Visiting Breaking Bad

Breaking BadHave I mentioned Breaking Bad here before? If not, that’s an oversight. I think we can all agree that television has come a long way in our lifetime, but Breaking Bad is a masterpiece, the pinnacle of the genre. I have never, ever seen a show like it, in which every single aspect is at an A+ level: writing, acting, casting, music, cinematography, narrative, character development. Every episode just blows my mind. It is, and I think very few would argue with this statement, the greatest show ever made. The funny thing is that I had no concept of it until my mom mentioned it to me (yes, my parents are way cooler than I am and always ten steps ahead of me on the tv front). I take my mom’s suggestions seriously, so I turned on an episode a few years ago when I was sick. And I could not stop watching it. At that time, there were only a few seasons on Netflix. I watched them all. And then I watched them again. I have probably seen every episode at least five times by now. The other funny thing is that I didn’t fall in love with Albuquerque because of the show. In fact, one of the (many!) reasons why I fell in love with the show was because I was already in love with Albuquerque. It made me so happy to see some of our favorite spots in town on the show, and to feel just a little bit of kinship with it that way. I never imagined we’d be back in Albuquerque until Eric had this conference in Santa Fe scheduled. And then I knew I wanted to try to retrace some of the show’s steps. For years I had been following this flickr account, lovingly put together by a local fan of the show. He locates each building and also gives an address. Since the show ended this year, there has also been an uptick in Breaking Bad tourism in Albuquerque, which I think is awesome. So if you are going to be in the Southwest anytime soon, it will be very easy to trace Walt and Jesse’s steps! Eric very sweetly chauffeured me around town this past weekend to as many Breaking Bad stops as we could squeeze in. It was SO. MUCH. FUN.  Here are a few of our favorites. In case you haven’t seen the show, I won’t give any spoilers! Here I am at Walt’s house. You know, 308 Negra Arroyo Lane. I was just waiting for a gray Aztek to pull up. Or a couple of muscle cars.

Breaking BadThe couple who live in this house are so kind and friendly. They have lived here for 40 years, and they come out and say hello when people stop by. She told me she had 2500 visitors this month alone. I can’t imagine being that kind and welcoming to thousands of people taking pictures of my house, but this couple is so kind and so genuinely interested in meeting everyone. Thank you, Fran!

Breaking BadA lot of people apparently throw pizzas on the roof, Walt style. I would never do that! And neither would the kindly punk band from Washington who were there at the same time. They offered to give Fran their cd, and she was excited about it. She is just the coolest. My only regret is that we didn’t bring a box of cookies for her. But I am thinking about printing this picture of all of us and mailing it to her with a thank you note! She is seriously doing such a service to all of us hard core fans.

Breaking BadNext stop: the car wash! I love its Octopus mascot.

Breaking BadHeisenberg still casts a long shadow here.

Breaking BadAnd there are lots of cast and crew photos inside.

Breaking BadWe serendipitously found Jesse’s house on the way to the Botanical Gardens. I thought the neighborhood looked familiar, so I looked up the address, and I was right!

Breaking BadThis garage has been built in front of what was once a long driveway, where the RV was parked. Oh shudder, the things that happened there!

Breaking BadThis is Jesse’s duplex. And it is apparently for rent?!?

Breaking BadAnd the back patio. I spy a ristra!

Breaking BadThe Crossroads Motel is nearby. I actually recognized this motel as soon as I saw it on the show–it’s right off the interstate.

Breaking BadHere is the boarded-up De Anza Motor Lodge, where Walt makes an important drop-off.

Breaking BadAnd Loyola’s Cafe, featured in the final season.

Breaking BadThe Zia Motor Lodge sign, which appears in several time-lapse shots.

Breaking BadThis is the Denny’s that is featured in the final season. Don’t forget the bacon.

Breaking BadThis is The Grove, where a lot of meetings took place in the final season. I nearly jumped out of my chair when I saw it on the show–it was our favorite restaurant in Albuquerque when we visited in 2009.

Breaking BadAnd, of course, no Breaking Bad tour would be complete without a visit to Los Pollos Hermanos! It is actually a burrito joint called Twisters, but they have a Pollos logo inside (and are also really kind to people traipsing in to take pictures).

Breaking BadThe logo!

Breaking BadHere I am waiting for Gus…and that does it for our little tour! I was surprised by how many places were very close to each other. I feel like all day long Eric was hearing, “Hey, that’s in Breaking Bad!” There is still so much more to see, but this was an excellent start.

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