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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Alpaca Farm Bound

~Friday, September 4, 2020~

Day 82 (Travel Day)

A very long day, and not an easy one for Jeff. Unfortunately, it was a travel day which meant having to break down the trailer. And with Jeff still not feeling 100%, that made things a little challenging. And to top it off, he wanted to get the oil changed on the truck since Patty was allowing us to do this on her property. We’re kind of limited on finding the right places to do it, so you have to seize the opportunity when you can. It’s hard to believe we’re already at 10,000 miles on the truck.

While we packed up, we talked to our neighbors from Arizona and since they were going to Whitefish today, we gave them a few recommendations for lunch and the dog park. Then we went over to say our goodbyes to our lovely hostess Patty. We said we’d stay in touch, and hope to come back one day. Boondockers Welcome had already requested me to review our stay, which I told her I’d already done. Hosts also review their guests so she said kiddingly, maybe she would put in a good word about us. Her review of us went something like this…..

I enjoyed my time with this friendly couple. Had a great visit with Inger and other boondockers around the fire pit last night. (Sorry you weren’t feeling well, Jeff) Sadie dog was very cute and friendly as well. Thank you for feeding me great soup and scones. Also my kind of wine! I would definitely have them back.”

I guess we’re officially in the club.

We weren’t able to get on the road until after 1:00 and we still had to go to the dump station and the automotive store to dispose of the used oil/filter. It was a good thing I went in the trailer to get water for Sadie, while Jeff took care of the dump stuff, when what did I find, but half the refrigerator on the floor. I guess I hadn’t closed the fridge completely before we left. It had only been on the floor maybe a half hour so I was luckily able to save most of the goods. Another lesson learned. Always check the fridge door latch before leaving.

The drive to our Harvest Host alpaca farm located in Belgrade, Montana took longer than we thought. It was about a 300 mile drive from Polson, heading south. While Jeff tried to rest, I took the wheel the whole way (my longest drive yet). Had quite a climb/descent over the Continental Divide which in Montana is around 6,300 feet. I’m definitely getting the hang of how to handle braking when towing, though it certainly helps having brake assist on the trailer and tow mode on the truck. A few times in the past, I hit the brakes too hard only to have the transmission drop from 8th gear to 2nd gear and a tachometer revving nearly in the red.

Once we arrived, we had instructions to drive the 1 mile gravel road that runs along the side of Sentinel Ranch alpaca farm, we finally arrived at 8:30, where we were greeted by owner Nate and his loyal, working Hungarian sheep dog, Falcor. Their coat resembles that of a sheep or alpaca so camouflages well in the livestock, making it harder for wild predators to spot them. Your first instinct is to pet him, like most dogs, but were quickly told not to touch as he is trained to work, not be friendly. Jeff and Nate found a nice secluded spot close to the gate since we were arriving pretty late. There have got to be about 5 or 6 others staying here tonight. As Nate gave us the lay of the land and instructed us about our tour at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Falcor stayed right in front of the trailer door until it formerly met Sadie. Her job is to make sure that anything that resembles a wolf or coyote is actually not that, and thus not a threat to the alpacas. Nate told us the dog turns into Kujo after dark so if we hear any kind of deep, boisterous howl, that would be him. And we did hear a lot of coyotes last night. Checkout is 11:30, so I’m keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll have room to let us stay for an additional night, especially since we got here so late.

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