(July 30, 2002)
World's Largest Hotel Chain
7:30 am (1,444 miles)
Santa Maria, CA
Before we actually even get our brains full of enough coffee to make them
function, Robert discovers another World's Largest! While rummaging through the
drawers ("Look! Free paper!") Robert runs across a brocure next to the
free Bible that proclaims Best Western as the "World's Largest Hotel
So, we stayed at the World's Largest Hotel Chain, which is cosmically
9:32 am (1,444 miles)
We fire up Astro and head away from whatever town this was that we were staying
in. Because they're starting to blur together, we think we're about ready to
stop some place for a while. Fortunately, that place is San Diego.
World's Largest Ocean
The coffee finally kicks in, and Robert realizes we are driving along the
World's Largest Ocean (the Pacific Ocean). So far today, we have two World's
1:03 pm (1,612)
Santa Monica, CA
We stop for lunch in Santa Monica, and hope to see what we suspect is the
World's Largest Gallery of Editorial Cartoons (by virtue of being the World's
Lunch was pretty darn good, but sadly, the Editorial Cartoon Gallery is out of
Fortunately, our next destination (Binoculars) is in nearby Venice Beach, so we
zip over there and park. Venice Beach is a pretty cool place in and of itself
(World's Largest Collection of Outdoor Henna Artists and Incense Sellers), so we
walk along it for a while.
Robert suggests that we should ask somebody about the binoculars, and Laura sez
that Robert should do the asking because "it's a man's job to ask
directions." Robert decides that, by golly, if it's a man's job to ask
directions, he'll do it in a manly way.
So he spots three cops in the middle of arresting somebody, and he asks them
about the location of the giant binoculars. The one handcuffing the perp tells
him the approximate location. Robert cheerfully thanks them and walks back to
Laura who is shaking her head in wonderment that anybody could have that much
chutzpah. (Robert defends himself, "They didn't have their guns out or
anything. And there was three of them! And only one serial killer, or whatever
the hell he was.")
World's Largest Binoculars
3:38 pm (1,613 miles)
Santa Monica, CA
Sitting in front of a brick building along Main street (340 Main St) is a
50-foot tall pair of binoculars. These babies are HUGE, and are clearly the
Unfortunately, they are pointed lens down at the ground, not at anyplace
particularly interesting, so you can't look through them.
One of our informants says that these were designed by Frank Gehry (the same guy
who did the Experience Music Project in Seattle), but we're skeptical, because
they actually look like binoculars.
This just in!
Since the trip, Laura has discovered that the binoculars were built by Claes
Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, husband and wife sculptors, who specialize in
producing WAY-larger-than-life-size everyday objects. You can find out about the
binoculars and the sculptors at the
AbsoluteArts web site (on 10/18/02 the entire AbsoluteArts web site was
down). The building architect is Frank Gehry.
The weirdest thing is that there is no indication about why they are there. They
frame the entrance to a parking garage attached to an anonymous office building.
Laura speculates that at one point this might have been the headquarters of the
Audubon Society. Robert suggests perhaps the American Voyeurs Association.
5:42 pm (1,693 miles)
San Clemente, CA
We finally slow to a stop in San Clemente, about midway between LA and San
This is also the home of the former Dick Nixon and Robert is ready to proclaim
him any number of World's Largests (World's Largest Criminal; World's
Largest Dick-head) but Laura says he should just get over it.
P.S. Yes, we do check our incoming mail. Thanks very much for all the lovely
e-mails. Someone once asked Claude Monet why his hands shook in the morning when
he started painting but not in the afternoon. He said, "It's because each
morning I'm not sure I can still do it."
Our hands can stop shaking (at least this morning).