Dan Kellogg, a 49-year-old father of three from Minnetonka, is currently sailing up the Mississippi River in a brand new, 55-foot pirate ship.
He's aspired to the pirate life since his boyhood days of living in the Bahamas with his old man, who taught on the islands in the 1960s. As he got older, he fell in love with the buried history of real-life pirates, the archaeological excavations of their lairs, and their swashbuckling tiffs with the Royal Navy.
Then Kellogg started to collect. He converted part of his Minnesota house into a pirate rec room, outfitting it with real cannons and treasure chests filled with gold and silver doubloons. (He's currently single, he says, so he doesn't have to ask anyone for permission.)
One day, he saw a ship on Craigslist. An Irish shipbuilder down in St. Louis had been commissioned to build a fully functional pirate ship for a local restaurant, but the deal fell through. Kellogg knew he had to have it.
"I was like, 'Hey, that's a great spot to put all that stuff,'" Kellogg says from the deck of his boat while sailing somewhere in Iowa. "It seems that Minnesota has been lacking pirates throughout history, so I'm pretty excited to have the first big pirate ship."
He's now flying the Jolly Roger and turning heads all along the banks of the Mississippi. People run out of their houses when they see him on the horizon, piling into their boats to meet him for a round of beers. Kellogg offers tours, which feature a a king-size octopus bed in the admiral's bedroom and a modern kitchen.
"Everybody takes pictures and videos," Kellogg says. "It's like running a marathon with everybody on the sidelines. That's been the whole trip so far."
Kellogg expects to land in St. Paul in the next few days.
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