As if the weather gods were telling us to get back on the road we awoke Wednesday to 25 degrees and ice pellets heckling us to follow the heat East and get out of Colorado. Skipping the worlds Largest Cream Can in Denver we continued East out I-70 to our 3 “World’s Largest Items” we’ll find along the way in Kansas. First along the route was the World’s Largest Painting and Easel in Goodland, Kansas. This thing is huge! The Easel is 80 feet tall and the painting is 24 x 32 feet! This Van Gogh is one of the seven Van Gogh sunflower paintings reproduced by a Canadian artist Camron Cross. Cross is devoted to placing a reproduction of each of Van Gogh’s seven sunflower paintings on the seven continents of the world. I wonder if he achieved this and if they are all as big as the one in Goodland, Kansas.....

Back in the car, we have the entire state of Kansas before us until we see the next largest stuff in Topeka, Kansas - the world’s largest Meat Cleaver and the world’s largest painted Russian Egg. By now the “Service Engine Soon” light is back on and the van is starting to hesitate at cruising speed. It seemed like a fuel problem but we were still getting down the road and the hesitation isn’t too bad - so on we go to Topeka.

Shocked and somewhat confused we arrived at the spot where the Meat Cleaver was supposed to be to find a demolished foundation, no Cleaver. We checked the pictures online once again and yes, we were in the right spot, the background buildings are the same - just no Cleaver - it’s gone! Sad but amused we went on down the road to the world’s largest Russian Egg which we found where it was supposed to be.

Left over from a 2003 art exhibition, it was a fun reproduction to complete our day in Topeka, Kansas. Still with some miles to go to arrive in Kansas City, Missouri for the night we settled in to our hesitating van for final miles to our BBQ dinner at “Hi, May I Help You” Gates BBQ near Independence, Missouri and a night in a hotel.

Thursday morning the skies were clearing as we started our drive but the Van just wasn’t happy with us. Hesitating so much that the jolts could be felt in the drive train I finally decided we should stop somewhere and get it looked at. I hated to lose the time driving but felt it prudent on the 600 mile day.

Bob McCosh Chevrolet took us in and quickly serviced the van for us. Seems the distributor had slowly come loose and spun around to about 12 degrees retarded, causing the hesitation and was easily fixed by adjusting the timing back to 0 degrees. An hour and half lost but the van now worked great and we were back on the road to Amanda and Mark’s in Batavia, Ohio. With the lost time we decided to skip the “largest” items for the day and just get to our destination while looking for things to do on Friday with the Lutz Family.

Friday we woke to a day’s rest and visit with Amanda, Mark & Nathan Lutz near Cincinnati, Ohio. Things started slowly but by noon Nathan was out of pre-school and we decided to spend the afternoon exploring and shopping for dinner at what we figure is the world’s largest grocery store - Jungle Jim’s International Market near Fairfield, Ohio. This place is huge, a warehouse store combined with a specialty market with some amazing deli, beer, wine, and live seafood collections.

For me the lunch at Gordo’s was a trip down memory road for an old Ballardite. I miss the old man Gordo and his great burgers and to see a burger place named thus serving some great food and beer was a must stop. I even had a Gordo burger, fancier than the old Ballard version, but still a great burger. Once out of lunch it was time for a stop at the head, the #1 award winning restroom as awarded by the National Lavatory Association - who would have imagined that there was such an association?

This Jungle Jim’s was a blast, with sections of specialty items from countries all around the world combined with normal grocery and produce - a really fun place to visit. The trip to Jungle Jim’s was really two fold - find something fun to do with 4 adults and a young child and get some food for dinner. Amongst other fun things we found some red and golden beets for roasting, some asparagus for steaming, a pineapple for grilling and a 3.5lb fillet of Faroe Islands Salmon. We cooked the Salmon on the bbq grill with orange zest, brown sugar and black pepper rubbed in. This Salmon was amazing! The milt in your mouth type of salmon that tastes like it was cooked in butter even though none touched it. As good as any PNW salmon, copper river included. Learn more about the Faroe salmon industry at their very informative website ( and next time your out and see some Faroe salmon, buy it! You won’t be disappointed.

Tomorrow, Saturday we continue on 480 miles to Herndon, Virginia and the family visits and boat shopping will commence - if the van makes it that is - the “Service Engine Soon” light is back on!