Sunday, July 10, 2011

Backroads in Oregon...let's go to the drive-in movies!

Link:  A drive-in movie near you on Drive-In!

Would you like to be a time traveler? Remember when we went to the drive in movies? Sometimes I long for those days gone by. We lined up along the side of the street to get admitted so we could get the best spot halfway up right in front of the screen and waited for the sun to set.  The national anthem played first and then everyone honked their horn in appreciation.  Dates snuggled together on the bench seat in the front of their cars and families sipped sodas and small children curled up to sleep on the back seats.  I can just smell youth and hay drying in the field next to the theater. It was lovely!

Believe it or not we traveled back to that time last night.  We had the drive-in movies experience one more time.  The drive-in movie is up and running for the summer in Newberg.  My daughter described it all as "very exciting" when she encouraged us to join our family for the experience.  

I think the drive from Hillsboro over to Newberg is one of the most beautiful in the Willamette Valley.  We leave Hillsboro going south on 1st Street and travel through the beautiful Jackson Bottom wetlands and some of the most beautiful farm land you will ever see anywhere in the world.  On your left Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson can be seen in the distance.  But the best is yet to come.

The climb out of the valley on the winding Bald Peak road is dream like.  On a clear day you can see across the valley sometimes toward the east and sometimes on the west.  While you are only at an elevation of a little over 1600 feet at the top, the valley floor is only 174 feet above sea level.  The vista just takes your breath away.

In 1931 the state of Oregon acquired a 16 acre parcel of land and created a little jewel of a Oregon State Park at the top of the mountain.  The state calls it Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint. They are not fooling.  It would be the perfect place for a picnic on a hot summer day.  When we drove by yesterday, I dreamed of bringing a picnic and stopping at one of the wineries just north of the park on the way from Hillsboro.  I would buy a bottle of wine to go with my lunch.  A lawn chair, a book, and my camera would come along too.  This would be the perfect spot for some quiet time.  After a bite to eat especially if I left late in the afternoon, I could wander on down to Newberg and get in line on Highway 99 in the outside lane heading east to wait.  I would slowly move with the other movie goers toward the turn on Portland RD, find a spot on one of the humps in the vacant lot and wait for dusk.  

If you are going to the movie, you need to line up early. Bring a Frisby or a football or a beach ball.  A lawn chair and a small table for a game of cards will work too.  Snacks in coolers, lots of children, blankets and a jacket might be good.  Even a sleeping bag if you like. You can kill a little time. When it is dusk the movie will start.  No one is in control of the hour.   Sit back and watch a flick…you could be a time traveler.  Nothing has changed since that little drive-in opened in 1962.

The road is twisting so the drive is slow. It will be very late when you get home. Don’t hurry.  You will not regret it.


Highway 99 Theatre is open on Fri-Sun.  Get there early...the drive-in fills quickly.  We arrived at 6:30 for the movie at dusk.  Oh and you cannot save a spot...they check on you!!!  It is so "1962" again!
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  1. There is still a functioning 4 screen drive-in movie complex in Scottsdale, AZ that operates year round. It is quite busy on weekends, even in the summer.

    I have printed out your post with the description of that incredible drive. The next time Betty and I are in Oregon I'll plan on taking it.

  2. The drive-in movie calls my name again. The drive up over Bald Peak was just a wonderful. I hope we will do it every summer from now on. This is a beautiful place to live.

    Thank you for the comment Bob.


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