It’s Day 51 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It had been a few weeks since I had to drive over three hours to get from one drive-in to another, but the El Rancho in Sparks NV isn’t really close to any other drive-in except the Sacramento.To keep moving forward, I had to go seven hours to reach the Skyline Drive-in Theater in Barstow CA.
Unfortunately, the Skyline is closed for the season until March 17. According to its Facebook page, the Skyline was losing money during the weeks of winter, but should be back to normal in the spring. As for me, even with the last few dark nights, I’m still on a pace to watch 257 movie nights this year, well above my goal of 200.
This was my last night in California for at least a couple of months. After sweeping across the country east-to-west roughly along I-10, I’ll be driving east roughly along I-40 to the Appalachians. By the end of March, I’ll turn north, then head west again. There are still a lot of drive-in theaters left to visit!
According to Cinema Treasures, the Skyline opened in 1966 with a single screen. (Then again, the logo on this page says the Skyline first opened in 1964.) At the time, it was the second drive-in around Barstow; the Bar-Len in adjacent Lenwood was active throughout the 1960s. The Skyline closed in 1987, but it re-opened with a makeover in 1996, and in 2000 it added a second screen. The Skyline changed operators and closed for several weeks in late summer 2009, followed by a “Grand Reopening” that October. The good news is that the Skyline bought two digital projectors in February 2015, so it looks like it’s in it for the long haul. Just not this night.
Miles Today / Total: 417 / 6265 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 36
Nearby Restaurant: There aren’t a ton of restaurants to choose from in Barstow, so I figured this would be the best time to hit an all-time favorite regional chain, the In-N-Out Burger. They don’t offer an extensive menu, but their burgers and fries make it worth stopping at least once whenever I’m within range.
Where I Virtually Stayed: After staying up too late gambling in Reno the night before, followed by a full day’s drive to Barstow, I just wanted something familiar. The Hampton Inn in Barstow was just what I needed. Cookies and flavored iced water in the lobby when I arrived. A comfy bed and a great breakfast the next morning.
Only in Barstow: The Casa del Desierto (House of the Desert), also known as the Barstow Harvey House and Rail Depot, combines the Western America Railroad Museum and the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. That’s not so unusual since much of Route 66 paralleled the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail line. Harvey Houses were a civilizing force in the American Southwest over a century ago. Built in 1910 after an earlier version burned, this preserved hotel, restaurant and train depot was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Next Stop: Las Vegas 6 Drive-In, North Las Vegas NV.