sleep of the arrived – a night at the Moure Hotel

while I booked many of our lodgings before started the Camino, some nights we just walked up to the first albergue, casa rural, or any-star hotel to find a room. for the most part, that worked fine; we found some interesting places to stay, some better than others. as the trip wore on, however, I found I preferred the security of having a bed secured for the night, particularly as we got into the more heavily-traveled final leg of the Camino beyond Sarria.

I found the Hotel Moure by way of a Rick Steves recommendation for the Hotel Altair; at some point early in the Camino, I emailed the other hotel and, as they were full for the night we desired lodging, recommended a sister establishment just a few doors down the road, the Hotel Moure. as with other reservations I set up via email while in Spain, I communicated via email in my passable-on-a-good-day Spanish. usually everything worked out just fine and we got our room (or at least beds) at a predetermined, no-surprises rate.

on this instance, we did have a bit of a surprise upon being ushered into the crisp, rather mod, room. my email communication included discussion of whether we cared for a “baño externo;” based on communications with other guest houses, this usually meant a shared bathroom, rather than an ensuite. not so, however, at the Hotel Moure — it actually meant that the tub was outside! the incredibly deep tub sat on a narrow balcony that would have overlooked the interior courtyard, had there not been a privacy wall. it took some convincing and steeling of one’s dignity before we stepped out under the patchy blue sky, and climbed into the fantastically warm water filling the tub. (it wasn’t entirely clear whether any of the rooms above us would be able to see down into the tub; all the windows opened inward, so no one could lean out.) it was a truly singular experience; I might opt for a room higher up in the building with a more scenic view next time, but it was certainly worth it the once.

apart from the outside tub, the rest of the lodging experience was wonderful. they had, by far, my favorite-smelling toiletries (I brought the extras home with us).

Chihuly Garden & Glass

Detail of the centerpiece of the Sealife Room

for the last several years (starting with Los Angeles/Santa Monica) we’ve gone to oddball museums — places I’d never think to visit if traveling on my own. we’ve gone to the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the Argo Gold Mine, House on the Rock; this year we happened upon the Chihuly Garden & Glass museum on our way to the Space Needle. it wasn’t what we had in mind and wasn’t as weird or oddball as the last few museums of our weekends, but it was a fantastic surprise! 

I’ve seen small Chihuly installations in many places (the V&A in London, the Kohl Center in Madison, the Bellagio in Las Vegas) but this was a chance to see a huge array of his works — different styles, different colors, different methods of installation, indoors and outdoors, spanning the length of his career which stretches back to the 1970s.
Mille Fiori

it’s not shocking to have found a Chihuly exhibition in the Seattle area — he grew up in Tacoma, attended the university in Seattle and has had more permanent and temporary installations in the area than anywhere else in the world. after his undergraduate work in interior design at UW in Seattle, he moved on to the other (dare I say superior?) UW in Madison for graduate work in sculpture, and finally to the Rhode Island School of Design. (he earned money to pay for grad school by working as a commercial fisherman in Alaska). though he seems rooted in the Pacific Northwest at heart, he’s traveled all over the United States and world working on projects — from London to Paris to Venice to Finland to Ireland to Jerusalem and beyond.

Detail of the bottom of one of the chandeliers

in 1965, a Fulbright Fellowship took him to study glasswork in Venice at a studio known for a group technique which he brought back to Washington in 1971 when he established a studio with support of others. he continued to travel back between Washington, Rhode Island (where he was working at RISD) and Europe, touring all manner of art studios and glassblowing projects. while in England in 1976, a car accident cost him his left eye and damaged his right foot, but he persisted in expanding his artistic output. a surfing accident three years later, in which he dislocated his shoulder, forced him to give up the “gaffer” position in his glassblowing team but he continued to draw and provide conceptual artwork for projects. in 1986 he became the fourth American artist to have a one-person exhibition at the Louvre.

Persian ceiling as seen from beneath

some of the pieces I find most interesting are the outdoor installations — chandeliers over Venice, one at the Olympic Park in Salt Lake City, and a number in botanical gardens all over the country (Missouri, New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, Nashville Pittsburgh). Chihuly Garden & Glass is the latest exhibition (it opened in May of this year and is billed as “long-term” and exquisite care was put into lighting the pieces for maximum effect. from beneath, from above, reflecting in the black glass bases… it includes an array of pieces from across decades of glass art series — a glass forest, the Northwest room (illustrating early influences from tapestry and baskets of the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest), a sealife room, Persian ceiling (seen above), Mille Fiori (also above), Ikebana and Boat Float, Macchia bowls… the general consensus as we wandered through the gardens below the Space Needle, already awed by what we’d seen inside the museum, was that it was the best place in the city to have any kind of photographs taken — especially on a day as gorgeous as the one on which we visited.

Looking up through the Glasshouse at the Space Needle

winter weather escape

waiting for security to open at DCA

at the end of February, I went to the Florida Keys for the first time. it was also the first time I’ve been on vacation in the winter with the expressed intention of escaping the weather. for the most part this winter has been eerily warm but, as if to mock my attempt to “get away to someplace warm,” one of the worst storms of the season swept through the Midwest and completely knocked out Chicago. and O’Hare. due to a transposition error on my part, we got to the airport later than intended and the shuttle bus to Chicago (which was ferrying passengers on our canceled flight to O’Hare to, theoretically, make their connections) had already left.

really, the whole situation turned out for the best since by 2:30 Thursday afternoon most of the Friday flights out of Chicago were already canceled. after dealing with one of the oddest (but surprisingly competent) gate agents to figure out a solution that wouldn’t leave us stranded in Dallas or Denver overnight with no guarantee of getting out in the morning, we found a workable solution that gave us about six hours of sleep in Washington D.C. unexpected layover (which, on balance, turned out much cheaper than making it to Key West as intended) in unseasonably warm weather! besides, seeing that skyline at night is really something.

it was also nice to be able to enjoy the drive down the Keys in the daylight, too, rather than arriving after midnight on Thursday. traffic in Miami was about as gnarly as I expected (due mostly to construction re-routes, delays, and related accidents), but once we were away from the airport and Dolphin Expressway it was smooth sailing. I had my first iced tea of the season and, perhaps more than anything else, I wished to bring that seasonal feeling back with us. I miss the fact that I could enjoy my iced teas at the Coffee Bean year-round when I lived in San Diego.

hiking Acadia

on my trip to Maine in July, we took Sunday to drive up to Acadia National Park, located about halfway up the coast on an island. Acadia is the most northeastern National Park in the U.S. (I’m counting Saint Croix Island as the “International Heritage Site” it is) and balances the most southwestern site of Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, which we visited in May.

view north from Cadillac Mountain

Acadia was the first National Park designated east of the Mississippi River. the island which it covers, Mount Desert, saw its first European settlers in the mid-1700s but wasn’t popularized until a century later, when artists and photographers spread images of the island among patrons and friends. towards the end of the 19th century it became a popular, remote destination with the uber-rich of the East Coast (e.g. Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Astor) whose demands for more luxurious accommodations resulted in improved lodging on the island. their attentions contributed to the extent and quality of landscape preservation the Park demonstrates today.

in 1919, President Wilson declared the area Lafayette National Park which was, as I mentioned above, the first east of the Mississippi. a decade later the name changed to Acadia. over the decades, Acadia has benefited from several infrastructure programs, both public and private. beginning in 1913, the younger John D. Rockefeller began a project (that lasted until 1940) to construct carriage roads throughout the park, allowing for car-free access to more remote areas of the park. rather than flatten hillsides, walls were built to preserve the natural landscape and avoid felling trees all while providing remarkable views. crews quarried native island stone for the roads and planted native plants along the roadsides, blending them into the landscape. two gate houses, one at Jordan Pond and one near Northeast Harbor, serve as entrances to the system (we caught a glimpse of the one at Jordan Pond driving on the ring road — very impressive).

looking up the Precipice Trail

the Civilian Conservation Corps was also active at Acadia and the two camps established on the island ran throughout the duration of the CCC project. the workers completed hundreds of projects, constructing the two campgrounds, monitoring forest health (e.g. fighting fires, fuel reduction, disease management), and constructing and expanding an extensive network of trails, including the two we hiked.

following our brief (and foggy) hike down the Gorge Path from the top of Cadillac Mountain, we did a loop on the Park’s ring road and along the way picked up a pair of hikers who were up from Connecticut for a long stay at the park. the Park has a great bus system but the couple managed to miss the last one that would go past their campsite from the trail they hiked in the afternoon. they were quite nice and joked that they knew we weren’t from the east coast because we’d stopped to pick them up. turned out to be a good deal for all involved; they’d been coming to Acadia for years and offered advice on what to see, what to avoid, and which hikes were most interesting.

their heartiest recommendation? hiking the relatively short but vertical Precipice Trail. it’s only 1.8 miles round trip, but it’s about 1,000 feet straight up. undaunted, we set off with moderately unsuitable footwear to investigate the trail. my guidebook recommended something like 2.5 or 3 hours minimum for a round trip, which seemed a bit generous if it was less than a mile up and back. the terrain was certainly more challenging than the Gorge Path but not so bad as I thought while standing at the base of the hill. unfortunately, we started off rather late (well after 5 p.m.) and when we asked a descending couple how much farther up we had to climb (more than half) we sighed and resigned ourselves to going back down without reaching the top of the hill. unlike with Croagh Patrick, the guidebook’s projected hike length wasn’t completely off base. I suppose the view from the top would have been pretty limited in any case. on a sunny day next time.

the unexpected 28 kilometer hike

many of you have heard my tale of how on one of my wonderful, sunny Saturday afternoons in the Czech Republic I ended up hiking upwards of 28 kilometers. an unexpected 28 kilometers; I set out with guide book in hand, telling me “The most enjoyable way to get here [Štramberk] is on foot through the hills – 8 km on a red-marked trail from Nový Jičín město train station — or across the river from Nový Jičín horní nádraží station” (emphasis added).

my previous hikes proceeded without incident, lasted as long as I anticipated they might, and allowed me to see some lovely countryside and rural Czech life that I would not have seen otherwise. the trail heads were easy to find and easy to follow. and right there — with the trail head — my unexpected adventure began. from the bus station, I headed for the ubiquitous town square, knowing that I could find some direction from there. and so I did, but after spending twenty-some trekking up a steep hill (with exceptional views of Nový Jičín in the valley), I came to a sign that said “Štramberk 14.5km <– that way”. back down the hill I trekked, back through the town square, searching for the the red stripes that would take me in the other direction.

forty-five minutes later, after zig-zagging past the bus station and (what I learned later to be) the město station, crossing over a trickling canal twice, and wandering up and down all manner of residential streets, I gave up … only to see the elusive red-marked trail around the next corner. in spite of what the universe hinted at for me, I shrugged and turned around, in search of picturesque Wallachia…

more back alleys, residential streets with high rises and single family cottages, crossing the canal a couple more times, past the horní nádraží (which certainly didn’t look like it still received passenger trains of any kind …) — thirty more minutes later and I was finally into something resembling “wilderness”, though it was really just farm fields. a sharp turn to the right took me up yet another steep, steep hill, past a fire circle and over trickling streams — now with the red-marked trail always in sight.

one of the most interesting characteristics of the forest on this particular hike was the closeness of the trees. whereas elsewhere undergrowth had been thinned and deadened lower branches removed, throughout the hike, trees (particularly the evergreens) grew close together and were crowded with black, apparently deadened branches.

as interesting as this undergrowth was, however, after about an hour I was getting rather anxious to find another mileage sign or, really, any indication as to the distance to my destination. the last sign I’d seen — at the top of the hill in the wrong direction — said 14.5 km, but where did that measurement come from?

I eventually emerged from the trees (still no sign of distance markers) and, climbing to the crest of yet another hill, spied what seemed to be my destination in the distance and, really, if I can see it from here, the hike can’t go on for much longer, right?

for reasons still unclear to me, rather than heading straight onwards towards Štramberk, the path continued to the right, through cow pastures and down the back side of the hill. at about this time I began to seriously question the guidebook and my foolhardy, blind reliance on its advice.
I’ve got HOW much further to go?!
finally (!) I came upon a directional sign and it did nothing to bolster my determinedly-not-yet-dispirited spirits. though upon seeing the distance back to Nový Jičín I felt rather vindicated in all my ill-thoughts about the veracity of my guidebook’s distances: if I’d already come 8.5km from the město station, and the sign clearly indicates at least another kilometer and a half to Štramberk, there is no way on this green earth that the hike is a mere 8km from the central train station. of course (as I learned), that first destination in town is the municipal swimming pool which, really, isn’t anywhere close to the sights. in fact, it’s at least a kilometer back through the valley from the bottom of this hill:
getting closer to Štramberk…
the white speck on the left-most hill in the picture above? that is the hill and tower seen here. still so, so far to go. eventually, after giving up on the red-marked trail after it tried to lead me back the way I’d come one, final time tooooooo many, and detouring past the National Gardens of Kotouč and the Šipka cave (more on that in another post) I finally made it to the central square, really to exhausted to enjoy much of the admittedly picturesque town.

I climbed the steps to the castle walls and tower (again, more on that another day) and, after spending a few minutes to enjoy the view and sounds of Czech tourism for Czechs, headed down to catch a bus back to Nový Jičín. (that mowed field in the middle of the hill in the middle of the picture below — I’m pretty sure that’s where I stood to take the view of Štramberk picture above.)
after waiting a half an hour and attempting to get on a bus heading to a town farther east (which would get me no closer to Olomouc), I consulted the timetable posted at the bus stop … and discovered that the bus from Štramberk to Nový Jičín runs on weekdays and Sundays only. or, to put it another way: any day of the week except the day of the week that I wanted it to run. the much-longer-than-expected hike that I’d psyched myself up to complete with the knowledge that I could take the bus back to Nový Jičín just. got. longer.

but damned if I was going to follow that twisty, convoluted red-marked trail back. for the umpteenth time in my life, I rejoiced for my excellent sense of direction and headed down the hill on the same road the bus would have taken. I would not recommend walking down a two-lane rural highway that lacks any kind of shoulder — soft, hard or otherwise, but opting for the more direct route provided by the highway cut the meandering four and a half hour “eastward” trek to the somewhat depressing ninety minutes. 

upside to such an abbreviated return trip? no problem catching (what I feared might be the last of the night) bus back to Olomouc. and with time enough to stop at a grocery store for something to eat and the 1.5L bottle of water that I have sitting at my desk at work right now. 

downside? are you kidding me that I could have made it to Štramberk and back in less than the amount of time it took for me to get there? as the Blitz would say: “Aw, man!” needless to say, I spent a good deal of time stewing over this while waiting for the bus, wanting nothing more than to sit for about a week and/or rip my guidebook to shreds and burn the remains.

yet, even as I fumed, I knew that one day I would appreciate the adventure the day turned into. Nový Jičín felt very much like a work-a-day town, with people out doing their Saturday shopping, or taking advantage of the helicopter rides offered by the carnival set up on the outskirts of town. Olomouc is of the beaten track for most foreign tourists and, as a consequence, Štramberk was even farther afield; it was filled with Czechs out for their Saturday excursions — couples come to see the cave, cyclists stopping for a beer at the popular pivovar below the castle, families climbing the stairs of the tower and eating whatever roasted local specialties they had cooking at the base. the walk back took me through through the tiny town of Rybi, where got a close look at all the trappings of small village life, including the local pub and school. coming back into Nový Jičín, I walked down a road filled with compact second/summer homes with spectacular gardens (complete with gnomes) and sheds out back and sweeping back lawns with furniture of varying degrees of apparent comfort, a community vegetable garden, and a whole lot more sights that felt so splendidly Czech.

yeah, I would have preferred to start the day heading in the correct direction, that the trail not take the perplexing meanderings that it took, that the bus be running on a Saturday, that I’d had a detailed topographical hiking map … but in the end I don’t regret the adventure. my feet hurt like hell and I could have spent the night whining about how terrible the day turned out but when will I ever be in Nový Jičín or Štramberk or Olomouc again? got to take advantage and rejoice in the opportunities that life presents you.  that is something that the Czech Republic helped me learn: travel is about the unexpected experiences — the adventure. without the unexpected, we just have the same snapshots of the same sites that everyone else has, with nothing to mark our experiences or ourselves as unique.

a history of tea

while I was in Český Krumlov, among many pleasant local establishments, the owner of the Krumlov House recommended a place called Dobrá čajovna for tea. it’s down a back alley near the entrance to the castle and, she advised, served its teas in the style of their place of origin. I checked it out and was not disappointed; in addition to living up to it’s name as a “good tea house”, it lacked all trace of that blight of gorgeous tourist towns — the o.a.p. tour group/herd. my visit to the Krumlov Dobrá čajovna fell into a euphoric phase of my travels and I spent an hour and a half waxing … euphoric about travel in my journal (at nine pages, unquestionably my longest entry of the trip). I enjoyed my tea, wrote, savored the Czech atmosphere, watched the kids of one of the employees explore the cafe, and headed out and on to dinner.

a week later, back in Prague, wandering around a packed Wenceslas Square, I spied the cafe’s distinctive sign pointing down another back alley. same decor, same menu, same good tea, but a more Prague than Czech atmosphere (i.e. expat and/or international — lots of English). enjoyed my tea, rested my feet after walking back from Vysehrad, wrote a shorter entry in my journal, read my book, and headed off to find dinner.
a week later, back in Madison, heading up Gilman St to exchange my movies at Four Star, I once again spied the cafe’s distinctive sign. and it clicked, why the sign and decor looked familiar when I was in Krumlov — I’d been inside a Dobrá čajovna before, though one called the Dobrá Cafe. I must confess to feeling somewhat dismayed that this great teahouse I’d found turned out to be a chain — do U.S. companies have to co-opt everything?
except it’s a Czech chain! the tea room in Wenceslas Square in Prague is the original. the Communist regime forbid the importation of tea, but a group of tea enthusiasts met anyway to sample various teas smuggled into the country. after the Velvet Revolution, they opened the location in Wenceslas Square and have since expanded to all over the Czech Republic, as well as to Budapest, Krakow, Bratlisalva, Burlington, VT, and Madison, WI! if you enjoy tea, and find yourself in any of these cities with some time to spend at a tea house, check this one out.

(incidentally, I figured out it was a Czech chain because the package of tea I bought for a friend last week was in English and Czech. why the hell else would the packaging be in Czech?! it is not a language one slaps on merchandise without reason.)

forget the map

I’m at something of a loss as to where to start with my Czech posts, to identify some theme that ties my experiences together, that might provide an underlying structure upon which I might build my posts. so I guess I’ll just dive into it as I dove into Prague; drop my bags at the door and head out to explore the city, see where my feet (or fingers) take me.

despite the interminably sluggish, dragging day of travel it took for me to get to Prague (arrived at ORD at 4:00 a.m., six hour lay-over at JFK, three hour delay on the tarmac waiting out a thunderstorm), the overnight flight had its benefits. for many years, I wasn’t able to sleep on planes, even ones traveling overnight to Europe. (on my first trip to France, I slept less than an hour over a 36 hour period and while I crashed hard around 9:00 p.m. after an afternoon of sightseeing and slept straight through to the morning, I’m sure I wasn’t much of a pleasant travel companion.) while not great, the four or five hours of sleep I got on the flight to Prague, however, was sufficient to keep me going through a full day of wandering the streets of the city — from Old Town to Wenceslas Square to Charles Square to the castle to New Town and back.

I set out without any particular destination in mind and, over the course of several days in Prague, came to understand that it’s much better to head off without the intention of getting anywhere in particular. streets curve in such perplexing ways that you won’t end up where you think you will end up, you won’t get to where you mean to get to, but you will still see some incredible things along the way. and after a full day of wandering around the city and staying out till well past dark, I slept through to the next morning with only the normal challenges associated with hostel dorm accommodation.

View First Day in Prague in a larger map

two weeks + forty-three hours

in short, the Czech Republic was fantastic and much, much more on my adventures later. they are not so heavily history-oriented as my trip from last year, which is due in large part to my own limited knowledge of Czech history. I hope to remedy that to some extent now that I’m back and blogging; dust off the research skills and learn more about the places I’ve visited, the sites I’ve seen, the detours I inadvertently took …

but before I get to all that, I need some rest. why, yes, I did take it much easier this year and stretched my time out in several places over several days (namely, Cesky Krumlov, Olomouc, and Prague), and felt remarkably well-rested every morning in spite of occasionally-uncomfortable beds and a more or less constant nocturnal soundtrack of snores in various keys.

you see, it was the return that did me in. you might have heard of this “weather” that the East Coast experienced over the last several days. this weather that flooded the Carolinas and affected “millions” (according to a CNN estimate that I blearily registered sometime about 8:00 a.m. EST today) saw me stranded at J.F.K. International in Jamaica, New York. right now, let me just wish a great big frak you to: the uglier side of mother nature; the JFK Airport; crying, poopy babies; mis-directed luggage; the most pointless re-routes in the history of the airline industry; and traveling for forty-three hours to get home to your bed. (the home to which your luggage has still not been returned, despite statements to the contrary from local gate agents.) on the Prague-NYC flight, a guy ahead of me regaled his seat companion of his arduous 29-hour journey from Detroit to Amsterdam and I thought, “yesh, that sounds like it would suck.” if only I’d known how in time I would come to long for such a measly, short-lived travel nightmare.

but, as I said, I had a fabulous time in Czech and in spite of the nightmare at JFK, there were a few helpful gate agents (one of whom just worked through my options on the computer as I struggled to keep from sobbing unrestrainedly at the counter over a cup of hot water and honey I’d procured from the Starbucks to stave off my developing cold-throat). am I ever going to fly through JFK again in my life? HELL NO. double hell no. I recognize it’s impossible to avoid Delta now that they’ve eaten up Northwest, but I don’t anticipate flying them internationally again. as a rule, I’ve had much better luck with United and American (even going through O’Hare in the dead of winter) and it seems smart to stick with what I can rely on. one day I might be able to look back on the experience and laugh about getting stuck in New York during the “storm of the century”, but that day certainly isn’t today and the next hundred days don’t look so good, either.

El Ávila

one thing that amazed me about Caracas was how close it is to the coast. from the top of El Ávila you can see the incredible blue-green waters of the Caribbean. (no wonder, since the peak rises in the midst of the “Cordillera de la Costa”.) the airport sits right on the water and coming in for the landing was rather unsettling. I’d never made an approach that brought me so close to the surface of the water before and in the last few moments it seemed as though the wheels were inches from dragging through the water. but we landed without incident, I disembarked in my second not-yet-visited country in as many weeks, and found my ride over the mountains and into the city. 

(more on the harrowing adventure that is vehicular travel in Caracas later.)

one afternoon when my eyes had begun to cross from browsing microfilm in the Biblioteca Nacional, I set off to scale El Ávila. looking back at my pictures, I began to wonder why the mountainside remains undeveloped — after living in San Diego I know there are few places building developers won’t go if given the opportunity, especially with prime mountain or coastal land. turns out that El Ávila became part of a national park in 1958 and is now a well-used recreational area. there’s a teleférico that goes from the base of the hill up to the mountaintop and offers spectacular views of the whole city (as seen above), the first incarnation of which was inaugurated in 1952. the original not only ran from the city to the mountaintop, but also down the other side to the coast and along the length of the peak to the (now-derelict) Hotel Humboldt. the teleférico ran until the late 1970s when it was abandoned. riding up we saw the wreckage of the original structures, rusted and abandoned beside the newer line.

despite successfully getting the teleférico up and running again, the private corporation responsible for it lost their concession to the state in 2008. according to a government statement, the company ran up a debt of some 19 billion bolivares which prompted the state to take over the tourist operations. since taking over, the state has promised to expand the teleférico service once again to include some of the old routes. whether anything comes of the state’s grand plans remains to be seen, but somehow I imagine that the rusted skeletons of the original system will rest where they lie.

Gavins Point Dam

on my most recent trip to Sioux Falls, our driving adventures took us out to Lewis & Clark State Park, situated on the banks of the Lewis & Clark Lake,  created by the Gavins Point Dam spanning the Missouri River. it’s kind of cool to go someplace that’s so obviously a summer-tourist-weekend-bonanza in the off season. no competition for parking, no dodging small children, no fighting off boat launchers for access to the jetty or to pose as Lewis & Clark on the launch docks.

although on our impromptu jaunt to the west of Yankton was aimed primarily at checking out the park, I managed to convince Becca to take a right along Crest Road that we might investigate the concrete structure on the south end. in a matter of minutes, we were back in Nebraska (again), crossing over the Gavins Point Dam. the hydroelectric dam that impounds Lewis & Clark Lake was constructed between 1954 and 1957 and was authorized as part of the 1944 Pick-Sloan Plan, aimed at conservation, control and use of water resources along the Missouri River Basin. it’s one of six dams on the Missouri River and (according to the US Army Corps of Engineers who maintains the site) produces electricity for some 65,000 people annually.

maybe a tour of the facility would have introduced me to the finer and/or more impressive points of the Gavins Point Dam (but as they’re only open Memorial-Labor Day …); maybe the sight is more awe-inspiring with water flowing over the dam; maybe sunlight glinting off the surface of the lake illuminates this architectural feat of utilitarianism in a mystical way; or maybe I’ll forever be underwhelmed by dams after staring down the slope of Hoover Dam. whatever the reason, I wouldn’t go out of my way to see the Gavins Point Dam again. especially not in the height of tourist season — it goes down to one lane as you pass the generator facility and I have no interest in sitting in that waiting line.