I should have thought Sonics might be a little rare in Montana. Your weather is so severs for so long, you'd have such a short time to enjoy the experience. There are 2 in Sedalia and one in Versailles, a town of 3000, and one in Windsor which is much smaller yet. They're not bad but probably not worth a 90 mile trip.
The old A&W stands used to be everywhere, then they stopped using car-hops and moved indoors. Now many of them are combined with something else in one building. Here, the A&W is also a Long John Silvers. The food is still good but the "Long John's" motif makes it a little weird.
Sedalia seems to be something of a tornado magnet. 2 have actually hit town since I moved here and there was a serious tornado just before that. The last one came within 2 blocks of the house where it blew the roof off a church, jumped up over me and blew down some trees on the other side. Even though it jumped over me,it managed to break my front storm door and blow off a couple of shutters and leaving someone's canceled checks in the yard. On the plus side, it blew a new garbage can into the yard.
I watched a tornado blow between our house and a neighbor's back in Illinois one night. It was too dark to actually see it but the next day you could tell what happened. We had a big camper blown in one direction and a large wooden shed, maybe 50 feet away, blown in the opposite direction. Straight-line winds, which were often a problem up there, won't blow big stuff like that in opposite directions. The only damage to the house was slight, where the camper blew up against it. Apparently though, I've moved to where tornadoes are even more common. John
No Sonics in Helena. Looking at their website locator, there are 2 in Montana, Great Falls and Billings, so the closest is about 90 minute drive.
I do not miss tornados from my time in the midwest. I was working at a renfair in Kenosha when one came to the area and it was pretty scary.
You can try to find some of the old drive-ins with this: https://www.historicaerials.com/viewer
David and the CoolCyberCats
Well, there are "Sonic" drive-in places to eat all over the place. They do have car-hops, although they no longer hang trays on your car door. I've talked to a few British recently who said they never had drive-ins over there. That was a shock. I had no idea. Might be the right time for someone over there to try something "new". Drive-in theaters of course, need some place fairly dark, so they built just outside town, but as cities grew drive-ins were drowned in light and closed. A lot of them closed recently when they had to switch from film reels to digital projectors, which were apparently enormously expensive. The ones in Kansas City decided to do the switch. Then of course, there is the weather. They close up in the winter.
The drive-in in Sedalia was blown away in a tornado. Another opened farther out of town but didn't last long. I visited that one twice, seeing "Sleepless In Seattle" and I don't remember what else. Not exactly drive-in material. On the second visit, a nearby baseball field turned on their field lights, effectively blinding us from the left. People were putting newspapers and whatever else they could find in their windows to block the light. After about 30 minutes the lights went out. I mostly worked weekends so I only got to visit twice and they only lasted one summer so...
I never thought about military bases not having drive-ins. Sedalia is maybe 20 miles from Whiteman Air Force base, so you'd have had to go off base to catch one, and it's about 60 miles from the drive-ins in Kansas City. The one I used to go to in Illinois was damaged in a tornado but repaired. Finally, like most others, it closed. An apartment complex was built where the cars parked but strangely, the huge screen is still there! Anyone looking north from their apartment is confronted with a snow white rectangle big enough to block out anything else. The only reason I can imagine it still exists must be historical. John
I have never been to a proper drive in theater. :( I would LOVE to if there were any around here. Growing up, my parents did not go to the movies often and usually did not take me if they did. Plus, I am not sure there were drive in theaters on Army Posts. I would also love to go to a proper drive in place to eat, where the car hops come over to the car. Are there any left??
Maybe they did, but it was 13 that threw off all the sparks. I do miss my parents taking me to the drive-in back in the 60s. There are still 4 or 5 drive-in screens in Kansas City but of course, they show all new stuff, and new stuff just isn't made for the drive-in experience. Last movie I saw there was "Grownups". Great movie but hardly drive-in material. John
Didn't we use an electric motor in Apollo 11??