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Profiles of People: Alpacas and motorcycles

Jim Scolman photo

Marlene and Chuck Presser with granddaughter Tegan, age 7, and an un-named “baby” alpaca.

When asked about the snow earlier this year, Marlene Presser, sitting on five acres in Lake Stevens, said: “It’s overwhelming, beautiful and I don’t like it.” 
She and her husband, Chuck, have an RV repair shop on their property. They also have many animals, including a herd of alpacas, that need to be fed and kept warm during February’s unrelenting snow.
Raised in a blended family in Seattle’s Fremont Neighborhood, Presser likes a challenge, loves her grandchildren and relishes her adventures. 
A mother of three daughters and sister to many siblings she enjoyed her childhood, but does remember how her mom and stepdad were involved in the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll scene. The children would all be left with a wonderful black woman. She and eight other children would be told, “I will whip your ass” and the kids knew she would! They remember her fondly because she took care of them and had no prejudice — so Marlene doesn’t either. Presser graduated from the NOVA alternative school on Seattle’s Capitol Hill. She contends that even though it probably didn’t have the structure she should have had, the
freedom of being able to choose what she wanted to learn and what she didn’t has given her a lifetime love of learning.
Presser is one of those people you might see on Interstate 5 while driving in your car. She’s the woman in the RV or riding a motorcycle. When you see her, just for a minute you say, “‘Wow!, I wonder where she is going. I bet she’s having fun.’ ” She and her husband have taken their motorcycle all over the West Coast, Midwest, Florida and parts of Mexico. The next goal is the East Coast. They once visited 13 national parks in just one trip. These days, because they are working with RVs all the time, their favorite mode of transportation is the motorcycle. They love to ride together, tenting and hoteling as they go.
She’s owned a hotel/restaurant in Idaho, worked as a secretary, been a business woman, had a cleaning company, and currently, as she is fond of saying, “just loves to love up my customers” at Blanc and Rouge, the wine shop in Snohomish. At one point in her life she answered an ad for an “office nanny.” She got the job and ended up helping run the first on-site day care for an event business in Bothell, run by her still-dear friend, Karmel Ackerman.
Presser just started a free networking group chapter called Wine, Women & Wealth in Snohomish, and they will meet at all sorts of locations in the county. The group’s next meeting is March 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Barn at Holly Farms in Bothell.
It’s hard to image how she does much traveling because she has animals on her property, including alpacas. 
Actually I should probably not give Presser grief for the alpacas because one day years ago her husband called her and said, “I just bought three little kids.” Presser immediately told him in horror that such a thing was against the law! Then he explained they were baby alpacas, called kids. However, at one point after those three little boys came to their home they had over 68 of the animals. I imagine she had a say in growing such a herd. They still have five. She’s even traveled to Montana for them and at one point came home with a huge llama in the minivan. 
Presser readily admits she is living a blessed life with wonderful friends, and she knows she’s dodged a bullet from time to time. One experience she does not care to repeat is a motorcycle trip back from Ellensburg with Chuck. She and Chuck misjudged the winds — 80 miles an hour on the Vantage Bridge — and decided to ‘go for it.’ They made it over to a rest stop, but thinks to this day they were lucky to be alive.
When asked where she would like to be in five years she seemed extremely certain she would be “sitting on a warm beach, drinking pina coladas.” I can see that happening for her. Presser exudes a zest for life, has great energy, truly loves people, and intends to live to the fullest for as long as she can.

Author Patricia Therrell’s column traditionally runs on the third week of the month, but was postponed to the fourth week this month to take accompanying photos.
If you’d like to suggest someone to profile, let the Tribune know:
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