Last week I attended a benefit run for St. Jude's Hospital starting in Kingston, NY. The last time I did a big group run I opted for the Helix clone and found myself short on power in the hills and alongside huge V-Twins. This time I chose horsepower over CVT and took the Kawasaki. I was glad I did.

I didn't know what to expect when I was traveling there and was pretty shocked to see over 100 bikes sitting in the parking lot as I pulled in. There was pretty much every brand and type represented and with the weather warm and clear it promised to be a pretty good day. I started out mid pack and it wasn't long before I was glad for the Kawasaki's strength. We pulled out onto a four lane highway and in the rush to close up the pack I saw over 70 mph on the speedometer. Things calmed down once we pulled off onto country roads but the early rush was attention getting.

The roads and scenery in the Catskills is fairly attractive and the routes through it are a test of skills considering the group size and speeds. The most challenging is the ride from Tannersville on State Route 23A. I described it a while ago but in summary it's left, right, left, right, hairpin, left, right... with a steep drop alongside the guard rail on my right. The last time I did it I was alone while now I was in the company of two hundred motorcycles ridden by various skill levels. I was glad to have the triple disc brakes and handling the Kawasaki possesses.

After eighty miles we pulled back into a Bar and Grill in Kingston accompanied by the thunder of big bikes and a live band. There was food, raffles and a Bounce House for children brought by their parents to the after ride party. The final count was 210 bikes and over $14,000 contributed to the charity. It was a very good day.