Business took me to Albuquerque this week and I made great use of one of my favourite apps – Roadside America.
This app shows you various strange and unusual tourist attractions near where you are right now, and it has been great fun using it in my travels and seeking out an interesting spot.
(Once while in Bangor, Maine, the app directed me to Stephen King’s house, which looks exactly like you’d think Stephen King’s house would look. Another time it directed me to a piece of the Berlin Wall just steps away from where I was in Hawaii.)
So I gave it a shot here in New Mexico today and I am very pleased to give this brief report on four different sites it recommended.
One of the recommended sites you’ll see on that list was a place that sells blue candy which was actually used as a prop representing Crystal Meth in Breaking Bad… I’m sure that might cause a few questions from the TSA or Canada Customs so I decided to skip that one.
The Birthplace of Microsoft
Microsoft got its start in Albuquerque in 1975 in this very unassuming strip mall, and there’s a historic plaque on site. What ever happened to that company? You don’t hear much about them any more.
Walter and Skyler White’s House
Fans of Breaking Bad will surely recognize this house.
The current owners have put a fence around it since the show was filmed, removed pizza from the roof, and there’s a sign saying “Take your picture from across the street. Do Not Disturb Us.” I did, I hope I didn’t.
The Singing Road
New Mexico’s Singing Road. At about 0:35, you can hear your tires sing a bit of “America the Beautiful” thanks to grooves carefully cut in the asphalt. pic.twitter.com/IkPgsgHBab
— Steve Hayman (@shayman) October 23, 2019
Amazing. A stretch of historic Route 66 / Highway 333 with grooves cut in the pavement so that your tires play an excerpt from America the Beautiful as you drive over. Apparently this was built by National Geographic, of all people, in 2014 but the signs pointing it out seem to have been removed, and the sound was pretty quiet and I only heard a few bars, which makes me wonder if the thing is wearing out and needs to be refreshed.
It’s still wonderful though and you can hear a fragment of the tune at about 0:35 in this video I took, and before you jump all over me, no, I wasn’t holding my phone while I was driving.
More places should have this. I want highways entering Ontario to play Ontari-ari-ari-o.
another version of America The Beautiful
I love the Singing Road version, and I’m torn about whether it is now my favourite setting of that wonderful song. It is hard to top this one:
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
I’ve always wanted to visit here! The town of Hot Springs, New Mexico, was persuaded by Ralph Edwards, host of the radio (and later TV) show Truth or Consequences, to change its name and in return, the show broadcast an episode from there. And Ralph Edwards even returned to the town’s annual Fiesta every May for 50 years.
We used to watch the TV show with Bob Barker. (If you never saw it, the general schtick was that you would be asked some dumb riddle, and if you didn’t tell the Truth (which you never did), you’d have to pay the Consequences (undertake some stunt.)
I imagine not many other towns tried this; at the very least I haven’t been to Deal Or No Deal, Manitoba or The $100,000 Pyramid, Pennsylvania but maybe they’re out there.
You should totally get the app. What will it steer you to on your next trip?