Dam, that Thing is Big

I tried to find some kind of decent breakfast on the way out of Vegas, but gave up and got a couple tacos at Del Taco, a regional version of Taco Bell. It was going to be good to get out of Vegas. Hoover dam was less than an hour away.

Parking was seven dollars, but not far past the pay lots were some free ones. I was happy to do a bit of extra walking. I got halfway across the dam before I realized that my camera battery was almost dead. It was just as well since I had a knife in my pocket and there were no knives allowed on the dam tour.

I went for the full dam expensive tour. Thirty bucks. The regular “Power Plant Tour” is only seven dollars. I’d driven untold thousands of miles to get here (this is not merely a figure of speech, the odometer was broken), I wasn’t going to miss the Dam Tour to save a couple of bucks now.

One of the cool things on the Dam Tour is that you get to go into the dam itself, hence the name, I suppose. Here’s a picture of me at a little vent in the face of the dam. It was pretty cool.



Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression. It was part of a stimulus plan. Construction was completed in five years, two years sooner than expected. It also came in under budget. Looking at the dam, I have to wonder whether today we could build it in five years. I rather doubt it. I recently read that it was going to take six months to fix an escalator in a DC subway. Hoover Dam was built as a symbol of our nation’s greatness and power. As such, it was designed as much to be a beautiful destination as it was to control water and generate electricity. Check out the fancy deco sign and door to the bathroom. The whole place is beautifully appointed.


Hoover dam is built on the middle of the Colorado river, which is the border of Nevada and Arizona. On each side is a clock indicating the time of day. One clock says “Nevada Time,” the other says “Arizona Time.” They were both the same. This seemed rather much ado about nothing.

This state line is, in fact, the line between the mountain and pacific time zones, yet both clocks are the same. It turns out that Arizona does not do daylight savings time, so for another week or so it’s the same time in Arizona as in Nevada.

Nevada time Arizona time

After I’d enjoyed the dam, I walked across the recently completed bridge across the Colorado river. You can’t see much when you drive over it. The sides of the bridge are too tall for that. I think that they are high because the winds on the bridge are pretty significant. A competing hypothesis is that if you could see off the bridge people would be too distracted looking at Hoover Dam and the Colorado River and would drive off the bridge.

When I was tired of driving, I was in Kingman, Arizona. There were a handful of cheap-looking motels there. The RV park wanted twenty-five bucks. I found a hotel for thirty and ate across the street.

More pics . . .

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3 Responses to Dam, that Thing is Big

  1. mksgrist says:

    I hope you took more pictures than this….  How come the Vegas post isn’t in synch?

  2. pfaffman says:

    Thanks, Mike. I just added the link to the rest of the dam pics. I’ll check the Vegas post in a minute and try to figure out what I screwed up about the Vegas post’s synchronism.

  3. pfaffman says:

    Ah. I somehow entered 01 for the month rather than 11. I added a link to the other vegas pics there too. You’ll be disappointed, as I didn’t get any pictures of the strippers.

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