Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Las Vegas to Lake Meade Recreation Area May 14

Tuesday, May 14----30 miles in 2:39-----The heat in the desert of Las Vegas (several days over 100), had me longing for cool, blue, mountain water that I saw in Lake Meade on the way into Vegas. It was a short ride(30 miles), mostly uphill, and I followed a bike path that I had noticed on the way into Vegas. The River Mountain Bike Trail started near the Vegas line with Henderson, Nevada, and followed an old railroad all the way to Lake Meade. The trail wound around some mountains, and stayed outside of Boulder City. There were parks near the trail, and many mountain bike trails of varying difficulty. The entire trail was newly paved, well maintained, and entailed many more climbs and downhills than US 93, which I rode in on, right through the heart of Boulder City. As the trail left Boulder City, there was a drainage ditch going down towards Lake Meade, that doubled as the bike trail. There was a little water in the concrete ditch/trail, but no traffic. I could have gone down through there at 40 mph if it wasn't so bumpy with expansion joints. As it got closer to the lake, the trail broke off from the ditch and began a winding path through a desert area above the lake, taking the same path as the trains that delivered supplies for the construction of the Hoover Dam during the depression. Instead of going all the way to the dam, the trail did a loop near Lake Meade, right past Lake Meade Rv park, where Pam was just pulling in as I arrived. The trail was one of the most challenging and well constructed trails I've been on. The ability to ride like a mountain biker, but on paved mountain trails was really cool.
We had time to take the Jeep over to Hoover Dam, where Pam saw it for the first time, and I was amazed by the changes created by the Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. We walked across the dam, admiring the size and views. The water behind the dam is WAY down due to years of drought and increasing human demand. I saw several pictures comparing the water level to 1985, when Lake Meade was full. Last time I was here, in 1968, it was full also. The tour of the guts of the dam was sold out for the day, so it was off to the beach!
Well, sort of. Boulder Beach is an area where you can drive right down to the waters edge, through a huge field filled with rocks, that used to be under water. The temperature was 103 degrees, the wind was picking up, and it was just as hot. Lake Meade water is snow melt runoff, so the water is cold under any conditions, but it still felt great. It was very clear, but fishy smelling. We were in and out of the water many times, taking small doses of cryotherapy, when we weren't getting blasted by dusty, desert air. Overall, the experience was enjoyable, and the freezing body parts, was offset by the beautiful scenery of multicolored mountains and blue waters.

On the road and leaving Las Vegas and it's 103 degrees!

Drainage ditch/bike trail

Information about the changing of Lake Meade water level.

Tunnel on my trail

Because you are riding your bike when it's 103 outside and you're in the Mojave Desert!!

Hoover Dam

Overflow tunnel - obviously not in use now!

Looking down from the dam at the power plant.

Road that goes across the dam

In memory of those who died making Hoover Dam

Looking over at the new Pat Tillman bridge that keeps traffic off of the dam

Looking out at Lake Mead - the white on the mountains is what is exposed from the lake level going down.

Hoover Dam

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