July 10: Getty Drive-In, Muskegon MI

It’s Day 191 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Driving north along the coast of Lake Michigan, it took me less than two hours to get from the 5 Mile Drive in Movie Theater to the Getty Drive-In in Muskegon MI.

According to the Getty’s about page, the drive-in opened as the single-screen NK Drive In (named for then-owner Nick Kuris) in 1948. It was the second to open in Muskegon, preceded by the Auto Drive-In the year before. Loeks Theatres purchased the NK in 1966 and changed it to the Getty, named for nearby Getty Street. They expanded to four screens in 1978, added radio sound in 1993, and converted to digital projection in 2013.

Some of those points get mentioned in the really nice 2016 YouTube video I embedded above. Loeks president J.D. Loeks gives a tour of the Getty while talking with folks from WOOD, Grand Rapids’ News Leader.

In an Mlife article from this April, general manager Kevin Sims said the Getty draws all ages. “You may see some teenagers, and some that are 65 reliving the past,” he said.

Another point I was proud to see Sims make was that outside food is permitted, but patrons should check out the excellent concession stand. “We have the best popcorn in the world,” he said. I wish that all drive-ins could adopt that spirit of relaxed confidence in their product.

With four movies to choose from, I relented to watch the latest Spider-Man film. I’ve wanted to see it since it came out, and sure enough, it’s a good movie and a great drive-in movie. I had hesitiated only because I might be seeing it a lot more over the next month.

Miles Today / Total:  89 / 24062 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Spider-Man: Homecoming / 107

Nearby Restaurant: Though I like the part about saving money, I look for little hole-in-the-wall restaurants for the kind of meals that aren’t available anywhere else. Such is the case with Fatty Lumpkins’ Sandwich Shack, which serves up wonderful combinations on Italian hoagie buns. I had the signature “Fatty,” of course, with roast beef, ham, turkey, and provolone, and that was before all the toppings. The place isn’t impressive on the outside, but the sandwiches are definitely worth the trip.

Where I Virtually Stayed: It’s nice to find a good Rodeway Inn such as the one in Muskegon. It was an older two-story motel, half the price of the nearby Hampton Inn, but I still got a mini-fridge and microwave, a clean bed, good wifi, and more than enough savings to take advantage of the adjacent Whitlow’s restaurant for a full breakfast.

Only in Muskegon: Near downtown, there’s a 10-foot statue that’s a salute to snowboarding. According to Virtual Globetrotting, ‘The Turning Point’ by Jason Dreweck is a monument to Muskegon native Sherm Poppen’s 1965 invention of the Snurfer. His daughter Wendy rides the original board at the top while the figure at the bottom is a modern day snowboarder at the Olympics.

Next stop: Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre, Honor MI.