Friday April 11, 2003.
I headed south from Las Vegas on highway 93, under cloudless blue
skies. After a quick stop for breakfast at Boulder City in a 1950's style cafe, I continued towards Arizona, via
the Hoover Dam. What I didn't expect, but in hindsight can completely understand, was the long delay in getting to the
Hoover Dam. There is a very tight security check prior to reaching the dam wall. The purpose is to prevent any
act of terrorism.
The Hoover Dam was America's largest construction project in its
day. It controls the flow of the Colorado River and thereby makes life easier for the farmers in California.
Once over the dam I was in Arizona, and the driving suddenly became
easier and very enjoyable. The route from Hoover Dam to the Grand Canyon is a long slow climb from the 1,200 feet of
the dam to the 6,800 feet elevation of the Grand Canyon south rim. The high altitude makes the air cool at this time
of year, but the cloudless sky allowed the sun to warm my arms and shoulders. The traffic was light and the
roads smooth. The consistent climb gave me
an advantage over the trucks.
This part of Arizona is greener than I was expecting, but it made
sense when I realised that the ground at this high altitude is covered by snow during winter. The snow melts in
spring, guaranteeing a good water supply for the springtime plant life.
I turned onto Interstate Freeway 40 East at Kingman, and enjoyed
a smooth easy run up to Williams, with two diversions off the freeway to sample the nostalgic and historic Route 66.
I arrived at the Grand Canyon south rim at 5:00 o'clock, just in
time to enjoy the good light at the end of the day. I'm staying at Maswick Lodge tonight, a short walk from the rim,
so I can get up early in the morning to photograph the sunrise.
Distance driven today: 281 miles
Total distance for trip so far: 1828 miles