Travels with Tracey

9th December 2019

The Nevada section of the interstate from Los Angeles to Las Vegas takes you through the Mojave Desert. It runs straight and is totally uninspiring and there’s little to recommend it apart from Peggy Sue’s Diner which has served travellers since 1954. It is all that a diner should be: reasonable food served in gargantuan proportions, smiling waitresses called Mikayla and bad, but plentiful, coffee.

To the South East of Vegas lies Boulder City which gives good access to the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. It has been my life time ambition to see both and neither disappointed. The mighty Colorado River has carved the Canyon, 250 miles in length and in parts to a depth of 4000 feet and all this in a relatively short time frame of some 6 million years. It continues to do so at a rate of 5 feet per year.

Boulder City

The purpose of the dam, built in just 4 years, was to regulate the flow of the river and it has done that successfully since 1935. Southern California would not be the fruit basket of the United States without this regulation and one just needs to (re)-read Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” to be reminded of the poverty and hardships endured by the inhabitants of the region prior to the construction of the dam.

Hoover Dam

Within its bowels are 17 electricity generating turbines which no doubt help feed the insatiable power demands of Las Vegas a few miles away. The electricity is just an added bonus of this structure and we were told that not a gallon of water is sacrificed for the power generation which remains to this day incidental. The dam’s purpose remains focused on its primary aim which is to ensure a plentiful and even water distribution further downstream.

Turbines at the base of the Hoover Dam

That Tracey’s and my primary reason for our visit to sin city was the National Groundwater Exhibition and not Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon could easily have been forgotten for the wonders of these two jewels of North America.

The Grand Canyon

We visit NGWA every couple of years. Much of the equipment and groundwater (sampling) standards which we use in Europe and swathes of the world are born and developed in the USA and we try and keep up to date. We visit the exhibitor stands and talk to our suppliers.

We have 3 major suppliers in the United States: bailers, pumps and filters from Geotech in Denver, level and water quality sensors and loggers from Seametrics in Seattle and soil moisture sensors from Stevens Water in Portland. All three were exhibiting and it was good to catch up and discuss the way forward for 2020 and beyond. Our thanks to all our team colleagues; Jeff, Joe, Rob, Paul, Fred, Romey and Kalanchi. It was good to see you formally and in a more relaxed way in the evenings. It was good to see also Jeff from Alucast and look forward to meeting you again in Canada and great to see John and Ervin of Borehole Solutions and John, thanks for retrieving Ikky from the ditch in Holland. We still need her, so much appreciated.

The story would not be complete without expressing our admiration for our other main supplier Royal Eijkelkamp. We work with their head office in the Netherlands but they deserve to be complimented on their American booth at the NGWA. Large, bold, and an outstanding feature positioned centrally at the exhibition. They flew the Dutch/American flag very well. Big well done to Huug, Rutger and the rest of your team.


Thermal Energy Plant, Mojave Desert

I finish with the following passage written by a Hualapai Cultural Scholar which is so very pertinent to our business. Today, the remaining 2000 Hualapai inhabit the plateau above the Grand Canyon.

“The circle of life flows through the water.

As the essential to life, water flows through everyone and everything….

Even through the spirit, the mind and the heart.”

Vincent van Walt

Playa del Rey, December 2019

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