Flashing back in time now, to our brief stay near Boulder City in five-bucks-a-night Lake Mead National Recreational Area campground. No sewer, no power... no Pepsi! Coke!!! Ah, I do miss Seinfeld; "Soup Nazi" was my favorite episode. I can't explain, nor help, the short circuits in my right-brain, so just try and follow along as best you can...
A' la Rene Zellweger, Boulder City "had me at hello." Its core downtown oozes? make that shimmies, with a cool "art deco" vibe... a compelling slice of Americana, the kind Norman Rockwell liked to paint. B. C. is located in a stark volcanic setting. Steinbeck might have found it more challenging to celebrate... unlike his beloved Salinas. A "scripture" from East of Eden: "I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer—and what trees and seasons smelled like—how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich."
Somewhere along Boulder City's post-Vegas timeline a decision was made to not allow gambling; not even slots. How refreshing and ironic, that there is a place so close to Las Vegas that isn't blighted with sight, sound, and smoke "pollution," where every gas station, Quick Stop, and grocery store isn't lit up, buzzing... clanging... with loathsome slumps of humanity, eye's glazed, feeding metallic "animals." You see them... mesmerized by bells, beeps, and flashes, sipping "Kool-ade," whiling away heartbeats, killing time... all on the slim dark chance of breaking even. I don't get it. With an hourglasse down to a few precious grains of sand on this drop dead gorgeous planet... this is how you chose to spend them? I digress...
I allowed eyes and mind to rest on blue Lake Mead, waiting for Bobbie to get her fill of half dozen Big Horn Sheep scrambling up one of the River Mountains. We were biking a remote section of the 35 mile River Mountain Bike Trail, which we accessed right from our campground. The trail circumnavigates a series of lava rock mountains, inaptly named, "River Mountains (they are drier than coyote shit), and then skirts upper Henderson where it meets wilderness.
As in Life, the prettiest girl is often the least beautiful person. This "beholder" is learning to find redeeming qualities, perhaps even "Postcards." One of the aforementioned qualities is that the River Mountains protect Boulder City from eyesore urban-sprawl-spoils of Henderson and Vegas.
In this environment, Lake Mead looks beautifully out of place... a cool sapphire gem in one of the driest and hottest places on earth. I have a feeling "History" will judge us harshly for dam building. Personally, I don't know of another way to safely generate massive amounts of electricity long term... especially back in the '30's. I just hate to see power wasted on glitzy lights and slot machines that never shut off.
Hoover Dam is responsible for Lake Mead and thus, Boulder City. It's a company town that blossomed from nothing practically overnight in order to employ, house and feed depression era workers right next door to the project. I can only imagine how they toiled, suffered, and even died, in the ungodly heat, sun, wind, and cold; daring high-scalers, working 24-7-365. It's remarkable that it only took two years to build Hoover dam... an amazing accomplishment given the crude tools and equipment. But then again, there are those Pyramids in Egypt; they make Hoover look like a piece of cake. Accomplishment, like beauty, is relative.
Having done it once before, we didn't spend time nor money to do the Dam Tour... down, down, down to wander through colon-like tunnels in the bowels of 4 million cubic yards of concrete. Instead, we walked around doing the "freebie" stuff... mostly gawking over the edge and at the new quarter of a billion dollar four lane bridge that now by-passes traffic around the dam. That, truly boggled my mind.
An unsightly one hundred foot band of white delineates Lake Mead's long ago high water mark from today's level. Hopefully Govie will see fit to paint over it and rematch the surrounding natural colors when the lake goes dry from lack of rain and snow in Colorado.
Here's a tour of Boulder City, Hoover Dam, the new quarter billion dollar bridge, and our bike ride around River Mountains. Enjoy.
Have a great weekend. Peace out from Madera Canyon (again).
Mark and Bobbie