We began our weekend in Albuquerque,NM at noon on Saturday as we arrived at Enchanted Trails RV Park and Trading Post. This was our first RV park to stop at since we began our travels and we were pleased with it! The park offered a pool and hot tub, clubhouse with games, and tidy bathrooms. Unfortunately, all of the RV parks jack up their prices to high heavens on the week of the balloon festival. The price was not so kind to our pocketbook so we only stayed here for 2 nights then made our way to an Airbnb that offered RV hookups (I’ll show you this later) Here’s our cute little spot at Enchanted Trails.
I met Tori right as we pulled into the park, I love when family comes to visit. We hugged and quickly began set up so we could get to exploring the town. Saturday afternoon and evening we explored Old Town, which is a variety of souvenir shops, art galleries, tasty food, and is the same area you will find San Felipe de Neri Church.
Old Town was a fun little stop but we were even more excited for the Balloon Fiesta! We woke up at the bright and early hour of 4 am on Sunday and hoped to be able to get a Lyft from the RV park (Since the population of Albuquerque is doubled during this festival I thought it’d be likely people would be driving at this hour. Turns out, not so much. There was not a SINGLE driver available in the area. Okay, that’s cool, plan B it is, layer up and take the motorcycle (2 trips to get all 3 of us there). Luke and Tori get motorcycle gear on and quickly head towards our pick up destination (we actually purchased park and ride tickets as a way to hopefully avoid crazy traffic). I start to do my make-up while waiting for Luke’s return. In less than 5 minutes, I hear the motorcycle approach the RV. Hm…”That was really…fast…maybe they forgot something?” No such luck, Luke sadly and frantically states “motorcycle front wheel is totally flat” he begins to make attempts to air it up with our air compressor (which was a worthwhile purchase since the temperature seems to change so frequently as we move states). The tire holds no air. “Ooookay then…plan C it is…wait…did we make a plan C?” Tori thinks quickly on her feet, surely a nice older couple at the park is going and will be willing to give us a ride. We begin running to RV’s that have cars running by them. After one failed attempt we find a couple willing to take us. HALLELUJAH. Shout out to Robert and his super sweet wife. Ya’ll the best. We make it to the Balloon festival a bit early since ended up going straight there versus using the park and ride system (these tickets include general admission so it made no difference going straight there).
We stop to the food stands to get breakfast burritos with green salsa and fry bread stuffed with yummy savory filling. We head to the field. About 6 balloons are prepped to ascend, as these first balloons begin their take off Tori and I look at each other a bit disappointed and said “I mean it’s more hot air balloons than I’ve ever seen but I dunno…on tv it looked like more I guess?” We laughed later because we were totally wrong and hundreds more balloons went up in no time. It was seriously amazing. If it’s on your bucket list, GO. If it’s not on your bucket list, maybe think about going, but make sure you have several alternative travel plans because you never know when plan A might not work out! You can get up close and personal as the balloons take off seeing how they use giant fans to air them up and the propane tanks used to fuel them.
In the evening session they have skydivers and evening glow, both very cool, however, the balloons do not ascend for the evening sessions, they simply fill the fields and all light up (which is still super pretty!) (see evening glow photo below)
On Monday we spent the morning getting a new motorcycle tire and rewarding ourselves for being adults with some tasty donuts. We visited Bristol Doughnut Co and got prickly pear, maple, vanilla bean, and a variety of other flavored doughnuts. It was a fun experience because the shop is in an old double-decker bus. You go upstairs to have a lovely mountain view and eat your tasty treats.
Later in the day, Tori and I made attempts to visit the Sandia Peak tramway. I say attempts because yet again, plan A did not happen (are you seeing a theme here?) Due to the balloon festival, wait times for the tram had skyrocketed to over a three hour wait. Now I have no doubt it’s gorgeous up there, however, ya girl ain’t waiting in a line for 3+ hours. So we asked the staff about some short (and I mean very short) trails to see what we could see. It was still a really pretty view, tramway or not, and I got cousin bonding time so all in all, I’d count that a win in my book.
After leaving Enchanted trails RV park we headed to an Airbnb RV spot. It was more in town and had a bit more space for us to spread out. Overall we enjoyed it but were a bit sketched out at arrival. But it was a bargain!
We visited the Unser Racing Museum on Tuesday (this was Luke’s top pick for what to see in Albuquerque). It’s not very expensive but “super bargain Kelsey” found a Groupon to make it an even better price! I got to meet Al Unser Sr. while Luke took a picture with this flapper girl mannequin. So who’s the real winner here? I’ll let you decide.
On Wednesday we begin our Trek to Flagstaff, AZ a little over a four hour drive. We stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park and made use of our National Park pass. If you plan to do much traveling across America I highly recommend it. For $80 a year you get access to all the National parks. To put that into perspective, just visiting the Petrified Forest National Park would’ve cost us over $20, and it is not the most expensive park. We also hope to visit Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon before too long.
Once we made it to Flagstaff, we filled up our freshwater tanks and headed for A-1 campground for our first true “dry camping” experience. Stay tuned to see how it goes!