Mr. Unpaved Road's college degree is in engineering. Twenty years ago, when we first visited Hoover Dam, he geeked out over touring the dam. My brain just doesn't work that way - and as impressive as the dam is, I prefer to hear the history of the dam and about the people who built it. On this visit, we drove from southern Utah through some of the most desolate area I have ever driven through, passing the incredibly low Lake Mead, to arrive at Hoover Dam and The Mike O Callaghan-Pat Tillman Bridge.
We started out in St. George, Utah with Las Vegas as our destination. After a stop at Valley of Fire State Park - more to come on that incredible place later - we thought we would stop for a drink and snack somewhere along the lake. Not knowing how incredibly desolate this area is, we came up empty handed in the snack department but found some great views of Lake Mead. The lake levels of Lake Mead are so low right now that they would need 10 years of an incredible amount of snowfall for the lake to fill up to it's normal level.
Our next stop was at the Lake Mead Visitor Center, which was closed. Womp womp. So we went in search of the viewing area of the Mike O Callaghan-Pat Tillman bridge. Without knowing it, we drove right over the bridge. It's very difficult to tell that you are on anything but a regular bridge or roadway when driving over it. After turning around, we found the parking lot for the viewing area.
There is a free exhibit detailing the building of the bridge named after former Nevada governor Mike O Callaghan and Pat Tillman, the Arizona football player who volunteered for the US Army and was killed by friendly fire. The bridge is an arch bridge that spans the Colorado River and is unique in the way it was built (2 pieces of the arch were separately placed and put together) And I am totally oversimplifying it. It is a modern construction wonder! The bridge replaces a road that went over the actual dam which was inadequate for the amount of traffic it carried.
I'm not a fan of heights but I was on board to cross the walkway and view Hoover Dam down below. Until I got to the top. Then I handed Mr. UR the camera and said "Have at it". He thought I was kidding. I wasn't. It was really, really high and windy. Really, really windy. So the photos below are credited to the husband.
Then we were off to drive down to the dam. It was too late in the day to take a tour but no worries as we had already done that the last time we visited.
This photo shows the very low water levels of Lake Mead.
Now it was really time to eat. So we went into the cute, and very retro, downtown of Boulder City to have a meal at Boulder City Brewing Company. They have a showing of a documentary about building the dam on a loop at the restaurant - and outdoor seating available. Cool place with good food.
Boulder City sprang up from the need for housing, schools and shops for the dam builders and their families. Some of the original houses from the 1930's have remained relatively unchanged.
I would have loved to have more time to explore Boulder City and it's downtown - but we were off to Vegas, baby! And besides, it was getting dark!
How about you? Have you toured Hoover Dam? Did you walk across the walkway on the Mike O Callaghan-Pat Tillman bridge? ( I know I'm not the only one to ever chicken out - there were some others waiting with me on the side of the bridge!)
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I'm linking up! Please visit Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond, Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute and Weekend Wanderlust at A Brit and A Southerner!