One day of our trip, Patrick and I drove the loop at Cades Cove. We stopped at the Old Mill on the loop and talked to some of the rangers about how to get to the Tail of the Dragon. The Tail of the Dragon is a road along the side of a mountain, the great allure of it is that this road that extends for eleven miles has 318 curves, so it is sort of like a roller coaster. The ranger told us about a road that leads from Cades Cove to the middle of the Tail of the Dragon. The road is called Parson’s Branch Road, but he warned us that it is a very bumpy road and about twenty streams cross the road. Also note that this primative road is closed during the winter. Parson’s Branch Road was a beautiful, very scenic route. When we reached the end of the road, we took a left turn and we were on the Tail of the Dragon.
We drove to a city called Deal’s Gap, North Carolina, where there is a hotel, gift shop, restaurant and many motorcycles. Motorcyclists just love all of the turns in the road, and so this road attracts them in large numbers. Patrick was a little sad that he didn’t bring his bike, but I was sort of happy, because it seemed dangerous enough in a truck. There is a tree by the hotel that has a sign on it, Tree of Shame, No Gain & A lot of Pain.
This tree has pieces of wrecked bikes and cars hanging from it. Inside of the gift shop, there is a wall of pictures and a lot of the pictures are of people who crashed, the ones I saw weren’t bad crashes, just bloody arms.
We had lunch at the Dragon’s Den Grill, where my grilled cheese sandwich was very good. After we had finished looking at everything, we headed back to our truck and drove the entire Tail of the Dragon. After a little while, I was feeling a little sick, I guess it was all of the turns making my lunch want to come up. We saw a lot of motorcycles and sports cars riding the Tail, and every time a motorcycle came up, we would pull over since we were going slower than they wanted to go. Along the way, there are some very scenic places to pull over, which over look the mountains and a nearby lake. At the end of the Tail, I was happy to be going to some straighter roads. We took the Foothills Parkway back to Cades Cove; this is also a very pretty ride, with stops along the way and trails to hike.
That afternoon, I took a long nap and Patrick went for a hike. That is when his wallet went missing. We searched the camper and the truck and the campsite for what seemed like hours and couldn’t find it. The next day, we retraced his steps from his hike and the wallet wasn’t there either. The day after we arrived home, we went to Target and bought Patrick a new Wallet, we also went to the DMV and tried to get him a duplicate driver’s license, but since he didn’t have his insurance card, they wouldn’t give him one. This story does have a happy ending, after we were home for a couple of days, a package arrived in the mail, and it was Patrick’s wallet. The wallet still had everything in it. I’m not sure who sent it back, but we are really happy that there are still honest people in this world. If you’ve ever found a wallet and sent it back to its owner, I’d like to personally thank you. It is so nice when something that you think is lost forever comes back.