What Big Intakes You Have!

Monday, March 18, 2019

We left Blake Ranch RV Park and Horse Motel, and yes, two horses took advantage of the hotel. We headed west on I-40 to Kingman, then US Highway 93 towards Las Vegas. Along the way we paralleled the mighty Colorado River but didn’t see much of it until we got close to a very important structure that dates back 88 years.

Our First Peek of the Colorado River.
Green Hills Near the Colorado
View of Highway 93. Photo Taken From Parking Lot 15, Hoover Dam

Some of you astute readers may have picked up on the title theme. Or maybe you’ve traveled this route before and may recognize the place to which I refer. Or, more likely my verbal nudge isn’t a very good one and no one will have a clue of what I am talking about. I vote for the latter.

So, this place has very large intakes that supply water through penstocks to massive hydro electric turbine generators. Water from behind Hoover Dam is gravity fed reaching 85 miles per hour.

Looking Upstream From the Dam is Lake Meade- Notice the “tub ring”- Water Level is Way Down

That power turns the turbines which generate electricity for many communities. In fact the average power generated before the current drought was 4.2 Two/year or enough to power 19,800,000 homes a year! To learn more of this incredible structure from planning to completion use this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam

And oh has everything changed here for the visitor since 911. A new visitors center was built and 15 new parking lots dot the hillside on the Arizona side of the dam. After the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. all vital facilities including dams were put off limits. One used to be able to cross most every dam that included a roadway. In fact the main thoroughfare for one traveling from Las Vegas to say Bullhead City, Kingman or Flagstaff included driving across Hoover Dam. For several years Hoover Dam was off limits. A very high bridge was built over Black Canyon to the south of the dam which once again allowed travel between the states of Arizona and Nevada via US 93.

Highway 93 Passes Over Black Canyon Near Hoover Dam

We spent some time at the dam but couldn’t take the mutzos on it or in it. Nor could we park the beast anywhere but on a hillside parking lot high above the dam. Parking lots are numbered one through 15 and 15 is where big rigs park. I’m sure it would have been a 3/4 mile walk down a very steep hill to get down to the dam and a huff and puff back. We got searched, or our rig did, at a security checkpoint before reaching the dam as well as did every other vehicle. 15 parking lots you say? Yes, Hoover Dam is a very popular tourist attraction. Not only the dam but several overlooks are provided along US 93 for a more broad overview of the dam and Lake Meade.

Vintage WWII Bunker Created to Protect Hoover Dam Sits High On a Hill On The Arizona Side

We push on towards Lost Wages, er. Las Vegas, skirting the Strip to its south. Las Vegas has grown exponentially over the last decade.The city’s population is over 600,000 souls. In combination with the rest of Clark County’s 2.2 million folks it accounts for 3/4 of the state’s population. A few more transitions and we are heading northwest on Nevada Highway 160 passing Red Rock Canyon and a very new master planned community on the outskirts of Las Vegas. We travel over a mountain pass enjoying the snow capped mountains to our north. An hour after leaving Las Vegas we reach our home for two nights, Lakeside Casino and RV Resort in Pahrump, NV (36,000 souls).

View From Lakeside Casino and RV Park Towards Snow Capped Mt. Charleston, Elevation 11,916 feet.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

Pahrump was originally inhabited by the Southern Paiute. It was slowly inhabited by settlers in the late 19th century. They reportedly chose the name for Pahrump after the original indigenous name Pah-Rimpi, or “Water Rock,” so named because of the abundant artesian wells in the valley.

From here we’ll head towards Hawthorne with a one night layover, then to home. See you then!

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