The short version of the story is that I rode the “Tail of the Dragon”, and it was AWE-SOME!!!!!!!
And I have the pictures to prove it.
Someone asked me once;
“How has the yearly fishing trip my father-in-law, and I take evolved over time?” Well, I’ll tell you. What began as a shared adventure with my family, and in-laws to Yellowstone National Park morphed into a Montana fly-fishing trip with my father-in-law for several years after.
Then, during one of these fly-fishing trips, while driving on the twisty, mountain roads from one fishing location to another, my father-in-law; A.K.A. Trout-Master Jim, and I discussed the benefits of replacing the van with motorcycles on the next years trip. The next year we did just that. And it was exciting!
We rode from Michigan to Montana along U.S. 2, then dropped south through Billings, Montana. From there, we rode the Bear-Tooth Pass, The Chief Joseph Highway, and 14A in Wyoming. Along the way, we fished many famous trout-streams. We were right, it was fun, and exciting! In fact, it was so much fun that when planning this years trip to the Smoky Mountains, and the infamous “Tail of the Dragon” we decided to leave the fishing gear at home.
It was a difficult, but good choice. We spent lots of time on the motorcycles, riding the “Tail”- 4 times, the “Cherohala Skyway”, and discovering lots of Americana along the way. We rode along the Cheoah River on the “Hellbender 28” in the rain. The fog that developed when the cool rain met the rivers warm surface was so thick that it was easy to imagine a dragon living beneath the rivers cloud-covered surface.
The folks we encountered around the “Dragon” were awesome. Everybody was in great spirits…not like that. More like enthusiastic, happy to be there. Like the feeling of being 10 years old again, and riding a newly discovered path on your pedal bike- imagining what it would all be like when you’re older; rolling your big bike through the sweet turn of one of the Dragon’s many switchbacks, and discovering that your childhood hopes matched the reality of the present.
So how has,”The Trip”, changed? Most recently; since riding his vintage 1980’s, V65 Magna through the Dragon’s curves; Trout-Master Jim has become Dragon-Master Jim. And apparently, we don’t take fishing equipment on fishing trips anymore. But the one thing that hasn’t changed, is the adventure we seek.