The other day, after stumbling across a map that plots the distribution of McDonalds fast food restaurants across the lower 48 United States, it hit me: objectively speaking, McDonalds is bizarre.
Oh, give me a home where the buffalo burgers roam
Where the deer jerky and the antelope play
Back in the day, humans experimented in feeding themselves by roasting mastodon over an open flame, digging up starches and drawing straws to see which of the clans unlucky members would find out if that potato thing is poisonous. Fast forward a few centuries, and humanity has found itself in a situation waiting three minutes for a Crave Case packed with meat, tubers, and zots seems like an eternity. In the grand scheme of things, I find this about-face to be pretty impressive.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day
Today the farthest one can get from a Mcdonalds, in the continental US at least, is the “McFarthest Spot” in South Dakota, which can be seen as the black area in the middle the above map. (The other black spots are either mountains, or government land.) You still aren’t very far, only 145 miles driving, roughly two and half hours by car, a day trip at worst.
More on the McFarthest Spot after the jump…
Since its not like I have a burning hatred for McDonalds or other quick-service restaurants, whats the source of my fascination with McFarthest Spot?
I think it begins with the fact that the average American sees 3000 advertisements every day. Given such day-in, day-out bombardment of promotions for places like McDonalds, part of what makes this spot worthy of celebration is its sheer absence of everything.
In the States when people have had enough, they want to get away from it all. So often the respite of choice becomes an REI-fuelled jaunt into the wilds. In a way, many of these retreats into nature are packed with some of the most stunning and noteworthy features on the planet, like snow-capped mountains, raging rivers, mirrored lakes, etc.
But these places of note (a title theyve rightfully earned, dont get me wrong!) can seem like the tails to Times Squares heads - diametric opposites borne out of the same awe-inspiring struggle between man and nature.
But at McFarthest Spot, its literally a whole lot of nothing, like numbness. No (traditionally) breathtaking vistas. No marvels of mans creation. Instead, its just a random point on the globe that has garnered the distinction for being nothingnesss the last American frontier. And I think thats priceless.
Home, home on the range
Go, children! After taking the couple hours to get to McFarthest Spot, put your prairie schooner in park. Walk around and appreciate that feeling of being as far as possible from a McDonalds. Its going fast; McNuggets are circling the wagons as I type.