If you like the company of your own thoughts, little to no traffic and no people, you will enjoy the drive on New Mexico’s Highway 137 south through the Guadalupe Mountains. The road begins at 285, just about 10 miles north of Carlsbad, NM. It appears to dead-end at the Texas border (about 55 miles altogether) although I turned around about 10 miles before the end. I did read online that you can’t get to Queen, New Mexico from Texas, even though it appears very close on the map.
I read about the Flying Paper Boy Memorial in a few places online but there were no real directions. I relied on Google Maps and it turns out that Google was wrong. After backtracking a little bit, driving about 1/8 mile on a dirt and rock road and then almost bottoming out trying to turn around, I accidentally discovered the memorial another 10 miles down the road. I have since put in a correction to Google Maps.
The memorial is to a gentleman that used his airplane to deliver newspapers to people who live secluded in the Guadalupe Mountains. In 1964, at the age of 71, he was killed when his plane crashed. I recently read that a Carlsbad doctor took over delivering newspapers by plane. If you are headed into the town of Queen on Highway 137, you can easily spot the monument on the north side of the road, just past Christian Camp Road and before Queen Cafe.
I’m not sure if the Queen Cafe was closed because it’s currently the off season or because of the virus. I’ve seen signs advertising their food along Highway 285 and near Sitting Bull Falls entrance. I imagine they are quite busy during the summer season.
I drove down Christian Camp Road just to be nosy but came across the old Queen Cemetery that I didn’t even know was on that road. I had tried to Google it before leaving and couldn’t locate an address. It was just blind luck that I found it. There are two entrances both reached by short dirt roads. I didn’t want to take any chances getting stuck so parked along the edge of the road and walked in.
What really shocked me about the cemetery was that many of the graves appeared to be above ground. There were piles of rocks here and there and then when you looked closer, you could see that there was a grave marker planted at one end. The cemetery is quite large and I’m thinking that the end I didn’t explore might be newer graves. The ones I looked at were almost all pre-1930. It wasn’t too difficult to walk around but it didn’t appear that there has been any regular upkeep either.
And if you want to know even more about the town of Queen, the people, and the history, I found this article in New Mexico Magazine really fascinating.
The Lincoln National Forest encompasses the town of Queen although there are signs along the road saying, “entering private property” so I think that it’s not all forest service land as you drive along 137.
Make sure you have a full gas tank as there are no services along Highway 137.