Roman numerals!  That’s how fancy I am!  🙂  Alright, so we left off at the World’s Largest Rubber Stamp in Cleveland.  The next day, we would be driving from Cleveland to Madison, Wisconsin.  This would be a lonnnnnnnnnnnng drive!  Thankfully, though, the further we got to Wisconsin, the more kitsch we found!  When I searched on Roadside America, I found that Wisconsin was a kitsch bonanza!  Having gone there since I was a baby, this did not surprise me in the slightest!  So although I knew it was going to be a long drive, it would also be a fun one!

First stop?  To see the World’s Largest Bronze Falcon in Bowling Green, Ohio, of course!  I was bummed because when we pulled into town we drove past a sign that said “Home of the National Tractor Pulling Championships.”  Sadly, the road was too busy to turn around and go back, etc. etc.  But the World’s Largest Bronze Falcon certain did not disappoint!

So that was a few minutes of fun!  But we were then onto bigger and better things, like….

The World’s Largest Tomato Soup Can!!!  This was right at the Campbell’s Soup factory in Napoleon, Ohio!  We pulled into the parking lot and I started to worry that this was a staff only sort of parking lot.  Now here is where the cultural differences between Tom and I become apparent.  Jersey City boy Tom’s whole philosophy is “If there’s no sign telling me that I can’t, I will.”  And Canadian Jolie’s philosophy is “If there’s no sign telling me that I can, I shouldn’t.”  See?  This sometimes can create difficulties.

So I was getting a bit of a hinky vibe in this parking lot, as if some big burly Campbell’s Soup goon would come up to us with a gun and forcefully remove us from the parking lot.  Tom, of course dismissed this as “ridiculous.”  We walked around the lot and couldn’t find the big can anywhere.  We finally found someone outside the building who initially looked at us blankly and then said, “Oh, I think that’s around the other side.”  I was all too happy to get out of that strange little parking lot, but when we pulled around to the other side, there was a long driveway that also had a heavily unwritten “Unauthorized personnel prohibited.” sort of feeling to it.  But there was also a weird ditch thing.  So I parked the car sort of in the ditch.  Tom quickly ran out and got the prized photos, and then we screeched our tires on out of there!  🙂

After feeling rather badass, we got back on the road and saw all sorts of interesting sights.  Like this gorgeous building:

Here’s the other side of the building…eeeek!!!  🙂

We also saw a shop in Indiana that not only sold guns, but Old Wild West clothing to wear while you’re “protectin’ yer property.”  Awesome!  Sorry, I am Canadian and I am a pacifist, and I’ll never be able to wrap my head around the whole “gun culture” thing.  My mindset is so not “there” that once I saw a show in the TV Guide that advertised a show called “Top Shot” and I thought that it was going to be a show about photography.  I called Tom up to watch the show, but when the opening credits came on and all of these dudes were shooting stuff with guns, I was disappointed.  LOL.  So yeah, to say that I don’t “get it” is an understatement!  🙂

After a very late lunch, we visited our final stop for the day.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel Monastery in Munster, Indiana.  Why you ask?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe for this?!?!?!

















So what is this exactly?  It’s an ultraviolet religious shrine, of course!  Roadside America has written about it in a much more eloquent fashion than I ever could.  We took a ton of pictures of this place and quite literally there is something different in each nook and cranny that you explore.  To say that we were gobsmacked would be an understatement!  One last sort of amusing thing on this little pitstop.  Tom and I exited the first “cave” and started going down a set of stairs onto the other “cave.”  Now that I have the gift of hindsight, I now joke that we didn’t actually walk down the stairs, but rather we “danced down the stairs like two irreverent Rockettes.”  On the way down the stairs, I noted how spectacularly shiny these steps were.  When we reached the bottom of the stairs, we were greeted with this sign:








Awwww, man!  While we are not religious people, we never would have been trying to be disrespectful.  Perhaps they should have put this sign at the top of the stairs as well, eh?   🙂  Feeling like disrespectful jerks, we sheepishly and carefully explored the rest of the place and then headed on to Madison.

I have one more entry talking about roadside kitsch from this particular trip.  It will be called “Failed explorations:  the dark side to kitsch”  Hmmmmm, now isn’t that  teaser!  🙂