Dam Boring

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Spotting blue water between bulbous barren hills on the road  east-ish out of Vegas, I suggest we have ourselves a picnic at the Hoover Dam. Quite how ridiculous this idea is only becomes 100 percent clear once we are snarled into the dam system. The whole dam area is congealed with crawling coaches and slow cars. There’s no place to turn back and potential stops are limited to the high security checkpoint, the visitor centre car park, and a parking area with a view of water in a bowl of concrete. I know it’s very important and useful, but I don’t understand why we are all looking at it as if it’s going to do something. What everyone is really thinking as they stand by their cars gazing down into it in reverent silence, I can only imagine. I bet most of them are thinking they’d better stand there for another five minutes now they’ve come all this way even though they’re bored sick.

The good news is that Boulder City, Nevada, just before / beside it, is worth a visit because it has excellent retro motel signage in Old Town area, and the The World Famous Coffee Cup. I’m enjoying the use of ‘World Famous’ in front of everything from pecans to saddlebags across the USA; I like the bravado. The World Famous Coffee Cup is inevitably just a diner, albeit a friendly, popular one, and you probably wouldn’t know it was there unless you happened to pass it which . . . anyway. . . I’ve had better coffee (most everywhere) but the bacon and eggs and great piles of whatnot were perfection. One further incentive for at least slowing down in Boulder if not moving there for life, is the un-sugar-coated choice offered by the signs at a junction on the peripheries: Veterans’ Home to the right, Veterans’ Cemetery to the left.

There was a further sightseeing stop one and a half hours to the south-east. Kingman Airport, Arizona, was one of the designated dumping grounds for retired and surplus fighter planes after World War II, and, to this day, old planes are ‘retired’ here.  If looking at a row of old planes through a chain link fence is your thing, you’re going to really, really enjoy it. I understand a lot of people do. Actually, if you like scrap regardless of whether it was once a plane, car or (ouch) Airstream, you’ll find the nine-mile drive to the airport from the turn-off extremely interesting. Personally I found it all rather depressing.

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