The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico: WBCCI Airstream Rally.

After meeting up and spending the night at the Albuquerue Camping World parking lot with our friend Kyle, we woke up to hundreds of Airstreams lining up to make their way to the balloon field. We didn’t really know what to expect and thought most people would not be there until much later but we were wrong.

On the road. Bright and early, headed to the Balloon Fiesta with 200 other Airstreamers! This morning we all converged at Camping World and are caravanning in smaller groups of 8 to the field. I snapped a picture of 5 of us in my rearview :)

People showed up at the crack of dawn in order to get in line for the drive in. The earlier you got to go, the closer you are to the balloon field. We didn’t really care as long as we were next to each other in the line up.

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The drive in was organized in groups of about 10 Airstreams at a time. It was probably a good idea for the sake of the people in Albuquerque. Imagine trying to go to work in the morning but you are somehow stuck behind 200 Airstreams on the freeway?

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The rally field at the Balloon Fiesta is one of the most desirable locations at the event. If you were to just register to attend on your own like we did in 2011, you end up across the street in a dirt lot and have to be shuttled in to see anything significant. This time we were right next to the museum and right behind the corporate tents.

We are here with a couple hundred of the Mish's siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. #balloonfiesta #abq #airstream

This gives you an idea of just how big our rally was. This is definitely the biggest Airstream event we have ever attended. This photo probably only captured about a half of all of the trailers here.

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As we were getting set up at the rally field, we met a few of our blog followers that recognized us and the trailer. This is one of the best things about blogging and sharing our adventures, meeting people.

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Once everyone got set up, we attended the first gathering of the rally to go through all of the activities and what we can expect. We are typically not rally-people but this kind of organization is a nice change of pace from time to time and quite impressive to see.

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If you are considering attending the Balloon Fiesta, know that you will need to be comfortable for a few days without any kind of hookups. If you are not, try to bring your own electric and water hookups like this guy did. We were all fooled for a second until I walked over and picked up the post.

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While we were here, we knew that our friends Nathan and Leah were also attending but were camping across the street. They came in and hung out with us at the Mish and all of us were very excited to see them.

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We last saw them when we courtesy parked on their driveway in Crossville, Tennessee in the fall of 2012. We have been friends with them online since 2010 and first met while we were in Croatia in 2011 when they spent a year caravanning through Europe. They have just finished fixing up and converting an 20 year old van for overlanding and stopped here to meet us before making their way south of the border.

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The girls were thrilled to see their boys Eli and Milo. Eli and Ava are behaving in their typical goofy ways but I think Mila and Milo are getting a little too cozy for my taste.

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I am going to have to keep my eyes on Milo. 😉

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As the sun was setting, we walked over to the balloon field to see their first night of twilight twinkle glow.

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This is when the balloonists come out and just inflate their balloons en mass and light them up in synch.

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It is quite an experience to be there seeing all of these balloons. It is hard to convey in photos but imagine being there, feeling the neatly manicure yet plush grass under your feet while the wushing of massive propane burners that heat the air to raise these balloons constantly going on around you as their giant colorful shapes start to rise from the ground.

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The vendors in the balloon field waste no time in selling glow in the dark swag as soon as the sun sets. Milo was pretty stoked to be the proud owner of a lightsaber.

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Besides Kyle, Nathan, Leah and the boys, we also met up with our friends Paul and Anna who are camped next to us for the event. They had been scoping the area for places to go and were hooked already on a local Mexican joint that we had to try out for ourselves.

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It was clear that they had already been here several times and were on first name basis with the owner.

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Paul wasted no time in piling on the good eats.

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“Is he really going to finish all that?”

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I think Paul looks like he could have put away few more plates of food here.

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Here are our three trailers on the third morning as the balloons flew over us. I know I’ve said this before but if you have never been to a Balloon Fiesta in ABQ, put it on your bucket list.

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Besides watching balloons and hanging out with other Airstreamers, we wanted to make sure we visited some more of Breaking Bad film locations. After doing some online searches, we found the Twister’s Mexican Fast Food joint in the south part of town that doubled for Los Pollos Hermanos on the TV show.

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Even though in the TV show the restaurant is a flame-broiled chicken chain, it is actually Mexican fast food in real life. But fans of the show will instantly recognize the interior. The booths and tables are exactly as they appear in the show. They have embraced their notoriety and hung up Breaking Bad posters on the walls as well as leaving the painted Los Pollos Hermanos logo on the wall near the entrance.

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We woke up the next morning to find more balloons flying over head.

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And we also had another surprise, apparently the tooth fairy is a fan of balloons and plans to make a visit tonight.

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When the winds are just right, we never even have to leave the Mish to see balloons. As they lift off on the field, the wind carries them right over us. Some of them even land just past our rally field in the open space just on the other side.

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It really doesn’t matter how many times you see this, it never gets old. Being able to see it right out your breakfast nook window is a pretty sweet deal.

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The girls love having Anna and Paul’s pup Otis around. He is a really sweet dog and so great with kids. However he is not the only dog the girls love hanging out with.

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Our friend Diane is also here. We first met her in Denver when we attended Alumafandango. She is so great and loves having the girls visit.

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Just as she did in Denver, the girls got their nails painted with Diane. This time, her pup Airabelle got in on the action.

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After 4 nights here, our time at the rally field is officially over. The Balloon Fiesta is going for a few more days but we will need to vacate the space so other can enjoy. We took our time getting out of here and ended up being one of the last Airstreams to leave. You might be thinking after reading this post that there isn’t quite as many pictures and description of the balloons at the event and you would be right. Stay tuned, we have so many good ones we decided to write a whole separate post just to showcase them.

over and out,
dan

One Response to The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, New Mexico: WBCCI Airstream Rally.

  1. Marshall April 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    I have yet to be to the balloon fest, but I have been to the balloon field. In the off season it is heavily used as a remote control airplane flying field and I had the pleasure of flying my planes there on Thursday. Wow! The best flying field I have ever been to. Can’t wait to be here for balloon fest…

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