Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Flowers Explore - Alpacas at Lone Ranch in Oregon

It's time to get on the road again and today we're going someplace really special! The RV resorts we go to are nice and all, but they're all somewhat the same. The really unique experiences come when we visit a Harvest Host location (a host that opens their land for 1 night stays in return for a ~$20 purchase of whatever they sell. 

Knowing how much the kids love animals, we were very excited to be going to an Alpaca farm! Let's go!

Today we'll be going on a bit of a longer drive. About 6 hours including all the stops. 

Driving north through California, Lake Shasta is certainly looking low. You can see where the old water level once was. 

From a long distance, Mount Shasta looked like it was in the clouds, but no, there's still snow on top of this 14179 foot potentially active volcano! 

But it was a really cool peak to see. The surrounding city is only at 3600 feet, so Mount Shasta appears to be extra tall. 

Oh yeah! We've been looking forward to this! Welcome to Oregon! 

Ian and Alli have a new state for their map! It's getting more and more full!

Theresa and I map out our routes ahead of time. I like to see where I'm taking the RV before I get there, keeping an eye out for any tight turns or low clearances. Sometimes a bridge might give us a concern where the clearance isn't listed, and Google Street View doesn't help either. 

So we were happy to find which helped us find out how tall it was, along with a lot more information about it. I thought it was interesting that someone would compile all this information about the many bridges around the USA. My quick estimate is that there's 300k+ bridges listed on their website. 

Here's our location for the night. Alpacas at Lone Ranch

Mr. Richard came out to open the gate for us and help us back in. I didn't like hearing "Wow, that might be the biggest RV we've had here."

Luckily after a little back and forth, I was able to maneuver the RV into position. 

We got it leveled out, but that's all for now. We've got some alpacas to see!

Mrs. Renate gives free tours of her alpaca farm and was all too happy to show the kids the alpacas. 

The first alpaca that everyone meets here is Kimaree. Most all the alpacas here are for sale, generally in the $1000-$3500 range. Kimaree here is priced at $25000! Why? Because she's so sweet and they don't really want to sell her. 

And while most alpacas might come over to check if you have food, then leave, Kimaree will let you pet her, scratch her head, and just generally be near her. 

Oh my! A baby! Mrs. Renate said that she was born just 3 days ago! A baby alpaca is called a cria. Adorable! Hi baby Juliette!

The rest of the herd was around, but not really coming close to us. That is until Mr. Richard came over with a big container of hay. That got their attention! 

Everyone came over to get some. 

And now the others don't mind getting petted. 

Go ahead Alli, be bold!
Some like the hay so much that they wear it as a hat!

Mrs. Renate really loves her alpacas. She answered any questions the kids and I had about them. 
These alpacas are sheared once a year, and the fiber for each animal is sent out to a lab to be graded. Animals are tracked year by year, and animals that have consistently good fiber can sell for more. You can see the Fiber Facts  

Oh my. Little Oskar really likes nibbling on clothes instead of hay!

Not just jeans either. He likes shirts as well. 

Sure you don't want hay?

Nope, gray shirt for me please. 

It was really adorable. 

Alli offering her green shirt, but he liked the gray ones more. 

A few video clips. 

These alpacas have a system. They know when it's time to head in for the night. I was surprised that they were pretty clean too. They all went to a similar part of the field and used the bathroom before heading over to the barn for the night. 

Next, we went over to the store where much of the fiber ends up. There's yarn, hats, sweaters, and even dog beds. 

When the shearer comes, different sections of the coat are best for certain products. Mrs. Renate has bags and bags of shorn fiber that needs to be picked through by hand to remove grasses and other contaminants before it is processed. 

Some alpaca fleece facts. 

There's multiple grades of alpaca fleece, with the longest finest fibers being the most desirable. 

The kids really liked these plush alpacas too which were really soft, but a closer look at the tag revealed that they were made of polyester instead of alpaca fiber. Mrs Renate has school classes visit the ranch to see the alpacas, and some draw pictures and send them back to her. 

Ah, here we go. A soft teddy bear made of Alpaca fleece for $18! That'll be perfect! Thanks Mrs Renate!

Back at the RV, we got everything set up to spend the night. Ian, make sure we get Oregon added to our RV map! 

Both the kids are loving their alpaca teddy bears. 

After dinner, we were invited to explore the farm at our leisure, including going into the animal pens if we wanted. Just make sure to lock the gate behind you. 
The grounds here are beautifully landscaped. Their home is a mountain retreat style cabin, and their yard is flowering and beautiful. The hum of the bees enjoying these flowers was audible from across the walkway. 

Checking out where the alpacas sleep at night. They wanted to go in and see them closer, but we figured it was best to let them settle down for the night. 

Have a good night Baby Juliette! It's only your 3rd night ever! 

Back to the RV for the evening. 

Inspired by the other kids drawings, the kids wanted to make their own for Mrs Renate's wall. 

Alli really like Kimaree, making sure to include her tuft of hair on the top of her head. 
Ian asked to see my pictures for reference, making sure to draw the same color clothes for Mrs Renate and Mr Richard. His favorite had to be little Oskar with his black coat and white face markings. 

The kids said they wanted to get up early to help feed the animals, but they're not used to getting up "farm early". Instead, we settled for another tour of the pasture, and giving Kimaree some attention. 

We didn't have any food, so the rest of the herd wasn't really interested in us. Hungry Oskar? Want some more gray shirt? 

Alli found a stick and offered it to another cria. 

Yeah, I'll chew on a stick. 

We had a great time visiting with the Alpacas at Lone Ranch. This was a very fun Harvest Host stop. 

Before we go though, Mrs. Renate brought us into her house to put together a little craft project for the kids. She gives these out to a lot of the school kids who come here on field trips and thought they'd enjoy it too. That was so nice of her to think of them for that! We'll have to check those out a little later. 

But it's time to get moving again! Our next stop is something we've all been looking forward to! Let's go! 

Once we got settled into a place, the kids had a chance to do their crafting project! Inside each of the envelopes was a picture of an alpaca plus a small baggie of alpaca wool. Alli really liked Kimaree so Mrs. Renate gave her some of the tan wool. 

And Ian got a baggie of black wool. When Mrs. Renate saw how much he liked little Oskar, she got Ian a few tufts of white wool to recreate him. 

They look great kids! 
Alli - Now I can pet Kimaree whenever I want!
We loved our visit to see the Alpacas at Lone Ranch!

If you want to learn even more about Alpacas at Lone Ranch, check out the video they did for PBS for the How They Did It series!


  1. What a fun and unique Harvest Host Alpaca Farm! up-close and personal experience with alpacas. Baby Juliette is sooooooooo cute...little Oskar is quite the picky "color" eater :-) Interesting to see that alpaca diagram indicating which parts of its fiber is used for what product. Those alpaca teddy bears look very, very soft and cuddly. Great craft project from Mrs.Renate...Ian and Alli got to create their favorite alpacas...nice work! Like what Alli said after creating her alpaca, "Now I can pet Kimaree whenever I want!" EOM

  2. Informative "Alpacas at Lone Ranch" segment for PBS. Interesting to hear why and how Richard and Renate started the ranch. The peace and contentment they've found is inspiring and wonderful! EOM