Breaking Bad, Ford Roundup and Garage Lighting

91VRA8kjYXL._RI_I’m back at it finding old Breaking Bad filming locations. This particular location is the first “cook” site in Season 1 and the many action-packed scenes in Season 5. Finding this location is a bit tricky as it sits on Indian reservation land in a remote area only accessible by dirt roads. After some digging around the internet, I found the approximate area northwest from Tohajiilee, NM (about 46 miles west of Albuquerque). So, I set about scouting in the freshly detailed Mazda 6.

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As I’ve seen the Breaking Bad series quite a few times, it was easy to spot the landmarks. Found it!

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Those of you who’ve watched the show know this is a very popular scene.

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Here’s my try.

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I was a little off lining up this one.

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Walter White’s Chrysler vs. the Mazda 6

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Road leading to the “cook” site.

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Never hurts to flex the suspension a bit. Luckily I didn’t get stuck in sand. No cell reception or other vehicles for miles could have been bad.

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Ford Roundup

Back in April (2019), I participated in my first ever local car show, the 16th Annual Ford Roundup. This was hosted by the Alamogordo Mustang Club and all American made cars were welcome to attend. Aside from a newer Buick Regal GS hatchback, I probably had the smallest displacement of the bunch. Lots of fun overall and quite a few spectators were amused by the Contour. I had two different groups: those who said they hadn’t seen an SVT Contour in person, and those who didn’t have any idea what it was. More photos can be found here.

I spent an entire day prepping for this show. Cleaning, Hoovering, dusting and polishing to try and get the Contour decent looking. By request of some readers, here’s some interior shots.

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Forgot to mention earlier, I had the roof resprayed.

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Here she is in the show with my homemade display sign.

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Other photos from the show…

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These folks next to me won the prize for best 1990-2000 in the show. Well deserved as their ’99 GT with 30,000 original miles was concours-ready despite traveling from Amarillo, TX.

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In other Contour news, I took it in for its first oil change since it’s been in my possession. “Where did you find this?!!” from the service advisor. I also had them recharge the A/C and do a through inspection. All should be good now for Portland in July!

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Also got the wheels refinished as the factory clear coat was pretty much all worn off.

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Now, I can say the exterior is about as good as it’s going to get within budget.

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Garage Updates

One major garage upgrade that was long overdue is lighting. This photo that was taken shortly after I moved into the house shows how much of a joke the single light fixture was. I can’t believe the builders considered this sufficient. I’ve gotten by over the years with plug-in halogen shop lights and headlamps for working on the cars or detailing. This year though, enough was enough. I needed to fix this.

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Lots of research went into what type of lighting I should use. The first consideration was my overall intension for the garage. Am I going to make this into a mini-showroom or workshop? Two completely different lighting needs there. As I often do, I made things more difficult for myself and decided the goal was to have a mixture of the two. Track lighting would provide some dramatic effects, but not so useful in detailing or working on cars. Fluorescent fixtures seemed to be the best choice overall, but wouldn’t give the premium feel I was after. Final choice, 6″ recessed LED lighting.

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Many hours of research went into how one does this retrofit himself. The process ended up being pretty simple, just time consuming and frustrating working with what little light I had available.

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The efforts paid off in the end. Let there be light!

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Next, the back wall needed a facelift.

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I added some wood planks to an accent wall to give some warmth and visual interest.

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Then I swapped the shelves with cabinets to avoid a cluttered look.

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Lastly (at least for this post), I made a small workbench and added a pegboard.

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This is how it looks today. I already made an appointment for an epoxy floor coating in June and later down the line I may add some sort of sound system with speakers in the wall. Stay tuned!

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12 thoughts on “Breaking Bad, Ford Roundup and Garage Lighting

  1. tysonhugie says:

    So much goodness in here! I’m cracking up that you were able to find the specific BB off-road locations – especially that one with Walter’s Chrysler and then the 6. You weren’t wearing your tighty-whitie underwear like Walter was! Haha. Congrats on representing at the Ford Roundup, and you know I love everything that’s going on with your garage. Especially looking forward to seeing how things go with your new flooring. Keep up the great work!

    • Jason Pawela says:

      Haha! I didn’t plan ahead well enough to pick up a pack of tighty-whities for the photo shoot. I guess the secret’s out that I’m quite fond of BB. I’m itching for that garage floor to be done already…June 10th can’t come soon enough!

  2. “Stay out of my territory.” Ah! Such a great post. First of all, kudos to you for finding so many of the filming spots for Breaking Bad. I’ve been to several of the spots where The Sopranos was filmed, but I’ve only featured two of them on my blog (the Asbury Park boardwalk and Patterson Great Falls). This is giving me the inspiration to find some more!

    The garage looks fantastic. Your handyman skills are impressive – the lighting would have given me nightmares if I attempted to do it myself. Very well done!

    And the Contour looks showroom fresh. I’m impressed at how well the interior has held up, despite being over two decades old. Speaking of cars… how are the Mazdas doing?

    • Jason Pawela says:

      Props to you for finding Sopranos locations! I’ll check out your blog on the Asbury Park and Paterson Great Falls. I still need to get with it and watch that entire series. The garage will probably be an ongoing project this year, but I’m hoping the new floor will make it at least look more complete. I too was pretty surprised how the interior of the Contour has held up, considering the use of those cheap 90s plastics.

      The Mazdas are doing well. The “i” get occasional use with no trouble and the “s” is still the daily, drinking its usual quart of oil every 1,000 miles. Haha!

  3. James Lee says:

    Love it all! How exciting to have found the desert location in Breaking Bad. God I loved the Chrysler 300, that show made it seem like the evil doers car. That Contour tho – steller job bringing a classic back to life. I can’t wait to see it in person. We need to mesh schedules so we can come out to Las Cruses and take that baby for a spin.

    • Jason Pawela says:

      That show opened my eyes to the 300. Haha! In case you haven’t heard, I’ll be planning a quick visit to PHX weekend of June 8th and you’ll get to see the Contour and all its 90s plastic glory!

      • James Lee says:

        OOooh! I didn’t know this… I believe I have Jeep Wrangler that weekend, maybe you’ll be around long enough for an off-road adventure?

  4. Adam says:

    The transformation of both the Contour and the garage are amazing, both have turned out looking superb. Did you make the base for the Contour display board yourself? It’s a neat thing to pull out and have beside your car at a show. I guess it’s always the highlight of seeing specific details about a car or hearing about their backstory when I’m at a show.

  5. Jeff says:

    Hi, I am a friend of Tyson’s and I was catching up on his blog and I decided to look at yours. We have a lot in common. I, too, am a Mazda fan. I have a 2015 CX-5 with a six speed. I also have two Miatas. I am also a former owner of an SVT. It was an 05 Focus SVT in screaming yellow. I also never imagined that I would have told anyone that I bought a Ford. I owned it for about 3 years until I came across a 21,000 mile 2001 Prelude in 2013. Anyways, keep up your adventures and your travels, they are in interesting reading.

  6. […] at the garage. This year, my goal was to transform the garage from top to bottom. While the recessed lights made a huge impact in the look and feel, there was (and still is) plenty to […]

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