Saturday, 7 April 2012

Exploring highways & byways

Along the lower section of highway 137 the occasional oil or sulphurous smell from one of the many ‘nodding donkeys’ extracting oil and natural gas from deep within the reserves of the Permian basin permeates the air.

Surrounding the wells and overlooking all that activity, my favourite yucca flowers were coming into bloom, I much prefer that smell, although oil is worth a lot more, just look at the price of gas and diesel!

Highway 137 leaves the wells behind as it climbs higher into the mountains, passing the road to Sitting Bull Falls, which is currently closed until further notice, after being devastated by one of the many wild fires that roared through New Mexico last year.

Further along highway 137 as you enter the small town of Queen an interesting and unusual monument pays silent tribute to

the memory of Frank A Kindel who was known as the ‘Flying Paper Boy of the Guadalupes’.   He rode unicycles in parades, greeted and entertained visitors to his community and dropped newspapers to ranchers and hunters in the Guadalupe Mountains. 

In May 1964 after dropping the Reverend Plapp on the site of the monument to conduct a sunrise service for members of the Pecos Valley trail ride, his plane crashed into the mountains nearby.

Although Queen is small town, it has a volunteer fire brigade and a shop that opens at the weekend, when we were there the café was closed but the RV park was open.

Just through Queen, Forest Road 540

a good gravel road, heads off along Guadalupe Ridge to Five Points Vista and a campground just beyond.

The road travels through the Lincoln National Forest before winding along the edge of the ridge.

The ridge is 2,000ft above the valley below and the views are spectacular.  This was looking towards Dog Canyon, when we were hiking there you would never have guessed there was a road up here.

Down in the valley below, a dirt road winds its way to El Paso via a small farming town called Dell City, we were told that the 55 miles to Dell City is a very rough 4WD route.  

Five Points Vista, we had planned to sit outside and enjoy our picnic lunch in the sunshine, however as it was only about 70 degrees with a very strong wind, we decided sitting in the truck was much a warmer option!

Have fun, we are!

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