Apr. 30: Motor Vu Drive-In Theatre, Riverdale UT

One of the Motor Vu screens

Photo by Shaun Fisher via Flickr

It’s Day 120 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, the end of Month Four. My drive was a straight shot up the interstates, just about 40 minutes from the Redwood Drive-in Theatre in West Valley City to the Motor Vu Drive-In Theatre in Riverdale UT.

The Motor Vu opened in June 1947 as a single-screen drive-in. According to a fine article in the Ogden Standard-Examiner, it added two screens “in the 1980s” and a fourth in 1996. The Motor Vu switched to digital projection just before the 2016 season.

Former Motor Vu attendant Howard Coleman bought the place in 1979. Three sons own it now, and one of them, Brent Coleman, manages the drive-in. He said that the conversion to FM radio sound helped attendance. “Before — you see the speakers hanging off the poles? You’re dealing with wire that’d been in the ground for 60 years,” Coleman said. “If you ever got a short, it didn’t just take out the pole, it took out the whole row. On weekends, you could never be 100 percent capacity because the speakers couldn’t keep up with it.”

The concession stand here had all of the drive-in standards, with burgers, hot dogs, pizza, and nachos. Although it has four screens, only three of them were active this weekend. (They light up the fourth when the drive-in season heats up.) All three early shows were movies that I’ve seen, so I chose another viewing of The Boss Baby, the only option that I’d only seen once.

Miles Today / Total:  39 / 13160 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The Boss Baby / 55

Nearby Restaurant: As much as I try to eat healthy, as much as I try to sample local cuisine, sometimes it’s just a Sunday afternoon when I want beer, wings, and lots of sports. (Or is it sports, wings, and lots of beer?) You probably know what the Buffalo Wild Wings is like; except for a few quirky older locations (which this isn’t), they all serve up a standard experience for the carnivore in us.

Where I Virtually Stayed: There aren’t any hotels in Riverdale, and there’s a large Air Force base between the drive-in and most of the options in Ogden. One of the closest options is the Hilton Garden Inn in Ogden, and it served up the standard HGI amenities. My room was clean and comfortable, and breakfast was free for me because I’m a Hilton Gold Card member.

Only in Riverdale: Next door in Ogden, a former A&W Burger fiberglass teenager statue has been given a painted beard and re-purposed as a chainsaw-wielding lumberjack. In his other hand, he holds a small log. Now he’s the front-door mascot of Wilson Lane Service, which sells and repairs outdoor equipment. (You can see photos of him here and here.)

Next stop: Idan-Ha Drive In Theatre, Soda Springs ID.

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