Roadside Attractions and the Bible
If you are traveling across America you will be surprised at some of the signs along the highway advertising some local attraction. Some of which are rather bizarre. For example, in Kansas they have the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or a statute of the Jolly Green Giant or Paul Bunyan and his Ox named Blue in Minnesota. In Alexandria, Indiana one can find the World’s Largest Ball of Paint its 24,000 layers of paint weigh two and a half tons and is fourteen feet wide. Its creator started off putting a layer of paint on a baseball.
Traveling along State Route 16 in Newark, Ohio you can see the World’s Largest Basket, a seven-story office building. If you want something to put in this basket to have the world’s biggest picnic you would have to travel to Illinois. Along Route 159 stands a 170 foot water tower in the shape of a catsup bottle. However, most of your items will come from the Missouri, the Show Me State. There you can find the world’s largest fork and pecan. This state is filled with many other oddities, such as, the world’s largest goose, shuttle cocks, Cap gun, 76 foot-long pencil, largest pair of underwear, chess piece, and roll of toilet paper by Charmin. To be sure Mr. Whipple is there to make sure no one squeezes it. The roll is a long way off form the World’s Largest Toilet in Columbus, Indiana. If you can spare $6 per ticket you can have kids use this toilet slide which was made to teach kids about the inner plumbing of a commode. A big attraction for parents who would just like to flush their kids down a toilet. Not to leave the canine’s out, Columbia, South Carolina boasts the World’s Largest Fire Hydrant and soon to boast the world’s largest dog.
It does not have to be the world’s largest to be a roadside attraction. In New York is the Cross Island Chapel. It is so small it only fits two people and sits on a small island in a small lake making it the world’s smallest wedding chapel. Receptions could be held at the Mills End Park in Portland, Oregon which is only a meter wide. The newly weds could spend their honeymoon at Copenhagen’s Central Hotel the world’s smallest hotel.
Some of these attractions are scary. Like the Fremont Troll under the Aurora bridge in Seattle, Washington. Or the world’s largest fiberglass fish, a muskie, in Wisconsin. It is as big as a 757. In Houston stands a house covered in beer cans. Now there is a neighbor with a real drinking problem.
For those who have not and will not be traveling overseas, they can still visit ancient sites like the Parthenon without ever having to travel to Athens, Greece. For the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897 a exact replica was built for the occasion. Other attractions offer a modern take on ancient sites. In Alliance, Nebraska a farmer has arranged thirty-nine cars in a 100 foot circle to create The Carhenge. You do not need to travel to England to see Stonehendge. If Nebraska is not in your travel plans there is also Virigin’s Foamhenge or the Cornhenge in Ohio.
Not to brag but my wife and I have stopped by to get our picture taken in front of some of these roadside attractions. On a vacation last year we passed through Alamogordo, New Mexico. Stopping by McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch we were able to stand next to the World’s Largest Pistachio. Near downtown St. Louis, Missouri we took pictures next to the twelve foot tall soda bottle. It was made for the Vess Bottling Company (no relation). The Vess brand of soda is known as the Billion Bubble Beverage.
However, you do not need to leave you home to find some of the greatest attractions in the world. Just pick up your Bible. It is the World’s Greatest Book. The Bible is the first book every printed. It has had the greatest influence upon mankind. It has had the greatest readership, the most published, the most interpreted, and the greatest author, God. The Greatest story every told is found in the pages of the Bible. The Bible contains the message of salvation – The Gospel. Some might be ashamed to admit they have stopped by to see the bizarre roadside attractions mentioned above. However, concerning the Bible Paul wrote, “for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). The Bible points our attention to the events of the cross and moves us then over to an empty tomb. The two most important historical places in human history where the world’s biggest sacrifice was made and the world’s greatest victory was won.
Covid-19 may have changed your travel plans this summer. You may not be about to drive to these attractions mentioned above. Perhaps you can take you family on the tour of a lifetime to the many attractions found in the pages of the Bible. It is in fact a road map. A map to Heaven.
– Daniel R. Vess