Copper Breaks, creating a clothing brand, and our first dessert walk.

We woke one final time in Fort Worth, enriched from our true Texas experience. Apparently, Aimee had not got over her crazy spell from the night before, and spent a large part of the morning attacking us whilst we tried to savour the last of the early morning.

As our drinking water was still low, I set off on a search for some water to once again make our daily pot of tea.

Upon arriving, I could tell that Aimee hadn’t finished her psychotic act…

I see you!

A long pot of tea later, we finally left Fort Worth, vindicated by our decision to stay a couple of days. Our goal was now to reach Copper Breaks, another recommendation by our good friend Ian during our planning session at his house in Miami.

As we drove towards our destination, we observed a clear shift in the scenery around us. The land flattened out, and we were able to see empty land for miles.

Eventually, we started to see a rock formation, not far from where the sat navy was taking us.

Instantly, we could tell that we were getting closer to the deserted lands we so desperately needed.

Pulling up to the rangers office, we went inside to pay for a night’s spot in the camp ground. The rangers informed us that there was a Dutch oven demonstration happening right at that moment, and if we headed straight there, we would be able to sample all of the food that they were preparing.

Having not eaten anything since we left Fort Worth, we were both desperate to eat something, especially if it didn’t hurt our purse strings.

Parking up next to the cooking demonstration, we brought Aimee along, so she could stretch her legs.

We were quickly running out of loo roll for her to destroy, and neither of us wanted another mad morning when we were trying to sleep.

When approaching the small crowd of dinners and cooking volunteers, we were met with a strange confusion.

“Why are you walking a cat on a leash?”

“Your from England. What brought you here?”

Sadly for Willow, the majority of food on offer contained meat. As they had cooked more food than guests, I felt it best to sample the food, rather than let it go to waste.

They had nothing better to do that day

The food that I sampled was nice, although I didn’t think having meat in the dish added anything to the flavour, and a meat replacement wouldn’t have made any difference to the overall dish.

Free childcare
Even the cat liked it
Popular event, as you can see

As we had payed for hook up, I drove the van to our pitch and hooked our van up through our new transformer, and then walked the short distance back to the picnic area.

After staying a little longer, so that Willow could sample the veggie desserts and warm apple juice, we eventually headed back to the van, as Aimee was starting to get a little restless.

Ian had made a fantastic suggestion. Our camp spot had a teepee like seating area, and we were surrounded by gorgeous views of the surrounding desert lands.

I stayed outside to take pictures of the spectacular sunset.

No filter needed

There was a noticeable drop in temperature, and so we made ourselves cosy in the van. From this point, our Wallas diesel heater would be working constantly to keep us warm throughout the night.

After a pleasant night’s sleep, with no Aimee disturbances throughout the morning, we woke up in our fairly empty camp site had shower facilities, so top of our morning agenda was a nice shower to start the day.

A bit busy

Feeling refreshed, we left Ruby plugged in to the hook up, and set off on a walk around the parks trails.

It felt good to have Aimee back out on her lead. During our stay in Fort Worth, she had mainly had to make do with walks around car parks on her lead. Now she was able to explore the local surroundings. Darting into bushes and tangling her lead in trees that she desperately tried to climb.

Interesting layers

In our seven years together, Willow and I have walked many different landscapes. We have walked some pretty desolate landscapes during our visit to Thasos, a small Greek island, but we had never hiked through such a desolate landscape as Copper Breaks.

A picture of a tree and some rock
More rock

As the walk started to open up, we were rewarded with views of the surrounding rocky terrain, carved into interesting shapes and canyons, through years of weathering.

Lot’s more rock

Aimee was possibly enjoying the walk too much, and was intent on climbing through every bush and up every tree that we passed. Fortunately, she did settle into the walk a bit later, which was good as we never would have been able to complete the walk.

She hasn’t quite got the hang of walkies

The walk was through a dispersed waste land over red sand and an occasional channeled out section, where heavy rain had carved through the soft sand stone.It had felt like we had completed a ‘proper’ hike since way back in North Carolina, during our stay on the trailhead.

A lack of long challenging walks, had been the main thing lacking during our time crossing the south. Much of the land was flat, and so since leaving Florida, we had mainly focused on social elements.

Hopefully our new landscape was a sign of things ahead.

The park was empty, which meant we had the entire trail to ourselves, which was the perfect opportunity for us to play around with Steve.

We hadn’t had many opportunities so far to confidently fly him. All of the cities had bans on drones, and a lot of our earlier walks were through woods and forest land.

Now we could actually set him to follow us and record the vast surroundings around us.We walked for a couple of hours before the trail lead us back towards the final stretch back to Ruby.

Aimee was starting to tire, and so we put her in her rucksack. To our surprise she was fairly happy to be in there. All of our other attempts had resulted in a constant whining to be let out, so this was a big achievement. It meant that we could now bring her on bigger walks, and let her rest in the bag when her little legs started to tire.

Before returning to the van, we walked to a viewing point for the lake and took Steve out for one final flight, sending him soaring across the water, capturing it in all of its glory.

Upon arriving back at the camp ground, we were shocked to find it completely empty. Even the camp host had left. Clearly we had picked the best time to visit, with distractions from others.

Contemplating whether we should try a ‘wing’ a free night at the campground, we eventually decided to head off. We wanted to be in Amarillo early the next day, and so Willow had found a free camp spot on the way in Memphis Texas, which supposedly had free hook up as well. All you needed to do was phone the local police department and acquire a permit.

As it was late Sunday night when we arrived, we decided to stay anyway, as it was out of season and we doubted that anyone would come and check.

As it happened, just as we had got the van set up for the night, a police car pulled up into the park and just loitered in the distance.

We decided it would be better for us to approach them and enquire about a permit, rather than them driving up to us. So I made the short walk over to the car to speak to the officer.

Speaking to the officer, he really didn’t care that we didn’t have a permit, and informed us that we could just phone up for one in the morning if we wanted to stay longer.

Willow’s B-12 deficiency had started to affect her immune system, and she had started to develop a pretty nasty cold. So that night, she had a really bad night’s sleep. Spending the majority of it coughing. So as a result, we both woke up feeling a little bit jaded.

We decided that it would be better to spend the day chilling out in the van. The temperature had dropped massively, and it wouldn’t have been great tackling another big dessert walk, if she was struggling the breathe.

So I called the local police department and arranged a permit to spend another night in the campground.

With a free day, we used the morning to blog and update our YouTube channel.

With as much done without using large amounts of data, we decided to create an online store to try and generate a little extra income. We found an online supplier, who would handle production and shipping. All we had to do was design some merchandise and create an online store.

Creating products was actually really fulfilling, and it gave Willow a chance to merge her artistic flare with her fantastic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator.

By the end of the day, we had created a few difference designs for T-shirt’s and a few stickers.Because we were using two different companies, our profit margins were very small.

Every product we sold would probably make us a couple of extra dollars. But by the time we had created the items that we would like to buy, we were just excited about the prospect of other people finding them interesting enough to purchase themselves.

You can check out out the products we designed by following the link

Every order helps keep the chance of us extending our dream alive!

With Willow working hard on the laptop, I took a short bike ride into the town to try and find us some apple juice and spiced rum.

The majority of the bike ride was up hill, and I must admit, it was a bit of a struggle forcing me and the bike up it. I did somehow manage to defy gravity and make it to the town, but was surprised to find the many shop fronts abandoned. The town was practically a ghost town.

After more frantic peddling, I did manage to acquire a small bottle of spiced rum, however I had to ride further to buy some apple juice. At least I was able to return to the van, like a noble knight returning from battle, with the spoils from my victory.

The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, drinking warm apple juice and rum, whilst watching the first season of Making a Murderer. Horrified by the story of Steven Avery and that we had managed to go so long without watching the documentary.

We woke the next morning, following another rough night for Willow. We needed to get to Amarillo, as we had an Amazon order that we needed to pick up.After a short drive, we arrived at Amarillo and collected our items.

We decided to find a bar so that we could use some WiFi to upload our completed YouTube video. Sadly, the two bars we visited had terribly slow WiFi, and we didn’t really fancy sleeping outside either of them. So we found a trusty Walmart, that we could pull up alongside. Close enough to receive the stores WiFi signal.

With a spot sorted, we had an early night, hoping that Willow would be able to shift the cold that had been plaguing her the last couple of days.

Unfortunately, she spent another night unable to get a full night’s sleep, so woke the next day feeling at an all time low.

Deciding that it wouldn’t be in her best interest to go on a long walk, we spent another day working on more designs for our new shop, and continued to focus on all of our social media commitments.

To raise our spirits, we decided to spend the evening getting into the Christmas spirit.

We popped into the store to buy ourselves tacky Christmas jumpers, as well as a cute Santa’s little helper costume for Aimee, who enjoyed it, but only because she could bite it.We also bought lots of tinsel and LED lights to decorate the van. Which we did to the joyful melody of Bad Religions Christmas album.

Willow may have felt ill, but at least she could feel ill in a heavily decorated camper!

In the morning, the holiday cheer had given Willow the motivation to tackle another hike. We just had a small concern about our leisure batteries. Fortunately, the Walmart garage manager came over to ask us to move, as we we technically taking up potential customer spots, so we asked him if they could test our batteries for us. Then we would be customers.

The test suggested that our batteries were fine, leaving us with more questions than answers. But we’d had enough of Walmart, and so decided to get back on the road, heading once again to a place recommended to us by Ian.

From Walmart, the sat nav reckoned Palo Duro Canyon was fifteen minutes away, and we arrived at the entrance in no time.We decided against paying for the campsite, as we were fairly confident we could sneak in to use the showers, then drive off to find a free spot somewhere just down the road.

Briefly stopping for a quick picture of Ruby in front of the canyon, we made our way down a winding road, which took us down to the start of the trail we would be hiking.

Although Willow was still feeling rough, the sun was out and it was a perfect day for a hike through a canyon.

We had chose the trail up to ‘the lighthouse’. A large rock formation that we’d guessed, must have resembled a potato.

After the usual five minutes of scrambling through bushes, Willow was finally able to walk down the path without distraction. Aimee had settled into a quick stride, and at times rushed ahead, down the winding dirt trail.

The canyon floor was a bumpy plain, surrounded by great rims of stone all around. Fascinated, we took in all of the strange dessert vegetation, that still seemed so foreign to us. The area was full of baron river beds, which had meandered through the canyon over millions of years, creating the spectacle we were experiencing.

Eventually, Aimee’s little legs couldn’t keep up with her enthusiasm, and so she retreated to her rucksack, to be carried the rest of the way to the rock formation.

Arriving at the grand Lighthouse monument, we were both in awe by the sheer size of the formation. Stumbling up the path, we were soon gifted panoramic views of the entire canyon that we had just walked.

We couldn’t have timed our arrival better, as sunlight through the clouds, highlighting long the different levels and textures littered throughout the landscape.

Sitting right on a cliff edge, I sat and just soaked in all that was around me. Appreciating how fortunate we were to be here right at that moment. Our former lives and stresses a distance memory. What lay before me, was a reminder of what we had to come.

Letting Aimee back out of her bag, she found her new environment just as enthralling. Walking right up to the cliff edge and boldly peering down to the depths below.

We made the most of our time, taking pictures, and sent Steve high into the sky above, for a Steve’s eye view of the formations.

Time was slipping away, and soon, so would the light.With Aimee returned to her new sanctuary, we climbed the path back down, and retraced our footsteps back to the van, arriving twenty minutes after sunset.Tired, and still desperately craving a shower, we decided to drive back to the entrance to enquire about spending a night in the park’s campground, but the office was shut by the time we made it back.

We decided to head to the campground anyway. Either we would get lucky and have a nice spot for free, or a ranger would approach us and we could pay them then.

Whilst Willow showered, I chilled out under a star lit sky, tracing all of the constellations that are normally hidden from me with my finger.

Both showered and once again feeling human, we wrapped up, cooked a delicious and enjoyed a bottle of craft milk chocolate stout, which topped the night of beautifully.

With our three sales from our Etsy store, a small part of me believed that we might just be able to keep this dream going a little longer!

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