Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

Oh my golly. I rented a car this (Monday) morning, and we drove to Hoover Dam and then Las Vegas (nearly 300 miles from Phoenix). Along the way we saw more saguaro cactus as well as Joshua trees.
We toured the power plant at the dam and walked on the road along the top of it. Our power plant tour guide said that because of drought, there is much less water running through the dam than there used to be. He says if it gets much lower, there won’t be enough water to make electricity. Currently the dam provides power to one million people as well as water for farm irrigation as far west as Los Angeles, south to Mexico and east to Phoenix. So in addition to the possibility of those areas losing power, there’s the possibility of their not getting sufficient farm irrigation. And since so much of Colorado’s and surrounding states’ produce comes from California, that could have a considerable impact. Our guide told us that the workers who built the dam during the Depression in the early 1930’s, were not treated well. Most of them were paid $4/day of which $1.60 had to be returned to the government to pay for lodging and food. There were only two holidays off per year. Other than those two, if a worker didn’t show up for work – regardless of the reason – he was fired. In one of the tunnels workers sometimes died of carbon monoxide poisoning, but the government didn’t want to pay death benefits to any survivors, so they had the coroner list the cause of death as “pneumonia.” The dam is a marvel of engineering and was built two years ahead of schedule. It is located partly in Arizona (Mountain time) and partly in Nevada (Pacific time).
Then it was off to Vegas. Wow. Our hotel, the Palazzo, is so huge and beautiful, and the whole town just has so much going on that I was almost giddy with stimulation as we walked through the casino to the elevator to get to our room. After drinking some hot apple cider served by elves in the lobby, we ate a delicious dinner at one of the bazillion restaurants just at this hotel. Then it was off to Raiding the Rock Vault show at the Las Vegas Hotel. The show was…somethin’. I told Laurel we were not going to speak of it again. It was just embarrassing. The show featured middle-aged and older rockers (guitarist from this group, drummer from that one), all mixed together to form a band that sang a variety of popular rock songs from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I, age 41, was one of the youngest people there, not counting Laurel & Charlie who were the only kids there. Among the audience members, there was a lot of head bobbing and out-of-sync clapping going on. The amplifiers were turned up like they were playing in a stadium, but it was a small, half-empty theater.
Tuesday we’ll see Penn & Teller. Wednesday we’ll see the musical Rock of Ages. (Hopefully it’s sufficiently different from tonight’s/Monday’s show.) On Thanksgiving we’re going to see the Bodies exhibit. When I asked Laurel the other day if she wanted to see that, she said, “Is that the one where the Chinese prisoners died and somebody took their skin off and now their skinless bodies are on display?” So yeah, that’s the one we’re going to.
I’ll add more photos tomorrow. I better get to bed now.

This bypass bridge was just finished three years ago.

This bypass bridge was just finished three years ago.

Here we are again, looking just as geeky!  The wonders of the green screen...

Here we are again, looking just as geeky! The wonders of the green screen…

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