When was the last time you just…nailed it?
The last time you were truly in your element, the planets aligned, and you and your partner were completely in sync?
We’re not talking about your fantasies with Daenerys Targaryen…We’re talking about that favorite patch of road you go out of your way for on your daily commute. The one that you would know in your sleep. The one that never has any traffic, allowing you to drop down a couple of gears, time your entry speed just so, and accelerate through as gravitational force competes against your body in a dangerous, exhilirating duel. It doesn’t always go perfectly. But when you get it right, well, you may find yourself reaching for a cigarette to calm your nerves, even though you don’t smoke.
Now, imagine if the feeling that gripped you from this torrid daily affair over a single hard corner or two, could be sustained. You could experience it…multiple times. A little over 300 in fact. It is publicly accessible, and you can even do it in groups. Try to keep your mind out of the gutter…We’re talking about a very special stretch of U.S. Highway 129, otherwise commonly known as “The Tail Of The Dragon.”
Most BMW enthusiasts are already familiar with the legend and mystique of the Dragon. Organized group drives from around the country have made it a destination for years. On any given weekend from mid Spring to late Summer, a Bavarian bruiser is likely to be attempting to slay it. Seeing as prime driving season is just over the horizon…and many a potential knight is ready to release their steed from the Winter confines of their garage, the time is right to start planning your own quest.
There are many different websites, forum topics, and YouTube videos dedicated to the Dragon. One overarching theme, and one we insist on emphasizing, is safety. The road is only two lanes. It snakes through a section of the Smoky Mountain range that is home to rock slides, and sheer cliffs. Trees line some parts, always ready to total your pride and joy should you get too comfortable. The Dragon is a public highway, which means it sees its fair share of motorcyclists, tourist traffic, cross-country trailers, and of course, officers of the law. The speed limit is low, and we do not condone or encourage any sort of reckless behavior.
However, with proper preparation and respect, driving the Dragon can be an experience you will look fondly back on for years to come. Should you choose to make the trek, give your BMW a complete maintenance check-up before hand. Spring for new tires. Re-adjust your suspension’s dampening settings if you have the ability to. Check your cooling and oiling systems, and bring extra fluids with you. Make sure you have a playlist ready to go once you hit the area. Perhaps most importantly, look at your brake pads, lines, and brake fluid. If you’re like us, and live in a state that doesn’t see a lot of elevation change, you may not realize how quickly your brakes can start cooking under constant use. If a pungent odor hits your nostrils, or your pedal starts to feel a little sloppy, pull off the road at your first opportunity.
We all know exactly how capable our finely-tuned vehicles are when it comes to providing an incredible driving experience. Active Autowerke encourages you to enjoy your BMW as responsibly as possible, with one of the best ways being a trip to Deal’s Gap, the small community that resides at the virtual “start” of the Dragon. Be aware of your skill, your vehicle, and others on the road. Most importantly, check out a site like Killboy.com that provides tips, maps, and beautiful action shots of your own vehicle, for a nominal fee.
Finally, when your BMW is in need of a pre-Dragon tune up, contact Active Autowerke first. We may not lord over the seven kingdoms of Westeros, but we’ll give you a much simpler story line to follow with your preparations.