At the end of our drive we settled into our rv park under the clear blue skies of Barstow, CA.
My parents would take us up there often as my dad had a part time job on the weekends driving a little train that would take people around the edge of the town and into an old silver mine. We would ride on his train over and over, or we could wander through the town while he was working, poking around in the old buildings and riding the burros up and down the streets. It was a wonderful place to spend a Sunday afternoon.
At the corner of the old road that led up to Calico there was an old diner where we stopped for breakfast. The outside has obviously been updated. but upon talking with our server we learned that the diner had been there since the 50's. It made me wonder if our family had ever stopped in for a soda after a hot afternoon in the mountains.
Two lane highways have given way to interstates but many of those roads are still around. They were built to follow the dips and hills in the terrain and when a car would suddenly dip I remember that it would cause that butterfly feeling of a sudden drop. We called them "tickle tummy" roads. As I looked out over one of those roads I was suddenly filled with the sound of voices in my head, the small voices of four little children calling out in the back seat of our station wagon, "Daddy! Daddy! Can we please go on the tickle tummy road? Please Daddy". Followed by sounds of childhood laughter as we dipped and sped on our way. My dad and all my brothers are with The Lord now, but the memory lives on in my heart, tender and bittersweet.
I mustn't allow myself to become melancholy so, finally leaving Barstow behind we headed to Las Vegas, NV, another place I grew up visiting often,as I had family there. I have watched that place change from a small city in the middle of the desert to the famous destination it has become. The hotels are gigantic, each one taking up more than a city block and each with their own theme. It's always interesting to take a walk along The Strip.
Outside the Mirage
Inside and outside the Venitian
The conservatory at the Bellagio celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The city of Las Vegas could not exist if it were not this amazing feat of engineering, built during the Great Depression, When Hoover Dam was completed in 1935 it was the tallest dam in the world at that time, and it was considered one of the great engineering wonders of the world. It supplies water and electricity to most of the Southwest including California, Nevada and Arizona.
The dam spans across the Colorado River which is the natural state line between Nevada and Arizona. An interesting little tidbit is that as you walk across the dam, you also cross a time line. The Nevada side of the dam is Pacific Time while the Arizona side is Mountain time.
Here we are standing on the dam looking down to the river below. It's easy to get a feel for how tall it is from here. Until recently you could cross over from Nevada to Arizona by driving over the dam. Unfortunately, after the September 911 attacks the dam was closed to through traffic and a new Memorial Bridge was built crossing the Colorado.
This lovely memorial has also been placed by the dam.
We also took a short hike up to the Memorial Bridge so we could see the dam in its entirety from across the canyon.
Behind the dam this huge reservoir known as Lake Mead was created. It's the largest reservoir in the United States and when it is full to capacity the lake 112 miles long. It provides water to over 20 million people in Nevada, Arizona and California.
I will have more to share about our time in the desert and along the Colorado River but for now I will close. Hopefully, I will be able to get back on line again soon. So for now, a blessed day to each of you.