What a difference a new heart makes.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, on the heart transplant list for nearly two years before receiving his new ticker in March, tells us that "I feel great," and that he has returned to a vigorous schedule of writing, hunting, fishing and even cross-country driving.

Previously hobbled by his troubled heart and often seen walking with a cane before the successful late March operation, the 71-year-old has been taking Washington by storm recently, attending events and just this week announced that he was writing a book about his long list of heart ailments. And on Thursday night, he will be in New York City to receive the founder's award from the Hudson Institute, named for founder Herman Kahn.

At an event in Washington earlier this week, he described how good he feels. For proof, he revealed that he has gone on at least three recent bird hunting trips. He's also returned to fly fishing in rivers.

"My dad is doing great," daughter Liz Cheney told Secrets. "He wakes up every morning grateful beyond words for the gift of his new heart."

And this month the former veep is driving home to Wyoming to cook Christmas dinner.

Said Liz: "He and I are getting ready for a pre-Christmas road trip -- driving two cars and four dogs home to Wyoming! And he has promised to cook the entire Christmas dinner this year."