Kevin's Utah and Arizona trip, 2011
Saturday - Hoover Dam and the trip home
previous: Friday

My flight out of Vegas was at 4:30, but if I could get the car back by noon, I could save seventy dollars. For that $70, I'd have to sit around the airport for a couple of extra hours, so I didn't bother to try. The desk clerk at the motel mentioned a cave with a lake in it, so I thought I'd check it out. I figured it would take an hour.

I went up the canyon past a few horse pastures and turned off the main (gravel) road. The directions said the road was deep sand, and for 4WD only, but I bet a 2WD car could have made it. There was a little parking area with a picnic table, and at the base of a cliff, behind some trees, was the cave. Maybe 25 feet wide at the widest, 75 feet deep, and filled with still water. Not all that exciting, but it was kinda different.

As I drove back out, I saw a sandy road do a loop up towards the canyon wall. I took it. I was happily surprised to see a fence and some Indian ruins. They were stone slabs stacked in circles - granaries. And there was one pictograph that I could see - a human figure about a foot high. It was pretty cool. I could see why they don't advertise that it's there.

I went back over the creek where it crossed a little slot canyon, and took a few pictures of a raptor and the horses. Then I headed back into Kanab, looking for some food, because I hadn't eaten anything yet. I got some at the grocery store, and hit the road.

There were two routes back to Las Vegas. One was the way I came, through Zion. The other was on the plains to the south. Not only that I hadn't seen it yet, but that way was a little quicker, and I really didn't want to drive through Zion again. More precisely, I didn't want to have to drive through it and not be able to stop. I had seen it, it was beautiful, and now it was time to move on.

Taking 389/59 around was a nice drive. I made good time, the weather was good and the scenery was beautiful. The highway skirts a line of cliffs for a long time. There was a place where I could see Zion in the distance. Because of all the mountains, I shot quite a few pictures during the drive. I pulled over a couple of times, and occasionally slowed down, but most of them were at speed. I got pretty good at shooting with the SLR while driving. Sometimes even while looking through the viewfinder. If you set the lens at the same field of vision as your eyes, you can look through it with one eye while you keep your other eye open. You keep the two scenes lined up, and you can see as normal, and click the shutter when you see something good. :-)

This was the Virgin River gorge, as you head into Nevada.

It was about four hours back to Vegas. I figure I missed the 12:17 return time by about half an hour. This meant I had a couple hours to kill. I called phone support and got directions and timing to Hoover Dam. Cyn said that from where I was, it was a fifty minute drive there. Add the fifty minutes back, and that left me 20 to see the place. Off I went.

It was close by, but the trip is slow once you get off the highway. The road snakes through the hills, and there's a line at the security checkpoint. Then you go into the five story parking garage, and find a place on the fourth floor. From there, it's a walk down the hill to the dam.

This was a completely different experience than Glen Canyon Dam. That place was almost barren of tourists. This was swarmed with them.

There are more people in this picture alone, than I saw at Glen Canyon Dam.

I didn't even go into the visitor's center. Or the gift shop. Or the restaurant.
I went by the huge bronze statues and flagpole.

I walked a little way onto the bridge with a hundred other tourists. I took a few photos
like everyone else, then jogged back up the hill in the 90 degree sun, and headed back to Vegas.

No trouble returning the car, checking in, or getting to the gate. I ate a sandwich, then talked with Cyn on the phone until it was time to board. I arrived back in Milwaukee about 10 pm, went home and went to bed. It was a most excellent trip.

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