Here are some of my favorite links from other places:
A spatial journey illustrating a very long scale, created by the Genetic Science Learning Center (here)
Long scales are very difficult to deal with in charts; I have never been satisfied with log scales since it addresses the designer's challenge of trying to fit everything onto one page, bu does not deal with the reader's need to compare the elements accurately
Not sure how this helps but perhaps some of you will figure it out
Says there is no optimal chart type. A type that works very well for one data set may get hopelessly cluttered for another, similar data set.
From fellow bloggers (especially Jorge), a whole series of views of the U.S. unemployment figures by state over time. Alternatives that are much more interesting to look at than the typically line chart. Jorge even found something in Excel that looks good.