Monday, January 7, 2013

Lake Havasu, Hoover Dam, and Las Vegas - Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 was a mellow affair in Arizona, but there were some adventures in terms of microbrews, followed by a trip to Death Valley via Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam.  Here's what we did before Death Valley.

Crossing over the Colorado River at Needles, CA.

And right on into Arizona.

I don't have photos of the Thanksgiving dinner, but it was great (burp).  Instead, this is College Street Brewhouse & Pub, a great microbrewery in Lake Havasu City, AZ (and one of at least 3 such microbreweries).

My grandfather carefully finds the beer most similar to Coors Light, his constant companion.  ;-)

I couldn't decide, so I got all of them in sampler form.

Those are the largest sample sizes imaginable.  The one at right with the blueberry floating on top is the Big Blue Van blueberry beer, which was my favorite.

We then went to see Lincoln at the local theater, which happened to be almost next to Mudshark Brewing Co. (yet another microbrewery!).  So we stopped by.

My grandparents, who look great for mid-to-late 70s.

Once again, I couldn't decide, so I got the sampler.  There was one beer that I strongly despised, but the rest were decent.  I preferred College Street to Mudshark, however.

A visit to Lake Havasu isn't complete without stopping by London Bridge, which marked the beginning of Lake Havasu's prominence as a spring break / retiree destination.

The English Village next to the bridge was already set up for Christmas.

The next day (Saturday), it was time to head home.  But me being me, the homeward journey couldn't be a simple 9 hour drive.  Oh no... we would journey to Death Valley National Park, via the Hoover Dam and Las Vegas.  

An overview of Lake Mead, on the Nevada and Arizona border.

Lake Mead

The modern bridge on US-93 that traffic currently takes to get to Las Vegas.  As recently as 2 years ago, US-93 went directly over the Hoover Dam.  Aside from the traffic jams that the narrow dam created, it was a nightmare for Homeland Security and their checkpoints, hence the creation of this bridge.  To get to the dam nowadays, you have to take the exit road, seen here.

The bridge is in part named for Pat Tillman, who hailed from my hometown but had obvious Arizona connections with football.

Hoover Dam

The dammed water on the Arizona side of Hoover Dam, with the Nevada side at left.

The gargantuan wall on the southern side of the dam.

Several months of the year (including this time of year), Arizona is one hour ahead of Nevada, hence the time displayed here.

Don't look down...

We weren't the only tourists, but there were still very few people here this early in the morning.

My wife had never been here before, and it was actually her idea to go this way.  Atta girl.  :-)

However, she's incredibly afraid of heights.  She held it together, though.  

The dam was controversially named for the sitting president of the time, Herbert Hoover, widely regarded as one of the worst presidents in history.  Boulder Dam was the preferred name for many, including those involved in its construction.

These precariously-perched electrical towers seem to be at the cusp of falling.

The state line, on the dam itself.

Nevada time...

A monument on the Nevada side.

The two most obviously affected states.

My home state, also the beneficiary of the dam.  Other states that are represented on the monument include Wyoming and Utah.

A memorial to the 112 people who died during the dam's construction.

After visiting the Hoover Dam, it was time to head to Sin City.

The northern end of the Strip.

The line to get into the pawn shop featured in Pawn Stars.

The Stratosphere

Inside the Bellagio, where we would have an epicurean brunch. 

The Bellagio's interior changes with the seasons.

This tree would actually move its face and talk.  Kids loved it.

Time to fortify our bellies for the 3 hour drive to Death Valley.

Coming up = Death Valley, of course.  Stay tuned.

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