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Old 10-13-2010, 11:28 PM
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EarlOfSoDak EarlOfSoDak is offline
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Default Driving to Bryson City

Hey folks-

Quick question:
What's the fastest way to get to the Bryson City area from Knoxville? Over or around?
Thanks,
Jamie
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:05 AM
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Stana Claus Stana Claus is offline
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In my experience, it doesn't really matter. 129 (the Dragon) is shorter but slower. Newfound Gap has slightly longer and has more traffic & tourist delays. I've even taken I-40E around the park and come in from the back side. No matter which way you go it always seems to be about a 2 to 2.5 hour trip from Knoxville.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stana Claus View Post
129 (the Dragon) is shorter but slower.
Depends on your skills and mode of transport

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post
I wouldn't take Hwy. 129 under any circumstances.
It's not that bad if you choose your timing correctly and don't have a road rage attitude. Early morning and late late afternoons, it's a very relaxing drive. Traffic really dies down and the pirates (cruiser riders) have stopped doing their parades through the gap. Using the pulloffs is key to have an enjoyable ride. If you take the approach, I AM HERE THIS IS MY SPOT THEY CAN DEAL WITH IT, you will have a bad time. You also can't spook easy, cause you will be passed. I love to ride that road and just sit on the side of it and watch the madness with the photographers.
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:26 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Trip--I would respectfully suggest you study what you said. Not bad? You rightly imply U. S. 129 has the potential to produce, at the least, heartburn and at the worst road rage; you correctly indicate that bikers will pass you on double yellow lines, you suggest pulling off to let folks by. I don't think most folks want that kind of situation, and certainly I don't. More to the point though, taking the 129 route to Bryson City, even without pulling off as you suggest, will take something approaching an hour longer than the I-40 approach. Then there's the all-too-real possiblity of being delayed by a motobike accident. It's so bad and so frequent that Swain and graham Counties have recently been feuding about who has to deal with the appreciable costs of this two-wheeled mayhem. Finally, if you travel with a passenger prone to car sickness, the Dragon's Tail is a recipe for upchucking utopia. To me, that's not just bad, it's awful, and I for one have a problem with the constant lawbreaking which occurs on this road, just as I have considerable angst about the noise pollution from motorcycles in the Park.
Don't get me wrong, some bikers are great folks and don't feel like they have to be heard five miles away, but it is disconcerting to meet one coming at you head-on in the wrong lane and it is disgusting to be five miles from Highway 441 and hear the roar of a revving bike. I might add that Park rangers have told me that biker noise pollution is a significant concern to Park authorities. It certainly is to me.
Now I've opened a can of worms, I reckon, but those are my views and I'm sticking to 'em.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
Jim Casada
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post
Trip--I would respectfully suggest you study what you said. Not bad? You rightly imply U. S. 129 has the potential to produce, at the least, heartburn and at the worst road rage; you correctly indicate that bikers will pass you on double yellow lines, you suggest pulling off to let folks by. I don't think most folks want that kind of situation, and certainly I don't. More to the point though, taking the 129 route to Bryson City, even without pulling off as you suggest, will take something approaching an hour longer than the I-40 approach. Then there's the all-too-real possiblity of being delayed by a motobike accident. It's so bad and so frequent that Swain and graham Counties have recently been feuding about who has to deal with the appreciable costs of this two-wheeled mayhem. Finally, if you travel with a passenger prone to car sickness, the Dragon's Tail is a recipe for upchucking utopia. To me, that's not just bad, it's awful, and I for one have a problem with the constant lawbreaking which occurs on this road, just as I have considerable angst about the noise pollution from motorcycles in the Park.
Don't get me wrong, some bikers are great folks and don't feel like they have to be heard five miles away, but it is disconcerting to meet one coming at you head-on in the wrong lane and it is disgusting to be five miles from Highway 441 and hear the roar of a revving bike. I might add that Park rangers have told me that biker noise pollution is a significant concern to Park authorities. It certainly is to me.
Now I've opened a can of worms, I reckon, but those are my views and I'm sticking to 'em.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
I completely agree about loud pipes. I wouldn't be upset at all with a decibel limit on bikes in Tenn or NC. I like my bike quiet. This is more a cruiser rider thing, than an adventure touring rider like myself. They like riding their bikes to bars, while I like going around the world on a motorcycle no matter the trail/road quality. There are very different cultures in motorcycling. Some of us don't get along.

Accidents do happen there frequently during high travel times, but are normally quickly off the road and traffic flows freely. It's a very highly traveled road, so that's to be expected though. Swain and Graham have nothing to do with the "dragon." As it is all in Tennessee. Blount County pretty much handles it all and keeps people stationed near it. Swain and Graham argue over other sections of the road and campgrounds in that area and others.

There are a lot of urban legends that go along with this road and a lot of misinformation. As someone who spends a considerable amount of time there, it's funny to hear all the stuff. The number of fatalities attributed to the gap is laughable as well. If anything happens on US129 and sometimes US28 it's a "dragon" death. When the "dragon" is only 11 miles on a very very long highway and doesn't have nearly the deaths that are linked to it.

I would also consider a drive on the airport motor mile section of US129 in Knoxville/Alcoa a much more dangerous section of highway than the entire 11 mile stretch of US129 that is known as the dragon. There are far more deaths there than the gap.

I do agree, the dragon is very twisty and US28 is also very twisty. If you are unfamaliar or physically (sick) can't handle this type of driving, it's not a route for you.

Once you get to the the crossroads of time, you would take US28, US28 doesn't have nearly the issues as the 11 miles of US129 in Tennessee. It's a much more peaceful ride as opposed to the other.
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:17 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Trip--Good to hear your view on loud pipes. They are a pet peeve of mine, and it's heartening to know some bikers share my perspective. While Graham and swain County are not part of the Tail as geographically defined, they are definitely both involved in the route to get you from Knoxville to Bryson City, which was the original question. Or to put it another way, the problems connected with bikes and accidents on this route don't end at Deal's Gap or the Tennessee/N.C. line. They continue into N. C. (Swain County, but when it comes to help for injuries Robbinsville, which is in Graham County, is closer). The lure of the Dragon's Tail is most definitely a big problem for authorities in both counties (as well as something of an economic boon).

If you want to take it one step farther. The Cherohala Highway, another nearby favorite biker destination, has been a disaster to trout. Leachate from the construction did a lot of damage, it opened up easy access to poachers, and Graham County streams in general have suffered. It was also a financial boondoggle of the first order, but then that could be said about most anything the federal govt. seems to touch.

Jim Casada
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Old 10-14-2010, 11:17 AM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Jamie I drive 129 over there all the time. If you go the speed limit there is no real reason to ever pull off the road for anyone. It is just another public road that happens to be curvy lol no reason to treat it any differently. If someone gets behind you then they can go the speed limit too. Also just slow way down for the curves as most signs indicate to do.

Here is another tip if anyone wants to ride your bumper just hit your windshield washer button to clean off your windshield with some spray I have found that the side affect of that almost always creates a safe distance buffer zone.

Given all of that I only go 129 when going over to Fontana area. If going to Bryson city from Ktown I like to go via 441 then hit 19. That way I can see more of the park.
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Last edited by Crockett; 10-14-2010 at 11:41 AM..
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:58 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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EarlOFSoDak--If time is the key factor, I-40 to U.S. 74 is the way to go. Hwy. 441 is far more beautiful. I wouldn't take Hwy. 129 under any circumstances. My brother lives in Knoxville and travels to Bryson City (where we grew up) regularly. He goes through the Park most of the time but will take the I-40 route if time is a factor.
Jim Casada
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