Fake news alert: My 2017 drive-in odyssey

2017 Odyssey: Week One

Earlier this year as I assembled the list of active drive-ins in North America, I noticed that there were 329 in the US and 36 in Canada. (Since then, three more opened or re-opened in the US for a current total of 332, but I digress.) Adding 329 and 36 gives you 365. Does that number remind you of anything?

At that moment, I knew I needed to visit every active drive-in theater, one per day. The 2017 Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey would be an epic journey through cities and small towns, with short hops across farmland and long, desperate treks across deserts. There were only two obstacles to this plan: Money and time.

There’s an obvious way to overcome these hurdles. I’m going to fake it. Every day, I’ll post a dispatch from another drive-in, typically in another town. (There are just a few with more than one drive-in; that’ll help in reaching 368 theaters in 365 days.) I’ll tell you where I stayed overnight, and I’ll mention the best nearby restaurant. There will be a running total of mileage. The places and highways will be real, but my experiences will be completely fake, or as I would prefer to call it, virtual.

My goal would be to catch every drive-in on a night when it’s active, but that’s not realistic. Most are closed for several months a year, and some schedules are just weekends. I’m shooting for at least 200 movie nights, and I’ll keep track of how close I get to that target.

My odyssey will begin in Florida, then across the southern US to California, in an attempt to catch as many active showings as I can in January. I’ll begin at the southernmost drive-in, which I already know won’t be showing anything Jan. 1. Ironic!

Check in with me daily as we discover what this road trip would be like, if we only had the time and money to take it for real.