Thursday, October 12, 2017

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – Dawn Patrol


After meeting up with Jim and Sandie and a few good meals out, we finally arrived at the Balloon Fiesta RV Park.   It didn’t take long to get checked in and escorted to our site.  We were parked side by side.  At first we weren’t so thrilled to be on a small hill in the very last row but that changed. 


Dawn Patrol

This place was packed with RVs.  They were side to side as far as we could see.  There were groups of RVs and then there those on their own.  In this one parking facility there were about 1800 RVs.  Others were scattered in parks around the town.  In addition hotels were full.  In total the expected crowd was to top 800,000 people.

11oct8- 11oct9-

We weren’t so thrilled about our parking spot until we figured out  it was about the best place of all (except we didn’t have hookups) to view the balloons as they soared up from the launch.

We were a little disappointed to discover that during the week there was only one balloon session and that was in the morning.  There was nothing (absolutely nothing) going on from about noon until the next day.  After attending other fiestas and rallies it wasn’t hard to see there was a lot of missed revenue here.  Even the vendors at the launch site were closed.  Thursday through Sunday there were morning and afternoon events.

There certainly was a lot of traffic but it was extremely well organized and police were everywhere.  I’m sure the town of 11oct27-Albuquerque was concerned about security especially after the recent event in Las Vegas.

Four shuttle stops were in the RV area and these shuttles started at 4 AM taking the RVers to the launching grounds.  Our shuttle stop was a few steps outside our door so we were pretty lucky with that too.  Terry and I thought it important to be on the field by 5 AM.  WRONG.  To begin with it was very, very cold.  Temperatures were barely above freezing. 


The fee for admittance to the launch area was $10 per session.  Once we had entered I knew I wanted a cup of coffee and Terry opted for hot chocolate.  The fee was $5 per cup!  However, had we walked a few feet farther coffee was $3 and after that we saw it posted as $2. 

It was interesting watching the Dawn Patrol set up and one by one lift off.  They’re the first up to test the wind currents.  After that there was a frenzy of balloons being readied for take off.  The field was covered with them.  Then I was back on the shuttle to view the balloons as they drifted over the RV area.  We had several land within a few feet of us.


We thought the display fantastic.  Balloons were everywhere.  However, Buck was not quite so thrilled.  .

Recognize Darth Vader ?


There were several balloons that came down  behind us.  The hissing sound of the propane and the balloons scared Buck.    We couldn’t get him to venture outside after that.  Walking him became very difficult.   In addition the area we were in was quite rocky.  Other areas weren't so bad but he cut his paw on rocks and had a hard time walking.  This dog now has PTSD.



Balloons, balloons and more balloons.  The event has been on my bucket list for many years.  Finally!

Thursday is the day of the Special Shape Rodeo of balloons.  We’re anxious to see those and hoping Buck can last through that session.

Previous post  ---  On our way to the balloon fiesta  

‘Tis life on the road.


  1. Wow, wow, wow. We need to go to this.

    Our Parker hated balloons. He could hear them long before he could see them and would bark, bark and then jump the fence and run away.

    $5.00 for a coffee. Crazy.

    Enjoy your time with Jim and Sandie. Hope that soon enough it will be us too.

  2. So glad you were able to cross this off your bucket list! From the pictures icon see why it was on your list! Very cool!!! Sorry t hear that Buck is not loving it.

  3. I guess Buck wouldn't do well at the Winter Blast either.

  4. Nice that you were able to make it happen.loving your pictures it sure looks amazing !

  5. Poor Buck - I hope his paw gets all better fast and that he will be able to go out (also because having him inside all the time would be, well, smelly!).

  6. What a great experience! We really have to brave the crowd one year and make this event. Poor Buck - maybe he needs headphones with his favorite tunes :-))

  7. That Darth Vader balloon reminded me of a boss I used to work for. If I had seen that in person I would have been hiding under the bed with Buck! :cD

  8. So glad the weather is cooperating. Every liftoff is so special. What a wonderful time sharing this great experience with dear friends. Keep enjoying the adventure.

  9. Great pictures. We have been to some balloon events but nothing like this.


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