The United States Of McDonald’s

Nowhere in the country are you ever more than 107 miles from one of our ~13,000 McDonald’s restaurants:


Stephen von Worley of Weather Sealed explains his map:

As expected, McDonald’s cluster at the population centers and hug the highway grid. East of the Mississippi, there’s wall-to-wall coverage, except for a handful of meager gaps centered on the Adirondacks, inland Maine, the Everglades, and outlying West Virginia.

For maximum McSparseness, we look westward, towards the deepest, darkest holes in our map: the barren deserts of central Nevada, the arid hills of southeastern Oregon, the rugged wilderness of Idaho’s Salmon River Mountains, and the conspicuous well of blackness on the high plains of northwestern South Dakota. There, in a patch of rolling grassland, loosely hemmed in by Bismarck, Dickinson, Pierre, and the greater Rapid City-Spearfish-Sturgis metropolitan area, we find our answer.

Between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley lies the McFarthest Spot: 107 miles distant from the nearest McDonald’s, as the crow flies, and 145 miles by car!

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • 1minionsopinion

    Wow. No wonder they can claim billions and billions served…

  • JRQ

    “There, in a patch of rolling grassland, loosely hemmed in by Bismarck, Dickinson, Pierre, and the greater Rapid City-Spearfish-Sturgis metropolitan area, we find our answer.”

    I know that area well — I have family in that Dakotan empty patch. The towns are small and sparse, and there are few, if any, chain restaurants. towns will usually have one or a few little greasy spoon diners, with wonderfully massive and greasy burgers that, by comparison, make a big mac look and taste like a few wet pieces of cardboard.

    But that doesn’t mean, of course, that they don’t have fast food — a lot of towns there have a Hardees or a Taco Johns, both of which you can find throughout the midwest and plains, and mountain states, but hardly anywhere else. And let’s be serious: no one is going to suffer long from a “big mac attack” when they can go down the road to Hardees and get a Big Hardee or a Monster Thickburger:

    • Daniel Fincke

      No lie, your link to the Hardee’s Menu has just gotten 5 hits in just half an hour since you posted it. All week out of all the links I put up just a handful will get 5 clicks at all. But the Hardee’s Menu just got 5 hits in 30 minutes. America.

  • The Atheist Pig

    When I was a kid, I thought Mickey Ds had the best burgers, but now, I really can’t stand them. Some of their breakfast sandwiches aren’t bad and their coffee is surprisingly good.

    • Daniel Fincke

      My dad always used to get coffee at McDonald’s. It’s very much an issue of it being a predictably good cup since it’s a chain rather than just an unknown store. I think he probably still does this even now that there’s starbucks, but I’m not sure. And I don’t think he’d ever touch their food. I grew up with endless admonitions not to confuse the paltry thin-meated in McDonald’s burgers for “real hamburgers.” He was always proudly making thick high quality, substantive burgers and reminding me that they were better than McDonald’s.

      I used to love the place as a kid (I was and still am a chicken mcnuggets and fries kind of person). I also like their chicken sandwiches and went through a cheeseburger phase. But I don’t eat there more than maybe 5 times in a year. It’s just a rare mood when I decide to risk my life like that.

      And over time the smell of the place and the food has become surprisingly sickening to me.