Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Today was a pretty low-key day. Part of the reason we adjusted our itinerary around for the week was to make sure we had enough time to spend at Hoover Dam since it was rumored to be a very time-consuming venture and we had to have the RV back in Las Vegas by 11am on Thursday. As such, we got to Boulder City a day early, woke up fairly early (even though it felt like we slept in a bit) and went to explore Hoover Dam.

Much like the Meteor Crater or the Grand Canyon, it was difficult to fully comprehend the sheer size of Hoover Dam while standing on top of it, or even while looking at it from the overlook in the visitor’s center. It wasn’t until we took the walkway on the new US-93 bridge that w could really see how massive the dam was, and what impressive a feat this was for engineers back in the 1930s. I really liked learning about the history of the dam, and also the way that life in the desert changed after its construction. I keep remembering how my grandparents always told me that Phoenix was an up-and-coming city when they first moved there in the early 1960s, and I’m very aware that this would not have been possible without the construction of the Hoover Dam nearly three decades before.

My favorite part of the Hoover Dam, however, was the intricate art deco sculpture with the two eagle-men sentinels standing guard, and the elaborate star-map etched into the marble on the surrounding base. It was beautiful to see, not just because it was an impressive work of art, but also because it was easy to see the wear and tear of the years on the art piece. It was easy to imagine the work being created back in the 1930s, in the middle of the Great Depression, when so many people were struggling to have hope that life would get better.

It was a good thing we made the decision to come into Boulder City a day early since it was 11am by the time we we finished with exploring the dam, but it kind of left us with a free day with not much planned to do after that. I think all of us kind of wanted to go back to Arizona, but it would take so much time, money, and gas to get anywhere interesting. There were a lot of activities to do in the area, but they almost all cost a lot of money (renting boats, etc.) Eventually, we decided to head over to “Boulder Beach” on the lake and take a quick swim in the water. The water was so very cold, but also refreshing. There were currents that would bring in ice cold water in waves, and the pockets of warm water between the cold ones. It was beautiful to see the mountains hugging the lake all around us, and it was great to be in the cold water since we were sweltering in the 90+ degree heat today.

After the lake swim, we showered off and decided to take it easy the rest of the day. We’re going to order pizza, play Dungeons and Dragons, drink, and just relax. Tomorrow, we have to take the RV back to Vegas, and then we start a completely different adventure. I think it’s been good to have this “transition day” from the empty desert to being surrounded by bright lights, loud music, and swarms of people. Hopefully it won’t be *quite* as overwhelming this way.

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