Route 66, Hoover Dam and the Campground from HELL!

Trip Start May 01, 2008
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Flag of United States  , Nevada
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We left early from Tuba City so would get packed up without needing to shower again as its FRIGGIN HOT (over 100F), and headed west to the Nevada border. The trip took us along the old Route 66 again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66, this time through some of the authentic "oldschool" towns along the way...kinda 50s, 60s & 70ish buildings, diners and motels that look run down...complete with tumbleweeds and all. 

Along the way we decided make a quick side trip and check out the Grand Canyon Caverns http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon_Caverns and http://www.gccaverns.com/, so named because a link in the caverns receives airflow from the Grand Canyon itself. We climbed aboard an elevator on a guided tour to descend about 200ft into some large caverns with lots of Stalagmite and other types of crystals...and checked out the mummified remains of a bobcat that had fallen in the canyon about 160 years ago and was pretty well preserved due to the ultra low humidity where bacteria can't exist. We also got to see a replica of a giant ( about 12ft tall) prehistoric Sloth that had fallen in and tried to scratch it's way out. The place was designated (along with all known caverns in the US) an official bomb shelter during the Cuban Missile Crisis and remains so today, so there is a stockpile of food, water and medical supplies from the paranoid days...enough for 2000 people to live for two weeks supposedly, although the cave owners were quite skeptical about a 200 ft elevator shaft being able to protect against nuclear fallout. Even more interesting was that in front of the place was literally the only place along route 66 where they specially created a 4 lane highway back in the route 66 heyday (50's or so) due to the traffic problems of visitors to the caverns - estimated about 70,000 visitors a year back in the heydays and 40K+ or more now....they used to lower people by in by rope apparently.

After our pit stop we kept traveling west and crossed the Hoover Dam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoover_Dam, built in the 30's the largest concrete structure in the world at that time and still one largest dams in the world. After a complete vehicle and camper search (mandatory after 9/11) by a guy that must have been a twin of Larry Kraus (former co-worker), and negotiating several cramped hairpin turns along the top of the Dam, we finally made it across...it's amazing. They're also right in the middle of building the Hoover Dam Bypass bridge, which will be the first and largest concrete/composite arch bridge in the US...bizarrely you won't be able to see the dam while driving across the new bridge, so glad we got the chance to drive on the dam itself.

Once across the dam we entered Nevada and headed for a what sounded like a lovely campground called Cottonwood Cove Resort, directly on Lake Mead (created by the Hoover Dam). As we raced across the desert to get there, we reached the highest recorded temperature on our trip so far...111F/44c. Thankfully the Beast kept up with the high temp very well and got us to Cottonwood Cove...and an even worse version of trailer park hell than the Grand Canyon!

Although a very beautiful location (and very much like Oman) the place was absolutely packed; while Brent was registering us and getting our site number, Toby was cornered by "Kathy" who raved on about how wonderful the place was..."best place in the world" etc...while her husband tried to park their RV in a space near us. We managed to wedge the Eagle into our spot leaving us a whole 6ft gap between our door and the side of the next vehicle! Once we had set up we heard some angry voices coming from Kathy and co a few spots away, they were arguing with their neighbors because they could not get the slide out parts of the RV out because their neighbors awning was in the way! We peaked around the side of the RV to see a bent awning stuck in the window of Kathy's RV... we dare not take any pictures!!  Anyway this is certainly not our idea of Paradise, we retired to the Eagle with maps and guides determined to leave ASAP!! 
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