Jan. 4: Ruskin Family, Ruskin FL

It’s Day Four of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and it’s the first day with any serious driving time. Starting from Palm Springs, it took almost four hours to reach the Ruskin Family Drive-In Theatre in Ruskin on the other side of Florida.

The Ruskin is just … nice. The snack bar prices are reasonable, they put an emphasis on good behavior, and they take pride in their history. According to the Ruskin web site, its first movie when it opened on April 16, 1952 was Singin’ In The Rain, a fact that makes me a little sad to think of the recent passing of Debbie Reynolds. IMDB says that film release date was just five days earlier; it’s surprising that in those days any drive-in could get a big first-run release so quickly.

With only one screen, I got lucky this time. The Ruskin had a great family-oriented double feature, Moana followed by Sing. Trivia: nine characters is only three more than the shortest double bill I’ve ever seen.

Miles Today / Total: 195 / 266 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Moana / 3

Nearby Restaurant: I passed a McDonalds and a few others in just a mile and a half to reach a place with solid eats – The Dog House and More. I couldn’t bring any fresh catches for its “hook and cook” special, but the homemade chili and amazing cheesecakes made up for my lack of fishing.

Where I Virtually Stayed: There aren’t a lot of choices in Ruskin, so I picked the Comfort Inn almost six miles away on I-75. It’s a standard Comfort Inn, decent price and an acceptable place for a night.

Only in Ruskin: According to Wikipedia, Ruskin was founded in 1908 as a utopian socialist colony inspired by 19th century English art critic and social thinker John Ruskin. It remains an unincorporated place in Hillsborough County and is home to the Cockroach Bay Aquatic Preserve.

Next Stop: Fun-Lan Drive-In Theatre, Tampa FL

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