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Archive for the ‘Kentucky’ Category

How apt that thunderstorms were forecast this morning as we made our way to Williamstown, Kentucky to visit Ark Encounter, a life-size Noah’s Ark.  Locals tell us it’s the most rain they’ve had in ages and we kept rain gear on all day.

Only open for 2 months we were impressed how organized the whole property is from the acres of parking to the efficient people mover buses that leave every few moments.  I heard a little boy say “wow” when the Ark came into view.

For the loggers in our lives the Ark was made with 3.1 million board feet of timber and is the biggest timber frame structure in the world.  At 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high it’s HUGE !!

A staff member told us it cost $100 million to build and can hold up to 10,000 guests at a time.

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The attraction has many detractors because of the fundamentalist creationist belief but for Chris and I it was an amazing experience.  It’s a story in a book that I respect and whether historically accurate or not it’s a story shared by many cultures.

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There are displays explaining how Noah & his family may have fed and cared for the animals.  And I had song stuck in my head all day I learned at bible summer camp “the animals, they came, they came in by twosies, twosies, elephants and kangaroosies, roosies, children of the Lord.”  And while we’re walking along we noticed the soundtrack with animal noises and music befitting any Cecil B. Demille biblical movie.

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We spent a few hours walking through all three levels and probably if we’d been wearing runners instead of our bike boots would have stayed longer.  Emzara’s Restaurant (named for Noah’s wife) was also a marvel with seating for 1500 people.  With most students back at school we were told the past few days had been a bit slower than the up to 4000 guests a day earlier in the summer.

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Leaving the Ark we headed into Williamstown to find somewhere to sit down with our iPads and figure out where to spend the night.  Driving down the Main Street I saw “wifi” out of the corner of my eye and we turned in at Elmer’s General Store. Part general store/old fashioned ice-cream parlour/cafe/music lesson & instrument repair shop and live music venue it is a gem !!!!

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Over a hot cup of coffee we chatted with Megan, one of the store owners, who is a professional performer and when we lamented we hadn’t yet heard any Kentucky bluegrass she and Elmer got up on stage and started playing for us.  Goosebumps galore as they played a few of their own originals as well as Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene” and from Grease “You’re the One That I Want.”  We walked away with a signed copy of Megan’s CD and awe that a simple cup of coffee morphed into a bluegrass concert.

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We are overnighting in Harrison, Ohio and we keep asking each other “which state are we in again?”  Tomorrow we’ll be crossing into Illinois.

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Love & hugs from the road…

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We’ve had a couple of adventurous days here on Geezer Tour 2016.  Yesterday morning we said goodbye to friends in Hartsville, South Carolina.  Many thanks Miss Gwen & Mr. Ron for the two day vacation within a vacation at your beautiful lakefront home.  Yayyyyy for air-conditioning and floating in your pool for hours with cold drinks, laughing and carrying on.  And Gwen, those frozen bottles of water and snacks you packed for us were a godsend.

Not even an hour down the road from Hartsville we developed a wobbly front tire. Good thing we were on a secondary road with very little traffic and Chris quickly pulled over to investigate.  The front wheel bearings failed so it was time to make some phone calls.  For the first time we used our Harley Owner Group membership card and calling the 800 number Chris talked to a very helpful lady named Martha in Miami who after ensuring we weren’t injured, or in need police assistance promised a tow truck.  We got out our lawn chairs, found a patch of shade and waited.

Team effort from Chris and our tow truck driver Dan had the bike and trailer loaded and off we went to the Harley dealer in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We’ve had such interesting chats with total strangers.  We found out Dan makes more money with his tow truck & auto body shop than he did as a policeman.  What a shame because he obviously really enjoyed police work but it didn’t pay enough to support his wife and daughter.

image.jpegThe service department at Harley were absolute rock stars taking the bike right into the shop, promising us we’d be on the road quickly.  We had time to walk across the parking lot to IHOP for a huge plate of strawberry banana pancakes.  By 2:30 we were on the road again and headed north.

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A trip to Boone had been recommended by friends and I’m sorry we weren’t able to stop and visit.  What a beautiful little town and it was bustling with university students returning to school.  Who knew we’d be passing through Daniel Boone country.

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We started seeing kudzu in North Carolina and Tennessee.  An invasive species that someone brought over from Asia, it completely covers everything in its path – buildings, power poles and grows right to the road when left unchecked.

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We finally crossed the Tennessee border just before dark !!

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What a wonderful welcome we had waiting for us. We stayed with a dear friend I’ve know for more than 40 years.  Donna and I met in senior public school back in Welland, Ontario.  We met her husband Tony and children Anthony, Peter & Laurenne.  Bless their hearts they held dinner for us.  It was very European eating a full pasta & roast beef dinner at 10pm.  Donna remembered that Black Forest cake is my favourite and everyone sang happy belated birthday while I blew out the candles (apparently I’m only 51-years-old lol).  One by one everyone else went to bed until Donna and I were left dangling our legs in the pool playing the “remember the time” and “whatever happened to so and so” game until the wee hours.

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I’m a morning person not a night owl so I had a bit of a tired hangover this morning.  Nothing a breakfast of champions couldn’t fix — a chocolate, cream cheese strudel and ice-water.  Our bodies will go into absolute shock when we get home and start eating salads and fruit again 😉

We’ve been cut off by vehicles before but today was the first time we had a house turn right in front of us.  We also passed a federal penitentiary this afternoon with inmates working in the fields picking watermelon.  Made me think of the lyrics “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

The cement angels caught my eye when we stopped for a water break.  And while I was taking the picture a van pulled over to make sure we were okay.  Just one of the many times strangers have checked on us when we’re pulled over.

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The weather channel on the radio started reporting thunderstorms headed our way and after being pelted with rain for about 10 minutes we pulled off the highway for a coffee and put on our raincoats.  The last hour of the trip was very uncomfortable and we were happy to pull into Georgetown, Kentucky for the night.  The wet clothes have been washed and dried in the hotel laundry room and Papa John Pizza delivered our dinner right to the door.

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To recap — we’ve been traveling for almost 2 months, gone 13,267 kilometers, fueled the bike 78 times, passed through 9 provinces & 12 states, stayed in dozens of hotel rooms and with family & friends.  Tomorrow we’re going to have a look at a re-creation of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, Kentucky and after that we’re westward bound and home again to Vancouver Island.

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Love & hugs from the road…

 

 

 

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