Dale, California was founded in 1884 on the “shores” of Dale Dry Lake where a well drilled into the lake bed supplied water to the gold mines in the nearby mountains. In 1910 the town of Dale was moved 10 miles south closer to the mines and renamed New Dale. The town even moved to a third town site higher on the mountains before the mines were exhausted. Today, little remains of the three towns. What a better place to boondock and explore than abandoned mining towns in the middle of nowhere with mining ruins scattered throughout the mountains. The first Dale, now known as Old Dale, is just off Hwy 62 directly east of Twenty-nine Palms, California. I figured being just off a paved highway Old Dale would make a great place for a base camp. While the access was slightly more challenging than I had expected due to some recent erosion, finding somewhere to boondock was not. Great campsites exist all along the road to New Dale. We ended up selecting a choice campsite with a commanding view of Dale Lake! Now for exploring the mines and surrounding desert. While the three town sites don’t have much to offer, the mining camps and mine sites could keep a desert rat like me busy for weeks. After a couple of days exploring and thinking we were the first to camp and explore many of these areas, deep in one of the mines we came across “Kilroy Was Here” signed in soot from a carbide headlamp. Well if Kilroy had really been there, I suspect he was an adventurous crazy boondocker like me!
Boondocking in Kilroy’s footsteps, just another adventure in RVing!
Younger readers that do not know the tale of Kilroy can brush up on their trivia at:
For more information on the history of each Dale, visit:
You will find the turn off to all three Dale sites at: N34 07.338 W115 47.669
The first boondocking site (pictured below) is about 100 yards up the road.
Kilroy Was Here!
Boondocking in Old Dale.
Lots to Explore in the Area
The end of Another Great RVing Adventure
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
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