Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Largest Concrete Structure in the United States

Electric City, Washington
Coulee Playland RV Park

Another absolutely perfect day for touring the Coulee Dam.

We arrived shortly after the opening of the Coulee Dam Visitor Center  One thing I liked about this exhibit was that they had actual stories from the people who worked on the dam. 

It wasn't busy and we looked at all the displays before a busload of rowdy third graders arrived.  

The ranger made a comment about how noisy they were and told us he had just started the video on the dam upstairs if we wanted to see it. Thank you, I couldn't have stood all the screaming much longer.

We could still hear all the noise upstairs but it wasn't as bad.  The movie was great, but we needed to leave for the Coulee Dam tour.  It didn't leave from the Visitor's Center but from the opposite side of the water.  They do not take reservations and they only have two tours a day in a van this time of year.
When we drove over to the other side, we took this photo of the visitor center.  It was constructed to look like one of the generators.  The locals say it looks like a bottle cap.

The tour started at 11 and we were pleasantly surprised to see that only one other couple would be on the tour.  We were given a brochure with the restrictions for the tour.  Once we watched a video about security we were told to empty our pockets and walk through the security detectors.  It went off when I went through.  It was a metal button on my pants.

Kim, our guide, was fairly new at giving the tour but she did an excellent job.


This is the top of the dam and before 911 you could drive across it.  It's hard to see but there is a big yellow crane on it.  If someone wanted to drive an RV across it, they had to bring the crane back on the tracks because the RV would be to tall otherwise..


They bring it back to this place to move it out of the way.  I don't think I'd like driving over the top of the dam.


Our tour included a trip into the pump generating plant.


We took a large elevator that could hold 56 people when it was new and now it can handle 53 people.  Average Americans must weigh more nowadays.  We went up to the 9th floor which is 1245.5 feet.


The floor really shook but it wasn't as noisy as I expected.
The tops of the generators are 5 floors up.


One thing we noticed, it doesn't take many people to operate the equipment.  We were told that they needed to be rebuilt about every 25-30 years.  No parts are available as they have to fabricate all of them.


This fence is the same as the one around the White House.  I don't think anyone is getting through it.


Kim gave us so many facts and figures I forgot all of them.  I'm sure if you are that interested, you'll come for a visit.

Kim did a great job and we really enjoyed it.  I don't think Bill was too excited about taking the tour, but he really had a great time.

Kim suggested we drive up to Crown Point to see the view from up high.  


There is a huge electric facility up on the hill on the way to Crown Point.


Here's the sundial on Crown Point.
Can you tell what time it is?



This is where the laser light show is held but it doesn't start for the season until Memorial Day.


There's a path to walk out closer to the edge but that is as far as I went.  
All in all, quite a project.  It came in under budget and two years earlier than projected.  This sign says it's the largest concrete structure in the world, but it is now 2nd to the one in China.  


We were back home in the early afternoon and Bill had time to clean the truck.  Of course, the weather forecast says we could get rain tomorrow but he didn't care.  The front was covered in bugs.

Did I mention our government gives the tour for free?

Turtle Safely.........







5 comments:

  1. Interesting tour. That's the same campground we stayed in 35 years ago.

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  2. They have added new electric boxes and WIFI.

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  3. Isn't it amazing the structures people can build. I've never been there. Great pictures!!

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  4. Much better than Hoover Dam.

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  5. Your journeys are amazing. Keep it up!

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