A friend came over to help me move a couple larger items, and we got to talking about what happened with the van, so I get the bright idea to hit the starter so he can hear it... and I'll be damned, it starts right up and runs perfect.
OK.... I guess that rules out the timing gear/chain. So now I'm looking at it as a moisture issue, because there was water flying area from under the hood.
I have a louvered hood, and with the crazy freakish rain we were having, I think I had way too much water get in under the hood. the cap and rotor definitely need to be replaced, and the terminal on the coil is cooked. I'm also concerned about the rust on top of the distributor, no idea what is considered normal and what is bad...
so I am ordering cap, rotor and coil, and debating what to do about the distributor as I research it more.