New Mexico: Land of Breaking Bad

Many Heisenburg quotes were used as we cruised into Albuquerque, the setting of Vince Gilligan’s incredible show Breaking Bad. With our due date (Day of the Dead) in Mexico looming, we planned to just spend a few days in this state before heading to Texas to cross the border. The only things we had on our itineraries was to cycle around Albuquerque location-spotting from Breaking Bad and to visit a barbecue restaurant in Santa Fe, so a few days would suit us well and give us freedom to find other things to do as well.

We rented out bikes from Joshua at Routes Rental, a huge Breaking Bad fan who could reference every episode and map out a key location that we could visit on a convenient loop around the city centre. My favourite locations was the corner where Combo was shot and many drug deals were completed, the carpark where Walter White attempted to blow up Gus Fring’s car (you can cycle up to the 5th floor if the parking attendant isn’t present) and the motel where Hank takes Walter Jr to show him the negatives to a life of drugs. We loitered outside the Pinkman family residence for the genuine owner to come outside and speak to us. Apparently she often invites tourists in to have a look around the house that Jesse bought off his parents and turned into a partyhouse, but she was expecting a friend round so didn’t do the same to us. Our parched mouths from cycling in stifling heat went without water until we returned the bikes to Joshua, who gave us a bottle of water and a bag of blue ‘meth’ candy.

nm dam.jpgThe dam where Jesse realised he had been betrayed and tried to buy himself a new life.

We spent the evening driving around to the set locations that we couldn’t reach by bike (A-1 carwash, Walt and Skyler’s house, Saul Goodman’s office, Hank and Marie’s house, Jessie and Jane’s apartment, and a dam where Jesse tried to escape his life and buy a new identity). We also hunted for the ‘super lab’ hidden inside Delta Linen Supply, but couldn’t locate it within the industrial estates.

Walter White's carwash. #Albuquerque #BreakingBad

A post shared by Ben Strickland (@stricksmate) on

Whilst searching for the DEA office, we stumbled into the genuine federal police station of Albuquerque who laughed when we asked if it was where Breaking Bad was filmed. While they couldn’t point us in the direction of Hank’s office, they did give us another recommendation: Calibre shooting range. We went there before we drove to Santa Fe, renting out two 9mm handguns and firing off multiple boxes of ammunition down a 30-metre range. This activity was much cheaper than we expected – $31 for an hour and a half of entertainment, made cheaper when a local lady offered us her spare box of bullets. The guys who worked there were knowledgeable and showed us around the guns, and put on a hard sale to try and tempt us to let off a Barrett 50.cal at $10 per shell.

In Santa Fe (only a half hour drive from ABQ), we stopped off at the Whole Hog Café for lunch. Back in 2002, it placed 1st for Best Barbecue Food in the Memphis International Food Competition, and we had heard only good things. Again, it was surprisingly cheap for a restaurant with such a good reputation – I was happy to order at a bar ‘Nando’s-style’ and pour my own drinks if it meant a delicious, filling meal would only set me back $11. With full stomachs, we hit the road again to cross into Texas, our final state.

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