Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016 RV Trip - August - INDIANA-KENTUCKY Creation Museum - Madison - Ark Encounter and more.

Sunday August 21st found us on the road again. Earl always tries to choose a scenic route through the small towns and countryside when possible. So much more enjoyable than miles on an interstate highway!

Miles and miles of farmlands....
One farm had hundreds of these windmills and later we saw a sign with a picture crossed out saying "Keep Our Skies Open and Clear" so I guess not everyone here is happy with "progress".

I think I forgot to mention in my last blog that on the way to Oakwood, OH we went through Findlay, OH which is where our dear friend, Orlan Thomas was born and raised until he came to Hobe Sound….Wished we’d had time to find his house and schools, etc. as it’s been years since he’s been here.

We arrived at Follow the River RV Resort in Florence, IN. PERFECT weather all this week! For our RVing friends, it’s $40 a night here, and very nice! Wide concrete pads and patio areas with picnic table, and in a few years, each will have its own shaded tree. Right now they’re kind of small but still enough that when we move our chairs under it, we have a little shade. Indiana is BEAUTIFUL (do I say that about every state?) Seriously, we’ve learned that America truly is the most beautiful country in the world! We loved traveling Europe and we thought Santorini, Greece was the most beautiful place we’d ever seen, but there are places in America to rival anything anywhere in the world. I’m a country girl at heart – do not like big cities for more than a couple days – give me the country – ANY day!

We try not to travel routinely on Sundays as we like to either visit a church or watch our own church’s live streaming, but had to make an exception today in order to stay on our plan to see everything and everyone we’re trying to fit into this trip.  

On the trip over, we spotted a really nice looking produce place and Earl found a nearby spot to pull over – not an easy feat with a 40’ RV towing a car! I had been wanting to get some fresh peaches and we found them! Yay!

We arrived about 3:30 and the weather was perfect, so we gave the RV a much needed wash and  got all set up for a few days.

Monday the 22nd, after enjoying guess what – MELONS and peaches for breakfast, we headed out along the Ohio River to the Creation Museum. The Ohio River is beautiful and seems odd to think that Kentucky is just across the river.

When we took our trip last year, we had asked for anyone who'd done a lot of traveling or who were from certain areas to give us tips of what to see and do....many different people told us NOT to miss the Creation Museum.

We loved the comparison boards throughout that compare man's word to God's Word!

So good....

I would highly recommend this for anyone, but particularly homeschooling parents! Oh how I wish we'd brought our kids here when we were homeschooling. We saw so many homeschool families and it brought back such memories for me. I wondered if people used to look at us, and say "awww don't they seem like such a sweet wholesome family!" like I did these families?  The walk through history is the centerpiece of the Creation Museum and features scientific and Biblical answers for the world we live in today. It was all very down to earth and very practical, but thoroughly convincing!

We heard a wonderful speaker, Bryan Osborne who used to be a public school teacher give a presentation on Dinosaurs and the Bible - just fascinating!  He clearly made his case and pointed out the reasons why the Bible can be trusted and pointed out the consequences and the effects of compromise on the church and the home when God's Word is abandoned.

Tuesday 8/23, we had planned a quiet day to just read and relax in this exquisite weather, and we did spend the morning in that pursuit, but my neighbor and friend in FL, LaVona Donica had told us being this close, we just MUST go into Madison (about 25-30 min away). So we did that this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed this pretty town on the Ohio River!

The Lanier Mansion. We would love to have toured this beautiful mansion, but the last tour of the day was over.
James Franklin Doughty Lanier was one of the most important and influential figures here in the 19th century. The Lanier Mansion was built in1844 and is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival Architecture in the Midwest.

In spite of a move to New York in 1849, Lanier maintained close ties to Indiana, deeding the mansion to his oldest son, Alexander, and making unsecured loans of over $1 million to Indiana during the Civil War. He died in 1881, and this opulent mansion became a historic site in 1925.

Scenes from downtown Madison

This is the Broadway Fountain on Main St. It is one of the four remaining ornate fountains of this style in the world! It was originally in Philadelphia and was presented to Madison in 1886 by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (now I wonder who these guys were? haha) Originally cast in iron, it was recast in bronze to commemorate the nation's bicentennial in 1976.
A few of the Historic Homes in Madison.

Isn't this the cutest cottage? So tidy...

Unexpected elevation and rock formation on our way to dinner. So pretty. Madison is according to the Ladies Home Journal magazine, the most beautiful town in the midwest. With a long and storied history, much of it is centered on its location along the Ohio River.
We went out to get our "Mexican fix" at Diego's - the lady in the Visitor Center told us it was awesome and it really was great!   Just after we got there, Lisa called and she just casually asked where we were, and I told her Madison, IN and she said "oh my goodness, that's where Grandma was from (Mark's Grandmother)! I knew it sounded kind of familiar but thought it was because we've been in several cities named Madison. So we got all excited about this. Mark and Lisa told us where Dorothy Hanna's (Grandma's) house was, where Mark's childhood home until they moved to Florida, Kay's childhood home and Dorothy's off we went like we were hunting for treasure.

This is the home Dorothy Hanna lived in all the years she was in Madison. cool.

This is the home Laura, Amy, Mark and Joel grew up in until they moved to Florida. It is unfortunate that it hasn't been well taken care of over the years; I'm sure the Coffman family would we sad to see it in its current condition. You can easily see the potential of it being a wonderful home in its day. It was  rather poignant to sit at the curb and look at this house and imagine Kay and Tom (Mark's dad who died when he was 12) living here with their 4 kids. What a loss to the family when he was killed in a car accident. I wish we could have known him.
We sat and envisioned Mark running around playing in this back yard. Isn't life interesting, how it is woven like a tapestry interweaving our lives all together.
This is the cemetery in Vevay where Dorothy Hanna is buried beside her husband, Wendell. Lisa tried to give us general directions and we slowly drove up and down every street but short of getting out and walking by every grave, we were not able to find them. Sad.

While we were eating, Mark texted me and said "Are you staying in Follow the River RV Resort?" Surprised, I said yes, and he said, "Well you can walk to the one room school house where Grandma taught in her youth!" We can actually SEE it from our RV!  Small world....
Here it is...just across the lawn of our RV park....

This is the street Kay grew up on....
 And the house she lived in. I'm so happy we got to see this glimpse into their history!

On Wednesday, after reading into the wee hours, we slept a little later than usual, so after we got up we got around pretty quickly and headed out through a long gorgeous country drive to Williamsport, KY. We just found out we were only a few minutes from Archie and JoAnn Coons! I would so loved to have seen them, but it wasn't a convenient time. I'd enjoy seeing that little "house in the holler" I've heard Faithie talk about so much. Now....on to see The Ark Encounter. 

The sheer immensity of this is mind boggling. So fascinating, knowing the Biblical stories of Noah we've heard from childhood to feel like we were stepping back in history and seeing it like he did. Easy to imagine that the people thought he was nuts building something so huge, unlike anything they'd ever seen before. It took him between 55-75 years to build the Ark (God had told him he'd have 120 years until the flood). He spent much of that time preaching and warning people to repent and turn from their evil ways, but they hardened their hearts until the rain started. THEN it was too late. I cannot help but think about the culture we're living in now. Surely we are approaching the last days. Let us be wise and keep our hearts open to what God is telling us about the future we face, so that we're ready for whatever comes.

Notice the comparison in size! Earl is at the front - looks really small when compared to the Ark. I had to go WAY back to even get the whole front of the Ark in the picture!
The Ark itself is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. It has 3.1 MILLION board feet of timber! It is the largest timber frame structure in the world!

Cages for small animals.

Imagine the storage of items needed to make such a long journey. Can you imagine the preparations it took?
The incredible craftsmanship is in itself an exhibit! All three decks of the Ark amazed us and caused us to have a lot of conversation about Noah, his family, and the world at that time!

We watched a fascinating film of how these animals were made, from the digital designs to the actual sculpting of styrofoam (!) and then each individual hair being inserted! Painstaking attention to detail in airbrushing the shades of the animals skin/fur, etc. Awe-inspiring!

This photo and the one above just gripped my heart. I've always been horrified at the Biblical story of parents who offered up their babies as sacrifice to the god of Molech. What incredible lengths sin will take us in deception, doing unspeakable things. And still today, babies are now sacrificed to the god of convenience in abortion mills all over America. Breaks my heart.

Earl says he knew God created GATORS for a good reason.... haha

I found this interesting to think about - obviously we don't KNOW what Noah and his family did every day on the Ark, but it is speculated that they likely kept detailed records of their days, the types of animals and the care they required etc. and IF so, they'd have been kept on hundreds of little scrolls like this....
Another speculation is how they lived during the year they were in the Ark..... interesting to think about.

Interesting to imagine how God had uniquely qualified each of the eight adults in the ark to handle different aspects of living. They were obviously well prepared.

Makes sense that these doors had to be big enough for large animals to get through...they're HUGE!

They estimate that each of the eight adults was responsible for the feeding and caring for over 800 animals, so probably not a lot of time for the "arts" but I still like this portrayal.

Imagine growing your own fresh veggies right inside the Ark.

Noah releasing the dove....

Love this!

The photo above is Emzara's Kitchen (named after Noah's wife) -  the upper level provided a spectacular view of the bow of the Ark.

The bus taking us back to the parking lot.
Thursday, 8/25 - a day to read and relax after a pretty busy week. We were going to stay here through tomorrow night, but we're in Switzerland County and they have a HUGE annual Swiss Wine Festival every year and every single spot in this huge RV Resort is booked through the weekend, so we have to leave tomorrow.

I happened to see on the Follow the River RV page that the Budweiser Clydesdales are in town for the Wine Festival this weekend, and they are doing a quick run through of putting them all together and marching this afternoon, so we jumped in the car and just went the 2-3 miles down the road where they were doing this. SO cool - these are truly magnificent animals!

This is Clyde.

Tomorrow we're off to Nashville and then Knoxville - looking forward to seeing more friends and family! Feeling grateful and blessed.... come finish our trip with us!