ABBA, Breaking Bad and the Heart of Darkness: New Mexico

New MexicoI’ve left both halves of the lovely Colourado behind me and have entered New Mexico. I arrive in the Land of Enchantment with absolutely no preconceived notions.

Breaking BadNone at all.

A show like Breaking Bad must be a somewhat mixed blessing for the state. On the one hand, it’s bringing idiotic tourists (hi) to the state, on the other it’s encouraging an image of the state being inundated with crystal meth.

New Mexico LandscapeThere are, for instance, only a handful of methlabs in this picture.

We’ll get to Albuquerque later, we’re starting up north where we find such marvels as what I can only think of as a survivalist hangout inspired by a D&D temple:

D&D SurvivalEn route to Taos, the road is largely flat, with one minor dip:

Rio GrandeAlthough the Rio Grande took me a bit by surprise, the crossing was a simple bridge, no problem at all. Don’t know what those Swedes were on about. I swing by Taos for dinner and end up in Santa Fe for the night. It’s pulling into the state capital that I come to the conclusion, not for the first time, that it’s a good thing I’m travelling by myself. I must be insufferable in a car, but this time it’s Bob Dylan’s fault. My caterwauling of “dear dear dear deer deer der der der duh duh dear dear Santa Fe” could be heard for three states.

Santa FeI’m trying to enjoy the non-Breaking Bad portions of the state for what they are, without trying to ham-fistedly overlay meth onto everything I see. Fortunately there’s very little that would suggest drug use amongst the community:

JokrmanLeaving Santa Fe, I manage to pick up Route 66 again, although a lot of the sections aren’t as well maintained as the Illinois portions. But it does get me to Albuquerque and a perfectly innocuous house:

The White HouseholdWalter White must be pissed that other people are living in his house, you get the feeling that he doesn’t like people touching his stuff. And the endless stream of visitors (the middle of the three cars in the picture is also full of annoying tourists like me) must really play with his paranoid side. I have no idea why he agreed to be part of a meth documentary. But at least they’re not troubling him in his place of work.

Car WashAll this glamour (suburban houses! Car washes!) has got Bertie jonesing for a piece of the action.

Bertie and HeisenbergSilly Bertie, dealing meth isn’t all fun chemistry and musical montages.

‘It’s a great idea. I’m going to be rich.’ Bertie says greedily.

But Bertie, Heisenberg doesn’t take kindly to competition.

‘Heisenberg is a bitch, bitch.’ Bertie says… bitchily.

‘Hold on a second,’ says Bertie, ‘there’s someone knocking at the door…’

Dirt RoadedSo when Breaking Bad started up, the meth they used was, in fact, rock candy made by The Candy Lady, who now sells blue meth in little baggies, which obviously does not look incredibly suspicious at all. A few months later when I’m flying back to Ireland, I have two bags with me, one has some of the rock candy, the other doesn’t. The TSA randomly frisked and pawed through the methless bag. Not that I’m suggesting you smuggle meth as rock candy or anything, but the TSA don’t seem to mind.

A Holy SignI leave Albuquerque via Route 66 going west and I can’t help but notice that the road conditions have somewhat deteriorated. It’s some of the worst road I’ve been on. It’s so damaged I almost suspect deliberate sabotage, then I crest over a hill and see this son of a bitch:

Moo, MotherfuckerMoo, motherfucker.

Of course. My old nemesis. I’m guessing that’s who shot up the sign too. A friend suggested that my distrust of these innately evil beasts comes from Ireland having no other natural predators. I suggest that the cow-sympathiser would have a point if it wasn’t for the endless evidence that they are trying to get us. That last article might reveal their tactics: small squads of suicide cows, yes, we’ve met before. Three cows tried to derail my train a few years ago via the same method. In other news: Virgin trains can really go through a cow.

Route 66I continue along Route 66 for a while before heading south. As the sun is setting I’m still in the open scrubland, so it takes me by surprise to realise how verdant the central portion of New Mexico is. I’m driving through some beautiful forestry on a clear night. I just happen to slow down on an empty road to see how clear the night is – there’s no moon, so I thought it might be nice for star gazing – when a hulking creature jumps out in front of the car. Fortunately, going slowly, I manage to stop in time. The elk (I assume it was an elk) looks at me, hops to the side of the road and stays there for a few seconds before disappearing. Another suicide run? Et tu, elk?

New Mexico Sunset


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