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Old 03-22-2016, 09:39 PM   #1
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Sacramento to Albuquerque

Heading to the Balloon Fiesta in September. Tentatively planning to stop in Bakersfield, CA; Needles, CA: and Sun Valley, AZ. Looking for resort recommendations, or suggestions on selecting different stops.
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Old 03-23-2016, 12:52 PM   #2
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This is a BIG highly-attended festival. Here's a link. Study it thoroughly for lots of good information.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta - 2016 Daily Event Schedule

I would highly recommended you stay on the festival grounds. We did for two weeks and it's so convenient. We were in the dry camping area and free shuttles came by constantly for the 10-minute ride to the gate. We had balloons landing right in front of our RV. They do have a water fill and pumping service, if needed. Staying outside means you'll have long, slow drives and some roads close down during certain times. You really have to plan for this. The neighboring RV parks even up to Santa Fe fill up and they also increase their price during this time.

Another thing...if you stay on-site, they are always looking for help in crewing the balloons. Sometimes the pilots will give you a free ride. It's a lot of fun to be part of it. You do have to get up early though.


As far as your planned stops - they aren't resort areas. If you're last stop is in Sun Valley, AZ (not much there) which is at Holbrook, AZ there's a very basic RV park at Holbrook, Exit 285. If you want to drive through Petrified Forest Nat'l Park you could take Hwy 180 south out of Holbrook to Petrified Forest Rd. which isn't far. Right at the corner of 180 and that road is a gift shop that offered camping - used to be free; no hookups. Stay overnight and then drive on the 'Forest' Rd. (paved) from there to the other end which ends back on I-40, Exit 311. It doesn't take long and as long as you're there you might as well see it.
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:21 PM   #3
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Stops . . . Bakersfield has a couple of nice parks, considering what the geography has to work with. If we want a nice dinner after a day's driving, we stay at Bakersfield RV Resort. It has a great on site restaurant. River Run is also very nice. I just won't use the pull-thru's that are side by sides. Based on what I'm going to suggest next, Orange Grove on 58 is also just great. Rather than Needles, might I suggest Blake Ranch just east of Kingmam. Very nice facility. And, if it's pretty hot in the Bakersfield area, might want to consider the park by the glider airport in Tehachapi. Much cooler at night & a pretty good little overnighter.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:32 PM   #4
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We travel that route a lot. In Bakersfield, we have stayed at River Run(freeway noise) and Orange Grove, quiet but trains a half mi away but not that noisy. Orange Grove is east of CA 99 about 8 mi but on CA58 on your way to Needles(very quiet). We stay at Desert View RV Resort in Needles, very clean and pull thrus. Just call ahead a day in advance and they will have a spot for you. Just remember, if going thru Needles, fuel up in Bakersfield so you have enough fuel to get to Exit 9 in AZ(20 mi. past Needles). Needles has some of the highest gas prices in CA, don't know why anyone buys fuel there when there are other options just a few mi away in AZ. Exit 9 has Pilot/Flying J, Terrible Herbst and Loves, all within a few pennies of each other and good access.
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:51 PM   #5
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Sky City Casino has an RV park exit 102, Enchanted Trails in ABQ is a PA (not valid in Oct) If you are dry camping at the Fiesta, stop the day befog. Do the laundry, fill the water and propane tanks, and empty the holding tanks. If the Fiesta has started, wait till after 10-11 AM travel. Join a Chase crew. And have a GREAT TIME.

We have been on the Chase Crew Committee for since 2010. Come see us.
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Old 03-27-2016, 06:08 PM   #6
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Orange Grove in Bakersfield,Desert View in Needles or a little further up the road there is Blake Ranch.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:09 PM   #7
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Stayed at A Country RV in Bakersfield and Blake Ranch in Kingman. Both are nice.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:17 PM   #8
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Orange grove, but ya better hurry. We were there about 3 weeks ago and the bottom fruit was gone. Seems everything is about that low-hanging fruit!
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Old 03-30-2016, 05:32 PM   #9
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Anywhere around Needles will be hot during the day, even in Oct. Second the recommendation to fuel up in AZ I-40 exit 9, much lower cost fuel than CA. Balloon Fiesta traffic sucks, stay on-site if you can.
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Old 05-17-2016, 08:49 PM   #10
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I agree with Tehachapi much cooler and Blake Ranch for overnights. Have done this several times when passing thru the area.
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Old 06-01-2016, 09:20 PM   #11
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Bakersfield is HOT, but if you must stay there, River Run RV park is a nice overnight. It's close to the freeway, but our site was at the western end and we didn't get much road noise.
Spoiler alert: the park is on the banks of the river, but the Kern is bone dry 10 months of the year. The sandy bed makes a good dog walk however.
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