b'ground is an agritourism destination llamafarmwasaperfectsetuptothats also steeped in history. launch the Lazy Llama Campground.Ayers also offers free wagon rides on The llamas have been the anchor forSaturday afternoons that provide camp- all of our activities and projects, Ayersingguestsopportunitiestotourthe said. Our draw is llamas, art and history.farm and pet the baby llamas, called We enjoy people, and we enjoy sharingcrias. There is a fee for non-camping our passion for llamas with others.guests to participate in the tour. While the Ayers initially developedThe Ayers, of course, never dreamed their campground website using Go-they would be owning and operating Daddy, a do-it-yourself website plat-one of the most unique campgrounds form,theirbiggestearlypromotionin the country when they started raising came by advertising their park throughllamas 22 years ago. the Good Sam Club.Its very expensive for a small camp-Camperscantakeclassesonpainting, ground, Ayers said. But the exposuredrawing and spinning, among other things. put his park on the map. In 2018, the The campground attracts overnighters, seasonal campers and even full-timers. GoodSamClubfeaturedtheLazyLlama Campground in its roundup ofthe nations most unique campgrounds.As a result of this exposure, Ayers saidhe has families coming from as far awayas Texas, making weekend trips to visithis park, see the llamas and enjoy thestorytelling, weaving, and spinning andorganic farming experiences.But something else has happenedthe Ayers didnt expect. Their guests in-clude not only families and other trav-elers looking for unique experiences,but people whose lives are in transitionwho need a place to stay for extendedperiodsoftimewhiletheylookforTheirinterestinllamasstartedin housing or to build a home.1999 when they bought their first llama. WehavealargeinfluxofpeopleAyers already had an interest in farm moving into this area of Tennessee fromanimals, which he raised on his prop- California, New York and Florida, Ayerserty. But he was intrigued with llamas said.and eventually started to acquire more Eastern Tennessee also has its shareof them, eventually purchasing more of Half Backs, people from the Mid-and more acreage around his cabin to west and Northeast who initially relo-raise them. At one point he had about cate to Florida and then move halfway75 llamas, but he currently has a man- back to their original home base to es-ageable 50. He typically raises about 15 cape the crowds, live in a more temper-llamas a year and sells the babies to ateclimate,andlowertheircostoffamilies interested in having their own living.llamas to show or as companion live- One other thing I did not realizestock. (about the campground business) is theBut as the Ayers approached retire- numberoffull-timers,Ayerssaid.ment, they started paying more atten- They sell everything they have, excepttion to the run-down mobile home park a few prized possessions, which theynext to their log cabin home and farm. put in storage. Then they travel. TheyTheyacquiredthefive-acremobile willstaywithusfromonetofivehome park in 2015, tore it down, and re- months. Then they go someplace else.builtitintoa34-sitecampground, Ayers also encounters many peoplewhich they opened in October 2017. who work from an RV, a situation thatsWe subcontracted most of the work, ontherisewiththeCOVID-19pan-the excavation, the water and sewer and demic. A lot of people work from home.electrical hookups, Ayers said, adding But their camper is their home. I had nothat it took about eight months to de- idea there was all this diversity of peoplemolish and remove 23 dilapidated mo- camping for different reasons, he said,bile homes dating back to the 1960s. But adding that his park stays at 90% tohaving a campground next door to the Campground Profilecontinued on page 28A boxed garden offers campers a chance topick vegetables that they can use for meals.WOODALLSCM.com April 2021-27'