We spent the night at a Casino/Hotel where we got the best deal of our entire trip. Room: $24.99, dinner $9.50. We were ten stories up - and “up” I was at dawn! Awake, and taking pictures of the sun lighting up the high desert rocks.
We quickly passed through a second security check point, much like you do at the airport, but were shocked to find that the $30.00 Hoover Dam tour was sold out until after noon. The employee was good at her job and talked us into the $11.00 Power Plant Tour.
“It’s a lot less money and you see everything but the original tunnels,” she explained. “I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
HA! Little did she know how her prophecy would be fulfilled!
Our tour began as all other tours – watching the Dam introductory film. (I know, I know, it’s the Hoover Dam introductory film.) We learned that there are no bodies buried in the Dam cement. That is one Dam rumor put to rest.
Next, the approximately 90 people were corralled into two Dam elevators that only take 70 seconds to drop you 530 feet down “through the rock wall of Black Canyon” and into a Dam tunnel drilled in the 1930s.
So, they said.
Our elevator stopped.
Only moments before, the elevator guide had been joking over the heads of 44 people (all pretty much squished and leaning on my belly) about the elevator only breaking down once. That is why no one was too concerned when he said that we were stuck.
“You’re joking, aren’t you?” One woman called from the far left.
“I’m sorry.” He responded with a nervous giggle. “We really are stopped and I can’t open the door.”
There were many times on this trip that I forgot to take pictures but this was not one of them. I squirmed until I had my camera in my hand and raised it above my head and snapped. Ta da!
I was shaky and concerned, so you’ll understand why it is blurry. I remember that little boy down on the left, because he was stuffed between his dad and my husband for the first 10 minutes.
The lights stayed on. Thank goodness! And, an uneasy calm permeated the enclosed space. A woman two bellies away from me began to perspire profusely and was frightfully pale. Her husband was murmuring into her ear and there were offers of water from the concerned. She had not wanted to take the Dam tour because she was claustrophobic in elevators.
Quietly my husband inquired of my status. I whispered that I was okay. He knew I was breathing the slow in through the nose, and out through the mouth method of relaxation.
Our tour guide and the rest of our group had long vacated their elevator and proceeded to the Dam power plant. So, the elevator operator became our guide. He told us that would be the last Dam tour of the day, as they would close the other elevator while one was repaired and both given maintenance review.
And guess what? We got the $30 Dam tour because it was the only way out. In addition to the Dam diversion tunnel, the Dam intake, and the huge Dam generators, we got to make our way through the Nevada Elevator tunnels. We were amazed at the skilled craftsmanship that adorns the bowels of this wonder of the world.
We had to wait much longer for our return trip to the top, because the Dam elevator built in the 30’s is much smaller.
“You will be happy to know,” the guide told us with a quirky grin, “that this Dam elevator has been running for over 70 years, has the original motor, and has never broken.”
It never occurred to me to ask about the destination of the Nevada elevator. If you are wondering... it was right here. Dam!