Jim's Tree

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by Fighter, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    I know many of you have heard the story of the lonely tree at Eagle Summit.
    This year we plan on a bit of maintenance.
    I'll start with the history.



    Just went back into the archives and stumbled on to this.

    Ca$h Register, along with Jim Coleman and myself are the original founders of the Dust To Dawson (D2D) "gathering" back in 1992. It was hatched over a few beers in the Dawson's Midnight Sun where we first met.

    A little pre-history.
    In Spring of 1990 the Alaska Last Frontier BMW Club here in Alaska receive a letter from an Oklahoma rider by the name Ca$h Register. In that letter Ca$h related this story:

    Ca$h and his long time riding buddy Jim had planned a mega-trip to Alaska for 1990 and were going to attend our little local rally. They had pre-paid their entry fee and about a month prior to lift-off Ca$h collapsed in a restaurant. Heart attack.
    Jim was with him at the time and tried in vain to resuscitate his best friend. Paramedics on the scene weren't having much luck either. At Jim's insistence they hit the go button on the paddles a third time and Ca$h's heart lit back up. Obviously their much anticipated trip to the North was on hold. OBTW, to this day... Ca$h's business cards include the phrase "You only live twice" Our local club, upon reading that tearful letter and hearing the story, sent a refund to Ca$h and Jim and included for each of them a club license plate frame.

    Fast forward to June of 1992.
    I was on a solo run to Dawson City, YT and saw two well decked out PD's parked in front of the Midnight Sun. The Oklahoma plates with the LFMC frames caught my attention immediately. It didn't take me long to determine who owned those two GS's. Ca$h and Jim had finally made it to the North country after an extensive rehab. Doctors to this day are at loss to medically explain what had happened.
    I introduced myself to these two holligans and another chapter or two was written.

    That evening over a few adult beverages the three of us hatched a plan to tackle the Dempster and try to make the 500 mile run to Inuvik. The road had been closed for several days due to high water on the Peel River. Lack of gas at Eagle Plain was most definitely our main issue. We waited a day or two for the road to re-open and made our break. The three of us had a wonderful ride. I remember Ca$h standing on his head at the Arctic Circle. It was his 60th birthday. Both Ca$h and Jim were excellent riders as I later substantiated on my visit to Ca$h's hometown of Dill City, Oklahoma... the summer after we all met. Two walls of Cash's shop were smothered with trophies and plaques that both of them had earned.

    Jim's life was tragically cut short on Halloween eve 1994 while returning home from Cash's place...... his R100GS was no match for the Suburban.

    On the original 1992 Alaska trip Jim and Ca$h had taken a side trip to Eagle and both were so taken by the beauty and solitude that they made a pact with each other. The deal was struck that when either of them died, the survivor would return to the North Country with the remains of the fallen. A year later Ca$h gave me a call from Whitehorse.

    "Fite... I'm on my way! Got Jim with me in the tank bag. We were doin' a hundred on the Casiar and Jim was laughing his head off".

    I will never forget that call, nor the one I had received on the previous Halloween night.

    Ca$h was retracing the exact route the two of them had taken in '92. He camped in the same places, hit the same cafes, took pictures from the same vantage points. Had a beer at the "Sun". Jim's final ride with his life-long riding partner Ca$h was just as it was the first time they came north.

    Ca$h (with Jim in the tank bag) rounded a hard right hander about 10 miles south of Eagle and there on that windswept mountainside stood a single tree. The anemic looking black spruce, that had survived a myriad of brutal winters, stood tall against all odds. The view was spectacular. Ca$h later told me that when he rounded that right-hander, thoughts of Jim were so vivid that Ca$h began to weep uncontrollably. The thoughts of his lost riding partner were so intense... and the pain so near.... he could barely keep his PD upright. It was on that lonely road with its breath-taking view and scrawny tree that Ca$h said his final good-byes to Jim Coleman. An emotional two man private ceremony gave way to the Jim's final send off and a plaque being posted on the tree. Ca$h turned around and headed back to Dill City.

    For many of us it has been a long time D2D tradition to make a side trip into Eagle, Alaska (on our way to/from Dawson City) and to stop at Jim's Tree. We do it for Jim AND Ca$h. You can see in the photos where a brush fire has swept through the area. That fire, along with brutal weather conditions wouldn't dare "mess around with Jim" The tree has been visited and annointed by many of us and the memories of both Jim and Ca$h are alive and well. It is my hope as "keeper of the Tree".... that the tradition continues.
    Carry On.
    Fite
    __________________
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    Ride hard or stay home!
    Team Pterodactyl Northern Command
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    #1
  2. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Thanks to Dapman (Action Graphics) for his beautiful workmanship.
    These pieces will officially be posted on Thursday of next week, on the way to Dawson.

    <a href="http://s375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/?action=view&current=IMG_0556.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/IMG_0556.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #2
  3. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    <a href="http://s375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/?action=view&current=IMG_0557one.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/IMG_0557one.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #3
  4. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    This is what the combo will look like when mounted to the tree.
    <a href="http://s375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/?action=view&current=IMG_0558three.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/IMG_0558three.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #4
  5. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    It's going here.

    <a href="http://s375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/?action=view&current=IMG_1088-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/IMG_1088-1.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #5
  6. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    As you head to and from D2D take a second and think about those who came before us.

    Please note that none of the riders listed on the tree lost their lives as a result of being at D2D. We simply choose this time/place to remember them.



    See you in Dawson!
    Fite
    #6
  7. akkurt

    akkurt Rode hard

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    Absolutely beautiful man....
    :clap :clap :clap :clap
    #7
  8. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    Great way to remember! :clap:devildog

    See you in a few days Fite.:freaky
    #8
  9. GRIZ

    GRIZ COMMANDANT

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    YO "BIG-GUY"...SAY HELLO TO THE BOYS FOR ME..SEE YA IN 'BOUT 2 WEEKS!
    #9
  10. ptero

    ptero Been here awhile

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    :clap That's Awesome, Fite. :clap

    ...plus what Griz said! :norton
    #10
  11. AKmud

    AKmud Muddy Gruver

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    Well done.

    :devildog :thumb
    #11
  12. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Copy That!
    Wheels up Sunday AM.
    :D :D :D :D
    Fite
    #12
  13. Ensey

    Ensey KLR Combat Touring

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    Excellent....................:beer
    #13
  14. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    I've had a few PM's asking if this latest "posting" at Jim's tree is a private/invite only deal.

    Absolutely not!

    Several of us will be heading to the tree out of Chicken (Downtown) Thursday AM. We have no set depart time but I'm guessin' about 30 minutes after we land at Susan's place. I wish I could be more exact on lift-off time ... but I've been rolling with Team Pterodactyl/Gruvers too long to promise anything that foolish! :huh :huh

    Keep your ears on and your gas tank full. I'm not sure fuel is available in Eagle ... so probably best to top off in Chicken. Round trip from the junction to the tree is about 110 miles.

    Fite
    #14
  15. TomTom63

    TomTom63 Motorradfahrer

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    We'll be coming from Tok that morning. Maybe we get there in time to hook up with y'all for the ride to Jim's tree.
    #15
  16. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Sounds great!

    Stop by the Golden Bear Motel in Tokeroony (Wednesday PM) for an adult beverage.
    Holding court on the porch.
    Happy hour starts at 6:00 and goes till it gets dark! :lol3 :lol3
    Fite
    #16
  17. TomTom63

    TomTom63 Motorradfahrer

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    Great! We're staying right behind the Golden Bear at the Tok Line Camp. The two places are "drinking-distance" apart :D
    #17
  18. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Only if you're still able to take giant steps!

    See ya up there.
    Fite
    #18
  19. Fighter

    Fighter Head Gruver

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    Update
    This year's gathering.
    <a href="http://s375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/?action=view&current=Image142.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i375.photobucket.com/albums/oo191/Headgruver/Image142.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
    #19
  20. Yosemite4

    Yosemite4 Ride, hike or die.

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    This is what I love best about motorcycling -- the community, caring and the stories. I have to say this made me teary-eyed. Am looking forward to one day attending the D2D or at least getting to the Dempster and seeing 'The Tree.'
    #20