Sunday night, Michelle and I walked down at the Las Vegas. sign. There was a long line of people that had on their own formed a line on their own to get their pictures taken with the sign. I didn’t want to spend the time waiting in line, so I stood off to the side to take this picture.

There was a bride and groom that had just been married. People in line were interacting – helping with cell phone pictures. I’m sure the crowd represented many states and countries. Everyone seemed happy – the weather was calm and mild (60s in the evening). It was a very pleasant place to be. Happiness can be contagious.

Michelle took a picture of me having breakfast at the motel. We stayed at a hotel off the Las Vegas Strip, which was half the price as staying in one of the fancier hotels on the Strip. We have a suite with our own rooms and you get a nice breakfast. The outdoor swimming pool at the hotel is still filled. I thought about bringing a banana back for Jack Doles (Doles’ bananas!). Bananas have a bunch of a-peel.

Midday we spent a couple hours walking around Hoover Dam. The sun shone through mostly thin cirrus clouds. I have on my Grand Haven t-shirt and THREE TIMES someone stopped me to comment on the shirt and I did my best to sell the city. I always thought that “Grand Haven” would be a good name for a band.

Some facts about Hoover Dam: 1. Hoover Dam is 726 ft. tall. That is 171 ft. taller than the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. and more than twice as tall as the Amway Grand Plaza (318 ft.) in Grand Rapids.

2. At its base, Hoover Dam is as thick (660 ft.) as two footballs fields measured end-to-end.

3. As many as 20,000 vehicles a day drive across the 45 ft. wide top of the dam between Nevada and Arizona.

4. There is enough concrete in Hoover Dam (4 1/2 million cubic yards) to build a 2-lane road from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida or a 4 ft. wide sidewalk around the Earth at the Equator. That’s 24,000 miles!

5. During peak electricity periods, enough water runs through the generators to fill 15 average- sized swimming pools (20,000 gallons each) in 1 second.

6. Each of the 30 ft. wide penstocks (water pipes) can carry enough water to fill 900 bath tubs (100 gallons each) in 1 second, or 960,000 (12 oz.) cans of drink in 1 second.

7. Hoover Dam is shaped like a huge curved axe head, 45 ft. wide at the top and 660 ft. thick at the bottom.

8. Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the USA and contains enough water to flood the entire state of New York with 1 ft. of water (26 million acre ft.).

9. If you drink water from the tap at Disneyland, Anaheim or Sea World in San Diego — that water is coming from the Colorado River and Lake Mead, 300 miles away.

10. Each of the 17 generators can supply electricity to 100,000 households.

11. When operating at full power, the 17 generators can supply all the electricity needed by a city of 750,000 people. Detroit has roughly 620,000 residents and Grand Rapids 196,000.

12. Each generator weights (4 million pounds) as much as 4 1/2 fully loaded Boeing 747-400’s.

13. The Colorado River is more than 1,400 miles long and supplies water to Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix. Las Vegas gets almost all its water from Lake Mead. Lake Mead was made by Hoover Dam when it blocked the Colorado River and flooded the Mojave Desert.

14. Between 1931 and 1936 when the dam was built, 96 men were killed in industrial accidents. None were buried in the concrete. Good thing we now have OSHA. Labor unions also worked for safer work conditions.

15. The mascot dog and favorite pet of all the construction workers during the building of the dam was buried at Hoover Dam. The grave is near the Hoover Dam Tour Center and can be visited.

16. It would take $2,000,000 worth of copper pennies to make the copper buses (4 inch in diameter hollow square wires) that carry electricity inside the powerhouse.

17. Every state in the USA furnished supplies and materials for the construction of the dam, including Michigan.

18. More than 8.5 million pounds of dynamite was used to blast the foundation for the dam and 8 miles of tunnels through the canyon walls.

19. There are 2700 miles of transmission lines sending electricity from Hoover Dam to Los Angeles.

20) Engineers predict the structure could last for more than 10,000 years, surpassing most remnants of human civilization if humans were to disappear from the earth. However, they also predict the dam’s turbines without human intervention would shut down within two years.

21) In dollars at the time of construction, the new visitor’s center cost more ($49 million dollars), than the dam. Money from sales of electricity, tolls and visitor fees pay for the dam operation.

Here’s a map of Hoover Dam. There is a road going right over the dam. There is also a relatively new highway and bridge that are just downstream from the dam. Both roads have pedestrian walkways.

Here, the Colorado River and Hoover Dam mark the dividing line between Nevada and Arizona. Nevada is now the 47th state I have visited in my lifetime…three to go!

Nevada is the driest state in the U.S. Las Vegas gets an average of only 4.18″ of rain per year. They have 26 days when it rains 339 days a year with no measurable rain.

Nevada’s name comes from the Spanish word nieve, which roughly means “snow-capped.” The state’s name refers to the Sierra Nevada mountain range. In winter, snow often covers the top of Mt. Charleston, which is just west of Las Vegas.

About 3/4ths of all gold mined in the contiguous U.S. comes from Nevada. In Nevada thee is also mining for silver, copper, and some of the world’s best black opals.