10 Things to know when visiting Deals Gap April 25, 2019 Jud Merrell Top 10 things to know when visiting Deals Gap With scenic mountain views, mild weather and thrilling, twisty roads, the Deals Gap area and The Dragon are must-haves on every motorcycle and car enthusiasts’ travel list. If it’s your first trip to The Dragon, or if you haven’t been often or in a while, it’s helpful to have the peace of mind that you’re prepared, know to expect and what to bring. So, we put together this helpful guide to ensure your trip is a breeze. 1. Navigating the area If you’re fairly new to the Deals Gap area, you may be wondering where the best roads are and where The Dragon begins and ends. We receive questions about how to get to certain roads or what portion of the road encompasses The Dragon quite frequently. Our staff is always here to help. While we’re always happy to give directions, our store offers maps. We even have a giant map on the wall of our covered porch that many visitors find helpful. 2. Phone service Cell phone coverage is very limited in the area around Deals Gap as a major part of the area is within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of the closest coverage is about 18 miles south toward the town of Robbinsville or 19 miles north on US 129. In the summer of 2018, DGMR added complimentary WiFi to the motel and grill for our guests and customers. Now that most cell phones and wireless providers provide WiFi calling either a phone call or text message can be sent out from the property. 3. Gas locations Fueling stations in the area are not quite as sparse as the cell phone coverage, but still need your attention if you are running low. Our Resort offers 93, non-ethanol fuel on both pumps. The next closest fuel is nine miles south on US 129 toward the town of Robbinsville. The city of Maryville is located 35 miles north on US 129 and has a number of fueling options. If you are traveling across the Foothills Parkway beware that the last gas station is the Walland Center located on Highway 321 approximately 33 miles away. 4. Food April through October our grill is open for breakfast, starting at 8 a.m., followed by lunch and then dinner up until 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and then is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Our store, which sells convenience snacks, is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The grill is also open during the month of March, but for lunch only. 5. Lodging Although the motel is closed in the off season from November through February, bookings for the season can be made any time of year through our website. We offer 14 motel rooms in a variety of sizes. Our motel is a great place to be since you’re right in the middle of all The Dragon action. You can’t stay closer to The Dragon than Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort. We even have a large fire pit to enjoy in the evenings—so bring marshmallows or hot dogs to roast! Book your room here. 6. Wildlife Because of the remote location of the Dragon and our Resort and border with the National Park, area wildlife are prevalent. Riders and drivers should be aware. Bear, boar, deer, turkey and coyote are some of the regular wildlife that can be seen on and around the Dragon. Though not a everyday occurrence, visitors and locals alike should be aware and vigilant about wildlife on area roads. 7. Other people The allure of such a curvy and remote road attracts people who visit from all over the world to ride the 318 curves of the Dragon. That being said there are times when the Dragon is not void of people and respect and common sense can go along way to help yourself and others enjoy your adventure. The Dragon has 104 paved pull offs, so if you happen to find a vehicle behind you, or if you simply want to stop and take in the sights and sounds, it’s encouraged to use the pull offs. 8. Riding within limits You’re excited, you’re pumped and you’re ready to ride The Dragon, but keep in mind that your safety, and the safety of others, depends on you maintaining control of yourself AND your vehicle. The Dragon is a technical road and will require your full attention. You’ll need to know your vehicle and your abilities to successfully travel the 318 curves. Trust us when we say you’ll have more fun riding your bike and driving your auto within your limits. It’s better than crashing and getting hurt or worse hurting someone else. The only way to win a day of riding The Dragon is to be able to negotiate the road in a safe manner and tell the stories with friends after you’re done. 9. Variable temperatures Deals Gap is located in the mountains and temperatures can vary depending on where you’re riding and the time of day. Mornings and late evening are typically cooler and then it warms up throughout the day. And the higher elevation of the Cherohala Skyway makes it a cooler ride than The Dragon or Moonshiner. So, it’s helpful to dress or bring layers so you can shed them as the temperatures rise. Also note that during the spring and fall there can be crisp days. It doesn’t hurt to bring winter riding gear for the more chilly days. 10. Photography During the season, on days when the weather is good, there are photographers throughout The Dragon. Thanks to the photographers, you’ll leave The Dragon with some awesome riding or driving photos. A common question is, where do I find my Dragon photos? After your ride, check out 129 Slayer. Many people slow way down near the photographers to ensure their photo is taken, but you don’t have to! These photographers are skilled at motorsports photography and take great photos even at fast speeds. When passing the photographers, just remember to keep your eyes on the road.