RV camping next to a herd of adorable alpacas? With optional low-priced water and electrical hookups to boot? Sign me up!
I love using my Harvest Hosts membership to find unique places to spend the night while en route to other destinations where I intend to put down (shallow) roots for a few days or weeks. After visiting LOTS of wineries in central California (more on that here), I was ready for a different experience.
As I knew little about alpacas aside from how darn cute they are, a stop at Sawdust Alpacas definitely sounded like something unique. And it was easy to route a stop in Fallon into the Reno to Tonopah leg of my Extraterrestrial Highway journey.
No better place for a breakdown than Sawdust Alpacas
The cuteness of the animals, and they are INCREDIBLY cute, is surpassed by the warmth and hospitality of the hosts at Sawdust Alpacas. Carolyn and Glenn Waddell went above and beyond anything I expected.
I have met many great hosts through Harvest Hosts, but these two take my #1 prize for most gracious. For me, they made what could have been an extremely stressful situation, far less so.
As I was pulling into the Sawdust Alpacas driveway late on a Friday afternoon, eager to meet some alpacas, my friend noticed fluid copiously leaking from my vehicle. We were only scheduled to spend one night at the farm, and there were no mechanics available nearby until Monday.
UGGGH! I hate road trip breakdowns.
But if one had to break down on the road, there was no better place to do so than at Sawdust Alpacas.
Glenn and Carolyn immediately put my mind at ease. They said they had plenty of room, and I could stay as long as I needed. And they had water and electrical hookups and WiFi for only $25 a night for the extra nights. (Optional hookups during the free 1-night Harvest Hosts stay are a mere $10.)
Heck, yeah. My night with the alpacas turned into my weekend with the alpacas. I was able to get some online work done in comfort and learn a whole lot about these fascinating animals.
On Monday, I drove the truck into Christensen Automotive in the nearby town of Fallon. It turned out to be a cracked radiator. Replacing it was an expensive but necessary repair.
It’s always stressful taking a vehicle to an unknown mechanic far from home for a big repair. But Christensen did a professional job and got the vehicle in and out in less than a day. Four months later there have been no other issues with the radiator. They have stores throughout Nevada.
My new alpaca buddies
The 5-acre alpaca ranch in the high desert of Northern Nevada is home to 46 of these gentle creatures.
One of the most delightful things about staying at Sawdust Alpacas is the way the curious herd migrates, en masse, to check out anyone approaching the corrals.
It’s almost comical to see these doe-eyed, long-lashed, fuzzy creatures rushing up to greet you. You almost expect them to start talking, like in a cartoon or Dr. Doolittle.
And speak they do, albeit in their own language.
Abby, the Waddell’s friendly and majestic Great Pyrenees ranch dog, lives in the pens with the Alpacas and keeps guard at all times. However, if strangers or strange animals approach the pens, it is the alpacas, not the dog that are the most vocal.
Always something happening at Sawdust Alpacas
Alpacas are clearly a big passion for Glenn Waddell, who started life as a contractor but made an impulsive decision to change direction in later years.
Looking for something new, the adventurous senior attended a meeting about alpacas and immediately fell in love. Even though he had never been a farmer before, Glenn jumped in with both feet.
His love of these animals is apparent in the meticulous care visitors to the ranch can readily observe. Glenn knows each of his alpacas individually, including their quirks and personality traits.
Glenn can talk alpacas until the proverbial cows come home. His ranch tour was fascinating and exposed me to a world and culture surrounding alpacas I had never known existed.
After the end of the short tour, I knew all about the history of alpacas in South America and how they came here, their uses for fabric and as pack animals, as well as the rewards and challenges facing modern alpaca ranchers. Most interesting of all was the sheering room and learning about what it takes to turn the alpaca fleece into yarn and products.
Glenn’s tour also includes a lot of great photo ops. You can even get up close and personal with the friendliest members of the herd.
Like any other working ranch, there is always work to be done on an alpaca farm and likewise always something to see. Kids will especially delight in a stay at the ranch and Glenn even lets them help with feeding.
Depending on when you visit there may be sheering or breeding going on in addition to the day-to-day chores.
Shopping at Sawdust Alpacas
Of course, as per Harvest Host rules, you should make a purchase from the hosts. Not a problem. Sawdust Alpacas is a wonderful place to get some serious gift shopping done.
Carolyn manages the onsite Alpaca boutique, which offers an inspired collection of quality goods and something for literally everyone. This includes items like warm socks and sweaters, stylish purses, scarves, hats, and other fashion accessories, alpaca yarn, toys for the kids, and more.
Besides an awesome hand-crocheted purse for myself, I picked up a darling hat for my friend Thalia Marie Costa.
More about RVing at Sawdust Alpacas in Fallon, NV
- The farm itself is situated in a residential neighborhood that appears to be transitioning from rural farmland to suburbia. More than scenery, the stars of this stay are the alpacas, the charming hosts, and the low-cost amenities.
- Good paved roads get you to and from the ranch. Parking is easy. Most spots are pull through and if you need to back in, Glenn is an excellent assistant.
- Water to fill your tank is available.
- Optional electricity is available for $10 (as of this writing in 2022) during your free night’s stay through Harvest Hosts. There are two 30-amp and one 20-amp hookups available.
- If they are not otherwise reserved, extra nights are available for $25 per night, including water and electric (no dump station).
- Leashed pets are welcome.
- Nearby Fallon, on Hwy. 95 between Reno and Las Vegas, is the home of the Top Gun Naval Air Station.