I left Palm Springs at five in the morning heading east to a location that I had never been before, yet I had been there before. Confusing yes, Superior Salt Flats and Dale Dry Lakebed are on the same property. I headed up the pass on Highway-62; there were few vehicles on the road at this early hour. Fortunately it was a windless morning, the windmills were still; I did not have to fight the wind today. It took me about an hour to reach Twenty-nine Palms, I turn left at Adobe Road, and a few miles later I made a right at Amboy Road. For the next thirty minutes I watch the sun make it way through the auburn sky, several times I was tempted to pull off the road and take a picture. I knew this would be a bad idea; the shoulder of the road is soft and very easy to get any vehicle stuck in the soft sand. As the road turn left, I slowed down to make a right at Ironage Road, a dirt road. I’ve been on this road before, in my truck, I would put it in four-wheel drive and start having fun. In my motor home it meant going five miles an hour, and watching for the ruts in the road. It took me about thirty minutes to travel the 2.3 miles to get to the lakebed. (Note, look for the water tower, this is where you make the right turn that takes you to the lake.) This is the only road you will encounter, if you are not paying attention you can easily miss this turn. If you plan on driving a Porsche or any other vehicle that rides low to the ground, don’t do it, you will tear up your suspension. A passenger van or any SUV that you don’t mind getting dirty is a better option.
Dale Dry Lakebed is one of those lakebeds in the middle of the Mojave Desert that has a light brown dirt surface with cracks. “It is surrounded by the Sheep Hole Mountains to the north and the Pinto Mountains to the south”. It is an awesome location that is very lonely, void of any life, except for the occasional vehicles on Amboy Road far in the distance. Unlike El Mirage Dry Lake or Soggy Dry Lake, which are on public land, Dale Dry Lakebed is on private property. When you rent this lake for your shoot, you will not have any problems with public intrusion. The same cannot be indicated about El Mirage or Soggy. In the winter, the weather is pleasant, with daytime temperatures in the sixties or seventies. In the summer it is hot, hot, hot, it’s the desert, what do you expect Alaska? The best time of the year is fall, winter and early spring. There are no restrooms at Dale Dry Lakebed and no shade, so you would want to rest a motor home, trailer or at the very least portable restrooms. I can supply that equipment if you need it (Mike Green 818-317-7099) at local rates.
This is a location like no other. There is almost 360 degrees of openness without any signs of human intervention. The exception is the salt flats and some heavy equipment next to the salt flats. Our crew found plenty of different possibilities for the various shots, since we located the production vehicles in the direction of the salt flats, we did not need to ever move the trucks, cars and motor homes. I wrote about the Salt Flats before, the Superior Salt Flats located on the same property changes depending if the various salt lakes are filled with water. It is an interesting location because there are so many places to shoot at the Salt Flats. Please refer to my previous blogs about this location.
Dale Dry Lake Bed is a hard location to find if you are not paying attention. Since I have been to this location before, I marked the entrance with two cones at Ironage Road and another two cones on the road that takes you to the lakebed. Sylvia Lemke, who runs Locations Unlimited 760-861-4144 or Thies Lemke 760-343-8327, represents this location and she can assist you with the maps and information about the lakebed. If you plan to do a project at this location I would suggest you stay in Twenty-Nine Palms, which is about forty-five minutes from Dale Dry Lake Bed. My favorite place to stay is the 29 Palms Inn 760-367-3505. The Inn is made up of cottages of various sizes, with names like “Fault Line” or “Earth Quake”. This is not the Four Seasons; it is a cool place to rest your head after a busy day at the lake. The rooms are rustic, with old CRT TVs; (at least the last time I was there about a year ago 2012), the beds are comfortable, and the furniture is something out of the 50’s or 60’s. The Inn is also a great place to do a photo shoot, music video or whatever, because there are so many great places to film. There is a duck pond, an old wooden buggy, and the Mojave Desert in the back of the Inn, a swimming pool, and around the cottages are interesting places to film too. In digress; Twenty-nine Palms has plenty of options for lodging, fuel (diesel and gas) and food. If you need an RV Dump Station, there is the Twentynine Palms Resort, RV Park 800-874-4548. For catering I really like Coyote Kitchen 760-366-5271, the food is awesome and the service they provide is outstanding, plus they are knowledgeable and local.
Again, if you want more information about this location call Sylvia Lemke from Locations Unlimited 760-861-4144 or Thies Lemke 760-343-8327 represents both Dale Dry Lakebed and the Superior Salt Flats. If you need additional details or pictures of either location, lodging possibilities, motor homes, portables restrooms, please call me Mike Green at 818-317-7099.