Intro, Hoover Dam, and Grand Canyon
Before I was going to be sent to Shanghai for work, I planned a trip to Vegas with my wife to visit her cousin during her spring break. We used 100k AA points to fly there as it was March and the milesaaver space wasn’t available. I had a ton of points so I just used it to fly out there as it was going to be a $500+ ticket.
We flew out Friday night and got to LAX fairly late. It was nice to see slot machines the instant you step foot off the plane.
We got to the rental car terminal with the airport shuttle and found our car without a problem. It was a nice Kia.
Since this was March, we saw that the Grand Canyon was going to be hit with snow so we rushed there the next day. We barely made it back but more on that later.
The first stop was the Hoover Dam. Yea it’s a lot bigger and windier in person. We first stopped on the visitors area and parking lot near the main new highway near Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, which was actually opened only 18 months ago. It didn’t appear on our GPS as the maps are really outdated.
View of the parking lot from the main highway:
View of the pedestrian walk over the bridge. There can be fast gusts of wind over the bridge so trucks are recommended to stay on a certain side of the road to avoid adjacent cars. I was a bit hard and very terrifying to walk to the half way point of the bridge as i thought i would get blown over the rail. The guard rail was about 4 feet tall so not as easy to get blown over the rail. Nevertheless, I was terrified but made it out there to take pictures of the dam.
The dam is much larger than the pictures show.
We drove down to the actual Hoover dam, or the old Hoover Dam road that runs above the dam. It is a one lane in each direction so traffic used to be horrible across it, but it was the only way to get to Las Vegas from Southern California until the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge was built.
The first picture is the water bypass outlet, which was massive. The large concrete surface in the second picture slows down the flow onto the Colorado river to reduce erosion around the dam and also down river. They didn’t want millions of gallons of water rushing down the river at once so they built this mini reservoir to slow down the flow and spread it out. The third picture is the water inlets for the power generators. They have a filter to prevent fish from entering into the pipes and another net up river to prevent them from getting close to the inlet.
Below two pictures is what i believe is the power transformers of the dam, responsible for converting electricity and connecting the dam to the grid.
The second picture below shows the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, which is the highest arch bridge in the world.
On the way down, we stopped for lunch. My wife wanted In N Out Burger ever since we went to San Francisco back in 2004.
I had it once after our trip to SF and i thought it was ok. This was about the same.
We continued onto the Grand Canyon but we were rushing a bit as the snow was forecast to hit Arizona later that evening. By about mid afternoon, we made it to Grand Canyon National Park:
We hit all the lookout points and took a few pictures from each. This is also something you need to see for yourself and pictures can’t really quite capture it.
Despite being about 40 degrees there, there was still a lot of plant life and a bit of green in all of the pictures.
It was another 30 minutes from the eastern most lookout point back to the exit of the national park. We stopped into a convenience store to get some snacks but we were pressed for time as it was about 5pm and we needed to be back in Vegas tonight. We didn’t have any plans, but there was a snowstorm coming.
I drove a bit higher than the 75mph speed limit in Arizona to make it back to Vegas sometime at 10pm. I was driving through torrential downpours for most of Arizona and when we hit Nevada it had cleared up. I was staring at the car outside thermometer to make sure it was just rain. We managed to grab some dinner in Vegas before heading back to my wife’s cousin’s place.
The following morning, we found out that they closed down the highway in Arizona because of the snow. I am aware this happens all the time in Arizona so that was one reason why I wanted to rush back to Vegas.