Feb. 11: Santa Barbara Drive-In, Goleta CA

It’s Day 42 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I left the Los Angeles area and drove a couple of hours up the coast to the Santa Barbara Drive-In in Goleta CA.

All this week, I’ve been visiting California drive-ins that started with a single screen and added more. The Santa Barbara opened with two screens in 1966, became just a flea market in 1991, then reopened in 2010 as a single-screen drive-in.

After getting built on every edge of every town in the 1950s and 60s, the drive-ins that have persisted to today often have geographic protection. In this case, the Santa Barbara Airport immediately to the west probably prevents anything too tall from replacing the drive-in, and creeks to the east and west prevent encroachment from anything else.

West Wind, which runs the drive-in heaven I visited in Glendale AZ, runs the Santa Barbara and five others I’m looking forward to visiting. The company is a class act, as shown by the glorious panorama photos at the head of its Santa Barbara web site pages. You really should go take a look.

I was so glad when a fresh crop of movie releases came out Friday. For the first time in a week, I get to return to films I haven’t seen. Since the Santa Barbara has only one screen, I didn’t even have to make a choice.

Miles Today / Total:  114 / 5027 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The Lego Batman Movie / 31

Nearby Restaurant: Sushi is not my favorite food. If I see it at an Asian buffet or some other setting that makes me suspect that it’s ordinary sushi, I’ll choose something else. But really great sushi is worth it, and the Goleta Sushi House is less than a mile from the drive-in, so there I went. It’s just a small, casual place, but they really knew how to make miso soup and salmon sushi for a reasonable price.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I guess folks like a good weekend getaway to Santa Barbara, because all of the closest hotels were a little pricey. It was a good excuse to try the Super 8 Santa Barbara/Goleta, where I got a decent night’s stay and enough coffee and oatmeal for breakfast to get me going while keeping a few more $20s in my pocket.

Only in Goleta: According to Wikipedia, Japanese submarine commander Kozo Nishino took revenge for an earlier cactus-based humiliation by shelling the Ellwood Oil Field in February 1942. None of the 20 or so rounds caused any serious damage, but the incident was used as justification for the Federal government’s internment of Japanese-Americans (most of them US citizens), which soon after.

Next Stop: Hi-Way Drive-In, Santa Maria CA.