Love your added commentary on climate change…they should add that to the dam tour! We search up to sites for the lowest prices. Book online for special promotions. This casino was the cheapest we encountered during our stay in Vegas and definitely worth the drive out to Boulder City if you want an unpretentious atmosphere and cheap play. We were a couple of hours early and they were more than happy to check us is. As we were sitting in the middle of this slice of nowhere, I was texting with our D. Bingo sessions open several times each day; keno players have six days to claim wins.
Indeed, our yearly budget had become nothing more than a pile of glowing embers in the corner, sadly looking up at us, tears streaming down its face, sending up smoke signals that read: Are you even trying??? To get to the site, we exited the highway, drove up a dirt road behind a gas station, and continued on until we found ourselves looking at some apparent campsites next to the dirt road. While there were several obvious campsites that other people had used, we were the only ones there for our entire visit.
Otherwise, it was dead quiet. While there, we experimented with battery usage to figure out how long we could go before needing to run the generator and knocked a bunch of random items off our to-do list. All in all, the experiment was a success and we managed to save a couple bucks… which we then promptly spent in…. As we were sitting in the middle of this slice of nowhere, I was texting with our D. You probably could have seen the light bulb go off over my head as it occurred to me that we would be driving right by Vegas the following day on our way to our next stop.
Approximately 8 minutes later, Kevin had re-routed us for a stop in Sin City so we could have lunch with our friend. As an aside, it was funny to hear Kevin so nonchalantly agree to change our route and drive our enormous house into the middle of Las Vegas. To say his confidence driving Barney has grown would be an understatement. Anyway, we headed into Vegas, left Barney at a Walmart parking lot, took the car to Mandalay Bay, had lunch with Julie, and were on our way to Lake Mead a couple hours later.
By the time we got to the lake we were looking forward to some serious downtime and we hit the jackpot with this particular campground. Second, we got a fantastic site at the very top of the campground with no neighbors on one side and a pretty decent view on the other….
The campground was beautiful, spacious, quiet, and altogether lovely. It was just what we needed after a chaotic several weeks. What a fascinating place! We parked in one of the small lots on the Arizona side and then walked across the dam to the Nevada side. The Arizona lots are free. Lake Mead exists because of the dam. When they built the dam in the Colorado River, water backed up over the course of years to create the lake.
Water from the lake drains into the huge cylindrical water intake towers you see here and then flows into massive pipes under the dam. Once inside those large pipes, the water is funneled into smaller pipes which drain into a series of hydroelectric generators. The seemingly small waterway in the center of this picture shows where the water is released after being sent through the generators.
The generators are located on either side of the waterway in the narrow buildings. On the right side of the diagram is Lake Mead, on the left is the exit waterway. The workers built those tunnels first in order to divert the water around the construction site while they were building the dam. Today, they are overflow tunnels. Should Lake Mead ever get too high, engineers can open those tunnels and allow water to divert around the dam to release pressure on it.
Speaking of water levels, you may have noticed the obvious high water marks on the rock surrounding Lake Mead. This is the result of 15 plus years of drought in the surrounding mountains. Not enough snow means not enough runoff to fill these waterways. If this continues, there will eventually be disastrous water shortages in Nevada, Arizona, and California, not to mention limitations in the amount of electricity the dam can create — electricity that currently powers millions of homes and businesses.
All of which is terrible, but luckily, we have no reason to believe we are facing a future with higher temperatures which will lead to even less snowfall at higher elevations. The tour was excellent — very well organized and operated by extremely friendly and patient staff. Not only did they come up with ingenious ways to solve problems, they did it before modern technology made projects like this easier and safer. Just how dangerous the project was is illustrated by the fact that approximately one hundred men died during the effort.
Anyway, after learning about the dam and taking the mandatory tourist photos in front of it…. The bridge was built in to divert traffic around the dam. It is a gorgeous bridge that provides an awesome view of the entire area. In the center of the bridge we found a state divider marker.
Our last stop on our way to southern Utah was another freebie night, this time at a casino parking lot. Casinos are popular among RVers because they are oftentimes located near major travel routes and usually allow RVers to stay for free for a night. One particularly nice feature of casinos as compared to other free overnight places is they typically have pretty decent security driving around, so travelers can feel a bit safer than at random truck stops or Walmart parking lots.
We kinda expected a non-Las Vegas Strip casino to be a bit depressing, but this place was pretty nice. They had a whole parking lot set aside for overnight RVers. The sites were easy to get into, reasonably level, and we felt perfectly safe.
So, all in all, our foray into dry camping was a success, we got some much needed downtime, we got to see an iconic American landmark, and we were headed the following day to one of the top locations on our travel bucket list: We have learned so much on these trips too.
I had no idea how any of this stuff worked. Now it all makes complete sense. We are currently in Indianapolis at the Speedway. Our adventure has been more driving, but we have visited a lot of Route 66 spots and lakes.
Which you were in Lake Havasu. Could have stayed at our place for a free boondocking week and watered the plants for us…ha. Hope all is well. Jana and Mike Lake Havasu. Glad to hear you guys are out on the road. I have heard good things about the old Route 66 sites.
You brought me back to out Vegas trip several years ago — we stayed at Mandalay Bay and went to the Hoover Dam. We also walked on the Pat Tillman Bridge. Honestly it was one of the highlights for me. I found Vegas itself to be way too expensive for what you got and really liked the things we did off strip better. Glad you enjoyed it, too! We had no intentions of visiting at all until we realized Julie was there. Otherwise, we would just have skipped it. And yes, there are a TON of other things to do in this area and many of them are free or low cost.
Speaking of which, we agree, the Hoover Dam tour was definitely worth the money. We did the mid level tour. Love your added commentary on climate change…they should add that to the dam tour! Looks like you had a beautiful spot at Willow Beach campground, but wow, what a ridiculous price increase! Because that always works out well! The ever increasing price of campgrounds is a frequent topic of discussion between us and other RVers.
Pretty soon, I think a lot of people are going to get priced out — especially when you consider the cost of gas and increased costs for tourism related stuff. It seems like everywhere we go is overwhelmed with visitors and that usually ends up meaning higher prices.
In the alternative, more and more people are going to be heading for BLM land, which means more crowds and trash and all that. Located just 4 miles from Hoover Dam and the Lake Mead Marina in Boulder City, Nevada , the Hoover Dam Lodge and Casino has 21, square feet of gaming, which includes a race and sports book, slots, with a variety of denominations, as well as 12 live gaming tables featuring 3 Card Poker, Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette. Hoover Dam Lodge and Casino's 21, square feet of gaming offers of the hottest slots around, as well as 12 live gaming tables featuring 3 Card Poker, Blackjack, Craps, and Roulette.
Guests will also be able to place bets on all types of sporting events and races at the on-site race and sports book. Check out events at other venues around the world. The rustic restaurant serves up a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily from 7am to 10pm. Along with perfectly grilled steak, the Lodge Steakhouse at Hoover Dam Lodge also serves fantastic seafood selections.
The Steakhouse opens at 5pm and is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Open around the clock, Dotty's has all your food and beverage needs covered. It's the perfect place to meet friends for an after-work drink or to take a break from gaming and grab a quick snack. La Villita is one of four differently-themed gaming areas at Hoover Dam Lodge. Hoover Dam Lodge has spaces available to accommodate both large and small gathering.
Full catering services are also available, complete with a meeting planner who will help make your special event or business meeting a smashing success. According to management, the lodge can accommodate up to people in its combined spaces. Once chosen, fill your pan and place it under the water stream and get ready to score rare rocks, gems, and fossils.
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