Jan. 16: Apache / Sky Vue, Tyler TX

Apache Drive-In sign

photo by Don Lewis from the Carload Flickr pool

It’s Day 16 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and this one was strange for several reasons. I visited Tyler TX, one of the few towns with two drive-ins, the Apache Drive-In and the Sky Vue Drive-In. The drive from Memphis to the Apache took over 400 miles and six hours, by far my longest trip so far. And the Apache, actually a few miles east of Tyler, is one of two in Texas that specializes in adult films.

My 2013 Apache story, which is really just a summary of two other sites’ stories, has been the most popular page on Carload for a few weeks this offseason. Why? No idea! Anyway, at the drive-in, one eyewitness claimed that the screen was lit by a projection TV. I’m not telling whether I watched anything there, tucked into the woods near the cell-phone tower, but if I did, I lost interest quickly and moved on.

The Sky Vue, 14 miles from the Apache and northwest of Tyler, was much more welcoming, tucked behind a field of storage units instead of trees. The small concession stand had reasonable prices and pizza. It just felt much cleaner.

The Sky Vue has only one screen, so I was stuck watching Assassin’s Creed again as the early movie in the double feature. At least it was better than what the Apache had.

Miles Today / Total:  406 + 14 / 1733 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Assassin’s Creed / 11

Nearby Restaurant: Since I was heading south the next day, I went back to Tyler where a cluster of hotels and restaurants sit at US 69 and Loop 323. The best-sounding name was Jumbo Seafood, and I’m glad I ordered the steak. And shrimp, just to stay on theme.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The low-price, decent accommodations leader in the 323-69 cluster was the Super 8. Really great price, decent little room, and just enough breakfast to get started.

Only in Tyler: According to Roadside America, the citizens of Tyler were particularly fond of a squirrel named Shorty, who lived outside the Smith County courthouse for 15 years. Despite a special pedestrian crossing and lower nearby speed limit, Shorty passed away in 1963. He was buried in a park across the street from the courthouse, marked by a headstone engraved with his likeness.

Next Stop: Showboat Drive-In, Hockley TX.

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