A visit to the Hoover Dam

Wednesday 5/21/14 we decided would be a great day to visit the Hoover Dam. One reason was the winds were predicted to be much calmer than previous days.

We had a roast that we had planned to put in the crockpot Tuesday morning but it wasn’t thawed so we saved it for today. Diane got it going while I walked Jack and then we loaded up and headed to the dam. We have ridden over the dam a couple times on motorcycle trips but had never stopped o check it out. Which was very common on most of our scooter trips, we never slowed down to smell the roses. We just wanted to ride!!

Once at the dam you have an option to park in a couple places for a fee of $10 but we opted to walk a little farther and found a place to park for free, Ok Ok I’m cheap LOL!!

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We spent some time walking and looking before we headed down a set of steps to see what was there. Almost immediately we found ourselves in an inspection line very similar to the ones you find at an airport. We figured OK, we will go with the flow because we want to see what’s there.

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As it turns out it was where you go for the guided tours!! We were a bit surprised because the last we heard the tours were canceled due to malfunctioning elevators. I guess they have been fixed,,, or at least we HOPE they have been LOL!!

We had pretty much written off going on a tour because of the elevator issues so this was a nice surprise. We paid our entry fees, got in line and soon was watching a short movie before we were herded into another line that took us to elevators where we were crammed in like Vienna sausage in a can.

I bet they just hate it when the elevators stop working and they can’t do tours. With the fees they charge and at the fast pace they run tours through they have to lose a huge amount of revenue each day.

Hoover Dam spans the Colorado River in Black Canyon between Arizona and Nevada. It is 726.4 feet high, 1244 feet long, 45 feet thick at the top, 660 feet thick at the bottom and is made up of 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete.

They say the dam weights 6.6 million tons and there is enough concrete in the dam to build a 3” thick by 4’ wide sidewalk around the entire earth.

The contract to construct the dam was awarded to a combination of Six Companies, Inc. Six Companies was a joint venture of Morrison-Knudsen Company of Boise, Idaho; Utah Construction Company of Ogden, Utah; Pacific Bridge Company of Portland, Oregon; Henry J. Kaiser & W. A. Bechtel Company of Oakland, California; McDonald & Kahn Ltd. of Los Angeles; and J. F. Shea Company of Portland, Oregon. Hence the name (Six Companies).

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Construction of Hoover Dam began in 1931, and the last concrete was poured in 1935, two years ahead of schedule. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the dam on September 30, 1935. The power plant structures were completed in 1936, and the first generator began commercial operation in October of that year. The 17th and final generator went into commercial operation in 1961.

Six Companies, Inc. was also contracted to build a new town for construction workers, to be called Boulder City

Most workers on the dam were paid $4.00 per day and the “high-scalers” that worked on the high cliffs were paid $5.60 per day. These were good wages in the depression era but I think I would have settled for the $4 be day and passed on the swinging from cables along the cliff walls!! Not this boy.

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They say only 96 deaths were attributed to construction of the dam. But while working in the tunnels many workers suffered from the carbon monoxide generated by the machinery there, including trucks that were driven in. The contractors claimed that the sickness was pneumonia and was not their responsibility. Some of the workers died in nearby hospitals because of the so-called “pneumonia.” Those who died off the site were not counted on the official death list. I’m sure it was an insurance thing. Some things never change.

The tour was pretty good and the dam is well, damn impressive.

After the tour we poked through the gift shop and then headed to the Jeep and headed off to a different parking area so we could hike up to the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge.

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They decided to build the bridge because of the increasing congestion caused by the switchbacks leading to the Hoover Dam site and the restrictions at the dam crossing.

Construction on the nearly 2,000 foot long bridge began in late January 2005 and traffic began using the Hoover Dam Bypass on October 19, 2010.

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The views were pretty good from the bride.

After Hoover Dam we headed to downtown Boulder City to the Boulder Dam Brewery for a snack and a adult beverage before heading home. http://www.boulderdambrewing.com/#

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Once home I spent some time cleaning the windows outside and Diane called ahead to make appointments to have her hair done and Jack to get a bath once we reach Grants Pass in about 3 weeks. Other than that we pretty much puttered around the rest of the evening. Another good day.

It’s strange to think that in less than 3 weeks we will be back to where we started our road trip 18 months ago. Time flies.

The only plan we have for Thursday is to kick back, do some laundry and cleaning and maybe take Jack to the park and let him play in some grass.

Friday morning we will lift jacks and have an almost 400 mile travel day to Hawthorne Nevada where we will stay for 2 nights before moving on to Sparks Nevada and chill for a week before we move on again. Look out Grants Pass we are getting closer !

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4 Responses to A visit to the Hoover Dam

  1. NIce blog about Hoover Dam. That is truly a magnificent engineering feat. We really enjoyed our visit a few years back. Unfortunately, touring the inner workings of the Dam is not as extensive as it used to be prior to the 2001 incident.

  2. Lar says:

    Know your schedule will be busy when back in this area, but will look forward to seeing you guys.

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