Lake Mead and the Crashed B-29

It is possible to loop around the perimeter of Lake Mead, north of the Hoover Dam, to find those locations that center around the shore – and underneath the water (well I mean, I did not go underwater, ok, but you know what I mean). I especially like all the overlooks that are set up to pull over at and take pictures. It makes it easy to find locations that are not reachable or difficult to reach by land.

Locations

# 77 – Crashed B-29
# 78 / 237 – Lake Mead / cave
# 262 – Sunken Sunset Sarsaparilla truck
# 265 – Captain Dean Boat Rentals

Location Details

# 237 – Lake Mead – This location exists in both the game and real life as a lake created by the construction of the Hoover Dam. In our world, the lake provides water to the states of Arizona, California, and Nevada. The water level maximum of the lake is 1,225 feet / 373 m, which was reached back in 1983 – before this courier was even born. However, according to wikipedia, climate variability and higher need for water and electricity is resulting in sharp declines in the water level with no rebound.

Right now, the water level is at 1082 feet / 330 m. If water levels continue to drop, Hoover Dam would cease generating electricity when the water level falls below 950 feet / 290 m.   You can find a website dedicated to showing Lake Mead’s water level in real time here. If you look at the canyon walls, you can see the previous level etched into the side by a distinct color differentiation. I am not sure what the water level was in game. Maybe it recovered because of the decrease of people using the water and electricity. Thanks, apocalypse!

# 77 – Crashed B-29 – Interestingly, the story of the crashed B-29 is accurate, where a Boeing B-29 crashed into Lake Mead on July 21, 1948 – the same date in real life as told to us by Pete in-game. I asked one of the Hoover Dam tour guides about it when I was there once and he had a ton of information to share with me.

In our world, a Boeing B-29-100-BW Superfortress crashed into Lake Mead while doing atmospheric research, and is still there to this day. The bomber itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can watch a video about it from the National Park Service here. Thankfully all the crew of this crash survived.

For decades it was too deep to dive to, resting at about 300 feet / 91 m when the crash occurred. Due to the falling water levels of Lake Mead however, diving was allowed beginning in 2015. Keep in mind you have to have to pass many skill checks to qualify, which I did not – even with a rebreather. Alternatively, you can see photos of the bomber here, provided by Lake Mead NRA Public Affairs.

The guide also told me about another plane had crashed in the northwestern part of the lake, closer to Boulder Beach. It was called the Navy PBY-5A Catalina, which was sold into civilian service and crashed shortly after the B-29 in 1949. You can read about the crash here.

I learned later that Howard Hughes, the business magnate on whom Robert House is based, crashed an airplane into Lake Mead as well, in May of 1943. The airplane was a Sikorsky S-43 and unfortunately, Hughes’ two passengers died in the accident. Hughes similarly had the aircraft removed from the lake and restored. The plane is the last of its kind still in flying condition, located in Texas (even later I found out that Hughes crashed FOUR airplanes in his lifetime)!!

# 78 – Lake Mead cave – I could not find a similarly named location in our world. There is a location that kayakers sing praises of called Emerald Cove that has its own cave within, but it is not within Lake Mead, it is farther south on the Colorado.

# 262 – Sunken Sunset Sarsaparilla truck – The tour guide said that he did not know of any trucks that were at the bottom of Lake Mead, but he did hear about a bus. He said it was located by divers at the submerged Hoover Dam build site called Aggregate Washing and Sorting Facility, or Aggregate Plies.

He said that this site includes many items aside from the bus, including tunnels, concrete building foundations and walls, railroad tracks, conveyor belts, and industrial machinery. And sure enough, I found a photo of the bus. You can read more about the submerged sites at Lake Mead here.

# 265 – Captain Dean Boat Rentals – I believe the real world equivalent to this location is Captain Jack’s Fishing Charter, despite not being at Callville Bay. It is not so much of a location building-wise, but a service. On the real world map, it is located at the Lake Mead Marina on the shore of Boulder Harbor by the dock. The supply store at Callville Bay is just called “Callville Bay Boat Supply” and is located out on the docks as opposed to on land.


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