After having a successful run at ski season with our VW Syncro, Trish and I figured we'd see how it performed in the summer. We took it 4x4ing in Moab, rafting in Dinosaur National Monument and camping for Father's Day Weekend. It was a trusty steed for our kids, dogs, skis and raft. Earlier this month, we planned a week-long road trip to Santa Fe to see one of my old college roommates. Because of the holiday weekend, it turned into a 10-day road trip. We left Denver in style on the morning of the 4th.
The motorcycle on the back didn't seem to slow us down much. We drove from Denver to Winter Park, taking the long way over Squaw Pass to avoid traffic.
When we arrived at our Ski Shack, the engine was making a loud knocking sound. We dismissed it as a random occurrence. When I drove to the gas station 45 minutes later, the knocking was loud enough that heads turned when I drove past. After fueling up, I started the van and began driving back to our condo. The engine sputtered, the tires screeched and then the engine died. I pulled to the side, conveniently still in the gas station's parking lot. The engine would no longer turn over.
Below is the email I sent to Mike at Rocky Mountain Westy while walking back to our condo.
Happy Fourth of July! Our van's engine gave up the ghost today. There was a loud knocking, then it felt like is
slammed on the back brakes, a screech of the tires and it died. Now it won't even turn over. Sounds like it's seized
This happened in Fraser today. I have AAA so could probably get it towed to you.
Can you help us find and install a new engine? I'd like something with similar HP. Would you recommend a 1.8T, a 3.0 liter or something else?
It was the best breakdown I've ever had. I was able to walk home (one mile) and it didn't even rain on me. From there, we continued to celebrate the 4th and refactor our road-trip plans. With the Syncro, we were planning on camping at The Great Sand Dunes, Pagosa Springs and Mesa Verde. We decided we'd drive our new sedan instead (recently gifted from Trish's Dad). I took the train to Denver, drove it up on July 5th and we departed Winter Park on Sunday, July 6.
Instead of camping in beautiful campgrounds, we changed our plans to stay at B&Bs. In the meantime, Mike replied and said he thought he'd be able to install an H6 3.0 by the end of the month. He recommended it as a good replacement for our SVX engine, particularly because it was more reliable and likely to endure more miles. We agreed to the repairs and had AAA tow it to his shop in Fort Collins.
Our first destination was The Broadmoor. We took the back way through Breckenridge and skipped the holiday traffic. We arrived around 5pm and were warmly welcomed, dogs and all. We celebrated our one-year anniversary early with excellent Italian food, golf on the West course and a fun pub crawl on Monday night.
The Broadmoor was named the #1 Golf Resort in North America by Golf magazine readers. We certainly enjoyed the course, but it's also the first time Trish and I declined beers from the cart lady. Our games were so bad, we weren't in the mood to celebrate anything.
On Tuesday afternoon, we left Colorado Springs for Pagosa Springs. There, we enjoyed a country B&B, soaked in the hot springs and had a great hike to Fourmile Falls.
On Friday, we left Taos and drove to Santa Fe, our ultimate destination. While arriving, I checked my email and was pleased to see an email from the folks working on my '66 Bus. While flipping through the pictures referenced in the email, I realized there were several videos. I did my best to get us off the road and into a place where I could watch the videos on a proper screen. You can imagine my glee as I watched my bus drive under its own power for the first time.
My "achievement unlocked!" moment was soon complimented by an excellent margarita and tasty New Mexican food. Wow! Those New Mexicans know the right level for the "default" hot sauce. Spicy and delicious!
We spent the weekend with our friends Chris, Mary and Luna and had a great time. The Santa Fe summer weather was beautiful - in the mid-70s most of the time, with nice breezes and sunshine. Trish, Chris, Sagan, Jake and I took a hike on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed their national forest. On Sunday, we marveled at the art on display at Santa Fe's 11th Annual International Folk Art Market.
The rest of the time, we hung out in their backyard. Trish played her banjo, we watched the firepit crackle and Dino (their new puppy) kept us entertained with his antics. It was one of the most relaxing weekends I've had in quite some time. Thanks to Chris, Mary and Luna - you guys are awesome and we can't wait to visit again!