Thursday, 7 January 2010

Home Again

We went home from Arizona via the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.
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We crossed so quickly I basically missed the part where we were driving on the dam.
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The water level of Lake Mead seemed alarmingly low, especially after we learned on our tour that 1/3 of America's fruits and vegetables are grown from this water supply. It turns out that yes, the levels are low (42%) but the ideal level is only 50%. Residents in the area probably worry more if the levels get too high.
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There are a couple of choices of tours at the dam. The top tour takes you into the dam for $30/person. (Everything seems expensive when you multiply it by six people!) We chose the Power Plant tour which was $10/person. All the tours start out together watching a movie about the building of the dam. The film had a very 1950's propaganda feel to it which kept me chuckling, but at the same time it was interesting and inspiring to learn about the history of the Hoover Dam.
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After the film we descended down into one of the shafts that had diverted the Colorado river while the dam was being built.
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Our guide then took us over to the power plant. There are 9 turbines on the Arizona side and 8 turbines on the Nevada side. Water supply, not electricity, was the objective of the Hoover Dam, but the electricity produced serves 1.3 million homes and pays for the operation costs of the dam - you Americans aren't putting any tax dollars into maintenance of the dam. Well actually, neither am I .
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Here's a look at the power plants from above.
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The tourists in the yellow plastic *hard* hats continued on deeper into the dam while the rest of us went back up the elevators to the museum. Chloe was a little jealous of the hard hats but not of continuing the tour. Later, in the gift shop, an adult asked Chloe out of the blue if she'd like to have her yellow hard hat. Chloe was thrilled and no longer wanted anything from the gift shop, Woo-hoo!
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Steven took this photo of the dam from the back. I love the curve in this picture (the shape of the dam forces the pressures it is under into the sides of the canyon wall) and the reflection of the intake towers in the water (I didn't realize before that no water passes through the dam, but rather is taken in through these towers and diverted around or through the power plant).
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The Hoover Dam was always intended to be a tourist attraction and there are many sculptures and plaques. (The floor of the power plant is marble and inlaid with artist renditions of water and electricity.)
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Our only family picture of the trip. It seems like I am having trouble with graininess from my camera lately, but this was by far the worst - I don't know how that nice lady managed to take such a bad picture.
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We'll probably take this new bridge the next time we cross from Arizona into Nevada and by-pass the traffic on the Hoover Dam. I think we'll get spectacular pictures of the dam from our moving car as long as we travel from east to west. We actually had no wait at all on the Arizona side, but when we left we saw traffic backed up on the Nevada side all the way to Boulder City.
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As for being home, I've adjusted quickly and happily back to our cold winter. Surprising, considering how I enjoyed the warm weather and snow-free sidewalks in Arizona. I think it helps that my best clothes are winter clothes and I love all my cute scarves, boots, hats, gloves and mittens. As Chloe shared with Emerson while we were shopping: "We're lucky we're girls because we get to have accessories."

14 comments:

Jill said...

I think I went on that tour when I was 10 or 11 years old, and have a family photo there too.

I loved this line: "I don't know how that nice lady managed to take such a bad picture." How funny.

I enjoy winter clothes and accessories as well, though Kelly's post about 70's weather from yesterday sounded good too.

Denise said...

I love Hoover Dam, the Art Deco design of the embellishments, the way it is basically built into the rock face...it's cool. I didn't know they were still letting people drive across it; I thought the new road was finished and the dam road was closed to the public.

I like winter clothes because layering can cover up so many faults, lol. But I miss the ease of capris and sandals. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip, and happy to know the Canadians aren't paying upkeep on the dam (and neither are we!)

Kelly said...

Fun to see these pictures. You got some good ones, but wow, yeah, the quality of your family photo looks like a bad cell phone picture or something. Too bad! Sometimes the willing are not the able.

I love that someone gave Chloe their hat.

I actually miss winter accessories living here. I do occasionally see people decked out, but it feels ridiculous. I smile every time I recount that conversation between Chloe and Emerson.

Price Cream Parlor said...

Glad you arrived home safe and sound.

I find Dams totally amazing and am in awe each time I see one. Seriously - crazy if you think about it!

melanie said...

My mom lives in Vegas and while she was here at Christmas was talking about the new bridge. She is so freaked out by it and says she will go out of her way to not cross it. She says it just is too high for her. We were cracking up over it and how serious she was about it.

You always have the cutest accessories, I can see where Chloe learned how fun it is.

Glad you had a good trip.

Natalie said...

Looks like a fun trip. I'd love to see Hoover Dam.

You're such an optimist. I'd trade 'winter accessories' for warmth any day!

Marie said...

Winter fashion is definately my favourite too.

And your new grey coat is so beautiful! I'd be praying for cold just to get a chance to wear it!

Katie A. said...

Those are some great pictures. I have never been there, and did not know any of that information about the dam. Interesting.

My camera has been taking grainy pictures lately too, especially when I try to get close-up baby pics. It has never seemed to have that problem before. And now that I desperately want close-up photo ability, I am more than slightly irritated.

Katie A. said...

Those are some great pictures. I have never been there, and did not know any of that information about the dam. Interesting.

My camera has been taking grainy pictures lately too, especially when I try to get close-up baby pics. It has never seemed to have that problem before. And now that I desperately want close-up photo ability, I am more than slightly irritated.

Katie A. said...

Those are some great pictures. I have never been there, and did not know any of that information about the dam. Interesting.

My camera has been taking grainy pictures lately too, especially when I try to get close-up baby pics. It has never seemed to have that problem before. And now that I desperately want close-up photo ability, I am more than slightly irritated.

Katie A. said...

Wow! Sorry for the tripple post there! I have issues with our new laptop.

michelle said...

I remember driving past Hoover Dam as a kid, but we never toured it. It looks cool!

And I heartily second Chloe's declaration about accessories, just one of many reasons I love being a girl.

cheetah said...

That really is an amazing sight.

Jenny said...

Really loved visiting Hoover Dam a few summers ago.