In less than two hours, we made it out to Hoover Dam. Our friends tell us the way into the dam area if approaching from Las Vegas changed since their last visit. Before, you had to leave the road for parking on the opposite side of the dam from where we arrived.
With new road construction, we had to drive beyond the dam, exit the highway, and drive back up the other side crossing the same bridge twice and then down the winding road to the dam. This road funnels you into a pay parking garage and all the signage points you toward the paid tours, but there is always the option of sightseeing from top of the dam without a tour guide.
Comparing manmade structures Hoover Dam, in my view, is much more spectacular than Las Vegas. It took three years of 24/7 work to complete. I forgot how many tons of concrete was poured, but do remember the need for a cooling system otherwise the concrete would have taken a hundred years or so to cure. Men traveled from all over the country to work on the dam and numbers of them died for the good depression era wage of four to six dollars a day. A tour guide told us the operation ran 24/7 and the workers were allowed 2 days off during the year. The five-year project was finished in three.
I gauge that the Dam certainly made a greater contribution to the region than did Las Vegas. The water from the reservoir for consumption and irrigation and the electric power generated made farming and glittering Las Vegas lights possible. We did take note that the water level was down considerably from normal.
If you visit Las Vegas, make sure to take a break from glitz, glamour and gambling to make the short trip out to Hoover Dam. It is worth the time, although I feel the tours of the Dam are overpriced and the tour guides are little more than cattle herders. And, trust me when I tell you that they do try to humor you with too many Dam(n) jokes. “Now I will take your Dam questions.”
I have been places that have caused me to pause and consider the human side. Places like the Civil War battle fields of Gettysburg and Antietam. I am always left with the internal question, could I endure? Could I have done what these men did? Always deeper questions to ponder are there not?
Hoover Dam. Great visit now scratched from the list. But this is worth seeing again.
OK, on the road to Flagstaff.
© 2017 J. D. Pendry