So you want to be a volunteer?

The tumbleweeds and goathead bushes have been hoed up and hauled off

This post is dedicated to the many wonderful folks that we met and became friends with while volunteering at the Balloon Fiesta.  I learned so much from each of you and am so grateful to have met you.  I will miss you all and I hope that you will enjoy this recap of our fun and struggles!

Hard work and long hours are mandatory in order to change a landfill from an empty pile of weeds and burrs into an RV park jam packed full of festive balloon aficionados.

Over 1300 RVs were checked in and parked by RV South Park Volunteers
Over 1300 RVs were checked in and parked by RV South Park Volunteers

In an earlier post, I described how a Fiesta guest’s day normally begins with a peaceful arrival at the Balloon Fiesta Park.  In contrast, pandemonium is the alarm that awakens a volunteer once Balloon Fiesta opens.  On a typical day, I am first awakened at 3:55am as Storm leaves the RV to drive the Mule to the Balloon field to pick up and deliver breakfast for the RV park volunteer crew.  After he slams the door, cranks up the Mule beside the bedroom window and finally dissolves in a cloud of dust, I attempt to return to dreamland. Just as I fall into the welcoming arms of slumber, a starving garbage truck growls into the park to empty three nearby dumpsters by hurling them into the air and thrashing them against the truck top until they reluctantly disgorge all of their contents.

A line of RVs waiting to check in greets volunteers bright and early
A line of RVs waiting to check in greets volunteers bright and early

Eyes wide open, I try to find a warm spot in the bed to once again attempt that elusive return to somnolence.  About the time I blissfully doze in a cloud of warm comforter, an apparent apocalypse occurs just down the street from me and every car with a siren in Albuquerque wails in distress at the top of their amplifiers.  At 4:30am a helicopter swoops down and hovers over our RV for the next hour like a loaded troop carrier over a hot LZ  (God only knows why) and at 5:00am I surrender, get up, dress and hitch a shuttle ride over to the Balloon field if I am not working.  If I am working, I stumble over to the registration building to welcome our newest arrivals.  Storm works 12 or 6 hour days and I work 4 hours each day, but like most of the wives I usually spend my time off riding in a Mule or golf cart with Storm parking RVs (the other wives usually ride with their own husbands :-)) just so we can see more of our spouses during these busy days.

After nine days of hard work and play, this is one weary crowd.  Our group of volunteers gathered for a breakfast celebration before final cleanup and departure.   I was fortunate to get the following interview with a couple of the members of this hard working group!

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

4 Replies to “So you want to be a volunteer?”

  1. Best part of RVing is the people you meet. The places you see are great, but the people make the trip. GOD BLESS


    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      You are so right. Along those lines, all of our friends in NC are very much on our minds. So sorry to hear of the flooding. If you wind up organizing or participating in any relief efforts please let Storm or me know. We should be back in time to help over the next few weeks.


  2. 3:55am! 12 hour work days! What kind of forced labor camp have you fallen victim to? I think this may be worse than the “Oskosh Death March” from a few years back.

    1. Sunny Weathers says: Reply

      It was similar in the number of miles per day we put on our bodies, but the perks in updated wardrobes alone were worth it!

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