It's 14 degrees this morning, and snow continues pile up in The Crevice. It's enough to cause a second guesser to question his decision to beat this storm home—as opposed to waiting it out in the lower elevations of Utah. But what's done is done. At least I have two places to get throughly warmed to the bone; by the fire, and in the hot springs water. Ten inches of snow and counting on poor Mini Pearl...an Arizona gal not used to such conditions. I really need to go shovel the deck before my snow shovel gets buried.
Goldie is at the Ford dealer up the road in Montrose. Exploratory surgery is scheduled to take place this morning; they are going to remove her transmission, disassemble it, and try to figure out why it continues to be incontinent. I have found on the internet that this is not an uncommon problem with trannys in her age bracket. The service manager reaffirmed my findings and suggested a couple of things we could do to try and avoid future problems of this nature. It seems that the causes for leaks in this particular transmission are two fold and interrelated: One is heat, the other is load. There are two options that could help with heat: One is a new transmission pan that allows for six additional quarts of fluid. The other is a larger cooling radiator for said fluid. I don't want to have this problem again...and given that the hottest weather we drove in was below 90 degrees, and that we can't reduce our "load," I believe it would be prudent to do the suggested Upgrades/remedies, that is, unless they find another culprit during surgery...something like a clog in the cooling line. Service Rep Fred, at Holmes Tuttle Ford in Tucson assures me they are on board to help with the bill for this second repair.
We have to go to Mo-town today in order to sign our income tax forms, maybe Goldie will be in the Recovery Room by then and we can pay a visit. I'm counting on roads and weather being clear in the valley.
I was awakened several times last night by snowplows blading Lovely Ouray's main highway and the switchbacks heading up to Red Mountain Pass. The San Juans were six to eight feet of snow short of a "normal winter" before this storm hit; I think we might make that up before it's out of here...which is not for a couple more days. I'm mulling over a trip to the Moab area when Goldie gets out of the hospital. It will be a good test for her repairs and give me a little "fix" to quell the tremors and shock of coming off the warm road cold turkey... into the frigid last gasps of winter. At least I hope they are "last gasps." We usually get a good dose of old Sol between storms, and that's all I really need.
Now for a flashback to our final hikes in Anasazi-ville. We stopped on our way to Mule Canyon for a one mile "overlook" hike to Butler Wash Ruins. There were several overhangs and caves, which kinda reminded me a complex of cliff dwelling townhomes. There's a trail down to the ruins, but we opted for the quick overlook due to promises of bigger shows in Mule. Sounds like we were getting greedy, eh? Well, you know what happens when one gets greedy.
On to Mule Canyon...or so we thought.
We encountered some boondockers on the road into Mule...must be the place. We drove around looking for any kind of a path leading away from the camps, but couldn't find one. So we just started walking, like we usually do, counting on Ms Sara to show up and bless our compass.
We found a few "pits," places where it was obvious there had been pit-houses at one time. But they don't exactly make for good photo ops...
We kept going, hiking into a beautiful sandstone canyon that was supposed to be "Mule." There were no cairns...no signs that anyone had been there. I mentioned to Bobbie that it didn't feel right...too small. She agreed, but said it's too pretty and interesting to bail, so we kept going...picking random routes and side canyons, not paying attention to where and how.
After a few miles the canyon spit us out on top of a mesa of pinion/juniper. We hop-scotched across areas of "crust," trying not to "bust" it...until we reached an enormous mini "Grand" canyon. Oh, that must be Mule! There was no way down without a parachute. I suggested we return to the car a different way than we came up. I always try to make a loop out of a hike...even when there is none to be had. Drives Bobbie Crazy.
It turned out that our pinion/juniper mesa was cut and cross-cut with a maze of canyons. Every route brought us to a cliff or an impasse. After an hour or so I admitted defeat and agreed to go back the way we came in. Not so easy, tho. We could not find "our" canyon for love nor money; dead end after dead end after dead end. We could see where we started from so I didn't feel lost, but I was beginning to understand the feeling a dumb mouse has when lost in a lab maze.
The problem with hiking sandstone and hop-scotching on rocks across "crust," is that you don't leave any tracks! At least we had food and water this time, and it was a good thing because we blew most of the day trying to get back to the car.
Once back, defeated and deflated of ego, I saw a ruin symbol on the map that we thought we could drive to...and there were supposed to be towers. Safe enough. It was in the upper portion of lower Mule Canyon. The road got too rough so we had to hike. We took our packs :)