Vegas, Day 1
Vegas, Day 2
The Dam bus arrives early at the Monte Carlo. Which required me to set an alarm clock. As the alarms of the construction site could not be guaranteed to go off at the correct time. Or again within 9 minutes to constitute a snooze. So we alarmed. Snoozed. Showered. And dressed.
As we went down for breakfast. Alarms actually started going off in the hotel. Fire alarms. With flashing strobe lights. It was very loud. But no one seemed concerned. Not the workers in the food court. Or the bosses in the pits. Well. Those security guards that were running. They might have been concerned. Yet no one said "get out!" Or "run for your life!" So we stayed and had breakfast. In the food court. With the sirens. And the strobes.
We headed out the doors and looked for the sign to the dam bus.
The drive to the dam is really not that long. It's maybe a 20 minute drive. However. There are two things that slow you down. One is that everyone must go through a security check. No commerical vehicles are allowed to cross the dam. When our bus pulled over, an officer from homeland security came aboard so that he could go through all the overhead compartments.
The other delay is simply traffic. There are lots of people that want to visit the dam. And there are even more people who simply need to pass on by. But they get stuck with all the tourists. And then there are the commercial vehicles. Who simply need to pass on through. They are re-routed about an hour and a half out of their way. At least for a bit longer. As a huge bridge is being built over the canyon and will provide a much more convenient bypass.However. That bridge. That bypass. Is about 2 years behind schedule. And part of it blew over this year. More work is a good idea.
So...our bus parked. And sent us on our merry way to yet another line. Another security check point. X-rays. Metal detectors. Body cavity search. And we were in like Flynn. To yet another line. This time to see a dam short film. Short dam film? It was dam fascinating.
Next? You guessed it. Another line. This time to an elevator. Into the bowels of the dam. We rode down to a spot beneath the dam to see the original tunnels that were built to divert the river during construction.
(See the dam in the diagram above? And the "pipes": that look golden, then gray, then blue? The pipes at the top...there is a line that goes vertically through the diagram? We are at the intersection of the gray pipe and the line at the top. Dam clear, huh? If only I knew photoshop and could write on my picture with an X and say "we are here")
Next we headed back up. This time to see how the water is used to turn turbines so that they can harvest electricity. Electricity is the bonus in this project. And makes it so that the dam can operate as a non-profit.
Finally we headed up to the top and the observation platform. It really is a sight to see. Amazing. And so large that I could not capture it all in my lense. And now that I look at it. I realize that we never had the chance to actually walk across the bridge. Or rub the toes of the winged statues. Sigh. Next time.
In the gift shop we found some very exciting souvenirs for the girls. Dam placemats!
And then we were off to the next part of our three hour tour. The Ethel M. chocolate factory. Chocolate samples for lunch sounded like a splendid idea. And going to a chocolate factory at lunch time. When you are starving. Dam brilliant marketing plan.
So...what about you? What US landmark would you like to visit? What is your favorite chocolate?