Road Trippin’: Day 10 – The Hoover Dam

Around the U.S. in 18 days. That’s what Republic did on our trek to find free WiFi. Follow along by subscribing to our blog!

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"Dam" pun count in this post: 9 and counting...
“Dam” pun count in this post: 9 and counting…

This was my favorite blog post to write, because it’s all about the dam tour I took. Now, when you’re at the Hoover Dam, on your dam tour, I recommend taking the guided interior tour over the power plant tour because you get to take the dam elevator all the way down to lesser-known, dam inner workings.  You get to crawl around in the dam vents and see the dam water flow – all while learning some dam history. Alright, now that that’s outta my system…

I did hit some cell service issues while deep within the Hoover Dam’s concrete walls. Way deep in the dam’s belly, there are huge flood doors that slam shut if a pipe ever bursts, which didn’t help. The place is designed for safety and efficiency – not smartphones.  All was fine while out on top of the dam, though. It’s kind of crazy to see the place where so many power lines originate. Half the dam powers New Mexico, and half powers Arizona.

The water flow monitoring board. I want this in my house!
The water flow monitoring board. I want this in my house!

It is really ingenious some of the ways they constructed the dam, too – not having handy smartphones, etc. to look stuff up on back in the 1930s. They actually figured out how to detect seismic activity using a bowl of mercury in the dam’s interior as an early earthquake warning, and they can detect cracks and imperfections using a panel that resembles something you’d hook jumper cables up to. Really clever, fascinating feats of ingenuity. It’s pretty impressive that the only issue the dam has ever faced was a flood in 1983, when Lake Mead – the largest man-made reservoir in the U.S. – reached levels over 1200 feet deep. It never broke, though, and stands as strong as ever.

The massive turbines that turn water flow into power.
The massive turbines that turn water flow into power.
An incredibly rare view looking out of the Hoover Dam vents.
An incredibly rare view looking out of the Hoover Dam vents.

After our dam tour (sorry, last one, promise), we piled in the car and headed west for Vegas, baby! Where the free WiFi pours out of every casino on the strip. In-N-Out burgers are prevalent. And Lady Luck comes to swiftly take all your money. But! For that story, you’ll have to tune in tomorrow. See you on the road!

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