Rooster and I have been back from our trip to New York City for a couple of weeks. The bad thing about living in a small Indiana town is one day can blend into another. It’s so bad sometimes it’s like watching paint dry. Rooster went online and worked his magic. In an hour, he’d found a giant replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky and an apartment for the night in Cincinnati at The Guild. The Ark sounded like it was one of those adventures you wouldn’t want to miss.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about renting an apartment for the night. The concept of staying in a furnished apartment in the heart of downtown Cincinnati sounded a little creepy to me. I wasn’t sure about the safety of the neighborhood or about how we’d get into the apartment once we got there. With a hotel, you can generally tell by the picture what the area where you will be spending the night is like. Rooster arranged to rent an apartment with a company called The Guild. We would gain entrance to the parking garage, building, and room using a code typed into a keypad. There would be no contact with an on-staff person during our stay. The rental agency provided a telephone number we could call anytime day or night to receive help. They were quick at making responses to our many questions, Staying at The Guild turned out to be a pleasant experience. The Ark Encounter seemed so archaic, and the apartment at The Guilt high-tech and futuristic.
My mind was set on experiencing a unique adventure when we programed the Ark’s location into our GPS. We traveled for three hours before we crossed the state line into Kentucky. We knew we were getting close when we drove past Dry Ridge. I expected the Ark to be so large I would be able to spot it from the freeway. I didn’t. We saw signs advertising the Ark Encounter as we drove down the highway. I still didn’t have a good look at the famous ark. After we arrived at the parking lot, it was visible in the distance. There were so many people coming to see the attraction even in the cold weather; it was hard to find a place to park. After we stood in line to pay the entrance fee, I suffered a bad case of sticker shock. It would cost rooster and me over eighty dollars to visit the Noah’s Ark replica. I thought for sure Rooster would have a heart attack when he heard the price of admission. I concluded he must want to see the big wooden boat up close because he opened his wallet without uttering a single complaint. There are times when the man I’m married to surprises me.
Our first stop on the Ark Encounter was the gift shop. The bus pulled up in front of the large building, and everyone climbed to the ground and made their way inside to look around. I wondered if Noah had one of these places at the original ark site. Skeptics could stop by and purchase a souvenir to help finance a crazy man’s dream. I zipped up my coat before the long walk to the Ark. The enormous ship consisted of three decks. Visitors moved on large ramps built into the middle of the vessel to get from floor to floor. This also makes the ship handicap accessible. Teaching exhibitions line the outside corners on every deck on the ark. There are few live animals on the boat, but there are realistic-looking replicas of some of the ark’s passengers. Rooster and I watched a video on how these life-sized animal figures were constructed. We were surprised to see the used the same layering of the Styrofoam technique we saw when we toured Mardi Gras World in New Orleans. Artist layer the Styrofoam before they cut out the figures that adorn the floats. There was everything from the clay pot system used to feed the animals to blacksmith and woodworking shops. These exhibitions showed how the animals might have been fed and how the giant ark was built. Amish carpenters from Northern Indiana constructed the replica of the original ark. The Ark is 510 feet long, 80 feet wide and 51 feet high. It has 132 bays and 3 decks. The strangest aspect of this floating zoo was that dinosaurs were included on the passenger list.
Overall, The Ark Encounter was a unique experience worth doing once. Strolling through the interior of the big ship, you can see how the animals could have ridden out the storm in cages. This would be especially true if the animals that showed up on Noah’s doorstep were young and small. If God was so mad with people in Noah’s day, he must be furious with us now. They didn’t have cell phones, television, the internet, Facebook, or the dark web back in Noah’s day. The downside of the Ark Encounter was the cost. I risk sounding like a heretic when I say I found it to be exploitive. My guess is this Christian amusement park is tax-exempt. This benefit should be passed on to the consumer. Also, if they are charging Disneyland prices, rides should be offered, such as a rollercoaster gliding down the inside of the Ark, with employees dressed in ancient attire would be a nice touch.
It was dark as we drove out of Kentucky and into Ohio. We could see the lights of Cincinnati up ahead of us over the bridge. I was confident we’d have trouble finding the parking garage where we had a space reserved. We had no trouble finding the garage. The problem came when we tried to gain entrance. A code was required for the arms on the gate to open. I examined the mural of a boy holding a bat while Rooster figured out how to obtain the needed code. He figured out it was included in text messages The Guild sent to us while we were driving. It turned out the numbers we needed to get into the building and room were also included in those messages. The apartment we walked into was immaculate and nicely decorated. The location was perfect. We were staying in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. A fantastic view of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge could be seen a short walk from the front entrance of The Guild. A giant Ferris Wheel was in operation near the street close to the suspension bridge.
We could feel the energy of Cincinnati as we strolled down the street to get dinner. Rooster had an encounter with an object he thought was a spy cam. He wanted to watch television before we went to bed. We all know Rooster is cheap, but he is also a man who likes to protect his privacy. There was a little round device lying next to the television when we entered the apartment. He thought it was one of those Alexa gadgets. He told it to turn on the TV, but the round mechanical thing did nothing. It didn’t talk back to him, asking to clarify what he wanted it to do. Rooster became highly suspicious of the electronic piece of equipment, believing it was there to spy on him. He wrapped it in a towel before he relaxed on the couch and grabbed the television remote. He worked to get the blasted thing to access the movie he wanted to watch. He tried every trick he knew. It dawned on him after nothing worked, he’d covered up the internet television router with the towel. He thought it would make a funny short story. I’m not sure about that.
Every city has it’s own unique atmosphere. What we felt in Cincinnati was a friendly sort of playfulness, which rolled as fast as the Ohio River. It was a spot of geography with a ton of history behind it. The citizens are helpful and genuinely kind. They are quick to offer directions and suggestions about what you can do during your visit. The city is all about baseball. It is the proud home of the Cincinnati Reds. Rooster fell in love with the vibe of the municipality by the time we woke up the next morning and walked to get breakfast. We ate an exciting meal at a restaurant called the Sleepy Bee. We could tell it was a favorite morning eating spot for the locals.
We drove away from Cincinnati, knowing we’d come back soon. Rooster and I bounced around the idea of doing an Ohio River scenic motorcycle ride. We plan to do considerable research before our return trip. It’s sure to be a great adventure. When we were on the freeway the night before, we spotted an Indian Motorcycle dealership outside of Florence, Kentucky. Rooster and I decided to stop on our drive home. There was nothing different about this dealership than others we’ve visited in the past. This store carried the same merchandise and bikes for sale as all the other shops we’d visited in the past. It doesn’t make sense, but stopping by a shop that sells your brand of motorcycle is something bikers do. The people were cordial. The bikes were fascinating. The merchandise was typical Indian motorcycles and accessories. The dealership proved to be a pleasant place to stop on our journey. The staff was warm and helpful. The temperature was ten degrees warmer than it was back home. We were back on the road in less than an hour relishing the experience of another great adventure.