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Driveabout America: Part 1

June 27, 2018
BY CHUCK CLEGG - Columnist , Wetzel Chronicle

For the last couple of years Mary and I have been planning to go on a Driveabout of America. The term is a takeoff of the Australian term walkabout - meaning to go out and saunter, amble or wander without any real directions. For Mary and me, it was not all that aimless or life changing. We wanted to see parts of America we had not seen before, and revisit our first home in New Mexico. We also wanted to spend time off the interstate, seeing America that we would miss traveling at 80 miles an hour. Out west the speed limit is higher than around here.

Now that I have explained my definition of driveabout, let me tell you about our journey. During our nearly 6000 mile trip, we saw many new things and visited a great many places. Our travels also gave us an opportunity to meet people from around the country along the way. We visited so many places and people it would be impossible for me to write about them in just one column. To give you some knowledge of our adventures, I have written them into eight separate stories. I hope you enjoy and learn about our driveabout America Adventure.

When Mary and I were making our plans to travel across the country, I asked where she would like to visit. Without hesitation, she stated the Ark was on her agenda. Our travel route towards the west was already planned to have taken us through Kentucky. This route would make our visit to Noah's Ark first on our driveabout adventure. You may not be aware that a full size replica has been built in the hills near Williamstown, Kentucky.

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Chuck and Mary Clegg stand before The Ark, located in Williamstown, Kentucky.

The Ark along with the Creation Museum both sit on 800 acres in the picturesque Kentucky landscape. Looking about the area and all the construction projects going on, I have to believe that many more Biblical attractions are in the works for future visitors.

When you arrive, the first thing you will notice is the Ark's size. It has been constructed to the measurement in the Bible - five hundred and ten feet in length. That's nearly two football fields long. When you stand near the wooden structure, you will find it difficult to get the entire boat into a selfie picture. Looking up at the wooden structure, you have to be impressed by the amount of labor and materials it took to build. It is said to stand as high as a seven story building. Two footballs fields and seven stories tall is hard to imagine unless you have visited the Ark yourself. A simple 3 by 5 inch picture cannot do the size of the wooden boat justice.

The structure of the Ark itself and the displays within tell of the great biblical flood. The reconstructed Ark explains the task given to Noah by God to build such a structure. The re-creation is to inspire those who believe without questioning Noah's ability to build the Ark. And there is no question what the intent of the ark was meant to do. But, if you are someone whose faith may not be as strong as others, you will still enjoy seeing the massive wooden boat. It is something that all who visit will enjoy.

The Bible gives us a time frame of approximately one hundred years for Noah to build the original. The Kentucky Ark took three years and cost millions; it is a marvel of engineering. It said to be the largest wooden framed assembly in the world. Building it required a small army of Amish craftsman to help assemble the structure. There is no doubt, when you stand next to the Ark, that it took a great deal of natural material to build. Construction required 3.3 million board feet of wood harvested from trees no longer alive.

Mary and I spent a good portion of the day ambling through the interior of the Ark. To see all the sights requires a lot of walking. For those who have difficulty in walking, electric carts are available to easily move about the boat's three levels. Each floor has displays, along with interacting screens, to help tell the story of Noah and the flood. The first floor is mostly filled with wooden cages that could have been used to house animals during the long voyage. The only thing you can see inside each cage is darkness. Recorded animal sounds helped visitors visualize what it must have been like with all the animals inside the enclosures. A little further along in the boat you will see representation of larger creatures of all types inside cages. Mammals and even a few smaller dinosaur type creatures stand frozen inside their enclosures. Along the outside walls were large clay cast jars that were said to store water and food for the long journey.

The most interesting thing we saw were the Bibles displayed in the Ark's museum. A collection of ancient Bibles and texts that are displayed in glass cases to preserve them from exposure to the elements. Mary and I marveled at the fine detail and craftsmanship it must have taken early scribes to create the Bibles housed in the collection. Seeing the assembly of Bibles is worth the price of admission.

The Ark is meant to be enjoyed by all those that visit the wooden creation. I believe if you have the opportunity to stop by, you too will marvel at its sheer size and the effort it took to tell the story of Noah. Having an open mind and an interest in seeing something so well built is all that is needed to enjoy the Ark and its story as you look Through the Lens.



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