If you were to look at the map of our 18th Day on the Rediscovering America Tour, you’d think we were lost. But, as the old hymn goes, “I once was lost, but now we found it” or something like that, nothing could be further from the truth.
We MEANT to go a couple hundred miles out of our way of our original more linear destination of Cave City, KY. Because, Katie tossed us a challenge.
“Are you guys already past Kentucky? There’s a full sized Noah’s Ark display that is opening today!”
Whaaaaaaa??? Come on. Full size? That a ton of cubits! That would mean that the thing has to be almost two football fields in length!
Challenge on. Challenge accepted. Plans/route altered.
There are loads of reasons we had to go. After a quick Google of the details, it turns out that not only is is a full-size Noah’s Ark…but has more than 130 exhibits explaining the creation of the world, and the Ark’s relationship to it. And…as it had just opened on July 7th, none of you reading this could say, “hey…we’ve been there!” We were the FIRST!
We plotted course, and headed way North out of our way…on a “Mission from God.”
Of course, as has been the case with this trip, some of the most interesting things we have discovered have been “off of the beaten path” (in this case the Interstate Highways). As soon as we crossed the first state line, from North Carolina into Tennessee, we knew the day was going to be amazing…
But alas, we had to leave Tennessee, Dolly, and Dollywood behind without even a smidgen of her home-spun hospitality. We were needed to blow through Tennessee and into Kentucky…we were on a “Mission from God.”
But, even those on a mission get hungry. And just as our supply of pretzels and sweet tea was running low, a sign came up on the freeway, touting the “Original KFC Sanders Restaurant.” A few miles off of the beaten path…this place was amazing, telling the entire story of the creation of KFC, from the humble roots that were Harland Sanders’ starts as a gas station attendant with a dream.
The Sanders Cafe…birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and once part of a sprawling Motel/Cafe complex.
The original pressure cookers and “cooking clock” from the restaurant.
One of the trademarks of Harland Sanders’ brilliance was in marketing. He had a full size example of the modern, clean hotel rooms right there in the cafe, so that the wives could get a look at the quality of the rooms being offered. It was right across the way from the kitchen…
A $5 Fill Up Meal later…we back on the road.
However, we didn’t get far before we were pulled away again toward Boone Tavern and Barea College. Deb and a passing knowledge of the name (Barrea not Boone, as almost everything in Kentucky is named after Daniel Boone). As it turns out, Barea College is a place that should have been on my radar a LONG time ago.
It was the the first college in the nation to not only integrate the races, but also offer a co-education allowing men and women to stufy in the same school…AND to top if off, offers FREE tuition for a 4-year degree for all that qualify for entrance. And that was in 1855…BEFORE the Civil War…in the South. Talk about progressive!! Read more here…
Boone Tavern was really more of an Inn and Restaurant, associated with the college.
We would have stayed and had lunch…but as I said, we were on a “mission from God” to get the Ark.
About an hour and half later…we did. And, no matter how far I stretched my imagination, I was not prepared for what we saw.
DISCLAIMER: While I am sure you are expecting me to go off on a wild rant about the insanity of believing that the earth is 6,000 years old, I’m not going to do that. I came with a mind curious about the kind of man who would go to such lengths and expense of time and treasure, to prove such a notion.
I think the Noah story is a blast…and I continue to root for those who search for scientific proof of its existence (as James Irwin a former astronaut has been doing for more than three decades). However…I am not as “down” with the full-blown creationist story. I believe in intelligent design, but also believe in evolution. It’s the math that gets hinky when you can only go back 6,000 years.
But that doesn’t stop Ken Ham, President of Answers In Genesis, the organization behind the Ark. Not even a debate with Bill Nye the “Science Guy” did much to dissuade him. And once you get a chance to see this thing in person…with more than 130 exhibits explaining the logic behind his beliefs (and a ton of information disproving Scientific theories on everything from evolution to global warming), you almost want to believe it all could have been true.
The Ark is the largest all-wood structure in the world (according to the literature), at more than 510 feet in length, 65 feet in width, and more than 7 stories tall.
It. Is. Immense.
Rather than poke holes in the Ark story (because poking holes in the Ark would be dangerous), I am just going to let the pictures tell the story.
Those are people…real people in this shot.
From what we could tell, the experienced is greatly enhanced when you are wearing matching topical T-shirts.
As I said…this thing was hewn completely of wood. It smells good inside and out…if you like wood.
The First Deck had loads of storage, as well as thousands of small animal cages…each chirping and burbling with the sound of the animals in them.
Larger cages are reserved for larger animals…in this case, the only two bears Noah took along. Yes. There are many species of bears alive today, but Ken explains the logic in why you only need two bears to create eight different species of bears.
The same can’t be said for dinosaurs, as there were loads and loads of different dinosaurs on the Ark. What happened to the dinosaurs? They went extinct of course. As Ken describes, we know that thousands of animal species have gone extinct since the Garden of Eden. The dinosaurs were just the first.
If you can put away your “thinking caps” long enough to just appreciate the architecture and design, you can be amazed by the accomplishment (and the Tax base that Kentucky hopes to generate from this thing).
Skylights…more than 7 stories above the main deck.
Again…the use of wood throughout this massive structure is awe-inspiring and beautiful.
Adam and Eve and the dinosaurs had it goof in paradise…until Eve screwed it up.
The Serpents turned into dinosaurs…so yes…there are a lot of dinosaurs in “Post-Eden” earth.
I think this is amazing. A lot of thought went into this. I’m not saying all thought is logical…but there is a lot of thought in it.
Even more thought went into the theories of how Noah and his family pulled all of this off. The technology of the ark, including fresh water systems, feeding, cleaning, and keeping the ark maintained are all covered.
Along with a few more cages for dinosaurs.
The living quarters also served as places to work, and play. Pretty posh digs for the “End Times.”
When you start feeling challenged by Science, the best tactic is to go head to head with it, and make up a new word to explain your side of the argument. Ken is a rock star at new words.
He also does a really cool job of explaining how fossils were actually compressed in a manor to look really really old…even though most are far less than 6,00o years old.
Oh…and climate change? Pfffffftttttttt… Been there…done that…chillax, itsallgood!
Remember…this is but a fraction of the more than 130 exhibits built to convince you that Genesis is far more than an 80s rock band.
My favorite “bonus” at the “Ark Experience” is a huge display in the restaurant that is adjacent to the Ark, loaded to the gills with stuffed, dead carcasses of the animals that Noah worked so hard to save.
That’s not a smirk…that is just me doing my best to fit the whole ark into a final selfie while realizing that some men believe in things that others may not, and others may make a shit-ton of money catering to those who want desperately to believe in something other than what is real. Ken get that.
We headed back down the highway toward Cave City, in preparation for our next day at Mammoth Caves. But, on the way, spotted signs for “Birthplace of Abe Lincoln.”
Now, it seems that loads of states have laid claim to Abe, but the small town of Hodgenville, KY is home to a replica of his boyhood cabin, on the original land of the Lincoln homestead.
It was a long drive back, and we were sick of the Freeway by then, so the winding back roads to Hodgenville, were planned…but not before we came across yet another INSANE building, by an obsessed builder, who decided to build for even less logic than trying to prove the Noah story as fact.
Post Castle- Also Known as Martin Castle..is one of those stories about a guy who was so enammored of the palace of Versailles, that he decided to build one of his own…which lead to a divorce…and another guy buying it, who ran out of money finishing it…and then turned it into a bed and breakfast and wedding chapel, while he put it on the market for $30 Million. It is the perfect American Story…and you can read the rest HERE.
After following some country-hick-redneck with a hay trailer packed with everything he owned including two refrigerators, a huge sectional couch, and God knows what else for about 20 miles of winding road that kept us from passing…we finally reached the tranquility of Abe Lincoln’s Birthplace.
After the bombast of the Biltmore Estate the day before, and the insane obsession of both the Ark and the Post Castle, seeing the humble beginnings of one of the greatest American to live was soul-cleansing. It proved that you don’t have to be from money, or a political family with decades of influence on which to draw. You just have to want to learn, to improve your life, and the lives of others…and you just might change the world.
A monument to President Lincoln sits in the town square of Hodgenville. Sadly, the flags were at half mast again, for yet another mass shooting. It seems that no matter what kind of logic you use in regards to gun legislation, the common sense gene didn’t get passed down in any version of our evolution.
By the end of the day, we were toast. It was an amazing day…but when you cover so many things in one day, across so many states, your are bound to let them run together in your mind.