New Mexico Summer Vacation - Breaking Bad Tour, Burgers and a movie

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Summer Vacation 2019
In our quest to visit all 50 states, this summer we decided to visit New Mexico. 
We have 6 days to visit as many places as possible, so we are going to hit the ground running.

Michael is 15 and has been flying since he was 1. He still doesn't care for it much. But after the anxiety of flying wears off, he's quickly asleep. 

And what happens when you literally nod off on a plane?
Your mom videos you...

It's taken two flights and two planes to get here, but this is our first glimpse of Albuquerque. 

The airport even looks southwestern with it's bold colors and tile floors. 
We land and pick up our rental car. We are both starving and looking for a place to eat. What to eat? Mexican Food? Yeah, probably. 

I consulted Google and Yelp and this restaurant was top rated for Mexican Food. We walked in and immediately knew we had chosen wisely. This was a family owned restaurant and we were greeted with open arms. They were all so friendly and before, during and after we ordered, they continued to talk to us about our plans in Albuquerque and made suggestions of things we should see. 

They get a lot of visitors here. They have a large map on the US and you can see people visit from all over the US and the world. 

We were able to drop a pin right on Cameron Park. Guess we are the first to be here, no other pins in that area. 

Our food came out very quickly and since we were starving, we dove right in. I had a tostada salad with Carne Adovada a marinated pork. It was all very delicious, just heavy. I could only eat a portion of it. I have a feeling we will have many meals like this while we travel through New Mexico.  

Michael had ground beef and cheese tacos. It was exactly what he wanted! He devoured these faster than I've seen him eat anything in a long time. 

Since this was our first trip here, they gave us a free serving of Natilla. A Mexican style custard. 
This was AMAZING. Even with Michael having an egg allergy and his mouth itching, he wanted to devour it. Unfortunately, the allergy stopped that, but it was definitely tasty. 

We made our way to our hotel. We are staying at one of the top rated hotels in Albuquerque near the airport. The Baymont is rated a 9.2 on trip advisor. We had expectations of a nice place to stay for a few days as we discover more about the area. 

When our map took us to this sketchy area, I thought we may have had the wrong location. It's hard to really tell from this one snapshot, but this is a horrible neighborhood. We had to enter through a gate to get to our hotel. Once inside I felt fine, but I won't be going for any early morning runs as I normally do when I travel. 

The view from our room.  Southwestern terrain in full view. 
And a lovely sunset through the rain clouds. 
The area is not at all what we expected, but we are going to make the best of it. 

Day 2
They offer a free buffet style breakfast. This is the first hotel that I've ever seen a pancake machine in. Press the button and 3 pancakes are produced. Very cool! 

When we were driving around the city on our way to our first excursion, we saw the El Dorado Bakery. Reminded us of home. Because of the neighborhood, I wouldn't actually go in there, but I'm imagining they have all kinds of local baked goods. Yum.

Old Town Albuquerque
June 27, 2019
Being that we are both big Breaking Bad fans, we decided to take a tour of all of the places from the show. We met up with our tour in Old Town Albuquerque and had a few minutes to look around before the tour was to meet up. 

We were a little early and had some time to walk around a bit. This is the LaHacienda Restaurant. 

A Convent

Breaking Bad Tour
New Mexico Film Tours
We had two options for transportation during the tour. There was this comfy tour bus and an RV, which is the just like the RV that was used in the show. We chose the bus. 

While the RV is crazy fun, it didn't look terribly comfortable inside with a meth kitchen and all...
The tour guides said they had to travel far to get this RV. It's exactly the same year and coloring as the one in the show, then they tricked out the inside to create the ultimate meth lab. 

Better Call Saul's license plate. Funny references in every corner of the RV

We drove through the country club where many of the show's characters lived. 

Jesse lived here. 

Probably one of the most famous places on the show was Los Pollos Hermanos. This chicken restaurant is called Twisters and they just changed out the sign when they were filming. This is where Gustavo (Gus) worked. He was essential to the distribution process of the product Walt and Jesse were creating. 

Image result for los pollos hermanos breaking bad

The inside however, is covered in everything LPH and memorabilia from Breaking Bad. 

The tour provided us all with drinks and breakfast burritos. 

The Crossroads Hotel is where prostate Wendy turned tricks for money. 
Also known as the "Crystal Palace"

Jane's apartment. This is where she overdosed and died. 
Image result for apartment jesse girlfriend OD breaking bad

"Dog House" in the show. They seemed to always be there at night. 

Java Joes. In the show this was Tuco's lair. 

Image result for tuco's explosion breaking bad
This is where Walt threw down a handful of his product and said "This ain't nothin'!" and caused a huge explosion. 

This is another huge part of the show. The car wash is where all of the money laundering took place. 
This is a large chain of carwashes in ABQ, but none are as large as this one.  I think it was originally a place where large trucks could get washed, now it is just used for standard cars. 

Image result for car wash breaking bad
During the show, this was called the A1A car wash. 

And the house. This is where Walter White and his family lived. The interior was always shot at the Albuquerque studios and this was only used for exterior shots. But the lives of those that own this house have been changed forever.  They have repainted and just had a new roof installed. 
Image result for pizza on roof breaking bad
They've had to install a gate to keep people from throwing pizzas on the roof, as this is a scene from the show when Walter was denied entry by his wife and took out his frustrations on the pizza. 

It's changed quite a bit from the show, but a fun place to visit. 

This is Gus's laundry business. It is also where he built the "Superlab" for Walt and Jesse.

Image result for breaking bad superlab

Albuquerque Studios is where most of the interior shots were taken for the show. They are a huge studio in New Mexico and many films have been made here. They continue to employ large amounts of locals and are bringing quite a bit of income to the area. 

After the tour, we went back to the Hacienda area of Old Town and decided to grab some lunch at La Placita. 

Michael had a quesadilla

Each meal always ends with fresh Sopapillas

They have honey on the table and after you break one open, just fill it with honey and enjoy. YUM!

We drove back into our section of town, rested at the hotel for a bit and found out that Albuquerque is home to SEVERAL Whataburger restaurants. This is one of Michael's favorite. We knew what he was having for dinner... 

We drove about a mile from our hotel to find this one...

And inside, an armed security officer. He was all business too. Not a friendly security guy. He looked like he meant to serve and protect and this place must come with it's share of riff-raff. He wasn't having it. Made us a little uneasy. 

So we took ours to go. 

Michael is LOVING it! 

Later that evening, we had a little more time to kill. With a full belly of Whataburger, we decided to check out Toy Story 4 at the local Cinemark. We had the entire theatre to ourselves. 
Sit anywhere! He chose right there... 

After the movie, it's bedtime. Have a super early day tomorrow playing with Hot Air Balloons.