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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Albuquerque Balloon Festival

    Hey guys,

    Has anyone been to the annual Balloon Festival in New Mexico? I've been thinking about making a spontaneous trip to Albuquerque this year for the opening weekend (October 6th-8th). Well, now that I think about it, not TOO spontaneous. I'd have to reserve a room pretty far in advance because I'm sure it'll be packed.

    My folks want to go next year, but I figured it would be good for me to head over there myself (or preferably with a companion) this year to check it out and see if it's something they would enjoy.

    And of course, knowing me Mr. Fit-it-all-in, I'd like to add some extra stops. I really haven't "seen" New Mexico (outside of a 1997 trip by plane to visit a friend in Albuquerque for 4 days).

    My itinerary would go something like this:

    Wednesday, October 3rd - Leave in the morning from San Juan Capistrano, CA, and head as far east as I can on I-10, probably to Las Cruces, NM.

    Thursday, October 4th - I would spend the first part of the day at White Sands National Monument, via Hwy 70. The rest of the day I would drive to Roswell, NM (also via Hwy 70).

    Friday, October 5th - In the morning/early afternoon I would do whatever "tourist" things they have in Roswell, and then when I'm done head on up via Hwy 285/I-40 to Albuquerque where I'd go to bed REALLY early.

    Saturday, October 6th - I'd have to get up at 4:30am if I have any hope of catching the opening ceremonies. From there I'd spend the rest of the day with their activities.

    Sunday, October 7th - More of the same festival hullabaloo. Fireworks show at 8pm.

    Monday, October 8th - Catch the 7:00am competition, and when that's done at 8:00am, start heading out west via I-40 to Flagstaff, AZ since I have an overnight connection there.

    Tuesday, October 9th - Drive home on I-40/I-15!

    What should I be prepared for? Is the crowd going to be insane? Anyone heading out there I can meet? What can I expect from this kind of trip? Thanks for all and any.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default Better Hurry

    Kinless, you need to try to make hotel reservations somewhere NOW. Iím sure that by now most, if not all, of the hotels near the Balloon Fiesta Park are booked up solid. And, if any do have rooms available, the prices will probably be pretty steep. You should still be able to find a room somewhere in town, but do it quick! Every hotel in Albuquerque fills up during the Balloon Fiesta.

    What should I be prepared for? Is the crowd going to be insane?
    The Mass Ascensions are a lot of fun. Thousands of spectators walking around the launch field and hundreds of balloons being filled and taking off all around you. Itís pretty cool!

  3. #3

    Default Balloon Fiesta

    We are also going to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. We have had our hotel reservation for quite some time now. I'm glad, too, because now I see that our hotel (Marriott Pyramid North) is sold out for our dates. Do you know if the balloon park is walkable from this Marriott? We don't mind a 1 - 1-1/2 mile walk, but is it the type of area that you can walk? Someone had told me that the Marriott possibly might have a shuttle to the Balloon Park. I have to call the hotel directly to find out. Also, I read that it is advisable to purchase your tickets online before your arrival so you don't have to stand in a long line to buy them. Is this necessary? Are the lines really long? We will be in Albuquerque starting October 6th (a Saturday) for 2 nights. Also, although we have a guaranteed reservation at the Marriott, do you think we can count on them to actually have a room for us? Maybe we should get to the hotel early in the day? Any advice would be appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Do you know if the balloon park is walkable from this Marriott? We don't mind a 1 - 1-1/2 mile walk, but is it the type of area that you can walk?
    It’s about two miles, maybe a little bit more, from the Marriott Pyramid to the Balloon Fiesta Park. I’m sure that a lot of people will be walking to the Fiesta from there.

    Also, I read that it is advisable to purchase your tickets online before your arrival so you don't have to stand in a long line to buy them. Is this necessary?
    Definitely buy them online ahead of time. There will be about 100,000 people trying to get into that place.
    Also, although we have a guaranteed reservation at the Marriott, do you think we can count on them to actually have a room for us? Maybe we should get to the hotel early in the day?
    Call them ahead of time to confirm your reservations, just to be sure nothing gets fouled up. Getting to your hotel as early as possible would be a good idea, too.
    Last edited by howard; 08-05-2007 at 12:03 AM. Reason: minor fix

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for all the great information. We are really looking forward to the Balloon Fiesta and our entire trip to New Mexico. We are spending 2 weeks total in the state and plan on covering a lot of ground. We've broken it down so we aren't doing a tremendous amount of driving on any given day. We are also spending 2 nights in many locations (Cloudcroft, Silver City, Albuquerque, and Taos), which makes the trip a bit more relaxing. Guess we will have to pack a variety of different clothes to suit both hot and cold temp's. Hope to get some beautiful pictures. Any suggestions for particularly scenic areas? Thanks again! (P.S. This site is great!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    209

    Default

    We are spending 2 weeks total in the state and plan on covering a lot of ground.
    Nice! You should be able to see a lot in that time.

    Hope to get some beautiful pictures. Any suggestions for particularly scenic areas?
    Two places in the northern part of the state you really shouldnít miss are:

    The Enchanted Circle, particularly the valley where Eagle Nest is. Itís beautiful up there.

    The High Road to Taos, between Santa Fe and Taos, is also very nice.

    Iíve never been to Cloudcroft or Silver City, but what Iíve heard about both places is really good.

    Guess we will have to pack a variety of different clothes to suit both hot and cold temp's.
    Yes, indeed. Taos is at 6900 feet elevation, and Cloudcroft is at 8650 feet. It will be quite cool at night.

    I hope you enjoy your trip here, Cruzer. Have fun!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    272

    Default Never mind...

    OK so I decided to put off the festival until next year. I did find a Best Western with rooms about 9 miles away, with surprisingly decent rates ($120/night). But after some further researching, I decided this roadtrip is a little expensive right now, especially if I go it alone. I already spent over $1000 on the Utah roadtrip this past May and going on yet another excursion like this would have cost me another $700-800. (I'm aiming to buy a house in SoCal in the next 12 months, so I gotta budget wisely...) But I'm definitely going to shoot for Albq Balloons 2008.

    Instead, for mid-October I've decided to make a solo weekend roadtrip up to San Fransisco where I'm staying with a colleague (and dear friend) of mine. She'll be showing me around the town. With that kind of an overnight connection, it's much easier to swing with my kind of budget for now.

  8. #8

    Default

    I called the phone # from the Balloon Fiesta website. The woman I spoke to suggested that we not walk from the Marriott Pyramid North - not so much how far it is from the park but she said it is not an area conducive to walking and that the people trying to drive their cars there are not always polite to pedestrians. She suggested driving our own car there and paying to park. She mentioned that the parking is color-coded. I guess so you can remember where you parked! The other option she mentioned was the park and ride. What do you think of taking our own car there from the Marriott? Is it going to be a total zoo? Just not sure what to do.

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