Wednesday (12th March 2014):
And so the usual cycle – get up, pack, breakfast – repeats itself.
We gathered at the same meeting point to board the tour bus to the Hoover Dam. Instead of going via the highway, the guide took us through Boulder Dam City just to give us a glimpse of the quaint little town. The hotels there are named after the hotels that are on The Strip, which I thought was pretty interesting! This town is relatively quiet with lush greenery, very different from other parts of Vegas.
The bus took us to the top of the Hoover Dam where we got down. The foot of the dam was where we did the Canyon Float Tour. We were then taken into the dam……135 ft down the canyon.
History of the Hoover Dam:
*a little wordy but do give it a read*
View of the Hoover Dam from Nevada.
The Colorado River had the potential to sustain life and bring prosperity to communities. However, without the dam, it was extremely limited and was a constant ongoing battle against nature.
In 1905, torrential spring rains had caused the Colorado River to flood. Nearby settlements (Imperial Valley) were flooded for over two years, destroying many homes and lives. With the continuous battle between bouts of droughts and floods, the Hoover Dam was built in order to tame the Colorado River so that the surrounding settlement and agriculture could continue to flourish.
In 1928, a bill on damming the Colorado River and diverting the water to California was passed by congress after failing three times. In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the authorization of the construction project which was the largest government contract awarded at that time.
Soon, a massive concrete mass began to rise from the noise and dust. 5000 men worked on the Hoover Dam and most of them were housed in Boulder Dam City which was built in the desert solely for this purpose.
Before concrete for the dam could be poured, the Colorado River had to be rerouted. Four tunnels, each between 3500-4300 feet long, were blasted and drilled through the canyon wall. Fun Fact: 96,000 gallons of water flow through these tunnels each second! The tunnels measured 56 feet in diameter with 3 feet of concrete along the sides. 19 months and nearly 600,000 tons of concrete later, the diversion tunnel was completed.
3 dams: The Upper Cofferdam, Lower Cofferdam and Rock Barrier were built so that nearly 1 mile of riverbed could be kept dry for the building of the Hoover Dam. Once the area was dry, 135 feet deep of silt, mud, rock and sand had to be excavated to expose the bedrock where it would support the dam.
Railroads, roads, tunnels and the world’s most extensive cableway system were among the many features that had to be built at the dam site in order to ensure success in the building of the dam.
In 1935, the project was finally completed, 2 years ahead of schedule. The Hoover dam has since transformed the desert into productive farmland, supporting thriving communities around the area.
Considering the technology and resources at that time, the building of this dam is pretty damn amazing!
Fun Fact: The dam can last for at least 2000 years.
If you were wondering, I was taking notes throughout the tour.
After the tour, we were able to walk across the dam.
So, I can now say that I’ve walked all the way from Nevada to Arizona! Pretty cool huh!
As we had a bit more time on our hands, the guide drove us to a point where we could walk across the Mike O’callaghan – Pat Tillman memorial bridge!
At night, we were scheduled to catch the “O” show, Cirque Du Soleil! It was an amazing production. “Amazing” is an understatement! It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Definitely a must watch if you’re in Vegas! The cast, the crew, the costumes, the coordination, the timing, the set, the music, the backdrop, the props, the performance, the dancing, the balance……were just PERFECT!
We had dinner and gelato at the Gelato Cafe at The Bellagio after the show. The best way to end this fun-filled day!
Next up: The Grand Canyon
Thanks for tuning in. Now, get off your computer and go for a run!