RVery Best Nest

Come join Joe, Mallery & I, as we travel around the USA in our RVery Best Nest. God's Favor has been chasing us down, and we are enjoying all of His blessing's, that He has created for all to enjoy!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hwy 129 "The Dragon" And Fontana Lake/Dam, TN & NC

                   Monday 10/7/2013

Our RV Park in Vonore, TN. gave us a close proximity to Hwy. 129. We wanted to see Fontana Lake, and Hwy 129 was the shortest route to the lake. Hwy.129 follows the Little Tennessee River.
With the Smokies in the distance.
Just before we entered the 11 mile Dragon (name of 11 miles of Hwy. 129), we came to the small village of Tallassee and a Harley Davidson store.
The store is a good place to get stickers, pins, patches, and T-shirts proving you were on "The Dragon". You can also get gas there.
This sign was posted next to the dragon statue. How true this sign is!
After a couple miles on "The Dragon", we came to this overlook and view of Chilhowee Dam on the Little Tennessee River.
On the rock wall of the overlook, everyone had left their signature.
Across the road was this guard rail lined with thousands of stickers.
Beyond the rail is the views of the Smokies.
We got back into our car and continued "The Dragon". No guard rails and steep drop off, and we were on the outside of the road!
As we came around a curve, we see this guy taking our picture from US 129 Photos.com. I tried to find our car picture, but you need to know the exact time you went pass, or you will go through thousands of pictures, and you will have a husband complaining if you go over the internet limit he is going to be mad!
We cross into North Carolina while still on "The Dragon".
As we neared the intersection where the road spits to Hwy. 28 or Hwy. 129., we came to the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort.
Across the street from the resort we found the Tail Of The Dragon store that had this dragon in front of it.
This dragon tail was also in the parking lot of the Tail Of The Dragon.
At the end of the tail is a motorcycle wrapped in it.
You can get T- shirts, stickers, pins and patches of "The Dragon" at the Tail Of The Dragon store.
Across the street is the Deals Gaps Motorcycle Resort.
Because we really didn't know much about this road the day we drove it we missed a few major sites. Somewhere at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort there is a "Tree of Shame" that has a collection of crashed motorcycle parts on it. There are annually around 1 to 5 people killed on this road.
At the intersection, we took Hwy 28 toward Fontana.
We passed the Twenty Mile road that was closed that enters into the Great Smoky National Park, because the government was still shut down. Sure glad this was not on our agenda.
Hwy 28 followed the Little Tennessee River toward Fontana Lake.
We found a small pull out park along the river and made a stop. While at the park, we met another traveler with his dog and he told us that two motorcyclist died the day before on US 129.
We arrived to the Fontana Dam area next.
View of Fontana Lake which is a reservoir impounded by the Fontana Dam of the Little Tennessee River.
The lake water levels are lowered in the fall with the anticipation of  late winter and early spring flooding.
Fontana Lake is 17 miles long and forms the southern border of the Great Smoky National Park and the northern border of the Nantahala National Forest.
The volunteers at the Fontana Dam and Visitor Center confirmed the motorcycle fatalities on US 129 the day before.
Fontana Dam is the highest dam east of the Rockies at 480 feet.
View of the Little Tennessee River from on top of the dam.
Aerial picture of a picture of Fontana Dam and Fontana Lake.
In the Visitor Center I had another traveler point on the map where Fontana Lake was. (Joe was off gabbing with the Visitor Center volunteers).
Fontana Lake 's water level fluctuates 50 feet by the controlling of the dam.
The Visitor Center had this picture of a mama bear and her three babies crossing the Fontana Dam lawn.

We left the dam and drove to the Fontana Village Resort. We thought the resort might have great views, but it didn't. Because we really didn't want to drive back home via "The Dragon", Joe went inside and asked the front desk how long the drive was going to take if we took the Cherohala Skyway (Hwy. 143) back to Vonore. They told us it would take 2 hours, so we decide to go back via "The Dragon".
We stopped in Deals Gap, population 6 to get a smoked brisket sandwich. Unfortunately there were all out of brisket, so we had the smoked pork sandwich instead. It was really good, so I would recommend the stop if you are in the area.
On "The Dragon" we crossed over the state border and back into Tennessee. After getting home, I read on the internet it is recommend to drive "The Dragon" during the week, because the weekends are way to busy with crazy drivers. We felt that the day we drove it, there were plenty of sport cars and motorcyclists driving way too fast. The speed limit is 30mph, but many people drive it like a raceway, like this motorcyclists were doing in the picture as he past us on a curve.
As we headed back luckily we were on the mountain side of the road. There are 2 different companies taking pictures of those driving "The Dragon". There are approximately an average of 1,200 motorist that take The Dragon daily.
"The Dragon" has 318 curves on it's 11 mile streach. Even though 18 wheelers and vehicle over 30 feet are not recommend on this road, they still drive it. Because of the continual curvy road, these longer vehicals can't help but cross over the center line into on coming car or motorcycles from the opposite direction. With the motorist/cyclist who race on the road, they are taking there chances of meeting these long vehicles at the blind curves.
On the way home we stopped at Harbour Place, the housing community across the lake from us.
Toqua Camp Ground across the lake.
A little closer of the view of Toqua Camp Ground across Tellico Lake.
Can you see our Nest (third RV from the lake).
As we drove down a hill through the community to the entrance or exit, we started to get a great view.
The homes on this upper level of the neighborhood have this stunning view of the Smokies.
We cross the bridge to get on the other side of Tellico Lake to get back home and saw another stunning view to the southeast of our park.
Tellico Lake continues east of our campground as we travel toward it on Hwy 360. The total drive for the days was 103 miles.

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