The most direct route took us east on Interstate 15 towards Barstow, and we were heading into the rising sun as we pulled off in Baker for breakfast. Ahead lay a real challenge for the Silverado, the Baker Grade, a long steady climb up the Shadow Mountains to Halloran Springs. With one touch of a button we activated the available QUADRASTEER, which provided enhanced steering control while towing at highway speeds. This stretch of highway is often used to test the towing capability of trucks and is especially grueling in the summer, when the temperature routinely climbs over 100 degrees. But our Silverado hardly broke a sweat as it breezed over the summit at the speed limit, thanks in part to the Tow/Haul Mode feature, which at the touch of a button reprograms the automatic transmission shift schedule to one specifically designed for maximum performance when towing.
We rolled right past the glittering skyline of Las Vegas just past lunchtime, and followed Highway 93 to the turn-off for the Alan Bible Visitor Center, our first stop at Lake Mead. A fee of $15 got us vehicle access and boat launches throughout the area for a five day period. We launched at Lake Mead Marina, a full-service facility near the visitor center. With QUADRASTEER, backing down the boat ramp was much easier due to the reduced turning radius, and our trailer followed the truck's path more closely, handling tight turns and maneuvers nicely. Our first destination was a short run around the Boulder Islands and up a narrow finger where the Hoover Dam can be seen, which was completed in 1935 and is less impressive from the lake side than from Black Canyon, more than 1,000 feet below the dam on its downstream side.