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Old 12-08-2010, 07:45 PM   #55
tricepilot OP
El Gran Payaso
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Antonio
Oddometer: 9,121
Originally Posted by Gitana View Post
Did you take soccer balls this time?

You know me well

Soccer balls are priority cargo.

As far as what I carried, it was minimalist. I mean, bare bones. For the entire two week excursion, I took 2 shirts. I would ride in an Under Armour black T all day, grimey as all get out, and just get into the shower with it and give it a good wash. I would take a hotel towel, lay it flat on the bed, and lay the wet T shirt on top, then roll the whole thing up. Then twist like the rubber band from those balsa wood airplanes we all used to play with when we were kids. Unrolled, the shirt would be slightly damp, but because its made with tech fabric, not cotton, it would dry quickly. I'd lay that shirt out, over a chair, and put on the other, identical, clean, T shirt, and go out and about.

I pared my tool kit down to only the required sockets, which included sockets for screw drivers and allen keys etc., and the usual duct tape and zip tie formula everybody carries. A spare headlight bulb, which I used, which, in fact, I've used on every Mexico trip now that I think abou it. I did have a nice tire kit, centered on Safety Seal tire strings, which I consider the best of the best for tire issues. Google that, it'll be worth your time. A spare ring antenna for the GS, assorted miscellaneous small tools, not a whole lot. Best thing for Mexico in your tool kit is 4 tie-downs anyway, because you can always find a truck to take your bike somewhere, even if you have to leave it there and take a bus home or to an airport, and come back with your own pickup later.

So, I say all this because I was happy to have room for a few extra soccer balls. For the uninitiated, please note that they're not inflated during transport. You buy them inflated, but just stick the sports needle in them and stand on top to make them flat as possible, then you can stack them like pancakes in your duffle. The cool thing is that once you hand them all out, your duffle serves as the container for all the neat artesanias you bought as souvenirs of your trip.

That pic up there is just south of Tampico, along the coast. I was in a really good mood, because I didn't have to screw with the Tampico transitos, who are on a major campaign to mess with tourists. This was at a seafood restaurant at lunch time, and those kids were scouting out the bikes (in a good way), while we ate by the water.

The fun part is to hand the kids their obligatory tootsie pop, and then whip out the bike's tire pump and a sports needle, and one of the soccer balls. I keep the needle for the balls taped to the inside of the top to the left side aluminum box, with a spare in the parts bag. Nothing like having a ball, a pump, and no needle...don't ask me how I know.

Anyway, pump up the ball with the electric pump, let the kids watch, but don't tell them before hand or ask them "do you want a soccer ball?". Of course they do, its a tesoro to them. You get them to the street, kick it around with them, get you and your riding buds involved with them, and then hand it out. The reason behind this, is during that little skirmish, you pick out some kid that looks like the leader, to take care of the ball after you leave, be its steward, so to speak.

Then get the kids together, and always take a picture. El jefe del balón in the photo below is the kid in the red shirt.

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