We are not the first 'Gronseths' to make it to Arizona, but we are the first from our immediate family.
Dan - I do most of the blogging, photos, artwork you'll see. Came from Wisconsin to Arizona in 1986 after a bicycle trip to the lower 48 states. I've been a park ranger since the end of 1988.
Karen (Bleeker) - Karen came from South Dakota to Arizona in 1989. She has been a teacher and a teacher trainer. We met here in Arizona and were married in 1990.
Erik - Erik came along in 1996. He is pretty smart and likes math, reading, playing the Wii and watching Saturday morning cartoons.
Jakob - Jakob was born in 1999, the last of the 'old millenium' Gronseths - at least amongst our immediate family. Jakob loves people and can seldom stand to be alone for any length of time.
We decided to try our luck staying at Circus Circus Hotel/Casino. I should have gone back out later and taken a night shot of this sign all lit up.
Out our window (31st Floor) the floor fun park is visible (see last shot). Windows were heavily spotted with dust drops, but the rooms were clean. This tower is non-smoking, but the main floor is pretty steeped in smoke. Some of the newer casinos seem to have better ventilation, but this one - even with fewer people seeming to be smoking - has poor ventilation.
Woke up to a nice view of the mountains at sunrise.
An off-strip casino is in the foreground. The distant mountains look nice with the shadows.
If I hadn't looked out again a few minutes later, I would have missed the colors coming out.
This is the tower we stayed in. We were about 4 floors from the top. This view is from just outside the pool. Big pool, but it was still kind of crowded, and I don't think the hotel was very booked up.
This shows the world's largest indoor roller coaster zooming down the track. The Circus Circus lights on the tower can be seen through the glass dome. They have Midway games, circus acts and rides all indoors.
From Arizona, the only way to get to the Hoover Dam is by crossing this huge, arched bridge. You hardly notice the crossing until coming down to the dam on the Nevada side.
Of course, the dam is huge. We weren't sure, but you may drive over the dam to the Arizona side and park over there for free. They moved the tour start, however and it is a bit of a walk back across.
We paid to park in a big parking garage, and from the pictures of Karen and the boys, you would think we were the only ones. Believe me, there were LARGE numbers of people parking here.
And large numbers of people doing the short tour. Below are the generators turned by water drawn from Lake Mead. I should sya these are the upper generators. There are more nearer to river level in case the water levels should ever drop so low that these wouldn't have enough water power to turn.
Even though the dam was built starting in 1931, they knew it would be a tourist attraction and this overlook floor was laid in imported marble and the design below was commissioned to symbolize water flowing through the turbines.
Outside the main level Erik and Jake lean against a rail and the whole dam is shown. The angle makes the dam look short.
The car to the far left better shows how big this dam really is.
And closer still, the people on the dam in this close up also show how huge this thing is.
Here is one of the original cranes used to move equipment and supplies down to the river level. Just below the bridge, you can see a 6" cable extending from the crane across the river.
This close up shows the set up a little better.
The dam and the bridge are both impressive and worth a drive down for a look. The tour is very interesting and well worth the price. If it will be your only time there, I would highly recommend the long tour.
Another easily overlooked 'weed' out here is the peppergrass. The leaveas are actually the seed pods. I never paid attention enough to know that. They are very small plants, and as you can guess the flowers are very tiny.
Here is one next to the Heron Bill Filaree, which is a very small flower.
Here's a close up of these very tiny flowers and all the seed pods.
A real close look at how the seed pods are growing right out from the flowers.
These may look nettly, but are edible. I could imagine using them to help season whatever else I might have to eat a hundred years or more ago.