• ksaunders1934

Road Trip to the Start

After six months of prepping, researching, training, and fundraising, the time has finally come to drive out to Minnesota. I hopped in the rental with the bags packed and kayak strapped to the roof and I left Maryland in the rearview mirror. First stop was Michigan to see a dear friend of mine, Bonita Benita. We met up, had a couple drinks while catching up and reminiscing, took a walk around Lapeer and said our goodbyes. The next morning I drove up and over the Mackinac Bridge into the UP. I was blown away at how clear and blue the waters of Lake Michigan were. This was some of the most beautiful landscape I've ever seen. Long, tree-lined roads with a picturesque view of Lake Michigan about every quarter mile. I pulled off the road at a service station and there was a sandy path leading down to the water. A sign read, “this is the northernmost point of Lake Michigan,” so I dipped my feet in. If nothing else comes of this trip, at least I get to stories of wading ankle deep in the northernmost point of Lake Michigan...winning. Duluth, MN was the next stop where I stayed with my cousin, Emily and her family. We hadn't seen each other in close to 10 years, but it felt like no time has passed. Her husband, Luke made it seem like him and I were the cousins who spent childhood together and not Emily. Their kids are curious and precious, and it was great to meet them, have dinner together, and spend the night. Thanks for the snacks...side note, I don't know where you got those JIF snacks, but they were delicious, tell EVERYONE! The next morning I packed up early and drove on out to Bemidji to drop off the rental and caught a ride to Two Inlets Resort. A day away from starting at this point and already I feel that if this were the end of the trip, it would have been worth it just to have met  James and Kayla at Two Inlets. They are the most incredibly genuine, honest, kind couple I think I've ever had the privilege of meeting. They live on and run the resort and truly make their guests feel as though they're visiting family. Kayla came out of the office/lodge and with a big smile and excitedly yelled, “Kris is here!” James showed me around the cabin, helped me unload my gear and even brought over some saw horses and tools so I could make some last minute adjustments to the kayak. We met up later around 6pm and went to a local joint called Foxy’s. While eating cheese curds and wings and sipping some Bemidji ale, James pulled out a pad with a bunch of questions written down and asked to interview me. I was taken aback a bit just out of astonishment that someone would want to interview me. It was a good dinner and and he dropped me back off at the cabin. I sat out on the Adirondack chairs facing the lake, watching a beautiful sunset and came to a realization, God may just be a Yankee after all, how else could you explain the breathtaking views and kind people that surround one in northern Minnesota.

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