If you plan on RVing to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, be sure to see our last video: RVing at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!
This week, we share part two of our time at the fiesta and our first ever hot air balloon ride! As we mentioned in part one, a viewer of our channel (Tom) reached out 2 years ago when we were planning our visit to the fiesta in 2020. Well, we all know how 2020 went, so here we are a year later and it's ON!
Since we'd been on the field with Tom and crew a few times, we were at least fairly familiar with the balloon and the basics of how things would go. We loaded into the balloon expecting to wait on the zebra to clear us for launch. But, instead, we launched immediately! No time for second thoughts on this one.
What's really neat about launching in a balloon is how smooth and quiet it is (when the burner isn't going). It's so peaceful and beautiful! Seeing the park from the air for the first time was incredible. So many balloons, it's a sensory bonanza!
As it turned out, it was a good “box” day, meaning we would get to launch one direction, climb a bit and go the opposite direction. This allowed us to launch south then climb and go north.
Splash And Dash!
Since we were able to go back north of the river, Tom decided to make an attempt at a “splash and dash” in the Rio Grande! This is just like it sounds, dipping the basket into the river, then taking off immediately.
We were a bit nervous about this maneuver, but Tom pulled it off like a boss! We were a little surprised at how deep we “touched” the river, getting about 2 inches of water inside the basket!
Landing is always the most complex and dangerous part of any flight or any type of flying vehicle. So, we were really curious about this part! Turns out, it's just like we imagined. Just keep floating on the wind till you find a suitable location. We found a private yard and had a nice soft landing! 😊
After landing, we headed back to the field for our newbie initiation! 😳 It was a really neat ceremony and prayer, followed by drinking champagne (without hands) and a dowse or COLD water! It was awesome to be so welcomed by Tom, Janelle, and the whole crew! THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!
One can't get the whole ballooning experience without also participating in the ground crew and chase! So, that's what we did the very next day! After helping another balloon launch, we learned that Tom had already landed, so there wasn't much of a chase to be had that day. But, we did get to recover the balloon and help some other balloons land in the same field.
Other Things To Do In Albuquerque
The evening after our flight, we had dinner at El Pinto, which is a really neat restaurant near the fiesta. It's VERY popular, so be sure to get a reservation online.
The afternoon after crewing, we decided to make our own Breaking Bad tour! We saw Jesse's house, Walt's house, Los Pollos Hermanos, and the Car Wash! We also got a blue meth donut from Rebel Donut! 😎 Breaking Bad is one of our all-time favorite shows!
After the self-tour, we decided to drive up to Sandia Crest. What an amazing view of Albuquerque!
Even after all we've experienced this week, one of the best things was on our last night! Special Shapes! It's amazing some of the special balloons on this day. They fly in the morning and do special shapes glow at night. Very cool!
We got to experience and learn so much this week and it was an absolute BLAST! If you have the opportunity, you should definitely check it out one year.