Monday, November 18, 2013

Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam

Back in the fall of 2010 I visited Las Vegas as my parents were going to be there for a week.  We decided to take a day trip to Grand Canyon because, well, it's the Grand Canyon!

We drove for about 30 minutes and arrived at Hoover Dam first.  This is the dam I always remember hearing and reading about.  The great Hoover Dam.  I love the architecture, it screams Art Deco!

I love the public works projects from the 1930's, they weren't just utilitarian, they really showcased true artistry.  We seemed to have lost that in today's public works projects.

Look at the Winged Figures of the Republic.  There are two of them and their wings are 30 feet high.

They were designed and built by Oskar Hansen, who was responsible for most of the mythical art work.  They are constructed from tons of bronze and they sit beside a very tall flag pole.  Most of the statues have a green patina, except their feet, which are brown from being rubbed by tourists.

Hoover Dam was started in 1931 and completed in 1936 and made of concrete that is 660 feet thick at the bottom and 45 feet thick at the top.  And on the top is a road that connects Nevada with Arizona and is the perfect direction to reach the Grand Canyon, which is about 4 1/2 hours away, by car.  The dam cost $49 million back in its day and is 726 feet tall and 1,244 feet wide and they used over 3 million cubic yards of concrete, which holds back the Colorado River, which helped to create the Grand Canyon.

Hoover Dam

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is the man made lake being held back by the dam and is about 28.5 million acres large with a surface area of 247 square miles or about 3 1/2 times larger than our capitol, Washing D.C.

The turbines inside can, at capacity, create almost 2,100 megawatts of electricity.  It's annual generation is 4.2 billion kWh according to their website.

In 2010 a new bridge was built to accommodate the heavy traffic, which currently stands at over 1 million visitors a year just to the damn alone.

It is really a nice trip and the entire tour takes about an hour before heading to the Grand Canyon and definitely worth the stop.

Hoover Dam was a quick drive from Las Vegas, but the Grand Canyon was another 4 hours away and so worth the long drive!

Because we left a bit late we didn't arrive to the Grand Canyon until late afternoon, which meant the sun wasn't so strong and you could really see the layers that made up this grand natural site.

And as the sun was setting...

We suddenly noticed the moon was rising!

And not just any moon, a FULL moon!  We couldn't have picked a better day or a better time to go!

The entire Canyon and surrounding area was bathed in a warm light.  It was truly magical.  Here are a few more photos from the Grand Canyon.

Family and Friends

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