The Four Corners Unit of the WBCCI has a rally every year at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. This year we were fortunate enough to get registered for this highly popular rally. This year there were 116 Airstreams in the rally and there would have been more if the space had been available.
On Friday morning, we all began meeting at Camping World, waiting to caravan in small groups down to the Balloon Fiesta grounds.
Our parking site couldn’t have been better. You can’t get much closer to the field than we were. Here’s a picture of our group. To the right of the picture, you can see the field where the balloons launch from.
If for some reason you didn’t want to go to the field (and why that would be I can’t imagine), you could have sat at your Airstream and watched the ascents.
We spent a fair amount of time with our roadside neighbor, Betsy and her friend and previous boss, Irma. They are just wonderful women and a lot of fun. Betsy has a new to her 20′ Airstream. We really love that floorplan. It’s just not large enough for our needs.
There was also the traditional Happy Hour at which to make new friends and get a rundown of the rally.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate on Saturday. The winds were just too high on Saturday morning for the balloons to fly. Kathryn was not pleased that we woke her up for breakfast at 4:30, went out to the field, and nothing happened. The winds died down during the day but then picked back up as soon as the glow began. But at least the fireworks were still a go for that night.
Sunday, the balloons flew. We felt like kids in the candy store, watching all the eye candy inflate and gently waft away on the wind.
The day began with the dawn patrol in which a few selected teams went up to test the winds.
After this, everyone started inflating their balloons. But first, our country’s flag was taken aloft while our anthem played across the field.
Then the mass ascent began.
Later in the day, our rally organizer Ken led a small group (including myself) on a bike ride around some of Albuquerque’s bike paths. We went along the Rio Grande for awhile. At this point in it’s path, it is more of a pequeño arroyo. In places, I think you could cross and only get your feet wet. We ended up riding for 23 miles, which was a nice distance. Thank you Ken for the great afternoon.
That evening we had a potluck dinner to thank the parking crew as well as enjoy everyone’s company.
The good weather continued through the evening so the balloon glow was also able to go off.
More fireworks capped off the evening.
Monday morning brought a flying contest. It was interesting watching the crews line up with the targets. It is really amazing to think that all they can really control is their altitude. Their speed and flight path is dependent on the wind. So the crew has to be able to read the winds and find an altitude where the wind is going the direction they want to go.
The winds this morning brought the balloons over the Airstreams.
There was more fun to be had at the Balloon Fiesta as well.
There was a classic car show.
A chainsaw competition
Lots of shopping opportunities
One of the food vendors used a customized Airstream.
The Albuquerque Balloon Museum which was quite interesting.
While the rally continued through Tuesday morning, we decided to go ahead and head out on Monday afternoon. We have appointments to keep on the eastern side of the country and heading out early makes our travel a bit easier.
This was a great rally and I think the best possible way to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.