Up, Up and Away…to Lake Havasu


After nearly two months in one place, a road trip was calling us. We pulled up stakes on a Thursday morning – well it was actually afternoon by the time we’d gotten everything disconnected and packed away for the jaunt – and started west toward Lake Havasu City, bypassing Quartzsite on the way. Our plan was to spend a couple of days taking in the Balloon Festival in Lake Havasu before returning to check out the draw of RVs in Quartzsite.

It was getting dark by the time we arrived in Lake Havasu and found the Good Sam parking area where we’d booked a spot for two nights. The price was right at only $20 per night. Although it was dry camping (no electricity, water or sewer, also known as boon docking) it was close to the lake and the site of the Balloon Festival, to which frequent shuttle buses were supplied. We had dinner in the motor home, read the information provided by the Good Sam Club, and then turned in early so we could be up at dawn for the first balloon launch.

The next morning we were on the shuttle bus by 6:30 am, after a quick breakfast and no coffee. We watched while numerous balloons were inflated and readied for launch. Multi-membered crews pulled ropes and organized the various stages while trying to keep spectators from getting in the way. It was an amazing thing to watch.

Laying it out

Laying one out

Crew at work

Crew at work, pulling it up

At 7:20 am the Opening Day of the Balloon Festival began with a Flag Ceremony and the first balloon was launched,rapidly followed by many others.

Inflation Begun at sunrise

Inflation Began at Sunrise

Nearly there

Nearly there

Flag Ceremony

Flag Ceremony

Up, up and away

Up, up and away

Balloons filling sky

Balloons filled the sky

For $200 each we could have taken a ride in one; for $20 we could go up a few hundred feet in a tethered balloon. The former would have been fun, but was too expensive; the later didn’t hold much interest. We waited to see the massive Wells Fargo Balloon leave the ground, but learned that it would only be tethered, so we finally wandered to the mile-long circle of vendors in search of more breakfast.

Wells Fargo Balloon

Tethered Wells Fargo Balloon

After filling our bellies with a shared jumbo breakfast burrito, and re-energized with coffee, we toured around Vendor Circle where we were impressed with the variety and quality of products for sale. We snapped pictures of vintage cars on display.

1962 Studebaker Avanti

1962 Studebaker Avanti

Vintage Car

Who knows what this one is?

At 1:00 pm we were getting weary so waited in line for a shuttle bus back to the campsite, only to be told that the school buses being used were tied up transporting school children until 3:00, so we went back through the gates, found a table under the tent and enjoyed Teriyaki bowls while listening to the musician performing on the outdoor stage. Then we roamed some more, discovering more balloons in the sky and more treasures in the Vendor Circle. We drank several bottles of water. The temperature had climbed up over 80˚F. The weather turned a little too breezy for a few hours, so the balloons gradually returned to the ground. At 4:00 pm we finally caught a shuttle bus back to the RV to rest and unload the extra clothing and purchases that we’d been carrying around all day. But we had to go back again at 6:00 to catch the “Night Glow” or “Field of Fire”. As the sun set, we stood beneath a ceiling of colourful balloons lit up by the gas flames that inflated them. What an awesome experience! Exhausted, we fell into bed very early again that night.

Night Glow Balloons

Night Glow Balloons

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The next morning we were up early enough to have coffee and donuts with our fellow Good Sam members at the campsite, and we took more pictures of the launched balloons from the roof of the RV before setting out on the road again.

Balloons from RV roof

Witches, Butterflies and even a Pink Elephant

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We made a stop at London Bridge, in downtown Lake Havasu City, before finding a place to fill up the propane tank. We would be boon docking again in Quartzsite, so we had to make sure we had plenty to run the furnace (it still gets cold at night), water heater and stove.

London Bridge

London Bridge

Then we were on the road once more.

8 thoughts on “Up, Up and Away…to Lake Havasu

  1. Enjoyed the pictures which brought back memories of the balloon festival at Grenville Christian College, just as Christine Peets mentioned in her reply. We lived in Maitland and walked over to view the balloons. Judy, did you ever attend their yearly display? I was too frightened to go up in the basket because the sound of the hissing, blowing flames pierced my imagination with dreadful pictures. :>(

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    • Yes, Helen we did see the Balloon Festival at the college. I remember putting the kids into the car and chasing the balloons to see them land in a field out Maitland Road. My funniest memory is that of getting a call from my sister, who lived right across the river from the college, one morning. She was wondering what she’d had to drink the night before because she’d just seen a pink elephant go by her window! 🙂

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  2. Great stories and photos, Judy. It’s nice that you’re getting to see more of the area. We used to go to the Balloon Festivals at Grenville College near Brockville and found them really fun. The night show is impressive. I’ve never been up in a balloon, but I’d be like you–not much interest in the tethered one, and not enough money for the flight. Still, it’s nice to see them float through the air. Keep having fun. I can’t have too much sympathy for you dealing with 80 degree temperatures during the day. Your nights are still warmer than our daytimes here likely. As Nelson says, it’s cold and frosty, with *lots* of snow. It might actually warm up a bit by the weekend so we’ll go skiing.
    Cheers!

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    • Thanks, Christine. As you now know, I’ve missed enjoying the warm weather for a few days, but it actually has been cooler here anyway. I’m feeling better, and the weather is improving, so all is good now.

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  3. Those balloons looked wonderful! When Matthew was very little I told him that I’d take him up in one someday. I haven’t done it yet!! will I? I well remember London Bridge and the story attached to it! Keep on travelling! E.

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  4. That is a beautiful part of the US. Bette and enjoyed it so much each of the 3 times we managed to see so much of it on our trips to California. Enjoy the warm weather because we are at the other end of the spectrum – its cold and frosty here. Drive safely.

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    • Yes, Uncle Nelson, I keep hearing about the non-stop nasty weather up there and feel sorry for everyone. How did we get so lucky to miss it! It has been much cooler this past week, and I had an allergy attack, but it’s still better than slogging through the snow. 🙂

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