May 6: Parma Motor-Vu Drive In, Parma ID

It’s Day 126 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. In between long-drive days, I got a short one, just a half hour from Caldwell ID to the Parma Motor-Vu Drive In, in Parma of course.

As recounted in a 2013 Idaho Press-Tribune article celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Motor Vu was built in 1953 by Bill Dobbs, who wanted to get people to stop watching TV and return to the movies. Folks kept watching their sets at home, but the drive-in did just well enough to stay in operation all those years.

Dobbs’ daughter Karen Cornwell, who owns the place now, said that during the lean 1980s, the Motor Vu survived with Spanish-language films. “For a while the drive-in showed those films Wednesdays and Sundays and English-language films Thursdays through Saturdays.”

The wonderful history page on the Motor Vu web site tells more stories about the difficult time between the first wave of drive-ins and their eventual nostalgic resurgence. “The famous Motor-Vu marquee neon went out except for the MO. We couldn’t afford to get it fixed and the kids started calling it the MO. At first, it didn’t seem too cute to us since it was a reminder of hard times, but it wasn’t long before we, too, were calling it the MO. Finally, two years later, we got it fixed and would you believe it – the ‘R’ still didn’t work and we then had Moe Toe Voo.”

I was so glad to continue to make up ground toward my goal of 200 active drive-in nights this year. (After a lot of cold, closed drive-ins I visited in March and April, my pace is back up to 168.) I didn’t really mind seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 yet again. This year, I’ve seen much worse more often. Even on its third consecutive night, GotGV2 still makes a fine drive-in film.

Miles Today / Total:  21 / 13843 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 / 58

Nearby Restaurant: With the short drive, I had plenty of time to relax at the Parma Ridge Winery for lunch and stuff. I love a good mushroom and swiss burger, and the “G&R” added some chunky blue cheese. I prefer dry red wines, but the dry Gewürztraminer was flavorful and refreshing. And ah, those beautiful vineyard views!

Where I Virtually Stayed: I love it when TripAdvisor can steer me to a mom and pop classic motel that’s just as good as the chains at a better price. That’s what I had to do when my search of Parma didn’t turn up a place to stay and I went up the road to the Ontario Inn just across the border in Ontario OR. My room was clean and comfortable, and it had a fridge. Breakfast in the morning had coffee and English muffins. And the money I saved will provide a magnificent lunch somewhere literally down the road.

Only in Parma: There’s a statue of Bigfoot in front of the replica of Old Fort Boise at the aptly named Old Fort Boise Park. (Some references call it a state park, but it’s only about one square block in the Parma city limits, so I doubt it.) But it’s not the famous furry Bigfoot. This one was a part-Cherokee named Starr Wilkinson, known for his wide, almost seven-foot frame, for his 18-inch feet, and for allegedly leading a band of raiders who pillaged wagon trains. Some of the Shoshone Indians he led (long story) called him Chief Bigfoot, and the name stuck.

Next stop: La Grande Drive In, La Grande OR.