Cruise-In at the Drive-In

Photo submitted

Sue Daniels’ granddaughter Kaidyn Daniels has fun at the cruise-ins as well!


By Christy Porter
Managing Editor
The MC Cruise-In began its seasonal get-together, Thursday, April 25, at the Licking Sonic-America’s Drive-In, located at the junction of highways 63 and 32. While rain fell most of the day Thursday, it cleared around 3 p.m., allowing for a sizeable attendance of 40 bikes beginning at 6:30 p.m. Young and old checked out the motorcycles and trikes, shared stories, enjoyed music and renewed acquaintances.
Photo by Shari Harris
Ailene and Jack Mundy came to the cruise-in on Ailene’s 1991 Honda Goldwing trike and Jack’s 2008 Honda Goldwing trike.
Adri Blankenship, Sonic manager, donated a special raffle prize basket that included assorted Harley Davidson Motorcycle goodies watched over by a Harley Davidson gnome; the basket was won by Rich Kellogg.
Blankenship enjoys the monthly Cruise-In, saying, “I make it a point to work on the Cruise-In evenings. It is a busy night but all the attendees are extremely nice, family-oriented and good people. It’s fun seeing all the different bikes and even sometimes classic cars, which come from all over. Our staff really enjoys the group, it’s fun for everybody. Even those passing by will honk or stop in. I enjoy participating with donations for the raffle prizes. My hope is that the Cruise-In continues for years down the road.”
Eleven years ago Sue Daniels had the idea of a motorcycle Cruise-In as a way to give bikers the opportunity to get together, talk and show bikes. Her husband, Jack, and son, Jack Allen, thought it was a neat idea as they built trikes at their home shop. Sue approached Ed Browning, then Sonic Manager, about Sonic as the location to host the monthly event. He agreed. She made flyers and distributed them locally and where possible when she and Jack went on rides. The first Cruise-In was attended by 12 bikes; they currently average 75 bikes, with 113 being the largest gathering to date. “Everyone is always curious how many bikes are there, so we count them. If I forget they will ask and then the count begins,” says Daniels. 
“I never anticipated it running this long or being so popular when I first got the idea of a cruise-in. I thought it would be fun to have a nice place where area bikers meet, share their stories with others and admire their bikes at the same time. They seem to love it and look forward to it each year. I never dreamed they would come from such a long distance. Most of the time we have about a 60 mile radius but, occasionally, we have them roll in as far as from St. Louis,” said Daniels. “I have people in the middle of winter say they sure miss it and can't wait till the next one. I sometimes think I am known as the cruise-in lady. I actually have been out in a store and heard someone say, ‘Hey, Isn't that the lady from the cruise-in?’”
In 2015 Rachel Smith, Sonic Manager at the time, approached Daniels with the idea of doing a toy drive to help the children at Christmas. Said Daniels, “It was a good idea.”
As a result the bikers donate toys the last two months of the season. This adds up to some very large boxes of toys which are distributed at Licking’s Christmas festivities. For each toy donated they receive a raffle ticket giving them the chance to win a special prize at the end of the year.
Music is provided by DJ Lew Lewis, Daniel’s son-in- law, who owns “The Road Show,“ a DJ service. Lewis keeps the music going and hands out the door prize raffle tickets as they ride in. The prizes are donated by Sonic and area businesses.
Photo by Shari Harris
Motorcycles and trikes lined the curbs on three sides of Sonic Thursday, as their riders enjoyed the food and the opportunity to meet with friends.

“I hope the people in town don't get irritated with us taking over Sonic one night a month. We try to keep only one side occupied but, on occasion, we have taken up more. We actually encircled it one night with 113 bikes present. That is our record as of now but, who knows, we might break that record some night. I have had people in town tell me they see the bikes around Sonic and comment on how many there are. They seem to enjoy seeing them. I have tried to get them to come on out and walk around some night. A few have done just that. We had one older couple who used to come to almost every one, walk around and eat ice cream; unfortunately they are both gone now. I miss seeing them. I had known them since I was a little girl.”
As for the bikers, Daniels continues, “We have kind of become one great big family that gets together once a month and visits. I love the way it brought together so many bikers, who have become friends. We have lost a few over the years due to illness, wrecks, etc. You can feel the sadness after one of these losses. That shows you how close these bikers have become.”
“We welcome any and every kind of bike. We have even had a moped. We don't criticize what you ride. I have always said, ‘If you enjoy riding it, who cares what kind it is!’” emphasizes Daniels.
The MC Cruise-In is held the last Thursday of each month, April through September, at the Licking Sonic from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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