Visiting the Hoover Dam

When I noticed that the Hoover Dam was so close to my line of travel on my trip west I decided to add it to my list of stops. Thanks to the bond of surname I’ve always been interested in seeing the structure. I had heard that security at the site has gotten strict, and I wondered if my packed car would pass the vehicle inspection without being unloaded. In the end it worked out okay, the security guards were careful but reasonable, and one of them went to school in Philly. (I think if I had not understood the question “Pat’s or Geno’s?” my inspection would have been more difficult. By saying “Jim’s” I confirmed that I knew something about my claimed point of origin.)

I decided to go on the Dam Tour. Before the tour began I walked out on the observation deck and took some pictures of the mammoth structure.

The Hoover Dam viewed from the observation deck.

The Hoover Dam viewed from the observation deck.

The tour is definitely not for people with claustrophobia. It involves being packed in an elevator, walking in narrow tunnels, and being under a lot of concrete. I enjoyed walking through the diversion tunnels and the ventilation shaft.

Walking through tunnels during the tour.

Walking through tunnels during the tour.

The power plant was very cool. I also liked the ornate tiles in the flooring and the brass decorations on many doors and railings.

The power plant in the Hoover Dam.

The power plant in the Hoover Dam.

After the tour ended I checked out the old display from the 1940s that shows water use and damming in the west. It has been seen at the Hoover Dam since the 1940s. Everything about the piece, particularly the colors and narration that went with it, fit the 1940s and 1950s perception I have of the United States.

The old water model from the 1940s.

The old water model from the 1940s.

I walked to the middle of the Dam and took a picture. Can you tell why?

On one hand it's noon, on the other hand it's 1.

On one hand it’s noon, on the other hand it’s 1.

Standing in the center, as my shadow shows, places a person half in Nevada and half in Arizona. Since they have different time zones my body was divided in time. Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, so if you visit in the summer when Nevada is observing DST the time is the same in both states. Confusing.

When I left the Dam I stopped briefly to see Lake Mead.

Lake Mead in the late afternoon.

Lake Mead in the late afternoon.

And lastly, here is a terrible green screen picture taken when I entered the visitor’s center. They try to sell copies of the picture to visitors. I simply edited the watermark out of the proof to get this image. I do regret not getting a shot with the real Dam.

dam

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