Day 2 saw us leaving the Monte Carlo (and Las Vegas) behind and heading to the hotel that would act as our “base camp” while at the Grand Canyon (the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan). To get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas you pretty much have to go over the Hoover Dam, one of the few (only?) major dams in the United States you can still drive across (although I believe this will change once the new bridge is completed).
Karen, Ashley, and I toured the dam back 1995, but Amber and Alyssa hadn’t, so we stopped for a tour. We chose the “power station” tour which was basically the same one we had taken in 1995. The main difference was that since 1995, a new visitors’ center has been constructed (and security tightened) and the power station tour now enters via an elevator from the new visitors’ center instead of through the elevators on the dam, so we technically didn’t go down into the dam proper, just the power station at the bottom.
After the tour we spent quite a bit of time touring the exhibits and then walking across the dam and taking lots of pictures. It is amazing how far down the water level in Lake Mead is right now, and it is very obvious where the water level used to be. All in all, I think we were at Hoover Dam for about 4 hours.
From there we headed to Tusayan via Kingman, AZ, where we stopped for a late lunch at In-N-Out Burger. Shortly before we got to Tusayan we spotted our first “wildlife” of the trip, some deer, near the side of the road.
Next stop, the Colorado River!