The Luke Norris Travel Experience-Day 5: Luke Breaks Bad in the ABQ

It’s now Wednesday morning. I’m in Gallup, New Mexico and the mileage on the car is now 124961. It’s been quite an adventure thus far. I’ve already driven 2,284 miles and seen some amazing things. If you’re needing a recap or are new to the site, feel free to check out days 1-4 in the “Recent Posts” section. I’d been to some amazing places and seen some of the most beautiful scenery this great country of ours has to offer, and the New Mexico desert has plenty of that as well. What it also has is a billboard for a casino that actually advertises hourly childcare. Classy stuff. Today’s agenda, however, was a little different. I left Gallup and after about two hours, I arrived in Albuquerque. Now, don’t get me wrong. I think this is a wonderful town and I really did check out some of the Route 66 attractions and took a nice, general drive around town. But, to be honest, I wanted to geek out a bit. I came to the ABQ for Breaking Bad.

If you’ve never seen the show, then you may not get anything out of this particular post. If you are as big of a fan as I am, however, then you’ll know how awesome it was to get here and see some of these places. I knew I wouldn’t have the time to see absolutely everything, but I had a few hours to spend here, so I made a small list, mapped it out, and started on my own personal Breaking Bad tour.

I started here at Twisters. However, it might be a little more recognizable by the logo they have on the wall inside.
There’s plenty of these restaurants around, but this one located on Isleta Blvd. is the one used in the show. The parking lot, nor the building for that matter, weren’t as big as I thought they would be, but it was still pretty cool to pull in there. I got out of the car and headed inside to look around. I wasn’t really hungry, so I didn’t order any food, but I ordered a soda and did my best not to ask for Gus. I took a quick look around the place which doesn’t take long at all. They’ve got a few of the Los Pollos Hermanos logos on the walls and a pretty cool signed poster of Bryan Cranston next to the menu behind the counter. I’m sure they’re used to people coming in just to walk around, so they didn’t raise a fuss as I sat down for only a few minutes before heading out towards my next stop.

Next up, I headed to Old Town and found The Candy Lady. If you’re not familiar with this place, that’s because it’s not a place from the show. The draw here is the candy itself. Famous even before the show started, this particular shop was called on to create the prop meth used in the show, even taken on David Letterman by Bryan Cranston himself. So she decided to start bagging it up and selling it to the public. This cute little shop also has plenty of merchandise for sale, along with an array of different candies. But they knew I was here for the blue and I bought a little bag for myself and one each for the three people who got me into the show, my girlfriend Ashlie, my brother Matt, and my good friend Jim.
From here, I headed to Pinkman’s place. I figured at some point, I would run into some other folks doing exactly what I was doing and I finally did here. There were two guys taking a picture in front of the house and they saw me slowing down looking for the number, so they gave me the nod to let me know I was in the right place.
Next up was the duplex that Jesse would share with Jane for a short while. I actually drove right past it the first time, as it’s pretty easy to miss. It’s certainly not in the shape that it was for the show’s purposes. I wanted to get out and get a picture but the person that’s living there now really didn’t look like he would appreciate it, so I moved on. I looped back around looking for the Crossroads motel, which is actually the real name of the place. Now, I’ve seen worse places in my life, but how it’s portrayed on the show really isn’t too much of a stretch. No sign of Wendy though. I looked to pull in, but the parking lot is pretty small and apparently, the owners aren’t too keen on people using their parking lot just to take pictures. In reality, they actually have a sign posted letting you know that this is private property and if you really would like to take some pictures, then you can come into the office and pay the fee. Well, that certainly wasn’t going to happen, so I circled around to try to find a spot close by. I ended up at a stoplight across from the motel and since my camera was on the seat next to me, this is what I got.
It was now time to go and “have an A1 day” at the car wash. This place, actually called Octopus Car Wash, really is as big as it looks on television. Again, I found some more people who were there taking their own tour. We actually talked for a few minutes about where they had already been and where they were heading next. And finally, after days of taking some pictures for other people at some of my stops, including the Grand Canyon, someone offered to return the favor. And I swear to you, as soon as this nice lady handed my camera back to me after taking the picture below, she actually told me to have an A1 day.
Not too far from here was the White family home, certainly one of the more iconic images from the show. The neighborhood looks just like any other you might come across, but seeing the exterior of the house that I’d seen so many times on the show was pretty cool. All that was missing was a pizza on the roof.
I only had two more places to see before leaving town and first up was the little strip mall that served as the location for Saul Goodman’s office, probably to be used again this fall for “Better Call Saul”. It’s nothing special. It really is just a strip mall, of which Albuquerque has a ton.
And lastly, the laundry, the front for the meth superlab.
It had been quite a tour, but it was time to go. I had spent more time there than I had anticipated and I knew I still had many, many miles to drive that night. I found my way back to I-40 and continued my journey east. I made it back to the Central time zone at 8:41 as I hit the Texas border. It was another cool night and the stars were once again out in full force. If I had to do it over again, I probably would have stayed in Amarillo for the night, because the town really did look like it could be a good time. Instead, I drove all the way through Texas and reached Oklahoma at 11:24. My plan for the next day was to tour Oklahoma City, so I continued to drive into the night until I reached El Reno, Oklahoma, located about 30 miles from OKC. Just another nice little town in the middle of nowhere full of cheap hotels, exactly what I was looking for.

Day 5 certainly wouldn’t be for everybody, but it was a fun day for me. The mileage was now 125664, so I had driven 703 miles that day. I was certainly exhausted, but it had been worth it. I don’t think I realized how much of a Breaking Bad nerd I really was until I realized I planned an entire day just to go see those places. And I guarantee that someday, I’ll end up doing the exact same thing in Philadelphia with all the Rocky things. And I’m completely okay with that.

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