Lake Mead and Hoover Dam

The upriver side

The upriver side

Monday, October 6 (continued)

It’s not a long drive from Valley of Fire to Lake Mead. Tonight’s stop is Lake Mead RV Village at Boulder Beach, it’s quite a mouthful.

The RV park here is nothing special. It’s large with numerous RV sites set up in various “streets”. Site are concrete with gravel between them, they’re packed pretty close together, and the restrooms while clean are dated. There are permanent residencies too, or possibly they’re trailers to rent complete with little yards and landscaping. The whole place looks a little old and tired, and despite the name there is no beach access. More overnighters show up after us, but the park stays more than half empty.

That's big, real big

That’s big, real big

Don't judge me for my bathroom picture...

I’m such a mature adult, taking pictures of bathrooms…

The intense hiking the past day has left us both feeling pretty tired, so instead of going out for a walk we jump back into Bertha and motor on over to the Hoover Dam.

Security measures have increased at the dam which I guess only makes sense, but we get waved through the gate without a fuss. I was unsure if we’d actually get to drive over the dam itself, online reports were a bit vague, but as it turns out we can! How neat.

On the Arizona side we park and walk back across to get the full scope. The visitor’s center and shops are closed for the evening, but I’m okay with that. I love the vaguely art nouveau stye of the place. The woman’s restroom on the dam has a gold colored entryway and the walls are a shiny lime green. It’s got to be the neatest bathroom I’ve seen in quite a while. And yes, I got pictures.



Golden doors

Golden doors

The size is mind boggling, kind of like the Grand Canyon on a man made scale. It must have taken a lot of effort to build in the 1930’s. The Colorado River level is very low due to the prolonged drought, but it’s still inspiring to look at. I’m glad we came out here.

Tuesday, October 7

My site at Lake Mead

My site at Lake Mead

Well, as long as we’re here might as well go see Boulder Beach. Julie and I hop into the truck and drive the mile or so down to the water.

The lake levels are very low, and we’re the only ones at the beach. The shoreline is rock and mud and littered with trash. Signs caution visitors to keep shoes on at all times because of broken glass from bottles thrown overboard when the water level was higher. The sky overhead is gray and dreary. Today I’ll be fine with moving onward, if I’d had any desire to go swimming it’s passed.

A spot of color on a dreary day

A spot of color on a dreary day

Even though the beach isn’t what we’d hoped for, there are still interesting things to see. Offshore, a large flock of water fowl mingle, it’s impossible to tell the species at this distance. Three fresh cut flower garlands have floated into shore, perhaps from a wedding elsewhere along the lake. And lower water levels have revealed more rock formations to look at. After taking our fill of the view, it’s time to get back to the RV and hitched up for the next destination, stay tuned…


Other Articles You Might Enjoy

100 Mile Hiking Club – Mystic Falls

May 29, 2015 |

There’s a little yellow book sold in our shop titled “Day Hiking Yellowstone” by Tom Carter. It’s simple and unassuming, the black and white photos are not high quality and the pages are just folded in half with two staples to make the binding. It was originally published in 1978 and it doesn’t look like…

Read More

Death Valley Driving (of Doom)

October 18, 2014 |

Tuesday, October 7 (continued) After the lake visit, I hook up and it’s back on the road. We scoot through the southern side of Vegas, then head West through the oddly named town of Pahrump and get on 190 heading into California. This is my first time in California which is exciting, it always feels…

Read More

Buffalo and Bad Weather

May 9, 2013 |

Tuesday was about the best test for the RV windows that I could imagine. After another gorgeous morning, clouds started rolling in in the afternoon and at around 3:30 the thunderstorm hit, in force. It rained, it hailed, and it rained some more, for a good hour or so. I was working until 5:30. We…

Read More


At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. kerry on October 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Nice pics. I can appreciate the odd bathroom fixation. If I find one with original, tiny little octagon tiles and pedestal sinks, I get a little goofy myself, LOL. The wreaths are oddly fascinating. The new bridge is awesome. Last time we were in the area, the bridge was just getting started. I can’t wait to see it again. Ed is right, the tour of the generators is amazing. At one point, you are right up tight to the penstock pipe, which holds the water heading for the turbine. There are millions of gallons of water blasting past you, and you can touch the pipe, and feel the power. The whole room is trembling. The entire experience is a testament to century old technology and perseverance, as the builders overcame, and conquered a mind blowing task. Thanks for sharing.

    • Becky on October 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      The wreaths were fascinating, the bridge was cool too. I found out later from my parents that you can walk over that bridge and get excellent views of the dam. Oh well, it was still a great visit. 🙂

  2. Ed @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets on October 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I know everything was closed, but there is a tour down to the bottom INSIDE the dam. Maybe they don’t do it any more. It took you down where the pumps and generators are. But even from up top it’s amazing to look at. And then there are places on the west side (maybe the east as well) where you can park and walk to look back on the front of the dam from above. The story of the sheer engineering required just to divert the river while they built the dam is just unbelievable.

    Be safe as you start traveling, which I presume will be north…maybe into California? A drive up 395 after passing thru Death valley would also be amazing. It’s quite a bit cooler there now. Still warm, but tolerable.
    Ed @ Chasing Sunrises and Sunsets recently posted..Two Wheels Two Feet – In her Own WordsMy Profile

    • Becky on October 17, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      You’ll find out which way I went soon enough Ed. 😉

      And I’m not sure if they still do that particular tour or not. I bet it would be interesting to do.

  3. Terri on October 16, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I remember seeing that on that same trip as I saw Zion back in 2002/2003. (Forget which year it was.) With my fear of heights, I remember walking across it and sticking toward the middle so that I didn’t have to look over the edge. But it truly is amazing if you think about it. Think about what it would take to build it with today’s technology, and then you go back that many years – all the calculations had to be done by hand, etc…

    It really is sad how little respect some people have for nature, just leaving crap everywhere. I can see why you would lose your motivation to swim after seeing all of that. While the campground wasn’t so great, I am glad you got to see Hoover Dam. It is pretty neat.
    Terri recently posted..Why I Keep On Keeping On: Life is Just Too ShortMy Profile

    • Pamela Petruschke on October 16, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Fantastic pictures! It’s a shame the beach is so messed up that it can’t be used as a beach. BTW – I have seen flowers like this before & they were put into the water in ceremonies honoring people who have passed away – either by drowning or in the case of Hoover Dam, quite a few workers were killed over the years of construction. That’s what your photo looks like – then again, it could be from a wedding!

      I can’t wait until I get to go see this – planned for summer 2016!

      • Becky on October 17, 2014 at 12:46 pm


        Huh, your explanation is as good as mine, I hadn’t thought about that before!

        And you’ll enjoy it! I just might recommend if you’re going to Lake Mead to visit a different beach. 😉

    • Becky on October 17, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      I’m sure other parts of Lake Mead are still in good shape and just fine for swimming, Boulder Beach just wasn’t one of them.

      And yes, seeing the Hoover Dam was very worth it! A neat place for sure.

  4. Jodee Gravel on October 16, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Great shots of the dam – it is truly an amazing engineering feat (mixed feelings about dams in general). How could you not take a pic of the pretty green bathroom? And the end stall has an escape door – wonder where that goes 🙂
    Sad about all the broken glass, but glad you got down to the water for a bit. Safe travels as you head to new adventures!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..New Friends and a New Contender – Pomona RV ShowMy Profile

    • Becky on October 17, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks Jodee! Yeah, that mystery door tickled my interest too. I imagine people don’t come in from the other side, but i still avoided using that stall just in case, haha!

  5. Vincent Goetz on October 16, 2014 at 4:40 am

    The videos of the construction are amazing…

    • Becky on October 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      I’ll have to look them up online sometime Vincent.

  6. Ron on October 15, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Thanks again for sharing. Always interesting Ron

    • Becky on October 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      You’re welcome. 🙂

Enjoy what you just read? Have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox!

Your email is safe with me and you can unsubscribe anytime. :)

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.