Jan. 2: Thunderbird, Fort Lauderdale FL

It’s Day Two of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and I arrived at Fort Lauderdale’s version of the Swap Shop, a south Florida institution. Since Google Maps called it that way, I have this place listed as the Thunderbird theaters. Do I need to fix that?

Fort Lauderdale’s Swap Shop is the drive-in theater heavyweight champ with up to 14 active screens. (When I checked today, there were “only” 9 unique movie start times, so perhaps they give some of them a rest on weeknights.) What’s just as impressive is the everyday swap meet, farmers market, video arcade, car museum, and optical center that runs during the day. It’s so big that there’s a second parking lot south of busy Sunrise Boulevard, connected by an overhead walkway, all just for the Swap Shop. Concentrated raw commerce and all-day entertainment!

As I mentioned, I had several movies from which to choose, but I need to catch up on the latest Star Wars story so I can stop worrying about spoilers.

Miles Today / Total: 32 / 32 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Rouge One: A Star Wars Story / 1

Nearby Restaurant: Since I don’t count the KFC across the street or the many choices inside the Thunderbird / Swap Shop, I’ll go with some authentic Jamaican at The Dutch Pot two miles away in Plantation.

Where I Virtually Stayed: There are some frightening choices closest to the drive-in, so I’ll drive 10 minutes to the Hampton Inn that’s in neighboring Tamarac by the Florida Turnpike.

Only in Fort Lauderdale: In October, a 350-pound man was accused of stealing two televisions from the Fort Lauderdale Walmart, according to The Smoking Gun. He was identified because the perp’s pants, containing his ID, fell off as he ran away through the parking lot.

Next Stop: Swap Shop, Palm Springs FL