This view shows the dam and the tailrace where the water is being discharged from the turbines. The road on the left is the access road. Lake Mead is in the background.
This was an easy driving day, about 3-½ hours, so I didn’t rush to get underway. I had two things to see. First was the Hoover Dam and the Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, more commonly called the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. The next was the countryside near Wickenburg where there are a lot of Joshua Tree cacti to be seen. The latter was recommend by friend Celeste.
The dam and bridge were a must for an engineer to see. Both an engineering feat for their time. The Hoover Dam was commissioned in 1936 and the bridge in 2010. I remember seeing Hoover Dam in the 50’s when on holidays with my parents. We toured the whole dam back then and I can remember, as a young lad, being a bit worried about taking the elevator to the turbine room at the bottom of the dam. It was a long way down.
On this visit I didn’t do the Hoover Dam tour, but did walk out on the new bridge to get a good view of the dam. I must say, being that high gave me a queasy feeling in my stomach.
Boulder City, NV is right beside
I took this to try and show the size of the valley the dam is in and the grandeur of the setting.
the dam. On my way to the site I took the ‘historic drive through the old part of the city’. It was like stepping back in time, but everything is being kept in first class condition and all the businesses seem to be propering. I presume the economy in the town is doing well. One thing I couldn’t help but notice was that the citizens and business owners have a propensity for painting their stucco buildings pink or faded orange. It was strange, but this colouring gave me a happy feeling as I walked along the streets of the old town.
Leaving the dam site, I started the rather tedious drive across Western Arizona, heading south and east toward Phoenix. I hadn’t eaten in Boulder City and by 2pm I was a bit hungry. However, there was nothing on the horizon except dry surface mountains, sand and scrub brush and the map didn’t show any towns for 40 or 50 miles. Then, like a mirage, appeared a casino and nearby I found Rosie’s Den Cafe. What a place this turned out to be. It was full of characters eating high calorie meals in their motorcycle attire. However, there were
more than motorcyclists there. These were not your trim BMW or ST100 folk. These were well fed enthusiasts who were having a great time regaling each other with their stories of travel on their bikes - men and women alike. I found it great fun to listen in on their conversations. When I told my waitress that I didn’t really want a full meal and nothing deep fried I stymied her. She went and got Rosie herself.
Rosie listened to what I was after and said, “There’s no problem sweetheart. I can make up a nice salad with grilled chicken breast for you. Will that be OK darlin?”
I said that would be fantastic and in due course a nice salad showed up with real chicken breast on top. It hit the spot.
After an hour and a bit of tedious driving I started getting into some of the country north of Wickenburg that Celeste had told me about. I found it truly spectacular. I didn’t think I would find it quite so interesting. The bad part about it was that I was looking at it from the freeway and it is illegal to stop along the
Rosies Den Cafe
The mirage in the desert and a good lunch.
freeway. I did find a side road to get off on an explored an area near Burro Creek campground. I didn’t hang about outside the car for very long, because it was 40C.
I settled into a nice Best Western motel at Wickenburg. Wickenburg would be an interesting place to visit sometime. From 1863 to 1942, the Vulture Mine there produced 340,000 ounces of gold and 260,000 ounces of silver. The mine attracted more than 5,000 people to the area, and is credited with founding the town. Some of the locals told me the mine tour is very good and there are lots of places for hiking in the hills around. Mind you, the hiking should be done in March so that the weather is a little more reasonable for that kind of activity.
Tomorrow I will be picking up Les in Phoenix and we’ll make our way to Sedona. I don’t think there will be much to blog about for a few days as we get settled in so I’ll take a short hiatus from my daily entries.
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