Friday, June 5, 2009

Dumont Dunes Revisted

Dear Reader

As I indicated, there was a reason why I was at Shoshone, California. Shoshone is the closest town to Dumont Dunes, about thirty minutes north. If one needs fuel, including diesel/gas, food or lodging, Shoshone is the closest town to Dumont. The closest city is Pahrump, Nevada; there you can find a grocery store, casinos, and better lodging, especially for large crews. The Shoshone Inn is small, twenty rooms max, and it is basic, a bed, TV and a shower/tub.

Our crew is small, so Shoshone was the perfect place to lodge, fuel and eat. As the driver of a large motor home, there was plenty of parking and since my motor home is fond of diesel, my RV was never hungry, the fuel was not cheap about thirty cents higher than Baker and Baker is about sixty cents higher than Los Angeles. Shoshone does have an RV park, so on extended stays, the dump station is a necessity.

The road into Dumont Dunes is a rough road, at best, I was able to maintain about five miles an hour, so it took me about an hour to reach the main parking lot. Once you are off the main road the ground is soft, so read the road carefully, one of our guys made the mistake of driving too close to the dunes and got his SUV stuck. We hired two guys who were familiar with the dunes to lead us to our location, around the corner from the main parking lot. I was a little apprehensive about leaving the main parking lot, but our guide assured me I would not get stuck. To play it safe I engaged my automatic traction control, which provided power to both rear wheels, I kept a steady speed until we arrived at our designated location.

Our guides bought a modified sand rail with then to traverse the four hundred foot sand dunes and bring crew and talent to location. Even the best four-wheel drive truck would have problems climbing a dune with a twenty-five percent incline. Dumont is very tricky place to navigate; even the best of driverscan get their vehicles stuck in the loosedry sand.

It was a hundred and five in the shade and humid, the clouds looked ominous and menacing, could a monsoon be near. The Producer stared at the sky for a moment, I assured him that a monsoon would be rare in this region; I was right it did not rain. Watching a sand rail climb a sand dune is like defying the laws of gravity; it requires a skilled driver who knows that in order to reach a location on the side of a dune requires the driver to pass the location and make a long curve up pass the designated locale and then maneuver the sand rail down to such location.

From where I stood, next to the motor home, the crew looked like ants. The sun was slowly setting and the sand was a golden brown, the air was still and quiet. We owned the Dunes, which I thought was unusual, but our guide indicated to me that Dumont Dunes is dead from late April to early October. Therefore if one wants to shoot at Dumont, without any interference from the public spring to late summer is the perfect time to do a shoot.

Be warned though, it is hot, hot, hot, bring plenty of water and an air conditioned motor home like one from Mike Green RV’s (818) 317 7099. In the cooler months it can still get hot in Dumont Dunes, so prepare properly. Again I will always recommend Willie’s On and Off Road Center (760) 257 3734 for your off road needs, including dune buggy’s, scouting, plus more. Sheri Davis from the Inland Film Commission (951) 779 6700 ext. 231; is always the best person to call for information and film permits for Dumont Dunes and the entire Inland