NORTH CAROLINA ERECTS NEW TRUCK WARNING SIGN ...... This sign has been installed on NC28 at US74 and gives truckers plenty of warning and time to turn around. Now let's see if Tennessee can follow suit. Photo by John Bunch, Fontana Village

Another similar sign has been installed near Robbinsville on US129.

May 24, 2003
Killboy had to jump down the bank to avoid this one.
Photos by

June 2011

March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011

Guradrail damage near Fugitive Dam after WalMart semi crushed it about 11 am March 28, 2011. It took two large wreckers and other vehicles to free it. Road was closed for more than and hour.

October 2010

October 2010

October 2010

October 2010
September 2009
Truck and cycle
What's this coming around the corner? Sept 2009
September 2009 SWIFT once again !!!
June 24, 2009
Trucks detoured by closing of I-40 June 24, 2009

May 2008

August 1, 2007 truck tipped over near Picnic Tables.

August 1, 2007: And the clean-up took three days. This US highway remained closed the entire time.

This truck was near tipping on Sept 18.
Thanks to Tommy Taylor of Spring TX for the shot

This truck didn't even make it through the easy part on May 18, 2007. It held-up traffic and a couple of Ferraris for nearly an hour before being pulled out by a local work truck. Photo by Michael Fletcher
August 2010
August 2010

Two trucks met head-on in September 2006

This truck passed so close to this rider that one of the straps holding down the load actually hit him it the helmet. Oct 8, 2005. Thanks to Denise Just and Mark Caesar for this action photo.

And another close call for the same rider!

FedEx on April 10, 2007 photo by Tail of the Dragon
Oct 14, 2005
Oct 14, 2005

Sept 21, 2005 - Photo by Andrea Batts
July 15, 2005
July 15, 2005 Photo by Killboy

July 23, 2005 at the Hump

April 15, 2005, Photo by Killboy


August 17, 2004 Photo by Ron Johnson

August 4, 2004

August 6, 2004

August 4, 2004. Photo by David Mathews

August 14, 2004

We followed this truck south bound through the Dragon on June 18. It was frightening to see how much he drove left of center to get through the corners. Todd LeMaster

Truck vs. Miata - May 24, 2003
Photo courtesy of Sara McBride

Thursday Sept 19, 2002: BULLETIN Tennessee has finally erected a warning sign to truckers. It is located on US 129 at
the Foothills Parkway. "Warning to trucks dangerous
curves ahead consider alternate route."

SEPTEMBER 29, 2004: Crud Corner crash involving two bikes and an 18-wheeler. One rider suffered broken arm, cuts, and abrasions. Second rider several cuts. Photo courtesy of Jim Long

Monday, Sept 16, 2002: 5pm we came upon the above
pictured semi stuck in a corner at the state line

July 31, 2002 and yet another!! This wayward trucker got stuck in The Hump. He lost traction and had to back-up 3 times before getting enough umph to power through. More scrapes on the new surface.

July 2002. Another trucker bitten by the Dragon. Imagine if this gasoline tanker truck had flipped over and caught fire. Probably would have made the fires out west look small in comparison. The wrecker pulling the truck out gouged the new pavement. Thanks to Myk Freeman of Knoxville for the pictures.

Ron followed this logging truck home on June 19, 2002. This picture is taken at the Slide near Fugitive Dam after a near collision with a truck towing a boat. Who says sportbike riders are a danger on the Dragon?

Darryl Cannon - sent this photo of a truck on the Dragon June 1 that ran a bike off the road.


One truck, one corner, Two Harleys.

This is not Great Britain! Photo by

Nanc and I met this one on Cattail Straight August 27, 2003

September 19,2003

September 1, 2003
Photo from Glenn B.

Not the best ride for the Dragon.

2012 - TRUCKS ON THE DRAGON North Carolina has done what Tennessee won't do ...... ban trucks heading to the DRAGON. It is now illegal for trucks longer than 30 feet to operate on US 129 anywhere from US 19/74 all the way to the NC/TN State Line. They are also banned on NC 28 from NC 143 all the way to US 129. Also on the ban list is the entire Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina.

Want to hear what Tennessee says about banning trucks?

The commissioner (John C. Schroer) added that TDOT provides enhanced safety advisories in regards to potentially dangerous roadways and that it is the responsibility of motorists to exercise a greater amount of caution when traveling winding mountain roads.

So in Tennessee the signs warning trucks are actually aimed at other motorists telling them to DODGE THE TRUCKS THAT WILL BE IN YOUR LANE !!! Leave it to Tennessee to even make such ridiculous statements. The commissioner ought to be FIRED !!!

How about just banning the TRUCKS like North Carolina !!!! Now it is technically illegal for trucks to cross the Dragon and enter North Carolina. But they can legally turn around at the state line and return northward back across the Dragon as long as they stay in Tennessee. Great thinking Tennessee.

Map showing roads that Prohibit Trucks Over 30 feet long.

IT IS TIME TO BAN 18 WHEELERS ON THE DRAGON. Ike Woodard died on the Dragon when a flat bed big rig completely entered his lane in a curve. We have been fighting for years telling officials this was going to happen. It's time for Tennessee and North Carolina to act !!!! SIGN THIS PETITION TO BAN TRUCKS

CLICK HERE to see article in Land Line Magazine about trucks on the Dragon.

SWIFT Trucking Problems on the Dragon CLICK HERE

UPDATE January 2006 email from Swift Transportation:
How are we doing? We have been making every effort to route our trucks away from the Dragon, but occasionally we still have a rogue Driver that wants to do it "his own way."

If you see us up there, I would sure appreciate notification. I assure you we will address it. I still frequent your website. What a great job you have done on that! Beautiful scenery.

The Trucking industry sure gets a "black eye" but rightly so. I hope that we (Swift) will be able to outlive our earlier reputation and become known as the Company that took action and made a difference. We are truly trying. I wish you safe and enjoyable riding.

Sincerely, Jim Wright,
CDS Swift Transportation Manager Driver Safety Performance & Log Audit


Trucks on the Dragon have caused very few problems for both motorcycle riders and car drivers in the past. But now that more traffic is using the road these larger vehicles have become a hazard to avoid. Anyone using the Dragon needs to be aware that they might encounter one of these 18-wheelers around any curve.

For the most part we do not blame the drivers of these big-rigs. Nine out of ten did not realize what they were getting into until it was too late to turn around. All nine say they will take another route next time. The tenth one is probably a local who knows the road and how to drive it. Many of the locals actually have warning vehicles ahead of them, so if you see a car or pick-up with a flashing yellow light on top be sure to pull over and stop because something big is coming!

We have asked semi drivers how they got on the Dragon. Some say they just looked at a map and it was the shortest route. Of course the curves don't show-up on highway maps so here they come. Others have said they used on the Internet .... just fill-in where you are and where you want to go and you map will be prepared for you. Frankly I wouldn't use this method to go across the county, much less across the country. The computer uses no common sense and anyone who follows such directions deserves to get lost and end up on some forsaken backroad where the only place to stay for the night is the Bates Motel. I find it incredulous that professional truckers would use Expedia.

Still others are directed on routes by their dispatchers. This is the one that upsets us. We had problems with SWIFT sending rig after rig over the Dragon a few years ago. They caused several accidents and yet repeated contacts with their headquarters failed to prevent them from coming our way. All SWIFT had to do was send out a notice telling all of their drivers to stay off this highway and word would have gotten-out. There was even one Swift Truck that ventured into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (a big no-no) and then turned into Cades Cove ... a one lane, one way, scenic loop, well marked to prohibit not only big rigs, but ALL COMMERCIAL traffic. He made it about a mile before running off the road in a tight corner. CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE ABOUT THESE INCIDENTS 

Now that we have your attention, let us tell you how to avoid running headlong into or under one of these cycle eaters. Even at speed you should be able to avoid these behemoths if you are (1) paying attention, (2) are experienced enough to control your braking, and (3) keep a cool head and react under pressure.

Foremost you need to watch ahead for any indication that one of these guys is coming. You can see through some of the curves with your peripheral vision. Even if you don't see the truck because of a blind corner you will likely see it soon enough to have time to stop before you get to it (here is the cool head and controlled braking), or you will not see the truck until late in the corner and have enough room to dive for the white line and avoid it before it steals your lane.

Nancy and I have met many long-trucks on the Dragon and not had a real close call yet on bikes. We were nearly sideswiped in our pick-up truck once, though. We know the bad corners to really watch-out for. Two of the worst are on The Slide just above Fugitive Bridge as you approach Tapoco Dam. There are two sharp corners here with guardrail on one side and rock cliff within inches of the roadway on the other side. We slow way down here. That is where the photo on the left of the logging truck was taken. We have actually had people who thought we faked that photo of the truck entering the curve in the wrong lane. Believe us, it is for real! Notice the burned rubber just to the left of double yellow lines. He was smoking his tires trying to break speed going steeply downhill into the sharpest curve within a hundred miles. We were praying that no one was coming at him in the corner.

The State of Tennessee did manage to erect a sign late in 2002 that issues a warning to truckers as they approach the Dragon. We think a few more need to be installed way back at the intersection of US 129 and US 411, some 20 miles closer to Maryville. The State of North Carolina has done nothing to try to prevent trucks on this road. We know that it can be done as both Tennessee and North Carolina have other highways with signs warning truckers. For some reason they do not want to post obvious signs on US 129.

The really bad time for trucks is when I-40 is shut-down somewhere between Knoxville and Asheville. This occurs more often than one would think because the Interstate winds through mountains with steep rock cliffs where rock slides are prevalent, there are tunnels and narrow passes where a wreck can tie-up traffic for hours, and there are very few alternate routes for a hundred miles. We once spent six hours waiting for a broken down wide-load truck to be towed out of a tunnel and there have been times when rock slides have closed the road for weeks.

It looks like there will be trucks on the Dragon for the 2003 season, so be prepared. We have had some serious wrecks involving trucks, but there have been no deaths as of yet. Please don't be the first.

How to Ride the Dragon CLICK HERE

Monday August 4, 2003 noon: Flat bed semi-truck side-swipes vintage Triumph sports car on Dragon. No injuries, but damage to side of car .... occurred just north of Overlook at mile 2 on Dragon map.

Gravity Cavity eats another one. Nov 10, 2014. Photo by Derek Myers

May 2011

May 2011

May 2011
Sept 2010
September 2010
August 2010
August 2010

November 2009
Don't want to meet this one in a corner. July 2009
Yet another SWIFT truck July 2009

Semi stuck at The Hump on Tuesday June 3, 2008.
Thanks to Chris Peterson for the pic

June 1, 2008

May 21, 2008

May 11, 2008

Truth in Trucking, June 23, 2007

September 21, 2007 Photo by KILLBOY

October 2007 photo by Killboy

Photo by Scott Adkins - May 11, 2007

Photo by KILLBOY March 24, 2007

Photo by Brandon Andrews August 2006
Sep 30, 2005
September 30, 2005
Oct 9, 2005
October 9, 2005

Sept 24, 2004. Photo courtesy of Fadi.

Sept 2004 Photo courtesy of Mark Brauning

August 14, 2004

Miata weekend 2004. See results in photo below.

July 24, 2004 Blown tire and smokin' after crossing the Dragon.
Photo by Ron Johnson

"No harm, no foul policy for trucks on the Dragon?"

Rain and traffic and Swift

Truck taking 3 lanes in The Whip

This truck driver stopped and asked for HELP. We escorted him and his buddy in a second truck into North Carolina. They both earned some Dragon stickers!

No place to pull off the road if you meet this guy.

MZ Baghira (to the left of this truck) takes
to the off-road at the Picnic Table.

PICS ABOVE AND BELOW I came down last week to ride the dragon and was videotaping a run when I met this semi. On my return this hapless driver discovered what that sign really meant when it says "consider alternate route". Randy Bernstein, Sept. 2003

Another pic of the CalArk truck stuck in the Hump.
Photo from Gary West

Plenty of room.

April 30, 2003 Photo by Charley Radcliffe

Curt Tricarico captured this photo of an auto transport with "sparking ramp pucks" on the Dragon.


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Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap brings you motorycle and sport car touring information and maps on all of the exciting touring roads ,accommodations, motorcycle repair, and motorcycle rentals in the area including the Cherohala Skyway, Moonshiner 28, Foothills Parkway, Devils Triangle, Six Gap north Georgia, Diamondback, Devils Staircase, the Snake, Blue Ridge Parkway and places of interest in the Great Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee: also places of interest such as Fontana Dam, Wheels Through Time Museum,  Carolina waterfalls map, Cherokee Casino, Asheville attractions, Biltmore House, Smoky Mountain Railroad, whitewater rafting, zip line tours, Grandfather Mountain, Chimney Rock, Joyce Kilmer hiking, Cherokee National Forest, Nantahala National Forest, Cheoah River, Nantahala River, Lake Santeetlah, Fontana Lake, Robbinsville, Graham County, Bryson City, Sylva, Waynesville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend and more.