Jan. 6: Silver Moon, Lakeland FL

It’s Day Six of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and it starts with another 35-minute short hop. This time it’s from Tampa to the Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre in Lakeland FL.

It seems appropriate that the Silver Moon, starting its 70th year, is surrounded on two sides by active retirement communities. As you can tell by this Google Street View, the main screen (the only screen for its first three decades) is backed by a three-story apartment or storage area. I just love those. You can read the full history of the Silver Moon on its About Us page.

Then there’s the snack bar. Not only does it feature corn dogs, soft pretzels and the usual suspects, it also sells Budweiser and breakfast.

The Silver Moon has two screens, and Friday is the day for new releases, but I had to choose between movies I’d already seen. I picked a second viewing of Rogue One over Sing.

Miles Today / Total: 27 / 314 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Rogue One / 5

Nearby Restaurant: The closest restaurant, and one of the best in Lakeland, is Smokin’ Aces BBQ just a mile west on New Tampa Highway. The yummy pulled pork might not be health food, but there are grilled green beans and a vegetable medley to keep me regular.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The closest hotel was three miles west in Plant City, so for the second straight night I stayed at a Fairfield Inn & Suites. The room was clean, and the breakfast included some fruit as I faced a rainy Saturday the next morning.

Only in Lakeland: The Lakeland Ledger reported in October 2008 that Webber International University’s president H. Keith Wade sold at auction on eBay the naming rights for the school’s then-under-construction sewage treatment plant. T. Wayne Hill Trucking won, paying $6100. “I don’t think many people have much experience with a ceremony naming a sewage treatment plant,” Wade said, promising to whip up something.

Next Stop: Joy-Lan Drive-In, Dade City FL.

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