On Monday we decided to go check out Hoover Dam. Although we had to brave the regular crowds plus about 60 excited, screaming school kids who were running around like crazy, we eventually got tickets for the Hoover Dam Tour. While we waited for the tour to start, we checked out the Hoover Dam Bypass, a bridge being built in a similar fashion to the Gorge Bridge in West Virginia. We also walked along the top of the dam, which is built on the boundary of Nevada and Arizona, and wandered through the visitor center.
Once the tour began, our (very good) tour guides had some fun. Highlights included the 70 second elevator ride, where one of the tour guides quipped that the other guide would be our Dam guide on the Dam tour. Most people didn’t get it, though one elderly gentleman was laughing to himself. This greatly amused Louisa.
After exiting the elevator (who knew that 40 people could fit in the elevator?) we entered a viewing area that is built on top of one of the 30′ diamater intake pipes. You could see the pipe stretching off into the distance, and feel the water rumbling under your feet. The pipes transport about 90,000 gallons of water a second; that’s enough water to fill an Olympic-sized pool in under 8 seconds.
Then we crowded back into the elevators and went to a long room with 8 of the dam’s powerplant generators.
Finally, we got to see some of the inspection areas, complete with the original wooden molds for the concrete, the fire escape stairs curving along the inside wall of the dam, see the original marbled elevator lobby and tiled entryway that was built specifically for tour groups, and look out of the air vents in the bottom of the dam.