Mar. 1: Sandell Drive-In, Clarendon TX

It’s Day 60 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. The drive from Amarillo was just an hour to the Sandell Drive-In in Clarendon TX. I started the third month of the odyssey with what will be my last stop in Texas.

According to KFDA, Amarillo’s News Leader, the Sandell Drive-In opened in September 1955 and was named after owner Gary Barnhill’s two daughters, Sandra and Adele. In closed in the late 1980s, then John Murrow purchased it and reopened in 2002. I love drive-in revivals! The Sandell switched to digital conversion around the end of 2011, so it looks like it’s in it for the long haul.

Coolest part of the Sandell? As shown in this photo, for the box office they use a repurposed booth from Clic Photo, a manned parking lot kiosk that was part of a smaller chain that was a lot like Fotomat. That’s so brilliant that I’m surprised I’ve never seen anyone else do that.

The Sandell web page says it held a special junior high school fundraiser on Feb. 11, but otherwise it’s open Fridays and Saturdays from April through September. Which makes this my eighth straight day of dark screens and no end in sight.

Miles Today / Total:  61 / 7863 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 37

Nearby Restaurant: What would I expect to find to eat in Clarendon? A solid steakhouse? Check! A good pizza joint? Check! The surprise was an authentic Lao Thai restaurant with the stealth name of the Jinda Cafe. I started with the Jinda roll and continued through the yellow curry. It’s great to find something this nice and unexpected.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It was just across the railroad track from the Sandell, and there aren’t a lot of choices in Clarendon, but the Best Western Red River Inn would have been a good pick no matter the circumstances. It’s a clean, modern place with wifi in the room and eggs, bacon, and omelets for breakfast in the morning.

Only in Clarendon: Just up the road in Groom TX, there’s an old water tower along old Route 66 that leans on purpose. According to Wikipedia, the tower was slated for demolition until Ralph Britten bought it and moved it to serve as a sign for his truck stop and tourist information center, and he thought it would attract more attention if it leaned a little. Oh, and Groom also has a 190-foot, free-standing cross.

Next Stop: Winchester Drive In, Oklahoma City OK.