Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Wonders both natural and man-made

Today I hopped on with Grand Adventures tours and headed out to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. I saw both the dam and the beautiful arched memorial bridge that was opened in 2010 to ease traffic flow over the mountains. The dam itself was an engineering marvel, especially considering it was built in the 1930's during the Great Depression. One factoid I found interesting was that to avoid scratching the black stone used to build a commemoration and dedication area, the builders set the stones on ice and then guided them into position as the ice melted. Pretty slick! I would love to come back and tour the inner workings of the dam if I'm ever back in the Vegas area.

Hoover Dam! Memorial Bridge (top), Lake Meade as the high side of the dam (middle) and view of the dam from Memorial bridge (bottom)
Next was the south rim of the Grand Canyon. My favorite view was from Eagle Point, named for the rock formation that looks like an eagle with outstretched wings. I got pictures at Guano Point, named for the bat guano harvesting that used to happen from a cave in the canyon. Bat guano is apparently good for dynamite, cosmetics, and fertilizer, among other things. The skeleton of the crane that drove the mining activities still stands, but the mining stopped in the 50's after a Flyboy accidentally sheared some of the cables with his back rotor.

Also, they do not have railings except on the Skywalk. You could literally fall over the edge ANYWHERE. Our tour guide cautioned us to stay away from crowds at the edge, lest we get bumped by accident. Yeesh.
Me at the canyon! The bottom picture is an illusion - I was only about 20 feet in the air, not on the side of the canyon. But the picture is still fun!
Finally, the part about Vegas I have been excited for - the food!! I took myself to Estiatorio Milos at my own hotel (Cosmopolitan): a Mediterranean restaurant renowned for fresh seafood. I had fresh bread (oh my!), grilled octopus, lobster pasta, and baklava. All three courses were amazing, but the baklava was to. die. for. I was on the phone with my sweet boyfriend Jeremy so we could catch up about our days, and he will attest to how many times I punctuated our conversation with, "this baklava is just...indescribably good." One bite hit me with such a wave of euphoria that I sat back in the chair with my eyes closed, head tilted, and fork almost falling out of my hand, wondering if I had reached heaven. Worth every penny!

On a side note, I didn't realize how much food I had consumed until I stood up and waddled back to my hotel room. Note to self - be careful how much food I eat when not at my hotel, lest I have to walk half a mile back home on an aching stomach.

Tomorrow, the conference starts!


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  2. Love reading your blog, Renee! Your writing makes me feel like I'm right there with you. I'm nearly ready to purchase a plane ticket to join you for a bit of that baklava..... Enjoy your conference and the rest of your adventures in Las Vegas!

    1. I'm now determined to learn how to make baklava at home. That and tiramisu are the two desserts that are worth knowing how to make (at least for me), so I don't spend a fortune buying them all the time.

  3. Great. Now I want baklava.

    Isn't Hoover Dam mind-boggling? I didn't know about the crane. There's an urban legend about the concrete at the core of the dam not being cured yet because it is so massive. Is that true, do you think?

    1. Ha - well when I learn how to make it myself, I'll be sure to bring you some baklava! The Hoover Dam is really impressive. I don't think the legend is true - my dad said that they ran water pipes through the concrete to help dissipate the heat as the concrete cured. If not, then I don't think it will ever be cured, and we'll just hope for the best (I guess!)