We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The family and I spent the past week in Las Vegas. Most visitors don't get far from the Strip, but if they did they'd see some knockout scenery.
Before leaving, Gavin blew away the track at his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.
On the drive to Las Vegas, we stopped in a great '50s diner, Penny's in Barstow, then went over to the Railroad Museum showing some of the trains from Barstow's rail hub history.
On the way back to the highway, we stopped for this memorial to the New York Fire Department heroes who perished in 9-11.
Just outside Las Vegas is one of the manmade wonders of the world, Hoover Dam. Indeed, another wonder is that it was built within 5-years, 2-years ahead of schedule, and under budget no less. Try that today in a federal project!
We took the tour of the innards. Tunnels like this were chiseled at the start to divert the Colorado River so work could begin on the dam.
Here's a diagram of the dam's workings. The river entered the diversion tunnels at top and bottom, so work could proceed on the dam in the center. Then the diversion tunnels were blocked with concrete at completion of the dam. The tunnels in the center flow the water to the turbines that generate electricity for the SW US.
Here's the top of the turbines, which continue underground. They are on both sides of the dam, the red dots in the diagram above.
And, here is a photo of Lake Mead, which doesn't do it justice, being the largest manmade lake in the US. We drove alongside Lake Mead north to the Valley of Fire. Those photos and more from what you don't see in Las Vegas to follow.
I was taken to Hoover Dam in 1954, Gavin's age now. The images have stayed in my head. I asked the boys what they thought. Their simultaneous answer, Wow! Mission accomplished, for they to see what determined men are capable of doing.