Friday, April 11, 2014

Boulder Dam

From the outset, a trip to Boulder Dam has been essential to our plans, and that was yesterday. Arriving, at about midday we signed up for the full Hoover Dam tour starting at 2:30. That gave us plenty of time to browse the exhibits and take pictures. Both of us had been here as youths on family vacations. Sharon remembered her visit, of course. I did so less, to say the least.

One thing of interest to me was to learn that the renaming of the dam for Hoover in 1947 was not just Republican payback after nearly twenty years of Democratically controlled congresses, but reflected Secretary of
Commerce Herbert Hoover’s instrumentality in bringing the states of Arizona and Nevada together to allow the project to proceed, overcoming the water politics of the west which all of us who live out here are all too familiar with.

For me the highlight of the day may have come when we pulled into the parking structure, gave the attendant our $10 and, handing me the ticket, he commented, “this car is sick!”

The dam, looking toward Lake Mead, named for Elwood Mead who engineered a number of western reclamation projects

Looking down the Colorado. They had to literally move the river to build the dam

Another lake shot, this one showing the results of the worst drought in 50 years
Bored teens waiting on the tour, I liked the mural reproductions too
Scott, our tour guide, trained as an historian, is the 4th generation in his family to work here. His great grandfather worked for the FBI during dam construction
This tunnel led us out about 1/3 of the way down the dam to an observation port from which we were able to get a spectacular view down the river gorge
The full tour took us right inside the dam and we got to see these generators
Two miles of tunnels

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