It all started with one Alpaca

SOME WERE IN CRAIGSLIST LAND I’m not exactly sure how I ended up on Craigslist shopping for Alpacas? Suffice it to say, I did, and found one for sale locally. I set up a time to meet him. It was Love at first sight. His name was Olaf, his soft grey and white coat had recently been sheared and he had lovely grey socks left. After showing the pictures to Jim his name became Grey Sox immediately. I have no idea how I managed to convince Jim to start alpaca farming, but I did. Even with permission from the boss I was not able to get him at the time, Knot farm didn’t even own a trailer yet. For more in that matter read “Waiting Till The Cows Come Home, Part 1”. I was very glad to know Roy would keep Grey Sox for a few weeks while we figured out a way to pick him up.

Olof before he was Grey Sox at Kinder Farm Park

THE DAY WE GOT AN ALPACA Since Knot Farm had recently purchased a horse trailer to pick up Grahame the bull, I had a way to get Grey Sox. On a sunny summer day July 31, 2019 to be exact, armed with a big truck, trailer in tow and my partners in crime, Hailey my daughter, and Murphy Dog by my side we headed up to get Grey Sox and bring him back to the farm. WooHoo! Last words out of Jim’s mouth “Don’t get yourself into a spot where you have to back up.” No problem, I hadn’t planned on it.

The drive up to Kinder Farm Park went well and before anyone could change their mind, I had an adorable fluffy alpaca making alpaca sounds and generally looking terrified loaded in the trailer. Roy and Danielle armed me with as much alpaca information as they had, I tried to write it down, the whole thing was a whirlwind and I admit I didn’t retain much from the conversation. Thankfully Lesli sent Knot Farm a very detailed email with all sorts of great information. With that we shook hands and were sent off with the best wishes for success. According to Google Maps the farm was one hour and fifty minutes away. I was glad to learn alpacas CUSH (lay down) during transport also glad Grey Sox did lay down.

The drive back to Knot Farm… went fine, for a little while. I kept thinking I was seeing smoke coming from the front passenger side tire. It could’ve been my anxiety over the last trailer adventure, but just to be sure, I pulled off into a neighborhood and checked the tires, NO smoke, not even a burning smell. Back on the road and I don’t see the smoke anymore, but I’m going a lot slower than I would be if I wasn’t towing precious cargo.

About 30 minutes from the farm a guy in a light blue sedan comes up next to me signaling me there’s something wrong. I pull onto the shoulder (which was much wider and forgiving than the last one we had a flat tire on), Hailey and I hop out and check, sure enough, the tire is done. No problem, I have recently become an expert tire changer, with tools at the ready and a spare tire I changed it in 15 minutes flat. Having a flat tire is NEVER fun, but the silver lining is, I got to teach my daughter Hailey how to change one. That was pretty cool. Flat tires still suck. With the spare tire installed and a new sense of confidence we were back on the road.

THE BRIDGE TO TROUBLE I really love GPS and Google Maps, in tandem they rarely steer me wrong, accept when I’m towing a trailer. The sign said “Road Closed Ahead Local Traffic Only”, OK, I’m local traffic and I’m only 5 minutes away from the farm… The bridge was CLOSED! I am now about a half mile down a narrow 2-way road with nowhere to turn around. I was not about to call Jim and admit my stupid mistake (I still blame Google Maps), I am going to suck it up and back up the trailer a half mile, I’ll be a little later than expected, but hey, I got this. It went something like this:

Put truck in reverse, backed up approximately 2 feet, saw tire fall off in passenger side mirror, bloop, bloop, flop, put truck in park, turn off engine, Hailey and I exit truck and inspect tire, tire is on the road completely broken off at the axle, I call Jim:

Me: Hi Jim, we have a problem, the tire fell off the trailer. Jim: You have a spare tire, just put that one on. Me: I already had a flat tire and used the spare. One more thing, I’m on the “Scary Road” the bridge is still closed. Jim: Didn’t you see the signs “Road Closed”, didn’t I say don’t get in a situation where you have to back up? Me: Yes, but it said local traffic, I figured I was local, so I kept going. Besides that, Google Maps said the bridge was open. Jim: Jerry and I will be there in a minute with a tire. Me: OK, but the tire isn’t going to help. I’ll send you a picture. Jim: What do you mean? We will be there in a minute. Me: Thank you, bye.

The scene from our shady spot.

TEAM KNOT FARM TO THE RESCUE Hailey, Murphy Dog and I had a seat on the side of the road. It was a nice shady spot next to the recently released tire. Sitting there we listed to the birds chirp, Grey Sox making alpaca sounds and the lovely sound of an ATV which meant rescue was on it’s way, Jim was able to cross the bridge coming from the farm side, too bad we couldn’t. Jim took in the scene and we all started laughing. Jerry pulled up from the other direction and promptly took the new tire from the bed of his truck. I informed him it wasn’t going to help. He put the tire back and walked over, the laughter continued.

Well there’s your problem!

SO CLOSE YET SO FAR Like I mentioned, we were only about a mile away from the farm, too bad for the closed bridge, broken axle and having to back up for a half mile. I started to back up the goose-neck trailer first, I made little progress. Jim traded places with me and backed up the trailer, with about the same amount of progress. At this time we turned over the reigns to Jerry. He was successful at backing up to the point where the trailer could be turned around. One hour of backing up later… Driving to the farm on 3 tires, flashers going and speeds of around 30 mph the newly acquired Alpaca was delivered to the farm.

He looks so lonely 🙁

It only took us a moment to realize he needed a companion, and with that, the search was on for more Alpacas. Because why Knot?

To be continued…

Story told by: Jennifer Alis

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