May 27: Sky-Vu Drive In, Warren MN

It’s Day 147 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I returned to the US, where I’ll be driving around for a least a month until I check out Ontario. On this day, it took almost six hours (not counting waiting time at the border) to head from Carlyle SK to the Sky-Vu Drive In just west of Warren MN.

The Prairie Dog opened in 1956. Leonard Novak bought the place in 1971 from Bixby Knight, and he’s owned it ever since. (He told WDAZ, “It’s something we bought years ago as a family investment.”) The Sky-Vu web site says, “Nothing much has changed at the SkyVu since the 1950s except that the movies have more special effects and the sound comes over your car’s FM stereo.”

The snack bar here offers some interesting choices, especially “Shorty’s Valley famous BBQ Sandwich”. Their description: Leonard sweats over the stove in the house next door in an effort to cook-up this tasty batch of BBQ. There is a special ingredient added to this concoction but Leonard refuses to reveal it. Good luck eating just one, it is simply impossible.

Although I’m always grateful to attend an active drive-in, and I appreciate the quantity entertainment of a triple feature, I only count the early movie, and that was this year’s Smurfs installment. This was the third time I’ve seen that film, which in other circumstances would be at least twice too many.

Miles Today / Total:  346 / 18516 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Smurfs: The Lost Village / 66

Nearby Restaurant: After a long drive, I wanted some comfort food, so I went to Melody’s Cafe. I was too late for breakfast, darn it, but a good old-fashioned chicken dinner with a baked potato and salad. And the half-mile walk from my motel was a great way to burn off a little dessert.

Where I Virtually Stayed: If you want to stay in Warren, you’re going to want to stay at the Elm Crest Motel. It’s another great mom and pop type of place. My room was clean and comfortable, complete with a mini-fridge and a microwave, and the price was great. (They told me it was on a snowmobile trail, but with low temperatures in the 40s, I couldn’t find any snow.)

Only in Warren: The Settler’s Square museum area in Warren includes buildings and storefronts from the region’s early days, and oh yes, “the famous UFO car.” That would be the sheriff’s office patrol car that may have collided with a UFO in 1979. According to Wikipedia, Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson claimed he saw a light, drove towards it, heard glass breaking, then woke up 39 minutes later. In his 1983 book, UFO skeptic Philip Klass argued that the entire event was a hoax, and that Johnson had deliberately damaged his own patrol car.

Next stop: Pheasant Drive-In, Mobridge SD.

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