On January 05, 2015 I meet up with a few friends in fabulous Las Vegas. We grabbed a coffee, took a picture in front of the Vegas sign, and then hit the road heading to the Hoover Dam.
Being from the Vegas area, they were able to give me a personal tour and information about Vegas and the Hoover Dam that most tourists wouldn't get to hear. Originally, I planned on staying at the Dam for only a few hours. I had seen several pictures of the Hoover Dam, but I did not think much about it. Pictures are just pictures. I wasn't expecting that much "shock and awe" when I saw the Dam for the first time.
Before parking in the large area on the Arizona side of the Hoover Dam, we stopped of in a small parking area on the Nevada side. This parking area gives you access to the walking path/view point on the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge (US Rote 93) that crosses the Colorado River.
From this this vantage point, you get a breath taking view that you can't get on or near the Dam. This view also provides the opportunity to appreciate the massive size and enormous amount of work it took to construct the Hoover Dam and the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge that spans this gap.
We walked back to our FJ's, drove across the Hoover Dam, and parked on the Arizona side. We trekked across the dam, towards the Nevada side to visit the gift shop and Visitors Center. During my picture taking escapades, I tend to do unsafe things. Such as, stopping in the middle of the road, leaning/standing on questionable objects, and waling into precarious circumstances, trying to get that "perfect" shot. Due to my picture taking obsession, the walk to the Visitor Center took much longer than expected. By the time my friends had pried my GoPro from my hands, it was too late to take a guided tour of the Dam.
Like I said earlier, my plan was only to stay a few hours. Needless to say, those few hours turned into an all day adventure. As the sun set, I watched as the Hoover Damn took on a whole new life. I drove back to the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge so I could get a good picture of the Dam at night. Unfortunately, that area was closed, so I had to get creative to capture this picture.
My solution, mount the GoPro to the top of the FJ using my suction cup mount and several (and I mean SEVERAL) of the bendable arm extensions to make this happen. Once my GoPro was mounted, I connected my iPad to my GoPro via the built in wifi. Doing this,I could take pictures with my GoPro using my iPad as the screen while driving. Since there was no traffic, I was able to take my time driving across the bridge. Unfortunately, I get distracted easy, so it took me a few passes to get the picture.
Visiting the Hoover Dam was a great experience. One of the reasons I enjoy visiting the Dam at this time of year is the lack of tourists. Not having crowds of people (with their kids pooping and touching everything) improves the overall experience and helps you appreciate the Dam. I am thankful to Kenny and Bobby for hanging out, showing me around, and keeping me safe. You guys definitely made the day much more enjoyable.
I am still amazed at the amount of creativity and sacrifice that went into building the Hoover Dam. I strongly recommend visiting this engineering marvel if you get the opportunity.
To learn more about the Hoover Dam, please click here: Hoover Dam
*Papa.Bravo.Fourteen Road Trip, 2014*
On January 14, 2016 while on my Winter Road Trip 2016, I visited the Hoover Dam for a second time! On this trip I was joined by my Co-Pilot Kennedy, which this was his first time there.
Just like before, my first stop was the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman memorial bridge, which spans the Colorado River and offers an amazing view of the Hoover Dam. I thought I would be less impressed seeing this for a second time, but like usual, I was wrong. To see the awesomeness of the Hoover Dam from this vantage point is absolutely amazing!
Once we finished at the bridge, we made the walk down to the parking lot and drove across the Hoover Dam.
We parked on the Arizona side (right side of picture above). There is closer parking to the Dam and visitor center on the Nevada side, but I really enjoy driving over the Hoover Dam for a couple of reasons. First, before the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman memorial bridge was completed in 2010, the road (US Route 93) on top of the Hoover Dam was the main thoroughfare. To me, driving across is kind of like reliving a piece of history.
Now the road just joins the two sides (Nevada and Arizona) of the Dam. Once you cross over, the road dead-ends in a parking area on the Arizona side. Before you reach that last parking area though, there is a little store at the top, which has a parking lot that provides a fantastic view of the Hoover Dam and the new bridge.
Second, I had way to much fun on the Vegas strip the night before, where I won a little money, ate a little too well, drank a little to much, and slept a little less than normal. So I figure, the extra exercise I get from walking over the Dam does the body good and helps to reinforce that very typical statements of, "I'm never drinking again!" I made when I woke up.
The main thing I did on this trip that I did not have a chance to do on the past, was take a tour of the inside. If you have a chance to visit the Dam, I strongly recommend taking the tour.
There are two tours you can do:
One, the "Powerplant Tour" which lasts about 30 minutes and costs about $15.00 per adult.
Second, the "Dam Tour" which lasts about 1 hour and costs about $30.00 per adult. The nice thing about this tour is the Powerplant Tour is included.
We did the second option (Dam Tour). For both tours though, once you pay and you're waiting for the tours to start, you hang out in the visitor center. Here you can walk around and look at several exhibits explaining how the Dam works and shows how it was constructed.
Once your tour starts, you will enter into the theater and watch a short and very informative film about the Dam. Upon completion of the film, they will break you up into groups based on which tour you're taking.
The "Dam Tour" starts in the newly renovated visitor center and ends at the top of the Dam where the original
tours started so many years ago. In my opinion, the Dam Tour is the way to go. It cost a little more money, but you get to see much more. Just so you know, regardless of which tour you take, you will hear a lot of damn, Dam jokes.
The Dam is just half of what they accomplished. Before they could begin construction on the Dam, they had to divert the mighty Colorado River to allow the builders a safe and dry area to work and pour the mind-blowing amounts of concrete.
They made four diversion tunnels through the Black Canyon walls. Each one of these tunnels is approximately 4,000 feet long and 56 feet in diameter. These tunnels allowed continuous flow of the river while the Dam was being constructed.
The tunnels alone are a thing of wonder!
It truly is amazing to see what they built without the technology, tools, and equipment we have today. Again, the Hoover Dam is a sight to see and if you have the opportunity to visit, please do, you will not be disappointed.
To learn more about the Hoover Dam, please click here: Hoover Dam
In my opinion, it is one of the most amazing man made creations in the world, next to Chicago style pizza!
*Winter Road Trip, Part Two (2016)*
On August 11, 2016 Ashlie and I stopped off at the Hoover Dam on our way into Las Vegas. This was Ashlie's first time seeing the Dam. Our time there was short because we had a meet and greet to attend in Vegas later that day.