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

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

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.


Taking the long way to the Bikers Reunion

We’re finally on the road again!

When our biking friends were planning the annual trip to New Liskeard, Ontario, for the Bikers Reunion on the Canada Day weekend at the end of the month, they were quite confused when we told them that we were leaving on June 10th. But it was true. We left home on Monday in the motor home with the Boulevard on the trailer behind. It was pouring rain. Since we hadn’t been able to get away earlier, and we’d already booked ourselves into the Biker’s Reunion, when we read about the Good Sam RV Rally in Syracuse New York, we figured we could combine the two into a three week adventure. We’ve been to a number of Bike Rallies, but never an RV Rally.

Since we weren’t booked into the RV camping site until the next night, we stopped near Watertown NY for dinner at the Cracker Barrel (our favourite family restaurant when visiting the US) and spent the night parked in the parking lot, which is OK with them. It continued to rain most of the night and all the next day. The Rally was being held at the New York State Fair Grounds and much of it was pretty muddy. We were given a spot along the inside race track, which wasn’t very attractive, but the ground was solidly packed gravel which meant that, unlike some of the people who’d paid extra for hydro hook up, we didn’t need to worry about getting stuck in the mud.

RV Parking

RV Parking around the track

Not all of the buildings and services were open yet, so we had no internet access. When the rain finally stopped late in the afternoon, we took our iPad with us on the bike and found free Wifi at the Mall so we could quickly check emails. When we returned we found the gate that we’d entered through in the afternoon was locked! Fortunately there were many volunteers around and one kind soul led us in his car to where we had to cross over the outside track to the inside. From there we turned in the direction we’d driven in the morning only to find that a large section of the inside track had turned into a slippery patch of mud! Not good on a bike! I think we both held our breath expecting to land in the slop ourselves at any moment, but Jim’s careful and experienced maneuvering got us through.

Wednesday was a warm sunny day again and there were a few activities for the early crowd so we familiarized ourselves with the lay of the land, bought our souvenir t-shirts and attended a couple of seminars. One seminar was all about travelling by RV caravan to Alaska, put on by Fantasy RV Tours. That could be one for our Bucket List! We toured some of the new RVs on display and found a new one to put on our Wish List. That night we rode into Syracuse for dinner at the Dinosaur BBQ. The restaurant was crammed with other like-minded souls who thought it a good night to enjoy the nice weather. We were told we’d have an hour wait before getting a seat. There was lots to see among the many posters and artifacts on the walls and ceiling, and interesting people-watching to do. Before we knew it, we had a high top table for two right in front of the bar. We ordered the rib dinner for two and it was well worth the wait. The price was right too – about what we’d pay for one dinner back home.

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ

Dinner at Dinosaur BBQ

Thursday the indoor exhibits (i.e. vendors) were open, and since it rained all day again, the building was packed with shoppers. That’s where we spent most of our day and a chunk of money.

Today the sun shone on us once more. And more RVs had arrived. It was a day of seminars and searching for our “matches”. In our registration package we were each given a numbered sticker that we were to wear everywhere, along with our ID badges. The purpose of the numbers was to search out the three people in the crowds who would have the same numbers. Although some people got creative and wrote the numbers out on large posters, or lists that they attached to their hats, most simply stuck them to the ID badges that hung from a lanyard around their neck. We heard one man comment, “I haven’t looked at anybody’s face in three days!” There are prizes to be had if you can find your match. With Jim’s help, I found one of mine this evening, so I’m now the proud owner of a T-shirt that reads, “I Found My Match” and my name will go into a draw for one of the $5,000 worth of prizes. We still haven’t found Jim’s “match”. Better luck tomorrow.

We watched a parade of couples line up to be “Re-hitched” in the park, some in wedding gowns and suits, others in comical attire.

The evening ended with a concert in the band shell by none other than Mr. Vegas himself, Wayne Newton. He still puts on an impressive performance, backed by a large band of musicians and two backup singers.  Unfortunately, his voice betrays his age.

Tonight we finally have internet connection in the RV through a Verizon card, but data is limited so photos are too.