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

The Go BIG “B” List

Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” “The Sweetest Thing” by U2. What do these tunes have in common? They were all “B” side hits. For those of you who remember records (those vinyl discs that music was stored on back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), you’ll recall that the popular songs were on the “A” side, and the secondary tracks were relegated to the “B” side.

We’ve had some “B” sides in our travels, too, so I’m giving them their due in today’s post. In our (okay, my) overzealous quest to seek out BIG attractions, we sometimes visited places solely because of their size. Some have been less than a BIG hit with the kids. Still, I contend that there’s something interesting in all of these large sites, and not just because of their size!

World’s Longest Bridge Tunnel

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, also known as the Lucius J, Kellam Bridge Tunnel, connects the eastern tip of Virginia at Fisherman’s Island to Virginia Beach.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel

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World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate, Lucas, KS

It hit me like a thunderbolt today. Why not feature a guest post once a month? That’s certainly doable, provided I can find people willing to submit reviews (ahem…Tina). It gives me the opportunity to provide you with sites I can’t get to easily. Still biding my time until they put the finishing touches on the Transporter teleportation machine. Can I get a witness, fellow Trekkies?

World's Largest Souvenir Travel Plate

Remember when satellite dishes were this big?

So it began last month in the southeast, at the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube in Knoxville, TN. This month, I’m thrilled to present our first foray into the midwest, provided by one of the region’s most prolific and well-known family travel bloggers, Jody Halsted. Jody is the founder of Family Rambling. Her family recently visited Lucas, Kansas, where they saw the world’s largest Souvenir Travel Plate. And then she tweeted me to offer to write a guest post. I nearly fell off my chair, thinking “who, me?” while concurrently typing “thank you!”

Here’s what I love about the subject of this post. Lucas is a town with a population of just 400, yet it has a website and a Facebook page! Also, it’s really close to Lebanon, KS, which is the geographical center of the contiguous United States. Look at a map and see what I mean. Nifty.

I also think this souvenir plate, made from repurposed satellite dishes, is an über-cool example of recycling. I’m not exactly Mrs. Green, but I do shut the lights off when leaving a room — regardless of whether others are still there. This tends to bother Matt when he’s watching his DVR’d episodes of The Closer.

Now, back to Jody in Kansas…

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

We found the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate on the outskirts of Lucas, Kansas.  My family was on a whirlwind tour of North Central Kansas, which is not complete without a stop in Lucas, home of the Grassroots Art Center.  On this trip was myself, my husband, Doug, my daughters Brenna, age 5 and Caelan, age 3, and my mother, Chris.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

We stopped in Lucas because of the Grassroots Art Center and the Garden of Eden, both of which have to be seen to be described; words just can’t do justice to them.  We were told by so many people the town was not to be missed.

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Lucas is one of those original towns that is just quirky enough to be cool.  This plate was a city-wide effort.  It is constructed from two satellite dishes, the largest 14’. It just really gives you a feel of what you will encounter in Lucas – from pop tab motorcycles to limestone houses.

How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):

The plate itself isn’t terribly exciting; alone I give it a 3. But if you add it with the town of Lucas I would up that to a 7 or 8. Interesting just doesn’t come close to describing what you will see.

A little background info about the place:

Lucas, Kansas was voted one of the “8 Wonders of Kansas Art,” and is known for being a center of grassroots art. The plate is painted to completely represent Lucas, including wheat, the local meat market, and the art that has made it famous.

World's Largest Souvenir Travel Plate

Our midwest correspondent!

The dish itself is 14’ in diameter, formed from a large fiberglass satellite dish with another, smaller dish mounted inside as the center medallion. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the plate was installed and painted by Erika Nelson in 2006, alongside state highway K-18. Here’s more detail about the artwork on the plate.

Hey you! Go BIG:

World Largest Souvenir Travel Plate

More about Lucas, Kansas

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