There are many sights to see going down the Bitterroot Valley. This church in Stevensville is the oldest building in Montana, St. Mary's, established in 1841 by Father Pierre DeSmet. Father Ravalli manned this mission until his death in 1884. I love the backdrop, the beautiful and imposing Bitterroot Mountains.
We traveled down the Eastside highway which must have been the old road before the freeway was built. This old farm is striking with its original farmhouse and rustic outbuildings.
Just east of the small community of Victor we found the Rocking L Alpaca Ranch we'd set out to see. The owners gave us a personal tour, personal because we were the only tourists there! There are 38 alpacas altogether, along with 2 "guard" llamas. These critters do not like to be petted, even though they are completely tame. We loved the little one, who stuck close to mama. Isn't his red "onesie" sweater cute? They would come up close to us and stare with their big, black eyes, checking us out. Inspection complete, they would turn away as though we were fairly boring creatures with no treats in hand!
The alpacas had been shorn just 2 weeks earlier, so looked skinny and naked, except for their furry heads. We could still see the lines the sheers made on their coats. We learned this takes place about once a year. The fur is then woven to make beautiful scarves, hats, mittens and other lovely products. Most of the completed garments we saw were sent from Peru, though the fleece from these guys was made into yarn for purchase. If I were a good knitter, I could have made my own garment! We did purchase a scarf from the gift shop. (Spoiler alert: it's a gift for someone!)
True to our habit of always driving through the oldest, original parts of the towns we pass through, we did that in Hamilton, an old settlement with lots of character.
Since we had toured the historic Daly Mansion in Hamilton during our last stay in Missoula, we just drove down the long driveway this time. So pretty!
Once again driving the back roads we passed through another very small settlement named Corvallis and saw this majestic mansion. We noticed a sign advertising it as a book store. We enjoyed our day trip today to see alpacas, and many lovely places along the way. There is so much to see in gorgeous western Montana.