Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Finally Open - Bridge at Hoover Dam

Because the mountains were full to the foothills with the almost irrational desert snowstorm, Gordon and I took a ride to see what Bass Pro had on their shelves this Yuletide season which was different from last year – not, much. At least from what we could see.

That's not to say that what they had wasn't incredible – just not new. In fact they are stocked to the rafters as the Las Vegas Valley's premiere "everything sports" store. A good visit, especially for Gordon who found some things that he couldn't get up in the mountains of Wyoming.

With a half day still on the clock, we decided to go check the rumor that the hapless bridge over Black Canyon at Hoover Dam was actually completed – finally, after being knocked down at least once during construction by the canyon's fairly common "breezes," which can pull the enamel off your teeth.

Ever since 9-11, and the fact that it was discovered that Hoover Dam was on some kind of "target" list, the drive from Boulder City over the dam has been something out of Nightmare on Elm Street. The auto equivalent of pat-downs both coming and going, coupled with the ever-present brain-dead looky-loo's and heavy equipment, brought traffic over the dam to a stand-still. Any time of the day or night!

The simple 15-minute drive from Boulder to the Arizona line turned into pretty much an hour and a half, on a good day. Assuming, of course that you weren't driving a vehicle unlucky enough to be 'on the list,' you didn't look too 'shifty-eyed' or that you didn't "fit the profile" of some sort. If you did, then the "pat down" got a bit more personal, and lengthy.

Perhaps some of you saw the documentary on the Science Channel about them building the bypass bridge over the canyon in order to prevent traffic from needing to use the dam-top highway. The program showed all of the many problems the contractors had in preparing the canyon walls, pouring the concrete buttresses, raising the high-rise cranes and pulling the cross-canyon cables.

The program left everyone hanging half-way through the project and then nothing more was said — for years! I reported awhile ago that the silly half-completed thing was blown down! In a wind storm. Also that the rumor was that the contractor had gone under leaving the project in a lurch.

Well, without hardly any press, and without publicizing what deals were made to find another contractor, the flippin' thing is done! In spite of the fact that it wasn't anywhere near across the gap last year at this time. There isn't even any signs of the once-massive construction cranes or cables.

Unfortunately, we found that, at least on the day we were there, the ride isn't much shorter. Except that the huge hang up is only trying to get down the draw up by Boulder. We inched along at about 5 feet a minute for over forty five minutes before the traffic, completely unexplainedly, and without visible rationale just picked up speed and the next thing we knew were in the concrete slews-way that is the bridge.

The new, multi-laned road over the bridge runs between two concrete barriers on both sides, higher than a passenger car preventing views of anything except straight ahead. Probably the best thing that they could have done – especially for us altitudinally-challenged ya-hoos.

For the more adventuresome there is a pedestrian walkway on the outside of the concrete barrier which should provide a better rush than the Vegas 'Stratosphere' tower ride – without the 30 buck price tag.

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”
John Muir
We went down to the turn off toward Willow Beach, the once "trophy trout capital of the world" until the feces-for-brains bass fisherman clandestinely planted bass in Lake Mead completely destroying the trout population.

The return trip back across was just as uneventful, except that we didn't have any hold up at the Boulder draw even though we could see that the looky-loo induced snail-crawl was still in place on the other side.

Somehow the ride home seemed a lot longer than the one going.

Learn A Little More

To follow on the previous post – here is part two of the video about the man who pretty much brought down the Berlin Wall. With pretty much the same life philosophy as his friend "the Duke" (John Wayne), Regan brought forcibly to the public arena the thoughts the American People had been saying for years but had no public voice to say them – the communistic atrocity of the wall was a complete and utter JOKE!

It was just that now the "Gipper" not only had the national pulpit, but he also had the charismatic charm, respect and moral will to pull it off. Oh, what a blessing it was to have a president that practiced what offroaders do all over the country – leave the country a better place than it was when he found it … and he did it without finagling for a Nobel Prize.

The Very Best of Ronald Regan - Part 2/2


D J said...

Editors Note: Offroading Home has pretty much gotten used to the fact that every time we post about the Sierra Club/Fiend of Gold butte's efforts to screw over seniors by closing another trail in the name of "conservation" - we get another load of vitriol and hate comments that we simply need to hit the "delete" button on. Now we can add another topic - that of "Bass Fisherman" - well probably not ALL bass fishermen, just the "feces-for-brains" type of bass fishermen. Today, we've had the pleasure to delete a piece of vitriol from a self-styled "I'm-not-a-bass-fisherman" calling himself "Billy." He apparently set up a Google account for this one piece of hate mail - just like 'ol "Chuck Walla" does for petroglyphs.

The issue he took umbrage with, basically calling me dumber than a rock, was my casting dispersion on "feces-for-brains" bass fishermen who destroyed a world class cold water trout fishery by surreptitiously seeding Lake Mead with bass. "It wasn't us it was the incompetent government agencies who opened the spillways that did it" - he wailed, midst his vitriol. He claims Willow Beach has been his favorite spot for 40 years - yea right! The Colorado river had no bass in the thirty's when the dam was built. Lake Mead had no bass when it was completely filled and the spillways were opened to test them. The bass were, in-fact, planted surreptitiously into Lake Mead sometime around the '70s by (what I called) feces-for-brains bass fishermen, possibly outsiders who didn't have trout skills. What many of us call "trash fish" basically ruined the trout fishery in the Lake but had still left the river around Willow Beach pristine "trophy trout country" - as every fisherman back then "said grace" about whenever they saw the river. In the '80s, I think it was, the massive water content threatened the dam and the "government boys" used the spillways for the purpose they were built and opened them. That released the bass into the river so they could then do what they have done - completely destroy the native trout fishery in the river too!

So poor "Billy" wants to call me names thinking to bully me into forgetting the clandestine bass planting and blame the water managers - poor misguided soul. On this blog reason wins.

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