Holidays with CC

It has been a fun weekend! It was Christmas for sure, and we maximized the opportunities.

Starting off, we went to Vegas for a roller coaster ride, dinner, and two shows. Not wanting to drive back late at night, we stayed at the MGM Grand and had a great time watching people in the casinos.

CC researching what to do next

The roller coaster was a blast, dinner was amazing (Jambala)! and the shows were mediocre. Didn’t matter, it was super fun!

Saturday took us back to CC’s to get ready for Xmas day and our flight to the Grand Canyon. One important part of the day was CC making African Stew over the fire in the backyard. The secret is the smoke and (of course) it was delicious.

African Stew

Flying over the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon was a thrill!! The Grand Canyon has become a dear place to me, and seeing it from this perspective was especially rewarding. It’s about a 40-minute flight to the canyon from CC’s in his Experimental 170B. I got to fly the entire route. A great gift!!! The temperatures were in the high 60s and we had a picnic on the edge of the canyon.

Pearce Ferry Landing strip

Day three of our adventure was an all-wheel-drive trek to Lake Mojave. Not a long drive, but a rough one. The high temperature for the day was 70, so we were hoping to get some sun.

Along the way, we stopped and shot some targets. I have only shot a firearm one time in my life, and after a very heated discussion about guns, I agreed that being exposed would be a good thing for me. I shot a 22-shotgun, an AR 18, and an 8mm handgun. My aim was good, and I was hitting the target 8/8 times, consecutively with the 22. Overall, I still find guns extremely scary, and I am even more than ever, humbled by their power.

We had the beach at the lake all to ourselves. We had a picnic, did a bit of hiking, and then headed home for a quiet evening around the fireplace.

CC’s reality is so very different than mine. I’m curious, and open to new things and have found exploring his world no less than an amazing adventure and a whole lot of fun.

Run, mountain bike, ski, repeat

New Mexico is a playground! Cha Cha lives adjoining 1000’s of acres of BLM land. It’s breathtaking and has enough trails that there is no reason to repeat any of them.

Front porch sunrise
Out for a run

Nearby the house is a big mesa. I have been using the mesa as a training bike ride. It’s a grunt, and really good training for a future ride I’m planning in January.

Skiing, though not (yet) great, was on our agenda for Saturday. Ski Santa Fe allows uphill travel any time, so up I went!! It was a spectacular day and after two laps up and down, we finished off with dinner in Santa Fe at Cowgirls.

Mountain biking on my second favorite ride near Taos filled my day Sunday. The Rift Valley ride is 12+ miles, all single track, with stunning views into the rift and the great Rio Grande. (BTW: my favorite ride is the South Boundary Trail).

Now the weather, especially high winds, are rolling in, so rides and skiing are on hold.

Off to the Ojo Caliente Hot Springs!! A fantastic consolation, courtesy of New Mexico.

Oh, poor Westie

The star falls quickly sometimes. Poor Westie. Transmission fluid started flinging out of the transmission about 500 miles from Cha Cha’s place.

It took me a few miles to figure out what was going on……..

I texted my Westie friends – and they gave me good advice. Outside of Gallup New Mexico, I started calling transmission shops. One told me to call Pep Boys. They were open and willing to help.

First, I stopped at an auto parts store and bought transmission oil and a pump.

When I rolled into Pep Boys, they were happy to lift the van and help me fill the transmission with oil. The guy helping me was clearly new at his job, and lifted the van so high he snapped my skylight…..oh well….. a small price to pay to get this help – and they didn’t charge me.

We got the fill bolt out, and two quarts later, the transmission was full. I was back on the road to Cha Cha’s.

Monday morning, Westie went into a shop known for their westie work. The owner has his own synchro and shows photos of it to his customers. I think he knows his stuff.

The shop replaced all of the fluid in my tranny and found my case was very loose. After a 100-mile test drive, we found a seal leaking. I am sure the vent tube is plugged. I have asked over and over that the shop find, and clear this, but they can’t seem to hear me……I will find it myself, I guess before I hit the road again.

In the meantime, I am biking, hiking, trail running, and basking in the sunshine and beauty of New Mexico. Hanging with Cha Cha is always a joy. I love this place and know that Westie will be fine for the trip back home.

Westie is a super star

I left Issaquah with snow on the ground and taking my Dads advice headed south down I5.

The Siskiyou pass was the only gnarly section. My synchro proved to be valuable as I passed semi’s going up hill-yet very slowly.

I wanted to take a photo, but couldn’t let go of the steering wheel long enough. Fog, heavy snow and dimming light made for serious focus.

I made it to Red Bluff on day one. Hooray Westie!! My hero!!

Day two was super boring going through strip-mall town after strip-mall town. Ugh.

Then….a ghost town with a campground. Sweet!! Calico ghost town. Mines were everywhere, and a nice surprise at the top of the hill I ran up.

Calico ghost town

On to Cal Nev Ari. I ended up driving through Nipton!!!! So beautiful and funky there!


Then, Cal Nev Ari and CC’s place.

CC in the kitchen

Tomorrow: on to Cha Chas’s in New Mexico.