I have been thinking about this drive ever since my granddad first let me drive his car when I was 8 years old. The car he let me “chauffeur” him in was a very old Cadillac. That is an old memory now from the Porsche 911 GTS that I took on The Tail of the Dragon.
If you are unfamiliar with The Tail of the Dragon, it is known as America’s absolute best road for motorcycles and sports cars. It is also known as US Highway 129 and is located between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest between the beautiful states of North Carolina and Tennessee. The road stretches across 11 miles, but it contains 318 curves. The curves can be very dangerous, if not approached with caution. Thousands of sports car owners and motorcyclists brave this incredible road every year.
When I decided to try this road trip, I wasn’t sure what I was bargaining for, but I soon discovered that it was one of the most challenging, exhilarating, scary rides of my life. Thank goodness I decided to use my best performance car. My Porsche 911 GTS handled the curves with ease. The drive shaft is so smooth in that car, that I found steering through the 318 curves a pleasure. I suppose my biggest obstacle was my heavy foot on the accelerator, hence the need for the precision crafted tires I had installed the previous week.
Statistics show there are multiple accidents, with some fatalities, on The Tail of the Dragon every year. I had no desire to become a statistic. I just wanted to experiment with my young Porsche on this incredible road. The road is like a beast, and I wanted to conquer the beast.
I think I did a relatively good job at conquering the beast. Yes, I may have gone a little slower than some of the folks behind me thought was reasonable. Yes, I took a little longer time on the 11-mile journey than what most people experience. The thing I did accomplish was the exhilarating feel of this crazy road beneath my awesome Porsche and the joy I had while performing the drive. If my granddad could see how far I’ve moved from my love of driving his old Cadillac to the Porsche I own now, he would be proud! He would also probably want me to take him for a spin.