Back to El Mirage

Words by Matt Willis

One of our short-living traditions here at timscribbles’ is making semi-regular trips out to the El Mirage Dry Lakebed in the high California desert. The whole trip is nothing more than a generally unproductive day of seeing whose slow car is the fastest, kicking up a bunch of dust, using a motor to cook hot dogs, and other similar petrol-head nonsense. I suppose that’s what makes it so fun.

We first started going to El Mirage several years ago, when this site had just emerged. After our second (and oddly successful) event, we tried to expand and make it into a production – a la Race Wars – but we had several hoops to jump through with permits and event liability. We never pursued it and instead kept it a small, spontaneous gathering of close friends of the site.

Our recent outing – which took place a couple weeks ago – was no different.



If you’ve never been, El Mirage pretty much looks like this. It’s a 4-mile long flat surface packed with a very fine dust (silt). They do land speed trials and the SCTA practices for Bonneville here, in addition to hang gliding, ATV/dirt bike riding, camping and other forms of recreation.



After prepping our cars, we head out into the dirt to find a spot to assemble on the edge of the lake.



Being sort of a photogenic environment, it was only natural for the cameras to come out with us. We got our hands on an EF 500mm telephoto for the day.

At just around 7 pounds, this lens is not low profile by any means and was proving formidable in the strong winds of the desert.



It wasn’t long before we set up a rough quarter-mile and started some drag races…
















Around mid-day, we usually take a break and attempt to prepare some food. The winds were persistent to keep the flames going we had to set up a makeshift barrier with the cars…





Soon thereafter, the action resumed…







Quads and other OHVs are often sharing the lake bed…





We closed the day with some shots against the falling sun…






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