I grew up in East Tennessee. It is a beautiful place and a draw for  motorcyclist. It has recently become famous for the Snake. The start of the run, the Snake’s eyes, is located in Shady Valley in the northeast portion of the state. This is where U.S. 421 and Hwy. 91 cross and Hwy. 133 intersect. There is only an intersection and no red light. There are three stores, one of which is geared to motorcyclists.
    The Snake consists of 489 curves in 12 miles. Hwy. 91 goes east and west from Elizabethton, Tenn., and onto Hwy. 133 Damascus, Va. U.S. 421 goes from Boone, through Mountain City Tenn., towards Bristol, Tenn. Everyone seems to find some part of the road suited for their particular riding style. The road conditions are well maintained surfaces. Beware, there is some loose gravel from gravel roads that connect to the Snake. This is also a commercial vehicle road so it is possible to go around a corner and encounter an 18-wheeler hogging the entire road. Wildlife is another concern.{mosimage}
    There is little room for error here. You will find mountain on one side and a 100-foot drop on the other. There are guard rails on some parts of the road but this serves to be a “Vegematic,” slicing and dicing motorcyclists with no mercy. Keep focused on your drive, because the drops are unforgiving.
The highway is heavily patrolled by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. I was there recently and counted three patrolman in a very short time.
    The road from Mountain City to Shady Valley is the curviest. The average posted speed is 20 mph. To me this is the most enjoyable part of the ride because I like sharp curves going uphill. The most scenic part is the ride from Shady Valley to Damascus
    Along the way is Backbone Rock, a beautiful area in the Cherokee National Forest and a good place to stop and enjoy the mystic peacefulness on a hot summer day. In the town of Damascus you will find a lot of little shops, restaurants and coffee shops. You will see many hiking shops because the Appalachian Trail passes through the town.
    From Shady Valley north towards Bristol is South Holston Lake. Not far after the lake the road turns into a four-lane highway without much scenery. However, if you cut off and go over to the South Holston Dam, you’ll find a great experience. At the dam, you will find spectacular views as you drive across the 1,600-foot top and look down 285 feet into the beautiful blue green, ice-cold waters of South Fork Holston River.
    From Shady Valley west towards Elizabethton is a nice curvy road over Iron Mountain. If you are looking for a quick hike and swim you can visit the Blue Hole. After the road flattens out, continue down into Stoney Creek until you see the brown sign on the road which will have you turn up toward Holston Mountain. About a couple miles up you will find a gravel parking lot to the left. The trail is less than a mile long to a beautiful waterfall and nice swimming hole which constitute the Blue Hole. There is plenty of nice riding in this area, so take some time and go on an adventure.

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