Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lots of Concrete

After a very nice, warm night at Lake Mead, we went to the Hoover Dam to have a look. The architecture is quite amazing. The company that won the bid to build the dam ended up completing the dam 2 years early by working 24 hours per day nonstop for about 5 years in the mid 1930's. The town of Boulder City was established for the workers and their families to live in the area and is now a decent size town in Nevada. Walking around Hoover Dam was pretty spectacular, but we were unable to do the tour or even walk into the visitor center because it was so expensive - a tour was $30 and it was $8 to walk into the visitor center. We tried to use our National Park pass because some of the signage outside the building said that the Hoover Dam was the 5th most visited National Park, but we were informed several times by the cashiers that the Hoover Dam is NOT a park. Apparently the Dam is not funded in any way by the government and is fully funded by a private organization so that makes it ok to charge so much.

The water level in Lake Mead has decreased drastically in the past several years. At first they blamed it on drought, but now they just call it climate change. You can see from this picture where the water level used to be and where it is now. Since so many states in the SW depend on the lake for their energy, there may be some problems in the near future.

Bathtub Rings

Artistic Touches

Dedication Monument

View of the Dam

After leaving the dam, we took the scenic Lakeshore drive to see more of lake Mead. Some of the former marinas are no longer running because the water level is so low. We then worked our way up to Vegas where we stayed with some people through couchsurfing. We stayed with Brent and his girlfriend Francesca and their roommate Francis. They were great and accommodating and let us take over their front room, couches and computer for 2 days. We went to the Strip the first night to walk around and look at people, but it was a Sunday, so not too crowded. And, since neither of us really gamble, we didn't even spend any money. The house was about 10 minutes from the strip and we caught a bus directly there and back. Thanks again to Brent, Francesca and Francis.

Couchsurfing in Vegas

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