This is the story of Day Four of the Grand Road Trip. The plan for today was to travel directly to Las Vegas and check in to the hotel. Though Hoover Dam lay along the route, it seemed likely that we would pass by just a bit too late to take a tour. So we planned on driving back out to the dam tomorrow afternoon. As it happened, though, we arrived at the Hoover Dam at about two in the afternoon— plenty of time to take a tour today and have a full day to hang out in Las Vegas tomorrow.
We bought tickets for the Dam Tour, which would visit the power plant as well as some lesser known tunnels running through the dam. The tour began in the dam’s new visitor center, which was built in the 1990′s. A high capacity elevator lowered the tour group seven hundred feet to the base of the dam. We were led through a tunnel through rough volcanic rock into a large room, which vibrated with the roar of rushing water. One of the water intake tubes to the hydro plant was directly beneath our feet.
The next stop on the tour was the generator room. From there, the Dam Tour group followed the original tour tunnel. It was smartly tiled and floored with terrazzo, making me feel almost as though we were about to visit a secret See’s Candy factory. Up a much older and smaller elevator we went, and arrived in a less glamorous version of the same tunnel. We followed the bare concrete to a ventilation grate about halfway up the dam, where we had the opportunity to peer curiously outside.
We were able to view a few more interesting subterranean features, then returned to the surface. I was pleased to have had the opportunity to view this monument of engineering. I was also pleased to learn that the new visitor’s center featured a snack bar. Breakfast was receding rapidly into the past by this point. After our snack, my usual accomplice and I hit the road again, and eventually arrived in Las Vegas.
We checked into the Venetian. After our full day of traveling, we were ready to sit back and take it easy.