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……I was about to find out as it was my great privilege and fun pleasure to be included in the COLORADO RIVER AQUEDUCT Inspection Trip sponsored by Marsha Ramos, Director, Metropolitan Water District or as we fondly call her….Director Ramos!

I know you won’t believe this but I was at the Burbank DWP at 6:00 A.M. thanks in no small part to Lynda Willner’s picking me up!

IMG 4382And off we went to Bob Hope Airport…..

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Gotta do it….Photo op before boarding for Las Vegas Airport!

IMG 4390First stop…..Tour of the Hoover Dam Power Plant, a major source of flood control, irrigation and electrical power in the Southwest devised to tame the raging floods of the Colorado River.

The first difficult step of construction involved blasting the canyon walls to create four diversion tunnels for the water. Facing strict time deadlines, workers toiled in 140-degree tunnels choked with carbon monoxide and dust, conditions that prompted a six-day strike in August 1931. When two of the tunnels were complete, the excavated rock was used to form a temporary coffer dam that successfully rechanneled the river’s path in November 1932.The second step of involved the clearing of the walls that would contain the dam. Suspended from heights of up to 800 feet above the canyon floor, high scalers wielded 44-pound jackhammers and metal poles to knock loose material, a treacherous task that resulted in casualties from falling workers, equipment and rocks.

Meanwhile, the dried riverbed allowed for construction to begin on the powerplant, four intake towers and the dam itself. Cement was mixed onsite and hoisted across the canyon on one of five 20-ton cableways, a fresh bucket capable of reaching the crews below every 78 seconds. Offsetting the heat generated by cooling concrete, nearly 600 miles of pipe loops were embedded to circulate water through the poured blocks, with workers continually spraying the concrete to keep it moist. With the body of water that would become Lake Mead already beginning to swell behind the dam, the final block of concrete was poured and topped off at 726 feet above the canyon floor in 1935. On September 30, a crowd of 20,000 people watched President Franklin Roosevelt commemorate the magnificent structure’s completion. Approximately 5 million barrels of cement and 45 million pounds of reinforcement steel had gone into what was then the tallest dam in the world, its 6.6 million tons of concrete enough to pave a road from San Francisco to New York City. Altogether, some 21,000 workers contributed to its construction.

Hoover Dam fulfilled the goal of disseminating the one-wild Colorado River through the parched Southwest landscape, fueling the development of such major cities as Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Capable of irrigating 2 million acres, its 17 turbines generate enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes. The dam was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders in 1994. Seventy Seven years ago this week President Roosevelt dedicated Hoover Dam!

Here’s Director Ramos with MWD Emeritus Director Bill Luddy.

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Wondering why the need for the hard hat….oh well….one must be brave!
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Just don’t even think that you’re beneath Lake Mead and you’ll be O.K.!

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I’d have to be an engineer to even begin to describe all that we saw…..I was so rapt that I scarcely took photos….

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Is it O.K. to say I was somewhat relieved to be above ground?…..

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As the dam rose, block by block, from the canyon floor, the visual renderings of architect Gordon Kaufmann took form. Electing to emphasize the imposing mass of the structure, Kaufmann kept the smooth, curved face free of adornment. The powerplant was given a futuristic touch with horizontal aluminum fins for windows, while its interior was designed to pay homage to Native American cultures.IMG 4429

Amazing to cross over onto the Arizona border!

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Thank you Director Ramos!

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Can you spot me?

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Leaving for our next destination…

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 Lunch! Charming Joan and Craig Bell.  Craig is the Facilities Director for the Burbank Unified School District.  A big job handling all the Measure S Project s’s!  Lynda, my intrepid companion is soooo cute!

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 There was a delicious buffet at Forge Social House in Boulder City, NV

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Then it’s back on the bus for our nights lodging in Gene Village in Parker Dam, CA.  

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I could not resist a selfie!

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Oh that cute Lynda Willner….she was the best, best traveling companion as we flew together and shared space on the bus the entire trip. 😃

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This was taken half into my devouring this gynormous steak and baked potato!

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Yes, I polished off the raspberry sorbet….but I needed it didn’t I???

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Nighty night bussy……IMG 4492

The rock formations were so interesting but it was almost impossible to get a good shot….

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There were the most adorable burros along the way but I just couldn’t snap one in time no matter how I tried.

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 Yes, I’m actually standing under this rock formation waiting to get on board to the Copper Basin Dam located in San Bernardino County, west of the Colorado River from Parker, Arizona. 

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One of my favorite photos….

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Rosa Castro, MWD Inspection Trip Specialist, our intrepid and oh so knowlegeable leader…..excellent guide, educator and communicator!

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Heights?  No problem!  Ha!!!

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On the tour of the William P. Whitsett Pumping Plant…..This Intake Pumping Plant is the starting point of the Colorado River Aqueduct and is the first of five CRA pumping plants lifting water 291 feet.  All pumping plants have 9 pumps, and each has a nominal rated capacity of at least 225 cubic feet per second.  Each pump is driven by a vertical, three-phase, 60-cycle, 6900-volt synchronous motor totally enclosed and water-cooled.  Each intake Pumping Plant motor developed 9,000 horsepower.  GOT IT?

Most of the areas are top secret so no photos….I will say there was a lot of stairs descending to see major stuff and then a long climb back….

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Sorry…not an engineer…can’t describe….

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Lynda took the most amazing photo’s…all non objective abstract shots…Note to self: Must ask her for them!

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‘Parker’ Dam.  Yes, it was named after me…of course you knew that.

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There were many different sandwich combos as we had lunch while on the bus.  Included were fruits and mayo/w mustard and chips.  This not to mention the constant supply of cold drinks, snacks, cookies and such in the back of the bus.  I found myself in snack heaven but discovering the Corn Nuts was my undoing! All that walking and climbing and still the scale remains the same due to my total lack of control in the snack department!

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Here we are at the Patton Museum in Chiraco Summit, CA.  General Patton chose this site to train his men in the event they would have to fight in the desert.

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My memory is that this full scale model of the planned Colorado River Aqueduct was shipped to Washington D.C. for approval.  Now I’m just plastering it all over the internet.  WOW!

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“CAUTION RATTLESNAKES’’ ….and I’m smiling???IMG 4590

Well, that pretty much sums it up as best as I can but I must add that it was grand traveling with the most interesting group of community leaders all brought together by Director Ramos who is my template for doing good and making a difference in your community and the world!

 Next time you turn on your faucet or water your plants take a moment to thank all the brave men and women who strived to bring this amazing water system to us ‘desert dwellers’ and those 

 who continue to this day to bring us the safest and may I add cheapest water to be had.  THANK YOU METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT of SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA!

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