Many riders dream of that stretch of road, the one that challenges you start to finish. The one that that screams for you to stay on your guard with every rotation of the tires.
There's an eleven mile stretch that has an amazing 318 curves on Hwy 129 in North Carolina known as 'The Tail of the Dragon' and it deserves the respect of every rider. The Dragon takes out one or two riders every year and its popularity has increased the number of accidents per day as every year passes.
Ride it once, say you've done it and then go about searching for more of America's ultimate stretches of roads.
In North East Iowa we are very near to a couple of great 'stretches' of highway, one being over in Wisconsin with a trip through Wildcat Mountain and the other being Upper Iowa River Drive.
Both of these tracts are unique in their own way. The Wildcat Mountain cruise comes with a few distinct turns that need to be respected and then compliments itself with some grand sweeping arcs.
The Iowa River Drive comes with a variety of rolling turns but its specialty is the scenery adjoining the ride. This tract starts just south of New Albin, Iowa with the Mississippi River in view and then runs for a great stretch along the Upper Iowa River.
Additionally, one is traveling through a classic example of North East Iowa's Driftless Area (an area known for its deeply carved River valleys due to its escape from glaciation).
Once you reach the end of Iowa River drive you can take a right on Hwy 76 and enjoy a State Hwy with exaggerated curves and many scenic elevation changes. An alternative is to skip the right turn 3/4 of the way through and ride straight into what turns to Lycurgus Road. This section will wind you through miles of farmland and out to the ridge on Hwy 9.
If crowds aren't your style and the tract of road is more important, set aside The Dragon and come to North East Iowa and set up camp. Both of these runs are enjoyable with superb scenery to boot.
More secrets can be found here, so find some lodging and enjoy the ride.
Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons