Do you want fries with that?

I’m often asked how close the nearest McDonald’s outlet is. Aren’t we all? Most days, right?
Of course, with my Android smartphone in my hand, it’s easy to help the enquirer out – I just use Layar or some similar augmented reality browser (note: first time you use it, you will feel like you’re in a science fiction movie) [Android QR here].
But what if I wanted to know how far it was between McDonald’s “restaurants”?

Well, then, I would turn to – because they have helpful maps for that sort of thing:


Here are their images for the UK and Ireland:

…on the isle of Great Britain, proper – anywhere reachable from London on foot, aka the mainland – Cape Wrath ranks McFarthest. From its restless shores to the nearest McFix, the hungry traveller must traverse the Scottish Highlands to Inverness, 136 kilometers [84.5 miles] inland.

And the US of A:

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.

Initally, they had the McFarthest Spot™ down as “between the tiny Dakotan hamlets of Meadow and Glad Valley: 107 miles [172km] distant from the nearest McDonald’s, as the crow flies, and 145 miles [233km] by car!”, but that has since been updated:

Because per our calculations, the winds of McDistance have shifted – from your lovely rolling grasslands to the dusty Western outback. There, in the high desert of northwestern Nevada, you’ll find antelope, wild horses, and the Lower-48?s new-and-improved McFarthest Spot: a patch of sage and soil that is 115 miles [185km] away, as the crow flies, from the nearest McDonald’s!

Which is all very interesting and shows a certain degree of obsession and nerdiness. Not, however, as much obsession and nerdiness as actually getting in a car and actually going there. Really.

What follows is a diary of a two day road trip to Nevada, complete with photos, videos and an image of the McFarthest Spot™,  appropriately marked:


There’s loads of other wonderful stuff to get immersed in at datapointed as well – including a statistically computed visual representation of the game “Chinese Whispers” and horoscopes dismantled:

David McCandless and friends have analyzed the text of 22,000 online horoscopes and found that they’re different permutations of the same few words, more or less.

Who knew?

Gotta love the internet. How ever did we manage without it?

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