“There it is!” Janette pointed, but Chandler had to keep his eyes on the curving, mountainous road. The Arizona and Nevada Stateline was approaching and right in between was the iconic landmark, the Hoover Dam. They intended to stop for a few minutes at a lookout and see the dam but they didn’t know where they were going. Janette’s excitement wasn’t helping Chandler’s nerves. “There’s the exit. Get off here!”
“I am, I am,” Chandler grumbled, turning on his signal. After pulling off Interstate 71, they wound their way around to the security checkpoint. They had to roll all windows down and police officers on both sides of the car scrutinized their car’s interior.
“Do you have any firearms in your vehicle?” the officer asked.
“No, sir,” Chandler said.
“Stay to the left, have a good day.”
“Thank you, sir.” Chandler pulled ahead and pushed the buttons to roll up the windows. They passed a pickup truck that had pulled to the right where officers were working with the driver to evaluate and catalogue the man’s weapons. Chandler chuckled at the cliché about how every guy in a pickup truck has a rifle or two on hand.
“I want to park at the lookout so we can see the dam from above,” Janette said with excitement as if Chandler didn’t already know her desires. He was trying not to get cranky but the temperature was topping one-hundred and he wished they could finish their drive to Angeline’s house in Las Vegas. Still, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Hoover Dam and he wasn’t going to pass this up any more than he wanted to take away his wife’s opportunity to see the dam.
He pulled their car into the Boulder Dam Bridge Parking lot, got out of the car and stretched, glad to be outside for a few minutes. Even a hike up a million steps to get to the lookout point sounded pleasant after eight hours on the road. It wouldn’t take that long.
“I’m putting my computer in the cooler,” Janette said, carrying her laptop around the back and opening the hatch of the Subaru Outback.
“You’re doing what?”
“It’s over a hundred degrees,” she reasoned. “Who knows how long we’ll take walking up all those stairs. The car could get very hot while we’re gone.”
“Good point.” Chandler grabbed a water bottle while she had the cooler open and decided to carry it with them, just in case.
They walked at a steady pace up the ramp, then climbed an endless number of stairs to the top, thinking there would be a view of the dam from the top. Instead, the path wound back toward the expressway and suddenly they were walking onto the arch bridge overlooking the Colorado River nearly on top of the Hoover Dam. The view took his breath away and the gentle sway of the bridge as traffic flew past on the other side of the barrier made him a little woozy.
Traversing the bridge they stopped in the middle to take selfies until another couple came by and they exchanged phones back and forth to get some better shots.
The Hoover Dam was indescribable almost to the point of being spiritual. The creative ingenuity was beyond description and Chandler had few words as he wrapped his arms around his wife staring down at the incredible feat of man.
“How’d they do that?” Janette asked in a soft voice full of awe. “I mean… wow.”
“My sentiments exactly,” Chandler said. “I’d like to watch a documentary about how they made that.”
“We should go,” Chandler said. “Angeline’s going to wonder if we fell in. She’s expecting us for dinner.”
“I’ll send her a text to give her a new ETA,” Janette said, pushing away from the concrete barrier separating them from the long drop to the Colorado River.
Before leaving the area, they made the careful drive across the dam itself. No longer the main thoroughfare it had once been, cars that had been through the security checkpoint crept across the bridge as if driving across a path made of glass.
“I wish we had time to park and walk across the dam,” Chandler said with reverence as they wound slowly up the hill to the back end of the dam. Janette snapped dozens of photos as Chandler drove, basically winding up the mountain and back down then across the dam again and past the checkpoint.
Neither of them spoke as they left the area, caught up in their own thoughts about what they’d just witnessed. So far, that one hour they’d spent near the Hoover Dam had been the highlight of their trip. He wondered if the Grand Canyon itself would be as profound.