U.S. Highway 129, cutting through the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, is a ribbon of tarmac that spans the gap from Tennesee to North Carolina. The section of the road that cuts through Deal’s Gap is known as the Tail of the Dragon, and it is regarded as one of the best driving roads in the world. With 318 turns in a span of only 11 miles, it is easy to see the appeal. Still, with so many sharp hairpin turns and sheer drop-offs on one side, the Dragon is not to be trifled with. Since 1995, nearly 40 people have lost their lives on this tiny strip of asphalt.
Despite being only an hour from my house, I have never tackled the Tail of the Dragon. Sitting in my driveway is one of the latest and most advanced toys from the house of Porsche, a 2014 Panamera S e-Hybrid . What better vehicle to tame the Dragon with than a plug-in hybrid that is over 16-feet long and costs more than my house? Best yet, I got news that a plug-in charging station had just been installed at the top of the mountain and nobody had used it yet.
I took it as a sign that I needed to be the first. I pointed the big Porsche south and went hunting for Dragons.
Read on to see how my first trip to U.S. 129 went.