Day 2

breakfast Virgin River Hotel and Casino go
Great breakfast buffet — fuels us up for the big day ahead.

 80 miles/129 km

9 am visit Lost City Museum go
Leaving Mesquite, we travel toward Overton to visit this small museum gem, one of only 8 Nevada state museums. It was built of sun-dried adobe brick by the National Park Service to preserve and exhibit artifacts excavated from Pueblo Grande de Nevada …an ancient Anasazi Indian site threatened by Lake Mead, America’s largest man-made reservoir growing behind Hoover Dam. Unique features: the museum is built around an authentic archeological dig; replicas of Anasazi pit dwellings depict how this ancient tribe lived during prehistoric times

10 am The sky is blue and clear for our drive through the fertile Moapa Valley  toward the Lake Mead National Recreation Area go, which hosts over 10,000 years of human history. There’s wonderful scenery to behold while hiking, biking, or enjoying the picturesque blue waters of Lake Mead. We stop at Lake Mead Cruises landing to board an authentic 3 level Mississippi–style paddlewheeler, the Desert Princess go. Just being on board takes us back to the Old South. She is spacious and comfortable  - perfect for taking in the cool, clean air and wondrous sights, including Hoover Dam.

noon lunch Hacienda Hotel go
At this nearby hotel with its spectacular panoramic view of Lake Mead we’re just minutes from scenic Hoover Dam but a world apart from the traffic and congestion of Vegas. The Hacienda’s casino offers live table games, popular slots, video poker and electronic Keno machines. The buffet extravaganza challenged our self control with its yummy offerings.

1 pm visit Hoover Dam go
Our Pink Jeep Tours go driver narrates and guides our adventurous descent down the path used years ago by the dam builders. It’s a harrowing winding unpaved road with sheer cliffs on each side.
Built in the remote Black Canyon, Hoover Dam was designed to protect low-lying farmland from floods and to create a stable water supply to the arid American West. Today, Lake Mead, America’s largest man-made reservoir stores nearly two years of the river’s average annual flow, providing irrigation to more than a million acres in America and nearly half a million in Mexico, + domestic water and low cost hydroelectric power for millions in Nevada, California and Arizona.
At the base of the dam the Black Canyon River Adventures go raft awaits to take us out on the Colorado River. Overhead, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge go, longest arch-suspension bridge in North America flies between the Black Canyon walls. Below, the starkly beautiful huge white dam walls. Two engineering marvels, Hoover Dam and the new bridge, are seen up close and personal from the “best seats in the house” on our raft – extraordinary views and breathtaking photo opps. The raft smoothly glides through the towering canyon walls as we view the geologic wonders and the many birds making this home and hunting ground.
Next stop – top of the dam and down inside the dam. Our Pink Jeep hugs the inside edge of the unpaved road as we wind our way back up to the starting point.
Views from the top are stunning in every direction. Lake Mead clearly down but the water clear and blue. Intake towers are huge. There is a bridge across the dam and a pedestrian promenade on the western side. Elevators descend (inside the dam) to a level above the 17 main  turbines generating power since 1936. The cavernous room and power plant look pristine – as though recently installed. In 1984 the generating units were uprated increasing the generation capacity to over 2 million kilowatts. Hoover is one of the nation’s largest hydropower facilities.

6 pm drive to & through Boulder City go
The “City that Hoover Dam Built” is an unexpected oasis of museums, antiques, galleries, shade trees and parks. Built to house the dam builders and their families (during the Depression), today it’s a vibrant community with fine outdoor venues – 38 miles of mountain bike trails, 2 public golf courses, sporting clay shooting, miles of hiking and nature trails, and sky diving. We feel small town America with a walk downtown where a plethora of interesting  shops, restaurants, and public art  charm and delight us.

7 pm wine & cheese reception Boulder Dam Hotel go
We happen upon a Museum reception in the hotel and get to mingle with the locals. Nice surprise.

8 pm dinner The Dillinger Restaurant go
Very VERY popular local hang out with a great beer selection, using local meat, veggies and breads to create the killer burgers and sweet potato fries we shared. 20’s gangster theme works, few tables, friendly staff and locals.

stay Boulder Dam hotel go
We check into this historic hotel for a much needed rest. The Dutch Colonial-style hotel was built in 1933 for dam construction overseers but soon provided respite for dignitaries, celebrities and royalty. It’s 22 quaint, charming and comfortable rooms are remodeled with modern amenities. The Hoover Dam Museum is on site and free to hotel guests.

Tricia sees it

Day 2 photos
photos change automatically – touch thumbnail or number for specific image