May 292010

Like most fulltime RVers, we always say that our plans are written in Jello, because, while we may think we know where and when we’ll be going someplace, we never know when something will come up to change our minds at the last minute.

We had planned to leave Show Low on Tuesday and take a trip up through the northeastern corner of Arizona, including Canyon de Chelly National Monument, the Four Corners Monument, and maybe Monument Valley, since I have never been to any of those places, even though we lived in northeastern Arizona for years before we hit the road. We planned to spend a few days, maybe a week, on the road, and then come back here to get the next issue of the Gypsy Journal ready to print.

But, in researching RV parks along our intended route, we began to have second thoughts. There doesn’t seem to be much to choose from, and what we found had some pretty dismal reviews. I also discovered that Four corners Monument, where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah come together, is currently closed except on weekends. Hmmm…. this wasn’t coming together at all like we had planned!

So we stirred up the Jello and rewrote our plans. I extended our stay here at the Elks campground for two more weeks, and instead of taking the motorhome, we’ll do some day trips up north in the van. We may even make an overnight trip if time runs short.

Sometime about mid-June, once we get the new issue finished, we plan (keeping that old Jello thing in mind) to wander over toward the central California coast. We honeymooned in Morro Bay, and we love that area between Pismo Beach and Cambria. Then we will move a bit further north to the Morgan Hill Thousand Trails preserve, where we will do some exploring and sit out the Fourth of July holiday.

As most fulltimers do, we try to plan ahead to be settled into a campsite well before summer holidays arrive and we stay put until all of the weekend warriors go back home to their schedules and their responsibilities. Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day are the three times we always try to have reservations ahead of time, because we learned in our first summer on the road that if we try to find something at the last minute, it isn’t going to happen.

We also have reservations for mid-July at a campground in Colorado, because Terry’s son Casey is getting married July 18 in Vail. That is one commitment we can’t miss, so that is written in concrete instead of Jello.

Then we have to make a beeline for the Midwest, with a stop in Traverse City, Michigan for Terry’s annual oncologist checkup, and then on to Elkhart Campground in Indiana to get things rolling for our Eastern Gypsy Gathering rally August 30 to September 3, another commitment written in concrete. After the rally we’ll have just over a week before we have to be in Hershey, Pennsylvania for the big PRVCA RV Show.

As you can see, we have a lot of traveling planned for this summer. But who knows what might happen if we stir the Jello again?

Thought For The Day – It’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “Stirring The Jello”

  1. Not surprising that you’ve never visited those several fine areas in northern Arizona. A person never visits the attractions and splendors nearby, because they are nearby and you can “always” go see them, can’t you. Instead you travel across country to see the other stuff.

    We lived nine years in Montana, never got as far north as Banff, Lake Louise, etc. Never went as far east as Mt. Rushmore. We did, however, see a lot of Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

    Now here we are 50 miles from Tucson, and there’s a lot of stuff in that area we “can always get to” someday.

  2. A few years ago we were passing thru that area and found 2 campgrounds that were more than adequate at Canyon de Chelly the federal campground was good for a couple of nights and Goulding’s Campground near Monument Valley is nice, be sure to take one of the tours thru the valley. As for 4 Corners I would stop if passing by, but not make a special trip.

  3. Canyon de Shelley is a must see. We drove both the south and north route. There is a FREE campground called Cottonwood. When you drive in, disconnect you van. Drive around and find a site. Lots of sites are too small for the larger units. Lots of big rocks. We found one and stayed for 2 days. Food at buffet just south of campground-very good. Restaurant has native rugs on wall- neat display. You can take a tour (ride on old trucks with bench seats in back) with the Indians down into canyons to see cliff dwellings. But you can’t walk into the dwellings. Worth the effort.
    4 corners just one of those places you go once. Have you picture taken splayed over the 4 corners, look at Indian trinkets in booths and head out (30 minutes tops). Due to survey error, this is not actually the 4 corners.
    In Monument Valley we took the Indian tour on truck. We had a great guide. Neat scenery. They have potty stops.
    So worth your time and effort to go see these three places. We enjoyed them.
    All in all worth the trip.

  4. Even though the Four Corners Monument is not where it was SUPPOSED to be, by about 2.5 miles, it is still the legal corner of the four states. A survey error placed it 2.5 miles west of where congress said it should be. But the way the law is written, the monument is the control.

  5. When you head from Elkhart to Hershey I have a suggestion for an area to visit along the way if you have not done so before – the Ohio Amish area. We recommend Scenic Hills RV Park in Berlin, Ohio as a place to stay (

    There are many things to see and do. One of my favorites is to wander through Lehman’s Store in Kidron, Ohio ( . This store was established in 1955 to serve the Amish community who live without electricity. So you will find all types of old time appliances, tools, kerosene lamps, etc. It is like touring a museum except they have new versions of all of these old timey wood burning kitchen ovens, oak barrels, butter churns, etc. for sale. We could spend a whole day there.

    Another place is Warther’s Museum in Dover, Ohio just south of Canton ( Quoting from their website: “It showcases the 64 ebony, ivory and walnut train carvings created by Ernest “Mooney” Warther, a one-of-a-kind collection that has been appraised by the Smithsonian Institution as a “priceless work of art.” Mr. Warhter’s carvings are just amazing.

    Just some suggestions. Look forward to seeing you at the Eastern Gypsy Gathering.

  6. That is the great thing about our lifestyle, we also make arrangements in advance but only in jello since something could come up. To full time RV like we do you must be flexible. Have a great trip. Be safe

  7. Gouldings campground at Momument Valley was a fine experience. They also have a motel if you go in the van. The drive in from the south is amazing. All the “sets” you ever saw in all those old westerns, right in front of you!

    Skip 4 corners. Really. Have you been to the northern AZ Hopi village called First Mesa? It was a good tour. Very interesting. Several of our favorite travel stories came from that tour!

    And please tell me you’ve done Walnut Canyon and Hubbell Trading Post by now!

    From I-40 in NM, we enjoyed driving thru El Morro (an inscription rock), El Malpais (lovely rope lava) and the contemporary village of Zuni, NM.

    If you get to the northern edge of NM, visit Aztec Ruins National Monument. It is well worth the trip. It is one of the biggest pueblo ruins we have seen.

  8. Nick, I have noticed, unfortunately, more and more that our Independence Day Holiday is being rename the 4th of July Holiday. It is easy to do for this holiday because our Independence is celebrated the same date every year. Even so it seems apprortiate, since we celebrate our nations independence and honor those who fought and gave incredibly for our freedom, that we also honor the holiday with its appropriate name. I so doing we honor those who gave for our independence. As our nations politicians continue to errode our freedoms maybe I can be a part of reminding others that our incependence came with a price by calling the holiday by its name – Independence Day.

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