Alpaca addition

We had a thought a couple of weeks ago about adding some more alpaca to our herd. This does require us to be a little selective as we only want males and preferably only unneutered males. This is not because we like or need stud animals, they must merely have the hormones necessary to survive and maintain a spot in the all male testosterone laden fight club. On the plus side they are cheap to buy as they tend to cause problems. So our fiscal requirements match our survival needs and everyone wins. I had reached out to an alpaca farm and gotten a reply and unbeknownst to me, Annmarie had reached out. I got sick last week and gave up on my lead, Annmarie kept after hers as she was going to Salem on Friday already for an event so figured she would be in the area. She found two young alpaca, 3 & 5 years old two hours south of Salem. I merely needed to go with her, drive the pickup, pull the four horse trailer and then drive four hours first thing Saturday morning to go pickup the alpaca in question.

This is where things get a little complicated. What she did not know was that the pickup is dirty, its a farm rig, I had recently taken all of the trash out and emptied it out mostly, but it is not very clean. It is still has straw in the cab from last years haying season. I have had a few issues with the pickup and had been hinting that it may need some work on it. My hints meant that the ABS light is on all of the time now. I am pretty sure its activated all of the time also, one must be careful when using the brakes. The turn signals keep blowing a fuse. The fuse problem seems to only be an issue when a trailer is plugged into the pickup. There is something going on with the transmission. It slips randomly when shifting gears. Luckily, it doesn’t slip once the gear has been engaged but it can take several tries to get it in gear. As an added bonus it is very easy to calculate how many miles to the gallon the pickup gets, its 10 MPG, no matter what, loaded,unloaded, or pulling a trailer it is always 10 MPG. Now this is a bonus as the fuel gage doesn’t work properly. You cannot tell when the last 1/4 tank is getting used up. To further complicate things the positive battery terminal connection keeps getting corroded. This is causing the pickup to not want to start, it feels like the vehicle will not start. The act of turning the key is accompanied by a small prayer and some constant verbal encouragement to get the vehicle to start. The trailer has non working lights, non working brakes and the spare tire has a flat. All in all, pretty standard farm equipment.

I decided that I should try and moderate some of the issues so I cleaned out the passenger side of pickup and back seat. I filled the pickup fuel tank before we left. I had the spare tire on the trailer repaired, stem valve had a leak, and I purchased that metallic reflector tape and placed it all over the horse trailer, on the back and both sides. I also made sure to buy a tire iron as I forgot one when I left the house. I also made sure that I had the new battery terminal part and two crescent wrenches and a standard screwdriver in case I had to tear it apart and replace it because the pickup would not start. I had enough time to fix it in the parking lot while I was waiting for Annmarie to finish teaching but I was unsure what would happen if I disconnected power to everything. I knew what the problems going into the trip were so I did not want to add in any unknowns, this sounded like a totally logical statement at the time.

Once we headed out and got on the freeway it occurred to me that I should have put 2/3 yard of gravel in the pickup bed. Since it gets 10 MPG no matter what the gravel would have helped stabilize the back end of the pickup. The trailer does pull well but hitting rough patches of road is not super fun. I kept it around 65 MPH the entire trip. I also used the cruise control sparingly. I didn’t like the way it towed when I did not have my foot on the gas. Besides, the cruise control failed to set 30 miles from Pendleton when I finally tried to use it on the way home. This is a new thing so I am unsure why this is occurring and it could have just been a one off problem because some times the cruise control buttons can be very finicky.

After the first stop for fuel and the strained sound of a starter barely getting enough juice to turn over I tried very hard not to shut the engine off until we made it to the hotel in Salem. Luckily, they had a very nice large parking area in the rear of the hotel for large vehicles. Now mind you I had to take everything out of the pickup that I did not want stolen as the key does not fit the locks. If the doors get locked I cannot get into the pickup. I overcome this small obstacle by leaving the rear sliding windows unlatched so if needed I can pry them apart with a knife and crawl inside and unlock the doors. Oh and the passenger window can only be lowered and raised by the controls on the passenger door. The ones on the driver door no longer work to control the passenger side. I left some food and water in the pickup in case any homeless explored the vehicle at night. Nothing was taken or removed during our stay in the hotel. I dropped off Annmarie at her event and headed two hours south to get the new alpaca. At the rest stop I barely got the pickup started. So when I had to stop for fuel I bought two bottles of Coke. The pickup battery and I split one. I popped the hood and started to pour small amounts of Coke on the battery terminals in the hope that I could eat up some of the corrosion and the connection would improve. I am unsure if this is the reason that the ”GEN” light kept popping up intermittently as I was driving down the highway. I did this twice on the drive back to pickup Annmarie and when we stopped for fuel in Salem before heading home the pickup started up like there had never been any problem. Thank you Coca Cola!

We discussed the option of buying a new pickup on the drive home. Honestly, I am not real enthusiastic at the proposal. I want to take our current pickup in and get a quote on fixing the ABS, GEN, transmission issue and then seeing if I can get another 60k miles out of it. We only have 161K miles on it and got it around 90K. I am putting less than 10K miles on it annually. We are going to see what the final repair quote is going to be before we make a final determination.

We made it home with out a ticket or a breakdown! Go Farm truck!

The two new alpaca are named Padre and Mad Max. Mad Max is the light colored one and every time you touch him he makes disparaging noises at you. It sounds like he is grumbling nonstop. The Padre is very relaxed and easy going. We let them loose in the orchard field so that they would have a fence separating them from the other alpaca. This morning when we looked out everyone was gathered at the fence line talking to each other. We figure we will let them stay in the pen for a week with just the two of them then we will introduce 2-3 of our old herd and then let them all stay together for another week then we will let them all hang out. The previous owners gave us a book on alpaca’s that Annmarie skimmed on the drive home. Live and let live is our motto and high plains desert living is what they are used to and what they are going to get at our house. They are super soft compared to our animals so we are excited to see what the fiber will be like.

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