Driving the Tail of the Dragon in a C7 Corvette

01. Introduction: Cross country road trip in a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
02: Day 1: San Diego, CA to Deming, NM
03: Day 2: Deming, NM to Amarillo, TX
04: Day 3: Amarillo, TX to Maumelle, AR
05: Day 4: Maumelle, AR to Knoxville, TN
06: Day 5 part A: Driving the Tail of the Dragon
07: Day 5 part B: Knoxville, TN to Salem, VA
08. Day 6: Salem, VA to Dulles, VA
09. Trip summary and final thoughts
10: Review: 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Map of the Tail of the Dragon

Map of the Tail of the Dragon

Driving the Tail of the Dragon was my number one goal for this cross country road trip (other than arriving in Washington DC alive), and I was super excited to wake up early and cross this item off my bucket list. Unfortunately, the weather was downright abysmal, with nothing but heavy rain in the forecast for the entire morning. That was slightly disappointing, but then I started to think about the positives: more rain probably means less traffic, and the photography opportunities might be really good with all that rain and fog. If the guys from Killboy and US129photos were out there taking pics, chances were pretty good that they’d get some nice shots of me driving that Corvette through the twisties. Something else in my favor was the fact that this was a Wednesday morning, so I was hopeful that traffic would be really light out there.

I packed up my things and left the Knoxville Airport Hilton right about 8:30am, then drove south on US129 for about 45 minutes until I reached the starting point of the Dragon. I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful the scenery was using words, so I’ll let some pictures do all the talking:

us129 harley davidson store

Velocity Yellow really stands out! Here is the Vette posing in front of the Harley Davidson store just prior to the official start of the dragon

fog on the Little Tennessee River

Stunning morning fog on the Little Tennessee River just prior to driving the Dragon

c7 corvette in the fog

Seriously, I couldn’t have asked for a better photo backdrop this morning.

yellow corvette foggy river bank

One last pic before I left to tame the Dragon

There was nobody out there except me and a few locals, so I had the Dragon all to myself. Was it everything I had expected it to be? Yes, and then some! First of all, the road is in fantastic condition. It’s smooth and silky, void of pot holes and bumps to upset the balance of the car. Second, it quickly became apparent that this road is appropriately named. The corners are tight, with sharp changes in elevation that made it feel like driving on roller coaster tracks more than anything else.

photo by US129photos.com

The guy’s from US129photos.com were out there that morning and got some really good pics of me passing through both ways

photo by US129photos.com

It’s pretty nerve racking knowing that you’re being photographed! Here I am trying hard to keep it between the lines…

The Corvette handled it beautifully, of course, despite the rain and slick roads. It stuck to the road like glue, and I think I probably used 5% of the car’s potential that morning pushing it through the corners. What’s really funny is that I thought I was pushing really hard, but reviewing the video made it look like I was on a leisurely Sunday morning drive down Main Street.

Unfortunately, that video is too embarrassing to show and I’m not going to publish it! I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive about all the rain, and I had no intention of putting the Vette into the ditch that morning, but geez – it really is pathetic. But even as slow as I drove it, I had a blast.

Once I reached the official end of the Dragon, I stopped by the Killboy store for a few souvenirs and a bottle of water before turning around and driving it northbound. I was feeling pretty good at this point, and my plan was to come down and back once more before calling it a morning and starting to continue my drive to Washington DC.

killboy dragon us129

Posing in front of the Killboy dragon

Now that I was slightly more familiar with this road (and using the 8 speed automatic manual mode with paddle shifters in the Corvette), the drive north was slightly more spirited. At least it seemed that way. A group of three VW’s came up on me hard about halfway through, which made me think that I was taking it too cautious as I pulled over to let them by. Those guys were FAST.

Unfortunately, the motion sickness was starting to come on strong as I approached the northern tip of the Dragon, so I knew that there was no way I could turn around and do it again. Oh well. I was satisfied and very happy to have had the chance to do the drive in this amazing Corvette without hardly any other traffic. I pulled over to rest and enjoy the scenery for 10 minutes before heading back up US129 towards Knoxville and continue my way east towards DC.

corvette tail of the dragon tennessee

The Corvette got a much needed rest while I tried to recover from a bit of motion sickness

corvette posing against the Little Tennessee River bank

The fog had dissipated, but the scenery was still incredible

little tennessee river

Simply beautiful country out here in southeast Tennessee