This morning I was up at 5:00 (Ouch! That’s way early!). I had to meet my tour bus at 7:20 to go on a day trip to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam. Very impressive! We had a tour of the power plant but they no longer allow visitors inside the dam.
It used to be called the eighth wonder of the world and it’s easy to see why. It is a National Historic Landmark, National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. Lake Mead is America’s largest man-made reservoir. It is located in Black Canyon. It is 110 miles long when full. With its 550 miles of shoreline, it makes twelfth-ranked Lake Texoma look small!
In 1922, a representative from each state and the federal government met for the purpose of devising a plan to manage and divide the waters of the Colorado River equitably. The Colorado River Compact was signed in November 1922. It divided the Colorado River Basin into an upper and lower half and gave half of the river’s annual estimated flow to each basin. Apportionment was left to the states in that basin. In 1944 Mexico received a guaranteed apportionment when the Mexican Water Treaty was executed.
Construction was begun in 1931 under extremely harsh working conditions by the Six Companies Inc., the government’s contractor. It was completed in 1935, two years ahead of schedule and well under budget. This would never happen nowadays! Every state in the Union had to contribute something toward the project.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the dam on September 30, 1935. The power plant wings were completed in 1936 and the first generator began operating in October. The final generator went into commercial operation in 1961. A new bridge and road are now under construction over the canyon. This, too, is an awesome project.
After our Dam visit, we headed back to Las Vegas. From the highway in Boulder City we could see Debbie Reynolds’ white house on top of a hill. Other celebrities also live here but we could not see their houses. Beside the highway we saw a small herd of big horn sheep grazing. Boulder City is a very pretty town. They have preserved their downtown area and they do not allow the big box stores here. They also do not allow gambling, the only such place in Nevada.
In Henderson we stopped at Ethel M Chocolate Factory to take a tour. In 1911 Frank Mars (founder of Mars Incorporated) and his wife, Ethel, began making and selling chocolates from their kitchen in Tacoma, Washington. They originated a family tradition of producing quality confections, which has been passed on to their children. I was more interested in the Botanical Cactus Garden at the site. It covers 2.5 acres and has more than 350 species of cacti, succulents and desert plants from the Southwest and other deserts of the world.
Our tour ended back at Sam’s Town Hotel for a delicious buffet lunch and a water and music show in the atrium. It features ‘dancing’ waters, a waterfall and realistic-looking animals which move and make noises during the show. At night laser lights add to the beauty. Even though the RV park is just across from the parking building, the tour bus driver dropped me off in front of my RV site. Can’t beat that kind of service!
After dinner I went back to the hotel to see the laser light show, “Sunset Stampede.” It chronicles the western pioneer experience with symphonic music recorded by the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra. Fountains shoot eight stories into the air and the waters “dance” to the music. It was a beautiful show -- and it was free.
When I returned home, Mario was here with another mechanic to finish the work on my brake problem. They installed the hydro booster and master cylinder, along with the fluids. When they had finished, Mario unhooked the utilities and drove around in the park to test the brakes. Then he helped me hook back up to the utilities. He charged me for only five hours of labor (over the last three days) at $125 per hour. The grand total of the bill came to $1530. Aarrgghh! My budget is groaning in extreme pain.