Friday, August 21, 2009

Las Vegas (Hoover Dam and Boulder City)

The next stop about 4 miles from the Lake Mead scenic drive was the Hoover Dam. After a cursory security checkpoint, they let the vehicles drive across the dam.

The near side of the dam has paid parking, a restaurant and a visitor center where you can take tours inside the dam itself. The far side has free parking and a side walk leading back across the dam. I took pictures from the free parking area and then headed back. Grab shots from the van were easy due to the line of traffic that paused frequently.

Granted the dam is an engineering phenomenon for the era it was built, the suspension bridge that they were building over the deep gorge is a testament to modern bridge designers. Bridge building conditions are usually extreme, hence the need for the bridges in the first place, but the terrain of sheer cliffs and deep gorges make this construction project quite dangerous and ever challenging. I'm sure that there will be a documentary on this project someday.

Update 10/24/09: The "Big Pour" of the largest concrete suspension bridge in the US (4th in the world) was on rerun today on the Science Discovery channel. Originally aired in 2007 on Mega Builders, the documentary documented many of the obstacles encountered when pouring the foundations and stretching the cable across the gorge.

On the way back to Las Vegas, I stopped in Boulder City where I read that I might get a glimpse of some big horn sheep in a suburban public park. I read on a couple of Vegas blogs that Hemenway Park with kiddie playgrounds and tennis courts had big horn sheep that come down and graze in the mornings.

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