Monday, March 10, 2008

Las Vegas Area - Lake Mead NRA

Where in the World are Keith and Kathy?

We returned to Las Vegas on Sunday 3/9 and camped at Arizona Charlie’s Campground on Boulder Highway. It was a dump and very pricey and we will not stay there again, but we had paid for 4 days so we stayed.

On Monday we met our friends Richard and Carol for breakfast at the Arizona Charlie’s buffet. Richard and Carol are from the Hartford, CT area and were on a two week vacation. After breakfast we headed out to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area for a 90 minute cruise on Lake Mead.

Richard and Carol

Impounded by the massive Hoover (Boulder) Dam at the head of Black Canyon, Lake Mead extends many miles up the Colorado River, into the lower reaches of the Grand Canyon. Normally about 600 feet deep at the dam face, the water in the lake is down by about 100 feet due to lack of rainfall in the watershed area.

Lake Mead Entrance to Black Canyon - Note Low Water Level

Built in the early years of the depression, Hoover Dam is the earliest of the “great public works of the 20th Century”, which include several other major dams, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge, the GW bridge, etc.. Anyone who is interested in the cultural history of the depression era would do well to study the stories of the hundreds of out-of-work young men who flocked to the sere southern Nevada desert to build this dam.

Initiated late in the Hoover administration, the multi-year construction of the Hoover Dam was completed in the early stages of the Roosevelt New Deal. Being not about to memorialize a Republican, Roosevelt renamed it Boulder Dam at the grand opening ceremonies. The Republicans have since managed to have the name changed back to Hoover; hence the name confusion.

The top of the dam is so wide that it carries two way traffic on US Route 93. After 9/11, this made Homeland Security very nervous. As a result, a check point has been constructed, and truck traffic has been banned. A new high level bridge, scheduled for completion in 2010, is being constructed to divert all traffic away from the dam structure. Last fall, construction was delayed when the temporary construction cranes were blown down in a high wind.

Hoover Dam, with Partially Completed Rt. 93 Bridge in Background

Overflow Spillway

The weather was glorious and the company wonderful. We took a lot of pictures and got a good look at the Hoover Dam from the water. We saw a lot of ducks and fish but no bighorn sheep.

Lake Mead Critter

More Critters!

Local Flora

On returning to the dock, we spotted the Yacht Twerp! Not exactly the same, but close enough. A couple of feet longer, and with a hard top instead of a navy top, but nonetheless clearly a mid-fifties Chris Craft kit boat style, like the Twerp. For those of you who may not get this, the Twerp was built from a kit many years ago by a close friend of Richard and Keith. It still sits in the yard at the Wethersfield Cove Yacht Club, and even goes in the water most summers.

Yacht Twerp Look-Alike

On Tuesday evening Keith and I went to see Monty Python’s “Spamalot” at the Wynn casino. This musical is based on the Monty Python film “Search For the Holy Grail”. I thought it was quite entertaining and humorous. Keith hates shows.

On Wednesday Keith was not feeling well and on Thursday as we headed for Boulder, Kathy competently drove the coach all the way to the Boulder Elks Campground. More to Follow...

1 comment:

mmason said...

I see you have a pic of a "Massage" place. But you don't say: did either of you partake?

(Hope my little joke doesn't offend -- but I'm sure you recall the risque humor of your fellow travelers in China!)