Zena Suri Alpaca Farm
From Missouri we headed south through Oklahoma, and had another windy, stormy day of travel that now seemed typical for Oklahoma. Our turn off for the Zena Suri Alpaca Farm couldn’t come soon enough, and after a stressful day of driving we were thankful to arrive on the farm.
Tom and Kathleen were great hosts, as well as one of their kitties named Alex. He reminded us of our beloved Bok. This farm kitty came trotting excitedly toward us, and wanted all the pets he could get. 😻 Tom gave us a tour of the farm, where we learned that the females are separated from the young males, who are also separated from the older males, but it total they have more than 40 alpacas and 1 camel on the farm. Most of the alpacas are of the Suri variety (hence part of the farm’s name), but they had a few of the more common Haucaya alpacas as well.
We learned that alpacas have no upper teeth, are very gentle, and a lot smaller than I expected, averaging between 110-190 pounds…I weigh as much as some alpacas! 😮 We also learned that most (if not all) alpacas born in the evening hours do not survive, they are strong herd animals and do not do well in solitude, they rarely spit, and they have specific areas where they go to the bathroom repeatedly instead of randomly anywhere.
All in all, we found them to be gentle yet slightly aloof but you can pet them on their side or neck (not their head). We had a quiet stay, Matt and I both purchased some socks that were an alpaca and bamboo blend, and I purchased a hand-crocheted alpaca scarf from their on site store. If you’re heading through Oklahoma, this is another nice place to hang your hat for the night.
After another day of getting beat up by the roads in Oklahoma, we were relieved to cross the Texas state line and head to our next Harvest Host. Oklahoma has some nice people, but their roads are pure torture, especially when towing. 😰
Though Michael isn’t much of a talker on the phone, upon arrival he greeted us warmly at Lenoir-Sage Vineyards. Michael and his wife Adele made us feel right at home at their tasting room, along with their large, lovable cat Romeo. 😺🍷 We got to talking like we were old friends catching up, and learned about the challenges of wine-making in Texas, especially during the pandemic.
My favorite wines were their Lenoir Rouge and Nuvola Bianca. The Lenoir Rouge reminded me of a “light port” wine, and pairs very well with chocolate. It’s a slow sipper on the sweeter side, so it works great as an after dinner wine or night cap. Their Nuvola Bianca is a Tawny Port, and the smoothest tawny I have ever tasted since it is not aged in bourbon barrels. I never knew that a lot of tawny ports are aged in bourbon barrels, which can give them that brassy kick at the end, which is not my preference.
If you’re looking for a relaxing time, perhaps kicking back in a rocker on the front porch of their tasting room and watching the sun set, you will not find two more friendly people to welcome and put you at ease. I highly recommend their winery for a peaceful overnight stay as well.
Big Oaks RV Park
Our final destination for the next two weeks was Big Oaks RV Park in Cedar Park, Texas, just north of Texas’s state capitol: Austin. Their online booking was really easy, allowing you to lock in a site of your choosing for an extra fee, and also having weekly and monthly rate discounts and storage options. Upon arrival, they set out a sign to welcome us, so we knew we were at the right site. Their arrival email was detailed and made it easy for us to settle in.
The park is well kept, and has on-site laundry next to the office. There are 3 washers and 4 dryers, all reasonably priced, with numerous options to pay for laundry, including an app, credit card-op, or coin-op. The park also has recycling, which has been rare on the road! There is a dog run next to the office and an open grassy area that overlooks a canyon, which I used to do my HIIT, strength and yoga workouts.
We did hear gun shots coming from the shooting range next door, but it occurred infrequently. Most of the time it was nice and quiet at the park. There are a lot of full-time residents at the park, so we mostly saw Texas license plates. If you are looking for a quiet, reasonable place to stay near Austin, this is it!