Friday, May 13, 2011

Railroad Rally Reflections, Part 3

Sunday, our optional day. 20 people signed up for the River Raft down the Colorado River from just below the dam to Willow Creek.  This morning we had breakfast at the Hacienda Casino where they have a bargain breakfast for $2.95 that includes 2 eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast; drinks extra.  That is still a bargain in my book.  We were seated in our own area as the buffet and café area is huge.  Getting the River Raft trip together was a little bumpy because the lady in charge of registering us and taking the money must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  Boy, was she grumpy.  Don’t you wonder why they assign people with little or no personality and an attitude as the first person you meet at an event that is supposed to be fun?  Fortunately we had already talked to Leslie several times and she confirmed our price and we got all release signatures and boarding passes.


We boarded our bus and took the short steep trip down to the base of the dam.  This was the road the workers took in the 1930’s and is not open to the public.  We could sure see why, even the buses had to back up to make one hairpin turn.


There was lots of picture taking once we got down to the water.  Since this is a restricted area by road or boat I didn’t ever think I would see the dam from this angle. 

Almost everyone on our raft was with our group so it was almost having a private tour by our raft pilot, Jerry. 

He explained the by-pass tunnels, the building of coffer dam, how the men hung over the side to place the dynamite and do the clean up afterwards.


They were called High Scalers and were paid more than any other worker, $4 a day.  This was during the depression so that was a lot of money, but a very dangerous job.


Jerry gave us all our rules and also advised us where the least ‘wet’ area would be.  This was a very good tip because we were expecting winds of 50 to 60 MPH this day and Tom & I were sitting in the wettest seat.  Jerry said, “No problem about the wind.”, but later admitted he was a little concerned.



We had a wet and wonderful time; some of us wore ponchos supplied by Jerry, some sat up front and just got wet.



We saw a couple of dozen desert sheep, moms and babies, down by the water. 


I think this guy might have been a male watching over the flocks.

These are some of the vistas along the river.

One of the interesting spots was one where the magma heated water is turned into steam, rises up through cracks and is cooled back to water and squirts out from this cave.  Look cool, but it is actually over 140 degrees.  We got the opportunity to test it – HOT!  For those who know Tom you will remember the joke with the punch line, “It doesn’t take me long to look at a horse shoe”'; that came to mind as everyone stuck their hand in and jerked it out fast.


We ate our box lunch along the river and were not too hungry by dinner so we heated up left over lasagna, added bread, and salad.  By all time all the deserts were finished, we were too.  It was nighty night as the song says.

Monday morning it was hugs and goodbyes to our ‘crew’.   We did relax a little, had a late lunch-early dinner with Nick & Terry Russell and Greg and Jan White.  As always our time with these fun folks always goes by too fast and it was time for more hugs and goodbyes.  When we got back to the RV we both took naps!!!  That’s what retired people do.

Until next blog we will be On the Road Again, Caching Places We’ve Never Been.

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