The Kessel Run

The route to Seattle is long, extra long when you’re headed the wrong way.

In Lewistown Montana with the WINs and Jenna, I had two key destinations planned – Fourth of July in Osakis, Minnesota with Janet, Duane, Wally and more, and a visit with Kylee and Jeffrey in Seattle. I was not well positioned for either one. Especially poorly positioned for both.

The route from Lewistown took me through Miles City (I’ll get back to this one), Rapid City, Pierre, and Bismark – about 1,200 miles — but well worth it. The week at Janet and Duane’s lake house was fantastic as always and remains one of my favorite destinations.

…the Millennium Falcon…the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
–Han Solo

Of course this left me over 1,800 miles, by the shortest route from Bainbridge Island, my Seattle area stop. So over 3,000 miles from Lewistown to Seattle. Hmm. Off I went, back to Bismarck and Miles City, and … wait, Miles City again?

It seems like you have to go through Miles City entering or leaving Montana from the east. I’ve been to Miles City before, and it’s a nice place, but the past few months I’d been there 3 times.

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Suddenly I wanted out, out of Miles City and out of Montana. In the morning I made the Kessel Run – driving with no stopping point in mind. I kept going until late in the evening when I found a spot in a rest area in the maze of construction zones that is I-90 through Idaho. I’d gone 656 miles – well beyond my prior longest one day drive of 360.

A couple more stops and I made it to Bainbridge Island, a small island in Puget Sound right across from downtown Seattle.

This visit allowed me to meet Jeffrey, Kylee’s boyfriend. We had a great time taking in Seattle and Bainbridge Island. Jeffrey is a very likeable guy.

The only real downside of Bainbridge is the transit back and forth to the mainland. It just takes too long to get back and forth with lots of waiting for the ferry and tough traffic on both sides. Next time I have to find a way to stay in the city even if it’s a hotel.

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The Best Week

I just can’t do it justice here. It’s actually overwhelming. The week at Janet and Duane’s Lake Place at Lake Osakis was the best week of the journey hands down.

The Setting

You come through the town of Osakis before approaching the Head of the Lakes Resort. It’s just like you’d’ imagine Lake Wobegon (A Prairie Home Companion). You half expect to see the Statue of the Unknown Norwegian around the corner. When you get to Head of the Lakes your greeted with this amazing waterfront populated by some of the friendliest people in the world.

The Bomb

So, I’m totally having this great time chillin with Janet and Duane when the bomb drops. Out of the clear blue Wally drives up with his son Adam and granddaughter Ella. What can I say? It was the best surprise I could have had.

The Lake

Lake Osakis is this 6,000+ acre lake that’s ideal for fishing and recreation. When the locals say it’s crowded, they don’t mean crowded like Saguaro Lake on a summer weekend, they mean there are dozens of boats on this big lake. The pontoon boat, one of their four boats, not counting kayaks and canoes, can carry a dozen people easily so it was perfect to take the teens out knee boarding, circle the lake in a parade of boats on the forth of July, see the fireworks at night or as a swim and party platform.

The More and Even More

So much more. There’s Chef Duane and the wood pellet grill working overtime with inch thick pork chops or two pound porterhouse. There’s all the neighbors stopping by to see the new shed. There’s the fishing obsessed Brian. There’s the bright engaging teens Zack, Jake and Ella. The cribbage match with Wally. I can’t go on; I’ll go on. The you betchas. Meeting Pam, who’s only been a Northern Exposure esque story to me. Red, white and blue tutus. The “adopted daughters”. Scotch. Dogs. Beer…

The Ungraceful Perfect Exit

A heavy rain overnight, just right to wake you up and help you drift off again, saturated the ground where I’d been parked. Wood planks weren’t working so, naturally, the resort owner came out with a tractor and pulled Roamward Bound free of the mud. Perfect, you betcha.

Thank You

I really can’t thank Janet and Duane enough for making this such a great week.