the Dragon, my lesson

July 12, 2010

Wished for magic, got it. But there is always dues to pay, which I realized I am twistedly liking to pay. Like downpours, scorching heat, fatigue, and demons.

First of all the magic came in the form of a lot of emails from you guys, Thank you for riding along, you have no idea how warm it feels… thank you for making me laugh, your advice, your love. I am never alone.

Got to the Mountain View Motel while still daylight in Maryville.

Mountainview Motel

Room #1 and my baby

There was no point in pushing things further I figured so I stopped there. There was an East Indian man there, but not your regular motel type indian guy. This one had incense burning in there, photos of spiritual gurus on the walls and he had a tattoo on his forehead in the shape of an elongated U and a red dot.

He gave me room number 1. There was something different about the whole transaction.

Got in the room, same old brown furniture, noisy A/C, noisy bathroom fan, discolored bath, bleach smelling linens, the sickly sweet carpet cleaner powder stuff, a TV, two beds… But somehow it was different.

I turned on the TV and was a bit turned off by the weather forecast : Rain. Rain for the next 8 days. Lots of rain, thundershowers, 60 MPH winds.

Well I guess we’ll be able to get back to being totally dirty and soggy in no time.

What wakes me up is the sound of very heavy rain on the roof. I look outside : torrential.

I don’t know anymore what time it is. central time, eastern time, my phone had an hour behind, my watch I killed it when I took a swim in Mississippi and forgot to take it off and the computer I’m not sure if it changed by itself or not.

Check out time, it’s still raining. I pull the bike under the little roof and start packing.

I bring the key back to the motel guy and he says to me : This is “your” motel. When you come back in these parts you come back here. This is your motel.

Somehow that was moving, he meant it. He totally meant it. Was it for the money or for the deeper meaning? Don’t know.

I rode out, the rain has taken a break for now. I stopped and filled up, then looked for breakfast. I found the 411 Restaurant.

411 Restaurant

Good choice, awesome people, awesome locals, good food. People will always ask where you are from and where you’re going and these guys can’t believe it. I told them about the Dragon and they start with tales of people dying there. They just reopened it two days ago (rocks fell on the road) and one guy already was killed, a driver crossed the middle lane. I leave with blessings from all of them. I feel the magic is on.

A short distance down the road is the way to the Dragon’s tail.

there are warning signs for trucks to pick an alternate route, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. I am warned.


As I approach, rain starts. It figures. I laugh. I proceed. Rain gets harder, harder, harder, wind picks up, branches on the road. I take a turn and get in an area where a large body of water appears on my left, with it a brutal wind blast, there is so much water on the road, I am displaced like a weed across the lane. I am warned, gotta stop.

I pull in at this Harley Davidson stop.

a Suzuki @ the Harley place...

There must be 20 bikers on the front porch waiting for the rain to abate. They are all riding Harleys. At first there is a polite nod, but it doesn’t take too long that it turns into a group conversation, about rain gear, roads, trips, and where everyone is heading.

fellow riders

The rain slows down and we all start gearing up to go. We take photos, wish safe rides all around, they head West I head East alone.

The tail of the Dragon. well it’s not an exercise in speed and prowess. It is one in prudence. The winds have littered the pavement with leaves, branches, there is a fair amount of water on the road, the visibility is not so great as it is still raining pretty heavily, and there is fog.

I thought of the lesson. Since I am always someone who goes pedal to the metal, my lesson was one of patience, prudence and judgement. How appropriate.

The Dragon is 11 miles of windy roads with 318 turns. At the end there was a store and I stopped. I’ve been wanting goggles I could wear under my helmet for night time and I found a pair there. And I bought my second memento of this trip : a 2010 pin saying I rode the dragon. It won’t take too much room..

There I met a couple and we chatted for a while. They too could not believe I came all this way by myself. I said “well I get along good with myself, we never fight” and then I remembered Leo and told them ” Actually I am not really alone” and introduced them to Leo. I set out to leave and the woman came to me and said : ” we’ll put you on our prayer list” She really meant it. I felt it coming deep from her heart and felt privileged.

A dam along the way

I headed out…

Now I am in Bryson. More magic… I found the best espresso in a long while… wifi… This area is magical. I asked for it. It is lush, beautiful, alive.

I was told there is a good 700 miles or so of this wonder, all the way to Pensylvania. Wow. My reward.


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