Five Travel Resolutions for the New Year

I think New Year’s is my favorite holiday! It’s the one time of year everyone dreams BIG!

Do you need a few travel ideas for 2013? Here are five of my favorite destinations and outdoor pastimes!

1. BalloonsThe Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I’d been to the Balloon Fiesta before, but this past year, I stayed there in my RV. I LOVED IT! There’s nothing like camping right there on the grounds of the Fiesta where you don’t miss a single minute of the action! I WILL be at this one in 2013, too.

2. Big Bend. Those two words cover a lot of territory, because there are scenic views, gorgeous hikes, and rafting experiences to be had at nearly every turn. If you can’t decide what to do, call my friends Greg and Valynda Hennington at Far Flung Outdoor Center for advice. They’ve helped create some awesome memories for me and my family, from ATV treks to moonlit nights on the Rio Grande.

Photo copyright Mike Sloat. Thanks, Mike, for sharing your amazing work with us this past year!

Photo copyright Mike Sloat. Thanks, Mike, for sharing your amazing work with us this past year!

3. ZiplineZiplining. I tried this for the first time while camping at the KOA in Branson, MO a couple of years ago. If they have zipline tours anywhere near your next destination, try it!   (P.S. If you’re in Branson, DO NOT MISS the show SIX!)

4. Become an outdoor chef. I love outdoor cooking, and in particular, love Dutch oven cooking. There’s just something empowering about putting a bunch of ingredients in black cast-iron pot, putting it over a fire, and serving a bunch of hungry campers.

5. Mix it up. If you love going to the mountains, try a trip to the swamp! If you love meat and potatoes, try some tofu! (Ok, that might be a stretch…). If you’re dreaming of owning a RV, go for it!

What’s on your personal bucket list? Plan at least one grand adventure for you and your family this year. It’s 2013, and there’s no time like the present!

E+AirstreamHappy New Year to All!

~ G. Elaine Acker


Hot Air Balloon Rides at Balloon Fiesta

What would it take for you to feel like a kid again?

Balloon RideYesterday, my friend Lydia and I walked from the RV park to the the balloon field by 5:30 to check in for our hot air balloon ride. We were hopping from one foot to the other land grinning like 10 year olds. I can’t think of any place else where adults can so completely revert to childhood and just enjoy the moment!

Pilot PatrickWe climbed into a basket with 12 of our new best friends who also booked their rides through Rainbow Ryders. Our pilot, Patrick, is the head pilot for Hot Air Expeditions out of Phoenix,and he’s one of the best pilots I’ve ever met. Plus, he’s got a comic streak, so it’s like a balloon ride and stand-up comedy all in one.

More words won’t do the experience justice, so here are a few pictures from a fabulous morning!

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Yesterday, I set up my Airstream at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta’s RV park. It’s rally-style parking, which means it’s cozy. But on the bright side, you make lots of new friends fast!

This morning’s flight was a no-go because of rain and wind, but the sun has since come out, so we’re hoping for a fabulous balloon glow this evening, along with some fantastic fireworks.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures that prove there are plenty of ways to stay entertained, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate!

 Are you hanging out at the Balloon Fiesta this weekend? What’s your favorite thing so far?

~ G. Elaine Acker



Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

RV Camping at one of the World’s Most Spectacular Events!

Balloon FiestaThis October, you can feel like a kid all over again at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  I’ve been three times, gone up in a balloon at the Fiesta once, and this year, I’ll be camping in my Airstream right there at the balloon field. I can’t wait! (And yes, I’ll be blogging about the Fiesta and posting pictures right here!)


Imagine 54 football fields put together and covered with 600 colorful hot air balloons. Oooooh! Ahhhhhh!.

If you’re thinking about bringing your travel trailer to the Balloon Fiesta, you need to make plans now. Here’s what you need to know.

Dates: October 6-14, 2012

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

RV Sites: There are four types of sites – STANDARD (dry camping), PREMIUM (electricity with 20 Amps minimum and water provided), VIP (dry camping adjacent to the Launch Field with entry passes included) and PRESIDENT’S COMPOUND (premier sites on a bluff overlooking the Launch Field with city water pressure and 30 Amp minimum electricity).

Elaine Acker with Fiesta Balloon

I’m hanging out waiting for the official Fiesta balloon to take off ahead of the special shapes balloons during the Special Shapes Rodeo!

Availability: I just checked, and it looks like there’s still space available in the STANDARD camping areas, and the VIP area, which is the one I chose. Both accommodate rigs up to 55 feet long. And even though there are no hookups, a water vendor will be around to refill your tanks and on-site pump outs are also available for a fee.

Pig hot air balloon

The Special Shapes Rodeos feature witches, bees, stagecoaches, Darth Vader, and this little pink pig!

Check In: You’ll be able to check in between 12 noon and 7 pm on the day you arrive, but the Fiesta staff strongly recommends that you arrive before 3 pm on days other than Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid the heavy traffic congestion.

Weather: The weather is usually incredible in October, but be sure and bring a heavy jacket for those early morning events. It’s chilly! Expect spectacular sunrises over the Sandia Mountains and memorable sunsets to the west.

Events: Where do I start??? There are mass ascensions at sunrise, special shapes rodeos, balloon glows after dark, and fireworks. Check out the full event schedule for a list!

Happy Face BalloonBalloon Rides: If going up on a balloon intrigues you, do it! Even if you’re a little skittish about heights, I’d still say go for it! It’s a memorable experience and everyone I’ve known who’s tried it loved it. I believe I may have to go up again, too! Get the details on Balloon Rides here!

Bring your camera!

What do you think? Are you coming? If so, let me know so I can look for you!

~ G. Elaine Acker