While this trip began in Las Vegas, I was in too big a hurry to get started, to stop and take pictures. Also, I flew in very late the night before. So my first big stop (after the slots at Excalibur) was Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead.
As you leave Boulder City, Lake Mead will suddenly come into view. It’s quite a sight after miles of desert.
During my visit in March, 2004, the southwest was dealing with a serious drought. Several years of light winter snowfall in the mountains left the lake (and Lake Powell, in Utah) much lower than usual.
The lake would normally reach near the top of the dam, but the drought has left the four intake towers partially uncovered.
[tmt_info =””]If you’re willing to walk, parking is free on the Arizona side.[/tmt_info]
One of the giant spillways that can be opened to keep water from spilling over the dam.
It’s impossible to take a picture that takes in the entire dam. So take a long look and remember the incredible size of this man-made wonder.
[tmt_info =””]The new visitor’s center took years to build and went way over budget. So enjoy it, you paid for it. (And if you go inside, you’ll pay for it again, since they do charge admission.)[/tmt_info]
The incredibly green Colorado River below.
It’s mandatory that you take a picture of, or get your picture taken with, the winged statues on the Nevada side.
It’s nearly impossible to snap a good picture at the dam without power lines getting in the way. But hey, that’s what Hoover Dam is all about, power, and lots of it.
[tmt_info =””]The toes on the statue’s feet are polished to a bright copper shine, thanks to so many people touching them. It’s a ritual that’s supposed to bring you good luck in Vegas.[/tmt_info]
A pull-out south of the dam will give you one more glimpse of the Colorado River, and your first chance (of many) to buy Native American jewelry.
A view of US 93, as it cuts through the rolling hills.
[tmt_info =””]US 93 is a nearly straight shot between the dam and Kingman, AZ. But there are plenty of rolling hills to keep you entertained.[/tmt_info]
Once the road flattens out, the scenery becomes more interesting, with rocky landscapes asking to be photographed. But this is nothing, compared with what’s just a day or two down the road.
The desert sky provided the perfect balance of white and blue for my photos.
Note: This trip was first published in 2004.