Tag Archives: las vegas

Hoover Dam Tour

Wednesday (12th March 2014):

And so the usual cycle – get up, pack, breakfast – repeated itself.

We gathered at the same meeting point to board the tour bus to the Hoover Dam. Instead of going via the highway, the guide took us through Boulder Dam City just to give us a glimpse of the quaint little town. The hotels there are named after the hotels that are on The Strip, which I thought was pretty interesting! This town is relatively quiet with lush greenery, very different from the other parts of Vegas.

The bus took us to the top of the Hoover Dam where we got down. The foot of the dam was where we did the Canyon Float Tour. We were then taken into the dam……135 ft down the canyon.

History of the Hoover Dam:

*a little wordy but do give it a read*

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View of the Hoover Dam from Nevada.

The Colorado River had the potential to sustain life and bring prosperity to communities. However, without the dam, it was extremely limited and was a constant ongoing battle against nature.

In 1905, torrential spring rains had caused the Colorado River to flood. Nearby settlements (Imperial Valley) were flooded for over two years, destroying many homes and lives. With the continuous battle between bouts of droughts and floods, the Hoover Dam was built in order to tame the Colorado River so that the surrounding settlement and agriculture could continue to flourish.

In 1928, a bill on damming the Colorado River and diverting the water to California was passed by congress after failing three times. In 1931, President Herbert Hoover signed the authorization of the construction project which was the largest government contract awarded at that time.

Soon, a massive concrete mass began to rise from the noise and dust. 5000 men worked on the Hoover Dam and most of them were housed in Boulder Dam City which was built in the desert solely for this purpose.

Before concrete for the dam could be poured, the Colorado River had to be rerouted. Four tunnels, each between 3500-4300 feet long, were blasted and drilled through the canyon wall. Fun Fact: 96,000 gallons of water flow through these tunnels each second! The tunnels measured 56 feet in diameter with 3 feet of concrete along the sides. 19 months and nearly 600,000 tons of concrete later, the diversion tunnel was completed.

3 dams: The Upper Cofferdam, Lower Cofferdam and Rock Barrier were built so that nearly 1 mile of riverbed could be kept dry for the building of the Hoover Dam. Once the area was dry, 135 feet deep of silt, mud, rock and sand had to be excavated to expose the bedrock where it would support the dam.

Railroads, roads, tunnels and the world’s most extensive cableway system were among the many features that had to be built at the dam site in order to ensure success in the building of the dam.

In 1935, the project was finally completed, 2 years ahead of schedule. The Hoover dam has since transformed the desert into productive farmland, supporting thriving communities around the area.

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The 17 turbines that spin to generate electricity.

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Dam facts.

Considering the technology and resources at that time, the building of this dam is pretty damn amazing!

Fun Fact: The dam can last for at least 2000 years.

If you were wondering, I was taking notes throughout the tour.

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View of the Hoover Dam from Arizona.

After the tour, we were able to walk across the dam.

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The Mike O’ callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge!

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The Hoover Dam.

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The dam is right in the middle of two states: Nevada and Arizona.

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So, I can now say that I’ve walked all the way from Nevada to Arizona! Pretty cool huh!

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Lake Mead!

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We met at the parking lot where our tour bus was waiting for us.

Fun Fact: it was more expensive to build the parking lot than it was to complete the whole dam!

As we had a bit more time on our hands, the guide drove us to a point where we could walk across the Mike O’callaghan – Pat Tillman memorial bridge!

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1905 feet long! I ran all the way across and back! Phew!

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Jump shot!

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Feet First!

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We stopped by at a park on our way back to have our lunch. Spinach tortilla, mini cup of pasta, apple, cookie and crisps!

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The founder of DDI wanted to have his lunch with us. Classy.

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At night, we were scheduled to catch the “O” show, Cirque Du Soleil! It was an amazing production. “Amazing” is an understatement! It was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Definitely a must watch if you’re in Vegas!

The cast, the crew, the costumes, the coordination, the timing, the set, the music, the backdrop, the props, the performance, the dancing, the balance……were just PERFECT!

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We had dinner and gelato at the Gelato Cafe at The Bellagio after the show. The best way to end this fun-filled day!

Next up: The Grand Canyon

Thanks for tuning in. Now, get off your computer and go for a run!

Canyon Float

Tuesday (11th March 2014):

We had a list of tours to choose from and we settled for the Canyon Float and the Hoover Dam tour.

First up: The Canyon Float!

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Mini Ketchup and Tabasco.

After a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, BACON, pork sausages, croissants, muffins, pastries and the like, we rushed to the meeting point where the tour bus was at.

The drive to the Hoover Dam, where we will be hopping on to the raft at the foot of the dam, took roughly 30 minutes. Along the way, we passed Bolder Dam City which is the only town in the state of Nevada where gambling is not allowed. The town was developed back in the 1930s for the workers who were building the dam.

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The area where we boarded the raft was within a restricted area assigned by the government since 9/11. We had to pass through strict security checks before we could enter. The tour guide said that we were lucky enough to be able to go on this tour because we wouldn’t have been able to if we were on our own. Only one company is allowed to bring visitors into this restricted area.

It was a long and winding road down to the foot of the dam.

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Two rafts, each with a capacity of 60 people, were waiting for us.

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Our tour guide and driver of the motorised raft that day was Jerry. He looked like a typical ol’ grandpa with a good sense of humour. After briefing us on some safety raft rules which were nothing more than making sure that we didn’t fall off the raft, we were off to cruise down the Colorado River.

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Before that, Jerry steered nearer towards the dam so that we could take our DAM pictures (HAAAAA!). He also explained the many different parts of the dam and how the water flowed to generate electricity.

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The Colorado River within the Black canyon is located at the state line between Nevada and Arizona. From the picture, the right side would be the state of Nevada and the left would be the state of Arizona. Black volcanic rocks are found throughout the area, hence the name Black Canyon.

 

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As we cruised along the Colorado River, Jerry shared many interesting facts about the Black Canyon and pointed out some wildlife/livestock that were unique to the canyon. We were asked to spot the Bighorn sheep which is the state animal of Nevada. They are usually seen hopping up the slopes and edges of the canyon and grazing on the scarce vegetation. They are so good at what they do that they can even out run mountain lions and coyotes. Sadly, we didn’t manage to spot any of them.

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There are several hot springs along the Nevada side of the canyon. He brought us to one of them where the hot spring water was flowing out from a rock (above picture). He explained that the water from the hot spring flows through magma beneath the surface of the Earth, causing temperatures to reach about 120 degrees F whereas the rest of the Colorado River is constantly at 52 degrees F.

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We stopped at one of the popular rest stops within the canyon to savour our lunch that was packed in cooler bags.

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We hiked to a spot where we had the best view (almost) of the canyon.

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Wrap, crisps, cookies, apple and a bottle of ice cold water!

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We settled down, making sure we were not near any holes or burrows for they may house poisonous snakes or lizards.

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Honestly, with a view like that, it was one of the best lunches I’ve had……EVER!

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That rock sitting on the edge is known as the “Dangerous Rock”, not knowing when it will eventually roll down to hit something or someone. 1794515_10152337484311388_985546358_nAfter lunch, we continued on for about 1 mile. We passed through the last rapids of the canyon known as the Ring Bull Rapids before the Canyon ride came to an end.

1960025_10152337484226388_1074093331_nI was very satisfied with the tour. Definitely one of the best tours that I’ve been on!

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Came back to the hotel and rested for a bit before deciding to put in an evening run along The Strip! All the way from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere tower! It was pretty tough maneuvering through the crowd. Still, it was an awesome experience!

Your turn to move, move, MOVE IT!

Updating from Las Vegas!

Sorry for the lack of updates recently (although I don’t think anyone is waiting for one!). I am and will be in the US for the next 2 weeks.

Currently updating from Las Vegas, Nevada! How exciting! I plan to keep a travel log so expect more travel-related updates.

Most of you would know that this Vegas trip is my mom’s VIP incentive (award) trip. This is DDI’s 30th VIP trip and my mom has won more than half of them. So every year (if she wins), we would take turns to go.

Ok, moving on to the updates……

Sunday:

The journey took more than 30 hours with two layovers: Hong Kong (2 hours) and Los Angeles (6-7 hours).

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Killing time.

1947825_10152328212416388_1362711563_nDinner at the airport. Organic Vegan meal of Tofu, Kale and Quinoa! So fresh and healthy. NOM!1974987_10152334820131388_1750377197_n

The not-so-healthy meal. Burgers and fries are a MUST in the US. It is ok to eat “bad foods” once in awhile.

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We finally settled in at the Bellagio hotel on Sunday night (9th March). The Bellagio is one of the main hotels along the strip of Las Vegas. At 11.30pm, the hotel was packed like a shopping mall on a weekend. I guess the saying “Las Vegas is a city that never sleeps” stands true.

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Our personal limo driver who picked us up from the airport.

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After checking in, we rushed to catch the final musical fountain show right outside the Bellagio. It comes on every 15 minutes from 8pm-12am every night.

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We walked along the strip for a bit before calling it a night. 6 comfy pillows to myself!

Monday:      

1932308_10152331368301388_915854230_nWaking up to THIS!

Monday was free and easy. The official VIP program only began at night so we had the whole day to ourselves. Due to the time difference, I woke up early at 7-ish.

After sitting around for so many hours on the plane, my legs were stiff and itching to run. It was too hot to run outside so I decided to check out the Fitness Centre at the Bellagio. The hotel was so big that it took me 15 minutes to find the place even after asking 2 different people for directions (epic fail).

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Pre-workout selfie.

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The gym was very well equipped. It had so many different machines it took me a while to adjust.

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I checked out all the machines although the only thing that I ever use is the treadmill. I hopped on one of the treadmills and survived 20 gruelling lifeless minutes (4.1KM). I was not tired (barely broke a sweat), but I gave up.

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I wore my Puma Pacer tee and it actually spiked interest in some of the gym-goers. After much chatter,  I drank a few cups of water and left.

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Sprinted down this never-ending hallway back to the room.

For the rest of the day, we took a bus and toured along the strip.

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Wrap and Snapple! My kind of grub.

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Huge serving of egg, toast and hash brown (although you can’t tell from the picture).

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FRESH FRUITS.

Did some shopping and ate all sorts of junk food along the way.

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At night, it was DDI’s VIP awards and welcome dinner where the DDI employees and VIP guests (us) were acknowledged for their hard work and support respectively.

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Front row! The President of the company.

Mom was named as the lifeblood of DDI Malaysia! Way to go mom! Indeed, my supermom.

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It was a buffet dinner but I only managed to capture the desserts!

Stay tuned for updates on the Canyon Float and the Hoover Dam tour!

Till then, get movin’!