Friday, June 20, 2014

Road Trip, Part 2

Two weeks ago I wrote during the kids’ naptime about our trip into Havasu.  When they woke up I wasn’t quite ready to post it so I saved it (for the 3rd time.)  After dinner I came back to finish and post and it was gone, gone, gone.  Tech Guy came to do his usual magic and still couldn’t resurrect it.  It is so hard for me to find time to write in the first place that I am doubly grieved at needing to repeat it and yet I crave the chronology and the expression.  So here I go again.  I have such a love/hate relationship with computers!

In the morning in Beatty, Nevada after a coffee in the gazebo 14-03-24-08-21-08Hand a look through the eerily empty casino we started out for Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, and Lake Havasu City.  We chose to go a bit east to Boulder City on Route 93 rather than drop down on 95 to Needles.  The benefit was getting to see Hoover Dam and the fantastic piece of engineering that the bridge is.

First, though, we had to drive through Las Vegas and after the lovely deserted  roads we’d been on14-03-24-10-34-07H14-03-24-10-34-55H the 8 lanes and interchanges were nerve wracking.  My two impressions besides the race of traffic were the really strong effort that Las Vegas has made to bring art into their concrete freeway system (mosaic walls and metal sculptures and decorative landscaping)14-03-24-11-19-13H and secondly, the excitement of seeing the big casinos from the freeway as we careened past, me hanging out the window with the camera and Tech Guy asking me to check the map for exit numbers. 14-03-24-11-21-37H14-03-24-11-22-11H

Once we were out of the downtown I was sort of horrified to see hillsides filled with beige houses, row after row after row.  Some were quite large but they were still packed in together and as brown as the dusty hillside. 



I did find Boulder City quite charming, at least what we saw of the little downtown.  It seemed to have a quaint neighborhood feeling.  We drove down around a corner and spied Lake Mead which was created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.                           


Lake Mead14-03-24-12-11-33H14-03-24-12-12-24H

“More Lake than the Eye Can See”

And then we saw overhead our first glimpse of the bridge as we drove down to the dam.14-03-24-12-28-14H14-03-24-12-28-21H14-03-24-12-28-33H14-03-24-12-28-43H

In the photo below you can see on the far right center the visitors’ information center. The scale of the cleft is enormous. 14-03-24-12-32-43H_thumb5514-03-24-12-34-45H_thumb7

And here is the Colorado River flowing down on its way to the Gulf of Mexico (although I learned that because of overuse in farmlands and development in Southern California, Arizona, and Mexico the river has all but disappeared and the delta, once a rich habitat, has nearly dried up.)


Hoover Dam was built between 1933 and 1935.  We drove across it amid throngs of sightseers.  14-03-24-12-32-54H

Standing there on the rim I could feel the immensity of the height and depth but I didn’t think about the statistics that I have since read: how much concrete was used to make this dam, how thick it is, how much water pressure it holds back, how increasing the pressure in the canyon caused 600 earthquakes the first year the dam was built.  Standing there was just a “Wow!  How did they ever do this?” sensation.14-03-24-12-33-17H_thumb6

On the high side of the dam the water line shows the effects of several years of drought in California and Arizona.  The water line is 100 feet down, the lowest it has been since the dam was built. 



As we left the dam we got to drive over the bridge that I had so admired from below: really, it is visually much more impressive to see it from below than to drive across it.  It is so freeway-like when you are going across it that you don’t realize you are suspended high in the air on spindly little concrete pillars which might tip sideways at any moment if an earthquake occurred.  Yes, I did think of that.

And soon we crossed the state line to Arizona, our real destination.


I have a dear friend since college days. Since sharing an academic major we have gone on to sharing the growth in our families and all the ups and downs of life.  I have had some of the best deep laughs of my life with her even in the throes of young family life. She has the kindest heart and I marvel at her goodness.  She has weathered storms without losing her heart and I am truly amazed by her.  We were both Northwesterners until a few years ago when she became a snowbird.   This was my first glimpse into what life in the Southwest is like.

It is like Blue Sky!14-03-25-07-14-17R

It is like Warm Mornings when you can sit outside to drink your coffee at 6 AM!


It is like Retirement Living, tanned golfers and pickle ball players! 14-03-25-12-44-50R

It is like Enjoying the Fruits of your Labor—all those years of the 8 to 5 routine and now it’s time to enjoy recreation and friends and hobbies.


We stayed in their 5th Wheel “casita”, a charming guesthouse.  More about Lake Havasu to come….

1 comment:

ellen b. said...

I'm sorry you lost your first post. I, too, have a love hate relationship with all smart technology. Oye!
There are so many areas of the U.S.A. that make for interesting exploring. That dam is an amazing structure. Sounds like a very relaxing destination...