Breaking Bad in Albuquerque

August 23, 2017

I left the last blog safe at home in my Airbnb. I have found that Airbnb hosts generally fit 2 types. The first type become hosts because they genuinely like meeting people and the income is just an added bonus. The second type are doing it purely for financial gain and have no interest in the guests or interacting with them (they will also have 2,000 rules to follow).

This Airbnb was unfortunately in the second category with a weird twist – a guest was only allowed to eat/drink in the common lounge which had multiple CCTV cameras that kept you under surveillance (and I know the real deal as apposed to fake ones). The lounge and guest area was completely separated from the host’s side of the house by combination locks on each door. Try eating under those conditions!

I was aware that the award winning television series ‘Breaking Bad’ was filmed on location in Albuquerque so I went on the net and picked 4 out of the 10 must see locations to visit. I jumped on Fred and 1st up was this one;

If you have seen the series you will recognise the above photo as ‘Crystal (meth) Palace’. I can see why they chose the Motel and location as even now it fits in perfectly for what they wanted it to represent – a cheap dive of a motel where heavy drug use and trafficking took place. I took a few more photos;

Next up was the ‘Octopus Carwash’ – in the show they laundered all of the drug money thru the business;

I then went around to the ‘White House’;

Now what was funny with the white house is what happened when I pulled up and parked Fred on the other side of the street directly opposite. I could see 3 adults sitting on fold up chairs in the garage of the house and assumed that it was the owners. I took my helmet off and got my camera out – straight away a lady gets out of the chair and starts yelling at me to stay where I am and don’t come any closer. I look around to make sure she is actually yelling at me given I have no moved an inch in her direction.

She then half turns and I heard some sort of derogatory comment about “all being the same’. I couldn’t help myself so I yelled back that I wasn’t the ‘same’ and was from (you guessed it) New Zealand. Ha (get that up ya fossie). She jolts back around but I held my hand up telling her to calm down as I had no intention of going anywhere near them.

By this stage a couple of young kids from Canada have pulled up and have been watching the performance from the safety of further up the street and were laughing their heads off. I went over to them and joined in. For the life of me why would you buy a house like that and not expect people to show up and take photos? Also if you don’t like the attention, why sit in your garage? Crazy.

I got back on Fred and made sure I did a U-turn and go as slowly as possible past where they were sitting so I could give them a big thumbs up (I think I am getting too much fun out of being a shit stirrer!) before riding off.

I only went about 5 miles up the road and pulled in at a suburban police station. I had earlier pulled in at one closer to home but the office was shut for the weekend. I found that this one was also shut. I saw that a mum and her adult son were sitting outside the station so I asked them what the go was with all of the Police Stations being closed on a Saturday? She told me that there is NO police station open over the weekend to the public in Albuquerque. The way it works is that you phone dispatch and they will send a patrol to meet you. They had been waiting there for 2.5hrs and said that most people don’t bother given the ‘issues’ with the department. I spoke to her about what the issues were and didn’t find it surprising given the vibe I felt getting around the city.

I found it incredible that there was no front office open to the public in a city that has the population of 560,000 with another 500,000 in the surrounding towns. I went back home and did a bit of research and found they had a pretty poor reputation re corruption, evidence tampering, shootings, racism etc. The Federal government has threatened to withhold funding as a result of theses issues and that the crime rate is going thru the roof. The actual PD is about 300 short of their approved numbers which I think can be attributed to their ‘reputation’. I did not feel safe at all in the city – especially at night with all of the crazies driving around. Its unfortunate given that the city is in a spectacular location.

The next morning I am up and off early. Before leaving I took a few photo’s as the sun was coming up (romantic moment with Fred. Ha);

I headed off with the next stop being breakfast at Clines Corners truck stop that was 116klms up the road;

The diner inside the truck stop is great and has a Route 66 theme – the original diner was actually on Route 66 but had to move when the Interstate was built;

I had a great breakfast and checked out the large gift shop that had everything. I bought a few Route 66 souvenirs, filled Fred up and set off. My next detour was at a small town, Santa Rosa, which for some reason I thought would be much larger than it was (Pop. 2,700). Route 66 at one stage had gone directly thru the town and you could still see that in a lot of the buildings;

I was able to find the PD at the back of the City Hall and spoke to a lady (dispatcher) who was working alone whilst the ‘boys’ were out on the highway;

I don’t think the SWAT truck gets much of a work out!

I leave the township and head up the road. I was able to ride for nearly an hour (at different spots) on the original Route 66 which I thought was pretty cool;

My next stop was at Russells Diner for lunch and after 345klms I needed a rest. Fortunately I was able to keep myself entertained by visiting the free motor museum which I found really interesting and worth while;

I must admit it was a huge relief to get into Texas. As stated before I just didn’t get a good vibe from being in New Mexico which is disappointing given the country / scenery is special;

My next stop was only 60klms up the road at Vega where I called in at the local Sheriffs office. I had a good chat with ‘Tiny’, Yvonne (hope that’s right) and Coleman. Coleman also rides and Sturgis is on his bucket list to do – maybe even next year. Talking to these guys after New Mexico was like I had just got off a plane in a different country – unbelievable how different 2 states can be. I took a few photos around town;

I ride the final 60klms to Amarillo without any dramas and the best part was being able to ride most of it on Route 66. It was clear to me how business died when they built the new Interstate;

I find that my Airbnb is about 10klms out the other side of Amarillo so it takes me a bit extra time to get there. The distance out of town is the likely reason it is so cheap given that its a new house.

Safe at Home!

3 comments

  1. Comment by Mary Ellen

    Mary Ellen Reply August 27, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Lost track of you after Sturgis. Just found you in Amarillo. You are really good at this with your commentary and photos. Thanks! Laramie Mary Ellen

  2. Comment by Fozzie

    Fozzie Reply August 27, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    After telling them that you from NZ I’m surprised they didn’t invite you in for a cold one!!!

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply August 31, 2017 at 5:01 am

      They had a pet sheep and were worried about its safety….

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