Feb 142014

ChecklistThe hardest part of planning a sixty day, 7,000 mile motorcycle trip to Mexico has already been covered in the two previous posts, namely the destination route and budget. The second half of the plan is the overall preparation needed to get underway. This is serious business in that you don’t want to overpack and lug gear around that is seldom if ever used. At the same time certain items shouldn’t be left behind. The old adage “pack half of what you think you’ll need and then pack twice the cash” is great advice but not for a Wandering Nomad. After twenty years of showmobiling experiance, I find the best course is to create a checklist. Scribe it at least a week before departure and then go over it every couple of days. This approach allows time to add things initially forgotten and also allows you to rethink initial luxuries on the list that can be left behind. The pack list for this trip is like most others with the notable exception of extra documentation that needs to be carried and presented while in Mexico. Following is my pack list for this trip.

Departure Wear
Woman / Sax player T-shirt
Blue jeans narrow cuff
Spare key set
ATM card / Visa card
Drivers license
International Driving Permit
HI membership card
Waterproof nylon belt
Wool socks
Harley boots
Red Gore-Tex coat w/liner
Summer riding gloves
Earplugs (new: orange) in film case
Cell phone (charged & OFF)
Prescription sunglasses
Shift long-sleeve shirt
Personal GPS unit
Winter snowmobile gloves
Long underwear
Exhaust Saddlebag: 19L / 1159 in3
Rain sac:
Rain pants
Thor rain jacket
Klim rain gloves
Five Fingers
Nuvi carry case (red):
Nuvi 205W GPS w/SD card
USB to mini-usb (nuvi) cable
Zip-Loc freezer bags
2nd rain sac:
Tire inflation/patch kit
Camo Gore-Tex hat
Rocket cold weather gloves
Large Saddlebag: 24L / 1464 in3
Seattle bag:
Toiletries w/ Chapstick
Soap sack
3 Pair Boxers
2 Blue jeans (narrow cuff)
2 pair wool socks
1 pair cotton socks
2 T-shirts
1 long sleeve shirt
Bluetooth speaker
Swiss army knife
Top Case: 28L / 1708 in3
Kickstand pad
Orbit Room ball cap
Old towel to wipe seat / wash bike
Military PolarTec
Doo rag
HP/PC w/charge cable
USB stick with Linux Mint loaded
Nikon D3100
Black grocery bag
Nuvi 1300 GPS (backup)
2 padlocks (for lockers)
Notepad and pen
Dry Bag: 70L / 4270 in3. 24” x 12” x 12”
Camping Gear
Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag
Backpacker tent
Inflatable mattress
MightyLite LED flashlight
Combo security cable lock
Regular glasses in case w/lens cloth
Kodak camera (charged) / mini-tripod / cable
Dry bag (dirty laundry)
Dupont chain lube
Black Rockports walking shoes
Clothes line
Towel for shower
1 pair shorts
AAA battery charger
Quart Amsoil
Bug spray
Straps to secure dry bag to bike
PADI dive card
Passport (2 copies)
Tiger Title (2 copies)
Tiger registration (2 copies)
Geico Insurance cards (2)
Mexican Insurance (2 copies)
Clean mechanic’s gloves
 Tire pressure gauge

The orange clothing are garments I’ll need just to get out of Illinois. I was supposed to leave on this trip around February 1, 2014 but near record snow and cold has kept me locked in the barn. A ray of hope has emerged for Wednesday, February 19, 2014 with a forecast high in the low forties. I’ll need to bundle up warm for the first day or two of the ride. The orange gear will be dropped at the post office further south in my journey.

The blue paperwork are items needed because I’m leaving the United States:

  • Passport. Yep. Even if you’re going to Canada for the afternoon, it’s needed.
  • Mexican Motorcycle Insurance Policy. But wait, since I have full coverage with my policy here at home can’t I use that in Mexico? Nope. Sorry. One of the biggest scams in the whole wide world is that Mexico will not recognize your “foreign” policy. Thieves. I could rant on this… but won’t.
    The Mexican Insurance Policy is an eight page document. I got mine from Grupo National Provincial and it cost $187.62 for a full year. This is for $300,000 in liability. This does not cover collision or theft of my Tiger, so if I lay ‘er down I’m outta luck. Most Mexican insurance companies do not provide collision or theft coverage for motorcycles. My policy does have some goodies for me, like $30,000 in bond and legal assistance, medical evacuation, vehicle support services, etc.
  • International Driving Permit. First off, this is not a drivers license!!! Nor does it allow you to drive without a valid drivers license. It’s basically a small booklet (about 10 pages) that provides translations in a gazillion languages so the kind peace officer that’s detaining you can understand your driving privileges back home. And since every (civilized) nation offers reciprocity, if you can drive it at home, you can drive it wherever you are. I received mine from a AAA office a few miles from my house. Just bring in a couple passport size photos (or they’ll shoot you there) and 15 bucks. Ten minutes later, you’ll have permit in hand. They’re good for one year from their validation date. Technically, this may or may not be needed depending on the country you’re visiting. But it doesn’t hurt to have one and for $15, it can avoid a lot of hassle down the road.
  • Tiger Title (and copies). I need to show proof of ownership when crossing the boarder.
  • Tiger Registration ID Card. Probably not needed but I’d sure as hell hate to get to the border and hear “Lo siento, Señor.” So I’m bringing it.

In addition to carrying the original and copies of all that documentation, I also scanned the documents and saved them as pdf files. I then ported them to my Google Drive account so they can be accessed anywhere.

I need to ensure my steed is road worthy for the  estimated 7000 miles she’ll be ridden. Fortunately, she was due for her 36,000 mile maintenance as Fall approached in 2013. So the oil and filter, antifreeze, and brake fluid are all new. This bike goes on a 6K maintenance window, so I’ll either have to get an oil change on the road (in the USA on the way home) or stretch it a bit and squeeze an extra 1000 miles. I’m running Amsoil full synthetic so either way, I’m not too concerned.

Finally, the life expectancy of all the wear items. I keep meticulous records for my bike so I know when various items could wear out. Here’s a run down of the wear items:






Front tire





Rear tire





Front pads





Rear pads










* Tiger currently has 37,435 miles. Mileage where component could fail.

I might be sweatin’ it on the chain and rear tire. But the chain’s an X-ring over the original O-ring and they’re supposed to last longer. I’m not planning to carry any extra bike equipment, so these items will have to last.

Well, that’s it. Only thing to do now is pack my gear and wait for Wednesday…


  One Response to “Pre-trip preparation”

  1. ¡Via con Dios mi amigo!