The Ark Encounter

Road trip!! My traveling companions and I just took an overnight trip to visit The Ark in Williamstown, Kentucky.

The ark is a massive ship depicting the biblical tale of Noah’s ark.

We arrived on a rainy day…perfect weather for the occasion. A bus takes you from the ticket area to the ark. Otherwise it’s a very long walk.

Upon boarding the ark you’re “greeted” by Noah and his family praying and in addition to the prayer you can also hear rain and thunder. A short walk around the corner brings you to a dark area of the ark and all you can hear is the storm raging outside.

There are 3 levels to the ark. You can see how they stored food and water, kept animals contained, and the living quarters of Noah and his family. There is so much to see and learn. We spent about three hours exploring and reading all the signs. The life size figures look incredibly real.

It’s a great family adventure and I recommend it highly. While in the area we visited the Creation Museum the following day and it was just as amazing as the ark. My next blog entry will be about the Creation Museum.

Here is a sampling of photos I took from our Ark Encounter.

I hope you have a chance to see it for yourself…and bring an umbrella, just in case!!

Description from website

**Ark Encounter features a full-size Noah’s Ark, built according to the dimensions given in the Bible. Spanning 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, this modern engineering marvel amazes visitors young and old. Ark Encounter is situated in beautiful Grant County in Williamstown, Kentucky, halfway between Cincinnati and Lexington and right off I-75.

Advertisements

The School Walkout…

I try to stay away from political posts. I’m smart enough to know my opinion won’t change the minds of people with opposing views, BUT I’m gonna talk about the nationwide school walkout that happened this past week.

Let me first say, I can’t begin to imagine the feelings of those involved in recent school shootings nor can I imagine the despair of those who lost their children in these senseless acts. My sincere condolences to all involved.

The walkout was nationwide and was meant to honor those who lost their lives in recent shootings. I think it’s very admirable that the youth of America wanted to remember the victims, but in my humble opinion, a walkout was not the way to do it.

Some of the comments by students on the news were disturbing. I have to wonder if they even knew what they were protesting when they advocate taking away guns? Do they even know what current laws are and what do they consider fair gun reform? Taking away guns was the most frequent answer.

The Second Amendment:

The amendment reads: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

I may or may not own a gun, but it is my right to do so if I choose and can pass a background check. We will never keep guns out of the hands of those who choose to do us harm. Ever heard of the black market? Gangs? Drug dealers? Do you think these groups are going to line up for background checks before purchasing a gun? No!

How many of these students use drugs or drink alcohol? Both are illegal, but they still find a way. Do they text and drive? Maybe we should take away cell phones and cars. Drunk drivers kill people everyday…should we ban alcohol? Would students who support the 2nd Amendment be given the time to protest in support during school time? Could they protest abortion? You get the point I’m trying to make.

Some students in California became violent protesters…not the way to prove your point kiddos! I’m all for peaceful protest. I think it’s great these students want to address the issue and look at ways to keep themselves safe. They are right about one thing…they shouldn’t be afraid to go to school, but their beliefs that banning guns isn’t the answer. What was meant to remember those who lost their lives to school gun violence became politicized. The true intent became lost in the politicization of gun debate and they became puppets of the main stream media. Yep! I said it!!! You can’t make it harder for law abiding citizens to get guns because the bad guys will still find a way to get them.

Before protesting try learning the subject matter you’re trying to protest. Kids are being taught to fear something they have no knowledge of. Teach them about the Constitution. Teach them about present gun laws and then let’s see what their own opinions will be.

Perhaps schools should spend more time in history classes teaching students why we have our 2nd Amendment in the first place.

Once you give up your rights to the government, you never get them back and that just puts us one step closer to Socialism. Not on my watch!

Just my two cents…

Caney Fork River Valley Grill…

While visiting Nashville this weekend we dined at Caney Fork River Valley Grill. Here is the link if you’d like to have a look…

http://www.caneyforkrestaurant.com

The food is amazing. The service was great from the moment we walked in and continued until we left. The complimentary corn fritters, dusted with powdered sugar were soooo delicious!

We chose fried green tomatoes as our appetizer. I make mine with flour instead of cornmeal so they weren’t what I was expecting, but they were still good. I think next time I’d ask for ranch as the dipping sauce though.

For my main course I chose the burger with a fried egg, cheese, and bacon…I think cholesterol burger was mentioned to describe it on the menu. It came with fries and was very tasty! My 2 companions had the fried catfish dinner and chicken finger dinner. They both enjoyed their meals as well.

None of us saved room for dessert, but I believe there was a fire pit inside the restaurant where you could make your own s’mores.

We enjoyed our visit and I would definitely recommend eating here. Since it was Christmas the restaurant was decorated for the occasion. Here are a few photos…

Beach Vacation…

I just returned from a fabulous vacation on Florida’s Emerald Coast in Destin. I was a little concerned about the weather due to the fact that Tropical Storm Cindy had just blown thru the area a few days before we arrived…my worries were in vain. We had a few rainy days, but overall the weather was great!
We spent every day at the beach. Even on the days it rained, it didn’t last all day and we were able to go after it stopped. We spent our days floating in the Gulf, soaking up the sun, boogie boarding, and jumping waves!

I got pretty good at jumping waves by the end of the trip. We’d go out just past where the waves broke, wait for the next one to come in, and jump into it and “ride” it just before it broke. Sometimes they fizzled out, other times we judged it wrong and got smacked in the face by the wave, but the times we got it right were awesome!

We even saw a sea turtle swim past us while we were playing in the Gulf! That was exciting! We found out later from the lifeguard that the turtle was probably waiting for it to get dark so she could come ashore and lay her eggs. Fun sea turtle fact…the female sea turtle always returns to the beach where she hatched to lay her own eggs. Conservation officers keep watch at night during the months of June thru October and mark off the nests to be sure they aren’t disturbed by beach goers. It would be so exciting to watch those little turtles make the journey from their nest to the Gulf once they’ve hatched. A new bucket list entry perhaps?!?

We ate at a few restaurants while we were there. The Donut Hole has some of the best donuts for a quick and easy breakfast to take back to your condo or hotel. If you’re ever in Destin, try the peanut butter filled donut or the vanilla or chocolate filled powdered sugar angels.

The Back Porch is a big tourist favorite with seating overlooking the beach and the Gulf. I had the steak and crab legs and it was very good. A bit pricey, but hey, I’m on vacation so I made an exception…plus the view and atmosphere were awesome!


Merlin’s Pizza is a great place if you want something quick and easy. Some of the best pizza I’ve had in a while and their cheese bread is amazing….a meal in itself! We had the chicken bacon ranch pizza.

Now for my favorite place…Bric a Brac restaurant. It’s a quirky, fun place. The decorations are a sight to behold, they have a dance floor and live music on certain nights of the week, the atmosphere is amazing and the food is out of this world! I had the manicotti which comes with a salad and roll and for dessert I had their bread pudding. Best. Manicotti. Ever!

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Destin or the surrounding area, I hope you will. Get a little sand in your soul and have fun!!

Travel To Tennessee…

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’m back!

Things are going well. It’s summer and the ol’ wanderlust has kicked in. I recently returned from a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee….in particular, the Great Smoky Mountains and had an amazing time. 

As crazy as this will sound, I think the most exciting part of the trip was the night a bear ran across the highway in front of my car. We were heading to the ice cream parlor and as it turns out, so was he…in particular the dumpster behind the shop. Both the bear and the customers at the ice cream parlor are all ok and the folks that were there have a great story to tell!

Our first day there we took a drive through the park and just enjoyed the scenery. It’s absolutely beautiful! I’ve been there several times over the years and never tire of it!

On day two, we took another drive…this time to Cade’s Cove where we enjoyed the beautiful scenery, took in the history of the area, and enjoyed a picnic in the the picnic area by a mountain stream. We were fortunate enough to see two bears playing in a field as we drove through. They frolicked in the field for about ten minutes before running off. I got photos but they are of poor quality because we were so far away. Here are a few from Cades Cove for your viewing pleasure.

After spending several hours in Cades Cove, we decided to drive over the mountain to Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s about an hours drive. The Cherokee Indian Reservation is located there and the scenery is beautiful in this area as well! We were able to get some delicious Indian fry bread while we were there, browse souvenir shops, hike to a waterfall, and we even saw an elk on the side of the road. I had no idea how huge they are!

In the summer they have an outdoor drama…Unto These Hills and the performance is acted out in an amphitheater built into the side of a mountain. It’s depicts the life of the Cherokee in the region and their forced removal…the Trail of Tears. We missed opening day by one week, but I’ve seen it before and highly recommend it!

On site is The Eternal Flame. The Eternal Flame burns at the entrance to the Mountainside Theater. It was carried on the Trail Of Tears to Oklahoma and brought back to Cherokee from Oklahoma in 1951…it still burns.

Day three we attended the Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It’s a Dolly Parton venture and there are many. She grew up in the area and has a very big presence there. We love Dolly and we loved the show! Included with the show is a four course meal and it was absolutely perfect…tasted great and the service is excellent! However, utensils not included. You eat everything with your hands. The show is a way to look back over the area for the last three hundred years or so and is very patriotic. Again, we loved it and highly recommend it. Definitely worth the money!

Since we were leaving the next morning, we decided to take one last drive through the mountains on a driveable trail called the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It can be reached by turning at traffic light six in Gatlinburg and follow the signs. In my opinion it has some of the best scenery in the National Park. There are some old, mountain homes to visit that were lived in by the early settlers to the area and there’s even a nice waterfall by the side of the road. No hiking required. Just park in the pull off area and walk right up to it. Again, some of the best scenery the park has to offer AND some of the best hiking trails…many with spectacular waterfalls at the end.

The ending of this post brings us back to the beginning…after exiting the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which brings you out on to the highway in Gatlinburg, we encountered the bear about five minutes later. He was leaving the same area we had just left…and had ice cream on his mind, too!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our little adventure and if you ever have the opportunity to visit the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains area, you won’t be disappointed! 

Stay tuned for our next adventure later this month and hope y’all have a great summer and safe travels!

K❤️

I March To The Beat Of A Different Drum..

#notmymarch

Don’t include me in your crazy rhetoric. As a woman, this does not represent me. I am not an extremist or a feminist. No one is stealing any of my rights or beliefs. I am not a victim. I am not oppressed. Look to the Middle East and Africa where this is really needed…where the real rape culture is.

Have women been discriminated against? Yes, and it was wrong. It wasn’t corrected by burning bras or wearing offensive hats depicting female genitalia. That discrimination was overcome by the hard work of millions of women. The battle was won by showing the world through our efforts, studying more, and working harder. Actions always speak louder than words.

Small Town Life…

I was born in a small town. Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world, waiting on a midnight train going anywhere. Just a few lines from songs by John Cougar and Journey to describe who I am. 

I had big dreams of catching that midnight train and going wherever it would take me, but only ended up settling an hour away from home in the “big city”. Of course if I could go back and do it all over again, I would. The world was a big ol’ place full of adventure. At the time I had no responsibility and yet no courage to venture out. Now that I have the courage to do so, time has also brought about too many responsibilities to just pick up and go. Someday I will!

I miss my hometown, but I’m lucky because it’s only a short drive anytime I get the urge to go for a visit. I find it hard to go back to visit since my mom passed away, but I do go back to visit my dad, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins. 

This is one of my favorite photos from the small town I come from. It just reminds me of home:

There are many pros and cons for the small town life just as there are for life in the city. 

There’s never a lot to do. Not many places to shop or eat, but it has grown since I lived there. One of the greatest past times as a teen was to “cruise” Main Street in your car and then everyone ended up parking in the church parking lot and hanging out. A short honk as you passed a friend was a way to say “hi”. If you “layed” on the horn as you passed someone, it meant you wanted that person to pull over so you could chat awhile. Sometimes you’d park your car and get in with someone else and keep on cruisin’. A good part of my paycheck as a teen went towards gas money to accommodate all this cruisin’!

It was the kind of town that you waved at everyone you passed while driving because you knew everyone. BUT if it was one of your friends, you crazy waved  as you passed…I mean it was one of your best friends after all!

It was also the kind of town where everyone knew who everyone else was. There wasn’t a lot of privacy and you couldn’t get by with much…gossip or the truth, everyone knew what was going on with you. Sometimes they knew what I’d done before I did! I always knew to tell the truth when I got home if I was asked where I’d been or what I’d done because chances were my parents already knew.

The plus side to this was that if you had a crisis or a death in the family, everyone knew and the whole town was there for you at the drop of a hat. When you had a death in the family, people would come by from all over town and bring a casserole…dessert…tables and counters would be covered with dishes. They’d visit with you and pray with you and you knew you were not alone.

Where I live now people don’t do that. The city is too big. It’s not a close knit community. However, at least in my neighborhood, if something happens I make it a point to visit and do what I can to assist my neighbors.

Here in the city, no one pulls over for funeral processions except those of us who came from small towns. Back home everyone pulled over off the side of the road to show their respect. Men would even get out of their cars, take off their hats, and place them over their hearts. That’s respect! Not only for the person who passed away, but for their families as well.

I for one think the pros of living in a small town outweigh the cons. People always watched out for you and your kids. If you needed help with something, you didn’t even have to ask and no one expected anything in return.  It was a simple way of life and simple was good. 

We all have big dreams no matter where we live or where we come from. We’re always waiting on that midnight train to take us somewhere…”anywhere but here”. And once we get where we’re going and life happens, we usually long for those simpler times of our youth.

I can’t say I’d want to move back and live there, but I can say it’s always nice to “catch that train” and go back home once in awhile. 

No matter where I live, I’ll always be a small town girl at heart. Nothing will ever change that.