If you’ve never been to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, it is something to add to your list. I’d been about 30 years ago when I was in my early twenties and living in Albuquerque, but went again this last month with my wife, oldest daughter and our Unity RV. My first experience was memorable, but nothing compared to this time!
The Balloon Fiesta is a yearly festival of hot air balloons that takes place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, during early October. The Balloon Fiesta is a nine-day event, and has over 500 balloons each year. The event is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world.
For us RV’ers they offer many camp site options and after spending a few days there and seeing the layout, balloons…. and chaos, I have to say, this is the method I’d recommend to anyone thinking about going there. My reason for saying this is because the RV areas are situated right near the balloon fiesta park. Many visitors attend the event on a daily basis for the morning launch and nightly glow and fireworks. This influx and out flux of visitors creates lots of vehicle traffic, something the RV goers don’t have to deal with. The RV areas offer shuttle buses that get priority into and out of the launch area. And if you don’t want to take the shuttle, the furthest RV area is less than a mile walking distance from the entry. They also offer a ‘bike valet’ area if you prefer to ride your bike, where you can check your bike into a secure area.
For the RV’s they offer various options… some closer that are situated above the launch area and allow you to view the balloons filling and launching directly from the launch field. Some of these areas also offer hook-ups for 30amp and city water, while others only offer dry camping. Being that the event occurs in October, the New Mexico weather is already getting cool. We had a couple morning in the low 40’s Fahrenheit, with most days in the mid 70’s. This was the first time we’ve had to use our heat pump and/or furnace (we’ve only had our Unity a few months). They do allow you to run your generator, but have a quiet time from 10pm till 8am of no generator use. This wasn’t an issue for us. I ran the generator right before quiet time to fully charge the house batteries and that held us over till morning time… allowing enough charge for lights and even watching some TV. During the day, I’d open the roof vents with the fans going while we were gone… the solar roof panels kept the house batteries charged as well. For extended periods they do offer services for waste and water for a fee.
During the mid-day, the balloon field is inactive for the most part. They do have some concerts happening, which you can pay for reserved seating close to the stage or just bring your blankets and own chairs to hangout and relax on the grass. They also have vendor tents and exhibits… everything from local Artisans to wood carving exhibits with a chain saw. Of course… there are food booths scattered through the main drag. During the morning, I would suggest you carry in your own coffee and breakfast food, unless you like standing in long lines! The nights at the fiesta can be pretty exciting also. Each night consist of a balloon glow and ends with a laser light and fireworks show. The fireworks show is quite impressive and much longer than we expected. A few times we thought it was over and then they’d go for another round.
During our stay, we walked to the front of the RV area and used the Uber app on our phone. The Uber driver picked us up right in front of the RV parking area. They do offer an ‘Uber Tent Area’, but we found out the event was charging an extra fee to the passengers to use that area. Our Uber drivers were happy to pick us up and drop us off where ever we asked them to. Using Uber we visited Old Town Albuquerque. Yes… it’s a tourist area, but offers some nice historical significance of Albuquerque and great shops and restaurants. My suggestion to anyone that goes there is to go to Church Street Café. It looks tiny from the outside but is huge. They have a great patio area in the back, which most people don’t realize is there. They do New Mexican breakfast items all day as well as other authentic New Mexican dishes. Best of all… their prices are very reasonable and don’t skimp on quality or quantity of food! My other suggestion for food or drinks is the downtown or Nob Hill area. We’ve been to a few breweries downtown and a few restaurants in the Nob Hill area. On this particular trip we went to Matanza Beer Kitchen in Nob Hill. They offer over 100 beers on tap, many from New Mexico breweries… and some incredible food too!
My suggestions if you decide you want to put this on your list, is to allow a few days there. The reason I say this is because you never know what the weather is going to give you. If the winds are too strong or there is lightning in the area, they could potentially cancel a balloon launch or night glow. They do their best to accommodate the balloonist and visitors… and may delay some events, but will cancel if they absolutely have to. If you want to visit other areas of New Mexico while you’re there, Santa Fe is a must! It’s only located about 50 miles north of Albuquerque and has a lot of history and culture to keep you occupied for days! There is also the tram to Sandia Peak in Albuquerque which offers a nice restaurant at the top overlooking Albuquerque or some great day hiking. Along with those, there are some very nice Pueblos all within an hour or two from Albuquerque. If you’re a cyclist, there are some paved trails right from the fiesta area which will take you to some great areas for extended rides. One other suggestion are some of the local wineries. Our favorite is Casa Rondena Winery, only 6 miles from the fiesta.
I could go on about all the great things about New Mexico… this is easily my favorite state, though I’m a little biased since I lived there and eventually plan to go back.
The weather did not cooperate most of the time but we did manage to have a bit of camp-time one evening with the help of (“The Little Red Campfire”) Never mind, we enjoyed a great feast of fresh lobsters at the Cookhouse in the campground, as well as some tasty smoked salmon. The pot luck supper was fantastic as usual.
Prince Edward Island is a very scenic province and most of us did a lot of sightseeing while there. If you travel to PEI (and it is a must that you do) don’t forget your rain gear, just in case!!! When the sun shines there is no place like it.
We are very pleased to welcome two new couples to our Chapter and we are looking forward to see them in the fall.
Tom & Jen Rogers with Stella the dog and Don & Betty Rockwell.
We are sending Love & Best wishes to our “under the weather” members. We missed you at the Rally!
The Maritime Leisures are planning to have the fall rally on September 22 – 26 at THE MACTAQUAC PROVINCIAL CAMP- GROUND, NB
After all, RVing is relaxing in itself, right? Hitting the open road, exploring the country…it’s an idyllic lifestyle others would envy.
Except when the car riding our bumper almost hits us. And is that smell coming from the black tank? By the way, WHAT IS THAT ANNOYING RATTLE BACK THERE? …
RVing is great, but life is just, well, stressful, no matter what you do. While there’s good stress and bad stress, it’s the bad form that is hard on our bodies. Stress that is chronic or repeated can actually make us physically sick. It suppresses our immune systems, screws up our digestive tracts, and can speed up cellular aging in our bodies. Stress can shave years off our lives.
Your general disposition will dictate much of your response to your stress…if you are a more resilient soul, you might see the stressor as a challenge, while a more anxious person will see it as a threat. The more we allow our life’s stresses to be threats, the more detrimental our stress is on our bodies. The good news is that if we alter our perceptions, most of the damage that stress has caused us can be reversed. Training ourselves to raise our stress thresholds will improve our overall health and add to our longevity. It will give us more years on the road.
RETHINK BAD EXPERIENCES. So you are RVing along, and say your exit is closed off with a big DETOUR sign on it. Don’t let it eat at you because you have to go an hour out of your way, instead think of it as an opportunity to explore new roads and see new things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen. Changing your perception is one of the best ways to manage stress.
IDENTIFY POSITIVE EXPERIENCES. You stepped out of the RV this morning and maybe you saw some deer grazing in the middle of the RV park. Tell someone about it or start a journal and write it down. This will help you focus on the positive experiences in your day instead of the negatives.
MOVE! Exercise reduces stress levels and stimulates new brain cell growth. Sometimes when we feel stressed the very LAST thing we want to do is exercise, but that’s exactly what our bodies need. Exercise reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, clears our heads, and makes us better prepared to handle whatever obstacles lurk ahead. When you are feeling upset, don’t sink in front of the TV and go numb to the world. Instead, lace up those athletic shoes, get out of the RV, and go take a walk. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel when you return.
BE NICE. Studies show that acts of kindness towards others can make you feel happier and calmer. Welcome the new RV park neighbors by inviting them over for a yummy treat; like my famous Campfire Healthy Caramel Apples (hopefully I’m the new neighbor!).
MEDITATE. I can already feel the eye rolls. Don’t skip over this one just yet! Meditation actually increases gray matter in regions of our brains that are associated with regulating our emotions, giving us a physiological edge over managing our stress. Get out of the RV, take your lawnchair down by the water’s edge, and give it a try.
GET YOUR ZZZ’s. Skimping on your pillow time causes stress hormones to go berserk and is a huge anxiety inducer. If you want to be well, then be well-rested.
Ultimately, the truth is that stress doesn’t come from your kids, your RV park neighbors, traffic jams, detours, or any other circumstances. Stress comes from you and your own thoughts about these circumstances. Part of living well is keeping your attitude and your reaction to stress in check.
So! Next time your RV park neighbor takes up half your spot, don’t let your blood boil. Instead, offer it up to him; you don’t need it! After all, your lawnchair awaits you down by the water’s edge.
About the author: Stefany Adinaro is an RVing exercise specialist and is the self-proclaimed “better half” of the website she maintains with her husband James: www.thefitrv.com . While she loves her RV adventures, her favorite adventure is being “Mugga” to grandbabies Amelia and Eli. To learn more, check out The Fit RV website!