May 29: Roy’s Black Hills Twin Drive-In, Hermosa SD

Drive-in screen at twilight

photo from the Roy’s Black Hills Twin Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 149 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. This time it was “only” a half-day’s drive, four hours from Mobridge SD to Roy’s Black Hills Twin Drive-In in Hermosa.

Roy’s Black Hills Twin is one of the wave of 21st-century drive-ins. Opened in 2012 by Roy Reitenbaugh, it claims to be the first drive-in built with digital projection.

Reitenbaugh talked with The Daily Republic of Mitchell SD in 2013 about the challenges of getting the new drive-in built. After getting the idea, “it took seven years to find an investor and a location at the same time,” he said.

The construction of Roy’s had to wait until issues were solved to meet county and town ordinances, including build permit and floodplain concerns. Even obtaining sign permits has been a challenge. “I didn’t know it was going to be that hard,” Reitenbaugh said.

The concession stand at Roy’s has a bit more than just the usual drive-in suspects. Pulled pork sandwiches, side salads, and especially walking tacos can’t be found just anywhere.

What a great way to spend Memorial Day, relaxing in my car and watching an excellent drive-in movie on its opening weekend. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales probably isn’t an excellent movie (without the drive-in part), but all that action and CGI are just what we need on the big screen.

Miles Today / Total:  247 / 19150 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales / 68

Nearby Restaurant: There’s the kind of pizza that gets served in a buffet and there’s the kind that’s hand-crafted with personality. So lunch at Lintz Bros. Pizza was different than the previous day’s pizza and chicken extravaganza. I had some Lean Greek pizza, which is supposed to be sort of healthy, and the “pig wings,” which made no such claim. And some Boulevard Wheat Beer to wash it down.

Where I Virtually Stayed: To stay somewhere close to Roy’s the choices are the cluster of hotels near Mount Rushmore 12 miles away, the cluster of hotels in Rapid City 17 miles away, or the White Tail Ridge Bed & Breakfast two miles away, just west of Hermosa. I missed out on driving twisty two-lane highways late at night, and I got to eat rhubarb waffles with blueberry sauce for breakfast. Score!

Only in Hermosa: As mentioned in Roadside America, here in the shadow of Mount Rushmore, you could find 15-foot tall busts of three other American presidents. Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and John F. Kennedy may have been advertising the nearby, now defunct, Presidents Park. Check out this Google Street View of the busts with the drive-in screens in the background.

Next stop: Sandhills Drive In, Alliance NE.