Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta – Day 4 and 5

Balloon Fiesta – Day 4

Balloon Launch

Another morning we missed the Dawn Patrol, but a surprise landing of several balloons between the RVs.  Quite a treat!  Use the arrows to scroll.

Here’s one of the balloons right in front of Lola:

Nice morning for the Balloon Fiesta again!  We have great weather, fantastic breakfasts and dinners through the Escapee Hop and fun side-trips to keep us busy.

Gas Balloon Challenge

The first evening of the International Balloon Fiesta launched several gas balloons.  They are now in the eastern US and Canada and still travelling!  Amazing how high and far these balloons go.  Gas Balloon Challenge Results here.

Gas Balloon Challenge

Gas Balloon Challenge

Sandia Tram

The Sandia Mountain Tram is the longest tram in the US, and the longest public tram in the world!  The early bird gets the worm and we head off right after the balloon launch to catch the tram as soon as it opens.

It is a quick drive to the tramway, and saw several balloons along the way as well as from the top of the mountain.  The tram goes 2.7 miles and rises 4,000 feet.  There is a ski facility and lots of trails to hike once you get there.

Pueblo Cultural Center

Operated by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, The Pueblo Cultural Center has history, art and demonstrations of Pueblo culture.  We enjoyed the live entertainment at the center as well as the craft tables and shop.

We learned a lot about the Pueblo Indians.  They were one of the few truly agricultural Native American groups in the Southwest.  Most of the other groups were hunter-gatherers.

Wow – so many things to do when in Albuquerque!  Balloons and so much more!

Balloon Fiesta Day 5

Last day in Albuquerque!  The Balloon Launch included a competition to drop a sand bag in a circle or land and take off in a specified area.  Good wind conditions brought the balloons right to us again for some great video.

Happy Trails



Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day Two

At The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day Two

Dawn Patrol

The Morning Dawn Patrol was so cool this time.  Yesterday there was a good breeze and at dawn the launched balloons went by pretty fast.  This morning it was very calm – and as the balloons lifted off and headed toward us they get in a loop.   About half way to the field in front of us they gradually started drifting back towards the launch site.  This made for about 40 or 50 minutes of entertainment.  We dressed warmly, brought our chairs and tripod to sit back and enjoy the show.  We took the best 8 minutes of video for the final video.

National Petroglyph Monument

After the Dawn Patrol, we watched some of the balloons float overhead – some landing among our RVs – before we headed out to the National Petroglyph Monument.

There are several trails at the monument.  After talking to the woman at the visitor’s center we picked the Rinconada Trail.  We found out from another couple on the trail that this trail was not as well-marked as some of the other trails, but we found lots of petroglyphs to photograph.  Folks have come up this canyon and scratching stuff on rocks for over 3,017 years!  Yup – earliest petroglyphs date to about 1,000 BC (BCE).  The last carving from Native Americans date from about 1700 a.d. The volcanic rock in the area is from an eruption about 200,000 years ago.  Way back before Jeff was even around!

The trail is just over 2 miles long, so we left the dogs behind.  They are getting too old for that long of a walk.

Old Town Albuquerque

Next, we drove to Old Town Albuquerque.  Lots of neat little shops and the old square and church.  Albuquerque was founded in 1706 and there are still some old buildings that date back to that time.  Parking is a challenge – especially on Sunday during Balloon Fiesta!  But we found a spot near one of the museums a few blocks away.

International Balloon Fiesta Grounds

Once we got back to the RV and had dinner with the Escapee Hop group we took a school bus to the Fiesta Grounds proper.  We are amazed at the number of people and vendors there.  THOUSANDS of people with DOZENS and DOZENS of all type of shops.  We ended up not buying much because we were looking for things a bit more unique than most of the vendors had for sale.  What we really came for was the Twilight Twinkle show.  We walked up a small hill away from the crowds so we could have a good view of the evening entertainment.  We were NOT disappointed.  Even though we forgot a blanket to sit on it was fun.  Jeff set up a little tripod for the camera and Christine made friends with a retired couple from Alberta Canada.

Twilight Twinkle

Well worth the trip to the Fiesta Grounds & making your way through the throngs of people.




Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day One

At the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day One

We made it!  Cross one more item off of our bucket list.   After traveling through Nevada, Utah and Colorado we made it to New Mexico and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.

We wanted to experience this for a long time.  When we got an email from Escapees back in February that they had slots available we knew this was the time to do it.  We checked to see if we could get in to the Fiesta independently and found out that they had over 700 RVs on the waiting list!  After a call to the Escapee HOP coördinator we made our reservation to get a prime spot for us.

Enchanted Trails RV Park

We first stayed at the Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post just outside of Albuquerque the day before so we could have an easy drive to the Balloon Fiesta the following day for check-in.

Setting up at the Balloon Fiesta

After getting a little lost, we found the Escapee HOP area and got settled in.  After check-in we attended a Balloon Pilot presentation from a crew that demonstrated balloon etiquette for those helping out.  Shortly afterwards was social hour and a catered dinner.

 Balloon Fiesta Day One

First thing next morning we were up before the crack of dawn to enjoy the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Day One!  Our first full day started off with a great breakfast supplied by our Escapees HOP hosts Barb and Roger Maxey along with John and Faye Humphery our co-hosts.

Balloons Galore

We were absolutely blown away by balloon take off the first day.  Our campsite is just a couple of RVs away from a field where many of the balloons landed.  All we did was take our chairs down to the edge of the field to set up our cameras and enjoy the show.

After more than a year on the road, this was our first extended boondocking experience.  With our solar panels and lithium batteries we are set to enjoy the Balloon Fiesta with a minimum amount of generator use.

Getting up so early we decided to have a laid-back day, so we spent the rest of our time this first day just hanging out with the dogs and meeting our neighbors until the evening activities got started.  Social hour at 4, then catered dinner at 4:30.  Afterwards we watched the launch of the gas balloon race start then once it got dark we watched the fireworks.  What a great day!

Check out the link on the Gas Balloon race – these folks started out in New Mexico and teams ended up in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Main etc.  Serious long-distance high altitude ballooning!

Happy Trails!