Saturday, January 15, 2011


 From Kingman to Las Vegas takes you by way of Old Historic Highway 66. There are a few old buildings reminiscent of the times, but progress is progress.
I was excited about seeing the new by-pass of Hoover Dam, having driven over the dam in the 1980's. And, I did take pictures then of that exciting, amazing, curling, switch backed drive, but no digital.
From the  by-pass, it was a very quick glimpse from the passenger side of the motor home of a small section of the dam.  From an auto, it may not have been visible at all. The blue, blue Colorado River was in evidence, and the parking lot for tours of the dam.
 Part of the electric grid could be seen, reminding travelers what this dam means to the Los Angeles Basin. The new bridge is beautiful, but the old road was spectacular. Darn.
I was under the impression that the by-pass was built at huge cost because the old road was dangerous. It certainly could be construed as dangerous, with its tight, turns, over cement abutments amid the sound of roiling water which made it the most interesting dam I've ever visited and one of the most beautiful. Touring the dam makes you respect the immensity of the project and dazzles your sense of proportion. At the dam, there is a picture of Blackie, a dog the original dam workers adopted. I did a story on Blackie back when I was a feature writer.
I was told by a gentleman in our last camp that the by-pass was built to prevent terrorism. Then, we watched helicopters flying over the dam for $29 a ride. So, I went to the web site and that isn't the case at all. The tight switchbacks, and slow travel was the reason. Its the only crossing of the Colorado in the West that is connected to a viable highway. But, you can decide for yourself:
Its also a given that the first thing you see when you reach the outskirts of Vegas is a Casino.  And, we have a couple shows on our list.
Our visit here is two-fold. We will visit my son and his family and my daughter, both live in nearby Henderson. And, Jim's son who flies into Vegas from Connecticut tomorrow for a conference.
I remember my first visit to Las Vegas, in the early 1960's in July. I stood in the narrow shadow of a street light at every corner crossing. The heat was nearly unbearable. Yesterday was cool and mostly sunny. Ahh, the right time of year for fun in Vegas.

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