After decades of motorcycle touring, Rosie and Jim Singhose embarked on a 31-day, cross-country trip to ride the Tail of the Dragon, a legendary 11-mile switchback road in the Great Smoky Mountains. Readers are invited to share the roar of their straight pipes and the agony of fighting fiery Boise headwinds that feel like “the mouth of a blast furnace,” along with all the meals, misjudgments, and laughter that comprise everyday life on the road.
Rosie and Jim left Oregon Aug. 17, 2005 on their bikes, carrying with them camping equipment, canned soup, granola bars, tools, weather gear —and the endearing ability to handle whatever they encounter on the road. Singhose presents their story as a simple day-by-day travelogue, showcasing an impressive talent for creating tight, evocative scenes from the day’s highlights.
She writes effortlessly about sharing campgrounds with fellow travelers, making small talk with gawkers, and weathering the inevitable storms. Her narrative voice is beautifully simple, whether describing the natural wonders in Yellowstone, Bryce and Zion canyons, or coming across an ominous patch of road construction. “The road beneath our feet was one long stretch of gooey, slimy mud with a river running over the top,” she writes. Although the pair plays cat and mouse with the devastating Hurricane Katrina winds, their trip is relatively crisis free, and the tale reflects the rhythms of a joyful life.
The author ties together this narrative—the fourth in a series—with short, pithy bursts of dialogue that reflect the comfortable banter of longtime companions. For example, after a punishing hailstorm, Singhose tells Jim she’s longing for a cup of tea and a warm bed. “Jim laughed ruefully before giving me another squeeze… ‘Let’s get off this mountain, Rosie.’”
Tail of the Dragon contains some copyediting errors that give it a slightly unpolished feel. But overall, it’s an entertaining saga that will especially satisfy those who have dreamed about seeing America from the seat of a Harley.
Also available as an ebook.