September JT Road Trip and Event

(last update 10-04-2020) * with edits and more photos and content

I’m in a unique position to be able to do something I love that also allows me to help my brother take care of my elderly mother.

First and foremost I could not do with the support of the following partnerships supporting my media support program. APE Race Parts / Schnitz Racing / LSR Nitro Harley / Vantine Nitro-Sports / F@ST Andie Rawlings / WhatAGraphic / Balch Racing / AFM Racing / Robert Parker Racing /

 September was one of those months where I had several weekend races. SDBA September 5th BB Racing Fall Smackdown Crossville Dragway Tennesse/ Man Cup Nationals – September 11-13, Rockingham Dragway North Carolina, and then I would be off to the 28th annual DME Racing Fall Nationals Maryland International Raceway, Maryland September 18-20, XDA. As usual, adding a day at the start and end of each event to ensure I go adventure somewhere. I have people that follow me for things other than racing. Not many, but they are out there.

This string of adventures would begin with SDBA September 5th BB Racing Fall Smackdown Crossville Drag way Tennessee. It is a one-day event that focuses on sportsman racers and a personal favorite, jr drag racers. They are also the only motorcycle series to do this for the kids, and I love them for it. With this event being the first in a three-weekend run, I usually would transfer from one event to another, but I could not this time. I had to come home first to do something with my mom. I still added my day before and after for my adventure time.

Crossville Dragway by Jack “JT” Norton

Coming in, I would stop at a place called Falls Creeks Falls State Park, and man o man, it was a fantastic choice. I was looking for a place to ride and hike. Now the online material was vague on the biking part, but I kept coming back to it when I would recheck for a location to stop within my route. So I just eventually said to myself f*ck it, “let’s do this one.” It was raining when I got there early Friday morning, but rain does not stop a JT outing. I checked on a large waterfall, and it was pretty damn impressive. (the tourist overlook spot stuff) The lack of visitors made for a nice enjoyable walk. 

Great Falls by Jack “JT” Norton

I hung out for a while but nothing too strenuous and then moved on through this well taken care of park. The drive-through here is gorgeous, and I came across a beautiful lake found an awesome parking spot right next to it. Noticing a paved trail that looked like an excellent spot to ride my bike it was my next stopping point. A nice lady coming out on her bike said the path was blocked at one end with some construction, but it was still a nice ride. She was spot on with that description and I would repeat the ride several times to ensure I got my ride-time in for the day. The scenery was beautiful, so it did not take much arm twisting. I took a few breaks to get some trip memory shots of a fantastic stop.

Falls Creek Falls Tennessee by Jack “JT” Norton (selfie)

Coming out I found another bike path across the street and heading on yet another awesome ride. I did some more exploring and met a wonderful couple while checking out Penny falls. They ask me about my Zion National Park sticker on my car I got while there last year. This turned into some great conversation and they told me to hike down to Great Falls because it was worth it, so I took their advice and heading over and started my trek down. They were right; it was well worth the hike down, and I need to go back and spend some more time here.

Now once done here I headed out towards the drag strip but realized there is a time change dropping back an hour. So I now had extra time to kill so I threw a GPS dart and found Virgin Falls. A spot i want to go back to because I did not even touch on the potential this place has to offer. WOW!

Virgin Falls Tennessee by Jack “JT” Norton

The event was awesome and they had a great turnout with an extra special moment when my own drag racing mentor Pablo Gonzales bring home a win in Pro Et.

I would leave Thursday afternoon because I had some stuff to square away for my mom, so my brother would not have to worry about it. I got going and headed off to Jekyll Island Driftwood Beach in Georgia. I left early enough so it would get me there before sunset. Jekyll Island is a location I have only been to once before, and the last time there its was a morning stop and was pretty damn impressive. If you’re a photographer, you need to do this spot at least once. Just make sure you go midweek; it gets busy on the weekend. This time was an evening stop, but on this trip, I would have my bike with me. It was a great evening of riding through the bike paths and onto the beach itself, logging in right around 10 miles for the day. I decided to get some dinner at Tortuga Jacks Jekyll Island and had their Tex Mex and a Dos Equis® Lager. The food was excellent I highly recommend visiting when you go there, and I will be back.

Jekyll Island GA 2020 by Jack “JT” Norton

I would get some rest before heading on out to stop two on Friday morning, a before sunrise stop. I have been after a specific picture for a while, but the conditions did not work out well the last few times I was at Santee National Forest. This time I would find success and would be on the water at 6:15 am with sunrise at 703 am. I needed the early launch time to get into position because it takes about 15 minutes to paddle out to where I wanted to be. The extra would give me time to navigate around and see where I wanted to set up a shop. 

Lake Marion, South Carolina by Jack “JT” Norton

I paddled out and got set up for the incoming South Carolina sunrise across Lake Marion, and I tell you, folks, it did not disappoint, and it was better than I had hoped. I got some great shots and had a lot of fun because I love being in my kayak; it is relaxing and helps me forget about things that generally are an issue for us freelancers. I would only spend a couple of hours here because I was after specific shots. I also needed to get moving to get to Rockingham “The Rock” Dragway. As I was loading up, I notice on my bike trails app there was a path in Santee National Forest, not 3 minutes from where I was parked. I decided to get my daily bike ride in since I knew it would not happen once at the track. I logged in about 8 miles, which was OK because about 4 miles of it was off-road stuff. Nothing severe, just enough to work you out a bit. It was a great ride through Santee National Forest before loading up and heading out to Rockingham Dragway.

Now going into this event, there was a lot of bitching online about the weather for this event. That we were all going to get rained on all weekend. We did get hammered Friday night, but everyone got a lot of testing in before it unleashed on us. Saturday and Sunday turned out great, and a ton of people missed out on what could have been a great weekend. Some people just never learn, that you don’t go racing based on a weather forecast. The turnout was low, and it was disappointing, but we still all had a great time.

Now my drag racing mentor and supreme “Jedi Master” Pablo Gonzales, was at this Man Cup event and he was midway through his family drag racing road trip. We ran into each other in Cross Knoxville Tennessee for SDBA two weekends earlier The SDBA is a one-day event, and he did win there before heading to Nashville for a race. I had to head home to take care of some mom stuff before heading on this trip we are now on.  Pablo got a win in Tennessee, Semifinal Appearance in Nashville, and three more wins at Man Cup. The man is a machine! His family is wonderful and oh dam is his wife an amazing cook. THANK YOU for making me add miles to my daily bike rides #PuertoRicanfoodrocks 

Because of the low turnout, we got done earlier, and I got to chill out and visit for a while. This usually does not happen in an event, so I,t was excellent. Now I knew I wanted to stop on the way up to Maryland but wanted to get organized and get some rest first. I got up earlier and got moving to Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina. I would get there as the sun was coming up, and my first stop was the Brodie Lighthouse before heading on down the Outer Banks. I bring my food, so I hung out and had my cereal and fruit before moving on down. It was not the best weather for a bike trip, but I was going anyways. I would only end up doing 18.5 miles and planned on doing a lot more. The 14 mph headwind was a pain in the ass. It was like a sandblaster at times. So after 10+ miles of it, I decided to head back. I will go back here in better conditions, but I am not sorry I went. I did some shop hopping and hit a few thrift stores to kill time.

Then I got to Maryland way ahead of schedule so coming on Tuesday Morning I decided to get a bit kayaking and hiking in. Chapel Point State Park mainly because it opens at dawn. It was a quick trip just a couple hours to stretch the arms out some. I was here once before but did not do any coastal exploring so I made sure I got some at this time.

here is a quick video of my first day in Maryland.

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