Friday, January 30, 2015

A morning at Firestone Complete Auto Care

We've been hearing an odd sound from the back driver side tire on the Jeep, and it seemed to be worse yesterday as we were leaving Hoover Dam. Of course, we didn't hear it this morning ... but we went ahead and brought it in. The technician here at Firestone didn't find anything with that tire/wheel, but he did find a couple of other things that we got fixed - alignment and battery. The best part was that they had super fast wifi!!!!

Hoover Dam

Yesterday, we visited Hoover Dam. What a fascinating place! We took the "full" tour of both the power plant and the dam. Some interesting things I remember hearing:
  • There were three shifts of workers, working 24 hours a day, every day - only 3 days off a year - Christmas day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. It was finished in 5 years (1931-1936), 2 years earlier than planned, and under budget.
  • This was built during the Great Depression, so men were happy to have a job. The whole family relocated with the worker to the area near the dam. There was no place for them to live, so they initially stayed in tents near the Colorado River. It took about a year for Boulder City to be built. It was a "government town" and only changed that status in 1959 (to become an incorporated city). It remains one of only two cities in Nevada that do not have gambling.
  • The dam was built as a "reclamation project" - before it existed, downstream communities were subject to flooding (and drought). In addition, it provides hydroelectric power for California, Nevada, and Arizona.
  • The bypass bridge (that we crossed coming north on route 93) was completed in 2010. Before that, route 93 traffic crossed over the dam (I am really glad that this was not the case when we drove to Las Vegas on Wednesday - the road would have been narrow, steep, and curvy for Miss Daisy!

30' penstock that carries the water from Lake Mead to the Hydroelectric generators

A diagram that shows the water transmission vehicles around the dam - there are two inlets on the Nevada side, and two on the Arizona side. There are also overflow valves on each side if the lake ever gets too high (not a concern right now - was only used right after the dam was built for testing, and in 1983 during a flood stage on the Lake).

A photo of a photo of the overflow into the spillway in 1983


Ventilation tube

On the way to the vent at the end of the tube, we crossed a grate over another tunnel that went straight down

Looking out the vent toward the Colorado River
Looking down the back of the dam

Back of the dam
The arrow shows the vent (on the Arizona side) at the level where we looked out the vent on the dam tour.

Looking over the dam toward the downstream Colorado River and the highway 93 bridge that we crossed on Wednesday
Patti looking at the Nevada side inlets

Patti at the dedication seal

Looking at the back of the dam from the Arizona side
Dedication plaque

back of dam from Nevada side

Power generating plants (from Nevada side)

Tesla in the employee parking lot (the employees must make more now than the workers during construction)

Another car in the employee parking lot (note the license number!)

Nevada time on the intake

Arizona time on the other intake (if the road still came across the dam, maybe we would have known the time changed to Pacific time in Nevada!)

A list of the engineers who worked on the dam

One of the Arizona side intakes, and the southern end of Lake Mead - very low

A statue commemorating the workers who worked high up on the sides of the canyon during construction

Originally, the dam was to be placed in Boulder Canyon, and thus it was called the "Boulder Canyon Dam" - but it ended up being placed in Black Canyon.

Innovations during the building of the dam

Specs on the dam

Designations of the dam

All around the dam are huge power lines - this information plaque told about the insulators - it said that you could calculate the approximate voltage in a line by multiplying the number of segments in the insulator times 14,000.

There are 16 insulators on these - over 200Kv
Driving back toward Boulder City - another view of Lake Mead

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Finally leaving Arizona!

We realized as we were driving today that we've spent the entire month (so far) in Arizona! We've enjoyed our time there, and will be returning, but for now, we're picking up another state: Nevada.

On our drive, we headed up I-17 towards Flagstaff and then turned west on I-40.
We think this is Humphrey Peak and that we could see it from Cottonwood.
Note that Flagstaff is at 7000+ feet elevation, up from Cottonwood at about 3300 feet. We saw some snow on the ground near the freeway as we drove.

Driving west on I-40, we ran into some VERY ROUGH road surfaces! In Arizona, it appears each county gets its own Interstate road funding - each county boundary brought changes in the surface of the roadway. The last couple counties we went through didn't seem to be spending much on the interstate going through their county! When traffic was light, I drove in the left hand lane as it was not as worn.

After a stop in Kingman, AZ, for fuel (gas and propane, as well as food for us at Sonic), we headed north on US route 93 to Las Vegas. We have both been to Vegas for various conferences through our working careers - we are planning to take advantage of some of the free shows, and visit Hoover Dam.

We passed by Hoover Dam on the way into town - Dwayne took some pictures.
Approach to the bridge downstream from the Dam

There's the dam - it appeared that there were tourists on the other side of that concrete barricade taking pictures - we'll be there in a day or two!

Entering Nevada!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The US has some neat national parks / monuments!

On Monday, we had the opportunity to visit a couple of National Monuments in the area.

The first was "Montezuma's Castle" which was evidently mis-named on both accounts - not anything to do with the Aztecs (Montezuma) and probably just a multi-family living space (not a castle). It was very interesting though - similar to some of the cliff dwellings we've seen in Mesa Verde.
"Montezuma's Castle" is to the right (I'm in the foreground in the middle with hat and jacket).

This was the second set of dwellings at the site - but they showed evidence of having burned.

The information we read indicated that it is surmised that the village had located here due to the proximity of the creek and the ability to grow crops.
We then went to Tuzigoot - intended to be the word for "Crooked River" but was mis-spelled. This one was on a low hill, and the rooms were available to be explored more closely.
On our way up

Looking over the site

Further up

This area was rebuilt

Looking down toward the visitor center
As our last stop of the day, we went to Jerome, a town further up in the mountain from Cottonwood - formerly a copper mining town. We visited the state historic site which was at the Douglas Mansion. Due to the other things we had done during the day, we didn't get to see a lot of it, but it was interesting nonetheless.
The town of Jerome is built on a hill - so there are steps to connect.

A stone outside the museum

Monday, January 26, 2015

Sunday activities

We joined with a Sunday service here at our campground - the music was done by the group who entertains in the Family Center on Friday and Saturday nights. The singing and the teaching was really great!

After the Sunday service, Dwayne and I headed to the mini golf course at the campground. I remember that we played mini golf with Pop and Peggy when we stayed at the Thousand Trails Campground near Lake Tawakoni many years ago. We were very evenly matched - to each other and the course - for 9 holes, par 3, Dwayne scored 27 and I scored 28. That means I won, right? I got the higher score?
I am preparing for my second shot at this hole -- the first one bounced back almost all the way to the tee....

Dwayne did really well -- he got a hole-in-one on hole 2!
After mini-golf, we walked around the campground - meeting up with Richard and his Trek prototype from 1988. Then we walked down along the river and ended up back at our campsite (on the other side of the fence).

It was another beautiful clear day!
Tops of trees against the blue sky on the walk down to the river