After rolling down I-40 west the past few weeks we take a turn North to Las Vegas. The scenery changed a bit on the way. We lost sight of trees and grass…sadly…but every place has beauty in it.
Mike wasn’t able to get many pictures due to work but this was about what we saw the whole trip. In my original plans I was going to get us a spot in Las Vegas. Now where do you park a camper in Las Vegas? Let me tell you, no where! Just kidding. There are several campgrounds in Vegas but after asking a few folks on the road, we were told to stay outside of Vegas. So I found a place in Boulder City, NV.
This is Canyon Trail RV Park. Look at the dirt. It makes me wonder if people get tired of looking at grass when they come visit Alabama. I can’t imagine they could but anyways, this was a very nice campground. We had plenty of room and met some very nice people.
Normally, we would put out our rug but the wind was so fierce that we couldn’t keep anything to stay put. As a matter of fact one night I was up until 4:00 in the morning listening to the wind knock the camper around like we were in a boxing match. We did win and by that I mean we didn’t get blown over.
I was really happy with Boulder City. I love history and this city did not disappoint! I found a museum for this town in the historic hotel, Boulder Dam Hotel.
This is a great museum and cost us 3 dollars to get in, so that was another bonus! So, after the decision was made to build the Hoover Dam, during the great depression, people from all over came looking for work. These men and their families set up tents in the desert until the work began. Then the workers were moved into Boulder City. Boulder City was a government town. So to get in you had to stop by the gate and you would get a pass.
After stopping by the gate and getting permission to enter, you would then see the City Manager to let him know what kind of business you had there. If that was approved and you had to stay over for the night that would have to be approved to.
Note the scavenger hunt. Micheal loves these so that was another bonus. I might have gotten a few answers from him at the end.
What I love the most is learning how people lived during this time. I feel like I know what she is talking about. What would you take? We have been on the road for 8 weeks now and I certainly have a better understanding of this question. Of course these people weren’t dragging their house behind them nor did they have a travel app to tell you how far the next gas station was. So I really would not want to travel as these people had to.
As we are looking at this exhibit there was a lady talking about how she brought her ironing board. Once she got out in the desert and it was hot and windy they realized that the ironing board was better used as a bench. (bottom right)
So the story goes that the wind would blow the dirt into the house and cupboards. Then every morning the woman would shovel the dirt off the floor and then clean all the dishes that were in the cupboard. I opened that cabinet and the dishes inside were filled with dirt. Yikes! I can’t imagine what that would have been like.
This poor child was playing in a forbidden yard. While running across the tar barrel tops, she fell in. Luckily most of the tar got on her clothes, the tar on her skin was removed by a gasoline bath. Ouch!
There were 5,ooo men who worked on the Hoover Dam. Blasting and chipping away at the rock.Not one of them had a hard hat. So one man took two baseball caps, placed them together and dipped them into tar. Once the company got wind that the men were doing this they ordered hard hats for all the men and thats how hard hats became a part of construction work.On a side note. If you read our ticket to get into the city. One of the questions was how many men were buried in the wall. The answer is none. Oh sure there were men that would fall into the cement and die, but the workers were given strict orders to remove the body. So when the men scaled down the wall and came to a hand or foot sticking out of the wall, they chipped away at the cement and removed the body.
I love this picture. It took five years to build this dam. I think that is amazing considering it takes that long to repave sections of our interstates and highways.
After leaving the museum, Micheal and I decided to wonder around a bit. This town is lovely and if you love little antique shops, this is your place.
This was a really fun shop! Just filled with knick knacks and antiques from the 1980’s. Yikes! You could spend an hour in this store looking around but when you have a 12 year old boy with you 20 minutes was enough for him. I bet you didn’t know this even existed! I didn’t.
Once inside the owner was encouraging us to touch everything. Micheal was loving it. There were hats, rugs, and capes. Just to name a few things. Before we left the owner showed us a picture of an alpaca before being shaved and after. Poor thing looked pitiful!
There are quite a few statues around town but this one was the most interesting.
This is Alabam. That wasn’t his name, its just what everybody called him. He was hired to clean the outhouses. That meant keeping them swept out, throwing limes down the holes and restocking the toilet paper. This was his only job. I can imagine he stayed very busy!
The Neveda welcome center was closed so we visited the Lake Mead visitors center.
These palm trees were out side the center. Once inside we were told about a film about life on the lake and in the back of the building was more information about Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. (We did watch the film because Micheal likes that sort of thing)
These ringbolts are still along the canyon walls. The rings were used as a pulley system to pull boats with supplies up the river. There was also a section on the wildlife that we could see around Boulder City. I was so disappointed! This is a roadrunner? That means all my life Looney Tunes has lied! I still can’t believe they are this small.
After talking with the park rangers we discovered a bike trail that would take you to the Hoover Dam. It runs through the tunnels that were used by the old railway to take supplies to the dam for building. It was only 3.3 miles one way. I didn’t think that was to bad, but I would soon see how bad it could be.
The next day we loaded up the bikes and headed out! The trail starts by the Lake Mead Visitors Center. It starts out as a paved path and becomes a dirt path.
The view on the trail was really nice.
We knew there would be tunnels but we were not prepared for how amazing they would be.There is timber at the entrance and exit of the tunnels for support. There are also bats that live in the tunnels but fortunately they were all on vacation!
On a side note, I know that my bike isn’t exactly what you would call a dirt trail bike but with a seat that big to protect from the bumps and a basket to hold sunscreen and water, I think it was perfect for this trip!
We got to this sign and had to make a decision. We decided to take the shortcut back and go see the boneyard exhibit. Well we didn’t see the boneyard anywhere but Mike did spot this guy.If you ever get the story about seeing the lizard on the trail from Micheal, he will probably talk more about how his leg was almost severed off when Mike yelled excitedly at him to stop and look to his left, no your other left. Fortunately, Micheal didn’t loose his leg and the lizard probably thought we were crazy!
We got to a point where we couldn’t take our bikes, so we parked them. You could hear the electricity buzzing through the lines here.Then we continued to walk down the trail and then got to some steps which took us to the parking garage of the dam. For any of you planning on going to the dam, it is 10.00 to park. I preferred the free ride on my bike!
You can almost see the size by looking at the tiny trucks parked on the bottom.This is the interstate and bridge. I will show you that in a bit. Let’s face it, this is very impressive for the 1930’s and built in the desert with no air conditioning!
Now we also decided not to take the Hoover Dam tour. As I stated before we knew some things we really wanted to do and the tour wasn’t on the list. Maybe some other time.
After walking around a bit we head into the gift shop and find our ornament. Then we convinced Micheal that he could eat the snacks we brought and we would promise to feed him when we got back. We got back on our bikes.
Some of the trail was up hill going back and that wasn’t the problem. The problem was the 20-30 mph winds that The Weather Channel had warned us about earlier that morning. The winds weren’t blowing from behind either, we were pedaling straight into them. I would pedal so hard and I would barely move. I took some video but I can’t get it to load.
Let me tell you, my bike was a champ!
After a few days of rest for the bikers we decided to go see the dam from the bridge that runs along the interstate. This time we drove because the parking lot was fairly big, well big enough anyway and it is separate from the Hoover Dam parking garage.
This is what happens when you ask someone that probably was foreign and a little older to take your families picture with your iPhone. You hand it to him and he asks if he just has to press the white button. Yes, press the white button. He pressed the white button, the home button. I know he pressed it 3 times. So we took a selfie. It’s a really nice picture of the road below us! Haha!
Up next! Viva Las Vegas!