I was very thankful that my husband encouraged me to learn a deep breathing technique to deal with stress.  Because, the moment on our two week road trip when I needed stress relief the most, the only relief available was deep breathing.

We spent the night at a Casino/Hotel where we got the best deal of our entire trip.  Room:  $24.99, dinner $9.50.  We were ten stories up -  and “up” I was at dawn!  Awake, and taking pictures of the sun lighting up the high desert rocks.

After an equally low-priced (but palatable) breakfast we headed for Hoover Dam, a spectacular view and tour that our good friends encouraged us not to bypass.  So, we beat the traffic jams (road construction and security check-point) and parked in the huge garage of the visitor center, cut out of and built into solid rock.

We quickly passed through a second security check point, much like you do at the airport, but were shocked to find that the  $30.00 Hoover Dam tour was sold out until after noon.  The employee was good at her job and talked us into the $11.00 Power Plant Tour.

“It’s a lot less money and you see everything but the original tunnels,” she explained.  “I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
HA!  Little did she know how her prophecy would be fulfilled!

Our tour began as all other tours – watching the Dam introductory film.  (I know, I know, it’s the Hoover Dam introductory film.)  We learned that there are no bodies buried in the Dam cement.  That is one Dam rumor put to rest.

Next, the approximately 90 people were corralled into two Dam elevators that  only take 70 seconds to drop you 530 feet down “through the rock wall of Black Canyon” and into a Dam tunnel drilled in the 1930s.
So, they said.

Our elevator stopped.

Only moments before, the elevator guide had been joking over the heads of 44 people (all pretty much squished and leaning on my belly) about the elevator only breaking down once.  That is why no one was too concerned when he said that we were stuck.

“You’re joking, aren’t you?” One woman called from the far left.

“I’m sorry.”  He responded with a nervous giggle. “We really are stopped and I can’t open the door.”

There were many times on this trip that I forgot to take pictures but this was not one of them.  I squirmed until I had my camera in my hand and raised it above my head and snapped.  Ta da!

I was shaky and concerned, so you’ll understand why it is blurry.  I remember that little boy down on the left, because he was stuffed between his dad and my husband for the first 10 minutes. 

The lights stayed on.  Thank goodness!  And, an uneasy calm permeated the enclosed space.  A woman two bellies away from me began to perspire profusely and was frightfully pale.  Her husband was murmuring into her ear and there were offers of water from the concerned.  She had not wanted to take the Dam tour because she was claustrophobic in elevators.

Quietly my husband inquired of my status.  I whispered that I was okay.  He knew I was breathing the slow in through the nose, and out through the mouth method of relaxation. 

Soon the people by the door began clapping while shouting that they heard rescuers.

Within 15 minutes of our entrapment, the door was open and people were being helped down and out. 

I could have sworn it was an hour!
IMG_3043 WR was on the ball and took this shot.

Our tour guide and the rest of our group had long vacated their elevator and proceeded to the Dam power plant.  So, the elevator operator became our guide.   He told us that would be the last Dam tour of the day, as they would close the other elevator while one was repaired and both given maintenance review.  

And guess what?  We got the $30 Dam tour because it was the only way out.  In addition to the  Dam diversion tunnel, the Dam intake, and the huge Dam generators, we got to make our way through the Nevada Elevator tunnels.  We were amazed at the skilled craftsmanship that adorns the bowels of this wonder of the world.

IMG_1779 IMG_3060

We had to wait much longer for our return trip to the top, because the Dam elevator built in the 30’s is much smaller.

“You will be happy to know,” the guide told us with a quirky grin, “that this Dam elevator has been running for over 70 years, has the original motor, and has never broken.”

It never occurred to me to ask about the destination of the Nevada elevator.  If you are wondering... it was right here. Dam!


Carla said…
That's quite an adventure. Elevators always make me a little nervous. Glad I wasn't stuck in that one, even if only for 15 minutes.
Connie said…
You are very, VERY brave, sweetpea! I would have freaked out. Truly I would have. I know now to never take the Dam tour. Oooooooohmy......
grammy said…
Wow you got to say dam a lot in that post (o: that pic looks like you were all very close together and yuck....that would be scary and uncomfortable. I have never been there. I am sure it was a great experience...except for the ride...lol
Peter said…
What do they say Pamela?? its an ill wind that blows no good.... at least you got the Damn tour of your choice.
I'm intrigued by your description of people "bellies away" from you!!!!
Peter said…
Hope this doesn't come up twice... it was supposed to be saved BUT????

The old saying, "its an ill wind that blows no good" comes to mind Pamela, at least you got your $30 tour chucked in.
An intriguing description of your sardine can... 2 bellies away!!!!
Sayre said…
I don't know that I'd have made it packed in like that. I like a little space around me - even when the elevator is moving.
Steve Skinner said…
Great story; one experience you will not soon forget!
Beckie said…
Damn! What a story! It gave me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it!
Sandy said…
Great story and great pictures! I am so glad that it was you and not me. I am also glad that you made it home all right and had a great time.
bichonpawz said…
I definitely would have freaked. Or had an asthma attack. You did good Pamela! Even got pictures! GREAT Pics by the way!! I am very glad that you made it home safely and I do not think we will be taking the tour!!
Moms Musings said…
That's one tour to cross off my list. I don't like elevators when they're working, terrified when they're not.
Jennifer said…
I swear, I had to take a Xanax to read this post!!!! If I had been trapped in that elevator, there's no telling what would have happened!!!
Gattina said…
Sorry but you made me laugh with your description, although I can imagine that it wasn't fun at all being stuck in an old elevator ! I really wonder if you talk about the same Hoover Dam I have seen beginning the 90th ! there was no security check you could walk around wherever you wanted and there were no guided tours as far as I remember. I have beautiful videos of the place and a very nice souvenir !
It's terrible now with everything ! A little historical pebble to see and you have to pay for it.
If you go to my travel blog you will see the reconstitution of the Waterloo battle. For the first time since the 35 years I live here they made a big show out of it and big money too ! I had never to pay for that before !
Janis said…
WoW...now that is one Dam Story! I think I would have begun to sweat like that lady did!
Hayden said…
whew. the claustrophobic thing is no fun at all. Glad you got the whole dam tour though! ;-) I did it about 9-10 yrs ago, and really enjoyed it. No security check point then.
Intense Guy said…
*makes the sound a fish makes when it swims into a concrete wall*


Well *that* was an adventure... I'm not sure that you enjoyed any of it... but the view out the elevator at the top of the dam would have be in urgent and deep need of those breathing exercises...
darkfoam said…
dam! that was quite the squishy adventure indeed!
glad you all got out safe. the photos are spectacular, btw..
Living Life said…
That is one situation I would never want to be in!! At least you did get the tour of your choice. That is an amazing photo of the dam!
That last photo did me in..I do not do well with heights. What a dam adventure..told in real Pamela style..I enjoyed it, but nearly passed out from holding my breath for you! :)
~sWaMpY~ said…
That would have been dam scary ! My first thought was of that little boy in your photograph. At least when he goes back to school, he'll have a topic for his, "What I Did This Summer" writing assignment.
It will probably start with, Here I was stuck in this elevator and there was this lady next to me snapping pictures of us...
Unknown said…
Oh Pamela!!! How scary but exciting! I'm glad you weren't stuck longer AND that you got a great discount on an exciting adventure! lol Now I need to know where that cheap hotel is!
Kila said…
But, hey, you saved $19! ;)

The elevator looks pretty full. Maybe it was overloaded?

I'm pretty good at tuning things out, so I'm thinking I would have been OK in my own little happy place, but I'd rather not test it like that.
Gaynor said…
What a story to tell! What an adventure! I don't like elevators at all, for this very reason. Trust all is well Pam. Love, Gaynor xx
Susie said…
That's one way to get a Dam good story! I don't know how well I would've handled it, you did good!

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