July 1: Skyview Drive-In, Litchfield IL

It’s Day 182 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. This day was a naked ploy for more active drive-in nights as I strive to reach my goal of 200 for the year. After I left Earlville IL, I drove past Springfield’s Route 66 Twin Drive-In, which will be open again on Monday, to Litchfield’s Skyview Drive-In, which is strictly Fridays and Saturdays. It took a bit under three hours to get there.

Retired educator Dr. Walter “Chick” Bishop says in the 2013 video above that the Skyview opened in June 1950. It’s the only US 66 drive-in that’s been in continuous operation since it opened.

The Frisina Amusements Company was the Skyview’s first owner. Norman and Del Paul bought it in the 1980s and owned it until they passed away in the 2010s. Their daughter and her husband sold the Skyview to a pair of couples, Nick and Mindy Pastrovich and Mike and Debbie Pastrovich, in March 2016. Mindy told the Route 66 News, “We plan to run it as a drive-in indefinitely.”

The Pastroviches are keeping the Skyview grounded in the past, including the dancing hot dog animation that it shows between movies. “It’s almost like a trick dog, and it’s on a podium, and it does flips, and then it jumps into the bun,” Mindy told The State Journal-Register. “I have had multiple, numerous requests to make sure that the dancing hot dog did not go away. The dancing hot dog is not going away.”

I settled in to watch and question my old friend, Cars 3. We met again for the 10th time. As I munched on my chicken strip basket, I wondered, if there are no humans in the Cars universe, why do they have door handles?

Miles Today / Total:  192 / 23193 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Cars 3 / 98

Nearby Restaurant: I had hoped for a meal at the Ariston Cafe, across from the Route 66 Welcome Center, but it was closed for the Fourth of July weekend, so I went next door to the equally historic Jubelt’s Bakery & Restaurant. Back to healthy eating, I tried Jubelt’s signature garbage salad with ham, turkey, bacon, and eggs, along with some healthy greenery. I celebrated my balanced diet with a fresh baked cheese danish for dessert.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Normally I’d default to a nearby Hampton Inn, or maybe the Holiday Inn Express. But the Quality Inn is so very close to the Skyview; it’s within easy walking distance if you ever wanted to walk to a drive-in. It was also noticeably less expensive than those alternatives. My room was clean, had the full set of amenities, and the hot breakfast was a cut above some other Quality Inns. Woohoo!

Only in Litchfield: Really I should talk about the Route 66 Welcome Center, but 31 miles away, the DeMoulin Museum in Greenville was having its Family Reunion Weekend celebration just a couple of weeks after appearing on the History Channel’s American Restoration show. As described by Roadside America, the DeMoulin Co. was once the world’s biggest provider of fraternal lodge initiation pranks. They included a bucking “ferris wheel goat” and such fake trials as the “molten lead test.” DeMoulin is still in business in Greenville, now as one of the world’s biggest suppliers of band uniforms.

Next stop: Cinema 67 Drive-in, Spencer IN.