All Out of 'Dam' Jokes
Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 10:42AM
[Raul Keally]

I heard just about every joke using the word 'dam' to describe parts of the tour I took at Hoover Dam - so I'm just not going to go there.  Yesterday I headed out to Hoover Dam which is only about 30 minutes from Las Vegas.  The visitor center at Hoover Dam was completed in 1995 - which is hard to believe because it's a pretty big operation.  On the tour that I chose, we went 500 feet down into one of the diversion tunnels that were built (to divert the Colorado river around where the dam was to be built) - which houses a 30 foot in diameter pipe carrying Lake Mead water into the power plant to generate electricity.  You could feel the vibration of all the water flowing through the enormous pipe.

We then went to see one of the rooms where the generators were spinning away - creating electricity.  The Hoover Dam project has completely paid for itself and is self funded through the sale of the electricity it generates at this power plant.  The construction and decor of the interior of the generator room and tunnels that we walked through were pretty impressive - high quality materials - marble, brass, copper were used. 

The last part of the tour was pretty neat as we walked further into the interior of the dam (the actual wall itself) and at times were seperated from Lake Mead by as little as 20 feet of concrete.  We took a winding tunnel which ended with stairways going up or down (very steep and lots of steps) to the seepage chambers - where water seepage occurs around the dam wall.  Apparently quite a bit of water seeps around Hoover Dam every day which is collected and re-directed to the Colorado river flow.  You could actually hear the water collecting when standing at the top of the long stairway that winded down into darkness.

I also made a quick stop to Lake Mead to check it out - and it wasn't very impressive - other than it being the largest man-made lake (in volume not area) in the U.S. (Lake Powell being second) - there were no services immediately available (restaurant, boat rentals) - and only four people hanging out on the small beach.

Check out the photos from my visit to Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

Now - onto Los Angeles to visit with friends and then back home this weekend - very excited to see Rachel and Toby - it's been a long, long trip not having them with me.


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