Friday, May 22, 2009

The Beautiful El Mirage Dry Lake in the Mojave Desert

To many people I suppose it is just a wide expanse of desert without vegetation , hotter than blazes in the summer and very windy much of the time and not much going for it. But to me, the El Mirage dry lake is a thing of beauty.
Located in the Mojave desert in Southern Ca. about mid way between Palmdale on the west and Victorville on the east, the dry lake is flat as a table top for five miles the long way and about one and a half miles across.
The lake bed is host to a variety of activites including, off road vehicles like dirt bikes, ATV's, and dune buggies. The racers of SCTA , Southern Ca. Timing Association, have meets on the lake bed. There are many types of aircraft that use the lake bed . The photo above is me in my gyro taking off from the dry lake bed.
The ground is so hard and shiny. You can even roller skate on the lake bed and some people do just that with oversize roller skates on their feet and sails held out to catch the wind. There are land sailors that use the lake and also film companies make movies and commercials there.
We were driving across the lake bed one morning and saw a film crew busy building a huge fake oak tree on the lake. Only the trunk was in place but later in the day the tree was complete with many limbs and leaves. A while later a whole village had sprung up out in the middle of nowhere.
A yearly event that takes place on the lake is the Ken Brock Freedom fly-in during the last week in September. The gyro fly-in is hosted by PRA Chapter 1 . Many gyro pilots come early and enjoy flying around the area before it gets busy with other aircraft. The fly-in is a fun
get-together with many kinds of gyroplanes and a few helicopters. On Friday evening there is a corn roast and a " Bring your own meat" barbecue on Saturday. There is always much to see and gyro pilots and enthusiasts to visit with.
There are no motels or other accommodations so what you bring with you is what you have while visiting the lake.
If you plan to join us at the fly-in, and I hope you do, you need to know that the BLM ( Bureau of Land Management) who oversees the lake , is now charging a fee to everyone who comes onto the lake. The rates are $ 15 per day, $ 30 per week, and $ 90 for a yearly pass . You can learn more about fees and lake usage by Googling the El Mirage dry lake, El Mirage , Ca.
Come fly with us in September.
Till next time.
Marion Springer