Nolte: My Trip to the Drive-In During a Pandemic — We Saw ‘Iron Man!’

NITEROI, BRAZIL - JUNE 25: An employee delivers food to a moviegoer through the car window at a drive-in cinema at Caminho Niemeyer amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on June 25, 2020 in Niteroi, Brazil. The space has a capacity for up to 110 vehicles, and a 210 square meter …
Luis Alvarenga/Getty

I’ve written more than once about the handful of years — the first years of our marriage (1989 to 1993) — when my wife and I pretty much spent every summer Friday night at the drive-in movies. Those articles are filled with nostalgia and longing and sentiment and all the other emotions you feel as your past becomes the long past.

It’s been almost 30 years since we’ve gone to the drive-in. Thirty. That’s a long time to be away from something you love…

Well, that losing streak finally ended two weeks ago … and completely by accident.

My wife and I have just returned from a two week camping trip. I didn’t publicize the trip while we were away. In a world where the corporate media and Democrats actively and openly encourage their Antifa and Black Lives Matter Brownshirts to commit acts of violence, advertising my empty house did not seem like the smartest way to go.

It was a blissful two week trip. We visited George Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon and spent two full days exploring Gettysburg. Because of my wife’s health issues, we took our time so she would have plenty of days to rest, and that ended up being a perfect way to travel. Instead of rushing around trying to see everything, we had at least six full days of nothing to do but hang around the RV park — idyllic days filled with grilled hamburgers, a good book, and long walks with the dogs.

These leisurely days allowed me to stumble on two things we weren’t looking for. The first was the home of the great Civil War Confederate general, Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, which was closed due to the coronavirus. The small estate was open, though, so I walked the grounds. The small museum was also open, and that’s where I purchased the Jackson biography Rebel Yell, an addictive and exciting read that exposes the bigotry and ignorance of those demanding the removal of Confederate monuments.

The second thing I stumbled on was an operational drive-in movie theater just a mile from one of our camps.  A genuine, old-fashioned drive-in with crunching gravel, greasy French fries, and window speakers…

Now, at this point, you might be asking why, with my wife’s health issues, we would venture out on a two week trip in the age of the coronavirus. Why take the chance?

Because we’re not insane. We’re cautious, not paranoid. To begin with, we spent most of the trip in our own environment — the truck and camper. That means we ate, slept, and drove everywhere in an environment no one else enters. What’s more, camping is perfect for social distancing. You have at least 40 square feet all to yourself.

So the only risk were those rare moments we were indoors, so we wore our masks and washed our hands, and enjoyed the fact that there were so few people around.

These are places my wife and I have always wanted to visit, and now that they are under direct threat by the organized left, we decided now might be a good time. Remember, it is not just the public monuments these fascist freaks are looking to exterminate. Like everything else we hear from the media, the talking point that These monuments belong in a museum or public battlefield is also a lie as there is now a movement to remove Confederate monuments from Gettysburg — from Gettysburg!

So we went, and we had a marvelous time, and let me suggest that if you ever visit Gettysburg you skip the expensive bus tour and instead take your own driving tour with these CDs.

Anyway, the drive-in…

After nearly 30 years, would I discover that the reality of the drive-in would not live up to my rose-colored memories of the drive-in? Nope. The rose color is real.

Other than walking Pickett’s Charge (an unforgettable experience), our trip to the drive-in was a completely unexpected highlight.

The place opened at 7 p.m., and per tradition we arrived right away to get the best spot. For the next two hours we listened to fantastic 80s music blaring through those little metal speakers, we ate a deliciously greasy supper of hotdogs, French fries, and nachos, took the dogs for multiple walks, and ate a whole bag of Twizzlers — you know, the big bag.

As far as the virus, this place had it down. There was no human contact whatosever. You purchase your tickets online ($20 a carload). You give your name to the masked person at the entrance booth. You purchase food and drink online and receive a text when the order magically appears on a table.

We were told to park in-between the speaker poles, as opposed to next to one. This assured plenty of distance between cars, and every 20 minutes the 80s music was interrupted by a short announcement reminding us of the rules, which were reasonable. You could even smoke cigarettes in designated areas.

At 9 p.m. it was dark, and per tradition the bright lights came on for the trailers and other announcements (this allows people to safely return to their cars). Then the bright lights shut off and the movie began…

Iron Man (2008), and it was glorious…

Obviously, I’ve seen Iron Man more than once, but it’s been a while, and I had forgotten the finer points. What a shock to be reminded of how much Marvel as devolved over the last 12 years. Iron Man is not only incredibly entertaining, it’s unabashedly pro-American, conservative, anti-PC, and even sexy. Can you imagine today’s sterilely-woke Marvel serving up stripper/stewardesses?

The second feature was Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), which I love, but it was 11:30 and I had to work the next day, so we rolled down the windows and listened to that lovely sound of crunching gravel as we slowly made our way out.

The drive-in hasn’t changed at all. Which is wonderful. Change sucks. 

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.