Feb. 3: Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre, Riverside CA

It’s Day 34 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, with one last (almost) two-hour drive, this time from Twentynine Palms CA to the Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre in Riverside. Now that I’m in the greater Los Angeles area, I’m looking forward to a lot less time on the road.

The Rubidoux, which calls itself “the last of the classic drive-in theatres remaining in Southern California,” opened in November 1948 with room for about 700 cars. It offered “a variety of pre-show entertainment,” including a miniature railroad, playground, and petting zoo. The screen was widened (for wider movies) in the mid 1950s, then the Rubidoux added two more screens in 1983.

Unlike too many other drive-ins, the Rubidoux specifically tells patrons that they are welcome to bring their own drinks and snacks. I’ve often thought that (a) it’s too easy to sneak in food for a ban to really work, and (b) if you can’t interest your captive audience in buying your offerings, you should reconsider what you’re selling. To support each drive-in, I always buy popcorn and a drink, since they’re typically the highest-margin products. I also like to try what’s different at each snack bar, and this one featured carne asada nachos.

I had seen all three of the Rubidoux’s early movies, so I had to pick which of them I’d rather see again. I chose Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, so that should make it even final-er.

Miles Today / Total:  95 / 4579 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter / 24

Nearby Restaurant: After my great, not so cheap, experience at the 29 Palms Inn, I was looking for something economical. Although it’s a fast food chain, albeit regional, Farmer Boys tends to focus on healthier entrees. A nice salad was good penance for my indulgence the night before.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It’s not often that my choice will be an Americas Best Value Inn, but I needed to balance my budget after the previous night’s expenditure in Twentynine Palms, plus this location had good reviews. Everything turned out fine, with a mini-fridge in the room and a little something to eat in the morning.

Only in Riverside: According to KABC, Riverside quarry workers discovered a 340-ton solid piece of granite. An artist worked with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to acquire the boulder, called “The Rock,” for $120,000. A 200-foot trailer with 200 wheels carried it for eight nights (to avoid tying up traffic), and the “Levitated Mass” exhibit debuted at the LACMA in June 2012.

Next Stop: Van Buren Drive-In Theatre, Riverside CA.

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