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Old 06-17-2010, 10:21 PM   #1
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Joined: Sep 2003
Location: Alaska
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Jim's Tree

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.
Go long... go fast... take no prisoners.
Ride hard or stay home!
Team Pterodactyl Northern Command
Go long... go fast... take no prisoners.
Ride hard or stay home!
Team Pterodactyl Northern Command

Fighter screwed with this post 06-17-2010 at 10:58 PM
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