Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Archive for California

World’s Largest Collection of ABC Gum, Bubblegum Alley, San Luis Obispo, CA

At this point, the Go BIG family has seen some pretty quirky, offbeat, and strange things. Like a 27-ft wide pancake griddle. Animatronic milk cartons. Underground poutine. A giant bacon cheeseburger sandwiched inside a glazed doughnut. And don’t even get me started about South of the Border. I still haven’t found the words to write about our evening there.

Still, as someone with OCD in her gene pool — and two packs of antibacterial wipes in her purse at all times — it was difficult for me to process the idea of Bubblegum Alley. This month’s guest post features the world’s largest collection of “ABC” (already been chewed) gum, which is stuck to the walls of Bubblegum Alley , a 70-foot long, 15-foot high landmark in San Luis Obispo, CA.

bubblegum alley

That's not paint, folks. It's gum. That's been chewed.

Still, Sandra Foyt’s report manages to intrigue me! Sandra writes about fun and educational family travel at Albany Kid. And, apparently, loves her daughter very much to be talked into visiting this place. Her story:

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BIGGISH – Billboard People of AZ and CA

We don’t get out to the west coast as often as we’d like. Our last trip was to Anaheim and Carlsbad, CA in 2008 to visit Disneyland and LEGOLAND. Our last post featuring the west coast was over the summer, when my very own Dad reported “from the field.” My parents went to several BIG sites: San Francisco’s Chinatown; the tallest waterfall in North America at Yosemite National Park; and the world’s largest tree in Sequoia National Park.

This month’s guest post brings us back out to California, as well as Arizona. Tiffany and her hubby are a young, adventurous couple traveling full-time in their little painted Airstream, “eddie.” (p.s. Did you know that “Eddie” is also the name of the World’s Largest Kid? And that I like to insert shameless links to other posts on this blog to increase page visits?)

Their blog, WanderingAirstream.com, chronicles their journeys in their beloved 1973 Argosy Airstream. I just love that they’ve lovingly restored and renovated eddie. I’m a sucker for before-and-afters (too much time watching HGTV!)

This is what eddie looks like inside.


The "Go BIG" family would last about an hour together in this space.

I take issue with them for removing the avocado oven, but otherwise, COOL! And compact. I think Tiffany and her husband must have a VERY healthy relationship to spend all their time together in this vehicle!

Here’s Tiffany’s report about two larger-than-life billboard installations they found during their travels:

Traci invited me over today to share a couple of BIG roadside attractions that my husband and I found on our travels. We love the biggest, tiniest, quirkiest of just about anything, and as we are traveling the country full-time in our vintage airstream,  we are always on the lookout for the unusual.

But these caught us out-of-the-blue. We had no idea of their existence, and were just lucky to have stumbled across them.


The first is a giant cut-out family outside of Temecula, CA. It is very close to Diamond Valley Lake, off of Hwy 74 East towards Hemet, CA. Turn right on Winchester Road, South towards Temecula, go about 10 miles and you’ll run right into them!

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BIG Stuff on the West Coast!

Sometimes, I’m a social animal, fun and carefree. When I plan trips to the world’s largest bowling pin, that’s when I know mom’s genes are there somewhere. “Serious me”– the one who recycles the tiny plastic tray in the printer ink cartridge box – is more meticulous and by-the-book. That’s my dad’s DNA.

Frank is a serious traveler. He knows everything about a destination before he ever steps foot on its soil. He’s responsible for my first trans-Atlantic voyage, at the age of seven. (More about that in The Prequel.)

San Francisco Chinatown

Credit: SanFranciscoChinatown.com

So to have him embrace this quirky little blog, and even do reconnaissance for me while on his current trip to the west coast, is very flattering. But as you can see in the e-mail he sent me this week, he’s struggling to make peace with the “Go BIG” qualifications of seeing the “world’s largest” stuff.

I channeled my mom’s relaxed whimsy as I tried to let him off the hook.

To: Traci

From: Dad
RE: Report from the field

Halfway through our trip to see really BIG things, we’ve hit a few snags. Moreover, this trip has me thinking about our English language and the way we define our words.  The word “big” is presenting me with some perplexing questions to ponder.

During our weekend in San Francisco, we visited the Chinatown deemed to contain the largest concentration of Chinese outside of Asia. Does this make it the “biggest” Chinatown? How should we measure “big”? By the number of Chinese living there? By the geographical area? By the population density? Your word “biggish,” even though I really like it, sometimes does not work.

We then visited Yosemite National Park to view the waterfall considered to be the tallest in North America. But, does the tallest waterfall still qualify as truly BIG when there is no water falling? Not a drop!

General Sherman Tree

General Sherman Tree. Credit: National Park Service

Yesterday we visited Sequoia National Park and the General Sherman tree (in the rain), thought to be the biggest tree in the world.  However, sequoia trees are generally not as tall as California’s coastal redwoods, so height is not the criterion of bigness used here. Also troubling was the fact that the General Grant tree (the third biggest sequoia) is, at 40+feet, about five feet wider at its base than the General Sherman tree, which would make it the “biggest” tree if width was used as the qualifying criterion.  So, what makes the General Sherman tree “big” is its volume and weight, not its height or width (or its age, I might add).

Coming up, Hearst Castle. Is it the biggest private mansion ever built? If so, by what criteria?  And, why is Big Sur “big” and Little Sur “little”?  What the heck is a “SUR” anyway?

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