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Old 05-21-2010, 08:17 PM   #1
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Albuquerque Balloon Festival-Oct '10

Well, it's time to plan our two month trip for the end of Summer. We know we will make Milwaukee a home base from Aug-Sept (hello Jacyo Members in that region, we would love to meet you! perhaps another thread..), but right now we are trying to figure out if we want to pay the $$ to stay at the Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque on the way home in Oct ($65 per night x3 night requirement), or just plan to spend a couple of nights at a local Walmart and watch from a distance.

We stayed last year at the WM on Coors Blvd and drove a bit to see the balloons one early morning on the way home via I-40. We see that the WM at Academy Rd NE might be closer. We don't really have a need to spend the minimum 3 nights at the fair park, but would be happy just seeing them close-up from the road. Anyone have experience with the Balloon Festival and that area? What are your suggestions?

Thanks
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Old 12-29-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
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I mentioned this 'balloon post' to my wife and it turns out she really wants to go to this.

I'm not too good at computer stuff and can not seem to find any replies with information.

If you could direct me I would appreciate it.

Dave.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:37 PM   #3
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Wow, this is an old thread! LOL

It turns out we didn't drive through Albuquerque during the 2010 Festival dates, so we haven't been back. Here is the link to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta . If you plan to rv there for 2012, it looks like the spots are filling up.

Also, you can read reviews or ask a question of your own on TripAdvisor. I've used TravelAdvisor quite a bit for research and planning of trips in the US as well as overseas since finding it a couple of years ago.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:20 AM   #4
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Thanks very much for the info and advice. I just noted I became a 'full member', is there a ceremony?

Dave.
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:38 AM   #5
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For my birthday my wife took me on a hot air balloon ride. Really a exciting and fun experience. So if you have the time and opportunity try it out. The web site for Albuquerque Balloon Festival has links to balloon rides.
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:09 PM   #6
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The ride is first thing on her list. Trying to see if we can schedule for 2012.

How do they drive the balloon?
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #7
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Fist off you have to go with a licensed pilot. They send up small test balloons to check the wind direction. Once you are aloft you are at the mersey of the wind so no one is actually DRIVING lol. . They go either higher or lower in altitude to change direction. The chase car follows on the ground via sight and radio. The balloon went over a large airport and the incoming and out going flights had to be held under we cleared their flight paths. We had a tough landing, ended up staying aloft for an extra hour due to poor landing areas. The basket flipped when we landed and we dragged across a horse pasture. We did not hit any horses or barbed wire fences luckily. Had a champagne picnic with the crew after we landed.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:09 PM   #8
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Was it a large champagne?

Thanks for the details, Dave.
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Old 12-30-2011, 02:53 PM   #9
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We actually did a 'balloon ride' about 10 years ago outside of Phoenix. Loved it. Man, the bad part though was having to wake up and arrive to the meeting place before sunrise! We didn't get any champagne though. But it was an amazing experience
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:50 PM   #10
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I don't know free places, I know you could get sites up at Cochiti lake (about 1/2 hour away) right up until the fiesta last year. These are non-hookup cheap sites @ a mid sized lake and might be a good way to go.

I HIGHLY recommend getting down on the field and seeing a mass assention as well as a glow. It is a great experience. You can walk up and talk to the balloonists - people there to view the show can go anywhere on the field and and get the full experience. The glows are my favorite - went to one last year (2011) that was the best yet as they had some really good coordinated glows (IE: all/most balloons lighting up at once). Best I've seen.

My office is in walking distance to the park so some years I take the camper to the office and crash in the parking lot. That means I save 2 hours of traffic and just stroll down to the park for a glow and a mass assention. Very cool.

Also, for those looking for the full experience - typcially at the entrances to the park there are balloonists who need help crewing. If you hook up with a crew you likely will get a free ride before it is all said and done. Ballooning is hard work and requires a fair amount of manpower on the ground so some crews need assistance.

Come down, it is amazing.....

-Chak
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