The drive out through west Texas – exiting through El Paso – and then up New Mexico to Albuquerque was gorgeous.  As it turns out, days with ‘great weather’ out in the desert tend to make the long drive tedious and boring.  However, when there are storm clouds on the horizon, things get interesting and colorful.  The angry skies provided a fascinating escort on our way up to the windy planes of the hot air balloon world capitol.


This was the first trip we were able to really deploy our creature comforts, giving the RV a bit more of an ‘our house’ kind of feel during our stay – despite living in a parking lot for a few days with 300 other RV’s full of people.  Fully-reclining chairs and lights strung from the awning gave the whole porch area a more relaxing and settled feeling then we normally get from staying a single night in a park along our path.  This felt like it was finally a destination as opposed to a side note in a larger trip.


We arrived in the afternoon and got settled into our spot with only the slightest of readjustments needed.  Being that things were cramped, we didn’t deploy the larger slide and opted to have room on the side to store the bikes instead.  Those would come in handy later, but that evening we took a quick walk across the RV ‘VIP West’ parking area and a foot bridge, down onto the main area of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park.

The first event we witnessed was the evening ‘Shape Glowdeo’.  All of the custom shaped and themed balloons were unpacked, inflated, and kept on the ground with bright flames shooting into and illuminating them.  Walking around we were also treated to a short visit with some of the 501st, who immediately put imperial plans aside to adore and coo over Hazen.



After the balloons had their fun and started to get packed up by their teams again, a laser and fireworks show was the final treat of the evening.  They didn’t quite rival the 4th of July show we caught in Branson or New Orleans in the past few years, but it was a great display regardless!


The second day at the festival was an early one and well worth all of the walking required to see the morning’s ‘Mass Ascension’ event.  Every balloon at the festival was unpacked, inflated, and piloted into the air.  Wave after wave of balloons took to the sky as we walked through the field watching.  At many points throughout the day we found ourselves standing by a team as they unrolled their balloon from their trailer, feeling the heat of another as it’s burners finished inflating it.  It seemed that every few minutes we could look up to see another taking flight and passing right over our heads.




The whole experience took about 2 hours as everyone lifted off into the sky in turn and created for a fantastic aerial display that we’ll not soon forget!

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