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Longest distance to McDonald's: 115 miles

Nevada beats out South Dakota as the state with the longest stretch -- as the crow flies -- with no Golden Arches.

By Karen Datko Sep 14, 2010 7:08PM

Sometime, somehow, in the desert of northeastern California, a McDonald's restaurant closed its doors. So why are we telling you this?


It means that this particular corner of the world -- actually a spot in nearby northwestern Nevada -- can now claim title to the farthest distance in the lower 48 states to or from a McDonald's fast-food restaurant. It's 115 miles as the crow flies.

We know it because one blogger has made it a mission to keep track of this.


Charting the proximity of McDonald's to clusters of humankind is Stephen Von Worley's way of measuring what some might consider progress. He wrote at Data Pointed: "To gauge the creep of cookie-cutter commercialism, there's no better barometer than McDonald's -- ubiquitous fast-food chain and inaugural megacorporate colonizer of small towns nationwide." Ain't that a fact.


Post continues after video.

With help from an outfit called AggData, Von Worley produced his first McDistance Map, "a visualization of the contiguous United States, colored by distance to the nearest domestic McDonald's!" 


From there he determined the longest stretch without a McDonald's in the lower 48: "Between the tiny (South) 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!" (Don't you love this stuff?)


In another post, he zoomed in on Mickey D's in the Midwest, where beef is king. That post is full of all sorts of information, including this factoid:

Number of McDonald’s in the entire state of Illinois, 60 years ago: zero. Within the 50-mile purview of the Sears Tower's 103rd-floor Skydeck, today: 424!

The famous Chicago landmark has since been renamed Willis Tower. But it's the view that counts.


Last week, Von Worley updated the map. He doesn't know why that McDonald's closed.

However, we have confirmed that a grand total of zero (0) Micky Dee's currently exist near the location in question, where instead, a 150×200-mile swath of McNothingness has opened up and swallowed the arid confluence of California, Oregon, and Nevada.

Do we really need a McDonald's everywhere? What does its presence say about our culture? "Can you imagine a world without the Big Mac?" the McDonald's website asks.


Just how big is McDonald's? (And is it "Mickey D's" or "Micky Dee's"?

Fast facts: McDonald's has more than 32,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries serving more than 60 million people every day.


Fun facts:

  • Karen Hanrahan claims to have a McDonald's burger she purchased in 1996, and it still looks the same.
  • The world's largest statue of a Big Mac is in the Big Mac Museum Restaurant in North Huntingdon, Pa., in honor of Big Mac inventor Jim "MJ" Delligatti. The actual birthplace was a Delligatti-owned McDonald's in my hometown of Uniontown, Pa.

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