Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The Bright Lights of Las Vegas

I hadn’t been in a large city for a while and I was looking forward to arriving in Las Vegas.

First I went to see Hoover Dam and the new bridge right next to it. I loved the old dam and didn’t like the new bridge.

The dam is a classic and just what a dam should look like. Huge, curved, built to last a few hundred years.


























Originally called the Boulder Dam, it was renamed later. The nearby Boulder City was formed to house the vast number of workers that were required to build the dam. 112 men died building the dam and a remarkable but tragic co-incidence occurred. The first to die was J. G. Tierney when surveying the site for the dam. The last to die was his son, Patrick W. Tierney while working on the construction of the dam, 13 years to the day later.

The water passes through 4 impressive water intake towers....





































Sitting on the border between Nevada and California, the dam forms Lake Mead. The amount of electricity the dam generates depends on the water flow. Almost full in 1999 the current level of Lake Mead is today at just 40% of its capacity. Already at a very low level, it is predicted the water will reach a record low this month, less than the previous 1937 previous lowest level. The white bleached walls of the lake edge are an obvious reminder of where the water level should be....



















This is one of the vast spillways tunnels which are designed to channel excess water in the lake passed the dam to prevent the dam over-topping. The tunnels have been used twice, one as a test and then in 1983 when there were serious floods upstream....



















This is looking from the top of the dam down at the powerhouses where the massive generators produce the electricity. The new bridge is at the top of the picture....


























The new bridge is made of reinforced concrete and is an arch-span design. During its construction, a series of photographs of the bridge were circulating the engineering industry and these caused considerable amazement. I remember seeing them at the time and with my colleagues we marvelled and the cables, ties and structures that were depicted in the pictures. Sadly, those really exciting elements were all temporary and now that they have been removed, the bridge looks reassuringly dull. It seems like the chosen final design was a massive wasted opportunity to create an outstanding bridge, in a fantastic setting that would be seen by the millions of visitors to the dam each year. Ho hum....



















I did walk over the new bridge and it provides a fantastic view of the dam....


























Okay, now for the nerdy bit. My career was all about working out how to construct large projects. I used to work out how long they would take to design and build and communicate this to the project teams by an number of methods, including Gantt Charts and construction build sequence drawings and sketches. Just like these which are on display at one end of the bridge....













































Soon after leaving the bridge and dam, I saw another classic / custom car show. Fearing boring my readers with yet more pictures of cars, I have chosen just one photograph to include here. This is looking through a raised hood at the engine....


























In Las Vegas the first thing I did was to ride the Leading Ladies along the Las Vegas Boulevard, aka “The Strip”. I spotted the Harley-Davidson Cafe and rode the bike across the large sidewalk area to get a picture of my bike in front of the cafe....


























I then got a shot of the LL in front of the Luxor hotel....


























I walked around and enjoyed watching the street entertainers.....

A mime artist....


























A Transformer....


























This stone man was brilliant....


























He didn’t move unless someone put some cash in his collection bucket and when he did move he was very funny, teasing people, pulling funny faces and making odd noises....



















Further up the strip something was happening that drew a very large crowd....



















There were dancers at the street entrance to draw in the crowds....


























It was a Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville party and nearly everyone was dressed in various silly costumes and obviously having a great time....




















































I liked the lighting on the replica Eifel Tower....


























I have been to Las Vegas before and thought the best part of the Strip was the water show in the front of the Bellagio Hotel. At the time, I promised myself that the next time I went to Vegas, I would stay at the Bellagio, so I did! I took lots of pictures of the hotel and fountains and here are a few of my favourites....

The front of the hotel....


















Reflection in the water of the edge of the hotel building....


























A fountain “wave”....




















Crossing water jets....




















The view from my hotel room....




















It was a great hotel, but too pricey to stay there again!

I thought I would try a few night shots of the strip....


































Two days in Las Vegas was enough for me. Just like I was looking forward to arriving in the city, I was looking forward to leaving it as well!

I rode towards California....

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Talking of bright lights, it it my wife's birthday today. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETHEART!!!

14 comments:

iansolley said...

Yes I totally agree - I have been to Las Vegas twice this year and both times for 2 days - its enough for anyone!! Final stretch matey.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

Happy Birthday Jackie !

one day in LV was too much for us too. The bright lights were too bright and too many people.

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

motoroz said...

I love the Hoover Dam. Vegas has a lot of interesting sites. Happy Birthday to Jackie.

mq01 said...

thank you for getting the Vegas pics that ive spent countless times over the yrs trying to create, lol. :D they turned out great!

happy birthday to garys wife!
and welcome to CA gary!

Geoff James said...

Thanks for the Gantt chart Gary, visual pornography for an engineer :-). Gantt Charts, PERT Charts, Artemis software.... all stuff I used to use planning our annual maintenance shutdowns.

Oh and the other photos were pretty darned good too, hehe ;-)

FLHX_Dave said...

I got heat stroke out there at Hoover a couple of months ago. I wanted to jump off the damn dam and take a swim.

Vegas...eh, I agree with you. Almost too much...too much temptation that is.

Let us know where you are at!

Canajun said...

As an inveterate people watcher I love Vegas. It's just so over the top in every way, and that goes for the people too. But 4 days is my limit - after that I seriously need to catch up on my sleep without dreaming of blackjack tables.

George F said...

I have been lucky and have visited LV multiple times, I always find something new to see ;-) Did you go up the Stratosphere? great views from the top

BeemerGirl said...

That dam lake is low!! :) We could do a time lapse with all of our photographs. Believe or not I do have some when it is near full pool! Great pictures in Vegas too! I haven't seen the fountain in person. You did a great job capturing the night lights.

Happy Birthday Jackie!

-Lori

All Over The World said...

Nice Photos Gary.

Tony T

Gary France said...

Ian – Yep, getting near the end now. Maybe another 2 weeks.

Bob – Any more than a few days is too much for me. Thanks for your birthday wishes.

Oz – The dam is very impressive. Jackie says thanks!

mq01 – I took many many photos to get just a few good ones! Thanks for Jackie’s birthday wishes!

Geoff – I have spent a whole career drawing Gantt charts and CPA. That was what I did! I was amazed to see a barchart being displayed on the bridge, as I have never seen that before.

Gary France said...

Dave – I remember reading about your heat stroke at the dam. I sent you a mail with my timings for the next few days.

Canajun – I know what you mean about watching the people. I don’t gamble so I wasn’t tempted.

George – No, I didn’t go up the Stratosphere. I enjoyed LV but I wasn’t sorry to leave.

Beemer Girl / Lori – I love the fountain shows at the Bellagio. It was quite tricky getting pictures of it. Thanks for Jackie’s birthday greeting!

AOTW – Thanks Tony. I took a quick peek at your blog. That was some ride to the Ace Cafe!

Eve said...

Sorry I missed Jackies Birthday!!! Happy belated!
Great scenes from the Dam to Vegas Gary. You could never bore me with car photos...:-(
I don't think I would enjoy standing for too long on that bridge! But I do love the water show in Vegas!!
Hopefully I can catch up before you get to the end of your trip!!!!!

Gary France said...

Eve - I might be taking some more car photos very soon.... like on Monday.... it should be quite something! Standing on that bridge was okay, but it was quite windy. The water show is fabulous!