For those with a type of bucket list, these roads rank as some of the very best that I've ever driven. NC 106 leading up to Cashiers was one great road, too. These roads have elevation changes, different cambered corners and very few straight stretches. In many cases, there is little to no shoulder and slipping a tire off the pavement could be dramatic. In some cases, I found myself wishing the gearing was a bit taller. Second gear was mostly fine but, there were times where a few more miles an hour could have prevented a few of the second / third upshifts on exit. The downhill run from the gate at the state line, heading north on 129 presents a great piece of road to work on being smooth and setting up a rhythm. This is the classic Tail of the Dragon. I found the uphill, return to be a bit more difficult, for whatever reason, to get into that rhythm. I may have been a bit faster as gravity was working with me. I never timed any run. I just drove it at my pace and often pulled over for different reasons at different times. The entire Dragon is some 23 miles in length, one way, or at least that is how some of the locals treat it. I actually found the Deals Gap to four-lane portion of Moonshiner 28 to be as challenging as the Tail. It was a pretty run, paralleling the river for a good section of the drive. Running the entire ~72 mile length brought you through some of the NC hill country and maybe a little bit back in time.
For some reference, I grew up in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and drove MO 7 dozens if not hundreds of times. MO 7 was ranked as one of the 10 best driving roads in the United States by Road and Track in 1990.
I suggest some preparations before tackling these roads. I took my car in for a complete service (oil change / tire rotation / brake check, etc.) just before heading out. I am fortunate that my tires are filled with nitrogen (came that way from dealer). From my 10 feet above sea level to over 1 mile above sea level and with an over 50 degrees in temperature changes, I was glad that I didn't have to continually keep filling tires with air.