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The Victory McDonald’s

We’ve written about it before, but now there is photographic proof. McDonald’s opened a location in the Louvre.

Country Roads

I spent the day driving across Kansas. The state turned about to be a lot more interesting to look at than I would have thought. Among other things, I got a chance to see the world’s largest ball of twine in Cawker City. Mind you, this is not to be confused with with the world’s largest ball of twine wrapped by a single person, which is located in Darwin, MN.

The one thing that continually puzzled me in my drive across Kansas was why the authorities in such a vast state with so very few people felt the need to build such massive roads. The most trivial roads seemed to have elaborate overpasses and enterance ramps so that on the off chance that two cars where in the vacinity, they would not hold each other up.

Here is a picture I took of the intersection outside my hotel in Lawrence Kansas. It was located in a typical suburban strip mall zone. There was a Wal Mart and various parking lot restaurants on one side of the road and a Target and a few gas stations on the other. Everything was completely ordinary, except for the truly colossal scale of the roads. Is it really necessary to have a 150 foot wide, 7 lane road to service a McDonalds and a WalMart in a city with fewer than 100k people?

Seriously. There are portions of I-95, which connects Washington DC, New York and Boston, that are not this wide.

What’s the matter with Kansas

No Alcohol
It is 11:30 PM on a Saturday night. I’m staying in the middle of the largest metro area in the state. There are no stores open that can sell me a six pack of beer for off-premises consumption. They all closed at 11 PM.

That’s what’s the matter with Kansas.

Fallen Timbers

Heading South West out of Toledo on Route 24, I came across a sign informing me I was close to the “Fallen Timbers battlefield.” Per the rules, I made a hard right turn and started following the signs leading me to the monument–and I’m glad I did as this was a genuinely important site. The battle of Fallen Timbers was the decisive contest that opened the Northwest Territories up to early American settlers.

Per Wikipedia-

The Battle of Fallen Timbers (August 20, 1794) was the final battle of the Northwest Indian War, a struggle between American Indiantribes affiliated with the Western Confederacy and the United States for control of the Northwest Territory (an area bounded on the south by the Ohio River, on the west by the Mississippi River, and on the northeast by the Great Lakes). The battle, which was a decisive victory for the United States, ended major hostilities in the region until Tecumseh’s War and the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

The battlefield is commemorated by a handsome statue and plaques commemorating early settlers, Native Americans as well as American soldiers who died in the Northwest Indian War.

Across from the battlefield on which the fledgling American nation gained control of modern day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota from the Native Americans some enterprising corporation has erected one of the largest shopping malls I’ve ever seen. And of course they’ve named it the Shops at Fallen Timbers.

Strangely fitting.

The Driveabout

spring 2004 solo east coast tourI’ve decided it is time to have a look at America. So in a few hours, I’m heading out to see the country on what I like to call an epic driveabout.

I’m not really sure yet where I’m going, only that I need to be in LA by December 10th and would like to be back in Michigan by the 15th. I have no idea what I’ll see in between, but you can be sure I’ll be blogging daily about whatever I come across.

I’ve set up a few rules for the trip — at least for the first leg of it.

1: No highways

With all due respect to President Eisenhower, the interstate highway system is boring as hell. Everything looks the same, and because they are so over-engineered, you always feel like you are traveling painfully slow–even with the speedometer is pushing eighty miles an hour. So unless I need to bypass a sprawling metro area, highways are forbidden.

2: I’m hotwiring everything

I like my hotels cheap, clean and random. That is why I’m booking every night’s accommodation the morning of via The only requirement is that they provide free internet access and a full breakfast. And no, “continental breakfast” doesn’t count.

3. Every historical plaque will be read

Every single one of those green and gold historical plaques that line the highways has a story behind it. Usually one of a long and painful bureaucratic fight to get the damn thing erected in commiseration of a trivial event that only a handful of activists care about. That is good enough for me. So if I see a historical plaque, I’m stopping to read and photograph it.

4. The same thing goes for Wal-Drug and Mystery Spot-type attractions

If your cheesy tourist attraction has billboards for hundreds of miles, you’ve earned my visit. I’ll be stopping at each and every one of these shrines of Americana, provided, of course, that they take credit cards.

That’s about is. Aside from tourist traps with billboards and historical plaques, I have no real agenda. I’ll be checking in with Atlas Obscura every night to see if there is anything noteworthy coming my way, but other than that I’m open for suggestions.

If you know of something I should stop and see in the great swath of Red America between the Great Lakes and California, please let me know.

Check back tomorrow night for an update from Indiana, Illinois or Missouri.

“It’s us vs them”

Canadian Goose Landing 1This is why I love Mayor Bloomberg.

The mayor responding to questions about New York City’s plan to kill 18,000 Canadian geese to improve air safety:

“People are not going to stop flying and we have to make a decision. It’s geese or human beings.” And which faction does the mayor support in this inter-species warfare? “I can tell you where I come out on that. I don’t think you need a quote from me.”

[via New York Mag]

Apparently we give “State Quarters” to the colonies now…

McDonald’s heir beaten by French

Toledo, McDonald's 1967Definitive proof that the French hate freedom:

via Gawker:

A pack of robbers armed with baseball bats beat and robbed 60-year-old Geoffrey McDonald) and his wife in their villa in the south of France.

McDonald’s is in Eygalières, a village in Provence where Brangelina recently purchased a $15 million mansion. The thugs stole $360,000 in cash, jewelery, and passports from the “severely shocked” couple. France is too dangerous, Geoffrey—come home to America, where we will revere you as a demigod and protect you and your loved ones with our lives.

Cars and Freedom [video]

Chrysler’s new ad men are doing a bang-up job. And no, I don’t care that the cars in the ad were actually made in Canada.

Giving birth while driving, now that is distracting

From the Detroit Free Press:

Amanda McBride went into labor last week as she was on her way to North County Regional Hospital, the Bemidji Pioneer reported.

General Motors said Wednesday that it would give a year’s supply of diapers to the Minnesota woman who delivered a baby while driving a Chevy car.

She was driving a red 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt.

Joseph Phillips, the expectant father, was riding shotgun because he suffers from seizures.

“She yelled at me to grab the wheel,” Phillips told the newspaper.

He did. And she pulled down her pants. “And then the baby just came right out,” the woman was quoted as saying. “I was just sitting on the seat, and he just slid out. It really wasn’t bad at all.”

She held the baby, turned the heat up in the car and allowed Phillips to steer them to the hospital where everyone arrived safely.

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