Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hanging out along the Colorado River

We took a vote today to see if should take it easy or go geocaching once again in the 103 degree heat.  The vote was 2-0 against doing this, so we took a drive in the area to enjoy some of the great views.  

Parker Dam is about 5 miles up the road and it is quite impressive.  No trucks or RVs can cross the dam, but cars can during certain hours.  It is closed to all traffic from 11pm to 6am and if you miss that time and need to be on the California side of the river, then you have to drive down to Parker, cross the bridge and back up the river for 15-20 miles.  

Parker Dam's primary purpose is to provide reservoir storage from which water can be pumped into the Colorado River (California) and Central Arizona Project Aqueducts. Lake Havasu, the reservoir behind Parker Dam, is about 45 miles long and covers nearly 20,390 acres. It can store 648,000 acre-feet or nearly 211 billion gallons of water.

Parker Dam


Parker Dam is the deepest dam in the world; 73 percent of its structural height of 320 feet is below the original riverbed. Men and machines excavated 235 feet into the Colorado riverbed before concrete was placed for the dam's foundation. About 85 feet of the dam are visible. However, the dam's superstructure rises another 62 feet above the roadway across the top of the dam.

Parker Powerplant is located on the California side of the Colorado River immediately below the dam. It houses four hydroelectric generating units. Each unit can produce 30,000 kilowatts of non-polluting hydroelectric power. Four 22-foot diameter pipes called penstocks can each carry up to 5500 cubic feet of water per second to feed the generating units.

Power plant 

About 50 percent of the plant's power output is reserved by MWD for pumping water along the Colorado River Aqueduct to the Pacific Coast. The remaining power is marketed by the Western Area Power Administration. 

Under the terms of a contract between Reclamation and MWD, and with funds advanced by the latter, excavation for Parker Dam and Power plant began in October 1934. However, it was not until August 1935 that the Rivers and Harbors Act specifically authorized construction of the dam by the U.S. The dam was completed in September 1938; construction of the power plant began in July 1939 and was substantially completed in 1942. During construction of the plant, transmission lines and substations of the project were also constructed and put into operation. But because of the onset of World War II, certain features were made with temporary materials or were omitted until proper materials could be made available and installed. Postwar work included replacement of temporary wood supporting structures with permanent steel structures in the substations.

Boaters can come up quite close to the base of the dam and then there is a barrier to keep them from coming closer.  The boat below was idling in the water and hanging out near the dam.  The current appears to be quite strong in the area and was rolling along.

Arizona RT 95 runs along the side of the river and there are many scenic overlooks.  The photo below was taken looking south toward Buckskin Mnt. SP vicinity.  There wasn't as much boat traffic as I expected since people had to make the long trek back home.

 The old road called Riverside Drive is closer to the river and also has a number of places to view the river.  The last time we were here in 2009 this road was closed due to rock slides and the area where the photo below was taken was at the center of the problem.

California campground across the river on the left.

Buckskin Mountain SP on the right.
 The last time I went golfing out here in the desert was many years ago and I tried the Emerald Canyon golf course near the La Paz County campground.  It is a beautiful course over 7,000 yards and a very difficult one to play.  I was paired with another golfer who shot in the high 70s or low 80s and I tried to convince him to go ahead of me and not look back.  No, he wanted to golf with me so off we went.  I played one of my better games that day so I wouldn't be embarressed by him.  I think I shot an 89 which was good for me with rented golf clubs.

Gerry went along with us and drove the golf cart and had a great time.  It was her first time driving the golf cart and first time on a golf course.  Even with the golf cart I was worn out by the end of the 18th hole and it was a struggle to finish.  We did have a great time and remember the day very well.

We finally came back to the campground and I worked on photos and Gerry read a book on her Kindle.  I did manage to take one photo from the motorhome window of a boat passing by.  This site is close enough to the river to see, but not so close that the noise is unbearable.

It's time to hit the road on Monday and make the 170 mile drive up to Las Vegas for a week or so.  We need to get an early start so we can avoid the high winds forecast for late afternoon.  

That was our relaxing day, how was yours? 

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