New Kind of Overnight
I don't usually include camping overnights in the 90- Notable List. But this night was mighty notable.
I slept in an RV, on an Alpaca farm, in northeast Oklahoma. There was no fee, but our help with chores was welcomed.
Big RV on Dirt Road
Jennifer and Kate had been traveling in their Winnebago for over a year. Don and I managed to meet up with them numerous times during their travels.
We had just finished a rendezvous in Missouri, but Don was eager to head off to Arkansas for some hiking. I chose to spend a day and night, traveling in the "Bessie". The road that took us to the farm was beautiful and entertaining... with smacking low branches and jolting pot holes!
Will We Fit?
We called as we neared the farm, to give the owner enough time to walk down from her house to unlock the gate. She and her friend arrived, sipping glasses of champagne.
It as Happy Hour after all. Kathleen was sure Bessie would fit through the gateway, but it looked impossible to me. Jennifer and Kate made it happen!
Kathleen said to park anywhere, so we pulled over, right in front of their lovely log house, beside a field of curious alpacas.
As we approached in the RV, the alpaca heads all turned to watch the Big Bess come to a halt.
A few seemed to frolic like happy goats. Kathleen called it pronking.
Kathleen said it was no problem if our traveling animals, Gypsy and Bailey came out for a look. The alpacas were used to small critters.
The sun was lowering, but we got a quick tour of the barn.
Kathleen had names for every alpaca, which is a hint that these animals are raised for their luxurious wool, not meat. One sweet friend (hard to see in dim light) had a prosthetic leg. What sweet creatures.
Back in Bessie
The alpacas got settled in their stalls for the night and we headed into Bessie for dinner and bed. It had been a long day.
I got the Railroad Bunk, which I loved. Kate had even made a little curtain that I could pull. The outside temps were pleasant, so no need for the noisy generator to cool or heat Bessie.
I slept well and woke early.
I was eager to peek out my window, but the alpacas weren't out yet.
I took Bailey on a walk down the dirt road, past the rolls of hay.
I tried to earn my keep in the Bessie, by helping with some animal walks. But in truth, I caused a bit of a problem when I let Little Gypsy Cat loose.
She headed right through the fence, into the alpaca area. Luckily she was lured back... not by me.
Kathleen had pointed out a few pregnant alpacas the night before.
She said there was a chance we might get to witness a birth in the morning. That would have been a first for me! But we had no such luck.
Jennifer and I made good use of our cameras.
And then we made good use of our muscles.
I was wearing flip flops and a white jacket when we asked Kathleen if there was anything we could do to help out.
Suddenly, Jennifer and I were invited to clean stalls. Alpaca poop! But my sister and I have always teamed up well doing chores.
We took turns with the shovel and hoe. I had the fun of emptying the wheelbarrow into the big pile.
Touching the Poop!
Kathleen scooped up a sample of the dried alpaca poop, which I'm sure has a more important name. Jennifer was a good sport and touched the stuff...
"Oh yes, it's not that bad."
I can't recall what the point was. I think we just all agreed it wasn't that yucky. I guess it is used for fertilizer? But I know I felt yucky myself. I was eager to shower before we headed off.
How crazy to spend the night in Bessie, that cozy house on wheels... on a farm! We were parked right in the midst of it all and felt graciously welcomed by the owners.
But, most of all I will remember the chores! It was pretty comical how Jennifer and I moved about scooping and scraping, while Kathleen followed us around telling us stories. That is the image that I will most remember!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!