If you are a regular follower of my blog posts, you know that each year I write about the trip I take with my younger brother that has affectionally become known as our BroGo (Brothers Going on a trip together). Our BroGo trip last year was to Portland, Oregon where we tried to sample as many of the 114 craft breweries in the area as we could in just four days. With my busy travel schedule this year and my brother’s busy consulting activites, it was looking like we were not going to be able to squeeze one in but then in August when my brother was going to be dropping off his oldest son at college in North Carolina, suddenly a window of opportunity opened up.
As we discussed possible locations, my brother mentioned that he was a bit jealous of the trip I had taken to Montreat with my oldest sister in May that I had called SisGo. Since he was already going to be in North Carolina and western North Carolina is an easy day’s drive for me, we figured we could get in a BroGo at our favorite vacation spot in the world—Montreat, North Carolina.
I had just gotten back from my trip to Seattle and less than 36 hours later was heading off for our BroGo. For our first night together, we decided to stay at the historic Tapoco Lodge which sits about 3 miles from the end of the Tail of the Dragon on US 129. When we were exploring how we could squeeze in a BroGo, my brother mentioned that he would like to drive the Tail in his new car since he had read about it numerous times on my posts. Naturally I was in agreement with that as I would actually drive on the Tail at the end of my trip from Memphis just to get to the lodge.
Early Friday morning, I headed out in my WRX to meet him at the lodge. I arrived first and so made my way to the bar next to the roaring mountain stream to enjoy a beer while I waited.
When my brother arrived, we debated about what to do first but then I suggested he drive the Tail before settling down with a beer. So, we hopped in his car and headed for the Tail.
If you are not familiar with the Tail, it is a portion of US 129 right at the Tennessee-North Carolina border that boasts 318 curves in just 11 miles. It is definitely a car lover, but even more so motor cyclist, mecca. I quickly captured my brother driving noting he was doing quite well on his first run.
At both the beginning and end of the Tail, there is a sign that cautions motorcyclists that the next 11 miles are an extremely high accident area. To try to reduce mishaps, the speed limit has been lowered from 40 mph to 30 mph. This road is not for the faint of heart who want to challenge its hundreds of thrilling curves and switchbacks.
I rode shotgun on my brother’s two runs of the Tail trying to capture a good shot of the road in the mirror. As we zoomed along, I realized that I had now ridden the Tail with both my sisters and now my brother along with my wife and all three of my kids. With no accidents, this fully qualified us as a successful “Tail Family.”
When we returned to the lodge, I shared a well-earned IPA with my brother…
…before enjoying a delicious rainbow trout dish accompanied by another tasty IPA right by that mountain stream.
After a big breakfast the next morning at the lodge, …
… I admitted to my brother that I would like to get one more taste of the Tail before we headed to our next destination. He agreed and this time he rode shotgun in my car. With the windows rolled down and the sunroof open, it was another exhilarating ride.
After that, we headed to Black Mountain, North Carolina, the cute little mountain town just south of Montreat. We arrived at lunchtime and shared a delicious burger and a couple of local craft IPAs. Then we headed into Montreat for some photo shots of our favorite spots…
…before retiring to the porch overlooking the waterfall for some peaceful reading time.
At 4:00 PM, we were able to check into what would be our residence for the next three nights, a quaint little historic 100+ year-old cabin nestled among the trees within easy hearing distance of the mountain creek that runs through the town of Montreat…
…and fittingly a Granddaddy’s path in the back to a picnic table and fire pit.
When I booked these lodgings, I knew that it was a period home without heat or A/C (just a fireplace).
Thinking it would be hot in August, I brought along a floor fan with my suitcase filled with shorts and t-shirts. I never realized that it would be cold rather than hot. Thankfully, I had at least thrown in a pair of jeans.
We then headed to one of the small craft breweries in Black Mountain (very kid and dog friendly) where we had another delicious IPA and fun brotherly conversation. Afterwards, we took a short walk across the parking lot to a pizza restaurant where we enjoyed great pizza and more great beer.
Following that, we made it to one more location for just one more local IPA before heading back to our cabin.
To be continued…