Jan. 20: Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In, Austin TX

Large film projector reels

The 35mm projection system purchased with Kickstarter funding

It’s Day 20 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and it was a very lucky Friday for me. I only had to drive about an hour to Austin’s Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In, which was unexpectedly open.

Blue Starlite founder and proprietor Josh Frank was very happy that his Kickstarter project was successfully funded just a couple of days earlier. In the closing days of the campaign, he had added a couple of “off-season bonus nights” at his current location. Since I pledged to support the project, I got a free ticket to watch Idiocracy and Escape From New York. It was a very Austin reaction to the presidential inauguration earlier in the day.

Frank had said last month that the reports of the next Austin location were premature, and sure enough, he announced that the new place would definitely be in South Austin on Manchaca Road. “You can access it from I-35 and Ben White, or there are many non-highway roads to get to it.”

Miles Today / Total:  51 / 2629 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Idiocracy / 14

Nearby Restaurant: One of the closest restaurants was the newest location of an Austin favorite, Torchy’s Tacos. Great Baja shrimp tacos, great drinks, and great service.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The closest hotel where I’d feel comfortable staying turned out to be the “University Area” Fairfield Inn. It was just over two miles from the drive-in, pretty good since it’s almost four miles from the university. Standard, professional Fairfield visit, plus more Marriott Rewards points. (After I recover from this trip, I think I’ll really travel!)

Only in Austin: The Moonlight Towers of Austin are the only surviving light towers of that type in existence. According to Wikipedia, the city of Austin bought 31 used towers from Detroit in 1894. When first erected, the towers were connected to electric generators at the Austin Dam, completed in 1893. During World War II, a central switch was installed, allowing citywide blackouts in case of air raids. In 1993, Austin dismantled and restored the towers, culminating in a 1995 festival.

Next Stop: The Last Drive-In Picture Show, Gatesville TX.

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