Back on the Alpaca Trail.
Yes, they cancelled all but the 1st alpaca show this season (which I didn't get to go to), so it's been a spring devoid of hauling a big trailer around the country behind my dually.
But necessities are necessities, and with the first crias due at the end of this month, it was the last available moment to hit the road and take care of all the alpaca errands I would have done if the CABA Classic had been held this coming weekend. We sorely missed the California Classic in March and the Great Western Alpaca Show in Denver which would have been last weekend (and our annual visit it Symphony Fibers!).
This week it was time to deliver several alpacas for breeding and pick up a couple on the way home. And see some great friends along the way.
First, though, it's important to pack the right accessories for the trip. Tracy gave me the idea for this appropriate fashionable face mask. It's actually a child's t-shirt, but with a few deft strokes of the fabric scissors, it was transformed into the latest in Mask Fashion. Friends "get it" when I wear it, but strangers and store clerks think I'm speaking of Social Distancing. Even so, they chuckle. It almost makes it worth it to wear the darn thing.
After enduring I-5 North as far as Modesto, we were finally able to leave the freeway and head east to the Sierra foothills to visit Alpacas of El Dorado.
Trusty Navigator Ellie is shooting pictures out the window.
Spring has sprung in the foothills. Thanks to the late rains this year, even the lower elevations still have green grass, the wild flowers are still in bloom in many places, and the yucca have started to bloom in the hills. The mountains in the distance are still covered with a deep layer of snow--good news for the annual water supply and the scenic value.!
The valley floor leading up to the foothills is covered with pasture and barbed wire fence to contain the myriads of cattle the roam the area. There are places where you can see equipment like chutes and steel gates used to corral and sort cattle. The land is really ideal, with its rolling hills, grass supply, oak trees for shade, and occasional ponds.
As we gained altitude, grazing land gave way to vineyards-- miles and miles of vineyards, each with its own specialties, some with wineries and tasting rooms, B & B's, and small restaurants. The roads got narrower and twistier, which tested my concentration...and my courage sometimes...with the big trailer.
When we got to El Dorado, Laurie gave us the tour, introduced us to her herd, and we left 3 females (2 of mine, 1 of Tracy's) with her for breeding. It's exciting to plan a breeding at any time, but when there is a spectacular male that someone owns and offers for stud, it's so much fun to imagine what you will get from the cross to expand your herd bloodlines! I always hope for a male cria from an outside breeding. A stud quality male from an outside breeding means that I have fresh bloodlines to introduce to the herd genetics once he grows up. Thanks to Laurie Findlay and Dale Davis for the opportunity to breed to Poseidon!
Venturing into the upper reaches of I-5 in California we came across Mount Shasta--Home of Big Foot, Alien Sightings, and creatures my dad used to tell me stories about called the Lemurians. My grandparents, dad and uncle lived in the logging town of McCloud when my grandfather was the principal of the company school. I personally think my grandparents told my dad and uncle those stories to be sure they would be home by dark. 😱
Once we got to Oregon, the scenery changed suddenly from grasslands and volcanic rock to mountains covered with thick forests, green grass, and acres of wildflowers. The stark difference between California and Oregon terrain never ceases to amaze me. It is a beautiful state to travel in, AND as a pickup hauling a trailer, I am no longer confined to traveling a maximum speed of 55 mph! Hurray!!
We made our way up to Big Timber Alpacas and were greeted by Sue King, owner of Fyre Dancer, the multiple champion I took my very best female to this year. I am really excited about the outcome of this breeding! Sue lives in yet another kind of terrain, filled with meadow flowers, forests that are dappled with light and "fairy dust" that floats through the air, and rhododendrons blooming at every corner. It was such a pretty drive today!
Tomorrow, we head east to mid-state Washington by way of the Columbia River Gorge. Stay tuned!
Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ www.alpacalink.com
firstname.lastname@example.org ~ 805-907-5162