July 7: Tri-Way Drive-In Theatre, Plymouth IN

Tri-Way screen 2 projection booth and screen

Photo from the Tri-Way Drive-In Facebook page

It’s Day 188 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took just a bit over an hour to drive from Wabash IN to the Tri-Way Drive-In Theatre, north of Plymouth IN.

According to its history page, the Tri-Way opened its doors with one screen in June 1953. The name of the theater, selected from public suggestions, was based on its location on what was U.S. 31, between U.S. 6 and 30. Janet Combs, who submitted the name, received a year’s family pass to the theater.

In a August 2015 article in the South Bend Tribune, owner Dave Kinney said he’s operated the Tri-Way since 1985. He said that summer had been rough, “either it’s been way too rainy or way too warm for crowds, and ticket sales are down”.

Despite the downturn, Kinney was committed to buying digital projection systems for all four screens. “It’s a rough business, especially because we’re only open six months of the year,” he said. “The only thing that keeps me going is the love of the drive-in. It’s just in your blood.”

I had written about the Tri-Way just a couple of months ago. Back then, Kinney was asking for more patrons to come by and purchase more stuff from the concession stand so he could pay off those digital projectors.

The Tri-Way has a really nifty mini-golf course, a full restaurant, plus four screens – superb for me trying to find something fresh to watch. The latest Spider-Man movie was on one screen, but I expect I’ll get another chance to see that soon, so I picked the less family-friendly Will Ferrell movie, The House. As a result, this marked the third straight night of seeing a movie for the first time this year. That hadn’t happened since January. Woohoo!

Miles Today / Total:  64 / 23888 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The House / 104

Nearby Restaurant: I’d never seen so many beers on tap at a deli as I saw at Opie’s Deli downtown. But since it was a deli, I went for the reuben sandwich, which came with chips and a pickle just as you would expect at a deli. It was humble, tasty food at a good price, leaving plenty of cash for more beer.

Where I Virtually Stayed: Another Indiana night, another Holiday Inn Express. This one was freshly renovated. I needed to pay a little extra for a suite to get a fridge and microwave, but I’ll bet the wifi was that good throughout the place. The standard very good HIE breakfast topped off another nice HIE stay.

Only in Plymouth: According to Roadside America, local car restoration hobbyist Calvin Bailey converted Bob’s Towing to a 1950s era Mobilgas service station, complete with a dial pay phone in a phone booth, an old style police car and fire truck, and some mannequins to give you a better idea of what things looked like back then.

Next stop: Sunset Drive In Theater, Hartford MI.