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Letters from Readers




Tail of the Dragon


May 21, 2011, 11 Subaru Foresters and a WRX met on a twisty, 11-mile section of two-lane blacktop along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The mission: To tame the Tail of the Dragon, a stretch of U.S. 129 in rural Appalachia where drivers test their skills on the 318 curves and enjoy the mountains.


It started on the forum with a simple posting. Did anyone want to meet and “run the Dragon” together? We met at the north end of the Dragon’s Tail by Chilhowee Lake. Placing faces with online screen names added to the excitement. Owners came from Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and even from Canada!


Several members had worked together online to design a shirt just for this event and special windshield decals for each vehicle.

The Foresters headed south toward Deals Gap, a motorcycle resort at the opposite end of the route. Speed limits are 35 mph and are enforced. Even with a seemingly low speed limit, the highway is challenging. There are many switchbacks and blind curves that add a certain element of danger, but our Foresters made the drive fun and enjoyable. All the wheels pulling through the twisties give you a feeling of confidence that you don’t get with other vehicles.


At Deals Gap, we found a couple of hundred motorcyclists and many other drivers checking out the sights, which included the Tree of Shame. That contains parts of motorcycles and cars that have crashed on the Dragon. Luckily, none of our Foresters left any parts on it.


After another pass up and down the Dragon’s Tail, we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville, North Carolina, for a group dinner. This event went so well that we’re already planning for 2012 and looking into group cabin rentals, white-water rafting, and other group activities.


–Brian Carroll,


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