Tuesday, 17 March 2009

An American Odyssey, Part 4: The Road To Utah

The Road to Utah, 3,064 miles. Relentlessly we drove, sometimes not seeing a KFC for hours at a time. For endless days we strived to reach our goal. Crossing the great desserts of Colorado, journeying through the Badlands of South Dakota, traversing the barren wastes of Wyoming and braving the beautiful but treacherous wilds of Yellowstone.

This leg of the journey would see us enjoying KFC's in a further 9 states. We would encounter new menu items, visit one of humaity's most impressive achievements, be duped, find some KFC curios and end on a high when seeing evidence that our allies were active in this area of the USA, far from the liberal coastal areas.

The journey began and we took in as many branches as possible along the way. The first 2000 miles melted away uneventfully although our car was beginning to smell a little like a rotisserie.
One branch in Oklahoma state offered an interesting menu item seen nowhere else and sadly not one I was prepared to try: Kentucky Fried Chicken Livers. Instead I opted for the $3.99 original recipe strips deal which was a welcome treat after hours at the wheel.

The highlight of the journey was in South Dakota. Until 1980 this was a quiet little backwater with one small attraction known as Mount Rushmore. During the 1940's this mountain was transformed by the carving of the likenesses of four previous president's into its south face. This first picture shows the mountain as it existed up until 1980. It attracted only a small trickle of visitors and did little for South Dakota's tourism industry. In 1980 all of that was about to change.

In the December of that year Colonel Harland Sanders passed away and was lost to us forever. A week of official mourning was declared in many countries around the world and what looks like a small blip, actually representing a large drop in the world's GDP can be seen to this day on financial graphs of the period. Following the death of the Colonel an idea first muted by the press was seized upon by congress and gained much public support. Fedral funding was to match public donations which poured in firstly in their millions but soon in their hundreds of millions from not just Americans but from people all around the world.

The plan was to replace one of the busts carved into Mt Rushmore with a likeness of the Colonel and rename it Mt Sanders. By public concensus it was decided to replace the image of President Abraham Lincoln. He was an obscure choice when the mountain was carved, and having achieved little during his time in office it was decided he should stand aside. It was originally planned to be like the other carvings, but with so much money available and with the advent of new technology and carving techniques it was decided to make the Colonels likeness larger and to carve it in full colour. Something never before done. The result: an overwhelming success, with visitors flocking there in their millions.

From here, things took a turn for the worse. A low point was Cody, Wyoming. Whilst working my way through the menu I stopped upon this monstrosity: The Honey Barbecue Chicken Sandwich.

Shredded chicken absolutely smothered in honey barbecue sauce. No lettuce, no cheese, in fact absolutely no ancillary items whatsoever. Is this KFC USA's worst product!

At the same branch another of our missionaries was suffering from the drinking sickness and had speculated about not eating chicken at this particular juncture. Roused by the threat of Harland's wrath he succumbed to the original recipe, a moment gloriously captured on film.

We continued our journey, crossing Wyoming to the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. At first everything appeared normal, quaint in fact. From the outside this branch promised a lot, spinning bucket on a pole, and this exceedingly rare example of classic wooden signage featuring the Colonel sporting a fetching cowboy hat.

Maybe it had been left alone here in the wilderness for too long and had gone mad, for the inside was a hideous nightmare. Tired and tatty decor, staff with no uniforms and an abomination on the menu.

Again what I thought was a new product. . . . Kentucky Nuggets were on the menu. I ordered them, eager to try yet another of the Colonel's many facets and was greeted with a nugget of such poor quality that I doubt even McDonald's would sell it. Concensus ruled that this was not an official KFC product, this was made using chopped and shaped Chicken maybe even MRM. I've heard of fake designer clothing but I never though I'd see the day when I would be duped into eating fake KFC.

I determined to research this and discovered that the real Kentucky Nugget was discontinued in 1996 a whole 13 years before I encountered it in Montana. (However as I go to press new evidence has emerged of a relaunch.)

West Yellowstone had one more surprise in store for us however. Here we were away from the populated coastal areas that pander to faddists. Here in Montana there were no vegan supermarkets. People in this part of the world want meat and a resistance movement has sprung up to counter the threat of those who believe that animals are "not ours to use for food". We here at KFB disagree as did our friends in Montana who've formed a rival organisation of their own and are even selling merchendise.

Knowing we were in friendly territory, we set off on our way to Salt Lake. . . . where it all began.

1 comment:

RoBad said...

I come off pretty well in this video. It's a real mystery why I don't have a girlfriend :(