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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WileyRTW, Nov 2, 2020.
WHAT THE F!
Anyone know a good abogado??
Can you sit on those chairs right now when you are eating? I know a lawyer in Morelia he is also a race car driver in the carrera panamericana, I think his advice to you would be just let it drop. haha
Since I have seen them in other cities you are probably correct..damn corporate Mexico.
I am sure you can sit in those chairs, but I wont give the bastards a single peso to find out. While some places have a table or two closed there is no social distancing, they have the same stickers on the ground for 2 meters, but they are ignored....shoulder to shoulder is acceptable here.
Don Quixote you say??
Thanks for the report, nice to see current Mexico. And thanks for the insight, I was curious what the situation was in Mexico with the "pandemic" scenario playing out. Shame though some people on here feel the need to throttle free speech based on tender feelings.
I say this with respect, why is he not "allowed" to interject covid related discussion into his ride report? I would think it is more than relevant at this juncture, no?
Its not up to me to answer, but I’ll give my “ opinion “ on why the powers to be want the C19 stuff left out.
For some reason it seems some folks take a very strong point, one way or the other on it, and it becomes a battle of a few stronger personalities that will derail and shut down the thread; which would be a shame cause it appears to be a great one.
Actually while I upset a few snowflakes, no one having any authority has said I am not allowed to discuss it, the admin said I was free to proceed as I have, but respectfully has asked I proceed with caution out of respect for others. I am sure in order to try to avoid confrontations due to the delicacy of the situation they need to keep their eyes on any potentially controversial topics across the forum. People have lost their loved ones to covid, sacrificed the livelihood, etc. and it is in each our faces/lives 24/7, so it's naturally an emotional topic for all. I will continue to give the impression I have from being here on the ground, I in no way have ever said I was an expert on the subject, so you all have to take the info I provide and make your own judgements, but again no one who matters has said it could not be discussed here.
I will continue to provide the info since as I stated previously sources like Facebook seem to provide a 1 sided view where everyone is complying, which puts those with medical conditions that might put them at risk, or anyone just generally concerned about the situation, in danger. There is a very different view when you fly into your Playa del Carmen resort, or never leave the centro of a major tourist destination, than if you have your own wheels and can get away from those areas. Overall most people are trying to comply somewhat, but there are times where it feels like (no idea the actual numbers) that up to 50% ignore it completely (excluding Sayulita, which felt like 90% were ignoring it).
I am glad there is interest in the info, and as we know the situation can change over night, so I won't sugar coat it as there are a lot of people headed South at the moment, and people need to know what they are getting themselves into.
After the tourists left Patzcuaro and things calmed down, it was apparent that the locals themselves have a very relaxed attitude about it there. The show being put on with areas roped off, and temperatures being taken prior to entering the plaza/hand sanitizer disappeared overnight. There were probably 25% or more without masks on. This pic shows most wearing the masks but since they are in line it was required (though even then a small number do not have them on yet, and you can see exposed noses ect.), but it also shows them shoulder to shoulder, ignoring any 2 meter apart suggestion, though there are stickers on the ground everywhere.
Churro Cam Episode 1
*Looks around, slides on shades, smiles and nods in smug approval* Looks like we got rid of the snowflakes boys, nothing but us adventurers here. So....back to the adventure.
That's right, my readers have spoken, you want the fake covid BS, and you want donuts....and I am a man that delivers...well almost. For some reason I wasn't feeling donuts this day, BUT THERE WILL BE DONUTS.
I left off with el Churro and I headed North on a trip that was supposed to be taking us South. On the way back up to Tecate el Churro decides to give me the silent treatment and stops telling me what speed we are going (Problem #4). Not a big deal, I just pick a car that seems like it isn't going 90mph and figure I should be good. I arrive at Tecate Saturday afternoon around 3:30, only to find the giant gates closed, damn this fake covid BS. I follow the free route along the border over to Tijuana, but never came from this way and missed the sentri lane. Now I am stuck waiting with all the cars as the vendors make it difficult to lane split as they setup their vendor carts in the middle. I finally get to the main area where it opens up and make my way to the front, only to see 50 lanes of Sentri and Ready Pass where I am, and signs for all other traffic waaaaay over to the left. Too late now, I pull up, apologize telling her I don't even know what Ready Pass is, but the woman doesn't care, she just wants my passport and I am back in the USA.
Being back I take advantage of the stores and buy things I should have gotten earlier, like replacing the GPS mount that broke, and the fantastic butt cushion that I desperately needed. The next day I arrive at the moto shop that has my helmet screws before it opens, so re-adjust the chain in the lot now that the loaded bags are on the bike. While doing this a guy starts talking to me about el Churros massive gas tank, and asks where I am headed. I laugh, say Baja to Michoacan, but tell him knowing the way I travel there is a good chance I don't make it to Michoacan at all, let alone in time for the dia de muertos celebrations. Well what do you know, Joe is from Mexico, and his wife is from Michoacan. We chat and he convinces me I should try and make it, he supports the Baja plan even though a trip down + the ferry, plus riding through mainland to get there would cut it very close. After getting the screws I decide it's not worth risking, and instead punch in the address for Tuscon. Yup, 30 minutes ago I still thought I was headed for Baja, this is how I roll.
Last night in the USA, go big or go home
The next day I am ready to cross taking the truck route around the city of Nogales. Of course I first run some errands, and grab some food, so it is probably noon by the time I actually cross. Luckily, I already have all my paperwork so do not need to stop. Nothing of interest happens this day aside from when I take a break to remove some layers. As I am parked on the side of the highway I see a man walking on the shoulder in my direction, not an uncommon sight even on the toll roads. Once he gets up to me he says something and we start chatting. Now while many of us are probably aware the migrant caravans were propaganda, it doesn't mean people don't do it. Turns out this mother F'er has been walking for 2 months from Nicaragua, and is headed for Tecate. At one point he shows me his shins, which are healing but a bit messed up with open wounds, and explains that he fell off a train. We chat on the side of the road for some time, and part ways. I did offer him some water, but he already had that, he never asked for any money, we were simply conversing on the side of the highway. I hope he made it across the border, he figured he had another month to go before getting there, maybe I should offer him a lift, no no South we go!
El Churro and I continued on and made our way down to Guaymas, since I have never stopped there. Guaymas is fine for a stop, the nearby San Carlos is another option as well. The less popular ferry for over landers goes from mid Baja to Guaymas, but I assume most people here are driving down from Az, though I do not see a single tourist. I drove down the main drag to get my bearings, then around the marina which was fairly empty, and then circle back to grab a hotel. I didn't see a plaza of any sort which is typical of a centro, but with the marina they may not have one as people can gather there, or perhaps I missed it. Either way I was hungry, surprise!!, so walked back down to the main strip.
Mazatlan. not Guaymas
1st day on mainland, I am so excited for tacos. Hmm, what the hell is up with Guaymas and hotdogs??? I am not exaggerating, I found 0 taco stands, 1 tomale stand, and 10 hotdog stands. I don't understand what the deal is, but when in Rome. I find a hotdog stand but get a hamburger which was great but I probably should have got a hotdog as well to see what the deal was.
From there I was debating copper canyon, but with the loaded bags, and suspension issues I thought I mght be having I decided I will loop back later, and continue on. I had been to Los Mochis and Choix on a previous trip so kept going through the area headed for the beaches, but in hindsight wish I had stayed at Alamos for a bit since I now had more time after skipping Baja. I think mentally I was still rushing, but will make sure to stop there next time I am in the area.
Coming from Tuscon I take the 15D all the way to Mazatlan, it sucks, el Churro and I HATE toll roads, I didn't come to Mexico for this. At one point I stop to put on a layer, and el Churro throws a fit and falls over. Before I even have time to do anything 2 guys leaving the ranch across the road pull over and jump out to help lift it...Thank you, this bitch is heavy! I don't recall if I stopped anywhere after Guaymas or before Mazatlan, again I wasn't going to do a report, so when I stopped at small random places I was not paying attention too much, simply enjoying myself. I pretty much made my down the various beach towns, sitting around eating delicious food.
Some of those towns were ones previously visited in 2011, so it was nice to see them after all those years. There is that 1 town I never thought I would go back to, Sayulita. Oh how I dislike Sayulita. When Paul and I rolled through it was a shit show, there was a lot of construction as they were building up the town, and in process of building that nice bridge that is in place now. This time it is actually a nice town, although the hotels are definitely priced for gringos. I figured a covid Sayulita would be somewhat tolerable for me, but I was wrong, it was still full of gringos. I parked to go look for a hotel, but before I could even get off el Churro 2 guys from the US stop and start talking to me. We chat for awhile about all kinds of things, and when covid comes up 1 guy says "They live like it doesn't exist here", and that was a perfect way to put it. The majority of people in town are without masks, but there are those who wear them. The street vendors might have them around their chin, they might wear them properly, but regardless their hands are all over your food so who cares, if they have covid the mask isn't going to do anything in this situation. The only place I saw a mask required was the 7/11 equivalent, OXXO, which I avoid anyway. Corporate America, corporate Mexico, they are all the same, fight the hombre! The only time I use an OXXO is to break large bills.
I was struggling to find a hotel that had moto parking and wasn't a rip off. I eventually check A hostel and they tell me 200 pesos for a dorm, 280 with AC, but again, street parking. I decided to instead put my camping gear to use and headed to the campground we hit back in 2011. Now back then, only 1 side of the bathroom was working, so it was coed, and there were no doors on the toilet stalls, so you can imagine my surprise when I found separate sides for each sex, and doors on the stalls...ok they did not latch shut, but at least there were doors! Camping was between 200-300 pesos I forget, but it had parking so worked out. The camping spot is "El Palmar del Camarón", and in walking distance to town.
All my diva shit. It did not rain, but helmet upside down was foolish.
A couple of Americans are living at the campground, and told me that there had originally been vigilante road blocks setup for covid and they wouldn't let anyone in, but then almost overnight everyone suddenly relaxed. More importantly, they sent me to this food spot, which was delicious.
Somewhere between Mazatlan and Barra el Churro decides it is time for a break (Problem #5). The motor quits and I coast to a large area where it is easy to park. It is around 11am which is great, at least I don't have to worry about nightfall, but it is hot and there is no shade anywhere. I am new to carb bike as the WR has fuel injection, but for some reason know to drain the float bowl, as I suspect el Churro has flooded. El Churro pisses a lot of gas, but then we are back on the road, yes I am the greatest mechanic ever!!! I will need to drain el Churro several times over the next few weeks until I finally clean the carb, I am to busy vacationing to worry about it for now.
Taking advantage of what little shade there was
I continued to simply bounced around beach towns, making my way South. My last stop was Barra de Navidad, which I had also previously stayed at. Barra was pretty empty, though I recall it was back in 2011, that was the appeal. I used it as a base camp and took a few trips to nearby places, and one night when coming home as the sun was setting, I pulled a u-turn for some bro time with el Churro to catch the sunset as I saw a preview where the road opened to the beach. As I pull up a guy motions me over, speaking English, tells me he crashed and his shifter is bent. He also drops some F bombs, says the taxi drivers wont help him, and is kind of making a small scene. I tell him I will go get my tools from the hotel, but debate if I should go back to him...no no he is a fellow rider, so I return with the tools. He has no idea what to do, which isn't a surprise as he is wearing flip flops, shorts, and a tank top, no helmet of course. Luckily he wasn't hurt to bad, and I use a tire iron to bend it back in no time. He offers to pay me or buy me some beers, but I decline as it is no big deal. We chat for 45 minutes so I completely missed the sunrise, but there is not much going in town so why not. The F bomb's don't stop, and as he has been living down there for 30+ years, he has a few derogatory comments about Mexicans that make me uncomfortable, so I eventually say my goodbye.
My hotel was 10 dollars in Barra but there was no street parking but el Churro is no bitch and doesn't mind sleeping outside. Normally I won't park in the street, in Baja a little old lady somehow moved my tall WR250 into her place when we went out in the afternoon, so it wouldn't get stolen. Of course, I thought it was stolen when we got back, but she found me soon enough, and probably called me an idiot for leaving it in the street. A good thing about not being able to understand people down here is that I can assume the best and think they are praising me all the time, yes yes I am great. Anyway, no one was worried about my bike here, so I tethered el Churro to a tree with a cable lock which is never recommended in Mexico, but it did the trick for the duration of my stay.
I am sorry, I tried so hard to finish these delicious plates
I had planned to go as far South as Lazaro Cardenas and then head north, but suddenly found myself short on time, where does it go down here? I had reservations for dia de muertos in Patzcuaro as I have read it books up, unsure if I even want to be there as all of Mexico just might be there for the celebrations. I decide to skip the rest of the coast and take the toll (ugh) near Guadalajara, towards Morelia, and over to Patzcuaro so I can get there a few days early and settle in for the debacle. The road goes up near Guadalajara, and as I am about 30 minutes from the city the traffic comes to a stand still, there is clearly an accident up ahead. Cars are starting to pull u-turns, I swing el Churro onto the shoulder so we can make our way to the front passing about a mile of cars, only to eventually be met with cars coming at me who are not going to get out of my way. Of course the majority of cars going my way have started using the shoulder, so everyone comes to an immediate standstill....idiots. Well, el Churro doesn't give a damn, so we skirt on the loose gravel around some more cars, but there is a military truck parked up ahead, so I park when I see some space between cars. I get off to go ask the military guys if they care if I drive across the dirt to get by as I don't want to get shot, and they don't care. Before any of that happens though, el Churro decides its nap time and falls over. Well, at least I am surrounded by Mexicans, surely someone will help me pick it up. Anybody....bueller......ok this gringo is on his own. Surrounded by cars full of people who don't give an F, I take one of the bags off to lighten the load and lift that heavy bitch in front of everyone, giving them a thumbs up after for their lack of help. I then proceed to the front of the line, take that suckers.
Turns out a truck went off the road, into a muddy mess, which then covered the road as it had been pulled back up onto it. They were shoveling the mud off as I sat getting more antsy, el Churro and I know we can clear the mud, how about you just let us skirt by? The guy with the flag isn't having it, so I chat with the other motorcyclist with a street bike. Eventually we get the green light and take off, I expect the cars to haul ass like the pace car had just left the track, so keep it moving but there is never a rush of cars that catch up. You will never catch us you bastards!!!!!
You have your guitar, we have the rum, we make the party here!
As soon as I hit Michoacan I see long convoys of military vehicles headed away from my direction, towards the coast, where before it had been a couple trucks here or there, or just the federal police/national guard. I also go past a Pemex gas truck convoy, which had to have at least 50+ trucks in the convoy, as well as private security providing protection. Now Paul and I didn't skip Michoacan solely due to the safety concerns, but in 2014 Michoacan made international headlines when the people had finally had enough of the constant problems they faced with the cartels and other trouble makers. Vigilante groups started to take matters into their own hands arming themselves and setting up roadblocks in many smaller towns. Of course the cartels eventually infiltrated the groups and no one knew who was on whose side. There is a good documentary on netflix somewhere about it, but I have no idea what it is called. So while 2011-2012 wasn't the safest time to be going there we chose to head inland to the colonial cities which were fantastic anyway, but this is why I was excited to have finally made it to Michoacan.
Now thats a report. I wonder if you filled up with gas in the states and made it all the way to Morelia on 1 tank?
I wish my friend, Mexican gas will be coming up in a future post.
So after cruising past convoy after convoy of military trucks, I finally arrive in Patzcuaro. I find the hotel easily and pull up in front, shut off the engine, and through the ear plugs faintly hear something is not right. I look down and el Churro is pissing on my leg (Problem #6). Now, at first I think my battery has exploded and it is acid as it is coming from the same location, so jump off the bike expecting el Churro to go up in flames. I eventually realize it is coolant so pull one bag off out of the way, and see a woman watching from my hotel, Hotel San Pablo. I explain I already have a reservation, which probably disappoints her as she thinks she has another guest due to my predicament, as the hotel is empty since tourists don't show up for a few more days. I ignore the mess and check in, figuring I am here for a few days I will figure it out later, I need to walk round and find some food, obviously. The hotel didn't have parking, so maybe el Churro was just trying to look undesirable to any would be thieves knowing he would be in that spot for the next several days. Now I have made this comment before, but parking in the street is never encouraged, and there are parking garages all over Patzcuaro, so be better than me and park in the garage. Ultimately el Churro was fine, and he kind of had both my hotel, and the hotel across the street watching him, but I am sure when they said they would watch it they just meant they would be sleeping with the door/window shut oblivious to any potential theft going on outside.
I paid something like 75 a night in a hotel that usually charges 10-30USD, and the internet was atrocious, but the location is great. Luckily I didn't come for the internet, and find Patzcuaro to be very nice, and the locals were extremely friendly. I arrived a few days prior to dia de muertos, where most seem to come the day of, and leave the next day. I stayed a few days after as well, and enjoyed seeing the town prep for the party, the chaos that ensued, and then see it return to normal life on the lake, as opposed to just rushing in and out.
When I finally work on el Churro I make all kinds of friends, it is always hard to pull out a tool and fix him without the distractions and conversations. This time it is an hour from putting my tool set on the ground, until I actually crack the 1st bolt as a guy started talking to me about el Churro. This guy was 34, had been working in Cancun for a year protecting the tortoise eggs, which I respect. He mentions how they stayed on an isolated beach for two weeks at a time, and had to fish for their own food. They would have enough water for the project, but always ran out of food early on, and it was miserable. But he understood the importance of his job, and seemed to enjoy his time there. Now he was traveling Mexico, and at 1 point lost his phone and wallet. Then days later he lost his backpack...he was really travelling light now, I was a bit jealous. He had to get by from strangers mostly, yet never asked me for money, he just wanted to talk. I did offer my spare moto gloves since it is cold there at night, but he wouldn't take them. I think he thought they were my only pair, and I didn't mind as I want to give them to a motorcyclist to protect their hands anyway. Others stop and go during this time, but eventually I look over el Churro and replace the lost coolant. The problem is not immediately evident, I will need to dig further at a later time. It could be a broken thermostat, radiator cap, air in the system, broken fan/thermo switch, and even an issue with the water pump, the list goes on. Oh well, we will just leave you on the street, if someone steals you I don't have to fix you, that is what you get for acting up like this Churro.
As dia de muertos rolls around, the town fills up, and the main roads are just a parade of 1 car after another inching along as they enter town. Many streets in town do not allow street parking, so it must take them forever to get settled in. I wasn't sure what I was going to do for the actual celebrations, the main attraction being isla Janitzio, and the cemetery on the island. THOUSANDS take the boats over, and I read of people queuing for hours late the next morning, like 4am late, just to get back which does not sound like fun to me. The people believe that on this day the dead come back to visit, as it is the easiest time for them to return from their world to this world, or something like that I never claimed to be an expert. They decorate the graves of their loved ones with flowers, provide fruits and snacks, and some drinks, including beers for when they arrive from the long journey. Now if any of you A-holes leave me fruits and veggies I will haunt you in your sleep, I want to see donuts, and pizza slices hanging from my grave. Anyway it is a festive time rather than a time of mourning, as they see this all as the continuation of life rather than it ending with death. I decide I need to see it, so walk over to the boats which takes about 40 minutes leisure pace from the hotel, cutting down random streets rather than talking the main road which has a nice sidewalk so no reason for others not to go that route. I get there around 4pm which I think is early. I am not sure what it will be like but know people don't really start going until nighttime, as the party probably doesn't take off until 10pm or later. I plan on leaving at 8 if it gets crazy, but wanted to see it after dark. My god I sound like a 70 year old man, just complaining and avoiding everyone.
At the ticket booth, they tell me that I can't get off the boat today, tomorrow I can come back and get on the island with a new ticket, but not today, that would be unsafe due to covid. I guess like the tourists, covid is also only here for the day, and tomorrow it moves on. I skip buying the ticket which is 100 pesos today, and the same price the next day when I can actually get off the boat and explore. Seems like you should give the people a discount so there is incentive to take the boat ride when everyone is here in town, but not my problem. I am not upset about not seeing the island, when life gives you lemons, buy a torta! I then head back to the celebrations in town, where everyone is out having fun and kids are dressed in their Halloween costumes, but aside from the mass of people you wouldn't even know it was dia de muertos in town itself. I think about riding out around the lake as the small towns may still be doing their celebrations, but also think the masses might have the same plan, and don't want to be sitting in traffic with el Churros current problems.
So we wait a day or two, and then take off around the lake. It's a nice easy drive, though I am often met with cows in the road. There was also guy ridding with precision despite having the most crocked rim I have ever seen, but overall it was just a loop around a nice lake. You do get lake views at times, but the majority of it is more the immediate surrounding area, which is still interesting. I did ride around some of the small random pueblos, several times following a paved road to find it dead end as a driveway. I do the same in San Jerónimo Purenchécuaro which was large compared with the other pueblos, but didn't have anything going on so then make my way to Quiroga, which was full of people and movement. El Churro and I cruise down the main drag, but traffic is heavy, so I watch the needle climb closer to red on the gauge as he is starting to get to hot. We pass a bunch of food venders, this place looks pretty awesome, but with the heavy traffic and Churro getting hot I decide it is not the best idea. continue on and look for a place to pull off, but it's packed everywhere. I finally turn down another busy street and pull over for 10 minutes to let him cool down. At this point I am pretty warm as well, and have all my moto gear on so decide it is to far to walk to whatever those booths were.
Once el Churro had calmed down we proceeded to make our way home following the lake to the next pueblo, Tzintzuntzan. It is here due to the traffic that el Churro decides to overheat again. This time I park by a guy making food, I don't make the same mistakes twice. I order up a couple delicious seafood tortas, and quickly order up another two. Its getting close to dark now so I jump on Churro to head home, but 500 feet later I find the local cemetery, all done up with the flowers and enough people around where I decided to stop and check it out. Now, for those who have followed my blog for awhile, I have made comments about how I look Mexican, or blend in with the people...it should be obvious this is sarcastic. So here I am standing in a cemetery looking like a storm trooper with long ass rockstar hair and motocross boots. And if you didn't know, many of the graves here are just mounds of dirt....so watch your step! As the cemetery is divided by the road, I can hear a band on the other side celebrating, or maybe practicing for the upcoming football game. There were a small number of people on my side, and a few kids coming around asking for money, and giving the spiel on whatever happened there in the town, as it has some ruins which I did not visit. Walking around a graveyard in a foreign country taking pics as the only gringo, in all the gear is strange, but there were enough Mexican tourists were it really didn't feel like a big deal, as weird as it all is.
I wait a couple days to make sure covid really left, that sneaky bastard, and after an easy hike up the nearby mountain for an aerial view of Patzcuaro and the lake, I make my way back to the torta lady, I mean the boats. There is hardly anyone around, and I need to wait on the boat for more people which is great, as I can buy some ice cream snack to wash down the torta. Eventually the boat is full enough for us to leave, and we finally make our way to the island. The guy cranks on some fantastic tunes, and I wonder why we sat in silence for the 30 or so minutes before departure, but realize it would probably have killed his battery. Worth it my man, these tunes rock.
About 3/4 of the way across the lake the driver gets up and starts looking at the rear of the boat, sits down, gets up, starts grinding gears with his shifter thingy....yes, something is happening, I love when this happens. He shuts off the motor, turns it back on, grinds some more gears, but it doesn't seem to be working so he shuts it down. I am sure I am the only one on the boat who is excited for this break down, we may not make it to the island, but here is some adventure! I am about to offer up my services, sir I am an expert at breakdowns...when another boat comes to save us, yay! They exchange a few words, probably sees me and decides we are not worth saving so pulls away, boooo. Eventually the captain gets it running again, and we finally arrive on isla Janitzio.
There is a main path up the island which is full of vendors selling their crap, they must have lost a ton of money this year from the closing of the island. Once you get through the calle of crap you arrive at the top where they charge you a small fee to enter the plaza, which also includes admission up the statue. I wouldn't originally have gone up as the queue gets huge, but there is no one up here aside from 2 other tourists, and a bunch of local kids playing, so up I go. It's a decent view, and I head back down buying some delicious treats and a peace offering for el Churro along my return on the calle of crap. I have said it elsewhere, but el Churro is still a wild steed which needs to be tamed. Maybe now he will start behaving.
This table was LEVEL
Keep acting up Churro, I have options
That one was pic heavy, I will reduce the number a bit going forward for my own ease, but let me know if it was to many.
Loving the pics. Keep em coming. You have a talent.
Si, bueno dude!
Thanks, but it is the locations, they are beautiful. I just point and shoot with my crappy phone
But glad they are not a problem, will keep them coming.
I was waiting for an update thinking you were AWOL. the wait was worth it , good photos especially the food which is some thing I really miss right now.
Good lord man it was only a week since the last one, you better get used to the wait, these feel like work and I am on vacation here.
But I found myself in a 50 dollar "luxury" by my standards hotel, so took advantage of the bed/internet. Already falling behind so I will try and keep them rolling so I remember what I actually did.