Hoover Dam

As I mentioned yesterday, we're just down the road from Hoover Dam, and so it seemed we might as well go over and see it. Wow! What an impressive structure! The effort and planning that went into building it is truly a marvel. It was early afternoon before we finished our errands yesterday morning, and so we considered being lazy for the afternoon. I'm glad we decided to see the dam instead.

There were lots of facts and figures rattled off, and I can't possibly remember all of them...or even one of them, for that matter...but here's a link to the Wikipedia page about Hoover Dam. You can read more about it there. Driving toward the dam, we had a pretty good view of Lake Mead, which owes its existence to the dam.

Upon reaching the dam, we were subjected to some 9/11-era security measures. They were checking vehicles for explosives. While it's unlikely anyone could build a bomb large enough to destroy the dam, there would, nevertheless, be great loss of life if anyone ever tried.

The line moved quickly and then we were in.

The road leads under the highway. If the dam weren't impressive enough, there's always this bridge. Whoa! That is some bridge. I've only visited Hoover Dam once before, when I was a little girl. To my recollection, the highway used to pass over the dam. Now, this bridge diverts it away. It is still possible to drive over the dam, but no longer necessary to get from Point A (Nevada) to Point B (Arizona). Because of the wind, trucks and trailers are told to use the center lanes to avoid being blown over the side. Yikes!

Looking ahead, this is what you see as you approach.

It was a steep $10 to park, but well worth it for what we were about to see. From the parking structure, we descended down to the visitor center to purchase our power plant tickets. We old people got a senior discount. Now, here I have to gripe that I never get carded for my senior discount. It's rather an insult, don't you think?

There was a ten-minute video about the construction of the dam in which all the facts and figures were spewed and then we took an elevator down, down, down 550 feet below the surface. Imagine going up in an elevator 55 floors, and then think about going down that far. Once there, we were walking through the tunnels that were originally dug to divert river water away so that the dam could be constructed. It was dark...sorry for the blur.

At our first stop, we saw these huge pipes that diverted water away during dam construction. Now water flows to the turbines from here.

Our tour guide was quite a comedian, which was good, because the real story here involves lots of numbers. What you need to know about this next image is that the "ring" in the middle is where the tunnels were dug to divert river water...and where we were standing right at that moment. It took two years just to dig the tunnels before any construction on the dam could begin. On the right is Lake Mead and on the left, The Colorado River as it leaves the power station.

From there we moved into the power plant. There are eight generators on the Nevada side, and I think, nine on the Arizona side. We were standing on the Nevada side. Consider the length of this building here...over 600 feet. Add another ten feet onto the length of this building, and you have the thickness of the dam at the bottom. It is a little taller than it is thick, and so, essentially, it's a big cement plug blocking the river.

If you peer inside that open door at the first generator, you see one of the rotors that attaches to the shaft for the turbine (7 floors down). The rotors weigh many tons, and need to be serviced on occasion, and so that begs the question: How do they left them out of the generators?

Well, see that green structure with the American flag? That is called a "bridge crane" and can move the full length of the building.

There is another at the opposite end, which is good, because it requires both to lift the rotor from the generator housing.

From there, we went up, up, up again to the observation deck. There, we saw this sign, which gives some comparisons to other well-known structures that will help you gain some perspective about the immensity of the dam. Truly incredible.

Look straight down from the observation deck and you see this. Please hold onto your hats and personal belongings because if you drop something here, you will not get it back.

Looking to the right, you can see the bridge I mentioned earlier.

Look to the left, and there is Hoover Dam. It was originally named Boulder Dam, but the name was changed to Hoover Dam by an act of Congress in 1947.

Now here's something I didn't know. (Actually, there's a lot I don't know. This is just one thing.) There was a dog mascot at the dam when it was being built. I'm afraid you won't be able to read this sign, and so I'm giving you a link to an article about the dog. It's a heart-warming story with a sad ending. Get your tissues.

Sadly, he was run over by a truck he was sleeping under, and the workers dug his grave and buried him just hours later. Here is his little "head stone."

After that, we paid a visit to the gift shop and bought a shot glass and a refrigerator magnet. You knew that, didn't you? That was our day. Very cool. Totally worth a visit and the money spent on parking and the tour. 

I have just a few more pictures to show you from the day. Remember the blooming saguaro cactus? I found a retaining wall where I could stand and get up a little higher to see the blossom. It seemed like it was open earlier in the day, but when I went to take my picture, it was closed up again. Oh well...here's what I could see of it.

Just below were some California quail, pecking at some saguaro cactus seeds, no doubt.

Mike and I just love their little dingle balls.

Also, I started on the 11th Hocuspocusville block yesterday. I finished the embroidery on the Summer Holiday block, but then forgot to take a picture of it before packing it away.

When we're on the move like this, there's not a lot of time for sewing, and so I haven't done any more since leaving Pahrump. The Summer Holiday block still needs its scrappy border, and I'm hoping to finish it before we get home. "Hoping" and "expecting" are not the same thing.

We're moving on down the road today. We're heading back to Pahrump for one more night. Today is our 42nd wedding anniversary, and we decided to go back and spend a night at the RV park at the Pahrump Valley Winery. The grounds there were pretty, and we'd like to wander around a little. The restaurant was wonderful and so we'll have our celebration dinner there. This might be the last celebration dinner before we have to tighten our retirement belts.

Tomorrow we'll be headed for Lancaster, California, and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, a California State Park. We're probably too late for most of the wildflowers, but we're still hoping to see the California poppies that bloom all year. A quick run-down on the places we're planning to visit after that: Pinnacles National Park, Monterey, the Glass Beach at MacKerricher State Park in California, the California Redwoods, and then home. Lots more to see and do before our journey comes to an end.

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quiltdivajulie said...

We visited Hoover Dam several years ago - amazing and awesome place. Enjoy your anniversary dinner - we celebrated 42 a few weeks ago with a family dinner outing. Safe travels!

Annette Mandel said...

Lively story of your dam trip.Hope you enjoy your anniversary! A78mandel at yahoo dot com

CJ Smith said...

My family toured the dam when I was about 10 years old, some fifty of years ago! The one thing I completely remember is the turbine room.

Happy Anniversary to you and Mike!

Ioleen said...

We visited the dam in 1975 on a trip to Vegas. Happy Anniversary 🎉🍷. We will celebrate 42 years next month.

QuiltShopGal said...

Happy Anniversary. Sounds like you have fun plans to celebrate this amazing milestone. Thanks for sharing the photos on Hoover Dam. While I've been to Lake Mead, a few years back, I haven't toured the dam since I was a child. I think I definitely need to tour it again, now that I've seen your pictures. Amazing engineering accomplishment.


liniecat said...

What a fascinating place to visit, it would never have occurred to me to visit a dam ... but wow, what an impressive feat of engineering, let alone a staggering looking structure!
That's an awful smart quail too lol what a handsome fella :)

Kristin in Alaska said...

So glad you enjoyed your dam day trip! Happy Anniversary!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

At least I get to see the Hoover Dam thru your pictures - will never get there, but then again I don't do heights or underground. Happy Anniversary you two youngsters!!

Ann said...

I was wondering if you were going to make a trip to Hoover Dam. That is one of my all time favorite places to visit. Happy Anniversary!!

quiltzyx said...

Happy Anniversary! Hope you are enjoying your fabulous dinner tonight!!

I drove across Hoover Dam once, on our way from Vegas to the Grand Canyon. We didn't stop for the tour though. Very cool to see your photos of the turbines & other engineering marvels. And yes, I did need a tissue when I read about the Mascot.

Nice shot of the Saguaro cactus flowers. I remember seeing one bloom near my Dad's place in AZ once - the flowers were right up on top & looked like a hat!

WoolenSails said...

Happy Anniversary! Our 42nd is in June.
I have never travelled further than the Ohio border, so I love exploring with you and seeing places in the western states.


Lynn - JnL4God said...

Happy Anniversary - I have enjoyed your trip a lot. The trip down and also since you were in my neighborhood so to speak. Quiltique is wonderful isn't it. I don't go there a lot but enjoy it when I do. It's about an hour and a half from here, so not too far to go for a day trip.
Have a fun and safe trip home and again have a great Anniversary.

Brown Family said...

WE last saw the Dam in 2008. They were still constructing the bridge at that time. We have been there a couple of times, but never got to take the tour. Both trips. we were helping out son and his family move to or from Washington State. The last trip, we had two cars, one U-Hall trailer, a U-hall truck, 4 adults, 5 boys, 1 cat and 2 dogs. Since we did not have any place to keep the animals safe and comfortable, I sat in the car with the pets so the boys could walk across the dam and see the wonder. I hope someday to be able to go and take the tour! I had heard that the lake was very low but I think they have had some rain lately to bring it up some.

The red Cactus Apples or Opuntia are eatable (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia). We never have, but they can be purchased in the Spanish markets here along with the Prickly Pear pads or Nopals (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nopal . I have never cooked or eaten either.

Dana Gaffney said...

Sharon's comment made me laugh since I was thinking tunnels and heights, NOPE.
Happy Anniversary and I'm looking forward to the poppy pictures.

kc said...

Daaam, what a journey! Can't do heights, elevators for long, and not keen on tunnels much either, so now I know this is NOT the trip for me! But, gosh, it was fascinating, can't thank you enough for the wonderful tour! So very informative. Also so sad about the pup. :(

Happy anniversary, enjoy that dinner! Cannot wait to see your redwoods! Travel safe.

piecefulwendy said...

Another fun post, one that I'll have to show to my husband, since he will be interested in seeing the Hoover Dam pictures. That little quail is so cute! Happy, Happy Anniversary! Enjoy the celebration dinner! Looking forward to the rest of your trip with you. It sounds like so much fun :)

Nancy in IN said...

Thank you for the pictures. I would love to see, but doubt that I do. It is a long trip.
Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Be safe.

Kate said...

No wonder Hoover Dam was considered such a marvel. It is pretty impressive. Is Lake Mead looking better? Nevada had been suffering from the drought too and they were at the point of having to relocate some of the water pipes so they'd be below the new lower level of the lake.

Dar said...

I enjoyed all the pictures on this post. I have seen Hoover Dam and Lake Mead but it was a very long time ago. We had just floated the Colorado River on a raft for 7 days and then drove from Page, Ariz. to Las Vegas. I think it was a two lane dirt road, maybe? lol