Through Utah’s Arches and Canyons on an RV Expedition

You haven’t seen true natural beauty until you’ve seen the arches and canyons of the American Southwest!  Years of erosion from wind and water have shaped the terrain of Utah into soft, flowing valleys and towering spires of rock.  Utah’s arches and canyons should be on your “must visit” vacation list, and you’ll need several days to take in every amazing sight.  In order to do this vacation right, pick up an El Monte RV in Salt Lake City or get an RV rental from a location closer to your home from one of the other numerous El Monte RV rental locations found throughout the U.S. and then get ready for the expedition of a lifetime!

Amazing Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

Amazing Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

Your first destination should be Dead Horse Point State Park.  Despite its name, the park is anything but dead!  The most famous feature of the park is the view from the top of a 2,000 foot prominence above a “gooseneck curve” in the Colorado River.  Over the millennia, the river has carved its way deep into the rock of the park, leaving layer after layer of fantastic, multi-colored rock.  The sight of the river’s slow and steady meandering journey through the landscape will take your breath away.

A short drive away you’ll find Arches National Park.  The name may be simple, but there’s a reason this is a world-famous destination for lovers of the great outdoors.  You have to see the natural arches to believe them.  The graceful arcs of stone look like they shouldn’t be able to stand on their own.  The longest, Landscape Arch, is an incredible 306 feet long!  After you’ve finished snapping pictures, take some time to sit back and simply enjoy the view!

If you’re ready to find an even more hands-on approach towards examining the arches, check out the Moab Adventure Center to sign up for some rock climbing and canyoneering.  At the Adventure Center, expert guides will help you suit up and scramble over hundreds of feet of red rock.  You can even rappel down into chasms or off a giant arch!

After getting up close and personal, the next best way to see the parks is from up high.  The best way to do that is by way of a hot air balloon!  Canyonlands Ballooning will take your group up, up and away over Moab, Utah, and all of the incredible surrounding countryside.  The expansive view of the landscape can’t really be comprehended until you take it all in slowly from the sky.

Incredible Capture of the Double Arches and MIlky Way, Arches National Park, Utah

Incredible Capture of the Double Arches and MIlky Way, Arches National Park, Utah

Another view you can’t get anywhere else isn’t just from the sky – it’s of the sky itself.  Far from bright city lights, take your RV out at night to meet up with Redrock Astronomy.  After arriving at a designated “dark sky site,” Redrock Astronomy will regale you with tales of how early Native Americans understood the universe and their relation to the stars.  You’ll get to examine those stars through a high-powered telescope and see them with a level of clarity that’s impossible to attain near towns and cities.

The arches and canyons of Utah are like a whole different world.  Pick up an El Monte RV motor home today and you can head out on an expedition you’ll remember for your entire life!   Remember to plan ahead and reserve your camp site inside the Arches National Park HERE!   For information on locating other RV campground locations CLICK HERE.

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For information on renting a motor home CLICK HERE!

Picture Credits: Panoramic Arches National Park by Bruno Monginoux and Double Arches under Milky Way by John Fowler, both licensed under Flickr Creative Commons

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RVing to the Shenandoah Valley Hot Air Balloon, Wine & Music Festival

Have you had the pleasure of visiting scenic Clarke County, Virginia? If not, you should definitely plan an RV trip to the Long Branch Historic House and Farm. It’s the site each year of the Shenandoah Valley Hot Air Balloon, Wine & Music Festival. Just in case you’re not familiar with this fascinating festival, we’ve pulled together all the resources you need to make this a perfect RV vacation.

The Festival
In mid-October each year, the Long Branch plantation provides a scenic and historic setting for the Hot Air Balloon & Wine Festival. There are events for the entire family, including an antique car show, hay bale maze, and of course, the balloons! For three days, dozens of balloonists from all over the US descend on Long Branch Farm for ascensions, exhibitions and a Friday night Hot Air Balloon & Pumpkin Glow.

Another great reason to attend this event annually is the wine tasting exhibition, featuring up to twenty area wineries. The fine wines themselves are reason enough to schedule an RV camping trip to the area! There’s also plenty of live music, fabulous food and the celebrated farm, originally surveyed by George Washington. In other words, you’ll want to spend all three days of the Festival soaking in the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley while attending entertaining events.

RV Camping Near the Festival
There are plenty of RV campsites near the Festival grounds. Watermelon Park Campground in Berryville has full-service sites along the Shenandoah River. Another great choice is Candy Hill Campground in Winchester. Choose your campground and make your reservations early. This is a very popular event with RVers!

If you don’t own your own RV, we’re ready to help you with a great rental. Our El Monte RV Rentals location in Roanoke, Virginia is easily accessible from all airports in the Washington, D.C. area. Fly into Dulles, Reagan or Baltimore Airport, pick up your plush motorhome and travel south to Millwood for the Festival.

Isn’t this the year you should be watching hot air balloons rise into the Virginia sky? We give Shenandoah Valley Hot Air Balloon, Wine & Music Festival a big thumbs up as an RV camping trip destination.

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RVing to the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

Need a quick, late autumn RV camping vacation that includes music, hot air balloons and worthy causes? The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is held each year in late November in Yuma, Arizona. Located in the far southwest corner of the state, a stone’s throw from both California and Mexico, Yuma hosts this fabulous festival that raises money for local charities.

Here are the five top reasons RV campers will love this Balloon Festival.

    1. Great Location!
      The Colorado River runs through Yuma, and the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival is set against its wild beauty. Imagine waking up to dozens of balloons rising on the riverbank, with picturesque mountains as a backdrop! Three different venues in this Sonoran Desert city set the stage for the three day invitational Festival.
    1. Great Events!
      One of the things that make this Balloon Festival unique is the variety of venues for Festival events. A special Media Flight lifts off from the grounds of a local school, and mass ascensions each day are based at a scenic park. The crowning event of the weekend, a sundown tethered balloon “glow” set to music, takes place at Desert Sun Stadium. You won’t have time to be bored on this RV camping trip. There are colorful, thrilling events occurring everywhere you turn!
    1. Great Balloons!
      Did we mention this is an invitational Balloon Festival? That means that only about three dozen top-notch balloonists from around the world are invited to take part in the three-day Festival. You’ll be amazed at their expertise is piloting their balloons during the weekend.
    1. Great People!
      The City of Yuma, civic-minded corporations and an organization called the Caballeros de Yuma go all out to make this annual invitational Festival a family event. Not only do the Caballeros raise money for scholarships and charities by operating the event, there are also connections to kids throughout the Festival. One very special annual tradition is the Tissue Balloon Launch featuring miniature hot air balloons created by area children. Another great Balloon Festival community tradition—breakfast made by local law enforcement during the early morning ascensions!
    1. Great RV Camping!
      Pick up your luxurious RV rental at our Phoenix RV Rentals office and head south to Yuma for a weekend of Balloon Festival fun. While in Yuma, plan to stay at Shangri-La RV Resort, a large, full-service RV resort and campground. With all the amenities you could possibly need right there in the neighborhood, your Balloon Festival RV camping adventure will be memorable.Just twelve miles west of Yuma, you can also experience desert camping with full hookups at Gold Rock Ranch RV Campground in Winterhaven, California. If you’ve never experienced the Southern California desert by RV, this is the place to do it!There’s still time to plan a fabulous Balloon Festival weekend in Yuma. Grab the kids, pack your casual clothes and make your RV reservation today! What better way to spend a November weekend than immersed in music, hot air balloons and RV camping fun?


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The Red Rock Balloon Rally

Seven miles east of Gallup, New Mexico, in some truly spectacular surroundings, Red Rock State Park has hosted the Red Rock Balloon Rally for twenty nine years!

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon Festival

Our readers love this balloon fest, the second largest in the world, and we wanted to pass along this idea for a great RV camping vacation. Sit back and listen about how these wild canyons are transformed every December near Gallup, New Mexico.

The Destination
Just off I-40, about two hours west of Albuquerque, Red Rock State Park is a photographer’s paradise. Smooth red rock bluffs surround the park on three sides, making this six hundred acre park the perfect setting for an international balloon rally.

Besides the vast red rock canyons in the area, the site of the Rally also offers a big taste of Native American culture. The Red Rock Museum features art and cultural displays from the Zuni, Hopi and Navajo cultures, as well as the ancient Anasazi who once inhabited the area. And, one more reason motorhome campers love this Rally – it’s free to anyone who wants to come & watch!

The Event
Much more than just a major hot air balloon event, this huge festival raises thousands of dollars each year for area charities. Balloon crews from around the world gather the first week of December for three days of balloon races, mass ascensions and sundown balloon glows that will have your camera snapping.

If you’ve never attended a balloon rally, this is the perfect place to start! RV campers from all over have been fascinated by exciting events like the balloon races, in which balloon crews move from target to target, dropping their markers. And we can’t even describe how awesome it is watching dozens of balloons “light up” in the evening sky against a backdrop of red rock bluffs.

In the midst of all that color and action, Red Rock Balloon Rally takes on its own unique flavor with the added ingredient of Native American culture. Special ceremonial dances, held as official Rally events, allow visitors a glimpse into ancient rituals. Native artisans sell pottery, jewelry and other handcrafted art throughout the Rally, so plan to come away with some wonderful finds.

The RV Camping Possibilities
Ready to roll to Red Rock? Here are some suggestions for making this your best RV camping trip ever!

There’s a very well-equipped RV campground on Route 66, in nearby Gallup. USA RV Park is in a scenic mountain setting and offers all the amenities motorhome campers could hope to find. There’s also the large KOA Gallup Kampground within minutes of the Balloon Rally site. It features large pull-thru campsites, wifi, cable and a campground store for your convenience. Either way, your RV camping vacation will be a memorable one, thanks to the great campgrounds available near Red Rock.

We hope this stirs your interest to see the wonder that is Red Rock Balloon Rally! Book your El Monte RV Rentals motorhome now and plan to spend some time at the Rally this December. It could be just the lift your spirits need!

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RVing to the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally

Every year in late October, dozens of hot air balloons descend upon Taos, New Mexico for three days of balloon lifts, parades and just plain fun! It sounded like such a great idea for an RV camping trip that we’ve pulled together information about the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally and interesting things to do in the surrounding area.

Balloon Rally in the Mountains
Each year, thousands of people flock to the mountains surrounding Taos, to watch colorful balloons rising into the dawn. Hot air ballooning is popular in Northern New Mexico and many balloon outfitters operate balloon ride concessions year-round. This makes the Balloon Rally a natural event for the Taos area, and it gets bigger every year.

A number of events during the Rally have emerged as crowd favorites. The Dawn Patrol, held at six a.m. each day, is spectacular, so don’t forget to bring your camera! There’s also a mass ascension of balloons an hour later. There’s nothing quite like seeing dozens of balloons rising, one after another, into the cool, clear air above the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The ultimate photo op at the Rally is the sundown “Balloonmenshine,” where balloon crews “shine” the balloons on the ground by flaming up their burners. Treat yourself to a balloon ride sometime during the weekend, too.

When it’s time to settle down for the evening, RV camping in the mountains is a great experience. Here are a couple of ideas for area campgrounds our readers have recommended.

RV Camping Possibilities
Nestled in a mountain valley near the Balloon Rally site, you’ll find Taos Valley RV Park. This beautiful park offers mountain views, free wireless and full hookups for RVs.

Monte Bello RV Resort, down the road on Hwy 64, sits on a high mesa that offers a fabulous view of the surrounding countryside. Located near the Rio Grande Gorge suspension bridge, this campground features a convenience store, hiking trails and picnic pavilion.

Things to Do in Taos
Spend three days in the midst of hot air balloon activities, and then stay, if you can, to explore the rich possibilities around Taos. If you’ve never traveled to Taos, you’ll be amazed by the cultural, historical and outdoor sports activities you’ll find there.

Taos Pueblo is a fitting symbol of this area rich in Native American history. The Pueblo is a Native American community continuously inhabited for over one thousand years! Once the Pueblo has sparked your interest in Native art, spend time exploring more than eighty art galleries in the Taos, New Mexico area.

We also recommend spending time in the mountains around Taos, whether your sport is mountain biking, hiking or lake fishing. Rio Grande Gorge is a spectacular place to visit, plunging eight hundred feet through red rock to the Rio Grande River below. Carson National Forest is adjacent to Taos, and offers over a million acres of mountain beauty rising from six thousand to over thirteen thousand feet!

The Taos Mountain Balloon Rally is a wonderful way to experience the rugged beauty of Northern New Mexico. Fly into Albuquerque and pick up your reserved RV rental at our Albuquerque RV Rentals office there, then head north to Taos. Your trek along the road to Taos, and at least three days of fun around the Balloon Rally, will have you calling to book your RV rental reservation for next year!

Posted in Balloon Festivals, NM RV Camping, NM RV Vacation, RV Vacation Ideas | 1 Comment

RVing to the Pocono Balloon Festival

What could be more beautiful than a Fall weekend in the Poconos? We’ve heard great things from RV rental customers about the Pocono Balloon Festival every October, and we wanted to get the word out.

The Pocono Balloon Festival is held each October at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area in Shawnee-on-Delaware, Pennsylvania. Surrounded by the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Ski Area is cloaked in fall colors during the festival. The three-day Balloon Festival is a great place to spend an RV camping vacation.

One of the nicest things about the Pocono Balloon Fest is watching the early morning balloon launch as hot air balloons rise above the Poconos at sunrise. Throughout the weekend, balloon demonstrations, lifts and competitions are held. If you’d like to book a ride on a hot air balloon, this is the perfect place to do it! Few sights are more spectacular than the Delaware Water Gap dressed in fall foliage, and you can see it all from a birds-eye view.

The Festival has, by the way, become known as the Hot Air Balloon and Timber Festival, as it also highlights a regional lumberjack exhibition. Get ready for some exciting competition! Your family will love watching the pole climbing contest, log rolling and other events borne from the area’s logging heritage.

Plan to spend the three-day weekend enjoying music performances, food vendors galore and plenty of activities for the kids.

Where to Camp

No matter where you stay, you’ll be surrounded by photo opportunities, outdoor sports adventures, and, of course, the Festival. You can fly into Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport and pick up your RV rental at our El Monte RV Rentals location in nearby Kingston. From Kingston, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area is a little over an hour away.

Doesn’t this sound like a fun way to spend time in Poconos? Call and let us know when you’re leaving, so we can book the right RV rental for your trip. Be sure to share you photos with us when you get back!

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Balloon Festivals Galore

There are two hot air balloon festivals coming up in June.

Starting today(June 5) and running through June 7 is the Temecula Valley Hot Air Balloon Festival in Temecula, CA.

Dallas Ft.Worth Summer Balloon ClassicFrom June 19 through June 21, 2009 the Dallas Ft.Worth Summer Balloon Classic will be held in Waxahachie, TX. El Monte RV has two convenient locations from which you may pick up an rv rental for this event – McKinney RV Rentals (northeast Dallas) and Palmer RV Rentals.

Of course don’t forget the world’s largest hot air balloon festival which happens in October – the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. In 2009 it will be held October 3 – 11 at Balloon Fiesta Park, which is located at 5000 Balloon Fiesta Parkway NE, Albuquerque, NM.

For more information on other hot air balloon festivals see Balloon Festivals in the USA on the Blastvalve Ballooning Search Engine site.

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