This is NOT for the faint of heart.
I’ve only been riding since January of 2016, and since I took to my “journey” I’ve logged over 41,000 miles. In the beginning my skills were sketchy, but with miles, comes confidence, and improved skills.
During the summer of 2016, I joined my dear Texas friends for a week long trip that included riding the “Tail of the Dragon.” The reputation of the “Tail” had me a little apprehensive. “Was I prepared to ride it?” I would ask myself.
My riding partner, who has been a mentor of mine since the 80’s simply said, “Suck it up buttercup” and off to the Smokey’s we went. While I didn’t set any speed record traversing the Dragon, it was quite an experience. I loved it. I was proud of myself.
Now, fast forward to this beautiful day in May.
We started with a visit to the Brushy Mountain State Prison, and the former home to it’s most famous prisoner, James Earl Ray. It was an eerie sight, sitting off in the distance, surrounded by mountains. After we posed for a group picture, we mounted up and started on the Triangle.
The ride is a 44 mile trek that includes Tn 62, 116 and 330. Our group leader kept telling us to look over at the steep “drop offs” and all I could think was, ” Sure dude, if it ain’t in the middle of the road, I won’t see it.”
Immediately I could tell that my technical skills had improved and my confidence was soaring. Last year I was on a Street Glide Special and this year I was on my new Ultra Limited.
My use of the gears instead of the brake was noticeable and my cornering skills were much better. It’s definitely a technical ride and aside from a couple of corners that gave my heart a little “flutter” I felt like I had done well. Most of all, I had survived the Devil’s Triangle and it was a blast.
There are the obvious dangers, but combined with all the 4 wheelers in the area, that meant loose gravel was in some dangerous corners of the road. Tight twisties, sweepers, short straight-aways and three of the tightest and steepest switchbacks a rider will ever see is what we rode.
The pavement was good and guard rails were solid. The steep drop-offs leave no room for error and if you let your ego overload your back-side, then trouble awaits you.
Once we finished, we stopped at Al’s Market where I got my Devils Triangle patch (which they think quite highly of at $12 each).
My final thoughts on the two experiences is this. They’re both challenging, and dangerous. They’re exciting and heart pounding. It’s like a real life roller coaster, without the safety equipment. I loved it.