2003 Kawasaki GTR1000

Purchased October 2009

It doesn't matter who you are, but if you love bikes and touring then how could you resist this gorgeous example :)

John found this on the Internet in Brisbane but then negotiated with the dealer. This was and is a low km 2003 (always garaged) example that had been fitted with Cruise Control, Givi Top-Box, Fork Brace, taller (smoked) screen, lowered seat and raised bars.

The bad news: it was in Brisbane (and John lives in Broome 4,800km away!).

The good news: it was in Brisbane and would involve a great ride home :)

So (after attending the Malaysian MotoGP in Kuala Lumpur) John flew into Brisbane (well Coolangatta actually, courtesy of Air Asia - a great airline). for his long ride home. the bike was in peak condition with all fluids, oils, coolants and filters replaced.

Equipment carried on the trip included tools, 5 litres of emergency fuel (never used), a puncture kit ("slime"), muesli bars and a 3 litre "Camelback". John found that as long as the fluids were kept up (a "sports" hydration drink at each fuel stop) then he didn't tire.

Tuesday 27th October - Springwood to Roma (Q)

John departed Team Moto Honda Springwood at 10:20 for the 513km (easy first stage) to Roma. The roads were ok, except that the M2 had been dug up around Ipswich and all traffic was diverted through the centre of town. Whilst the Police were controlling every intersection the traffic and heat was dreadful and this must have lost a good one hour on the transit time. Unfortunately, there was also torrential rain for the last hour of the day's ride.

There was about one hour of fairly heavy rain prior to arrival at 17:00. There is good protection on at GTR1000 of hands and legs but not for the body - well, not for John on his bike.

In Roma there were plenty of (expensive) motels but hard to find a "pub" renting rooms. John ended up in The Club Motel & Hotel @ $79 for room only. Food was ok there (nothing stunning) but at $19 for a seafood basket a reasonable price.

NB: on the way into Roma recorded a section of 365km on a single tank without switching to reserve!

Wednesday 28th - Roma to Barcaldine (Q)

Departed Roma at 07:00 for this 594 km leg. Roads with a reasonable surface and very little traffic. However, this is also the start of the very long road trains, which cause an incredible amount of wind buffeting.  Arrived in Barcaldine at 13:45.

John had pre-booked into Shakespeare Hotel on a recommeendation from the web. A large, basic, room was had for $35 including a breakfast basket! They even found somewhere out of the way to "hide" the bike.

Shakey's is a large and (was) quiet hotel, but a former visitor regaled me with tales of when it was the local brothel!. John had a  delicious country style meal of large pork chop, mash, cauliflower, broccoli, sweat corn and greens for $19! This place would be ok for a cheap stay, but very quiet at the time of John's visit.

Thursday 29th - Barcaldine to Mount Isa (Q)

Departure at 06:30 for this 754km leg. There are very long straights through Longreach and Winton, but then more interesting scenery between Cloncurry to Mount Isa - but why is the posted speed limit 100kph! Arrived at 15:15.

This day was marred by the discovery of a seriously stuffed rear tyre - two techo's at the dealers and an acquaintance from GTR-AUS had all indicated the rear tyre was good for 7 or 8K - WRONG! All John got out of it was 1,500km, and that was driving conservatively, within posted speed limits, on an untried machine - oh, well! John limped into Mount Isa, but cannot give enough good praise for Mount Isa Motorcycles ( a Harley dealer), who went out of their way to be helpful, and found a Harley (Dunlop) tyre of similar dimensions to do the job. NB: the tyre was $279 ($325 fitted).

Overnight at the Mount Isa Caravan Park, in a quite tatty (old) caravan (with unbelievably noisy air con) for $70. Mind you, the (cool and refreshing) pool was brilliant!

A meal at the Overlander Hotel opposite was an eye-opener - i.e. a culinary disaster, with an incinerated Chicken Kiev (albeit only $14) with a good salad that had a chilli dressing!

Friday 30th - Mount Isa (Q) to Tennant Creek (NT)

John departed at 09:30 (after getting the rear tyre replaced) for this 637km leg. Let's just rave again about Mount Isa Motorcycles great service to have John on the road again by that time! arrived at 15:30 (NT time)

The road to TC is very flat, very straight and not very interesting, especially the MI to Camoweal section.

John stayed overnight at the Threeways Caravan Park in a motel unit for $85 - neat, clean, old. Geez, you could write a soapie about this place ("Crossroads"?, no, that's been done!) - it appeared to be "run" by the original duo of blond bimbos (in very short, shorts) who weren't quite into the service mentality! e.g. "what cakes have you got?" - "no idea, what you see is what you get"!. HOWEVER, they then proceeded to cook and serve John the best Rump Steak (rare, as ordered) of his entire trip. Not to mention the Fruit Cake which was a superb example of the really moist boiled variety, and a excellent Espresso Coffee!!! John would give this place a 1/10 for service and 9/10 for food :)

NB: John was now into seriously hot conditions: In this (36/38C) heat the best speed on his GTR1000 appears to be 115kph - with lots of provisos - John's bike has lowered seat, raised bars, higher (tinted) screen an he's 6'1". At this speed john can still get good airflow up the (loosened) sleeves of his jacket.

Saturday 31st - Threeways to Victoria River (NT)

John departed at 06:30 on this long 837km leg. Long boring straight sections took up most of the distance to Katherine. However, the NT speed limit of 130kph helped, so good progress at the expense of slightly poorer fuel economy. NB: 133kph = 5,000rpm which is where the vibration period seems to kick in on John's bike. i.e. 100kph is more comfortable on the hands! However, vibration is tolerable given Cruise Control - wouldn't want to be without it!

John arrived in Katherine far too early to stay, so moved on 190km to Victoria River Road House - arrived 14:40.  This place is in the middle of nowhere with cabins at $95. NB: The Victoria Highway is probably the most interesting road of the trip with plenty of long sweepers ideal for bike enjoyment. However, it also had the dearest fuel at $1.76 per litre. The Cabin at this establishment  was the most primitive yet, with a positively dangerous shower enclosure with glass falling apart. NB: there is also only Channel 7 on the TV!

John has to say the fish meal (grilled Barra') was very good, as was the salad - of course, one had to put up with the footy on the large screen TV (Channel 7 again!).

Sunday 1st - Victoria River (NT) to Halls Creek (WA)

John's departure was at 06:30 for this 695km section. The Victoria Highway continues to be a very interesting (i.e. twisty) bike road.
, why (on similar road widths, surfaces and conditions) can Northern Territorians by trusted at 130kph and Sandgropers are not safe over 100kph???  One cannot shorten the sections for there is nowhere else to stay - if one has to drive 600km then the additional time necessary to complete at 110kph surely only encourages tiredness?  John is personally convinced that these rules are put in place by Politicians and legislatures in Perth who have no comprehension of the distance one needs to drive in the Kimberly!

 Once past Kununurra there were many road works with lengthy diversions onto dirt - John doesn't do dirt! NB: fuel at Warmun (Turkey Creek) was the only place where one had to leave ones credit card in the shop BEFORE one could load up with fuel!

This seemed to be the hottest day of the trip, and was a very tiring day. John was glad to pull into Halls Creek at 14:00, and book into the Kimberly Hotel (Caravan Park full). $95 for a budget room that was quite nicely equipped. The pool was lovely and refreshing, but the spa appeared faulty and would only switch on for 30 seconds or so :(

Unfortunately, Halls Creek suffered a power cut of approx 60 minutes in the late afternoon. As the last night of trip, John had planned on using the restaurant, but that was booked out for a wedding, and all the food was running behind. So, the "Sportsman bar" yet again - not a bad soup and roast for $20, and (being in the same chain) they had four different types of Matsos's beers on tap - a couple of Smoky Bishops went down really well!

Monday 2nd - Halls Creek to Broome (WA)

John departed at 05:30, having been woken up by his neighbour leaving early. Not a particularly interesting route with many lots of road-works in this 685km section.

This was the longest gap (being 291km between fuel) on the entire trip. No problem for the GTR1000 of course :)

Mary's Pool appeared to be a reasonable stopping point, until the "Danger Crocodiles" sign was noted - however, that cannot be true for there is no water in the pool at the moment.

Arrived home at 13:30, with 4,800km on the clock since Brisbane. Still feeling fine, which has to say a lot for the bike - mind you, John loves that Cruise Control.

NB: click to enlarge