absolutely as good as promised. Plenty of curves, dragged floorboards on the Road Glide, and beautiful scenery as far as the eye could see.
Now, clearly, your mileage will vary based on any number of conditions. Even the best roads are much more frustrating the more traffic you encounter on them. Weather, foliage, and anything else you have going on with your bike or in your life can affect how you feel about it, too. In any case, there’s nothing better than getting out and seeing great roads for yourself.