May 4: Teton Vu Drive In, Rexburg ID

Teton Vu Drive-In marquee and screen

Photo from the Teton Vu Facebook page

It’s Day 124 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. I doubled back from Idaho Springs, home of the quiet Motor Vu drive-in, because I saw that the Teton Vu Drive In in Rexburg was going to have a special Thursday night premiere. It was just a half-hour drive up the North Yellowstone Highway.

The Teton Vu first opened some time before 1953. The Teton Dam flood in 1976 severely damaged the drive-in like almost everything else in Rexburg, but it got new projection equipment and reopened. Sometime after the mid-1980s, the Teton Vu closed. It reopened in 1999, then closed after the 2006 season, then reopened again in 2009.

While researching the Teton Vu, I ran across several claims that Rexburg, home of BYU-Idaho, has an unusually high concentration of Mormons. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I did notice that the Teton Vu concession stand offers hot chocolate but not coffee. I was probably better off with bottled water to wash down the lava wings they offered, and some huckleberry ice cream quenched the fires for good.

As I implied earlier, I was hugely grateful that the Teton Vu had a Thursday night premiere showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. How is it that Marvel can put out enjoyable superhero movies based on such minor characters while DC keeps struggling even with icons? My theory, in a word, is humor. Throwing in a proper sprinkling engages the viewer and makes characters more relatable. Keeping a story grim just makes it feel artificial. But I digress; the Teton Vu was a great place to see a movie, and GotG2 makes a fine drive-in film.

Miles Today / Total:  29 / 13522 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 / 56

Nearby Restaurant: I don’t drink alcohol every day, but if I skip coffee, the ensuing caffeine headache reminds that the Mormons might be on to something. As I looked around for my fix, I was disappointed that the R-towne Cafe had closed just a couple of months ago, and a promising-sounding place, The Cocoa Bean, sold wonderful hot chocolate but no coffee. I was just desperate enough to have lunch at the Burger King. There’s nothing especially wrong with Burger King, and the prices are very friendly, but the best part of the meal was the BK Joe coffee.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I chose the SpringHill Suites for a comfortable, large room with a fridge and a coffee maker. Wifi kept me connected to the outside world, and the hot breakfast in the morning included eggs and more coffee. I might bring a thermos just in case as I drive through Idaho.

Only in Rexburg: As briefly mentioned above, the Teton Dam Flood was a pretty big deal, killing 11 and causing over $1 billion in property damage. The Rexburg Historical Society opened the Teton Flood Museum n 1983 in the basement of the Rexburg Tabernacle. That’s not the museum’s name now. As Roadside America put it, “In 2016, after receiving complaints that the Teton Flood Museum didn’t have enough Teton Flood exhibits, the Rexburg city council simply changed the museum’s name to the Museum of Rexburg. But the flood exhibits are still in it.”

Next stop: Terrace Drive-In Theatre, Caldwell ID.