Apr. 25: Holiday Twin Drive In Theatre, Fort Collins CO

It’s Day 115 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took a little over an hour to drive from Commerce City CO to the Holiday Twin Drive In Theatre in Fort Collins.

Cinema Treasures says that the Holiday Twin started life in 1968 as the single-screen Starlight, then added a second screen in 1976.

According to a wonderful, long article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, current owner Wes Webb acquired the drive-in in 1979 by trading his light plane for it. By 1997, he and his wife Stephanie owned six drive-ins, five in Utah and the Holiday Twin. Stephanie said he bought them as investments, “big pieces of ground that make money,” but promised his wife that he would hold on to one of them, which turned out to be the Holiday Twin.

In my previous visits, I’ve been impressed by what a class act the Holiday Twin is. Decent facilities, a good concession stand, and a well-maintained lot. I heard they added a mini-golf course last year, but I haven’t had time to check it out.

The drive-in is still over a week away from its opening date of May 5 this year, so I was left without a movie to watch.

Miles Today / Total:  64 / 12507 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 53

Nearby Restaurant: It’s part of a chain, but my favorite place to eat in Fort Collins is the HuHot Mongolian Grill downtown. That location is part of an old hotel, and the brick walls and high ceilings (and a bar area) give it a different atmosphere than the antiseptic new HuHots that keep getting built. Pile as much meat and veggies in a bowl, add whatever sauces look good, then watch their chefs cook it into a yummy treat.

Where I Virtually Stayed: There are plenty of places to stay in Fort Collins, but none of them are especially close to the Holiday Twin. The closest is the Hilton Fort Collins, where I took advantage of my Hilton gold level to get some extra pampering. If you can make it to the executive lounge, it’s definitely worth it.

Only in Fort Collins: According to Roadside America, a 12-foot tall Campbell’s Soup can with Andy Warhol’s signature sits in front of old Fort Collins High School. Tomato, of course.

Next stop: Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In, Minturn CO.

Apr. 24: 88 Drive In Theatre, Commerce City CO

It’s Day 114 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took just 10 minutes to drive up I-76 from the Denver Mart Drive In to the 88 Drive-In in neighboring Commerce City CO.

According to a story in The Denver Post, the 88 was built in 1972 but was showing adult films when it was purchased in 1976 by Bill and Margaret Holshue. As of that 2010 article, their daughter Susan Kochevar was running the place, and teenage grand-daughter Kyleen Kochevar was working the ticket booth.

I was so glad that the 88 is open seven nights a week even in late April, giving me a chance to watch a Monday night drive-in movie for the first time in six weeks. It was even a triple feature, but I only stayed for the first film, Saban’s Power Rangers.

Miles Today / Total:  7 / 12443 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Power Rangers / 53

Nearby Restaurant: The closest restaurant to the 88 is also one of the best in Commerce City. La Casa Del Rey is authentic, family-owned Mexican restaurant that’s not afraid to make its dishes as hot as you can handle. Try the Mexican hamburger, which isn’t easy to find anywhere else.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I live in Denver, so I went home for one more night. The closest hotel to the 88 is just across the interstate in Henderson, another Super 8. According to the latest reviews, it’s been recently remodeled and provides a decent Super 8 experience. But for me, it’s nothing like sleeping at home for the last time this year.

Only in Commerce City: There are a lot of drive-ins that double as flea markets during the day, but I haven’t encountered any others that are practically adjacent to somebody else’s. The Mile High Flea Market, just across the railroad tracks and technically in Henderson, is the Denver area’s biggest continuous garage sale, Its 80 acres include up to 3000 sellers, a farmers’ market, kids’ amusement park rides, and beer.

Next stop: Holiday Twin Drive In Theatre, Fort Collins CO.

Apr. 23: Denver Mart Drive In, Denver CO

It’s Day 113 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. It took another 2 1/2 hours of mostly US 285 mountain driving, from Buena Vista through the actual South Park (a region, not a town) up to Denver, home of the Denver Mart Drive In.

The Denver Mart Drive-In is one of the very latest, opened in May 2015. That first season, it was open seven days a week, but this year it’ll only show movies Fridays through Sundays, Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

This is another example of a mixed-use situation that works well for a drive-in. As its web site points out, “The Denver Mart is an event facility by day and a Drive-In by night. Gates open at 7 pm. NO early admittance.” The building, which used to be called the Denver Merchandise Mart, opened in 1965. It hosts a lot of selling “shows,” such as the Rocky Mountain Gift and Apparel Show earlier this year. I’m sure glad that someone there noticed its acres of parking lot and had the imagination to add a profitable drive-in.

The snack bar offers the standard fare – chicken fingers, hot dogs, nachos, pickles and popcorn. Beginning in 2016, they started selling beer and wine inside a Plaza building next to the lot, although it has to be consumed there and not in the drive-in.

Although this was a Sunday night, the Denver Mart is still a month away from opening for the season. That just gave me more time to spend at home (see below).

Miles Today / Total:  129 / 12436 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 52

Nearby Restaurant: The closest good non-chain restaurant to the Denver Mart is just a block away. The Red Rooster Cafe serves up a fine assortment of dishes for breakfast and lunch. Blueberry pancakes are one of my favorite food groups any time of day, the burgers and Mexican food come in huge proportions, and the prices are great.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I live in Denver, so I stayed home. These are going to be the only two nights this year that I get to sleep in my own bed, and I’m not passing up that chance. But the Comfort Inn Central is almost adjacent to the Denver Mart, so that would have been my second choice.

Only in Denver: One of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Colorado is the Buckhorn Exchange, a restaurant and bar across from a former railroad yard. Hundreds of taxidermied animal heads line the walls, and dozens of exotic meats fill the menu. The place opened in 1893 and holds the first state license for “Beer, Wine and Spirituous Liquor”. Best of all, it’s adjacent to a light-rail stop, so it’s easy to get back to wherever you’re staying after sampling several of the Exchange’s exotic drinks.

Next stop: 88 Drive In Theatre, Commerce City CO.