Hoover Dam is Off Limits thanks to the GWOT

Trip Start Mar 21, 2010
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Trip End Apr 30, 2010


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Where I stayed
Canyon Trails RV Park

Flag of United States  , Nevada
Thursday, April 1, 2010

We left our comfy B&B in Sedona Thursday morning and headed north to Flagstaff (snowed overnight, but interstate was clear) then west on I 40 towards Nevada. Left the interstate at a little town called Seligman AZ to take US Route 66, just to say we did it. More empty country and a few small towns, as well as several Burma Shave sign sequences.  The pithy sayings are the same, but the signs are new. There are absolutely no relics/remnants/reminders of whatever was along this highway forty, fifty, or sixty years ago. Hooked back up to I 40 at Kingman AZ, where one of my law school classmates, Mark Kennedy, was assigned as a first office FBI agent (he was several classes ahead of me at the Academy). I can understand why he left the Bureau after passing through Kingman.  We went north on US 93 towards Hoover Dam and Boulder City, but FORTUNATELY listened the the AM radio special traffic alerts.  Here's what's going on in the vicinity of the dam:  at least one hour's traffic delay due to construction of a bypass road/bridge that will swing well wide of the dam. You had been able to drive right over the dam, until THE DAY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING. After 9/11 someone - Tom Ridge? - decided that a truck bomb on the dam would be too awful to contemplate, so they are building a pass around road and arched suspension bridge. Osama can add it to the tab of what 9/11 has cost.  In the meantime, they're blasting the ledges to finish the new road, which accounts for part of the traffic delay. The other part of the delay, per the AM radio broadcast, is due to vehicle inspections (those VBIEDs) of everything on four wheels approaching the dam.  So we (along with the savvy big riggers and truckers, crossed the Colorado River into Nevada at Laughlin (BIG casino enterprise on the river), then north on US 95 through towns like Searchlight NV (two casinos), into Boulder City.  So-so RV park with a lot of full timers, including folks who looked like they should be in assisted living. The great thing about the RV park is that it abutted a wonderful paved bike trail that wound its way up to a place called Bootleg Canyon. This was another of the several days I wished I had remembered my bike. Instead, I walked/dragged the dogs up to the halfway point  of the ridge, as the sun set over Las Vegas to the west. They weren't happy, but survived.  Seemingly non stop airline traffic over the ridge into and out of Las Vegas airport. I think it's still called McCarran.  Did you know that the mayor of Las Vegas, and a very, very popular incumbent is he, is an attorney named Oscar Goodman, and that years ago he was (maybe still is) one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country? And that one of his principal clients about 30 years ago was Tony Spilotro, the Chicago mob's man in Las Vegas? Joe Pecsi (second reference to Pesci in my blog, sorry) played him in the Scorcese movie "Casino."

On Friday morning off on what we thought was a four or so hour drive through Zion National Park, possibly to Cedar Breaks, to Cedar City UT for the night.  We made the Zion approach at around 11am and the park was already full - no parking spots.  On the plus side, our US Parks senior pass got us in for FREE. No $25 dollar per vehicle charge for us, thank you.  The heart of the park is a six mile road on which private vehicles are allowed -- up to April 1.  Then it's shuttle busses.  So we missed the chance to see the core of Zion by a couple of days.  Couldn't be helped, with the dogs in tow we weren't going to leave them for several hours.  Guess we'll have to get the Ken Burns parks documentary on Netflix when we get back to Vonore.  Burns' project, I think, has and will absolutely crush the most popular parks that are also relatively accessible.  Everyone's got to see Zion, Yellowstone, Yosemite, etc. and will do it when the national parks budget is strained.  And they'll bring their guns.  After a serious switchback climb out of Zion (where, incidentally, I watched a 40 foot Class A rv bus come down the canyon with the driver, a middle aged guy with shades and a goatee, holding his camcorder with his right hand while he drove with his left!!!  This was on a seriously steep decent before a one mile tunnel, through which his rig may or may not have bee able to pass.  But I digress.  Cut through Dixie National Forest west to Cedar City, climbing and descending up to about  9000 feet.  The road must've been recently reopened for the spring - the snow drifts at roadside were about 8 feet high.  Now we're tucked into the Cedar City KOA, a birds nest of a KOA in a birds nest town, so far. And I booked us on line for TWO nights. Good grief, the things we commit to on line. Hoping to get out early tomorrow a.m. and visit Kolub Canyons and some petroglyphs north of town, anything to avoid the town's Easter egg hunt downtown at 9:30. Photos to follow tomorrow once I download them. Signing off from southern Utah.
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