Monday, July 31, 2017

The Ark Encounter and The Creation Museum

I took so many pictures!  It's taken days just to sort through the photos.  Now I just need to try to remember what I want to say about each one.  First, this was not really what I expected.  In my experience, museums always contain artifacts and antiquities.  While these museums did have some of that, I would describe them more as walk-through books.  They use all kinds of multi-media - video, audio, models, replicas, dioramas, displays and more - to tell about how God created the earth and mankind, about Noah and the flood, and about God's love for us and Jesus' sacrifice on the cross so that we could join Him in Heaven.  It is very well done all the way through both museums.

We went to the Ark Encounter first.  This thing is HUGE!  In fact, they claim it is the largest wooden structure in the world!   

There are several colorful murals displayed throughout.

The first level of the Ark is built to show how the animals and provisions could have been stored.

Contrary to popular opinion, creationists do believe in a type of evolution.  Noah probably only boarded one of each kind of animal.  For example, dogs and wolves would be one kind, because they can inter-breed.  And in the years since the flood, they evolved into dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc.  But they do not believe that man evolved from lifeless dirt or whatever.  There had to be not only intelligent design, but also, the Bible says that "...the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature." (Genesis 2:7)  Without that breath of life from our Creator, man could never have lived.

There is reason to believe that Noah and his sons could have already had the skills needed to build the ark.

This sweet girl offered to let me pet this big lizard...thing.  I politely declined.

All of the employees and volunteers at the Ark were very knowledgeable and super sweet.  We were smart to get there just as they were opening on Monday morning.  It only took us a couple of hours to tour the inside of the ark.  There was a lot more to see outside, but we were exhausted (and hungry), so we didn't stay much longer.  Also, by the time we left, it was getting very very crowded.  I had read articles saying that they weren't getting the business they had expected.  Talk about fake news!  I don't know how many people were there that day, but the previous Saturday 8,000 people toured the ark.  That's a lot of people.

Tuesday we went to the Creation Museum.  It was really my favorite.  We watched a couple of films and attended a lecture by Tim Chaffey.  If I understood correctly, he is in charge of the signage at the Ark Encounter. And he writes books.  We bought a few of his books and asked him to autograph them.  He graciously complied, and since we were the last ones in line, we got to chat with him for a few minutes.  I enjoyed his lecture, and I really enjoyed talking to him.  I'm really looking forward to reading In Defense of Easter.  The other books I bought were for the grandgirls, but I'll probably read them too.

In the museum, we followed a maze, or corridor, that led us through the story of creation, the flood, the corrupt world full of sin, and ultimately, the provision that God made to cover our sin.

Noah and his sons building the ark.

The woman making baskets to hold provisions.

Cain slew Abel.
(Yes, I know these are out of order)

I loved this sign.

It was a beautiful museum and a beautiful day.  It was also, basically, the end of our trip.  When we started to leave the RV park to go to our next stop, we found out that the leveling system on our 5th wheel wasn't working.  Tim had to raise the legs manually, which was a lot of work.

We had already done everything that we had planned to do on this trip, and were just planning to take a couple of weeks coming home, stopping and relaxing for a few days whenever we felt like it.  But with this new problem, we decided to just head on home.  We still didn't get in too big of a hurry, and just arrived at home yesterday.  

It's been an amazing adventure, but as always, it is so good to be home!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Michigan and Indiana

The Further Adventures of Us

I could have stayed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the rest of the summer.  Not just because it was beautiful, but have I mentioned the 65 to 75 degree weather?  But more adventure was down the road, so off we went.

Michigan isn't nearly as big as Texas, but it's still a pretty far drive from the upper end to the very southern end, so we decided to stop in the middle for one night.  We were tired and just wanted a safe place to get a good night's sleep, so we didn't do any exploring here.  But we found out that Saint Louis, Michigan is the home of the Michigan Church of God Campground.  Not only that, but the campground is open to the public, except for the two weeks in August when they hold their camp meeting.  Our family will understand why we thought it was kind of special that we got to stay there.

The campground isn't fancy, but it is very level, very neat and tidy, and it looks like there are hookups for at least 100 RV's.  And, as you can see, it wasn't crowded at all.

Our next stop was in the very most southern part of Michigan, just outside a little town called Jones.  It is very near the Elkhart / Shipshewana area of northern Indiana.  This area is famous for two things - RV manufacturers and the Amish community.

Our first outing was in Elkhart, to the RV Hall of Fame and Museum.  We had a lot of fun there looking at some of the first RV's ever manufactured.  
A motor home from the early 1900's.  The interior is all wood.

Do you see the wooden floor?  And the wood burning stove?
Looks a little dangerous to me!

And wouldn't you love sitting in these wooden chairs, driving on the mostly dirt and gravel roads of the day?  Ouch!

Not exactly a motor home, this is a chauffeur driven "lounge" used to entice Mae West to leave vaudeville and go to Hollywood.  On a 1931 Chevrolet base, it's quite elegant.

Running water, hot plate, and upholstered seating.

If you're too young to know who Mae West was, you can look her up here.
(She was scandalous!)

This trailer was custom built in 1939 for the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.

Since my children, grandgirls and even my husband have roped me into watching pretty much every super hero movie ever made, I decided to take one for the family and go to... 
Okay okay okay...I admit, there was a time when I was a preteen, that I read every Superman, Batman, and Fantastic Four comic book I could get my hands on.  So the Cowboy and I both enjoyed this one.  It really was kind of fascinating.

Adam West's Batman costume that he wore for personal appearances.

Every kind of toy imaginable.

The Cowboy Meets Iron Man

The Cowboy and Spiderman

Nic Cage's motorcycle from Ghost Rider.

The car that Iron Man crashed into the first time he tried out his Iron Man suit.
You can find out more about the museum on their official website, here.

Isn't everyone fascinated and a little curious about the Amish?  Shipshewana, Indiana is home to a large Amish community.  Most of them are still farmers (and they are very good at it!), some work in nearby factories, like the RV industry, and some make a living from tourists like us who want to learn more about them.  We were blessed to be find an Amish business that not only offered carriage rides in a real Amish carriage, but also offered an authentic Amish meal in an authentic Amish home with an authentic Amish family!  

We all met at 5:00 pm in downtown Shipshewana, 26 tourists in all, and were quickly assigned to our carriages with our Amish drivers.  There was about a 20 minute ride to the family home, during which our driver chatted with us about his family, his life, and his community - both the Amish and the "English".

Here's a few of the things that surprised me.  
1. Our driver was funny!
2. No one we spoke with had a weird accent.
3. They are completely comfortable with the "English." (That's anyone who isn't Amish.)  After all, their neighbors are a mix of Amish and non-Amish, and they deal with each other every day, so I don't know why that surprised me.
4.  Amish cooking is a lot like regular old American cooking.  But maybe better.
5.  Contrary to what I've always heard, they didn't mind us taking their picture.  But they won't pose for a picture.

My only disappointment is that I really didn't get a chance to talk to them about their faith.  I would have liked to learn more.

The funniest thing that has happened on this trip so far - There were about six carriages for our group.  Going back to our original meeting place, our carriage was pretty much in the middle of the group.
Suddenly, a six passenger carriage (part of our group) passed us, with an Amish woman driving.  Our driver (who's in his 80's), said, "She likes to show off.  She thinks her horse is faster than anyone else's.  We'll show here what we can do!"  So he clucked to his horse, and suddenly, we were flying, passing every other carriage, one by one!  As we passed the lady who had passed us, we all waved.  Our driver was so proud of his horse!

On our last day in the area, we decided to go to the Elkhart County Visitor Center.  We picked up a map and a CD narration for their Art and Quilt Garden Heritage Driving Tour.  The tour is a 90 mile circle traveling through several towns that have painted quilt hangings on barns, homes and business, and flower gardens that look like quilt patterns, and lifelike statues in random places.  We didn't make the whole 90 miles, but it was a nice relaxing way to end our time there.  The CD gave directions, and told about the history of the area.  

Statue and garden.


Another statue, this one in front of the post office.

Another quilt garden.

Statue in front a restaurant.

Today we are camping near Williamstown, Kentucky.  But, more about that later!  
Today has been a long day, and I'm off to bed now.

Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 106:1.

Father, I am so thankful for this opportunity to see the world and the peoples that You have created.  Help me to spread Your Name as we travel. Amen.