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Old 11-28-2012, 01:05 AM   #1
Nomadgene
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Member#: 22923
Join Date: Aug 2002
Chapter/Region: International
Location: above 8000 rpm!
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2002 EJ207 V8 1.5xtr
TWIN-SCROLL Black Bugeye

Lightbulb Are you doing it?

One of my life's best friend, someone I've known 30+ YEARS. Someone I mentored to years ago when cutting my teeth on street bikes at age 19 recently called me after 2-3 years of no personal contact. When I met him, I was a young stud on the local motocross scene, already had my first state championship under my belt. I was working at the local motorcycle dealership in Gainesville, Florida back then. In walks my pal, JB. Local street bike fast guy, who also had dirt bikes, and a fleet of about 7 other bikes. We became fast friends. I lived out in the sticks. My family farm was a central access to a county wide off road riding area. WE made plans to get our crews together and made it happen a weekend or so later. We really hit it off. His group were well heeled, city boy types, but fast guys, I was a poor, country boy who had the riding areas right out my back door. I rode the wheels off my rattle trap old bike and they tried to keep up cause I knew the trails so well. Eventually, one of them loaned me one of their nice new bikes and my riding really took off. That led to JB sharing the rest of his fleet until eventually, I ended up buying 'THE SUPERBIKE' of it's day from him: a 1990 FZR1000. Fastest bike on the market of it's day. He'd bought it brand new off the show room floor of the dealership where I worked after we'd all been lusting after it for months. He put approx. 5,000 miles on it before a white knuckle moment caused him to reevaluate his priorities and focus on raising his family. I bought it from him and put another 25,000 miles on that machine as a young single guy. That bike became a part of my foundation as an asphalt racer, a big part…but that is another story.


My friend, JB and I became tight. He taught me so much about life and prepared me for the journeys I was to take in the near future. I could fill pages about our time together. Hunting. Training birddogs. Riding. Blues music. Parties. Daytona Beach Bike trips spanning a decade or more. Raising children. Financial aspects of life. Women. Hot-tubs. Good times. Bad times. We came so far, together.

And then I left Florida and rode to Alaska. I found a fertile garden to build a new life for myself. I needed the change. I found work quickly and created a whole new life for myself. Years later, after establishing myself here, My friend JB contacted me and was doing some training with his company in Seattle. It was nearly Father's day and his family gifted him a trip further to Alaska to see his old friend. WE had a blast. I took him salmon and halibut fishing. We took a trip around the triangle. (Anchorage, Fairbanks, Glenallen) . I drove him to the Stampede trail road where the famous bus is located from the book we'd both read..."INTO the Wild". We drove across the Denali Highway and flyfished for grayling. WE overnighted in Paxson in a small cabin and in Valdez at a B&B. I took him to BUSH Alaska and had him ride along on some hairy medevacs in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. It was a mind blowing trip for him….to see how far I'd progressed in the few short years I'd been gone. This was before I'd met my Nancy.

His kids, ones who I had watched be born and baby sat for back in Florida, had listened to his stories of our adventures here in Alaska upon his return. They too began to long for the sites their father spoke of. Vast spaces of pure nature with no billboards, no fences, no strip malls. AS the elder daughter was nearing her graduation of high school, we planned a big trip for them. They came as a family and spent several days with us while we were in our heyday as a motocross family in 2005. We had a blast. They watched us campaign for our next batch of championships. Then the whole clan went halibut fishing, we grilled, feasted, traveled, kayaked and took in the sites of this glorious place. We celebrated life, freedom and each other. Good times.

JB's recent call did not bear the best news. He is now in his 50's. Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that has metastasized to his liver and most likely elsewhere in his body. He has lost 35 lbs and is now on a formidable chemo regimen. Drugs, even I, can barely pronounce. It is basically a death sentence. Surgery is not an option. Basically no hope offered by the doctors. Fewer than 5% survive 5 years.

A couple years ago, another one of my best friends I'd met upon arrival to Alaska, lost his wife to cervical cancer at their Eagle River home on Christmas eve 2010 . I had known him long before either he or I had met our wives. We climbed the entire front range of the Chugach here in Anchorage. We canoed lakes, hiked ridges, built cabins up in Sunshine (near Talkeetna), played musical instruments together and backpacked across the resurrection trail. He had done two different tours in Vietnam with two different branches of service (Army and NAVY). Climbed Mount Mckinley in 1980, sailed many waters in his own boats, owned companies, managed others, played in many bands through the years and made many selfless contributions to the artistic community in Alaska and Washington. We watched each other court our eventual spouses, attended weddings, receptions and visited each other often through the years. Later, I watched from an intimate position, the pain and load her illness put to bear on him, as she withered away in front of his eyes. It was a very difficult thing to witness, even as a seasoned medical professional. Today this friend posted this video on his Facebook page and I want to share it with AKIC. It is an important message.

Both of these guys built great lives. Had much material wealth. Many coveted possessions. Raised families. Lived fully and heartily. They are great souls I am blessed to have encountered during my sojourn.

Each had a common message….Live your life as if money was no object. Experience different things and take in what your interests draw you too but don't go chasing money. It is an endless rat race.

and so….
I'd like to leave you with this tonight. A simple YouTube video…take a look. It is part of a series…watch more of them if you are moved to.


But above all else live your life like there is no tomorrow….cause one day, you'll be right.
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Last edited by Nomadgene; 11-29-2012 at 03:22 AM. Reason: some misspelled words.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:41 AM   #2
AKSubie
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Location: Wasilly
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Mike, I am very sorry to hear about your friend. I can not imagine hearing news like that from a close friend.

Your post does ring a certain truth, many people including myself are too caught up in the "rat race", that we lose sight of actually LIVING.

I haven't checked out your clip yet, but MTV actually had a fairly decent "reality" show a few years back called "The Buried Life", it had much the same premise as your message and the clip you point to. IIRC, there were 4 guys that had a bucket list, and for each item they completed, they helped a random person check off one of their wishes. Was pretty cool, unfortunately it didn't last.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:04 AM   #3
lavid2002
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Why did you too loose contact for so long?

I have also learned the hard way, appreciate who is close to you in your life. Life is fragile, and they wont live forever... even though I expected them to.

My condolences. You still have time together, spend it doing what you enjoy.

I enjoyed reading your post as well.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:26 AM   #4
aleutdude
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Location: Anchorage,Alaska
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From a favorite sci-fi movie:
"Fame. It's an empty purse. Spend it; go broke. Eat it; go hungry. Seek it and go mad!" Analogous, for me to the petty and often fruitless pursuit of material things. I haven't amassed anything resembling "wealth" in my years, here and absolutely loathe my job. On the other hand, I've been blessed by having been able to surround myself with remarkable people who fill my life with adventure and priceless experiences. I'm currently taking steps to put my fate more firmly in my own hands and, as luck would have it I may be able to do so while pursuing a pastime I actually enjoy. My point is, life is truely too short for a "rat-race". I believe the things I will regret in the end will be those that I didn't dare try. Tell those close to you how much they mean to you every chance you get and take nothing for granted. Godspeed to your friend, Mike. If you need anything from me just ask, my Friend.

Last edited by aleutdude; 11-28-2012 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 02:32 AM   #5
Nomadgene
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavid2002 View Post
Why did you too loose contact for so long?
There was never a break in the friendship. We just didn't talk. It's mainly cause we live on different sides of the country. He in Florida, Myself in Alaska. 4 hour different time zones between us, each of us with extremely busy schedules. We'd talk to the kids or his wife via phone or online, but he and I never actually spoke for 2-3 years since his dad passed on. He runs a fleet of CT and MRI machines, I'm in a medical program…becoming! He just isn't the calling sort, unless it is something of this magnitude.

There was just an unspoken bond between us. We didn't have to talk, the friendship was just there. Even now, writing it, I know it sounds weird but it is even now true. Just an unspoken bond. I have many friends like that….here and abroad. They know who they are.

The moment we got in touch, it was like things had never been interrupted. laughing and carrying on, reminiscing.

Not looking for sympathy or anything, just saying life is precious. Don't waste a second of it not pursuing your passion. Become a master of something, like the video said. Do something for someone else. Be a service minded individual. Be bigger than just yourself. Become a mentor. Live a legacy.

Get out there and go for it. This life ain't no dress rehearsal.

Last edited by Nomadgene; 11-28-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
Nomadgene
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Join Date: Aug 2002
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Location: above 8000 rpm!
Vehicle:
2002 EJ207 V8 1.5xtr
TWIN-SCROLL Black Bugeye

OMGHi2U

Wanted to revisit this….I passed another milestone and so did my friend John.

Since I wrote this John was able to see his eldest child, his daughter, marry her true love. He also had his 58th birthday last Sunday. Each day of his life is more and more precious. Funny how things like this diagnosis can bring people closer.

Today is my last day of clinicals for my medical program. Been a long 27 months.


Feeling blessed….and a bit tired.

New horizons beckon. Looking forward to some R&R. Be seeing you all.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:23 AM   #7
Nomadgene
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Tough day. I showed up to work about the time I got a text from Grace telling me that one of my lifelong best friends passed on today. While it pains me to know that I won't get to hear his hearty laugh and see him again, I am certainly glad he is in a better place. John was able to take his bird dogs out one last time about a month ago and share the pictures with me. He also had his 30th wedding anniversary a couple weeks ago. He will surely be missed. Let the people you care about know what they mean to you.

Take care folks.

Last edited by Nomadgene; 12-23-2013 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 11-15-2013, 11:36 AM   #8
AK_GT
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My condolences Mike. That is NEVER an easy thing to hear, especially when it's someone so close to you. It sounds like he enjoyed his life, and indeed lived it to the fullest. Cherish those memories of him!
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