Join Date: May 2010
Vehicle: 2005 SLK 55; 2005 SLK 350
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Western NC/Eastern TN/Tail of the Dragon (and some)
We took a two-day drive through North GA/Western NC/Eastern TN this weekend, I'd never seen the Tail of the Dragon. That was the highlight, but there were plenty of other segments with great roads and views.
If you're considering a drive, I'd suggest you pack a picnic lunch or look at a map and plan your stops carefully. There aren't a lot of restaurants along the way, and most of the small towns don't offer much outside of M-F 8-5.
This was my favorite segment, very twisty, 2-lane with not much "open road":
- From Franklin, NC, take Hwy 64 West about 5 miles to Wayah Rd.
- Take Wayah Rd. ~30 miles to Beechertown.
- Take Hwy 74 ~12 miles to Almond.
- Take Hwy 28 ~30 miles to Deals Gap. The first 10 miles is 4-lane, but the rest is 2-lane.
- Fontana Dam is a great stop along this stretch if you need a break. It's a fascinatingly huge TVA dam and you can drive across it.
- Take Hwy 129 and you're at the beginning of the Tail of the Dragon.
A more "open road" segment after the Tail of the Dragon that involved more 4-lane and open roads, and required some getting lost:
- From Hwy 129 take Hwy 72 ~ 20 miles to Vonare.
- From Hwy 441 ~5 miles to Hwy 360. Four-lane, but thankfully not very long.
- Take Hwy 360 ~20 miles to Tellico Plains. Take care to cross the water @ Citico Beach because Hwy 360 turns without any signage!
- Drive into downtown Tellico Plains and then take Hwy 68 south ~30 miles.
- Take Hwy 68 ~25 miles until the intersection with Hwy 123.
- You are now officially in the "middle of nowhere". We chose Murphy, NC, about 90 minutes away, as our final destination, but there are other options.
Finally, the more expedient ride home from Murphy to Athens, GA on Hwy 129 was mostly uninspiring but had a great stretch from Blairsville, GA to Cleveland, GA. A three-lane, twisty, wide road, very forgiving, but with lots of car and bicycle traffic.
We are planning to go back in the Fall for the Cherohala and Blue Ridge Parkways.