May 17: Auto-Vue Drive-In Theatre, Colville WA

Previous, narrow screen at the Auto Vue Drive-In with a full field of cars

photo from the Auto Vue Facebook page

It’s Day 137 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It’s a testament to how long my drives have been lately that traveling four and a half hours (not counting my time waiting at the border) from Enderby BC to Colville WA didn’t seem so bad. I arrived at another rejuvenated drive-in, the Auto-Vue Drive-In Theatre.

The Auto Vue (or “Auto View,” as some sources call it) was built in 1953 and rolled along for 60 years. According to The Statesman Examiner of Colville, the Auto Vue closed after the 2013 season. Owner Steve Wisner faced the typical problem of needing to find the money for a digital projector, but he had another problem – his screen was falling down. “I’ve had [my] contractor look at it [the screen], and the insurance company contractor look at it,” Wisner said. “They both said that it should be torn down.” That screen was also too narrow for today’s typically widescreen movies; you can see the dimensions in the Facebook photo in this post.

As you can guess, that story had a happy ending. The Auto Vue procured a nicer 65-foot wide movie screen from the recently closed Park In Drive-In of Soap Lake, erected it on site in June 2015 and opened soon after. They switched to digital projection just before opening for the 2016 season. As now it’s going strong once again.

Once again, I’m at a drive-in in season but in the middle of the week. The Auto Vue is showing movies on Fridays through Sundays this month. That gave me more time to rest from all that driving.

Miles Today / Total:  204 / 15731 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 61

Nearby Restaurant: This small, fairly remote town isn’t where I’d expect to find authentic Polynesian cuisine, but that’s what Brown Boyz Island BBQ serves up. There’s Spam on the menu, but I forgive them for that. What counts are the large portions of unusual dishes, like my Hawaiian chicken sandwich on a Hawaiian bun with coconut cream sauce. Where else am I going to find that?

Where I Virtually Stayed: After a few nights in Canada, nothing says standard, comfortable Americana like the Comfort Inn. My room had a mini fridge and microwave, good wifi, and a (dare I say) comfortable bed. Breakfast in the morning included a nice selection of hot items, waffles, and the usual continental suspects. It made me glad to be back in the states for a few days.

Only in Colville: The small Stevens County Historical Society museum here contains dozens of works by Leno Prestini, an artist whose paintings, according to Wikipedia, were “unique to the point of eccentricity.” After his sister, Battista Prestini, passed away in 1983, her collection of his material (including tiles, sculptures, World War II-era cartoons, and 70 paintings) was donated to the SCHS.

Next stop: Sunset Auto Vue, Grangeville ID.

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